A Ritual for Empaths & Healers after a National Tragedy
another school shooting, another attack on immigrants, another attack on women's rights. for better or for worse, i have never been the kind of person to be able to turn off the news or keep myself in the dark about current events. instead, I let myself get caught in the churning whirlpool of frustration, suffering, and anger as I click through headline after headline. I read through the statements of parents, friends, and other loved ones about how they suffer from another person's actions. as I read through, I let dismal bitterness seep into my every pore and by the end of this self-induced suffering, I am just worn out, upset, and in no position to actually act in my capacity as a healer.
a hard truth I've had to swallow is that feeling other people's emotions doesn't heal them. spoiler alert: it only makes you exhausted and upset. maybe I'm late to the party on realizing that, but whether you are a healer or just an empathetic person you need to be able to take care of yourself and your abilities.
this is a lesson that my reiki master has reminded me of. you can still stay up to date by getting snippets of news and your empathetic abilities can be informative, but at the end of the day your health and energy has to come first. as the pinterest quote goes: you can't pour from an empty cup.
I have created this ritual as a means to help you process a tragic event appropriately and act in your capacity as a healer or empath, but sans the emotional gymnastics routine.
as a note, depending on your identity these national events and issues can affect your everyday life and/or your safety. this meditation is a tool that you can draw upon if you need to re-orient, take a breath, and figure out what you can do. in some cases, this meditation may not be sufficient in coping and processing with how you feel. your physical safety is always the number one priority and you should act according to your situation. furthermore, this meditation may not be able to provide the full extent of emotional and psychological support you need; in this event you are encouraged to seek professional services such as a therapist or counselor.
this ritual is best done at home where you can put on some comfy clothes and maybe wrap yourself in a blanket while sitting on the couch or just where you can be in a space that's quiet and calming for you. that being said, if you need to do it at work or on your commute, you can do it sans any props or materials.
there are no materials required, but think about what tools create comfort or act as an anchor in your practice. some ideas include lighting a candle, using a heart-chakra based stone such as rose quartz or a grounding stone such as black tourmaline or obsidian, and if smoke cleansing is in your practice you may choose to incorporate at the beginning and end of this ritual. if you are attuned in reiki, you may use the symbol for clearing the space where you want to do this ritual or even take a moment to perform some reiki on yourself before, during, or after.
you may also find journaling to be beneficial during or after some of these exercises.
Drop into your body. Deep inhale. Deep exhale. Repeat. Take a moment to extricate your thoughts from the story web I’m sure you’ve weaved between what you’ve read and all your emotions. Come back to your space, your body. focus on what is yours. feeling the surface of your chair hold you and support you. what is the texture, the sensation of your breath feel like today? How does the air smell and what does it feel like? where are you holding tension in your body? focus on those areas and take a deep inhale, and on your exhale give yourself permission to release that stress. if you are Called to use crystals, cup your rose quartz in your hand and hold it against your heart and black tourmaline against your root chakra. on your inhale focus on the frenetic energy around your head and thoughts and on the exhale, think about dragging that energy through your body all the way to your tailbone, letting that energy create a root all the way into the chair you're sitting in. keep drawing this energy through your body until you feel calmer and more grounded.
Assess your role. Take a moment to recognize all of the work you do for others in your daily life. What have you done recently to help those in need? Recognize that you likely already take steps to help ease the pain and suffering of people on a daily basis. Whether you have offered a listening ear to someone in pain or have just had an uplifting chat with someone recently, these are all ways you are contributing to people’s well-being and happiness. Don’t undermine your own work and recognize the lightwork you do. if you like to journal, write down any acts of service or support you've performed in the past few weeks for loved ones and strangers.
What can you do? Embrace your limitations as a singular person and look at what you can do. For tragedies such as school shootings, you can use your vote to help exact change. Similarly, you can collect your thoughts and write or call your representatives or even use a service like resistbot to contact them. Otherwise, perhaps there’s a fund you can donate to or you can offer long distance healing if that's available to you. use your intuition to decide what action is appropriate and in the interest of your higher self, as in it will not drain you. Do what you need to do to help, but recognize that you have limits of time and energy just like everyone else.
Ground & Protect. as you meditate, start imagining a golden cloak or chrysalis completely surrounding you in a comforting, protective light. once you feel fully shrouded and cloaked in this protection, open your eyes, take a deep breath, and reenter the present moment. you can supplement this meditation by spending time outside, walking barefoot in the grass, or working in the garden. try to turn off the radio in your car for the day and keep the tv off.
I would recommend making the latter part of this meditation a daily ritual. before you get out of bed or when you're moving through your morning routine, take a few seconds to put on that protective cloak, chrysalis, or what have you before you move out into the world. this way, you won't be so wide open to these kinds of accidental psychic spirals and in general it is important to protect yourself from the seeking energies of others.
if you journaled during this exercise, perhaps you can craft a mantra or prayer that will help bring you back to this place of calm you crafted for yourself.
remember that this ritual comes after making sure you have taken the steps you need to in order to keep yourself physically safe given what the circumstance may be. also, you may not have the privilege to be able to completely remove or disconnect yourself from these events, but this is a way to create the opportunity to detach at least from the whirlpool of anxiety and suffering and to make clear boundaries around what you can do and control versus what you cannot. in this moment, you can decide if you can attend a protest, write or call your representatives, etc. while also preserving your health, well-being, and stamina so that you will have the energy to take action in each of these events.
otherwise, recognize taking time for these kinds of rituals are an important act of self-care, particularly if you are a healer, an empath, or highly-sensitive.
as always, share this with your friends and feel free to email me your experiences or any questions you have!