Saturday, January 18, 2020

Book Nook: The Evolutionary Empath

As an empath herself, Stephanie Red Feather has experienced firsthand the challenges of being extremely sensitive to subtle energies and the emotions of others. She knows that it can be overwhelming and cause you to lose yourself and doubt who you are. With this guide for anyone who’s ever felt out of place because of their sensitivity, Red Feather offers advice on how to manage life’s difficulties as an empath as well as insight into how these qualities are vitally important to the future of humanity.

Affirming that being an empath is a real thing and you are not alone in your experience of the world, Red Feather offers practical exercises to help you understand, control, and fully manifest your gifts. She explains how to clear your energy field, stop energy leaks, and reclaim your sense of self. She warns of the pitfalls of being an empath, such as employing your gifts in unhealthy ways, and stresses the importance of embracing both the Divine Masculine, to create boundaries and safety, as well as the Divine Feminine, to practice radical self-care and live authentically from your own center.

With this hands-on guide, Red Feather provides empaths the tools they need to empower themselves and embrace their essential role in the next step of humanity’s evolution and ascension into the frequency of heart-centered consciousness.

You can learn more in this interview.

How do you define "evolutionary empath?"
I would like to address this question from two perspectives. First it's important to understand what an empath is before we get into the evolutionary component of the definition. The daily shorthand working definition is “a highly sensitive person,” but there's so much more than that to it. When I sat down to write this book my spirit guides gave me only one directive: create a definition. I actually spend two chapters in the book breaking down the definition and one of the aspects that I find summarizes a great deal of what it is to be an empath is what I call the five qualities of an empath. 
Those 5 qualities are: 
  1. The ability to merge with and absorb the energy of other beings (people, animals, or anything with life force), which stems from a very open personal energy field. 
  2. A highly sensitive nervous system. 
  3. Great sensitivity to the energies around us and an ability to perceive or access subtle information stored in the energy fields of all types of life-forms. 
  4. The premium we place on peace and harmony in relationships, our environment, and our own energy field. 
  5. Big, open hearts and a desire to serve others. 
When we add the term evolutionary to the definition of empath it requires us to back up our perspective into the highest level cosmic picture. There are over 30 ancient cultures around the world that have documented a grand cycle of time called The Great Year. In short this is a 24,000 year cycle during which humanity is ascending in consciousness for half of that time and descending in consciousness for the other half. You might be familiar with the Greek ages: Iron Age, Bronze Age, Silver age and Golden age. These are subsections of this 24,000 year cycle. Though not all ancient wisdom texts agree on precisely when we turned the corner, they pretty much all agree that humanity is now in a cycle of ascending consciousness and raising vibration. We are out of the Iron Age and into the Bronze Age. 
I believe that empaths are here because it is time for us once again. Empaths come on to the planet with refined sensitivities and slightly different energetic physiology. We are the way-showers, the new human blueprint. I like to think that we are where humanity is headed and that sometime in the future empath won't even be a thing because it will just be synonymous with human. 
In geologic time 100 or 200 years is the blink of an eye. Empaths who are here now and who have incarnated in the last couple of centuries are what I call the empathic big bang. There's a quote in the movie Moneyball that says, “The first guy through the wall always gets bloody.” We are a collection of courageous souls who chose at a soul level to come on to this planet with our particular set of sensitivities knowing that we would be the first ones through the wall, getting bloodied, hacking the path through the jungle to prepare the way for the ones coming up behind us.
Explain how people who are empaths can learn to manage their gifts.
The first step in learning to manage our gifts is to recognize that we are empaths. We cannot engage with something we do not consciously acknowledge. For practically every empath in the early part of our lives, we live from the unhealthy aspects of the five qualities I mentioned earlier. Only when we accept ourselves and our sensitivities can we shift from relating to these qualities as a liability to embracing them as gifts. 
The prescription to manage our gifts is not a simple 10-step process that applies to everyone. But I can almost universally say that we must learn to take responsibility for and manage our own energy fields as an initial step. Because it is so natural for us to blend and merge with other people, it is difficult for us to have a strong sense of self and stay centered in our own sovereign seat. It is challenging for us to figure out where we end and the next person begins. This can set us up for co-dependence, losing ourselves in relationship and having no sense of who we are.
Recognizing that we are all energetic beings is a critical step. One of my chapter titles says, “You and I are one, but we are not the same.” The concept this statement encapsulates is that life is different in spirit form. We don’t have the same need for boundaries as we do in human form, so being in a body can be very confounding when somewhere in our memory banks we remember what it’s like to be in spirit. In human form we are distinct and different from one another and this is perfectly OK and, in fact, very healthy and necessary for good self-care. 
I encourage people to create a relationship with their energetic container. This means getting to know where their edges are at any given moment, because it is a dynamic state. A person can then start to perceive details about their energetic container such as where might there be holes, or weakness, or inconsistencies. Once we have an idea of where our edges are then we can begin to look at what is actually inside our energetic field. If we are to be conscious responsible stewards of our own energy, then we are at choice about who and what we let into our field, and who and what we invite out of our field. A solid and consistent daily energy hygiene practice is a must for empaths.
Once we are well acquainted with our own energy field and the edges of our container, then we can start looking at our boundaries in terms of how they relate to other people. For most empaths we're not very good at saying no or asking for what we need. We tend to allow everybody into our field comma and because we pick up on everybody else is emotions and all of the energies around us, it is very easy for us to get overwhelmed and over stimulated. Which goes back to the need for a vigilant self-care practice. With these two skills under our belt - managing our own energy field and learning to draw boundaries - we are well on our way towards wielding our gifts in a healthy way. 

Why is empathy an important trait?
It is important to first distinguish the difference between what empathy is and what it means to be an empath. This may seem like picking nits, but we are creating new languaging for the experiences we are beginning to have as sensitive beings and these distinctions are important. A quick look-up on Wikipedia says empathy is defined as “the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another's position.” Empathy is a trait that most humans are able to dial up. To some degree or another we can all imagine ourselves in someone else’s shoes and look at life from their perspective. We call upon this ability as needed. This is empathy. 
However, being an empath is a way of being, something that we are 24/7. It is not something we can necessarily turn on and off. It is how we are wired. Our ability to feel the emotions of others, to pick up on the energies around us, goes beyond seeing things from the other persons perspective. Oftentimes we feel other peoples emotions and problems so acutely that we think they are our own because we have no other frame of reference. We have always felt everyone else's stuff. 
With that being said, a society cannot grow and evolve in consciousness without the ability to relate to one another, to see things from other people’s perspective, to feel compassion, and have a willingness to find common ground. This definitely requires empathy. 

How can people work on building empathy?
The easiest way for a person to access empathy is to refer to their own life experience as a way to build a bridge of understanding. For example, it may be hard for a son to understand why his mother can’t quit smoking. He did it with no problem. But maybe he doesn’t realize that his mother has an addictive personality and a chemical imbalance that makes nicotine affect her far greater than him. If he looks at his own life, however, maybe he struggles with losing weight and realizes that sugar is an addiction for him. If he can fully feel the impact that the sugar addiction has on his life and his ability to make dietary changes, this might make it easier for him to understand why it's hard for his mother to quit smoking period. 

The opposite end of the spectrum from possessing empathy is actually being a psychopath. Empathy lives on a spectrum and every one of us falls somewhere on the continuum. For those who wish to develop more empathy, there first has to be a desire to do so. If one is willing, then developing empathy is a journey that includes challenging yourself to step out of your comfort zone, examining your own biases and judgments, telling yourself the truth about your own painful life experiences, cultivating a sense of curiosity, and developing a “don't know mind.” 

About the Author: Rev. Stephanie Red Feather, Ph.D., is the founder and director of Blue Star Temple. An ordained shamanic minister, she holds a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and master’s and doctorate degrees in shamanic studies from Venus Rising University. She is also a mesa carrier in the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition of Peru, having studied with Don Oscar Miro-Quesada and his lineage since 2005. She lives near Kansas City, Missouri.

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