Call it a breakdown or an awakening, for me they were the same thing. It was hellish, scary and dark. For some people it is a sense of unrest and disruption that makes life difficult, for some it means more serious consequences which look more like a complete breakdown. Today, my scary awakening is a fairly distant memory and, whilst I don’t regret the experience, there are some things I really wish I had known. So, if you are in the midst of it all, here they are for you and don’t forget, the horrible storm will pass:

1. You’re overwhelmed, just stop.

Most of the scary symptoms and weird sensations came about because I was pushing myself to keep going when I needed to stop. ‘I can’t be tired,’ I thought. ‘I’ve hardly done anything today.’ Because of this attitude, I would force myself to keep going. So, instead of having symptoms of being tired and lethargic, I had symptoms of being tired, lethargic, panicky, light headed and breathless. Of course, if you experience such symptoms, the first thing to do is to get checked by a health professional to be sure you have no underlying physical health condition that may be causing the symptoms. Once you’ve done that, consider that awakening often causes major overwhelm which,when we push ourselves beyond our sensible limits, can cause this sort of reaction. Just stop, take a breath and allow your body to catch up with the ascension.

2. You need to stop scaring and scolding yourself

I knew I wasn’t ill and that I would come through it – deep down I absolutely knew it – but still I hounded myself and constantly questioned myself. I told myself I was pathetic, I picked on myself for being weak, I hid myself away because I was embarrassed, I worried that I would get judged and I judged myself. I needed to stop going over every symptom or behaviour telling myself stories about them. All I did was scare myself and inhibit my progress. Life would have been much easier if I’d not continued to make the situation worse by scaring and scolding myself for what was happening within me.

3. You’re just transforming

How much happier I’d have been if I’d opened my mind and heart to the possibility that the spiritual awakening I’d been hoping for all my life was indeed happening. How great would it have been if I’d accepted that I was perhaps transforming to greater things? If I had seen that I could actually come through the experience as a more evolved, happier person, I am sure I would have panicked less. The truth was I thought I would come out of it a less evolved and developed person as a result of the experience. This clearly made coping with it almost unbearable at times.

4. It’s a spiritual awakening

For ages I thought I had ‘anxiety’, unexplainable fear and perhaps some sort of mental illness. I didn’t – I was going through an awakening. I just couldn’t believe that anything so painful, extreme or gut wrenching could be a spiritual awakening. It can and, for me, it was. If you are all checked out medically and yet still feel like it is the end of the world and you don’t know why – consider the fact that it is indeed ‘just’ a spiritual awakening.

5. You should be proud of what you’re coping with and conquering

I was so very embarrassed and felt humiliated in the midst of my experience and yet I was actually showing great courage, resilience and determination. I was just evolving and transforming and, whilst it felt terrible, I was showing myself and the world my humanity, the reality of human experience and what it takes to burst from the chrysalis. The idea of ‘having everything together’, being a go getter and being free from angst and pain is just that – an image. It isn’t real; it belongs on glossy magazine pages and well cultivated social media feeds. It isn’t how anyone really is.

You may feel totally crazy, inconsistent, out of it and beaten down but you are not the exception my friend, you are indeed the norm. I felt like an absolute freak when I was awakening and the most terrifying part for me was that I was ‘losing my mind’. The reason I thought it was because, when I looked around me, other people didn’t talk about these experiences as part of life. These ‘symptoms’ were ‘the exception’ and a level of weakness and illness was implied if you exhibited any of the them. This concept put the most almighty amount of fear in me and drove me to hide it. Consider, if you feel like I did, that tons of other people feel this way too. They are just hiding it for fear of what speaking the truth will mean or the consequences it will have.

The take-away:

There is really nothing wrong with you. You’re just a human being having an evolving and awakening experience. Even though it might feel terrible at times, nothing lasts forever. Hold on to the fact that, once you do evolve, you will be a clearer, more focused and happier person. What is happening to you now is ultimately a good thing. Be patient, be kind and be open.

I hope that my 5 things I wish I’d known was helpful to you. Please get help if you need it; reach out to those who love and care for you and know that you are not a freak, an exception or broken. Life is sometimes very hard and awakening even harder at times. Be kind to yourself and follow your intuition and, as I said at the start of today’s blog, know that it will pass – it feels like it won’t, but it will. Soon enough you will not be back to normal, you will be beyond where you ever were before and that is something to hold on to and look forward to.

Love Kat xx

Weighted down in glorious fashion

Breathing deeply in grateful expression

The pictures line the steady walls

With familiar sights that bolster calm

 

Music rings out gently and flows

Around my head and down legs to toes

Steady songs brings steady thoughts

Quietness fills the gaps between

 

Feeling inner body moves

Tingled fingers draws attention to

Inner world of sanctum peace

And gentlest of morning’s rest

 

The fan it turns in steady moans

The air is cool and sweetly flown

With dawning air that drifts in

Through open window laying there

 

Then take a deep and fuller breath

Is what is needed to bring to health

The mind that turns too fast can yet

Be calmed with loving handled set

 

If you’re an empath, chances are that you have times when you just want to be able to shut it down, or at least tune it out to some degree or other. Empathic skills are a Universal given gift and can help us to help others. However, sometimes, it can be intrusive and difficult to manage. In order to stop overload, here are 5 of my top tips that certainly work for me and other empaths I know:

1. Allow nature to heal and fill you. There is a sense that other people can drain and take our energy, reserves and vitality. In order to be able to fill up quickly and efficiently, by far one of the easiest and best ways I know is to allow nature to do it for you. She can’t help it; it’s in her very essence! I find trees particularly willing to offer their energy but any nature will surely do this.

2. Stop talking and communication. I think this type of empathic leaking was something that I took a long time to realise was happening. Granted, sometimes we only need to be around someone to find them ‘borrowing’ our energy or heaping their bad energies into our space but, often times, it is stimulated or brought on through conversation. It is through connecting physically, and/or verbally, with another that we inadvertently plug in to them (or them to us). So taking ‘talking breaks’ is a very good cure for empathic overload.

3. Learn to maintain a good inner landscape and keep your communication loving but ‘bourndaried’. We can be loving, kind and polite to others without always having to get into deep or connecting conversation with them. Sometimes, if we are in our zone and shining our light, we can do more for our own well being and others by staying in our zone and not allowing ourselves to get drawn into others’ dramas.

4. Recognise it isn’t your own issue. One thing that took me a long time to realise was that the pains, fears or troubles I was experiencing weren’t always mine. Most empaths recognise and acknowledge to some extent that it isn’t our issue or pain but, as it enters our bodies and minds, we begin to identify with it and take it on. Allow yourself to stand back from it and watch it; see that it doesn’t belong to you. You can feel it but it isn’t actually coming from you.

5. Combat the negativity with positivity. It can be difficult, when a heavy energy comes, to lift it out of our space. Whilst it can take a lot of initial energy to get the heavy pain to move, once you have got underneath it, so to speak, you should find that you will be able to shift it with the light of creativity and joy. By following step 4 and separating from it, you should be able to get enough distance to employ a joyful experience that gets your loving energy flowing again.

Whatever drama finds its way into your energy, if you feel the overload, remember that the lightness of your knowingness and joy will always be able to combat the darkness and heaviness. Good health and habits that create a strong and vital body and energy field will also help tremendously. Remember that, as much as you may want to help others and reach out to those who are in pain and sadness, there is only so much you can do and you must take care of you too. Don’t be afraid to make a boundary. Acknowledge what you can and cannot withstand and don’t go beyond your own healthy limit.

Love Kat xx

(Written pre pandemic!) I’ve meditated for years… literally, years. I can’t really remember when I was I started consciously doing so but I remember perhaps my first significant experience of it at 24. I had a particularly spiritual and ‘hippie’ boyfriend at the time who had spent the afternoon talking to me about his experiences of astral travel. When he left, I distinctly remember sitting down in the middle of my sitting room floor and deciding to have a try at ‘going within’. It seemed intriguing. Whilst the relationship was really the romantic equivalent of car crash, it did introduce me to spirituality and so it was definitely worth the heartache and big financial dent. In fact, his tough love training – in every sense of the phrase – was priceless and really rather wonderful on reflection.

I have had a sketchy history with meditation and I’ve never managed to get a solid relationship with it. Going back fifteen years ago, whilst it was mainstream and popular, it was nothing like it is now. I guess this is partly why I managed to keep avoiding it. Recently, everywhere and everyone seems to be espousing the virtues of meditation and with good reason. Whether you are spiritual or not, the results of meditation and its benefits are undeniable. It’s quite amazing really how quickly it’s transformed from the ‘woo-woo’ to the ‘real deal’. In fact, I was really surprised when my Granny had a stroke last year to hear her being ‘prescribed’, by her national health service occupational therapy team, a meditation app for her Ipad. It really is now the thing to do.

Leaning on meditation when I was ill several years ago, I spent most mornings meditating for a couple of hours in bed before I got up. I can’t really remember the details of anything back then but it was more like a brain break. I was attempting to just keep the mental noise to a minimum and create a bit of peace and quiet. But I never really settled on a particular practice or way of doing it. Although I did have some incredible breakthroughs with it and even created some of my own which I put into my books. Ever since then I have done bits and pieces of meditation and it’s rare a day goes by without me doing some sort of ‘going within’ but it’s never been consistent or really focused. I’ve let it slide over the years because of the ‘busyness’ of life.

I suppose I’ve always been more of a mindfulness person. I do lots of things very ‘deliberately’ and try to not get lost in thought any more than is necessary. I make a point of being very present as often as I can and spent months pounding my eardrums with Eckhart Tolle recordings so as to really imprint this notion into my head. It worked. I’ve worked it into my day and it’s now my habit. My showers are pretty mindful as are my daily dog walks. I regularly do breathing exercises now without really even thinking about it. I’m really quite centred but it’s still a work in progress and I’m starting to really think about getting my meditation routine more ‘sorted’.

But I have to be honest with myself now. I have been more caught up in the western world than I realised. I don’t make time for meditation because I suppose I don’t think I have time. This is such a fundamental misperception. I subconsciously believe that I can make things happen, that I need to do a lot of stuff and make the most of ‘time’. Wow, I still believe in making an effort? If I made time for meditation, I’d become timeless, didn’t I know that? Well, I did and I do. It seems there are levels of belief and commitment. On a scale of 1 to 10, I was perhaps at six or seven. I’d got lazy, sloppy and I am also realising that I’m perhaps more compliant and open to the environmental cues than I had previously thought. Oh well, at least I can see it now.

At the moment, I’m staying on the island of Tenerife and as you may or may not know, it’s a part of a pretty ‘zen’ kind of an archipelago. The Canary Islands are very relaxed and, in my opinion, have a very surfer, hippie kind of vibe. There are beaten up camper vans all over the place and in ‘El Medano’ the town I stay in on Tenerife, every clothes shop sells either surfing or water sports gear or yoga pants. It’s a no makeup, sand in your hair, piercings and leather bracelets kind of a place. Taking a walk along the beach during sunrise, you’ll find lots of people meditating or doing yoga on the various wooden platforms scattered amongst the scrubby dunes.

In the bigger towns and cities you’ll find lots of yoga and meditation studios and I didn’t have to research very far to find that there are quite a lot of retreat centres on the Canary Islands too. There’s just that kind of vibe here and so it’s a perfect place to be considering my meditation routine. I’ve been reading Dr Joe Dispenza’s book ‘Becoming Supernatural’ (it’s awesome, read it!) and he has gotten me convinced that I do indeed need to get my meditation game on. It’s time for me and this book is pushing me into it. Truth is 1. I’ve always known the key to my next steps on this crazy life journey involve meditation and 2. It’s a pretty amazing synchronicity that has dictated that just at the time I decide I need to be meditating, I arrive at a place so brimming with the chilled out vibe.

This is the thing about travel. Different places inspire different aspects of your personality, heart and soul. I love this about going somewhere new. You never quite know what you’re going to get. Perhaps you’ll love it, perhaps you’ll find it inspiring. Whatever you feel or think, it’ll be a perspective and a new angle on something. It’s the sense of ‘peering into the looking glass’ like Alice (in Wonderland). If you choose to be open to this kind of reflection that is. I have always found the Canary Islands to be great for a genuine relaxed space to rearrange your head and get some perspective on life. They’re so free, rugged, bare and windy. Your cares will definitely blow away and trying to stay ‘tidy’ and ‘together’ is simply pitting yourself against nature. You really have no choice here but to just relax and go with it, to appreciate the nature and the wildness of it all and, if you have long hair, tie it up.

So for me, this return has been serendipitous. I had booked the trip some time ago before I started reading Joe Dispenza’s book and I had no idea, even as I started to read the book a few days before arriving in Tenerife that it would be so focused on meditation. Today was my first full day here on the island and it made me smile as I lay on the sunbed for my first focused hour long meditation of the day. It was so perfect that I’d be doing it here in El Medano. Anyone who has read my first book, ‘The Awakening’ may recall that this is the very place I had my first real breakthrough and ‘found myself’. It seems so fitting that I am here again, trying to take things to the next level. It is equally fitting that I am in a place where I have the time and space to meditate and dedicate myself to the process and practice.

So, I am intrigued to know how it will go and if and how it will change me. Everything says that it will. As I said, I’m not new to meditation but I am new to focused and diligent practice. I am new to dedicated and long, focused sessions that push you into uncomfortability. But I’m ready for it. To be quite honest, I have some really rather annoying foibles and neurocies that are just not cute and need to be tidied up. Whilst I recognise that I’m never going to be a spiritual guru or whatever, I really think I could stand to be more peaceful. I’m looking forward to finding out where it takes me. It’s interesting to me how my desire to really focus on meditation seems to be dovetailing with my increasing sense of freedom and expansion into full time travel. They really do seem to go together.

As for Tenerife, I can’t think of a better place to meditate. It’s unpretentious and has lots of wild and natural, craggy beaches and places to walk, sit, surrender and take a breath. The pace of life here is slow and deliberate. The attitude is warm, relaxed and passionate. With sunny days all year around and a pretty consistent mid twenties temperature, it’s got to be a perfect place to get in touch with your heart and soul.

I visit ‘El Medano’ which is a small town fairly near the more popular and anglicised ‘Golf de Sur’ only a short hop from Tenerife South airport. It’s not a commercial town and whilst everyone speaks some English, it’s not a really touristy place or catering to English. It’s low key and seems to be predominately frequented by locals and windsurfers or kite surfers. Whilst I talk a lot about how rugged, authentic, natural and Spanish the Canary Islands are, this is because I choose to frequent the less popular areas and the non touristy spots. Many areas are extremely English and rather like Skegness but with better weather. Be sure that you do a little research on the area before booking to ensure you are getting the holiday you really want.

Love Kat xx