First, I would like to share why this photo above is so special & why I chose to use this picture to illuminate this blog post. This picture was taken at Elisa Romeo & Adam Foleys Soul Barn, we all had just finished recording a couple of vulnerable and transparent podcasts for Holy & Human. Myself, Elisa, Danica, and Adam were feeling carefree, playful, and connected thru the energic Soul thread of LOVE. This photo radiates each of our souls’ essence.
This post is a vulnerable share about my journey being an Empath. I heard the term of being “empathic” feeling “empathy” but for someone to be an actual empath… was unknown to me. I’ve always considered myself to be extremely sensitive with my emotions and feeling the energy of a room and with people. I have vivid, visceral memories from the young age of 5, going into a room with a lot of people, whether it was a classroom, birthday party family gathering and feeling a lot of different discomforts, often feeling a sense of overwhelm but not sure why?
I was labeled by some as being overly sensitive, I would cry easily and not just for feeling sad but with beautiful moments of love and connection. I could also tell if there was harmony in a room and would feel safe and peaceful. As I’m writing this, it really sounds quite normal for anyone to be in tune with the energetics of a space and this is certainly true. So, to better describe what an empath feels, I suggest closing your eyes and remember a social gathering or conversations that felt maybe a little off, now imagine and feel that moment in your emotional body times 100%. This is what it feels like to be an Empath.
I wanted to share my awaking to being an empath with the hope that this offers some insight to those who feel so deeply, but are unsure why. Also for those that might have children, friends, family, or spouses that have wondered why are they so sensitive? Why are they so challenged to feel comfortable with people, gatherings, events, etc?
Empaths are highly sensitive individuals who have the natural ability to step into the reality of others around them. Most empaths are unaware of their own unique nature and accept anxiety and overwhelm as a natural part of life. This superpower can be a gift of compassion and consciousness-expanding or become a curse of messy boundaries and the ‘disease to please’. – Elisa Romeo
Going back to my younger years I feel my innocence offered soft protection for my sensitivities. The older I got the more difficult it was for me to deal with being so sensitive. I would beat myself up about it, I was confused and labeled myself as socially awkward. In my early teens, my mind really started to make up its own narrative which created unhealthy self-talk and I chose to hide my sensitivities. My Mom was always very understanding, she would hold space for me to share my feelings and acknowledged them. To this day I am so deeply grateful for her courage and trust that my sensitivities are a part of why I am here, it’s what makes me unique, creative and as she would say: “Stacey, it’s ok to go to the beat of your own drum… this is what makes you special”.
With as much support that I had from my Mom, once I was out of the house in social situations, I would find myself getting quiet, feeling unsafe. So, I chose to create a persona that acted like a somewhat of a shield. I was not conscious enough to understand that I was really covering up who I am, I was just doing my best to fit in. Some of my family and friends might read this and think Stacey is a social butterfly…there is truth in this to some degree, as I designed my persona to be perceived this way externally. I would say from age 12-27 I was in in a state of consistent camouflaging to support me in friendships, with work and all social engagements. What really helped me hone my craft of looking and acting socially acceptable (unshaken) was my career that I started at 12. I began my modeling career in 1992 and oddly enough I felt more comfortable stepping into the unknown of this business; I was working in a very vulnerable career but had to act as if I were stoic. The modeling industry is as blunt as it gets, as we are judged upon our external presence and all of its imperfections. Important traits required for this industry (like most) is to have good core values, responsibility, time management, and yes, social skill set. I traveled often for castings and bookings and eventually had to drop out of high school because I had too many absences due to my work schedule. So, I was homeschooled for some time, which I loved! Looking back, I really have respect for the career opportunity that was offered and that I stepped into for 17 years. I was able to navigate life a bit easier as I became this moldable persona that could be intentional, have a purpose, and still protect my little sensitive self. In my early 20’s I married my husband and stopped traveling for work. I noticed not being distracted by my hustle of career, staying local in AZ was a much slower work pace and offered more time to spend with my new family and I started to get to know who I was as a young woman. All through my 20’s I started to feel my sensitivities bubbling to the surface more often. Maybe it was my less hectic life that offered the space for me to feel more. I did start to realize that I was neglecting my hearts’ truth but wasn’t sure how to stand bravely in it.
At 27 I retired from my modeling career and stripped away a bit of my protective “Stacey persona”. I went into business with my Mom and started to emerge more as my authentic self, sensitivities and all! Looking back now, I also had the daily support of my Mom who really encouraged me to embrace my unique essence. Mom, if your reading this THANK YOU!!!
Fast forward to 2015, I was 35 years old and had been broken open by numerous life experiences thru modeling, being a small business owner, a wife, a stepmom all of which I had lived very externally with the protection of my armor. I was feeling the call to really grow from within asking me to step up, wake up, and get real with myself. I had been working with a therapist for 6 years which was very helpful in allowing myself to feel my feelings but it was hard to leave the sessions and integrate my inner knowing and sensitives into day to day life. As I stripped away my armor, I remember feeling like a newborn coming into this world… I was so intimidated. I struggled balancing being open with my heart and being present with people so raw and real. Add on top of it, without my protective persona I felt EVERYTHING so DEEPLY.
I decided to add additional therapeutic modalities to cultivate my tribe of healers and guides. I up-leveled therapists and found someone who aligned well with my heart, always reflecting my truth, creating awareness, and self-accountability. I learned how living shielded was holding me back, I needed to allow my self to be true, authentic and continue to grow and evolve from my heart space, not my head.
I also started to work with an incredibly talented energetic bodyworker, Dusti VanTilborg. We worked together for almost 3 years moving energy thru my body where I stored lots of emotions and life experiences. Dusti had suggested that I also integrate some Soul work and recommended Elisa Romeo, who guides using her knowledge as a licensed marriage and family therapist along with her psychic abilities. Elisa merges psychology with modern-day mysticism to help reunite with the loving source of your being. Elisa had just published her book Meet Your Soul back in 2015. My husband and I went to Elisa’s book signing, once I meet Elisa, I knew I would be working with her. I booked a Soul Session with Elisa and this is when all energetics started to click into place for me. Thru our session, I was blown away at how dialed in she was with all my feelings, speaking to me thru my soul’s lens… I felt so seen and understood even though this was a session over the phone. Our session felt like “coming home” as Elisa acknowledged all the loving parts of my essence that I had been keeping hidden and protected. I listened deeply during our session and would often get goosebumps around my truth that she was reflecting to me… then Elisa said, “you are an empath”, I wrote down the word in my notebook. Elisa explained about being an empath and asked if it resonated with me. I was shocked because not only did it ring true, but I finally felt that I was not broken!!! My sensitivities that I had been struggling with were not something to be fixed or blocked out, they are my inherent gift. To be clear, it was not just Elisa telling me that I am Empath, and I believe it to be true… I FELT into and honestly had a fast life review of visuals shown to me (in about a 2-minute timeframe) showing me flashes of times when I had struggled in socialized environments… feeling other people’s feelings, intentions, heartbreaks, fears, joy, happiness. I realized that the intensity was not always mine but was others. It’s not bad to be an empath whatsoever but if you don’t know you are one, it can be quite jarring on yourself and those around you.
Empaths tend to be just like sponges; they soak up free-floating pain, fear and desperation from their colleagues, friends and family. That is why, if you are an empath, it is important to “wring out” regularly. This way you have the ability to be clear, focused, inspired and energized for your own life. – Elisa Romeo
I went back to my therapist and shared my session with Elisa and my newfound awareness. My therapist smiled and said, this is what we have been working on all along Stacey. You have experienced intense things in your life, but you need to allow your self to feel them and process, decipher what is yours and what has been projected on to you. She agreed with Elisa on me being an empath, and really asked me to own it and create healthy boundaries with all in my life. Boundaries was a bit new for me as I was a “people pleaser”. Bit by bit I added boundaries, I learned to communicate vs hide my feelings and emotions. I stepped into a new level of self-worth, self-compassion, and self-strength. The key to all of this has been COMMUNICATION. I choose to keep my heart open to receive guidance, to allow my feelings to exist, and to honor the gift of being an empath.
I hope this share will shed some light; I have a friend who has a teenage daughter that reminds me so much of myself when I was her age. She is most certainly an empath and I have spoken openly to my friend about my journey, I have spoken to her daughter as well and both have found grace with the understanding an Empath. It’s beautiful to see her daughter shine her heart and learn to have energetic boundaries at her age. Her mom also understands more, there is a deeper level of heart-knowing and trusting. Another direct impact in my relationships is with my husband, he holds more compassion and respect as I continue to communicate with full transparency about all that I feel. He too says that it’s like having a missing puzzle piece put into place, it all clicks together over our 20 years in relationship. As for my Mom, she has always known that there is something unique about me, always trusting her Mother’s intuition. Now knowing about her daughter being an Empath has offered her so much clarity.
I have just recently shared about being an Empath on Elisa’s and her husband Adam’s podcast called Holy and Human. These two Soul guides have become close friends of mine, I have such deep reverence for them both and the guidance they are offering. One of my best girlfriends, Danica is also on the Podcast with me to share her experience of what it’s like to have an Empath as her friend. It is a super fun, Soul flow convo with the 4 of us… enjoy! Please click the play button below to take a listen.
Danica also shared her own personal journey to connecting with her Soul on the Holy & Human Podcast. Danica really offers clear step by step articulation of her experience, its wonderfully direct and relatable. I highly recommend taking a listen to this podcast episode also as it offers so much accessibility to connecting, feeling your Soul.
Sending my love and light to all…
Elisa Romeo: www.elisaromeo.com
Adam Foley: www.adamfoley.org
Holy And Human Podcast: holyandhuman.com
Empath quiz: www.elisaromeo.com/empath
Awakening From The Heart short documentary: https://youtu.be/D1oonkUlKlk
Danica Patrick Pretty Intense Podcast: www.danicapatrick.com/podcasts