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YOUNG ARTISTS

j lynn

2019

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essays everyday living life and reflection Lists Mental Health Perhaps...I'll Let You In random Writing Writing and all its cousins

Trust Me We Feel You

Art is a form of expression. For writers, it’s how we interpret our environment and process things unsaid. I’m not sure if there is a correlation between empaths and artists, but I’d like to think that there is. To immerse oneself in any artform one must feel it first, I assume.

I set out to generalize this post, because my ever-so-keen youngest daughter said that all she heard when I was talking was I’s. She was right, although, at the time, I was venting, and there are only two people to talk to around here except, well, the walls. Nevertheless, there are a of lot of you(s) in this essay. That’s because empaths experience things profoundly. They don’t hear a song, they become a song. They don’t just watch Dateline; they remember Susan’s eyes and every detail of the crime scene. They can’t click on the news and turn the channel as if nothing happened. Every aspect of that newsreel carries over into their day and their night. Or is that just me?

I don’t think it’s just me, I think that’s the life of an empath who hasn’t quite figured out how to cope. Trust me, an empath, especially an emotional empath—as I discovered after keying into my search engine, “How to Survive as an Empath” and then taking a random quiz to find out which type I am—feels all of you. Peter Gabriel’s, I Grieve off the City of Angel’s soundtrack becomes a full montage that catapults you into the depths of despair, even if you aren’t initially sad (It does have an upbeat point, though. And then it goes morose again). The death of a person you never met feels like the loss of someone you’ve known, meaning you can still see Susan from that crime show in your mind’s eye, for weeks. 300,000 deaths, any death, feels like someone sucked the life out of you personally. It’s weird, it’s depressing, it’s draining.

Nevertheless, I learned something while reading articles online. A successful empath learns to listen and connect without internalizing. Let me repeat that: A sane empath knows how to relate without being an emotional sponge. Unfortunately, I’m a sponge. What does this mean? It means that I have soaked up my environment, failed to squeeze out my sponge, and become heavy. We can’t effectively help anyone when we ourselves are in an unbalanced, sponge-soaked state. But here’s the problem: folks rely on empaths. A lot.

What happens when you can’t be ‘the person’? Sometimes it causes discord, and sometimes…you drop the ball, epically. This brings me to another point I discovered while reading. Empaths need other empaths. When you’re supporting someone during a difficult time, that’s their moment. But to hold them up, you need someone to hold you up, so that you can hold each other up. I’ve always wondered how therapists master listening to people all day without taking on their patients’ issues. Maybe this is the key (and if it isn’t, dear therapists out there, do tell us how you handle this).

Here’s a list of things you can do to help find your balance, wring out your sponge, and maintain your sanity:

  • Keep a gratitude journal. This keeps you grounded and mindful of what’s good in the world.
  • Replenish yourself physically, spiritually, and emotionally. You can’t refill anyone else if you’re drained. Most importantly, realize that this isn’t selfish, no matter what you may hear to the contrary.
  • Find a constructive outlet. Take a nature walk, sing, paint, draw, write, sculpt—whatever brings you peace.
  • Create and Manage Your Mental Bin. This helps you assess what baggage is yours and what isn’t.
  • Accept and Acknowledge. If that is some of your stuff in the mental bin, acknowledge it. Figure out why it’s in there, address it (with a professional if need be), and process it. Skipping those steps can hinder your availability to someone else or make it difficult to be fully present.
  • Squeeze Out Your Sponge. If you haven’t graduated to step four or five yet, at least squeeze out your sponge so that it isn’t as heavy.
  • Seek out an empath, or two. Or three. Even ‘the person’ needs a person, or people, so that everyone involved has a healthy and balanced way of supporting one another.
  • Breathe. No, seriously, count to ten and breathe.
  • Flip the switch OFF. Take a television, phone, or social media break. After my dad died, I drove 30 miles out, checked into a hotel without telling anyone except my sister, and left my phone in the trunk of my car for two days. This wasn’t the safest thing to do, but it kept me from coming unhinged and brought me 48 hours of calm amid chaos.

Here are some articles I read while searching for ways to cope. Give them a browse:

http://www.keirbradycounseling.com/empath-and-absorbing-other-peoples-emotions/

How to Stay Emotionally Balanced If You’re an Empath (chopra.com)

Boundary Setting for Empaths — Andrea Leda

The Hazards of Being an Empath | Promises Behavioral Health

Hang in there, Empath.

P.S. City of Angels is an awesome soundtrack. One of my favorite albums of all time. And, although it is hard to choose, I Know by Jude and I Grieve by Peter Gabriel are my top two favorite songs.  Or is it Alanis Morissette’s Uninvited? Or Iris by the Goo-Goo Dolls? Definitely U2’s If God Will Send His Angels. I can’t choose…  Yeah, the whole soundtrack.

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prompts random Writing

Write It

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Creativity life and reflection poetry prompts Prompts for Writers random Writer's Prompts Writing

Lifetimes

from the prompt, Write a Message Poem

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everyday living life and reflection Perhaps...I'll Let You In poetry prompts random Writing

New World/Old World

a new world came, one i didn’t recognize

i closed my eyes not wanting to see

what emerged in front of me

until i realized it’s an old world,

one that never changed

73 million days of same

i wept we wept Jesus wept

on deaf ears and desensitized hearts

until grief swept us all away

sms/2020

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poetry

From the Archive

Love Is

I suppose as opposed to a prickly rose

Our love is like a baby that learns and grows

Stronger and wiser and more each day

Falling and getting up along the way

I suppose our love is neither hearts nor gold

But more like a tree among a grove

Its roots reaching farther than the eye can see

Its branches spread, protecting me

I suppose true love is a number of things

So much more than a wedding ring

A hug, a kiss, a mountain peak

A climb, a journey with you I seek

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Artists authors Creativity everyday living random Writing Your Turn

Yes You Can

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Artists authors book reviews books Creativity life and reflection random Writers I Like Writing

We’ve Got Books

The Goal:

Read what I already own before purchasing more (This could take several years)

Read as many as I can while I still can (This will take a different post to explain)

Why:

 I’ve been a bibliophile ever since I mastered the Dick and Jane series

If I were into clothes or shoes or anything else of value, I could have a full wardrobe by now. However, I’ve spent my life’s earnings on books.

 At forty-something, my eyesight is progressively waning, but that’s a different blog post

The Most Recent Book: The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

My Take on the Book:

In this busy world with the busy lives that we lead, how well do we know each other? Beyond the names and personas and assumptions, what do we really know about the people we interact with daily? The neighbor, the waitress—do we even know their names? The social media mogul, the corporate super-star—are they happy?

If no one had to pretend, if we could share our truths without judgment, what would we want others to see? Even at the core of what we think is the truth, is that the full story? Is our version the most trustworthy version?

In this novel, these elements and questions are explored as several people come across a small notebook titled, The Authenticity Project. Initially, there is one entry, penned by Julian, a seventyish former artist and eccentric who purposely leaves the notebook at a café that he frequents. He tells his story and invites the reader (in this case whoever comes across the notebook) to do the same. However, this isn’t just any old tale, this is the one that you’ve been hiding from everyone, even yourself.

From there, the café owner, Monica, finds the book. Intrigued, she reads Julian’s entry and, on a whim, jots down something of her own. Mind you, Monica is likely Type One on the enneagram and rarely does anything on a whim. But anyway, after she is done reading Julian’s excerpt and penning hers, she inconspicuously leaves the book at a bar next to her shop. There it falls into the hands of Hazard who reads both of their stories and decides to return the book, only to discover that he can’t. At least not yet. First, he has some soul-searching to do, and a cocaine habit to kick. And an alcohol addiction to acknowledge.

So, the little notebook makes its way to an island, a plane, back to London, a playground, a rehabilitation center. And then there’s a whopper of a surprise. Well, there are several surprises.

 Along the way, secrets are read, identities are discovered, and souls are enlightened. But before that a few lies are told. There are also misunderstandings to clear up as each character rallies to help the other after reading their notes.

I loved the honesty of this story. I wanted to say authenticity, but that would sound cliché. These characters are relatable. They are people we come across every day. The interesting part for me was that, even the things they ‘discovered’ about themselves wasn’t the whole truth. It took the perspective of everyone to get to the bottom of what was troubling, or in some cases hindering, each character. And, of course, there was a little misguided (and guided) romance thrown in there, too.