This is what it means to be loved by an empath



As published in Elephant Journal 

I know you are hurting.

I feel it. I feel the anxiety that burns. The weight on your heart. The pain in your shoulders. In your neck. I feel it all as if it is my own.

My stress. My ache. My desire. My confusion. My depression. My heartbreak.

Because I feel it I want it to stop.

Because I love you, I want to be the one to make it stop.

What I usually feel from you is an intense, unnameable energy that is your life force. Your very soul. A spark of the divine.

It is love itself.

It is glorious.

When I close my eyes, I can still see it. Colors that have no name as brilliant as the sun. A swirl of prismatic energy that sings in unison with the universe.

You still shine brighter than any soul I’ve ever known, but all I feel now is the suffering.

It overwhelms. Consumes. Destroys.

It dims that light in you—but cannot put it out.

This is not who you are.

You are laughter and joy and adventure and peace and commitment and life. I know this because I feel these things too. Not today. Not yesterday. Not for some time now. If I try hard enough, I can still touch them, but they are buried deep.

Hard to reach. Made all the harder to reach because you know me.

Knowing me has made it worse, because you know I am an empath. You avoid me and block me and keep these things to yourself because you do not want anyone, especially me, to see that what you want to feel now is the pain.

Pain does that. It blinds us to the truth that it, like all things, has purpose. Has a season. Will pass. Is temporary.

Pain doesn’t want you to know that.

It wants you to remain in the moment, convinced that it is lasting, so you either do whatever it takes to overcome it or be seduced into remaining there forever.

Suffering is possibly the most seductive of all emotions.

Misery truly does love company, but the company it desires most is your own.

You have stopped talking with me because you know I can see within you, and it makes you uncomfortable. It makes you want to run because you honestly believe that the person you are right now is who you will always be, and you don’t want me to see that person.

I see you. I see you though you choose to remain in the shadows. You cannot hide the truth from me; you are goddess. A manifestation of the divine. A sacred human.

Because you are unable to feel these truths, to access them, to realize them, you pull further and further from me and from the rest of the world, for fear of the off-chance that you will be revealed by another empath.

There is a better way. Join me.

My ability goes far beyond sensing. To be a true empath means to literally share feelings and emotions.

This sharing does not have to be a one-way street. The relationship can be symbiotic if you allow it to be. It takes practice and patience and trust but we, as One, can overcome those feelings through the simple, difficult, and always fulfilling acts of love.

Through shared breathing and the joining of heart and soul through Tantric practices, through faith and determination and commitment, and, most of all, through the sharing of love and gratitude, we can lift those feelings out of the dark places and raise them into the light—and we can forge new emotions in their place.

You will not hurt me in doing this. I have spent my whole life absorbing what other people feel. I have a capacity for pain and suffering that goes well beyond what others have because I have spent my whole life dealing with others’ pain as well as my own.

I have learned to separate those feelings, and to transmute them. I can take your pain and infuse it with intentions of love and gratitude, and together we can turn them into something meaningful.

I have also spent a lifetime absorbing other people’s love and joy and faith and trust and all those other wonderful things that we all want in our lives, and in absorbing them and making them my own, I have extended and expanded my own capacity for them.

Let me share that with you.

This is what it means to be loved by an empath.

Let me in.



Author: J.M. Greff
Image: Pixabay
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Travis May
Social Editor: Erin Lawson


deprivation:inspiration emma.thorstensen

with deprivation
the dreams I sought
and evaded
and ducked
vanished at a touch
offering just a taste
of their sweet promise
like sirens
that taunt and tempt
and draw me to their depth
to drown
what I long to resurrect
or phantoms
that drift and swirl
and haunt my thoughts
throughout the day
with resolve
each is captured
and released
the sirens song complete
the phantoms fade
the nectar tasted
and the words begin to flow


Image: “Ludic Dreaming: REM” by Emma Thorstensen

While I Wait for You


bed empty room


I don’t know you
not yet
but while I wait for you
not abandoned
not incomplete
not unworthy
but deserving
I will love myself
like I want to be loved

it is in my desire to be loved
that I have learned to love
so I will embrace my desire
to be loved by you

I will build my home
my life
my work
around your arrival
knowing that you
will one day join me

I will sing my song
at the top of my voice
from the highest perch I can find
like a solitary bird
in the highest limb
of the most dead tree
in an empty field
trebles its enticing
and inviting song
in search of harmony
you will hear

I will touch myself
in those places that need healing
through those cracks
and crevices
in my armor
that protect the deep wounds
and empower my Self
and in doing so
I will become the best
that complete body
and soul
and mind
that I can possibly become
knowing that you
are doing the same
while you wait for me

I will write of my passion
and fury
and great love of you
because in doing so
I will remind you that I am here
knowing that you will see my will in my words
my strength
my courage
my love
and you
my Beloved
will have so many stories to share
that Our Book
that divinely inspired chorus
written over the years
is but an introduction to volumes

I will practice Love on myself
until the day you arrive
knowing that you
will need me to love myself
as much as I
will need you to love yourself
only through loving ourselves
can we ever love another completely

if that day never comes
if I spend the rest of my time
writing about the passion
and unconditional love
I have for you
a love that threatens
to devour me
from inside
should it never find release
it will yet shine so brightly
that it shames the sun
should it never find a home in your heart
I will know
that I have loved you
as best I can
and I will still have spent my life
loving you



One Night in Mobile
the sun sets
with jealous rage
a slow watery fireworks
painted on oiled canvas
it’s cosmic wailing
of colored tears
a confession
it’s illustrious dance
against the light
of our souls this night
on this silent pier
in full view of the moon
that hides in shame
behind a cloud
and still
the night
is bright
lit by the fire
of our quickened pulse


Tick Tock


My mind rattles
With thoughts
Like a thousand chattering clocks
That grasp and claw
With their metal hands
No two
With the same time
Each clack a memory
Ticks and tocks
Past and future
The silent groans
Of grinding gears
The disharmonious chimes
Alarms and alerts
Each vying for my attention
With their own message
“Here! Here! Here!”
“Wake up!”
None in agreement
While I
Still and quiet
As observer to that chaos
Draw in peace
With slow
To lovingly welcome
And caringly acknowledge
Each thought
“You’re not good enough ”
Yes, I see you
“You don’t deserve…”
I understand
“What are you…”
It’s okay
After each
The clocks
One by one
Fall silent
A barely noticeable hum
Of discontent
Like wind turning a window fan
All that is left
Is the sound of my breath

The beat of my heart



And love


What I don’t (2011)

How is it
I find my self
Short on what I need
When I’ve paid so
For what I don’t

I look around
And all I see
Are fragments of
Fragmented dreams

Parcel wrapped
Absent soul
Empty eyes
Empty home

How is it
I have so much
That means so little
Or not at all

I look around
And all I see
Are pieces of
What’s left of me

Stinking carcass
Shedding skin
What’s left of me
Can’t begin

To find my home
To belong

I wonder what will become
Of the boy I was

And this man I’ve become?

Will he ever find his way home?

Image by J.M.Greff

Even then


Through my tears and pain
I call out
To the god of her faith
To take her pain
Her sorrow
To give them to me
To make them mine
I swear to him
Upon my soul
She will never be treated like that again
A voice within says “Never?”
I swear
“Upon your soul?”
I pledge upon it
I want her in my life
No matter what
“No matter what?”
Crippled or crazy
“You would care for her?”
Broken or diseased or dying
“You would have her?”
I would have her no matter her condition
No matter her state
No matter what
“You would love her?”
I do love her
With all that I am
“And if she could not return your love?
Even then?”
Even then I would love her

I am given my answer in silence


I will not wait



I spent the last twenty five years of my life waiting. Waiting for something or someone to give my life meaning.

I wait and wait and someone comes along and I rejoice in their appearance in my life. I have meaning and purpose! Joy!

Then they leave and I am left with questions and doubts and the waiting begins again.

I wait for the time to be right to do those things I want to do. I get close and then something happens that puts those plans on the back burner again. Maybe next week. Next year.

I even wait for myself to achieve the level of awakening that I believe will allow me the right, that qualifies me, to pass what little knowledge I have to others but each step I make on this path only reveals what little I actually know and the sheer impossibility of the task.

Still I wait.

In the end all I am waiting for is death.

I’m done waiting.

I will not be left behind by my own apprehension. I will embrace my impatience because at fifty three I have much less time to waste waiting for something or someone or anything or anyone than I ever had and as each day passes I have even less.

I will not wait to die
Or raise myself
To touch the sky
I will go on
Though the path has no end
If I must
I will travel alone
I will not wait to love
I have been gifted
With love
I will not wait to express it
To share it
Even if only with strangers
I will not wait until it clears like a mist
I will make a storm of it
And all who are caught in that storm
Will know
I did not wait

I think I’ll go camping this weekend… or maybe next…


Image: “Left Behind” by Hussam Eissa



You don’t know me


You don’t know me.

Maybe we’ve met or spoken. Maybe you have read what I write. Maybe you only know what it is that I do for you, that I love you, that I care.

But you don’t know me.

You know the man determined to live by the simple and incredibly difficult intentions of love and gratitude, but you don’t know why he loves so deeply or what it is that he is ever so grateful for.

You know the man who shares his heart openly. Who is unafraid to admit that he cries as much as he laughs, but you don’t know what it is that would make him happy or why it is he cries at night.

You know the man who is generous to a fault, but you don’t know that his son tells him, “Dad, focus on yourself. You seem to focus on everyone except yourself.” You don’t know why you come first. Even his son doesn’t.

You know the man determined to change himself and his world, but you don’t know why he is so determined. Who he was before the change and why it’s so important for him to change.

You know this man only because of what he does for you.

I could tell you that he goes without food for weeks in order to be sure that you don’t. That he falls four months behind on rent to be sure you have what you need or why his landlord is okay with this.

You know the man who will always be there for you, no matter what, but you don’t know how he cries for you when you are afraid
or when you feel as alone as he does.

You don’t know where or when I was born, what towns I grew up in, my favorite foods or colors. You don’t even know my middle name.

I could tell you these things but you still wouldn’t know me.

It’s okay. I don’t know you either.

You know what you need to know.

You know that you are loved.
Almost as published in Elephant Journal (except they tried to turn it into a poem)
Author: J.M. Greff
Image: Jake Davies/Unsplash
Editor: Taia Butler
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Khara-Jade Wa


This has not been a recording


My life is not a video
To be rewound
And replayed
On demand
Not a collection
Of those things
that made me laugh
Or cry
Or rage
Not to be enjoyed
Commercial free
Minutes at a time

Even If you could
It would not be
What you see
On the screen
As you fast forward
To the good parts
Or go to the kitchen
For ice cream
When the story drags

To know me
Takes far more
Than viewing
From the safety
And comfort
Of your favorite chair
Life is messy
To know me
Requires that you get your hands dirty
From time to time

I do not come with a channel guide
There are no episodes
I do not respond to remotes
I am not a program

This has not been a recording