I grew up knowing that I was somehow connected to nature and the spiritual realm. In fact, with the wonderful simplicity of a child's understanding, they were not two separate things, but parts of the whole. I recognised and experienced both 'good' and 'bad' aspects of each, and of human nature. I intuitively knew how to ground and protect myself within the world I was a part of, but there were people who hurt me, both physically and otherwise. As a young adult, I was at the same time innocent/naive and very much aware of the darkness that overwhelmed and controlled many people. I tried for years to shut out the 'stuff' that came from people without losing the connection to the rest of the world. At times I succeeded in turning it all down, which was very unsatisfying. Eventually, I learned to live with the onslaught of negative human emotion, thinking of it as the price I had to pay for the joy and awe that I was often able to find.
This precarious arrangement came to an abrupt end when my son died in a car accident at 24, 7 years ago. For 5 years, I was totally overcome with grief. Not just mine. The raw, debilitating grief of every mother who ever lost a child. The pain and anguish of every woman the world over, perhaps even in history, who has been given that most devastating news. I truly don't know how I survived. I didn't want to.
And then, 2 years ago, an amazing thing happened. I remembered. I remembered the knowledge that some of the things I feel are not mine. One night the word "empath" made its way into my brain, and (feeling like an idiot!) I googled it, expecting star trek references and such to be all I'd find. And here you all were! So many of you, all with a different story, a different path, to this awakening and joining together in support and celebration of what we are. I am so grateful to have found you. I am so thankful to have found myself.