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the journey of an empath
Photography by helen dixon

the journey of an empath

by heather trappler heather trappler
Live Healthy | Personal Story

At a young age, I felt it all. As a teen, parties and malls were not places where I felt comfortable. In college, many of my courses were designed to open up the participant. Flushed with anxiety, I would run to the bathroom covered in sweat.

As a working adult, I orchestrated the finite details and built relationships on communication and trust during events.  On the night of the events, I would stand on the sidelines, fine tuning the evening from afar.  Many other bumps, excavations and journeys happened during those years, all culminating in this time in my life of better understanding.

I once heard empaths described as beings who walk this earth without having insulation around the wires of their nervous system. Imagine feeling what others feel, and imagine feeling these things and not knowing whether these are your own feelings or the feelings of others. Empaths are often mislabeled. We are the sensitive ones, the ones who roam from social circle to social circle. We require solitude to recharge, and often we are not drawn to large crowds of people and social settings.

I have coping mechanisms that help me cope with my sensitivities. When I know that I will be attending a social gathering, I make a plan. I either take my own car, or I decide that 2-3 hours is my maximum and I check in with my energy level at those times to make sure I am okay. If I feel tired, depleted, erratic, light headed, or off in any way it is time to say goodbye. Thankfully, this really doesn’t happen anymore, since having tools of self-care in place have been enough.

When I begin my yoga practice, I am usually cross legged and, rather than having my hands on my knees in a receiving gesture, I place my hands palms down on my knees to ground me at the beginning of the class. Setting an intention of being rooted to the earth and being grounded is essential for empaths.

I have resumed an Ayurvedic practice that has sustained me lately. This practice involves oiling the body. I warm some organic sesame oil and massage my body after bathing to coat and protect my skin and the nervous system.  It is like walking around with a nourishing protective layer, and the benefits are too many to mention.

Lastly, and with immense gratitude, empaths have recently become part of a dialogue in books and discussions. I have a much greater understanding and deep love for my “sensitivities.” As I reflect over my own life, I see that I have always been the person that friends and strangers come to when they want to share their lives and stories. I have been told that I am very open, and that I seem to understand their challenges. That is the path of the Empath, one who feels others’ emotions.


Heather Trappler gratefully provides Intuitive Counseling in Los Angeles, CA - [email protected]