The Sense of the Greatest Emptiness

[thoughts from    ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

I know that most people have little time to engage another’s perambulations of mind in the worlds of various dysfunctions.  My own oft repeated inner voice says, ‘hey, come on, deal with it, don’t keep regurgitating it in your articles on your blog.’ and sure enough eventually I find that ‘enough is enough’ and I unfollow.  I can’t just “Like” something I really don’t like.

That being said, I’m going to do just that: talk about a feeling.  Here’s to hoping it isn’t just me, but that it will strike a chord with some who follow this blog.  If I do my job right, the words should express a communal angst, not a personal condition which I would not ask anyone else to share in, that in my opinion being a violation of another’s freedom.  If I feel “bad” while you feel “good” then that’s how it is.  I have no intrinsic right to impose “my bad” on “your good.”

Moving along, I gave myself a gift today: an entire day to blogging.  For a change, reading through the thoughts, articles and comments and attempting to engage honestly, commenting as I felt appropriate, and checking out offered links to related articles, blogs, etc.  I even ended up adding a couple of “Follow” to my collection.  Much was about our socio-political conditions and situations, specifically here in North America.  We could honestly say, “We have a situation here, please respond!”

The upshot of this engagement is that having “cleared” all my email traffic and blogging demands, I feel drained.  Empty.  Heavy, as if I’d been wrung out but not hung up to dry, just left in the laundry basket as is.  I remember going through the same feeling time after time when alone on the River, choosing to spend a longer than usual time between sunrise and sunset, or later, after sunset, to feel the changes in temperature; to hear the difference in sounds of the breezes in the coarse grasses and willows, or the wavelets lapping against the wet mud or sand of the shoreline; to notice changes in the calls of the gulls as they gather by the hundreds to flock upon islets to spend a night safe from marauding coyotes and other predators; to see the beavers emerging from their hideouts in the bushes and begin feeding along the river banks; to watch as the skies darken and high clouds dissipate so the crescent moon can shine…

It’s difficult to clearly express such a feeling.  It’s recognizing myself as a passenger on a ship; an alien and stranger made welcome but perhaps not entirely.  It’s recognizing I have no roots here, and experiencing, if only for a moment, that effect of alienation.  I’m a watcher; a collector of facts; an observer, not a resident; not a member.  A free lance journalist in a very foreign land entirely self supporting and at the mercy of local conditions.  This “land” doesn’t know I exist, or if it did it may well resent my presence enough to ensure I disappear.

It is more than that.  It is possessing something that the condition of the ship dictates I should not have packed with me: empathy.  Contraband, with its constant painful reminder that being empathetic on a world ruled by violence is not desirable.  It’s like a migraine headache combined with the flu.  To say it’s uncomfortable would be an understatement.

From Lisa Palmer,  The Otherhood of One, “Every time I tried to meditate, or lately sleep, I was assaulted with disturbing and/or terrifying imagery; “lost” strangers, animals suffering and dying, the Earth moaning under inconceivable destructive pressures, snipers taking aim at people, and most recently, babies being tortured.”

For the empath, this is what happens when we allow ourselves to absorb information without venting it out.  It creates a blockage within that translates as a bottomless pit of pain and would soon lead to despair if we didn’t deal with it.  Sadly there are many empaths captured within the densities of this planet who don’t know how to deal with feelings they have attracted to themselves through observation.

Earth as a destination of temporary abode is not friendly to empaths.  It’s not the actual planet, but it’s programming.  You have something here that is absolutely terrifying, incomprehensible and destructive to all empaths and of course to all victims of this thing.  It is called predation.  This world functions within an obsolete operating system that demands life for life.  Life on earth is split between being victim, as in food; and that which survives by killing and eating others.  Not only is man not immune to this but is the species that uses the concept more than any other.  Man is the king of predators.  Not only does he kill other life for food, pleasure, and entertainment, but makes a great show of killing millions of his own species for profit and often, for pleasure.  Sadly for the victims of the predator their only “defence” is to become prolific in numbers, thus exacerbating their eternal pain.

Any “starfarer” who happens to dwell for a time on this world would tell you this is a totally obsolete concept.  In fact deep down you all know this.  Yet it seems it cannot be shaken.  Somehow there’s always an excuse ready to be spouted to justify killing, whether it’s from the hunter, the “snagger” fisherman, the “farmer,” the butcher, or the spokesperson for the military industrial complex.  Predatory killing is part and parcel of this world’s modus operandi and those who rule it are not going to consider other ways as long as their way is profitable and feeds them power which they need not obtain through their own efforts.

For the empath, there is no comfort available anywhere on this world.  It’s sickness is ubiquitous.  The final solution is departure.

Meanwhile, one must process the information, store and divest the mind of its presence.  File and forget, day after day after day.  But in order to make sense of this before it goes in deep storage it is periodically necessary to stand and just feel.  Put up with the terrible discomfort of one’s mind residing temporarily in a small but intensely, excruciatingly painful hell.



31 thoughts on “The Sense of the Greatest Emptiness

  1. Bélanger Robinson

    Nice post! Sounds like cognitive dissonance in the extreme to me, and goodness knows that’s a burden for any caring person who makes critical observations of the world and is left, as a result, with continuous disappointment. Have you ever read The Sojourner?

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thank you for your comment. I haven’t yet read The Sojourner so downloaded it from Proj. Gutenberg, Australia, converted to epub for later reading. Thanks for that.

      1. Bélanger Robinson

        Cognitive dissonance is a psychological reaction, where the person typically follows a largely unconscious series of steps in order to accept the facts before them. As I stated, it can be rough terrain to navigate. Hang in there, and hopefully things will get better😊 Take care.

    2. Sha'Tara Post author

      Hi Bélanger, I have now read “The Sojourner” A magnificent story, powerful drama, so well written, I hated to see it end. Time and again I felt frustrated with Asahel’s apparent lack of understanding and taking action but in the end he is fully justified. Thanks for asking if I’d read it!

      1. Bélanger Robinson

        Wow. That was fast; I didn’t expect you to jump right on it. I thought you might appreciate how much he appreciated the land and creatures of the Earth. Also, you mentioned a temporary stay here, and that’s what he understood too; Hence, Sojourner as the title :0)

      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        If I like a book, I just devour it. Yes, the hero of the tale never forgot, despite the many temptations, that he was a sojourner on earth. I was waiting for the story to show that Asahel (?) actually had native blood due to some… unforseen happening! But his mother definitely wasn’t the type to have had a tryst with an Indian. In his mind he is more Native than European, having no concern for possessions or worldly wealth. Atavism?

      3. Bélanger Robinson

        Perhaps 😉 Certainly none of the other family members had those traits, except maybe for the child that they lost. I’ve been told that you can’t make a good person; rather good people are born. Ase was a good guy in the world, so you may be onto something😊

      4. Sha'Tara Post author

        Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I was writing a bit tongue in cheek, though I think in this case, our hero is “suffering” from a sort of atavism. I admire his sense of commitment through detachment.

  2. Carol A. Hand

    Such a deep and thought-provoking post, Sha’Tara. You have described the suffering and experiences of empaths with clear, compelling, moving images. Your post reminded me of something I have found helpful, but somehow it feels rather superficial in comparison to the depth of agony and otherness you’ve described. Every time I look at the beauty of nature around me, I am both filled with peaceful/grateful awe and simultaneously aware of the powerful threats to the fragile wonder of all life that are imminent. Parker Palmer’s concept of “life in the tragic gap” helped give me a way to name that experience and some tools for finding a path to live my life as constructively as possible.

    “The insight at the heart of nonviolence is that we live in a tragic gap — a gap between the way things are and the way we know they might be. It is a gap that never has been and never will be closed. If we want to live nonviolent lives, we must learn to stand in the tragic gap, faithfully holding the tension between reality and possibility.” (Parker Palmer – )

      1. Sha'Tara Post author

        I meant to say also that I understand that “gap” living – I feel as if I’d spent my entire life in it. I now call it “walking between the worlds” a term I borrowed from Gregg Braden’s book. It took years and a fuller awareness of this “empty space” for me to understand what he meant. When I came to this land as a child one of my powerful (and misunderstood) “remembrances” were of the residual energies from the mass killing of indigenous peoples. When I became older and more aware of that “otherhood” (thank you Lisa for that term) sense, I spent days in dark horror, contemplating those terrible events that had absolutely no need of ever being. Then I “saw” many other genocides and battlefields, and then I “saw” life in earth’s cities’ ghettos, and then the hunger, the ever-present hunger and starvation and sometimes I would break out in cold sweats until the feelings subsided and I realized I was remembering, not participating. But as you know, and as Lisa says, it is better to have experienced these things than not. I don’t want to be of those who cannot feel the effects and consequences of our passage through this slice of earth history, reminding myself also that I am not innocent of some of these things either.

  3. Lisa R. Palmer

    A deeply feeling post, dear Sha’Tara, and deeply moving because of it. I genuinely love your rebellious, intelligent, sometimes snarky commentary on the world, and I greatly admire your wisdom and the insights you have given me. But to see this more vulnerable side, if only for a moment, creates a whole new level of connection I feel with you…

    That moment on the river you described… I was so there with you. Breathing. Feeling. Reaching… A truly blessed moment, to be sure.

    And while I cannot disagree with your assessment of what it feels like to be an empath on this world, I know that I would not choose to experience it any other way. Today I meditated, and in that inner space a story unwound itself before me. Terror, uncertainty, urgency… And then I was opening a 50 gallon drum to reveal a young child hidden within, presumably being smuggled into or out of the place I was in. I reached for that child, and pulled him out, holding him close to me. I thought to speak to him, to reassure him that he was safe now, but the words would not come. So I held him tightly, and “felt” him – his terror and his relief. And then I felt “to” him that he was safe with me, and simply let him be, all the mixed emotion that he was in that moment. And there was great comfort in that experience, for both of us…

    Being an empath on a world of predation is not an easy task, as you so eloquently explain. And yet there are moments that only an empath such as we can experience, and those moments make up for all the hellish ones in between. To observe, record, remember… all roles we need to play. But to feel… truly feel… is a gift, breathing meaning into whatever else we learn. At least it has been so for me…

    BTW, here’s my attempt to link to the post you quoted:

  4. Sha'Tara Post author

    Thanks for colouring my world, Lisa. Quote: “But to feel… truly feel… is a gift, breathing meaning into whatever else we learn. At least it has been so for me…” It is indeed a gift, a great gift. If only to demonstrate that such as “we” by existing make it eminently possible for anyone else to do so. We are not special, we just turned our pockets inside out…
    And yeah! The link works!

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      I also meant to comment on your vision. Very “powerful” to use an abused word. Had this been my vision I would have “seen” the child as the embodiment of all those people displaced by the wars; those refugees with no place to go, trying to hide, being smuggled to what they hope will be safety. It shows your deepest desire to help, succour, and protect the helpless. We start now, we will do more in time. Wonderful comment…

      1. Lisa R. Palmer

        Indeed. We do what we can, what we must, because it is in our nature to succour, to protect, to aid the innocent in whatever way we may. And it matters. Even when it doesn’t feel like nearly enough…

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thank you for expressing your own empathy, Sarah, and for reading despite your own “frantic” work on your blog. Life’s blessings to you.

      1. thesarahdoughty

        I’m always happy to contribute when I’m in the right mindset to do so. I’m sure that my blog clearly reflects that I’m not capable of letting go of my past. When every stage of my childhood development was marred by someone who should have protected me, rather than making me a victim, it is a slow, agonizing process to re-learn these things and reprogram my mind. I hope that despite that, I’m not one of the individuals that drove you away. But I also know that, as an empath, you’ve felt more than your share from what I’ve written.

      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        What you express is both a healing and a strengthening, a reminder that life is meant to be lived. You are a gift to all of us who read your poems and stories.

      1. Mr. Militant Negro

        You do great work, Ms. Sha’Tara. You need to be honored. Have a wonderful week.

  5. Phil Huston

    God, I’m so bummed out now I could just…reblog this fifteen times and bum out the four people who still follow my non-political spare me the heartbreak rants of even giving a damn about political institutions that haven’t given a damn about me since I can remember human condition short stories blog so they’ll go mope with all the disaffected identity centric religious/political/cultural/social media marketing casualties out there…

    Some days are longer than others. Those are the ones where we stop refrying the beans of delusion and belief in a better way and create for the, uh-oh, here comes a bad word pair, “escapist joy” of it. Sure it sucks. And there’s only one way out. Would you like a fried pie with that?

    Nice post. There is no rest for the feeling. But…Here’s a great line from a wise man that I might even use in a post. “Look at the world through shit colored glasses and what do you expect to see?”

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for your very “colourful” comment, Phil. Some days you’re the windshield, and some days you’re the bug sort of thing? I like your quote a lot, but I promise not to steal it from you. Please do use it in one of your down-to-earth restaurant conversations. When’s the next one?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.