The Clutter is Speaking…..

There are times in life when we are just mentally and emotionally exhausted. Being an empath is not helping the matter either. Empaths pick up on the emotions of others through experiencing the energy around people, objects, and situations. We tend to internalize the energy and emotions, often without even realizing it; absorbing the energies and emotions is exhausting. Some of us are spiritually intuitive, as well, connecting with the spiritual world around us.  This all may sound mystical, or perhaps even crazy, to many people, but I can assure you, any empath will agree, we are not crazy. As a part of the creation as a whole, we are all energetically connected and affected by the energies around us. Empaths are just lucky enough to have gotten a bigger helping; these words brought to you by tongue-in-cheek enterprises.

For many months now, work has been particularly challenging. I love it, but at the same time it is taking its toll, in part, because I am picking up on a lot of emotions and negative energy swirling around . Some days it is relentless. At home, we are in the middle of a remodeling project; not a small one, the major kind where every room is torn up. When I say “we” I truly mean “we”. No contractors or workman are here doing the project. Nope, this is a true DIY (do it yourself). The disorder and chaos is beyond energetically draining! I am positive there is a light at the end of both tunnels however, at the moment, the lights are pinpoints of light barely visible with the naked eye. In my case, the pinpoints require magnification to even be considered pinpoints, since I am of the bifocal age group.

Certainly, people deal with far more life-threatening, life-changing issues than challenges at work or lengthy DIY projects. Few of us get through life without experiencing major life-changing events, and I have had my share. I was well educated in the School of Hard Knocks. No, these issues are more of the irritating variety, like mosquitoes buzzing around one’s head at dusk on a hot, sticky summer evening, or being joined by an unwelcome army of ants at a family picnic. The reality is at the end of the day I am still mentally and emotionally exhausted. I pull inward, go for a walk, breathe in the crisp air and shut the world out. Always, I put in my ear buds and tune into spiritual talk radio to refuel listening to excellent spiritual teachers and healers to learn something not even remotely related to infection control, quality control measures and improvement projects, Medicare Part D (does anyone really understand that??), or DIY remodels One program I heard recently was on Feng shui for the soul, which by the way, was quite enlightening.

Empaths generally seek out nature when it becomes necessary to get away from the onslaught of the energy and emotions of others. The ocean is my place of spiritual renewal and peace, the place I can hear the voice of God in the crash of the waves, and the call of the seagull. The fact the ocean is my space is interesting to me since I was born and raised in the northern climes resembling the Antarctic, and now live in the middle of the USA where the wheat fields bend and sway in the monsoon-like winds of the prairie. Granted, I am a city dweller, but the prairie surrounds even the biggest cities of our fair state. So, I walk to clear my head and spirit. I try to avoid eye contact with anyone I chance to meet on my journey; empaths need a fair amount of alone time, away from as many sensory experiences and people as possible to regroup.

Today, I listened to a program on clutter. Physical clutter is a manifestation of emotional and/or spiritual clutter. Ever given that much thought? I like this particular spiritual teacher; her thing is de-cluttering our lives, and I always take away a valuable nugget of truth whenever I tune in. Everything in the physical world relates to a spiritual truth. When our physical environments are cluttered we need to look inward. What emotions need to be sorted through, are there old thought patterns that no longer serve us, fears needing to be met head on, limiting beliefs holding us back? What are we holding onto waiting to be thrown out? Most of us lug around baggage better left in the landfill. Why? The fears and beliefs are familiar, comfortable, a part of our fabric, or so we think.

In my case, clutter is paralyzing. Work is a cluttered mess, organizationally-speaking, and home is a mess because we are in a major DIY (do-it-yourself) remodeling project. In truth, I don’t have much control over either situation. I am ready however, to relieve myself of clutter, things I have kept for years not needing to be kept. A few things have been thrown out as I run across them, and that is exactly what they are; ‘things’.

We all do it, hang onto ‘things’ thinking one day we will need the them, but do we ever?  It’s not like we wake up one day and ask ourselves where the ‘thing is. No, most ‘things’ get stored in a shed, tucked away in a storage unit, boxed up and put on a shelf in the basement or garage. When we move, the ‘things’ are moved, too, only to be stored, tucked, or boxed in a different location. I have held onto ‘things’ from years spent in an abusive marriage. Why? I don’t even like the ‘things’, but nevertheless they have traveled with me following the divorce.

One day, during our remodel, I ran across a few ‘things’ from a previous life, and really that is how I think of those years. I thought about the ‘things’ for a moment; a few pieces of miscellaneous dishware, a ceramic canister set we had purchased from an art show, a couple of holiday candy dishes, gathered them up and went out to the trash cart. I threw them into the cart, literally, and watched them shatter into a million pieces. Surprisingly, just the act of throwing the ‘things’ into a waste barrel and watching them shatter was cathartic. I was physically letting go of the ‘things’, and all they represented, but I was letting them go emotionally and spiritually as well. ‘Things’ carry emotional energy, good and bad. By ridding ourselves of the ‘things’ carrying negative emotional energy, we are taking the first step toward freeing ourselves from their grip.

Yeshua (Jesus) required time away from the very people He came to teach and mentor. The Bible makes reference to Yeshua going into the wilderness alone, often for days, and weeks at a time, knowing He had to regroup and clear Himself of the negative energies weighing heavily on His spirit.  I believe Yeshua was an empath, too. As fully alive physically and spiritually, He was able to read the energies of everyone with whom He came in contact. It must have been exhausting. What about the clutter? From all accounts, Yeshua traveled light, so the clutter He came in contact with and carried was from the people who sought after Him. Yeshua deeply felt the pain of those around Him. He wept when His friend Lazarus died, angered when wrongs were committed against others, and felt compassion for the lost, the infirm, and those tossed aside by society like so much garbage.

Are you exhausted, feel like you are just going through the motions? Take time away for yourself. Read, meditate, enjoy the creation around you, be kind to yourself. Is there clutter in your life that needs to be removed? What is the clutter saying to you…..?


Through the Looking Glass…..

There is a social psychological concept called the “looking glass self”, coined in 1902 by Charles Cooley. It goes like this – We are who we think others think we are. That’s quite a mouthful, wouldn’t you say? Three components relate to the concept: 1. We imagine how we appear to another. 2. Then we imagine what judgments others are making about our appearance. 3. Finally, we decide how the other feels about us. The imagined assumptions are then internalized to encompass the whole of our being. The ultimate result is that we develop our self-image, or how we feel about ourselves, from these assumptions that are not based upon facts a lot of the time. We tend to adapt our behavior in the company of others based on how we think they perceive us. Ever notice how our image changes in the presence of different people? Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

We all have images or beliefs about ourselves that are deeply embedded. So much so, most of us aren’t even aware how deeply and universally our beliefs about self affect everything in our lives. Physically, we look in the mirror and see the image we believe others see, but the belief is ofttimes inaccurate because the belief is based on assumptions. Women especially, focus on the flaws and imperfections we adopt as self-image; the flaws we believe others see in us. The same would be true of our emotional and spiritual images. Do you keep spiritual beliefs on the down low for fear of being thought of as a “Bible thumper”, or spiritual “weirdo”? Of course, this process is an unconscious process, and we may not be fully aware of the images we have buried in the subconscious, nevertheless, we all are affected to one degree or another. More passive individuals will allow others to define who they are, whereas a stronger personality may form some opinion of self looking through the eyes of others, but will not be dependent upon the image. Makes one wonder if we are ever our authentic self? Does any of us really know who we are?

For those who use the Bible as a reference tool, their interpretations are based on the belief systems and doctrines of the churches they choose to attend, in other words, interpret the Bible based on the doctrines or beliefs associated with a particular denomination, rather than the Bible alone. In many ways, the Bible is a living document in the sense that as we grow, change, or learn, our interpretations change; the scriptures seem to give us new insight into ourselves and others. Turning toward a more focused experience on journey with the Divine, and opening myself to theories and ideas long-shunned or rejected by the church without any discernible merit, I can still appreciate the Bible, especially as it relates to Yeshua (Jesus). I see the Bible as a manual on human behavior and our relationship to self, others, and God.

Using the looking-glass-self theory, the church teaching is that we should see ourselves through the eyes of Jesus. To that end, I am in agreement. Yeshua, the embodiment of the Divine, living on earth as a fully human, fully matured spirit man, was and is our teacher, mentor and example. Applying the looking-glass-self theory, we will form an image of ourselves the way we believe Jesus sees us. One of the two mirrors will reflect back to us the image of what we believe to be God’s opinion, whether we believe ourselves to be filthy sinners saved by grace, born a sinful being without hope apart from the shed blood of a Savior, or a valued, precious spirit, living in a body, having a human experience, and loved fully and completely by God, the source of Divine love. Perhaps the first image evokes feelings of guilt for perceived sin, with a dollop of gratitude for escape from the wages of sin. How will we live and breathe and move within that scenario? For many, whether one chooses to believe it or not, the primary motive to live a life of ‘righteousness is fear; fear of sinning, fear of judgment, fear of not measuring up, or fear of being denied heaven after death of the body. We become dependent on the whim and mercy of a fickle and unpredictable God. Conversely, if one chooses to believe we are on a journey with God, the Divine Source of Love, a journey of learning, growth and empowerment, we will think and act accordingly. In the first scenario, we are at the mercy of a Being who holds all the cards, so to speak. Within the second scenario, we are part of the Divine, worthy and precious, and loved for who we are, right this minute, without judgment or need for discipline or punishment. In either case, we are human and will screw up, fall on our faces, make wrong decisions, and will be just plain ugly at times. How I believe God will handle me at those times will reveal the way I imagine God sees me. Will I feel guilt-ridden whether I even need to own that feeling or not, or will I see any and all experiences as opportunities to learn and grow, to ascend to a higher level of understanding?

Yeshua (Jesus) accepted people as they were, yet saw and encouraged their potential and gifts for the highest good of others. From the scriptures, we see that Jesus didn’t sugar-coat anything while remaining tender toward those who were honestly searching. He recreated the realities of people who had allowed others to define their current reality. The woman with the issue of blood, told by every doctor she was incurable, the lepers shunned and ridiculed by society, forced to walk through the streets shouting, “unclean, unclean” to warn others of their presence, and the woman caught in the act of adultery, labeled as a whore, a prostitute worthy of stoning. Each of these are examples of people who lived the reality others had created for them until Jesus came along and spoke a different reality, a reality filled with life-giving energy, healing energy, transforming energy.

Jesus, the earthly representation of Divine Love, loved and loves today. No one had to be perfect, super religious or spiritual. All were accepted as they were; the messy, lame, blind, and the battered and bruised by life. Even those He chose as His disciples were a ragtag bunch of misfits, but Jesus saw them differently. Peter, the rough, brash, impulsive fisherman was deemed The Rock, destined to become ‘fishers of men’.  All were worthy of love, all were loved, all were seen as precious and shown a new reality, a new self they could view through the looking glass, a self created without judgment about physical appearance, emotional or mental health, or spiritual maturity. Who is it you see in the looking glass? Someone who has been judged unworthy, unintelligent, unattractive, crazy, weird, not good enough, or any number of inaccurate adjectives or labels? Maybe it’s time for another looking glass…..

Through the Door of Love…..

We have more in common with one another than we have things separating us. We are all human, for one. Beyond that, we all have experienced joy, fear, and pain, have felt the sting of humiliation, and rejection, are all passionate about something, we all wake up to the same sky every morning, and fall asleep to the same moon, and we all want to love and be loved. And, most of us believe there is an unseen force, an entity separate from us, yet connected, responsible for our creation or origins, and many share a belief in a heaven, or life beyond our earthly existence. How we view each of these, and what we believe about a presence apart from ourselves makes us different.

Likely, since the dawn of time, there has been dissension among the masses debating and arguing the minutiae and nuances of our belief systems. At the core of our beings we either know, want to know, or are searching for the energy source, the entity many believe is ‘out there’. Man has allowed, and continues to allow, the minute differences to separate us, so much so, wars are fought in the name of being right, people slaughtered in the name of God, and walls built around our sacred beliefs. We call those walls ‘religion’. Let’s face it; we all want to be right.

God is love. Every Christian who has ever darkened the doorway of a church or opened a Bible would agree. On the other side, those who choose the path of spirituality would also agree with that statement. In the 70’s and 80’s the pursuit of spirituality came to the forefront. This group of people were known as “New Agers”. New Age thinking combines theology, philosophy, and nature into a mindset influenced by Eastern thought, religious tolerance, and to a certain degree, moral diversity, or some would say, moral relativism. Now, before the hackles rise and the claws come out, for a moment let’s have an open mind. Just because some people believe in moral relativism, doesn’t mean everyone does.

Within Christianity, no two doctrines are exactly the same. Different ‘brands’ of church have chosen beliefs from the Bible to build their doctrines. One church may emphasize salvation as its principle doctrine, another may stress conformity to the point current culture is shunned, children are raised by harsh Biblical standards of discipline and punishment, everyone dresses in similar styles of clothing, and still others may focus efforts on ministering to the poor, the hungry, the abandoned, and the vulnerable of society, welcoming everyone  through their doors. Some believe only those who have lived a life of ‘upright righteousness and piety’ are blessed and acceptable to God, and some believe God turns away no one. In other words diversity. On the other side of the line in the sand are those who have adopted a broader definition of God, love, acceptance, and spiritual practice derived from a variety of theologies. Diversity.

For most of my adult life we were part of a church ‘family’. Life with an abusive husband, however, systematically being stripped of dignity, and watching my children being mistreated, and powerless to do much about it, the whole idea of church left me a bit cold. (Before judgment sets in, wisdom cautions we do not have the right to judge until we have walked in another’s shoes.) With the passing of time and a fair amount of healing, I was able to see God as separate from church. Through soul-searching I found my way back to God and realized I wanted to journey with Him, wanted a relationship with Him based on love and not ‘rules’. My children showed me the path of spirituality, a journey of love, growth, and peace devoid of fear-based theology and manmade boundaries designed to control more so than provide a foundation of acceptance and understanding. True to my nature I read everything I could get my hands on, researched, and listened to those journeying with God in a different way. Church had taught me to fear those who had chosen to practice yoga, meditation instead of prayer, alternative energy healing modalities, or angel therapy, and believe that love was the only characteristic of God. This entity, this energy, or source of all we know, the seen and unseen, loves without judgment.

The pursuit and study of spirituality is a belief system different from Christianity, yet in many ways, similar. The ‘Law of Attraction’ is prevalent with those pursuing spirituality. We get what we put out there. Granted, a lot of the hype around the concept has to do with financial prosperity, but really the hype is a way to draw people in. We respond to the thought of wealth, do we not? The principle is sound. Jesus taught the ‘law of attraction’; it just wasn’t labeled in that way. ‘Ask and you will receive’, ‘if you have faith the size of a mustard seed’, ‘your faith has made you whole’, and many other similar scriptures throughout the Bible attest to the principle.

Those on a spiritual journey, and those on a more traditional journey with God believe God is love. The Bible provides a glimpse here and there of a journey with Divine Love apart from strict rules and discipline, but for the most part the fear factor precedes or succeeds the love God has for His creation. (I am aware I am using references to God as a male, however, I believe God is neither male, nor female) Man’s need for structure and organization have contributed to the religious construct, as has man’s need to control. It is the control issue I find more concerning. And, in part, believe it is the control issue driving people from the church toward different ways to journey with God.

An open mind is not a bad thing. As sentient beings, we have the capacity to decide for ourselves what resonates with us as individuals.  No two people are alike so why must we all fit into a religious model forcing conformity versus guiding people toward God? Stripping away the walls of control erected by man and viewing Jesus as Divine Incarnate we can see Yeshua (Jesus) in a different light. Jesus taught; He didn’t force, coerce, or threaten. He was compassionate and loving, guiding others toward a relationship with God. It is through this lens a journey with the Divine makes sense for me. Others may need to view the journey from a bit different vantage point, but is their view inferior or superior to mine? No, it is not.

One of the doctors I work with is a Muslim and wears the dress of her culture. Because she is the Medical Director and works closely with our department I know her quite well. She easily and frequently references God – not in a “look at how pious I am” or in a name dropper way, but from the heart. It’s part of her fabric and comes as easily as telling someone her name. Few people were as excited for Christmas and the celebration many equate with Jesus’ birth than she, and she celebrated Ramadan earlier in the year, as well. Many would say because she is not a “Christian” defined by our standard of Christianity, she will not enter heaven. I beg to differ. Sincerity, heart motivation, intention is what I believe matters to the Divine. This woman has genuine concern for others, is not impressed with the letters she worked hard for and carries behind her name. She is a mother and wife first, then a doctor, and makes everyone feel important as if they are a friend as opposed to a number on a chart, or just another nurse among many. She is not a native of our country, and yet personifies the “American Dream”, not in the materialistic way many do, rather through valuing the ideals of America. She has taught me a lot.

Do you feel a tug, a desire to know and journey with the Divine, with God, but don’t feel comfortable or accepted in the traditional church setting? There is a journey for all. “Come to me ALL who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” It doesn’t say ‘how’ we are to come, or through what religious or doctrinal door we are to enter. God simply says, “Come all”…..