One knows that if she touches a hot burner, she will get burned. I have learned the same to be true when exposing myself to certain people or events. If I don’t filter my awareness and connections, I feel the consequences for days. My skin mimics an adhesive fabric. Other’s energy, positive and negative, cling to me. This is both a blessing and a curse.
Nothing explains this better than my relationship with the media. Especially lately. On the local scene, we have had two separate stories of children being murdered. On the larger screen, there have been lives taken, possibly without justifiable cause, and a constant flow of stories covering the “exciting” rape culture we live in. I see the headlines, and then I have to make a conscious decision to look the other way. It’s not out of ignorance or a lack of concern for the world we live in, but in respect to my personal being. Like the burn left on one’s finger after barely touching the hot stove, if my eyes linger on these stories, I’m left with a broken spirit that I am not always capable of mending.
I have to use my gift of empathy wisely. Allowing too much grief in or giving to much of myself to others is equivalent to an addict ingesting one too many pills. It can leave me unresponsive or afloat in chaos. If I don’t remain anchored to the ground, my bare feet connected to the dirt, I get lost. I become unfamiliar to even myself. For introverted and highly sensitive people, learning to give of themselves but also having the ability to hold on to enough of their own energy is an art.
I recharge in stillness. I need solitude like I need air. Without it, I suffocate. Turning inward is what allows me to process and expel the energy that is constantly built up inside me. Even knowing what I need, it is never easy to obtain as a mother to two small children and a present partner to my husband. Finding that balance feels elusive at times. But I know I have to ask those around me to give me what I need or we all suffer. If I don’t put the mask on first, how will I be strong enough to keep my family safe, happy and healthy.
It’s more than “needing a break”. Quiet and time without distraction has medicinal effects for me. “Me time” is a length of time where the TV is off, I am alone, social media is not within arms length and I sit with myself. Most of the time I write. Sometimes with intention but a lot of times I try to write without purpose. Letting unobstructed thoughts pour out of my fingers is like searching through a treasure chest. Some finds are golden, some are just fillers. It usually leads me somewhere eventually, but I don’t always understand it at the time.
I am at my freest state of mind when I am outdoors. While most people hike in the woods they tend to look up and out at their beautiful surroundings. My eyes tend to gaze towards the ground. Towards the roots I am navigating over. The connectivety of these viens center me. They are reminders that nothing is without some sort of connection to something else. I’m drawn to trees that jut and twist, that seem to grow in spite of natural form. As I have. Some stand at the foot of the ocean and gasp at the greatness of it all. I relish in watching small waves run in to each other, forming larger, more massive collections of water–rising taller and building strength. I see the ocean as the parts that make it a whole.
I truly feel like I am in a sweet spot in life. It’s sometimes difficult to remember that this is the good stuff because it isn’t always easy. But it’s what matters. Figuring out who we are and how to cultivate our lives built on our God given strengths is our purpose. This past year has been incredibly transformative for me. I’ve learned more about myself than ever before. I’ve become less afraid of looking inward and the rewards have left me gratefully grounded. Now is my time to take what I have come to know for sure and just let life lead.