ON BEING AN EMPATH AND USING METAPHOR FOR GROUNDING
I am an empath – someone who can sense and feel, very intuitively, what another person is feeling. This superpower may have come from a childhood trauma, one that rewired my brain to seek out dangerous, damaged people quickly and keep them in my sights. Or it may just be the way I was born. It’s one of my qualities that makes me an excellent actor and storyteller.
One of the ways I channel this as an actor is to ingest feelings, trauma, excitement, joy, overwhelm – all the feelings – then express them through character on stage or on film. There is an input and output in equal measure, the process of metabolizing the feeling and expressing it physically changes it, changes me, purges the feeling and leaves me spent, exhausted and eventually renewed.
It’s transformative and when I am doing a show, it requires all my focus and energy. I have to be very mindful of how I conserve my energy, mental, emotional and physical, so I can make it on stage and give it my all in those 2 hours.
Being an empath is one of my great offers as a coach as well, but I have had to learn to do it differently than performing. When I first started out as a coach, I used it the way I knew, whatever the client was experiencing became my input. However, I had no output, which meant I soon became bloated and overcome with too much feeling, too much of other people’s emotional currency, and it sat in my body, my mind, lingering with nowhere to go.
I had to adapt. This just wasn’t working. This is where Metaphor comes in.
Metaphor plays a huge part in my work, it’s something that I find illuminating, a parallel, a metamorphosis that reveals deeper truths, and can ground me.
I played around with a few metaphors for this particular problem and landed on this one:
When we work together, I will hold a metaphorical basket between us. You’ll put all your grief, emotion, stories, heartache, joy, laughter into it.
Then we will look at it together.
Slowly, with focus and purpose, we will separate the wheat from the chaff, so you can move forward with your learnings, your memories, your joy, leaving what no longer serves behind.
When we work together, we will explore what metaphors work for you too. You'll find that grounding, that deeper layer of meaning and understanding, and the healing that comes with.