Edie Weinstein wonders about empathy and how we process all that is going on in a world where information about bad things happening all over is omnipresent.
What do you do when you have days when the “world is too much with you”? I do my best to keep from absorbing the pain and angst of those in my personal life as well as what is going on all over the planet. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the magnitude of what is swirling around me.
Sitting here in beautiful Bucks County, P.A. — a suburb of Philadelphia, grateful for my family, friends, home, job, Jeep, and the fact that I am rebounding from several health crises in the last year or so that included shingles, heart attack and kidney stones. Feeling revitalized as I am re-creating my life. All good stuff.
Elsewhere in the world… not so good stuff. War, church shootings, off the scale racism and hatred, climate change, people and animals being abused, addiction of monumental proportions sucking the life out of those in its clutches.
Ball of confusion, indeed.
What’s an empath to do? Shields up. I know that taking on the traumas and dramas of others is not the answer. I used to carry the proverbial weight of the world and needed to put it down when I was almost crushed beneath it. Savior behavior and all that comes with it. Being a martyr isn’t pretty.
Today, I didn’t feel like leaving the house. Spent the day writing A LOT, had a work-related phone meeting, did promo for my articles and workshops, took two required online competency classes/tests for my job, and then guided friends who wanted assistance with getting their business out on a grander scale. Later, I spoke with a family member who is facing a major health issue that I can do nothing to help, but just listen and love. Focusing on quality of life for her, without letting the fear of losing her getting in the way.
I contemplated going to the gym to sweat it all out, but voted for a restorative nap instead. I was greeted in my dreamtime by images of tumultuous storms that threatened to sweep me away. It felt so real that I was tempted to get up and batten down the hatches outside. I was relieved when I awoke to see calm twilight instead.
I have gotten adept at self care, when in the past, I would have muscled on through, creating a “spiritual bypass,” as I told myself that I had nothing to complain about, echoing my well-meaning father, “If that’s the worst thing that happens to you, you’ll be all right.”
Nowadays I pray, meditate, exercise, spend time in nature, hang out with kindred spirits, dance, drum, cry when needed, laugh a bunch, read, express gratitude. Despite all of those interventions, there are still moments when I feel this emptiness and weariness attempting to overtake me.
I reached out to the Facebook collective mind/heart and was greeted by other ideas that included yoga nidra, EFT, hugs, letting myself off the hook and honoring my intentions as good and honorable. By bolstering myself and allowing others to support me and the planet, since we are all in this together, I can become an even greater force for good in the world.
Originally published on Huffington Post.
Photo: Erin Leigh Mcconnell / flickr
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