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Cynthia Yockey Reviews “Empowered by Empathy”

If you are aware that your empathy—whether for people, animals, the environment, or whatever—overwhelms you from time to time, by showing you how to harness your ability so it does not run off with you, Rose Rosetree’s latest book, Empowered by Empathy: 25 Ways to Fly in Spirit, could save your life. Definitely it will provide you with the knowledge you need to understand and unfold your gift.

Even if you believe you are a very advanced empath, I assure you that Rosetree has a thing or three to add that not only will accelerate the growth of your abilities, but also increase your stability and joy in the process.

 And perhaps best of all, Rosetree’s book gently and skillfully guides those who simply feel drawn to the concept of empathy through the underlying  concepts of recognizing their own empathic strengths and then provides exercises to help them unfold their abilities.

In a nutshell, Empowered by Empathy describes ethical ways to connect with others while maintaining your own boundaries and staying grounded. Miracles ensue, as I shall explain.

If Empowered by Empathy were a pop psych book, it would plod through types of people and describe how to recognize each one, with tips on how to cope with each type as a spouse, child, boss or employee.

Instead, startlingly and delightfully, Rosetree begins by turning the telescope around and defining types of empaths (!). With guidelines and little tests, she helps the reader sort out his or her own type(s) of empathy to very fine, very real, and very important levels of distinction.

For example, in the chapter, “Your Gifts for Empathy,” Rosetree distinguishes between “intuition” and “oneness.” Thus there isn’t a broad category  of “physical empathy;” instead Rose  explains that the “physical intuition” form of empathy involves knowing what someone else’s body is feeling, while “physical oneness” is feeling their feelings in your body (i.e., when you put your attention on someone with a stomach ache, you feel your stomach start to hurt).

Obviously it can be crazy-making to have feelings flood into you from others with no conceptual framework or “off” button, so many readers will find enormous validation in having their experiences explained to them, probably for the first time. And more readers will find the validation of knowing for the first time that others share their experiences. They will gain the confidence to see more powerfully what they have already been seeing.

For example, one “aha!” came for me when Rosetree described how the faces of people and animals change in your perception as you come to know them. I have known this for a long time, but it never occurred to me to say much about it because no one else seemed to notice the phenomenon. Now I feel certain I will be able to see even more deeply into how this is so.

Rosetree explains both common and rare types of empathy along with ways to recognize which of these abilities match yours. Common types of empathy include physical intuition, physical oneness, emotional intuition and emotional oneness.

Less common are intellectual shape shifting, the ability “to follow the maze” of someone else’s thought process, and spiritual oneness, the ability to experience how it is to be a completely different person. (I’d like to see “intellectual shape shifting” get a more accurate name consistent with the others, like “intellectual intuition.”)

 Rare forms of empathy are molecular empathy (too hard to summarize), animal empathy, medical intuitives, gardening empaths, crystal empaths, and environmental empaths.

In another surprising turnaround, rather than diving straight into exercises to develop empathy, Rosetree first wisely establishes the reader in the skill of how to turn off the tap. But think about it: when the horse is already running away with you from too much giddyap, isn’t learning to say “whoa” your top priority?

I did mention that miracles can follow from empathy, so here is the one that happened to me. My mother has a host of qualities that could have induced even the late Mother Teresa to push her off a cliff without remorse. I’m pretty sure that the only thing worse than being empathically connected to her for 47 years has been to be her for 77 years.

Mother was scheduled to have angioplasty the day before my deadline for this review. The evening was my turn in the family to sit with her at the hospital and I had only read half of Rosetree’s book, so I brought it along. I was seldom  able to finish a page without some kind of interruption from my mother. I dealt with each one as kindly as I could and my attention swung smoothly back and forth between my mother and Rosetree’s articulate explanations. I didn’t expect anything from my mother but petulance and selfishness, and frankly, there was plenty of it.

So here’s the miracle. First I became aware how very hard my mother was clinging to me emotionally to stabilize her in her pain and fright and that what I was doing for her was the technique described in the book as “Holding a Space.” With the ability to keep the distinction inside between the two of us, I was able to hold her at the heart level and give her comfort and support.

Then, through her pain and dementia and hard, selfish shell, came the miracles, not all at once, but over the course of the eight hours I sat with her through the night. She told me she appreciated me. She boasted to her nurse that I was a writer and a genius. She told me that she knew I would be successful and rich one day soon. And when I left, she gave me the only heartfelt hug I remember receiving from her in my entire life.

Who knew a book that gave you the ability to have empathy while keeping your boundaries could produce in your life the emotional equivalent of the end of the Ice Age?

– Cynthia Yockey for Pathways Magazine

Ordering is easy

Purchase copies of Empowered by Empathy here, securely online. Or call 800-345-6665. This toll-free order line is available in the U.S. and Canada 24/7.

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