Feel the Energy

Last summer I once again joined three ladies golf leagues. Why, you ask? Well when spring arrives I am excited and I forget how much I don’t enjoy masses of women. Extremely competitive women. Last year at the windup game and dinner for the most competitive league, my partner and I were paired with two very aggressive women. Well that is not entirely true. They are passive aggressive. It’s the little things. The comments. The whispers and movements while you putt. It is hard to explain. But for the most part it is the energy. I just feel icky around them. Now it has nothing to do with ability or lack of confidence on my part. We play match play and I am the A player on my team so even though I play against the other teams best player, it is a pretty fair game. Plus I find I play better when I play against good players. No, it is really the vibe they put out. I find I need to keep distance between us. If there is a breeze I walk upwind. It is pretty easy as they take riding carts and I walk the course so we are seldom near each other. But the game took a lot out of me and the dinner afterwards had us seated together. I was uncomfortable. I was glad to leave. Opting out this year. I am learning.

I have been labeled “too sensitive” for most of my adult life. Quite often the comment was after I became sad or upset with the actions of others. Many times the comment was followed by “I was just joking”. Through the years I have tried very hard to hide the sensitivity. I find most people are uncomfortable when you try to explain your feelings. But it goes deeper than hurt feelings. It is an exhaustion or overwhelmed state in some cases. We had seasons tickets for the Calgary Stampeders and I loved the games for the most part but the rush of people and the crowds as we left the stadium had me crying for part of the drive home. I was just too overstimulated by the sheer volume of energy that others put out. Going into the clubhouse for a drink after golf is expected yet it kills me a little inside. Ladies get a little insulted if you continually leave immediately. Yet the pressure I feel to conform puts a great deal of strain on my mental health. I prefer to golf with total strangers as there is never any expectation for continued visiting.

I do realize that I am a highly sensitive individual. I’m not talking about the sensitivity towards others. Where we are kind and caring and just lovely towards others. I mean more of an empath sensitivity. There is also a great deal of focus on people these days who are considered empaths. This is different than being empathetic. Empathy is a natural feeling when something bad happens to others. We feel bad for them. We feel sad that shit went sideways. Being an empath is different. You feel what they feel. The feelings are overwhelming. There are many, many types of empaths though. I find my own sensitivity is my reaction to the energy of the people around me. There are times when I am near people and I just feel awful. I have this intense need to back away from them. It isn’t a fear of them physically, rather their energy is overwhelming. Not always negative energy, although that is how it feels. My daughter hated the fact that I didn’t like her in-laws always hugging me. They are Italian and it is their thing. Last year I made the decision to stop allowing people to touch me. Not everyone obviously, but there is this odd “I am a hugger” movement of which I don’t want to be a part. I was having a lovely summer visit with two girlfriends out on one gals back patio. Her sister in law popped by and as my chum jumped up to hug the visitor, then turned and introduced myself and the other friend. Now, our other friend is a touchy feely lovey person. She immediately hugged the sister in law, whom she had never met and it was completely normal for the both of them. When the sister in law turned to me as if to hug, I held out my hand to shake hers. Which she then took and all was well. My huggy friend just said “She’s not a hugger.” And that was that. What I have found through the years is that when I am in close personal contact with too many people, I am exhausted at the end of the day. Sometimes to the point of crying. I just feel completely overwhelmed.\

Now these two girls I was visiting with I hug all the time. They somehow give me energy. After an evening with them I feel good for days. But that isn’t the case with the rest of the world. I am someone who likes to use visualization. Whether it is in meditation or sports, I find it helps. Mentally throwing basketball free throws can actually increase your shooting percentage. But when it comes to crowds, if I am uncomfortable I visualize an imaginary burlap sack. I step into it and pull it up around my whole body and tie it around my neck with a loose drawstring. The loose weave allows for small holes. I imagine positive energy to be smaller particles which easily pass through the openings in the sack. While negative energy is much bigger and just bounces off. I then feel protected somehow. I developed this plan thirty years ago when my naturopath said I needed to drop the psychological wall I had around me. He said by closing off to avoid negative energy I was also keeping out all of the good healing energy in the world. When I meditate I focus on my breath. As I breathe in I imagine hundreds of invisible butterflies entering my body with my breath. I watch them course through my body flapping their wings and disturbing what I call cosmic debris. Like a form of soot that is packed away in every cell of my body. The debris attaches itself to the butterflies and as I breathe out, these once white butterflies are now almost black. They fly off into the cosmos to be cleaned as I breathe in more white butterflies. In time they become lighter and lighter grey as I breathe out. I know my meditation is complete when the butterflies are white going in and out. I am cleansed. Sounds crazy I know but it works for me.

There is an intuitive thing that seems to happen sometimes which we should all pay attention to. When we walk into a space and we feel off, we need to trust that feeling. It may be subtle or overwhelmingly strong. In the end our body can sometimes just feel a shift. Empaths are everywhere but they are all different. In time they come to recognize their own sensitivities. Trying to explain it is hard. And so they don’t. They just develop coping mechanisms to protect what is to them very real feelings of danger. Some empaths feel the pain of others very deeply. Some connect with nature or animals. In the end, so much of it is intuition. We can’t explain it, we just know. Are we born this way or do we develop the intuition over time based on experiences. If so how does it act so quickly? If we aren’t thinking a thing only feeling it. It is subconscious. Perhaps over time we use heuristic approaches to problem solving and the mechanics and solutions are internalized. Creating the illusion of intuition. Who knows? Our emotions are so strongly tied to these empath feelings that there has to be a correlation between the past actions and the current feelings. Or not. I really can’t explain why I feel what I feel. I do know though that when I get that odd shiver through my body, I know something is up. I may not know what it is, but it gives me pause. And I not only listen to it I then actively try to figure out what’s up. Is there something I can see that validates the feeling I get?

There have been times in my life when I have walked into a room or house and just sensed this incredible feeling of crushing fear. Other times it is sadness or anger. Often it is just discomfort. I have a friend I love but I am reluctant to spend much time with her as she often drags me along in her life and I am exposed to a whole ton of uncomfortable feelings. She is very social and on the go so I feel overexposed for some reason. There are people in and out of her home and life and I find even if her home is empty I feel uncomfortable. Almost as if the energy of all who have been there is still in the building. It is so hard to explain and yet the feeling is so intense. I am just uncomfortable and always feeling out of control. So what do we do when these things arise in our lives. Well, we just go with the flow. If I am uncomfortable I try to understand why. If I can’t get past it I leave. I pay close attention to the feelings I get because I have learned to trust. My inner self. Last year when I decided that I will not longer accept the physical discomfort I feel when someone wants to hug me, it became apparent that I offended another person when I said I wasn’t comfortable hugging. They have been different towards me ever since. This isn’t a close friend. Just an acquaintance. I have learned that my own physical and psychological comfort is much more important than what others perceive to be accepted social behaviour. It is important that we protect not just physical boundaries, but also our rights to feel what we feel. My space is my space. And it is big. My personal space. Not gonna let just anyone in. If you’re offended I think that is on you. If you get it, I am glad. It’s all about a little thing called respect.

I have yet to find an appropriate response to people who blow off my feelings when I try to explain something. It isn’t just the hugs. Often when I say I don’t wish to hug, I am met with the comment “I’m just a hugger. I hug everyone”. Its other situations as well. When golfing, unless I am in a tournament, I tend to putt out without really trying to line up the shot. I find some golfers tend to move around lots and it really distracts me. Rather than get upset I just walk up, do a quick eyeball, address the ball and putt. Not at all what I would do if there was money on the line. Women are especially bad for poor etiquette on the greens. A few times I have been called out for not taking my time. If I try to explain how I feel when putting, again I am often greeted with “Oh that doesn’t bother me at all.” As if it is a badge of honour. In reality their comments are very dismissive of my feelings. As if I just shouldn’t feel this way. Or at the very least I should try and fix myself. Try to be more like others. Trust me, I spent a lot of wasted time trying to fit in over the last sixty years. It is just too much work. There are so many instances when I feel uncomfortable. In my younger years I would lash out when confronted. I try not to now but it is a struggle.

I am currently in the mountains at my cabin. Sitting at my desk up on the landing. I have a huge window in the stairwell that overlooks the front garden and the road beyond. There is also a window in front of me and while I sit here all I see is tree tops. There is something quite calming about nature. My son is here somewhere downstairs and in awhile we will go for a long walk. Its a little crisp but the sky is blue and the mountains are so beautiful. The air seems to fill me up with joy and yet it makes me sleep a lot when I am here. This is where I receive my good energy. All of the angst or ickiness I get from the city seems to float out of me and into the cosmos whenever I am here. There is a healing vibe. In the summer I walk through the garden barefoot as I dig and plant and fix and create. Then I sit on the deck overlooking my yard with my book or computer. I see the lake through the trees and I soak up all that nature has to give me. It is healing. I have learned that the people who cause me discomfort in life are dealing with their own demons. It is never personally directed at me the heaviness of their energy. But that doesn’t mean I have to allow it into my space. Interactions with negative energy doesn’t have to end with us taking on the woes of others. We can meditate, commune with nature, or as I do we can visualize ways to avoid letting negativity into our hearts. We can start to watch from the sidelines and detach from the drama around us. And we can avoid social media and news which causes anxiety. Most personal discomfort comes from our minds. We make more out of the things around us than we need to. But when we feel the shift and we don’t like what we feel, we can take a step or two away, take a deep breath and breath out any anxiety. If we are still being drawn in we walk away. It is really quite simple isn’t it. Change of scenery and leave the feelings and thoughts behind. In another place and another time. No need to dwell. Then lean against a tree, walk barefoot through the grass and feel your soul fill with goodness. And you will soon be in harmony with the universe.

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