||[Mar. 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.