Friday, November 09, 2007

Empathy

After years of horizontal head-shaking to the contrary, I have very recently begun to admit to myself that I have some rather amazing empathic abilities. I would say that these abilities border on a somewhat psychic dimension, though not fully. Well, not really. I have an aunt who is completely confident that this ability runs in the family. For example, she's the one who actually "sees dead people", whereas I can bump or brush against a person on the street and have a very vivid and precise image of who they are in a Monet-type of impressionistic way. Yes, I have seen/felt everything from child molestation to cancer in perfect strangers. The best way to describe this is a feeling that comes in the form of flashes. It's very curious. Sometimes a person's energy can literally take the wind out of me. In particular, I have been known to flee from closed spaces where an adverse energy throws me off balance. Elevators, parties, and buses seem to be my specialty.

Since my arrival back in the US five weeks ago, I have begun to add up the number of empathic flashes I've had. Oddly enough, all of them have been successful in tuning me in to situations that I'm fairly certain most people wouldn't think twice about. I don't think that I can claim to be psychic per se, as a matter of fact, I strongly dislike the description because it can be used so pejoratively. Nevertheless, whatever ability this is allows me to sense when an individual is lying, or when someone is attempting to hide their sadness or fears. I have a particular meter for just plan crazy sorts of folks, but I'm just really good at gauging the regular sort of disingenuous fluff or the usual pathologies associated with human ego.

In light of this, I've begun to process the past five months in a way that feels more spiritual than microscopic. Obviously, it takes a certain type of personality for a person of any spot or stripe to jump on a plane and land feet first in a war zone and somehow always manage to have a smile on her face. It causes me to wonder if the time I spent learning my two newest Semitic languages and living on the razor's edge of the human condition was preparation for this moment, or if I have been preparing all along? Here, I'm starting to ponder the lessons that I learned, in addition to the survival skills that it appears that I unconsciously honed in my baptism in the fiery Holy Land. Thus, I've begun to consider that this innate ability I seem to have for human empathy isn't such a scary thing after all. Without really being conscious of it, I've made an art out of being honest with myself about my "gut feelings", even when they seem almost surreal and difficult to stomach. I may flee from certain energies in the confines of trapped elevators or airless apartments, but I'm also the first person to always land successfully when there isn't a net in sight...

Still, I don't think I am psychic. It may just be that I'm really just damn lucky...

1 comment:

VJ said...

Empathy. Critical, essential stuff for good teachers & great teaching. Can't do it without it. (Well you can, but then you're ever so grateful to be relieved of this burden when you're kicked upstairs into administration).

But it's all right there, right? Right in the face, in the gestures, right out there for fleeting fractions of seconds for folks to pick up on. Sometimes that recognition leads to great empathy. Sometimes to great efforts at concealment & criminality. But it's a skill & a gift, to be used for good or ill. It also can be an annoyance too when hearing all too much 'inputs', where the rest of the world has been closed off to such for survival and even humanitarian impulses.

But it's interesting the way you describe it. All we can say is 'Go towards the light N!' Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'