Monday, October 28, 2013

Ghost Tail

Since it's nearing my favorite time of year - Halloween - I thought I'd blog one of my creepier stories.

I love cats. And I mean really love them. You might subscribe my love of them to my inner witch. Whatever the draw is, I just have a strong connection to cats. I also love old homes. And I love cemeteries. Cemeteries don't creep me out like they may for some people. The energy I feel at a cemetery is mostly peaceful which is why I often visit them. I used to live in a Victorian house in Oakland down the street from one of my all time favorite cemeteries, Mountain View. One sunny morning, I was tra-tra-tralling through Mountain View when I spotted a red circle on a tombstone. I was instantly intrigued because I associated that kind of of symbol with Native American Indian hieroglyphs - and to me that was a positive type of drawing. I was too far away to make out what the symbol truly was so I bounced excitedly over to the tombstone to figure out what it could mean. The design consisted of two circles, one larger circle encompassing the smaller circle. The larger circle was painted with something that looked like hair and more hair then would ever come off using a brush. A chill came over me and I got a tingling that something wasn't right which made me look to my right. Down on the ground I saw a skeleton of a newly killed cat. The body was skinned and contorted. I realized then that what I truly discovered was a cat used in animal sacrifice. This symbol had nothing to do with Native American culture. It was sinister. And maybe what I thought was red paint could very well have been blood. Horrified, I rushed to the cemetery's management office to report what I saw. I explained to the person at the counter what I found. The person took in what I said and told me that they would send someone over to clean it up. I wasn't sure if the person at the counter took me seriously. To me it was dead serious. Someone had performed an evil act in one my favorite places & I wanted that cleaned up. I left the cemetery, disturbed, hoping they would follow through.

I couldn't let it go. I kept thinking about the cat, wondering if the cemetery personnel were handling the cleanup. I dragged a friend over to the tombstone the next day. The symbol, the cat & all the negativity of that act was still there at the grave site. Pissed & upset I marched over to the office. Now, normally I'm pretty polite. I don't harass people to get my way but on that day, I did just that. I made a cemetery staff member get into one of their golf carts and drive over with me to the site so he could see it for himself. The staff member tried to figure out who would do the sacrifice, blaming it on art students he'd seen the day before. I wasn't convinced. That wasn't an act of someone just dabbling in black magic. To me, the extent of the sacrifice, including the skinning of the cat spoke of someone with a very corrupt and damaged mind.

I don't know if they found the culprit who did the sacrifice but the cemetery did clean up the mess and today there is no trace of what happened there - the energy has been purified. But I think of that cat and what happened to it. I'm angered that anyone would murder an animal because of their fucked up psychology. Recently I've been thinking about the cat's spirit. "What happens to the spirit of an animal if it is sacrificed?," I wondered. Then it dawned on me that I might know. (Now that I've already revealed some of my weird quirks such as liking cemeteries, I guess I can confess that from time to time I see spiritual energy.) In my Victorian house in Oakland, out of the corner of my eye, I would see a spirit of a black cat darting around the house. I didn't know who the cat was. I thought I might be, Frankie, who was a cat of former housemate. Frankie didn't die at the house but he lived at that house for several years and he and I had a close relationship. But I wasn't sure. I would only see the cat briefly, jumping around. Finally it hit me that maybe it was the cat from the cemetery. I didn't see the color of its fur in the circle because it was covered in red. It made sense though that the color of the cat was black as they are too often picked up and abused in that way. I truly hope that it was the cat, that it's spirit attached to me in the cemetery and I brought him home to a safe place. And mostly I hope that cat has moved on and is living it's 2nd, 3rd or 9th life in a very happy home.

Monday, July 22, 2013

You're sensitive? Me too. I've learned to embrace sensitivity as a gift

Interesting the interaction I just had with a lady at Starbucks. This lady was one person in line ahead of me. The lady directly in front of me turned to me and asked me if I had the time. I said I didn't know without rummaging for my phone to check. She told me that's okay. The lady in front of her turned and "randomly" said to her,  "I think it's about 12:45." The lady who 1st asked for the time took off right then. Curious, I reached for my phone and saw that it was exactly 12:45. I spoke out to the woman and said, "you're right, it is 12:45". "That's weird," she said. "Not to me," I said. "I'm empathic so I often get those kinds of feelings." "What's empathic?" inquired this lady. Then it dawned on my the purpose of my conversation.

I've been coming across A LOT of empathic people lately. I feel this is a combination that I've become more open then I've ever been about my abilities along with my heartfelt desire to connect more with others like me. In the past, I wouldn't have mentioned this ability for fear of being seen like a nut job to this person. She may have thought that I was but I pursued the conversation regardless. I explained to her that empaths have heightened sensitivity to feelings. I asked if she felt this was true of her. She replied, "Well, I'm sensitive but I always thought that was because I'm a mommy." I didn't respond directly to her supposition that what makes her more sensitive is being a mom. Having had both an insensitive mother and grandmother, that's not my own personal experience that motherhood heightens your sensitivities. (Though I have witnessed women I felt who have had an overly hard exterior soften after becoming moms). Motherhood doesn't mean you can pick up on information like knowing the time. That's someone in my opinion that has heightened sensitivity (or highly sensitive).

When I say "heightened sensitivities" I mean being open to information in the "ether". And what I mean by "information in the ether" is that there's universal communication always going on around us. The universe is always speaking and if you have your radar on, you can pick things up. This is what sensitives know. Ask one, if you're not one, and they will tell you. :) Some of us are more tuned into it than others.

When I have this kinds of conversation, or what I like to think as an "universal encounter" I shift up my energy level so that I'm in the universal space of consciousness. It's from this place where I can to tune into someone's energy. In this case, I was determining this woman's empathic ability. I felt she had this ability so I asked her what she did for a living. She said she worked with special needs kids, some of whom were autistic. I asked if she could feel what their needs were even with the kids who weren't able to speak. She replied she had "non verbal kids" and she felt she could sense their needs. I shared my feeling that she was uniquely gifted to work in this capacity because she could communicate her students' feelings if they couldn't verbally express themselves. I'm tearing up just thinking about this & how wonderful she could use her empath skills in this way!

The flip side of being an empath is that we can pick up so much of someone else's energy, it can fatigue us. This lady told me she's an insomniac and gets about 4 hours of sleep. I felt myself "full of advice" to share about how she could protect her energy but I also could feel the wall, the wall the woman began to put up between us. When I feel a wall I know that I've reached my limit with a person. I pulled myself away & went on with my business. I don't know what she'll take from this conversation. She may just forget all about it -and if what I shared doesn't work for her, I feel she should drop what I said. I felt the purpose of the conversation was to validate that her sensitivities & that her abilities serve a purpose which she's uses to "great effect".

Being sensitive I'm sensitive to other sensitives who may have gotten a bad rap from others about being "too sensitive".  I've had a fair share of complaints from family and "friends" that I'm too sensitive. They threw this at me when I reacted to a comment I felt was piercingly unkind. But rather than take responsibility for what was said by the person who said it, they laid it on me that my hurt feelings were my fault. And with negative piled on negative I hated my sensitivity until I had the realization that being sensitive is actually a beautiful trait. And not only was it beautiful that I can connect with more emotional depth than most people, these same people who shamed me for my sensitivities also benefited from my abilities. I could tune into their feelings and feel their feelings and know where they came from. I got angry after that realization because I realized that I didn't honor or respect my abilities, and that being sensitive served a purpose. It wasn't something to be embarrassed about or hide. And when I finally accepted myself and my abilities I began to explore what I could using my own gifts.

I have to give credit my one of my Twitter friends, Helen E. for helping me cope with my sensitivities. She inspired me because she didn't hide that she's highly sensitive. She embraced it. She even puts out a Twitter journal called "I'm a little sensitive." I admit I was concerned about following another highly sensitive person on Twitter because I didn't want to risk offending her. One of the downsides of my sensitivity is that I can feel the hurt of others so if someone is highly sensitive, a red flag goes up. Of all the time I've followed Helen, I've NEVER had any difficulty. Unlike others where I've felt a burst of emotional flame, we've always had good communication. And what I took from that is this: in her act of embracing herself, she doesn't hide who she is, or makes excuses like I had been doing. I admired and felt inspired by this self-acceptance.

I admit there was a part of me that wanted to pass on the feel good energy of "feel good about being an empath" to this lady today. Maybe she needed it. Maybe it was projection. But I felt something. And I know my abilities. If there's a feeling, I trust it now. And rather than "tough it out" meaning smash down my feelings like others do, I embrace them and go with the emotional flow.

I told the lady it was really nice meeting her and it was. If anything else, I had a connection and in that is a good experience on any given day.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Game Play: My new winning strategy

I’ve asked myself what is my "DEAL", as if the cards I’m “handed” in life aren’t the cards of my choosing. What I mean by that is, I know I designed my life before I entered into my earth body, even if my “score” isn’t always in my memory.  I’ve walked sidewalks spotting playing cards lying in the street.  And I’ve wondered if that’s a “chance” card or a card I’ve asked to receive. I’ve also found dice & wondered if I’m on a roll or again if this is just chance.  

In reality, I’m not much of a game player, in particular if the games are mostly made of odds; I like to win. So, the games I most like to play are ones of strategy where I can plan my move & be in the spot that’s most advantageous. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t; but the more I play the more I can predict that outcome. This is my view of intelligent design: to know the position that’s most advantageous to get a winning score.  

I've surprised myself by writing this above paragraph. I'm not always in touch my competitive spirit but it's there. On one hand I want to admonish myself for such thoughts as seeing life as "winning" or "losing". But life is "rewarding". We have these phrases and we use them often: "the game of life", "winning hand", etc., etc. If I took life as play, could I take it less seriously? Can I just see some situation as just a bad hand & a hand I can walk away from?

I said I don't like to play the odds but I have gambled at a few things in life & there hasn't always been a good pay off. So in my life now, as I move forward, I'm playing a game of strategy - one that when I see a turn at the road ahead, I won't be so freaked out because I've either planned for that outcome or know enough to know how to "DEAL" with it.

So maybe that's my true DEAL - to forgive the losses & forge ahead with a renewed spirit that life is continuing on a roll in a new direction. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Keep on moving on: what I learned from my horse ride

(I revamped a piece I wrote a few years ago about my horseback riding lessons. I needed to remind myself of this lesson & interestingly enough, it perfectly fits the themes of this July 4th Independence Day!)

Don’t fall off -that's the sage advice I learned when riding a horse.  I had signed up for horseback riding lessons a few years back to get over a childhood fear of  riding horses.  As a kid, I didn't glow in confidence. I felt run down quite often and getting on top of an animal so strong and seemingly uncontrollable scared me. 
As an adult, I wanted to correct  my insecurities but I had to deal with my doubts that I lacked the will or commanding presence to ride the horse and get it to “listen” to me.  But I wanted to learn if I could, or at least what it took.  

On my first lesson, we didn't get on the horse.  Instead, we learned about them, how they responded to us, where their blind spots were.  Once we learned what their needs were, and how to control them, then we got to go for a ride.  Oh, and also, the teacher stressed we really needed to pay attention and be present.

Being present hasn't been easy for me. I've often escaped into being "elsewhere", not always interested and comfortable where I was. If I wanted to get on a horse, I didn't have that luxury of escapism. I had to pay attention or else I might find a tree branch in my face at best or being kicked onto my behind at worst. So I paid attention to what the teacher said as best as I could trying to hold back my anxieties.

I took a brief hiatus after my first lesson. (I got offered a contract job I felt I couldn't refuse). When I returned to the lessons, I got put into a class full of advanced students. This both intimidated me & inspired me. I knew I wasn't going to be as good as the other riders but I felt comfort that they knew what they were doing & they could help me. And they did. 

One of the woman I bonded with talked about riding as being her one Zen day amidst her hectic schedule.  Riding to her was meditation. This Zen feeling took awhile for me to figure out;  I was too busy hanging onto the horse, my back in knots.  However,  I did manage to figure out that staying in the saddle was not just a matter of thighs clenching the saddle but also the balance of the hips swaying back and forth.  It was a start from getting my thinking out of my head and into my body. 

Once I figured out that I had to both relax but also grip the saddle, I let go in my next horse ride. My teacher instructed that as the horse runs, its back flexes up and down so we had to follow that movement. (If we didn't go with the flow, then we would make the ride bumpy & uncomfortable). When it was my turn, I shut my mind off, responded to the horse’s movement, feeling a oneness with him.  My grip lessened on the reigns, holding just enough to guide my horse. Because I let go enough, the horse could feel free to run. I didn't fear falling off; I put trust in myself that I wouldn't. I remained present &  I could feel the true power & strength of the animal beneath me. Running this free was one of the most exhilarating feelings I’ve ever had.

As the lessons continued I learned this: At all times, I needed to keep my focus ahead of me.  I had to navigate the reigns and lead the horse or the horse would lead me -but not to tightly - if the reigns were held too tightly, the horse would try to break free. I could understand how the horse felt. Isn't that how humans react too? As a person, I like to feel free, and give others free reign. But in not wanting to be a person who seemed "bossy" I also didn't state what my needs were. Could there be a possible balance in life where you could state what you want, give direction to others but also help maintain freedom for myself and for them? I was learning I could.

Riding a horse is a balance act, like life is. And having a relationship with a horse is similar to any type of relationship. I had to learn what the horse responded to so I could get what I wanted - a fun ride. I'm still learning how to navigate life - where I need to give direction &; where I need to learn to let go. It's a work in progress; but what I got from my lesson is this: once I learned how to really ride, the ride took me places I've often wanted to go. This is the lesson I need to remember so I can keep on moving on!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Can You Feel What I Feel? - A Glimpse into Being an Empath

I’ve hinted around a few times on my blog that I’m “highly sensitive” or I get these “feelings”. What I truly meant was that I’m an Empath.  Yes an Empath – like the character, Counselor Deanna Troy, on Star Trek, the Next Generation.  I remember how excited I became when first watching that show and seeing her character because even though I knew she played a fictional character, the fact that it showed an Empath meant I wasn’t alone, and that there were others like me.  It may sound odd but that gave me great comfort because I didn't talk about my abilities or share them because I didn't know if anyone would truly understand. It took me years to unravel what my ability was much less share my skills with others. 

What is an Empath?  Empaths are people with heightened feeling capabilities. We feel and experience feelings more intensely than others.  That’s a general description.  Each Empath like any other person who has a talent manifests that talent in hers or his particular way.  What I can say about my ability is that I pick up on energy -  positive or negative - being emitted in the world. To me, feelings are energy vibrations and I can tune into that vibration. And with that ability to tune in, I can feel other people’s feelings, an animal’s feelings, as well as tune into the emotional vibration of a space.

I wasn’t always comfortable with this ability. For one, even though I knew I had this ability, I didn’t share it because I wasn’t sure if I’d be believed. But I had a sense with some people that they could pick up on it. In fact, I had one boss that recognized it and he at times would ask how he should approach a particular person because he could see that I could tune into that person and figure out the best approach with that individual.

Then there were others that didn’t believe me. Well, just one (* see note at bottom ) She fiercely contended that there was no way I could feel people’s feelings. Honestly, I had doubts that this person and I could be true friends and part of me sharing my ability was a test - a test she didn’t pass & I distanced myself from her after that. I did so because I didn’t want to hide who I truly was around people who couldn’t understand this kind of ability. After that, well, a long while after I licked my wound from that event clean, I started to become more open about my gift. And in doing so, I began to connect with more people who had empathic ability. Life seems to work that way.  

Recently, I’ve begun to open up more around people I’ve known awhile. And in that, any doubts I may have had about my own perceptions of my ability were nullified. “Yes, Jen”, they said, “We know. You really can feel people’s feelings.” And then I had to laugh and say, “Okay, really, it’s just not me that perceives it that way.”

I’ve been cultivating a new friendship and in getting to know a new friend I’ve wondered how much do I want to share with this person about my empath ability before she thinks I’m totally weird.  But she’s been very open-minded and delightfully curious about the whole thing.  Prior to meeting me, she’d never heard of an Empath. She knew of people being sensitive or intuitive but she never knew of the depth of the Empath ability. Because of her curiosity, while we were taking a walk, I rambled on about how I could feel people’s feelings and at times take on their energy.  With compassion she said it must be hard to feel other people’s pain. “Well, honestly,” I said “it’s hard but there are good things too, like, I wish you could feel what I feel when I feel the energy of trees.” Then I had to say to myself, “Did I really say that out loud? Did I really just confess that I feel my communication with trees?” “I know it’s weird,” I told her, “but I feel trees and honestly, the loving vibrations I feel from trees are probably some of the most awesome feelings I’ve experienced.”

Here’s the really amazing part, my friend totally believed me. And we continued to talk about what it’s like to communicate with trees. Then I finally switched topics and we talked about something else I’m sure - I think running shoes.

Last week my friend and I were hiking on a trail. I don’t know who spotted them first, but a glowing bush of gorgeous purple flowers shot off the trail. I bent down to the plant and told it how beautiful it was. As I sent out loving vibrations to the plant it responded (of course) with loving vibrations in return. “I felt that,” blurted my friend. “I felt that plant responding to you.” ‘YOU DID?!,” I yelped excitedly. I asked what it felt like. As she began to put together her thoughts I interjected how it felt to me and she said that wasn’t how she felt it. Then she described her reaction (not that I can remember now what she said) but her description felt far more accurate than the words I had put together.  And in hearing what she said, I knew, she really had felt it too.  

I don’t know if my friend will continue to feel plants or start feeling trees. I hope she will. I hope she’ll be able to feel what I feel because feeling matters. If you ask me if I like being an Empath what I can say is this: maybe I don’t always want to pick up things, and there are times where I am blocking what I receive and feel - but not always. Often, I do like feeling the connection, or know that I can connect in a way to the world that although it may be hard, it might be necessary. There’s a lot of feeling out there -  a lot that’s not said because some people don’t know how. And maybe there are people like me that have to feel those feelings and express them. I don’t know. All I know is what I feel and if I can help others connect in a deeper way to the world, then that’s all that matters.

* Note - I recently saw my friend who made the comment "You can't feel how other people feel". I haven't seen her in years and we reconnected at a mutual friend's party.  I had decided prior to the party that I would let her know if the subject came up about how her comment made me feel. We used to work together in the same field so when she and a couple of other work acquaintances asked me what I was up to, I honestly told them that I was pursuing being an Intuitive Healer. Being a radical change to what I used to do, the subject opened up to what an Intuitive Healer is and me being an empath. They all seemed interested and respectful of this new career path for me. Later in the evening I told my friend about the 1st time I told her and her reaction. Her response was, "well that was rude." I said, laughing, "Yea, I thought so but I also thought maybe you weren't ready to hear that about me." So she apologized and I accepted and I felt really good about the interaction. Feels good to be accepted by friends. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Soul Words that couldn't fit into the Twitter box

Some things pop into my head and I need to share. I usually Tweet them out to the Universal space but today's was too long and I didn't want to constrain my message. So here it goes:

I spent too many years seeking outside myself to understand my life’s direction. Truthfully, we chart our own course every day. We just need to tune into what we’re doing.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Love Lesson Learned

I’ve been doing a lot of mental clean up lately – the dirty kind of clean up of the thoughts that have filled me with shame. The ugly stuff I have had a hard accepting like the times I felt rejection and not being good enough. 

Today I thought about Dominick. Dominick: the handsome man from Ireland; Dominick the jerk; Dominick the player; Or in actual reality, the dude I projected my insecurities on when he didn’t follow up with our 3rd date.

I met Dominick at a friend’s party in San Francisco. We hit it off - probably too well off as I ended that night at his place. We walked on the beach the following morning sharing what we wanted out of life. He impressed me with his knowledge of Physics and Marine Biology.  I love a smart man. And to boot, I found him physically attractive.  This blend of a man hasn’t always been for me that easy to find.

We went out again. I took him to an oyster bar in Point Reyes. Things seemed to go well and I made it clear how much I liked him. And then he never called me for the third date.

“OH NO. What did I do?,” came my ruminations after no call from Dominick. Too pushy, aggressive, I blamed myself for being. I’m not the type to hold back when I know what I want. So I made my check list of all the things I did wrong to push him away. And I beat myself up. And I did this longer for any reasonable amount of time. After a time, his name came up in a conversation with an acquaintance by the name of Doreen. I doubted Doreen knew my relationship to him. She complained that all Dominick could talk about was his “GORGEOUS Brazilian girlfriend.” (Put a sneer with an Irish accent when you read gorgeous because that’s how Doreen emphasized it). My response was a light, “Oh that guy? He’s just a jerk.” “He IS a jerk,” agreed Doreen.  Then I had to laugh. He probably was a jerk, at least, in that context.

The next time I saw Dominick was at an Irish pub sitting with his GORGEOUS Brazilian girlfriend. They were just sitting, not even facing one another. Dominick had a searching look, maybe examining who was looking at him with his GORGEOUS Brazilian girlfriend. She looked around not seeming to know what to do with herself.  She had the low body fat that hit on my insecurities of “Well, maybe he was looking for someone thinner.” In truth, I didn’t know.  Whatever I made of his supposed rejection of me was my own problem, the problem I thought I had which I made up from insecurity that said, "I’m not perfect therefore I’m not loveable." YIKES! That is my ultimate dirty secret, my biggest insecurity – that if I’m not perfect, I can’t be loved. There I said it out loud, in a public forum and I didn't keel over and die. WHEW!

I’ve spent the last several  years trying to “fix myself” and beating myself when I haven’t reached what I thought I’d reach – that ultimate place of being untouchable; that magic place where no one could ever criticize me or bring me down & make me feel badly about myself. Because when you're perfect, no one can say anything badly about you right? I've carried that illusion for years, bubbling under the surface but not so close that I could pop it and see it for what it was - an unreal expectation. There is no real way to maintain perfection. We all get battered and bruised. And we learn. And in that, we actually become better people. This is the point of the lesson I've been missing out on. 

The other lesson in love that I'm focusing on is maintaining what I want and my needs. What do I want? I want someone who is kind, considerate, loving, compassionate, thoughtful, and most importantly respects me. But most importantly, I want to be that kind of person to myself. I have to treat myself the way I want to be treated so I know what that feels like to feel loved & accepted. We are what we project after all, and if I project self-love I will find the love I want in return. 

It's taken me awhile to figure out what's really broken in me. It's my ability to love myself as I am instead of what I think I should be. I am a person who has the capacity for great love. Most importantly though, it starts from within and radiates out, like the sun. As the light inside me grows steady and strong I know it cannot be diminished. It is eternal. That in my mind is the essence of true love.