I haven't spoken about my empathic abilities for some time, I now live a life better suited to my sensitive nature and I understand when to rest and when to venture out into the world.
I knew that this weekend was one of rest. I've spent 2-days in London meeting with clients and judging a packaging awards and met with friends and colleagues from my career in packaging.
I knew it would be days of "extreme extroversion", a wave of kisses and chats and non-stop talking, of noise and of people and emotions all around me. But I was prepared, I was well rested and I enjoyed my time surrounded by friends and colleagues knowing I could come home to rest.
This weekend is also the time of my periods, so again, I know I need rest.
The first evening back I struggled to sleep, that vibration, that hum that resonates through the capital was still vibrating through every cell of my body. I should have had a salt bath, but my train had been delayed so it was late getting back and it took me time to settle. But I knew a weekend of rest would heal me again.
But something happened this weekend which I felt I needed to share, not just for the fellow empaths but those who are not. To help you to understand...
If I wrote this in a fairy tale people would think it fantastical but I wanted to describe what being an extreme empath is like, or as Christiane Northrup, who's featured in this months magazine, calls us "Old -Soul Empaths".
I struggle to put up my guard when I'm tired and when I'm on my periods. I tend to hunker down at home and rest. Putting up protection all the time is tiring. I wanted a bacon sandwich for breakfast, so wandered down to my local supermarket with my husband. It's an independent place, really quirky and very friendly.
I was looking at the baps in the bread section, my husband had gone back to get a basket, and the old man next to me started to chat.
"You look like the sort of woman who could bake your own" he said and we had a chat about how his mom had baked his bread for him as a child and how he'd eat it so hot he'd burn his tongue and upset his stomach.
Where I live to have such random conversations is normal.
Then my husband returned, we talked a bit more about bread and joked about the fact that my husband was more likely to make bread than me, and then the man very suddenly looked sad he said to my husband "there are 7 wonders in the world, but everyone forgets that 5 are made up of good women like your wife".
He became anxious and agitated "look after her, take care of her, she's a special one" he started to well up, I started to well up and then the pain washed over me, his pain, his loneliness at the loss of his wife, of his boys not seeing him that often.
My husband recognised what was happening and pulled me away, I couldn't stop staring at this old man as he mouthed "take care, take care".
I rounded the supermarket aisle and my husband hugged me as I tried to pull myself together, we shopped quickly and left the store, my chest hurt so much I was struggling to breathe and it was too tender to touch.
At the time every cell in my body wanted to go and hug this man, and tell him to come home, have dinner and I wanted to help him. But I have to recognise I cannot as I can only help others when my own cup is overflowing, and it is not.
I cried and I cried when I got in the house. My husband held me and I am so grateful for his understanding and his not questioning. He knows these things happen to "his little witch".
I had to find myself, but I was so exposed it was hard to release this old mans feelings.
I've never in my life felt lonely. As long as I have my trees and my wildlife they can fill the gap, but this mans pain was searing.
I went out and collected herbs to make a fresh tea to calm myself. I tended to my plants. I went and I slept in the afternoon, a restless disturbed sleep. I woke, restless, I couldn't eat the pain in my chest still there.
Last night I struggled to sleep, the vibration of London still in my body and the pain from this man. I did all my normal techniques to clear the energy from me, but it was still rattling around me, changing me.
In the end my period pain needed high level drugs (ones I try to avoid as the make me fell horrible) and I slept a codeine induced sleep before waking today.
Today I am exhausted, the vibration of London is gone and the pain from the old man has subsided. Normally I'd avoid the world, but my parents are going away so I needed to visit, but I had to keep it short, they tend to drain me of energy if I don't protect myself. My husband came with me, took up the conversation so I could be present without being.
So I have spent the afternoon sat in the garden - butterflies, bees and dragon flies flitting around me. Magpies crows and jackdaws making a racket in the trees. Buzzards, swifts and swallows swooping low. Reading a book of witches and demons, stories that are resonate with more than anything in the world, these stories feel more true to me than many.
I will be still, I will be quiet, I will value me and my time and I will heal. But there is a tiny shard left in me from that old man, I need to find a way to help him, without it coming from me. I know I cannot give. I do not know the man, but perhaps if I see him again I can point him in the direction of those who can help him.
The hardest thing for me is knowing I cannot help everyone without harming myself. I have to pick and choose, but sometimes I can be the signpost and put them down the right path.
Join the Mojo Coaching Club on Facebook for hints and tips from Haulwen aka the Magical Mojo Coach