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Tuesday, March 19th, 2019 07:03 am
I ordered a used copy of "The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People" after someone quoted from it regarding tears and the different chemical constituents pointing to the release of stress hormones in some types of tears. Christine is incredibly empathic and i think i am too, a little bit.

I found it just a bit to much "try spraying rose water and lighting a white candle" for my taste. And it frustrates me, because i think there's some wisdom in the book. Part of me wants to yank the text apart and restructure it as a paced self exploration or as a first aid guide (admittedly, there is some inclination in the text towards the latter). I think of Julia Cameron's deft techniques for helping people lead themselves to self discovery: the content of Orloff's book could benefit from that. I can believe there's a need in self help books to stimulate creative problem solving by presenting a variety of solutions to help the reader discover the right solution for themselves, but i also think it helps to be clear about the general principle.

If i were to rewrite the book i think i'd have a section on refining strategies so they are meaningful for you with sections on senses, rituals, and visualization. The book had scattered sensory solutions: bringing them together in one place and systematically considering what stimulations are meaningful and then different ways to access them would support readers in creating a toolkit.

One visualization/practice in the book was to visualize washing away the stress in the showere. I've encountered a similar visualization in trauma healing, where the important point was a shower provides a whole body stimulation of the sense of touch. I know there are tapping therapies that similarly use touch stimulation. I imagine a chapter that asks the reader to first determine if the sensation of touch is one where they are oversensitive or is a sense through which they may find safety and solace. If touch was a modality that was helpful, the reader would be invited to explore different practices, and then a suggestion that the reader of come up with different ways to access that sense along with examples. "A shower," i would write, "might be accessible a few times during a day, but you can develop a practice of bringing your hands together so your finger tips rest in your palms as an immediately available focus while in a meeting or at a family dinner. Drinking water might offer a similarly accessible focus if the sense of cleansing or refreshment was what provided you the relief in the shower practice."

I am surprised i care so much.

I wonder if i was hoping for more help for myself from the book and i am disappointed.
Tuesday, March 19th, 2019 12:19 pm (UTC)
I tend to read a lot of stuff like that too, self help and the like. I've found taking the parts I feel comfortable with works for me most of the time, bits and pieces from multiple sources to make your own way easier and better.
I used to meditate a lot, I need to get back to doing that. The whole quiet the mind and the body will follow thing works some times but not enough at this poiint in my life
Tuesday, March 19th, 2019 09:43 pm (UTC)
Empathy is hard. I was much more empathetic as a child, but some sorts of other people's emotions are too much for me, and I seem to have walled myself off even from the parts I can handle.
What you're talking about here sounds like other sorts of high-sensitivites and physical relief, like weighted blankets (I want one), or taking the time to do a full bedtime routine with facial massage, etc. Many folks in our culture are constantly overwhelmed by sights, sounds, etc but not by welcome touch (public transport crushes of people are among the unwelcome.) So it makes that the shower stimulation would be under our control and relaxing.
Interacting with/petting animals is also good for those of us who have frequent access to them :)
Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 01:13 am (UTC)
I'd sure like to read your edited version!