“I know a few things to be true. I do not know where I am going, where I have come from is disappearing, I am unwelcome and my beauty is not beauty here. My body is burning with the shame of not belonging, my body is longing. I am the sin of memory and the absence of memory. I watch the news and my mouth becomes a sink full of blood. The lines, the forms, the people at the desks, the calling cards, the immigration officers, the looks on the street, the cold settling deep into my bones, the English classes at night, the distance I am from home. But Alhamdulilah all of this is better than the scent of a woman completely on fire, or a truckload of men, who look like my father pulling out my teeth and nails, or fourteen men between my legs, or a gun, or a promise, or a lie, or his name, or his manhood in my mouth.”
~ Warsan Shire,
The news is awash just now with tales of those fleeing war-torn countries in hopes of a better life. Some, of course, never make it. And some survive amidst the ravages of a society gone mad, in places once peaceful and safe. Our televisions, newspapers, facebook and twitter feeds, phones and tablets stream an endless supply of stories and images.
It’s an awful reality.
For empaths and Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs) especially, this barrage of information can be cripplingly overwhelming. Our filters aren’t as strong as most people’s. We feel everything so acutely. What do you do if you are an empath or an HSP who can’t bear to watch one more story while still feeling compelled to help, and unable to turn away from the refugees’ plight?
I have a few suggestions:
- Turn off the news feed and stop clicking on the images and stories. It’s not helpful to the refugees and those still in war zones. It is not helpful to you. Instead, find ways to take action to alleviate distress rather than adding to it.
- Recognise that you alone are powerless to fix all of this. You are just one person. Still, you ARE one person, with a voice and hands and a heart, and perhaps even some money. Know that in your own way you can find a way to provide meaningful support.
- Add your voice to the collective if this is something that appeals to you. Write to your government. Write to your politicians. Write letters and emails on behalf of current campaigns. Organisations such as Amnesty International can help you to find targeted ways that your voice can make a difference.
- Donate money to the aid organisations that are on the ground in conflict zones and refugee camps. They know what is needed and can get your aid dollar there to provide food, shelter and medical care. This article lists several organisations that you could support.
- Find out about refugee support services in your local area. Perhaps they need donations of food, clothing, furniture or skills. There are also many groups set up to introduce newly arrived refugees to local residents to foster friendship and social engagement, and to help with language skills.
- Tonglen meditation is a simple technique you can use to send love, energy and positive intention to lighten the burden and suffering of another. It costs nothing and you don’t need any special skills – anyone can do this easy energetic practice.
You feel your oneness deeply – you know that we are all human, and part of one big family. Caring and being this sensitive is not a weakness but a beautiful gift. Don’t ever wish to be less sensitive, or to stop caring. We need you to keep being you, and to hold a space of oneness for all of humanity. Look after your sensitive nature by learning how to protect yourself from overwhelm, and to take actions that ease your feeling of helplessness.
Thinking of you and sending much love, Nicole <3 xx