Dr. Judith Orloff’s The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People

If you are an empath, as twenty percent of the population is, you are not alone by any stretch of the imagination—even if you have felt that way for a long time. I am definitely an empath; my idea of hell is a super Walmart. In fact, I can’t even go into that store without needing a nap when I get home.

Judith Orloff’s newest book is a life-saving guide for those of us who live in this overly stimulating world as empaths. Not only that but she reaches out to the people in our world—friends, relatives,  partners—to help them help us function with power despite (or maybe even because of) our sensitivity.

What is the difference between having empathy and being an empath? “Having empathy means our heart goes out to another person in joy or pain,” says Dr. Judith Orloff. “But for empaths it goes much further. We actually feel others’ emotions, energy, and physical symptoms in our own bodies, without the usual defenses that most people have.” 

I loved Dr. Orloff’s idea that if we empaths don’t fit into this world, it’s because we’re here to create a better one. I wholeheartedly agree. The work that she has done to separate out types of empaths is hugely valuable. I took her assessment and am, for sure, a full-blown empath. By way of personal example, I’m an intuitive, telepathic empath. This is why going to a big store is so hard for me; I can sense in everyone I meet (unless I shut it down) what’s going on with them. It’s a total wipe-out.

The book is full of exercises, mantras, affirmations, and all sorts of helps for those of us who need to learn how to appreciate being empaths. There is also a companion audio program. This book is way more than a how-to-cope with living as an empath—it’s a primer and a bible for thriving as an empath.

Brava, Dr. Orloff. We’ve needed a book like this for a long, long time.

Eclipsing Fragments into Wholeness

Eclipse

This is eclipse season—all the astrologers I read are singing the eclipse song. Lunar eclipses do this, and solar eclipses do that. An eclipse in Aquarius means this; one in Leo means that.

Well, maybe.

For me, this eclipse season is turning out to be about major depth healing. Surprising healing. Healing I didn’t know I needed, and wasn’t exactly expecting.

A wise astrologer once told me that lunar eclipses encompass a whole month of emotions in one day. I feel like I’ve had months of emotions every day since the lunar eclipse on the 7th, and today’s only the 12th! (And our friend Mercury has gone retrograde today.) There are nine more days till the solar eclipse—which that same astrologer told me encompasses a whole year of living in a day.

So here’s what’s healing: a way of being a woman that I was taught when I was growing up in the 1960s.

Think on this: when I was in those formative years … father knew best, June Cleaver always wore ironed dresses (and never held an iron), and someone was cleaning her oven in a chiffon cocktail dress.  Annette Funicello always had a smile on her face, Elvis Presley was a bad, bad, bad boy, I was encouraged to let a smile be my umbrella, and the Beatles were an out-and-out scandal.

The subliminal message I received was that it was never, but never, appropriate to bring my whole self to anything or anyone—ever. Translated, I took that to mean that I was too much, too intense, too real, and so, the wiser option, which I took seriously to heart, was to fragment myself.

Fast forward to my sixtieth year (I’ll be 60 on my birthday in October), and eclipse season. I keep dreaming about parades. Parades of people I knew to whom I showed only a fragment of myself, and hence, have always wondered why our relationships were never more … full, rich, whole is the best word I’ve come up with.

Well, the insight of the one month of emotions was that I fragmented myself in order to be “accepted,” and learned almost automatically to show only pieces of me to others. Now, that’s not true with everyone I know, but it is true with most folks.

So, the parades keep coming, and I suspect they will until the solar eclipse on the 21st of August. And I keep integrating fragments of myself into the wholeness that is really me, and showing her to the whole world as often as I can—all the while feeling better and better about it!

Happy Eclipses to you!