The Empath

Did you ever watch Star Trek Next Generation?

We did.

Well, Rob did on his own in his previous life here and there, and I did on my own in my former existence in Iowa. Another instance of the eerie way our data banks contain common touch points that supersede the need for us to have “grown up” together.

On the show, one of the characters is an empath. Deanna Troi was half-human and half Betazed. Betazeds were telepaths and empaths. In effect they read the minds and emotions of those around them. Deanna was just an empath. She sensed only feelings. I never envied the ability to perceive feelings as much as the ability to read minds. Being bombarded by the emotional stew of the middle school I worked in wasn’t high on my list of need-to-do’s. Little teens project loudly enough without a teacher needing an added psychic enhancement in her arsenal of weapons.

One of the women in my yoga teacher training is an empath.

Yes, empaths exist outside the world of make-believe.

She woke up with the ability after being hit by a car. Quite a remarkable story without the extra sensory perception angle. The accident nearly cost her an arm and doctors told her she would never regain its use, but she re-habbed herself essentially using yoga and has close to full mobility today.

She told us all this during the introductions on the first weekend and though I was curious about her empath ability, I made it a point not to get too near her, especially after the first practice when she announced,

“I can feel the pain radiating all around me.”

Not clear on what kind of pain or whether she was one of those who can sense illness as well (some empaths can tell if you are sick. I’ve learned about a gentlemen down in Redwater that some folk around The Fort see who has diagnosed cancers and other equal nasty illnesses), I decided that the whole thing was too creepy for me. And I live in a haunted house remember, so the shiver factor has to be high to repel me.

Yesterday at Anatomy however, I ended up sitting not too far from her and during a break was drawn into a conversation where her ability came up.

A younger lady, maybe Mick’s age, has back issues and I observed the Empath run her hand side to side along the girl’s affected areas, drawing out pain. She doesn’t touch the skin at all. Her hand is about two inches away from any sort of contact. The girl’s eyes widened and she flinched away a bit.

“Wow,” was all she could say.

Mentally I noted to increase my distance in future and then the conversation turned to me,

“I was practicing next to you on the last weekend,” she said.

I hadn’t noticed. Really need to be more aware, I thought. The practices in February were brutal. Two plus hours and lots of hanging in asanas.

“Your ankles were just screaming.”

I acknowledged my ankle weaknesses though truthfully, it’s just the right that is painful – and most of the time – though I have been accustomed to it and don’t notice unless I have really been working it.

She nodded and her look was a mix of pity, sorrow and sympathy.

Run away, my mind said. This person is way too sensitive and I have a sneaking suspicion it is not just physical ailments that she can intuit.

I can be, when I am  paying attention, a fairly astute judge of people’s interiors. Probably related to my psychic “sight” but maybe not. The ability to sense spirit activity might be some different awareness all together. But I find the empath thing a bit scary in the same way I find palm readers and psychic readings a bit off-putting. I am not certain that we should have “heads up” on things. The future may be limited in actual directions and choices due to much of what we have already chosen and paths we have taken, but there is still some play that could be compromised by foreknowledge.

It’s like Greek mythology. Over and over in the myths there are gods and humans with peeks into their destiny who try to change or stop them but they never do. In fact they make things worse for themselves than if they’d simply prepared and faced the prophecies head on.

I will not be getting cozy with the Empath,  I think*.

* Updated to add: I did find myself working with her in small groups and sitting right next to her at the weekend in March. I am going to admit to have been a bit too quick to queasy and, in fact, overly dramatic when I wrote this post originally. Living, as I do, in house where spirits turn lights on, sometimes stomp and bang and occasionally jump on my bed – while I am in it – and have even spoken to me, I am completely in line with the idea of  everything is essentially one and that we are all tied together whether we know it or not. So I am careful in places that I sense are “alive” and with people who are even more attune to the flow of energy than I am.

I am such a contradiction. I can write nearly anything personal about myself, but in real life, I miss my barriers. I miss them because I have found that I can’t step out and away from interaction and keep to myself as was my wont in years gone by.

The Empath is a very kind person and it’s easy to see that her awareness is a burden though she manages it with far more grace than I think most people would. I think, in addition to the fact that I would rather not be “known” but “reveal” on my own terms, I don’t want to be a source of pain to her. I have a creaky old body. Worse for the wear of the last decade. Universe forbid that anyone have to deal with it than I.

2 responses to “The Empath

  1. I am such a cynic. I don’t believe *any* of that stuff. My wife wanted to go to a John Edwards show once. Supposedly, he communicates with the dead. I actually got a bit upset and said I didn’t care if she went but it would be without me and I didn’t want her using any household money to purchase the ticket. She had to use her own savings from before we were married. I didn’t want to indirectly support that charlatan. Guys like that are predators.

    • I agree about Edwards. I’ve watched him on tv and it doesn’t look like he does anything other than cajole info out of people and spoon it back to them. Sylvia Brown is just as bad.

      I saw a few psychics back in my infertility days and they were fakes all. My BFF had a psychic at her bachelor party and as I recall the things she had to say about Will and I, I wonder a lot that the fact he was terminally ill and would die never came up.

      But, I do think some people are sensitive and that the separation between mortal reality and others isn’t impenetrable.

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