#BlogBattles, Stories...

The Case Against Shielding… (#BlogBattles: Airtight)

(An excerpt from Diary of an Empath: Volume 5)

MAY 8, 2019:

Ever since I was a child, just beginning on this journey to become what I have always been, I have been told, and taught, to shield myself. A necessary skill for one such as I. So I was warned, and so I believed…

“You are Light and Love,” the Teachers would impart. “And all things twisted and dark will be drawn to you. You must learn to shield yourself, to protect yourself at all costs, for if you fail, the darkness will swallow you, and you will not want to be the monster you become!”

The monster you become… While other children hid from monsters in their rooms, in their closets, under their beds, I fought a constant battle against the monster who lived within. Always a threat. Always watching. And waiting. For a mistake. For a break. For a chance to be free…

Why would anyone say such things to a child of two or three? How can any child live under such constant threat, such persistent fear, and not seek refuge in insanity?

To be fair, though, I must admit such fear drove me on when all I wanted was to be left alone. And there seemed to be some truth to what was told to me. The world outside was full of malicious beings. There were Wraiths and Vampires, Demons and Deceivers, all seeking to weaken me. There were psychopaths and sociopaths, narcissists and victims, each trying to entrap me. All of them drawn to me. And I, being an empath, reaching for the wounded spaces within each and every one of them…

So yes, shielding was an important skill for a young empath to learn…

My favorite, of course, was the glass house. Surrounded on all sides by clear barriers that allowed me to see what was happening in the world, without letting any of that world actually touch me. At first it was permeable, allowing in breezes and scents and sounds. But in time I could no longer stomach the smell of smoke and death and decay in the dying world I witnessed. Nor could I sleep with the screams of the tortured, the sobs of the broken, the moans of the wounded, or the hopeless prayers of the forgotten. I shuddered at the gloating of the bullies, the boasting of the “winners,” the maniacal laughter of lost causes. So I closed off the shield, making it airtight and impenetrable…

And I was alone. At last. A mere witness to the suffering all around. For a time that suited me, providing a respite from the unrelenting pressures of life as an empath. For a while. And it was tempting to stay in there forever…

Until I remembered the monster who lived within…

He showed himself to me one day, a reflection in the glass surrounding me. A massive green head, horns tipped in gold, burning amber eyes intense and focused, staring straight into my soul. I was terrified! I turned to run, but there was nowhere to go, trapped as I was in my self-made prison. I shouted at the world outside, pounding on the glass walls to get their attention, crying and fighting, and begging to be saved! But my fear had made me strong, and my shield reflected that, and none outside that barrier even slowed down, blind and deaf to my suffering…

As I evolved, so did the shield, becoming more flexible, more fluid, like an aura surrounding me. At least it allowed me to move, to run, to hide more effectively. For now I could blend in with the masses, pretend to be whatever I needed to be. It let me interact with the others of this world. The darkness came and surrounded me, but it could not touch me. I felt safe. Finally…

Until the day Truth blindsided me. I woke up choking on my own hypocrisy. Such sweet irony, a bitter pill to swallow. For here I was, a fully trained adult empath, completely isolated from the world I chose to inhabit. I had been taught a hundred words each to describe anger, fear, sorrow and grief, but I could not feel any of them myself! I knew a dozen strategies for dealing with common points of suffering, yet I could not heal those I could not reach!

I heard the monster laugh within, a guttural sound of victory. For I had, indeed, become what I most feared and loathed: a relic from another time, a useless tool to be enshrined. I panicked, short of breath, suffocating in that airtight space. I struck out against all I had been taught, shattering that shield, and all the others that revealed themselves to me. Layer after layer fell away, until there was nothing left but me…

And the darkness rose and smothered me…

Who knows how much time passed as I stumbled through that forsaken world, baffled by its twisted logic, gagging on its corruption, chafing against its injustices, paralyzed by its suffering? It was a nightmare; no longer a question of theory and practice, but an endless flight through a labyrinth of pointlessness, with walls ever closing in on me. And a new form of airlessness engulfed me, making it impossible to breathe…

But the beast within retreated, content to watch and mark my progress…

And I emerged. Eventually. Tripping into that center space, cloud covered but light at least. I lay there on that dewy grass, exhausted, and simply breathed… And peace settled over me.

*** *** ***

Today I met a man who seemed so perfectly normal. Quirky and fun and self-aware. Until someone asked him a question he couldn’t answer, a question about what he wanted. And I watched him freeze, begin to stutter, ’til panic stole his voice completely. I heard him gasping like an asthmatic, knowing how his throat was closing. I felt his heart racing, my own reaching to sync with his. I reached out to touch him, his whole body trembling against my fingertips…

And I understood exactly where he was. Trapped within his own airtight shield, made strong by deeply held fear. Anxiety. Crippling, unreasoning, and suffocating…

“Breathe,” I whispered soothingly. “Just breathe…”

(1042 words)

Written for #BlogBattles: Airtight


Poetry, Reflections

These are the reasons…

When I stop to question why I bother to survive

in a world hell-bent on destruction and dying

I realize…

I don’t have to travel far

to see the smiles or feel the scars

to ride the highs of excitement and joy

or wallow in the depths of disappointment and sorrow.

For all around me are excuses to be

whatever we want or expect to become:

the rich, the poor, the sickly and well

the humble, the prideful, the angry and lustful.

And whether or not I agree with their choices

I acknowledge their right to choose.


Looking into the “eyes” that surround me

wherever the place, whatever the time

I accept

These are the reasons for all of the seasons

Life to be lived without rhyme or reason.


Bursting Bubbles…

There is a post I recently read that touched me. Deeply. I don’t know why, or how, other than the fact that the topic has been on my mind a lot of late. I’ve reread it multiple times, and still can not form a “proper” response to it. But in contemplating it, my mind has wandered down many seemingly unrelated paths. This post attempts to document that meandering journey, while the link that follows credits the impetus for taking it:


*** *** ***

I had a dream the other day, after reading this post on healing. In it I possessed (was given or found) a piece of Ocean Jasper. It is a variety of jasper I’d never even heard of, which I noted in my dream, but it was beautiful; greens and blues and whites, with bubbles everywhere, both actual and bisected (like little bullseyes all around). I was so mesmerized by this stone that I immediately looked it up upon wakening to see if it was a real thing. Turns out it is…

So, off to the gem show I went this weekend (luckily there was a gem and mineral show in town this weekend), daughter and grandkids in tow. I spoke to a vendor about Ocean Jasper, and he knew exactly what I was looking for. He told me it was hard to come by these days, and becoming rarer, as the mines in Madagascar are pretty much tapped out. But he had a chunk at home he could cut for me, and only $75-80 for a decent sized cabochen. I don’t have that kind of disposable income. Disappointed, I took his card anyway, in case by some unforeseen miracle, an extra $100 dropped into my life one day… And off we went to enjoy the rest of the show…

We saw hundreds of rocks. We “ooo’d” and “ahhh’d” over many of them. We looked for samples to add to my grandson’s collection. He learned to sluice, gathering some small, unusual bits he’d “earned.” We talked about taking a trip to Herkimer, about mining our own, and spoke to a knowledgable and patient vendor about the process. My daughter developed an unusual attraction to jasper, being drawn to its many varieties wherever we went; apparently there are many (MANY!) varieties of jasper. As the day drew to a close and the announcements began the final countdown, we visited one last vendor to let the kids choose a stone they felt most attracted to.

After going 3/4 of the way around an immense display of hundreds of varieties of stones, my daughter softly called my name. And there it sat, in a tiny basket with two other stones that looked nothing like it, label almost obscured: Ocean Jasper. Not just any ocean jasper, but THE ocean jasper, straight out of my dream. $5 later I left with a pocket full of dreams. Literally!

*** *** ***

I have been trying to “heal” my self, to become whole and healthy once more. I know it is possible, I believe it is necessary. Not that I should not suffer physical discomforts as all of us must, but because there is something else in that process to “prove.” I don’t know what that is, because I haven’t yet succeeded in accomplishing it. But I am driven to continue trying.

I understand the words used when others describe the process. I “get” the logic (both rational and intuitive) behind it. “It” all makes perfect sense to me…

But still I do not heal. In fact, I seem to be getting worse rather than better. And I do not understand why?! That part does not make sense to me. I am clearly missing something, some vital link, and I cannot determine what it is!

*** *** ***

I have a few sites I visit on the internet fairly regularly. Some are news sites, though I visit them less and less frequently these days as I begin to more fully embrace the “head in the sand” form of reality awareness. Many are blogs or sites where personal and spiritual evolution are discussed or promoted. I go there looking for inspiration, ideas, anything that can spur me forward on my journey.

But lately I find I cannot access those sites. I still get emails from them, every day, but when I click on the email, it doesn’t load. If I try to circumvent the email and go directly to the site itself, it doesn’t load. Hmm…

I thought at first it was my phone, until I realized it was only certain things that wouldn’t work. Then I thought maybe it was the individual sites themselves. I briefly considered a conspiracy-censorship tale, until it occurred to me that the sites were so random and often unrelated (including my own workplace blogs/groups in which I am an administrator!) that were now unavailable to me. In fact, the only thing these sites share in common is that I look to them for insight and direction. And the fact that they all present as blank white screens…

Leaving me feeling lost and adrift, unsure of where or how to anchor myself…

*** *** ***

I had a dream today in which my grandson and I were imagining things together. Suddenly he showed me what we had created, and it was an actual physical object! I was shocked, holding this small stone item he had manifested from our conversation. I thought to comment how it was smaller than I had imagined, but otherwise perfect in detail…

He immediately apologized (for the sizing “error”), and began a new series of “what if we…” remarks to try to “fix” his mistake. To which I could only respond:

“Nonononono… Stop! I wasn’t complaining, I was only surprised. It’s perfect just the way it is! Do you have any idea how amazing this is? How amazing you are?! You created this! Out of our dreams and imaginings. You made it real!”

And then I woke up, still holding the small stone deciphering cube he had created in my memory. Every edge smooth but well defined, a complex collection of smaller cubes combined to form an impossible 3-D structure, all composed of different varieties of jasper…

And a deep sadness to waken fully and discover my hands held nothing but memories of dreams…

*** *** ***

Election day is next week. Yes, I am going to vote, even if I am convinced the act is likely futile. I will go to my polling place. I will express my displeasure with the current government by not voting for anyone running on the Republican ticket. But I don’t yet know who I will vote for.

I am caught in that familiar tug of war between conventional wisdom and my own conscience. Because conventional wisdom says I need to throw my tiny weight behind the Democrats, supporting the two party system, even if I believe the Democrats (individually or as a collective party) are every bit as dirty and corrupt as the Republicans; any other vote dilutes the resistance to the Republicans. If I vote my conscience, if I actually vote for someone, rather than against someone, then I wind up supporting the candidate I definitely don’t want to win. But if I don’t vote my conscience then I wind up voting a blind party line, for a party I don’t even belong to, much less agree with, an act I swore I’d never do. And worse, I continue to feed the two party only machine, making further inroads by independent or 3rd party candidates even more difficult.

So yes, I will vote next Tuesday. But no, I have no idea for whom. And I probably won’t know until after I’ve walked into that booth and seen what I chose to do…

*** *** ***

And I suddenly remember my daughter asking me what the Ocean Jasper does, metaphysically speaking. I don’t really know, it being a stone I’d never heard of before that dream. But my initial research seems to indicate it has two primary functions: to increase empathy (opening channels between self and others) and to promote healing. When I told her this, she laughed out loud…

“Do you really need a stone to increase your empathy?!,” she asked in all sincerity.

To which I could only respond, “I know, right?! It seems counter-intuitive as I’m already drowning in it these days. But the healing… Well, that I could definitely use!”

*** *** ***

And as I write these words tonight, holding tightly to that stone, I sense it rising up behind me, threatening to engulf me totally. I “see” my self standing on the shore, back to the ocean, as a huge wave approaches; translucent blues and greens shimmering in the moonlight, white-tipped foam beginning to furl, full of bubbles… I stand there, rigid and aware, but unable or unwilling to move, anticipating the full weight of this wave crashing down upon me, driving the breath from my lungs, tossing me mercilessly about, helpless and vulnerable against the sheer force of so much water in motion…

Bubbles bursting like “the bombs in air”…


Permission to Cry…

So often we are told, from youth through adulthood, to “suck it up!” To “deal with it!” To “feel it and move on…” And I get that. I get why that needs to happen. We cannot live our lives, meet our responsibilities, or accomplish our goals if we indulge too frequently in moments of unproductive emotional excess.

But sometimes…

Sometimes, I think, we need that time to express that pent-up emotional excess. And for me, today is that day.

There is nothing specifically “wrong” today (that hasn’t been wrong every other day this week). There is nothing unusual about the pain, the sorrow, the grief, the disappointment, the regret… There is no ebbing or deepening of the waves of loneliness, hatred (toward self or others), injustice, or suffering washing over me from countless others coexisting in this world.

In simple terms, today is just another day…

But as the cold rain spills down outside, as I contemplate another seemingly endless day of discomfort followed by a night too short on pleasant dreams, I hear these words echoing softly in my brain:

“You can cry. It’s ok. If you need permission, consider it granted. Cry at will. Indulge your tears. All will be waiting for you when you are done, exactly as it was before you started…”


If any of you are also feeling this need, please consider this post as your permission to cry as well…

Poetry, Reflections, Visions

“Say My Name…”

A voice whispers nearby, though I cannot see its source

it speaks my name…

And there is love in every syllable

embracing shadow, light and shame…

And suddenly I’m not alone anymore

on this journey I have chosen…

I am not judged, for triumph or failure,

only acknowledged for my wholeness…

And there is peace beyond measurement

in that act of remembrance…

rectification, validation and atonement…

in the silence that once spoke my name.

Out of sight, but never out of mind

just say my name, and I will come…


Poetry, Reflections

“A Body Without Boundaries…”

A body without boundaries

an existence without end

bleeding through and exploring

a variety of dimensions.

Meditation leads to dozing

and dozing to dreams;

dreams roll over again

into conscious reality.

But there is little to distinguish

these separate states of Being

other than the transitions

time spent in between…

Where Change is

the only noticeable Constant

the movement, the action

passive seeming dynamic.

Reaching out to Others

merging and blending

influence wrought not through force

but adapting.

And suddenly I know

why the walls were so solid

the ego so strong

the identity so crucial:

for Water without boundaries

is a much muted force

no strength to blast obstacles

and so easily absorbed.

Soaking in unobtrusively

embracing, becoming

One experiencing An’Other

defining Entanglement.

Until no boundary exists

empathy in its truest sense

with only a tingling and a feeling

in the transitions between.

Is this then the goal?

To be vague like a ghost?

Misty mornings, and rings around moons

shapeshifting clouds in midsummer blues?

No limits, no forms

no lofty hopes;

just being, in this moment

nebula adrift in the cosmos…?