<![CDATA[Inquiry: A Portal to the Heart - Blog]]>Mon, 19 Jun 2017 13:38:57 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Fun, empathy & pseudo- humans?]]>Mon, 19 Jun 2017 20:00:00 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/fun-empathy-pseudo-humans
by Keith Davenport www.flickr.com/photos/sirwiseowl/
When was the last time you had a lot of fun either by yourself or with others?

Which was most fun, with others or by yourself?

There is no right or wrong answer.  But, life without fun, is too serious, boring and sad. 

Fun is a need....

Fun helps us human beings meet a need for balance in a world that is hectic and sometimes chaotic.

PictureBy Alla Qunhua www.flickr.com/photos/alia_qunhua/
It seems to me that 'fun and play' get pushed aside by engaging more of our time in things that do not make us feel alive, yet, sustain our existence.  To keep a roof over our heads and to eat we must work sometimes even when our work is not in alignment with our values, talents and visions.  Doing this almost guarantees illness as we join a world of pseudo-humans.  
What do I mean by pseudo-humans? 

Psedo-humans meaning we look human and function like humans but the aliveness of being a human is missing.  

Merely meeting basic needs doesn't make us empathic or caring humans. 

As human beings we have needs that are flowing through us all the time and when they are met, we feel all kinds of positive feelings or aliveness.

If we disconnect from our feelings, we disconnect from our life force.  

Usually when we see children whose needs are being met, we see children who are actively engaged in their imagination and in having fun.  They are full of energy because their needs or life itself is flowing freely. 

Therefore, fun is a need that is innate to human beings.  We are wired for joy and for making life more wonderful for ourselves as well as for others. 

Without enough fun and play we stop caring about ourselves and eventually about others. 

In today's world, fun must be scheduled in.  Have you prioritized play time?

When I was a child I missed out on playing, but, I chose to do what I felt called to do at the time. There have been times when having fun didn't see to come naturally as I grew out of the habit of being a child.  

No childhood is perfect.  No parent is perfect. No human being is perfect. Life is not meant to be perfect.  That would be boring and I would not learn to be a more loving and kind person. 

Without fun and play as human I lose touch with my ability to empathize. Without fun life becomes about producing and about goal accomplishment rather than cooperating and enjoying life as is.  Without play life is one challenge after another.  Play lightens life and allows me to enjoy my existence.  Fun and play are as much a part of childhood as of adulthood.  

Empathy can begin in the playground of childhood and continues in the school yard of life. 

What do you think does fun and play help empathy emerge?
By Marie Leslie www.flickr.com/photos/marierleslie/
<![CDATA[Love said.., it shows..?]]>Thu, 16 Mar 2017 16:08:44 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/love-said-it-showsPictureby Keith Davenport http://www.flickr.com/photos/sirwiseowl/
Love said

everything is me.

I am the music that you hear.

I lead you in dance.

I seek you as much as you seek me.

I am the scent that allures you.

I am the softness that caresses you.

I am the certainty you desire.

I am the doubt that can haunt you.

I am the strength that ripples through you.

I may seem weak, but, I am unstoppable and undestructible.

I am gentle and sensitive.

I am intriguingly secure.

Love said, I am -all there is.

Pictureby Viclyn Slade http://www.flickr.com/photos/viclynnslade/
You doubt that I am Love?

Love said, I fill you and empty you.

I am the very air you breathe.

I am the water within that flows endlessly.

I am ecstatic fire burning ardently.

I am the ground you are carried by.

I am the space that is infinite.

I am within and without.

Look up, I am there.

Look down, I am there.

Look left and right, I am there.

I am everywhere. 

Love said to me, I am all there is. 

Pictureby Julie Gibbons http://www.flickr.com/photos/organikal/
Love said

I am your sanctuary.

I am your wings.

I am your stillness.

I am your beauty.

I am invisible and yet so seen. 

I am your voice.

I am you.

Do you feel me?

Feel me emerge from deep within, kiss you, and explode?

Love said, here I am in every yes!

I am all there is. 

Pictureby bravelittlebird http://www.flickr.com/photos/48407218@N07/
Love said

I am ecstatic touch.

I am bliss.

I am boundless.

I am freedom.

I am the reason to be and not be.  I effortlessly do just by being. 
I am the reason you cry and you laugh.

I am new and familiar. 

I am all there is, Love said.

You want me as much as I want you.

Here I am, say yes!

I am all there is, said Love.

I want you to experience more of me. 

Intensely love and show you how I feel.

Love said it has so much to show me.

I said to Love, show me Love's way and grace. 

I am your endless need. 

I give unceasingly without question.

So I said to Love, show me how to love more. 

Love is showing me!
by BK Symphony of Love http://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/
<![CDATA[Ambitious Love?]]>Tue, 07 Mar 2017 22:20:38 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/ambitious-lovePictureby Lollie Dot Com http://www.flickr.com/photos/lolliedotcom/
Affairs with...

seductive secrecy?

Break trust? 

Shatter notions of integrity.

Precious trust broken. 

Let down...

Unrecognizable to self?

Affairs are not ambitious Love. 

..do not believe identity is found in another. 
..do not believe some are inclined to stray.

..cannot believe in the fervor of careless desires, like some entitlement 
that is our birthright.

Instead, believe in the impulse to wander, to explore, for adventure.

Lose myself in another? 

if only one could truly find oneself there. 

Love is not a destination. 

Love's ambition surpasses desire?!

Pictureby Alessandro Pautasso http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaneda99/
Treacherous desire.

Seeking the gaze of another...

Turning away from the person we have become?

Alluring power of the forbidden. 

Voracious lust ?

Desire seeks but never satisfies....

Incompleteness and ambiguity keeps it alive like a machine...

Affairs are not about sex....

It is about feeling alive!

They are about self-discovery, growth, and healing. 

Be bold. 
Be wild. 

Imagine your desire exposed...

Pictureby Jlhopgood http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlhopgood/
No status quo to uphold.

Exposing the affair, loses its shaming grip. 

A new kind of truth emerges. 

An affair with self. 

No more secrets that bind. 

Ambition that is not deceptive.  As deception is never freeing. 

Freedom is wild responsibility. 

Love's ambition is being the best version of myself. 

Love's ambition is never careless with anyone's heart. 

Ambition to love wildly...?

Here and now....

...I am Love's ambition. 

<![CDATA[Pleasure of purging pain?]]>Mon, 27 Feb 2017 20:13:28 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/pleasure-of-purging-painPictureby Toko http://www.flickr.com/photos/tokovoom/
Can pain turn into pleasure?
If so, when does pain turn into pleasure?

Some pain is purging; is this the pleasure we seek and confuse?

Pleasure too can turn into pain.

Like wanting a lover who no longer wants us. 

Many times I became discouraged by the extent of my emotional pain.  It seemed to have no end and my tears were never purging enough.  What was it going to take to purge me of pain?

Now, I can see that my aversion or resistance to pain, was not allowing the wisdom of my heart's healing capacity.  

I also had mixed feelings about trusting the Universe. 

What I discovered was that in moments when the pain seem almost unbearable, I felt the benevolence of the Universe even amidst my sorrow or anguish.  

Moments of intense pain can make us believers of the Universe's limitless kindness and grace. 

What is certain is that pain needs to be felt, without analyzing, evaluating or intellectual understanding.  

Pictureby Rant 73 http://www.flickr.com/photos/125321218@N07/
But, I ran from pain as if it were threatening monster.  Yet, I did not run toward pleasure either. 

My trauma had made me pain averse but prone to guilt when I experienced pleasure. 

Trauma impacts our brain.  The brain releases opioids to decrease pain and increase pleasure.  

Pain and pleasure steer us but are not ultimate destinations.  

For when they become destinations, they become sources of 'suffering.' 

Pain invites us into the moment and to heal. 
Like when we cut our finger while cooking, we attend to the cut/pain. We are brought into focus on caring for the wound.  Only with emotional pain, the instinct to attend to the pain didn't steer me to engage in healing.  Was it counterintuitive?   I don't know.  

Certainly, I was not some masochist and I knew enough not to be pathologically addicted to pain. 

It took me some time to realize the strength of surrendering to pain.

What I know is that there is pleasure in purging pain.   

From my pain emerged compassion.

Through surrender to my deep hurt, compassion and empathy purged me. 

Surrender means being raw, messy, scared, humbled, defeated, unresistant to the flow of emotion and tears.  Those tears carry sound of a deep and core wound.  Tears from the soul purge and free us of 'suffering.' 

When we are hurting, surrender allows the grace and wisdom of a Loving Universe to hold us tenderly. My heart's remedy was unconditional loving space.  

Pictureby Jessica Wilson http://www.flickr.com/photos/jek-a-go-go/
Pain is not the same as suffering. 
Pain increases presence and resilience. 
Pain is transcended through empathy.

We can become better human beings because of pain.  

In a world of duality, pain is woven into our experiences of pleasure.  Experiences by nature are transient, yet, our potential to learn, grow and appreciate are constant. 

Therefore, pain has value in our lives as humans.  

It is because of pain that we can value happiness. 

But, happiness is never aversion or attachment to something that brings pleasure or reduces pain.  Happiness to me is being able to embrace and let go over and over and over.  

Pain and pleasure are experiences we embrace and inevitably release. 

Power comes not in giving into pleasure nor in minimizing pain, but, in surrendering to the experiences of pain and pleasure.  

Have you experienced the sweet and bold surrender to the grace and benevolence of your being?  Like fire that needs air?

by Quotes Everlasting http://www.flickr.com/photos/quoteseverlasting/
<![CDATA[Expensive rejection?]]>Mon, 20 Feb 2017 23:33:08 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/expensive-rejectionPictureby Fernando Silveira http://www.flickr.com/photos/fernandosilveira/
Fear is the cheapest room of our house?

It may be a room in our own home (self) but it is not cozy, peaceful, or truly happy. 

I say fear (in all its forms) is the most expensive prison cell. This prison cell has a window and a mirror.  

It is the most expensive cell because the cost is high for maintenance and the sentence seems to be life without parole.  

The window is there showing us possibilities.  The window shows us how others are free, their lives may not be perfect, but, they are living with more choices than we seem to have.  

The reality is that this expensive prison cell even if it is unfair imprisonment has become our very cramped yet comfortable space. The window is there but sometimes we are too comfortable to even look out.  Looking out reminds us of all that we once either had or had hoped for. 

The possibility of freedom is scary.  In the expensive prison cell we seem powerless, because we do not have to be responsible. 

Freedom is terrifying.  There are many more options with freedom.  

Options mean choices and decisions about what we really want.  If we get what we want, it means touching the depth of despair.  Despair and sorrow emerge over the true fear.  The real fear is believing we are unworthy. 

Pictureby all aboutcars19 http://www.flickr.com/photos/30555345@N05/
The possibility of getting what we want is the true fear.  

If we get what we want, then we have to feel the pain of not believing we are worthy of having our desires.  If we don't get what we want, it confirms our belief in our unworthiness. 

Rather than go through the pain of unworthiness, we look away from the window.  Why escape through the window, we would get caught, right? 

We believe we can prevent rejection, but, that is false control or power.

We hand over our freedom to authorities of our own making.  We give up responsibility for our life.  It is too painful to see what we've done to be where we are and to forgive what's been done to us.  In this high cost prison no one else gets hurt, so long as we are locked up.

The only adversaries are the prison guards, the shadows and ghosts of our past.  These adversaries are the mirror if we are willing to look.  

The benevolence of the Universe reaches this compact prison cell.  

These adversaries are there to help us look within at those aspects that we rather not admit live within us.  These aspects are disowned behaviors within us that we judge harshly in others.  We cannot see that these aspects are our shadow which is neither good nor bad.  

Sometimes we also get visits from those who reflect our pure nature, but, we cannot believe they see anything good in us. 

Pictureby Alan Levine http://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/
Our shadow scares us, but, if we could recognize that it is not threatening, healing would speed up.  

The healing doesn't have to be all work and no play. We can dance with our shadow.

Once, I was a prisoner of all my disowned parts or shadow. 

For instance, I didn't like being resentful.  I would throw my hands up in the air, metaphorically giving up.  I often told myself that with all the years of counseling and at my age, I should have made more strides.  More inner work seemed like too much when I had already "suffered" and struggled enough. Thinking like that ensured I remained in the comfort of my cell prison.

It was until I was willing to embrace where I was and feel the pain that life didn't seem like a struggle or unbearable. 

Embracing where I am is setting myself free without changing anything. 

Embracing what is, is a space of non-resistance.  I may have been lost but I was never incapable of finding my way. 

Pictureby couldbe/robert dolan http://www.flickr.com/photos/robert-dolan/
The reality of the fear of rejection is that it, is fear of unworthiness.  

The truth is that we are scared of getting what we want.  Getting what we want means being responsible for what comes into our lives.  

True freedom is being responsible for our lives.  

The beauty of life is the continual encounter with all that we need to melt into the grace and power of the Universe within and all around us.      

I'm working on finding full-time work that will allow me to take more responsibility for my life.  For now, I am grateful for all that has been, what is, and what is to be. 

What I know is that peace emerged once I began to love, that which I loathed, disliked, feared and couldn't even look at -out of shame.   

Do you dare look in the mirror and escape through the windows of your expensive fears?

by BBM Quotes http://www.flickr.com/photos/142195798@N08/

<![CDATA[Love a Felt Art ?]]>Tue, 14 Feb 2017 20:12:29 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/love-a-felt-artPictureby Judite B http://www.flickr.com/photos/cards/

my body through my skin

feeling what it is like to be

be in my body. 

My body inspired to touch...

Touch the infinite.

Infinite wisdom stretches me. 

Stretched beyond reason....

Reason cannot know what I am.

I am unreasonable....

I am love's unreasonable manifestation.

A body of love that moves and stills me.

Still, I expand...

Fade into the ether....

Through her I experience my humanness.

She is fragile and yet so resilient.

She holds me delicately like I hold a small flower in my hands. 

She is my faithful companion.

She carries me and reminds me of where I come from....

Pictureby Tobylyn Marjeta http://www.flickr.com/photos/26227586@N05/
Come from above and below....

Soar beyond her yet...

grounded in her.

She makes me visible.  

Visible to care for.

She is mine to care for like precious art. 

Caring for her is my sweet labor of love. 

Her well-being is my happiness. 

Caring for her makes her visibly vibrant. 

Thanks to her, I can be seen, heard, felt...

Pictureby Racheal Anilyse http://www.flickr.com/photos/rachealanilyse/
Thanks to her, I feel connected.

Connected to what is seeing and hearing me.

Connected to the Witness of my passion.

Passionate fire of love. 

Love's fire painted on my skin.

My skin asking to be touched. 

She my borrowed art. 

Art that needs to be touched. 

Feeling from the inside out. 

Pure touch that lasts beyond the moment. 

An art of being in the body but not attached to it. 

She is felt art. 

For she is Love's creation. 

Love's Art is felt.

<![CDATA[Kinesthetic connection?]]>Tue, 07 Feb 2017 18:52:03 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/kinesthetic-connectionPictureby Boudicca http://www.flickr.com/photos/boudiccaamat/

In the echoless sacred dance floor...

In the spaciousness of openness...


Invited to be witnessed...

Seen and heard...

Nothing to achieve, to confess, and nothing to prove.

Moving spontaneously or restlessly immobile, or somewhere in between.

There we meet-- space and a me? 

Darkness and Light?

Meet as we are on the dance floor of life.

The kinesthetic connection that is ever present. 

Pictureby Prairie Kitten http://www.flickr.com/photos/prairiekittin/
I dance to my inner music.

My dance is an expression of what has been and where I am.

Sometimes my dance is a series of movements in the direction of where I see myself headed. 

What is certain is that she exists.

She stretches me, she is my body.
She is alive.  

I move in place or across the dance floor, being stretched by Her. 

Life she gestures me to move...  

If I resist, she feels it and aches.  If I flow with Her, she is a master of divine lessons.  She graces me with loving experiences that are forever mine.

She is alive in every move and in every breath. 

She feels me.  She has my back.  I shed tears of tenderness for all the less than gentle moves or choices.... She is unconditionally there. 

Pictureby laura grafie http://www.flickr.com/photos/45878539@N08/
The kinesthetic connection....

Moving, stretching, unwinding the spaces within that hold stories, memories and dreams.

In each move, there is so much expressed.

She expresses her prayers....

Silent prayers moved through her. 

Felt, heard and seen? 

She is seen as she prays. 

She is felt in touchless moves.

She is heard in wordless moves.

Pictureby Robin Norgren http://www.flickr.com/photos/wellofcreations/
Beauty in saying nothing.

Beauty in feeling with or without touch.

Beauty in hearing without lips moving. 

True beauty in connecting. 

By hearing, seeing and feeling through the heart, there is connection.

No value to prove. 

Just being witnessed by Her.

Others witnessing me.

Being witnessed, oh so vulnerable.

Vulnerable, in my humanness.

So alike and yet so unique. 

Intimate dance of getting to know oneself through fellow dancers.  

Connecting to the deepest unheard, unseen and unfelt spaces within.

A kinesthetic connection that is always available if I can imagine moving, she will not only meet me but caress me. 

Have you experienced the kinesthetic connection of moving your body and Life moving you? 

Connection by being seen in our own eyes, the eyes of others and being heard by our ears and those of others.

Do you see and hear by feeling with the most precious and brave part of us, our hearts?

<![CDATA[Self-confidence or enslaved by cult of appearances?]]>Mon, 30 Jan 2017 20:23:26 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/self-confidence-or-enslaved-by-cult-of-appearancesPictureby Andreas Steinkogler http://www.flickr.com/photos/andreassteinkogler/
What is your self-confidence built on? 

Are you part of the cult of appearances? 

What happens when external circumstances and inner fears confront our sense of self-esteem? 

As I said in my last post, self-esteem is over-rated in our western culture society.  Believing in ourselves is healthy, but what if it comes at a cost to others?  

I see "self-esteem"  as often built on promotion of one's image that tends to be artificial and even fragile.    

When my self-esteem depended mostly on what I did for work and how I was perceived, my mood fluctuated.  External circumstances can change and did change.  

The truth is that what I do...can build my self-confidence, but, it can never give or take from my humanity or what I am.  

What matters at any given moment is how I am being in the world.  

And how others perceive me will always vary.  Taking in others perceptions of me is not wise because those perceptions are not necessarily objective truth. 

Pictureby Amy http://www.flickr.com/photos/jirsy/
The outer world can be unobjective and filled with many phony messages such as: "get the most out of life, you deserve it."  

The messages focus on images of achievement, success and fun that emphasize individualism and de-emphasize concern for others, or altruism. 

These messages and images are interwoven in our social-cultural world thanks to publicity and media. 

Like cults they brain wash us to believe what self-confidence and success look like and how to achieve it.  But, I am not what I wear, how much I have in my bank account, drive or don't drive...!

Outer appearances are just that, they do not necessarily speak of our heart and soul.  Confidence with an over-emphasis on self-esteem weakens our ability to empathize and bond socially.
Being focused on appearances, isn't vulnerable so we cannot truly connect at the heart.  Overtime, the cult of appearances erodes our natural strength and inclination toward concern for others well-being or altruism and ultimately our happiness.

In my experience authentic self-confidence is born out of balance with self and develops from humility. 

Humility is knowing we are imperfect and have our own limitations as human beings. That allows us to be more supportive and forgiving of ourselves and others.  

When our self-esteem is too high, we expect more of ourselves and can be more aggressive in pursuit of achieving goals and success.  If we are aggressive with ourselves, we won't be gentle with others and that is unkind. 

I've been told I am quite humble and my thought is, what is there for me not to be humble about?  

If I achieve success by most standards, it will be because others helped me along the way.  I believe I will remember vividly the challenges that forged the foundation of any of my achievements.  

Pictureby BK Symphony of Love http://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/
So far what I know is that being confident does not mean I do not have inner fears.  

My inner fears allow me to be vulnerable with myself and to grow through kind bravery.  

Kindness allows me to be more easy-going about what is challenging for me and smile when I "goof."     

I rather confront my inner fears with courage and compassion than to live as if "I'm so- together" that I no longer think I have anything to learn or forget to be a kind human being. 

It makes my life more simple to go anywhere as I am without pretenses knowing that there is substance to me.  I do my best to honor what is alive in me while respecting what is alive and true in others.  

Our humanity rests on the caring altruism of our being, more than on any outer achievements or accomplishments.  Perhaps it is when we are most humbled that unexpected success begins to brew. 

The foundation of self-confidence may be different on your journey as our journeys are unique.  

What is common to all human beings is that we are fallible and all began as bundles of love.  Imagine if we could just honor that vulnerability and purity in everyone.  

Are you aware of the images or appearances that are important to you that add or diminish to your self-esteem? 

What inner fears keep you humble or enslaved to a cult of appearances?

Can you show up as you are, without a need to uphold images or appearances?
by Brett Jordan http://www.flickr.com/photos/x1brett/
<![CDATA[Self-compassion when self-esteem fails?]]>Mon, 23 Jan 2017 22:42:59 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/self-compassion-when-self-esteem-failsPictureby Bernadean Giles http://www.flickr.com/photos/bgflickr-articlewritercom/
Self-esteem is never enough in the face of abuse or trauma?

Why is that?

The tragic consequences of the absence of love are pretty obvious in the world we live in. 

We see homeless, hungry, mentally and emotionally unstable humans, violence on streets, etc. 

Suffering abuse or trauma leaves us prone to self-destructive behaviors and/or violence against others.  

Most of us have or will face some abuse or trauma that leave us feeling stripped of our humanity.  

Specifically, trauma and abuse leave an internalized sense of shame that needs the presence of kindness. 

If you have followed my blog since its inception you will know that I used to feel shame.  What I know and understand now is that the invalidation of feelings and needs in my childhood along with trauma left me feeling ashamed for having needs.  Parents and caregivers who are unable to face their own shame, transfer it and create shame-based generations of humans. 

Compassion regenerates us.  

Altruistic love is at the core of compassion.  It is inherently part of what we are. 

Pictureby TraumaAndDissociation http://www.flickr.com/photos/traumaanddissociation/
I've come a long way from the downward spiral of shame.  My own self- kindness has been the gentle and understanding healing balm.  

When we are too hard on ourselves, self-critical, self-hating, &/or judgmental our self-esteem tools will fails us.  

No human can consistently offer us "serene acceptance," like we can.  

It used to be so hard to offer myself acceptance for my deep anger when it was a part of my disowned shame.  That is when others loving presence was a restorative experience.  It reminded me that I too could do that for myself.  

Self-compassion is the altruistic love that regenerates us.  It is the vital presence that lessens harsh self-criticism, self-hate, and self-judgment when self-esteem falls short.  

Self-esteem is over-rated in our society and often fails us.  

1. Self-esteem fails us because it is not truly based on unconditional love.  Few of us experienced unconditional love in our childhood because we live in an uncivilized world.  An uncivilized world is violent, corrupt, and inhumane.  A civilized world would be taking care of all sentient beings.      

2. Self-esteem fails because the voice and image of shame have been internalized, disowned and therefore unhealed.  

3. Self-esteem fails because it doesn't hold a balanced awareness of our experience without ignoring or exaggerating our pain and our strengths.  This lack of mindfulness makes self-esteem miss the recognition of our common humanity by emphasizing 'me and my above we and ours.'  

While our humanity can never really be taken from us.  As humans we are challenged to remain compassionate and wise when we face the tragic consequences of lovelessness.

We all experience lovelessness during the course of our lives.  The beauty of our humanity is to respond from our core altruistic nature when needed either for ourselves or our fellow brothers and sisters.  

We are humanized by care, affection, kind presence and warm touch.  Let us be kind to ourselves, so we can be that for others.  

The strength of LOVE and it's absence is at the heart of humanity's healing. 

Imagine now how your tender kindness can replace any less than loving self- talk, shoulds or judgments that leave you feeling depressed, enraged, or less than human.  This is a security zone within you. 

Imagine replacing healthy self-esteem techniques with kind compassionate understanding when you are distressed.  This is striking the core of any shame and trauma with human presence and warmth. 

Can you identify or increase awareness of any voices and images of shame you've disowned that lurk from unresolved trauma or abuse?

Warm and kind waves of LOVE to all.  
<![CDATA[Empathy's downfall and whose business..?]]>Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:31:25 GMThttp://monicaespinozaonline.com/blog/empathys-downfall-and-whose-businessPictureby Vincent Brown http://www.flickr.com/photos/vintuitive/
Are boundaries enough to prevent empathic fatigue?

The beauty of humanity is caring so much that there is no question of acting in service of life.     

But, sometimes the boundaries we set to self-care or decrease fatigue from caring are walls that prevent us from both receiving and giving care. 

Like empathy, compassion isn't about fixing.  Compassion is a loving presence that humanizes us. 

In my experience, sometimes our own trauma causes us to resonate so much with another's distress that we cannot be there for them even when our nature is to care.  

Too much resonance with another or our own distress is empathy's downfall.  Too much resonance traps us.  Too much empathic resonance prevents the free flow of love. 

What is interesting to discover and learn for ourselves is how empathy and compassion feel and what these experiences do for us.  

Compassion and empathy are felt experiences.  The beauty of being held in the the loving presence of one who is offering compassion without words is powerful.  

As an empath without strong inner boundaries, I used to experience fatigue.  Empathic fatigue causes burnout and while developing better boundaries is helpful, it is not necessarily enough to prevent fatigue or burnout.  

What I've learned through experience is that Love is restorative and fuels us like no other super pill.  It is why there are stories of persons who heroically did what we as humans think nearly impossible.  Our caring or altruistic nature make us divine. 

Love is a tireless energy.  

That energy of Love is powerful and fuels our desire to care in compassionate and empathic ways without burning out.  

It is the difference between holding my loved one in distress or feeling powerless to change what is distressing them.  While I may not be able to change circumstances I can still be a loving presence that supports without crumbling within. 

Love is our authentic power and it is unlike any other power we seek to have over others. 

In my experience it is power-lessness over something be it a person or situation that can fuel distress.  

Pictureby dee_dee_creamer http://www.flickr.com/photos/79510655@N08/
Distress is resistance to what is, has been or might be.

Distress causes us to miss out on life. The good news is that it is right in front of us to dance with. 

So, the moment I can bring my attention to the emotion (the body sensation caused by my thoughts), I begin to engage what is alive in me.  The distress begins to lessen as it is in the presence of my own compassion. But, the moment I resonate too much with the emotion, I am swept by empathy's downfall and lose strength/power. 

So, while empathy is healing it can also be a source of pain or distress.  

A wonderfully humbling reminder that there are moments in all our lives when we cannot will things to change nor have the power, authority or ability to control what is.  Some things are just not within our territory of influence. 

What comes to mind is Byron Katie's The Work.  As she says there are three kinds of business: mine, yours and God's.  She says that if we are mentally hurting we are out of our business.  

As Byron Katie puts it: 

Whose business is it if an earthquake happens? God’s business.

Whose business is it if your neighbor down the street has an ugly lawn? Your neighbor’s business.

Whose business is it if you are angry at your neighbor down the street because he has an ugly lawn? Your business.

There is definite strength in what Byron Katie refers to as "loving what is."   That is a liberating way to live and be in the world.  Although, sometimes it seems challenging, it is much tougher resisting what is through our thoughts and feelings. 

I know this to be true as my happiest moments are when I am disengaged from internal power -struggles with what is.   

There can be no power-struggle whether internal or external when I understand my needs.  Being in touch with my feelings and needs is self-empathy.  Getting to the unmet needs is what is healing. 

Love helps us understand moment by moment our needs so we can also be present to understand others needs.    

So,  when we feel fatigue or caught in distress, we can remember that we have either gone into territory that is not ours, or over-resonated with our own or another's distress.  

While setting boundaries is loving, expressing them without compassion only causes disconnection with ourselves and others.  We all have a choice whether to meet our own or others needs.  

What restores our strength is Love.  Love fuels our body to take baby steps and even leaps of faith.  

Outward changes come about from steady inner progress.  

We are all on a unique journey although needs are common to all humanity.

Are you clear in this moment about what you need and how to receive it?

by Amy http://www.flickr.com/photos/jirsy/