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Trust in Us

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TRUST IN US
~
i’m not afraid of you
take me inside
show me all of your fragments
and see how the light will dance
through your seams when you shine it through
hear how the heart song sings its loudest when it’s finely tuned
and know how just when the end of your rope is met with shaking hands
does the earth reach to meet your feet
despite how ungrounding love’s fall may seem
know that miracles only come from thin air
so take my hand and leap
trust in us
trust in me
and maybe this time
we won’t come down

On Teeth

On Teeth
~
Teeth.
For such a small fraction of our being they sure get a lot of our attention.
If only we gave the rest of ourselves as much care.
When was the last time you dedicated two minutes to clearing out the foreign junk that’s collected in your head?
Or took a pause to polish off the smudge of another’s hands on your heart?
Every morning? probably not.
Everyone and her mother shells out 5k to tweak and polish and strap those pearly ducks in a row.
Hours and dollars and aching agreement that in a mere 18 months we will be a professional and desirable podium, amplifying the twisted language we haven’t invested so much to arrange.
But then again, isn’t it strange,
That one glance at my crooked grin might bar a mate from knowing the very thoughts and heart’s tender space I’ve decided more worthy of my cultivation?
That I may never have the place to offer an explanation of all the winding paths and joyful glasses of Cabernet that have come to stain these faithful soldiers of mine?
This smile is proudly worn and beaten, standing guard.
Serving a larger purpose than a pretty presentation.
Man the gate.
Release my word with thoughtful regard.
Hold my tongue when my spite gets the best of me.
These I deem worthy of celebration more than just a tidy smile.
So while I’m giving my deck its morning scrub, I will tug on my heart’s strings to remind her that she is alive and well.
And I will name ten beautiful things more worthy of ten minutes than fixing these teeth of mine.
Because I believe
It’s the art within the frame
That is truly worth smiling about.

When You Fall in Love

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WHEN YOU FALL IN LOVE 
~
when you fall in love
it will be as a
symphony of wildflowers
some unfolding
one by one
while others spring alive
as soon as the sun
kisses their lips
 ~
when you fall in love
it will be as a
river sings its rhythm
sad-songed and sweet
like bourbon swilled
in crystalline
a current of courage
a movement unseen
 ~
when you fall in love
it will be as the
earth—unbreakable
knowing season
after sunrise
after storm
another day born
another day
 ~
you are that symphony
you are that blues man
sitting on the stool
in a sunlight spotlight
knowing when the
moment’s right
all to do is
let go and
let your heart
sing you through
~
because
when you fall in love
all the world will fall quiet
to hear you

Bullshit an Intuit

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BULLSHIT AN INTUIT

you can’t bullshit an intuit

she sees the desire in your smile

hears the truth in your sugar-coated lies

feels the ripple of your mood in a room

her ears ring when you’re only thinking of her

the corners of your mouth say more

than a dictionary of words, and she is fluent

a mortal translator turning your

stuttering slur into poetry

will you even pause to hear it?

she may tell your story before you do

you see, this woman feels you—knows you

she will bask in the glow of your love

or storm the gates of your iron will

so when you turn to reach

for the familiar deceit

retreat, quit

she’s an intuit

Home Is

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HOME IS
if home is where the heart is
i’ve found mine in many places
i’ve left a nest in
iron skylines
redwood rainforests
lovers from campbell to canaan
home is where i am
but also where i want to be
in a cluster of stars i swear i’ve seen
and in the damp sweet soil mother gave me
is my heart shattered and scattered?
or rather expanded,
encompassing hours of
ruffage and road?
perhaps home is not a place
but rather a state
beyond the surveyor’s tape
beyond the postmarked letters
or white picket gate
home is in knowing
our fate is in the hand
or rather foot-drawn map
of every step before
and even more
each to come
home is here
wherever we stand
welcome

Listen Here



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LISTEN HERE
my body
is my most sacred instrument
i will make love with her
make some kind of magic
make that sweet music
strum my ribs like tender strings
spread my limbs like angel wings
raise my voice to sing
my truth like a melody
’til life takes its last from me
no one can silence me
hold me back or keep me still
i refuse to gather dust
on the shelf of my bedroom
because someone else
never learned how to play me right
so if you’re ready
hold tight and listen here
i will take you as my student
teach you ’bout appreciation
of a woman
of a human
of the heart’s enduring beat
how to make ends meet
on sweet love
spare change
and common sense
for it always adds up
when you learn to count your blessings
and let me tell you
i am worth my weight in gold
,

The Paradox of the Extroverted Empath


~
I have a pretty clear image of the “classic empath” in my mind.

She’s shy and sensitive and loves nothing more than curling up with a good book, a cup of tea, and a pair of socks she probably knit herself. She’s a gentle soul, deeply in touch with her emotions and sensitive to the feelings and experiences of those around her. She cherishes her solitude and the lucky few she trusts enough to love.

It’s a pretty picture—but it’s not that simple for everyone.

For those unfamiliar with the term “empath,” it’s a character structure built upon empathy for other beings. There are many other terms to describe this experience—including HSP, intuitive, “giver,” and more. Many consider it a gift, but also a challenge to navigate in our high-pressure, high-stimuli world.

Empaths have a few identifying characteristics including:

Hypersensitivity to people’s emotions, noises, stress, and stimuli of all kinds.

Emotional absorbency—taking on others’ feelings as their own.

Strong intuition or “gut feelings” about people and situations.

Loving and needing alone time.

Through all the pieces I’ve read and personal conversations I’ve shared, these qualities seem relatively undisputed, but one in particular I just cannot resonate with—introversion.

As sensitive and spongy as I am, I’m also (and have always been) a die-hard extrovert.

I thrive in relationship with others and need a boost of human interaction to keep my energy up during the day. I can’t help but feel an unending love for people. The truth is, when I spend extended periods alone, I actually feel heavy and drained—the exact way most empaths express their experience after too much socializing.

This is the paradox of being an extroverted empath:

We need human connection to thrive, but still feel drained after spending time with people.

We can relate deeply and personally to many people at once.

We feel a great sense of purpose from understanding other people’s experiences.

We need our alone time, but don’t always want to take it.

This is a highly challenging place to be in, but it’s the truth I’ve been trying to balance my entire life. Frankly, not all the “empath survival guides” out there speak to this experience and the unique needs of the extroverted sector of this community.

I’d like to change that.

How do we take care of ourselves as outgoing, extroverted sensitives in this life?

Here are a few practices that have proven helpful to me:

1. Breathe.

Some sort of personal breathwork practice is imperative to staying in balance. As an empath—especially an extroverted one—we are exposed to the emotional dispositions of many. So familiarizing ourselves with the feeling of our own bodies, feelings, and energy allows us to recognize when we’re holding something that isn’t ours.

I have benefitted from basic Buddhist meditation, self-reiki, and chakra balancingpractices, but the options are limitless. Find one that works for you!

2. Ground and center.

Carrying other people’s emotional energy leads to feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and ungrounded. Once we recognize we’re feeling this way, re-centering our awareness back to ourselves and getting grounded expands our capacity to hold space for others without sacrificing our own well-being.

Grounding is as simple as sitting in meditation and bringing awareness to our tailbone being supported by the Earth, or the simple sensation of our feet on the floor. We can also get grounded by spending time in nature, noticing all the sights, sounds, and smells around us. In terms of centering, I like to just close my eyes and take a few deep breaths into my heart and belly—visualizing all my scattered thoughts and emotions drawing back to me.

3. Let go of what isn’t ours.

Extroverted empaths are drawn to engage with many kinds of people, and naturally absorb thoughts and feelings that aren’t ours. For example, that sudden feeling of anxiety was actually our mother’s, that grief was our colleague’s, or that flood of love was our best friend’s. Whether or not the feeling is pleasant isn’t important—only that it’s not ours.

When we choose to regularly engage socially, it’s even more important to check in with ourselves and make sure that what we’re feeling is actually our own. Pause frequently and take a big sigh out to release anything that isn’t yours to hold.

4. Seek out smaller groups.

I’ve found that smaller, simple interactions are enough to fill me up with the human connection I need to thrive. We don’t have to be the fluttering social butterfly at a 50-person party every weekend to feel connected—in fact, more intimate personal relationships often generate the fulfillment we’re looking for more effectively anyway.

Have dinner with a few close friends, or meet one-on-one with someone to share a creative project. When I do find myself in spaces with many people—like a concert, party, or bar—it helps to have an “anchor person” who I know and trust to check in with if things start to feel intense or overstimulating.

5. Take breaks.

We have to be willing to take breaks alone to recharge—even if it’s for an hour or two—to avoid emotional burn-out. This has been a lifesaving lesson for me. If I want to be social after work, I’ll go home to make dinner, lay down, listen to music, or read solo for a little while before reconnecting with people again.

Meditation, or even a five-minute walk, is an incredibly effective means to do this when we don’t have time to take a full break. Finding (or creating) small windows in the day to reconnect with ourselves ultimately allows us to keep up the energy to support our extroverted nature.

6. Be alone in the presence of others.

Many of my favorite “me-time” activities involve taking myself out to enjoy things I love in public spaces where I don’t know anyone. Extroverted empaths can’t help but engage on a deep, emotional level with people we know, and this takes energy, but complete solitude can be equally draining. Solo time in public is the “Middle Way.”

I love to take my laptop to a coffee shop and write, or take a book of poetry to a bistro and enjoy a nice glass of wine. Others may like to hang out at the beach, hit the rock climbing gym, or maybe peruse an art museum. Enjoy the company of the strangers without directly engaging with them.

These are just a few practices I have found allow me to fully express my social, people-loving nature while maintaining my sense of balance and energy as an empath in this world. Are there any other extroverted empaths out there? I’d love to hear how other tips for embracing the paradox that we are.

In Soul, Danielle

(This post was originally published on Elephant Journal)

Human Heart

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HUMAN HEART
~
as a human being
with a human heart
i will never hold back its breaking
so when love arrives as mine for the taking
you better believe I’ll say yes
to the risk of the fall
to losing it all
every time
before i opt out in favor of safety’s illusion
it’s never my heart who knows confusion
it’s my head who’s mixed up
and it’s pretty fucked up
that I once considered love less than first
so let me say that here, today
this human being
with this human heart
is saying yes
to you

Give Me Roots

Your Love is All

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YOUR LOVE IS ALL
~
my love for you

brims with such immensity

heart spills over heels

for all living things

every creature with a soul

i’ve come to know

holds a speck of star

who at one time found home

as a freckle on your cheek

or a fiber in your bones

to love you is to love

every thought

every being

every day

everything

love is all

and in my fall

i’ve found it true

in you