Do you consider yourself highly sensitive? Empathic? An empath? In this episode author Signe Myers Hovem shares the differences she sees between these traits and explains that the goal is to understand your own unique sensory sensitivities and how you relate, interact, and perceive your environment.
The Empath's Journey with Author Signe Myers Hovem
Wendy: [00:00:00] This is Wendy Halley and you're listening to Lucid Cafe.
Hello. And thanks for tuning in to Lucid Cafe, a podcast, exploring healing consciousness and the complexities of being human. Speaking of those complexities, do you consider yourself empathic or a highly sensitive person? In this episode, my guest Signe Myers Hovem shares how she's come to understand and categorize different types of sensitivity.
In her new book, The Space Between: An Empath's Field Guide, and in our [00:01:00] conversation, she describes the essence of what it means to live as an empath and demonstrates how an ordinary person can open up to living an extraordinary life.
A little about Signe. She's created homes on five continents over 20 years, raised four uniquely sensitive children, pursued a special education lawsuit appealed to the US Supreme Court, and volunteered in a hospice in Texas and an orphanage in Azerbaijan. She's also worked as a spiritual counselor in Houston, Texas, and taught workshops and has done trainings internationally in the art of being an empath and the power of language.
Please enjoy my conversation with Signe Myers Hovem.
Wendy: Thank you for coming on the show.
Signe: Thank you. I'm looking forward to our conversation.
Wendy: Your book, The Space Between: An Empath's Field Guide, is this your first book? [00:02:00]
Signe: It is. It took me nearly 10 years to write. I started it when we moved to Azerbaijan, but I had, I had had the seedings of it. When I worked in Houston, I worked as a spiritual counselor at the spectrum center in Houston, and I had gone to lunch break and I'd seen an Oprah magazine.
And on the cover, this was 2007 on the cover. There was a headline Beware of the Sponge People. And I was really intrigued that one, it was on mainstream media and I was curious what they were presenting. And so I read the article and it had a lot of fear-based language that I didn't. I mean, I can understand in publishing you kind of capitalize on what's there and what's big. And I think Harry Potter was still very big at the time. So maybe that was part of their languaging, but they would have little subtitles of the dark arts and different things. And it was all about protecting and protection. [00:03:00] And, and that made me really step back and say, you know, people are talking about this, but they don't really understand the mechanics. And I'm always one who I like to reverse engineer something. I want to understand how something works. And so I took it upon myself to say, how could I explain to people what empathic receptivity is and what is an empathic person versus an empath person versus what is empathy and, and just looking at the energy of it.
And, and that kind of created my workshops. I started that 2007, 2008 called evolving your sensitivities from sponge to empath and that's kind of that gave it the skeleton, I guess, the book. And then it took me honestly, 10 years to grow into writing the book.
Wendy: It's a hefty book. I mean, it, it is very comprehensive. One of the things that I wanted [00:04:00] to ask you about is you differentiate between being empathic, being an empath and being highly sensitive. Can you talk a little bit about how you came to those differentiations and what they are?
Signe: Yeah, I'm happy you asked that I did listen to part of your episode where you talked about shamanism and in it, you were talking about how, how do you come to label yourself as shaman, right. And I kind of have the same feeling about using the word an empath because to me an empath is the result of having come to accept and understand your empathic nature, to the point that. You are in service to the environment and to humanity. And I say in the book, if you identify as an empath, you're on a spiritual path.
Because by that nature, you [00:05:00] are engaged in the energetic realm, as well as a philosophical realm. And you are attuned to balance. What's out of balance. How do you balance? But you know, we're born sensitive. And we can be hardwired to be empathic and that's a sensory reception. So empathic to me is a sensory reception.
Whereas like empathy is a personal, emotional development that you have when you can see something outside of yourself. That is similar to something you've experienced in, it triggers in you empathy because you can relate to it because it was similar to you. And then you can feel compassion for what's happening outside of yourself.
So that has really nothing to do with sensory reception. Whereas empathic, you are receiving just like your five senses are one way channels. We see light. We hear sound. We feel. These are all one way channels coming into us to [00:06:00] process and create perception and empathic receptivity is part of our intuitive nature and it, our intuition is also in coming.
It's incoming for us to process. So when you are in pathic and maybe don't understand your empathic, it's very easy to accept everything you feel as your own. Because this is kind of what we're told from culture and society, that if you feel it it's yours, we haven't been educated in a way to you to pause and say, well, this could be from the environment.
This could be from this person over here who is really imbalanced and projecting all over the place or a toxic environment. So what I wanted, I have to say part of my motivation too, was I was seeing. Um, online forums or comments that people would make how overwhelmed they were and they would identify [00:07:00] that they were an impact.
So I just wanted to kind of step in and say, let's take a, let's take a moment here. And I understand, first of all, if you're declaring yourself an empath. Do you know what that means? How did you come to have that label for yourself? Because I've heard people who will go to a therapy session and there'll be very sensitive and emotional and the therapist will say, oh, well, you're an empath.
And so they've now taken this label on without understanding maybe what does that mean? And so I would just like to have a look at this evolutionary arc of being empathic. Understanding what that means. Why would you be picking up stuff from the environment? Because everyone is customized to their life and their life experiences.
And what I may pick up another empath might not pick up, but then, you know, you, you start as you gradually embody and [00:08:00] understand who you are, you come to this place of knowing. An authentic aspect of yourself. Because for me, I never imagined, I would ever say in public, I'm an empath, but my empathic receptivity and my sensitive nature really made me get to know myself in a way that culture and society and my own family nucleus could not tell me or show me. That's why I say it's one of the most authentic parts of me because it was not dependent on an external authority and telling me who I was. It was all internal accepting, acknowledging, witnessing, allowing and integrating. And the more I did that, the less overwhelmed I became because it was like a brilliant feedback mechanism. The more I accepted and acknowledged that I was picking up other things, it would be very easy for [00:09:00] it to dissipate then, as opposed to the years where I just pushed it away, I was in denial.
I didn't want to deal with it. And it wouldn't leave me alone then.
Wendy: Okay. Then throw a highly sensitive person in the mix.
Signe: Okay. So highly sensitive person, you know, 1989, I think it was Dr. Elaine Aron coined the phrase and it became a very popular umbrella for everyone who was sensitive. Finally, hooray, we had a way to articulate ourselves to other people. But highly sensitive persons they tend to, you know, have a lot of physical sensory triggers like loud sounds, bright lights, allergies. So there's a lot on the physical realm and they're very attuned to nuances and they can, they're very empathetic. And a lot of it they've been described as a genetic marker that they say 15 to 20% of the world population has this genetic marker [00:10:00] and it's, they consider it as a evolved way of considering safety. So they monitor their environment. They're highly attuned to the environment and do they feel safe, but where I kind of draw the distinction is that. It highly sensitive person is probably never questioning their imagination. Like, did they imagine that, whereas an empathic person who is feeling visceral sensations in their body, a change of temperature and aches and pains in their body and mood change, or they're next to someone and they kind of feel like that person has something funky on them or the room feels a bit off. Often, you know, when I was awakening to my empathic, I was always going, is that my imagination or, and I don't, you know, highly sensitive person doesn't have to go lean into their imagination to justify what they experienced because it's very present physically.
Wendy: That's a really [00:11:00] interesting differentiation. I never thought of it like that because yeah, being highly sensitive, it is like your sensory experiences on overload. And then you're having to process all that information from the environment. Being empathic, you're processing subtle information from other people, or just the way something feels on this very subtle level, but may not come from a physical trigger.
Signe: Right. And I, you can be both a highly sensitive person and empathic. And that was kind of also my point in one of the chapters is if you can identify the source of your sensitivities, you know, knowledge is power and it really helps you with self care. Because if you know that this source of the sensitivity is more highly sensitive, there's strategies, there's therapy that you can go through.
If you are discovering that some of your sensitivities are more from the subtle realm, then there are. Type of self care [00:12:00] and self-development that you can seek out that isn't really going to be answered in the highly sensitive persons camp. And so for me, you know, if we can turn sensitivities in, instead of being a curse and something you're constantly managing and a burden into being guidance that is coming home to yourself because your sensitivities are guidance.
Wendy: I never would have thought, I guess I made the assumption that all highly sensitive people were empathic, and I'm probably projecting! I just assume that because I never untangled that for myself. So I just assume like, oh, that's just part of the package. You're sensitive to all the things in the environment, not just the physical things, but the people things and the feel of a space and all of that, huh?
Signe: Well, no, I think, you know, not that I'm controversial, but I'm constantly asking questions. Like, does this fit this thing to this thing? Because I I've gotten used [00:13:00] to the, there's the authorities that say, this is what it is. And I'm always kind of saying, well, not actually, or there's a little bit of a nuance to that.
You know, I don't like absolutes. And one of the things that to talk about empathy, when they discovered mirror neurons, there are some scientists and researchers who say that, you know, this is part of how we have empathy is because we can see someone suffering. It triggers something in our own brain, and then this helps us connect.
And that's true. But if we were reliant only on our visual, then what would that say for blind people? Are they not
Wendy: good point.
Signe: You know, and it's also for empathic people. We can enter a room where there is not one single person in there, and yet we can pick up different moods or, uh, thoughts. And that did not require mirror neurons either.
So I just, you know, I'm somebody who is saying, okay, that might explain some of the. You know, I [00:14:00] know it happened in monkeys and they saw that monkeys were doing this and it may really help explain a lot of things, but it isn't a blanket, one size fits all again. And that's what happened with the highly sensitive person label.
I think it was trying to be a one size fits all. If you probably yourself, you know, noticing the last 10 years, the word empath is being used more and more and more. And I think it's because we're finally getting to a point where. This umbrella can be teased out into like, you know, there's some sub genres in here. There's uh, let let's, let's look at these over here.
Wendy: Right. And what you were also acknowledging in your book is that now it's starting to be taken a little bit more seriously, whereas the idea of being empathic, wasn't always acknowledged. Or even a thing. Now it's a thing. To your point, right?
Signe: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's a known.. And so when you are an empath, I also, you [00:15:00] know, I'm, I'm speaking from my experience, but the energetic realm response, and if you are saying I'm an empath, it's going to respond. And so that's why I'm cautionary that I started my book by saying, know who you are and be such. And I want everyone who really resonates with the empathic path to fully embody it, but maybe understand if you're identifying too much with being the empath which is the one that's able to be active and engaged and in service. The energy of the room can be coming to you because declared yourself an empath. And it's taking you at your word. And because language is very profound and sacred and it takes you at your word. And that's why affirmations are so powerful because can you hold your, I am. And if you can't, you're going to be getting, [00:16:00] getting that reflected back to you constantly.
Wendy: Can you describe a little bit more about what you mean by, if you make a statement: I am an empath, what have you noticed happens in response to making a statement like that?
Signe: Well, early on I, before I was, I think, quite ready. I like if I were to walk into an antique store, all the imprints and impressions would really come to me, just incarnate souls seem to come to me quite often.
And I just, it was like, I was just being a daily. And then, you know, I said, please, I got to figure this out. And I've just seen, you know, like I said, I see people on forums and they'll, they're, they're so overwhelmed with their senses as, almost as an excuse, they'll say, oh, I'm too sensitive or, oh, I'm so empathic as a, as a distancing thing that gives them excuse not to, to [00:17:00] properly be present and engaged because this nature has overwhelmed them. And to me, I'm like, that's your invitation to master it and not manage it, but master it. And then once you do, you can modulate. Like I. I can like say, you know, I need a little bit of a break. I'm working on something else. You, you get to a thing where it's a relationship that you have with the environment and with respect. And there comes these, uh, respect and compromise at times.
Wendy: Okay. So you're saying when you make a statement like that, it kind of opens these doors and you get flooded with information. And then that's when you're saying a lot of people will be like, hold the phone. This is too much, I'm overwhelmed, but they don't know what to do with it. And you're saying, well, if you learn to be in relationship with it, then that's a different story and it ceases to be overwhelming because then you're in the driver's seat a little bit more. Is that what you mean?
Signe: Right. [00:18:00] Like you have, the authority is within you then, and I can only speak for myself and that, and what I've seen for other people. If you're empathic, you, you are on a path and you get to choose. There is free will here. It isn't like you're going to be besieged by energies until you submit.
Um, because there has been times in my path where spiritually I've come to a path and I could choose how I wanted to develop myself. And some things I kind of said, no, I'm not interested in that. And I go the other way, you ultimately have control, but you need to be in your center. You need to be in the driver's seat.
As you say, otherwise, you're going to be constantly. At the will of the external authorities and the belief systems you have bought into, you could feel like you have no rudder on your boat and you're kind of restless and lifeless. But when you come into relationship, [00:19:00] not only with the environment is with your body.
Most of my journey in the early days was coming to accept this vessel. This body. And, you know, it's the one with the nervous system and, you know, and also then like, let's make peace with the mind because it's where you're processing and let's get into the heart because if you can love a rose, if you can love a tree, if you can love all of nature and God and creation of the divine, why can't you love yourself the same? And looking at that disparity of how you can adore and cherish something outside yourself, but you can't extend it inward. A lot of the cleaning up and untangling yourself from things that you, you took on because you felt it and you thought it was yours in the body holds up for you until you're ready to deal with it. And so you come back to the body and you recognize it's, it's still holding there because it's very hard to [00:20:00] process someone else's stuff. So, what is your stuff?
Wendy: You talk a lot about self care. Is that part of the process of working with this? Or is that just something that you, I mean, I recommend it to everyone. I mean, it's kind of, kind of vital! But as far as a practice of moving from being empathic to more of an empath, if you feel like that's your path, it's like, there's a part of you that's wanting to push you in the direction of being an empath if you are empathic.
Signe: Yes. It's like, you know, I once heard. Harvey. Oh, I can't remember Christian mystic and he many, many years ago he was doing a panel discussion with a Buddhist monk in Houston. And he said, there's two paths to God. There's the path to God. And then there's the path within God. And you know, I'm not a religious person, but I could really resonate with that because I found that once I accepted my empathic nature, I accepted that.
There's the energetic realm. That is part of the physical realm. [00:21:00] And it all goes together. I realized once I got there, which I guess would be that I came into God, I want it to be of service. It just was a natural extension of accepting all of that. So the self care too is about treating your body as the beloved, because.
You know, if you thought of your, your body as of car, you could not drive a car to the ground without ever giving it maintenance or repair or an upgrade, or what have you. It will, there are limits to what it can do for you. And the body is the same way. I mean, the more you invest in helping regulate your nervous system, helping to regulate your emotions. Coming to understand your thoughts and your mind and what are detrimental ones and how can we shift those? All of that is self care to the whole vessel here. And, um, [00:22:00] particularly because I'm a physical empath. I'll feel other people's pains and different things in the environment.
I need to have my base really well-known, you know, I need to know what are my injuries. I used to play competitive squash. And so I have some good hamstring injuries there and I, and I know what's mine, but I know what's mine because I've invested time and having body work done. You know, having a relationship, even with my feet, you know, how many people actually rub their feet on a daily thing?
You know, we put our shoes on and we walked around, but do you know what your toes feel like? And so I'm so in tune to my body that when anything like speaks to me, it gets my attention immediately.
Wendy: It's obvious.
Signe: Yeah. I'm not numbed out because I've been avoiding this for years.
Wendy: Hmm. It sounds very similar to what I noticed when I was called on to this crazy shamanic path and [00:23:00] went through a series of dismemberment type experiences. I guess you'd call them initiatory experiences. And the whole point of those experiences, come to find out. I didn't know that when I was going through it, but come to find out it was about me cleaning out my house. Facing all my fears, all my insecurities, so that I could be of service and to try to have the cleanest house I could possibly have, or at least get to know all the areas where I stuffed shit away so that when I was working with someone else that when I was entering their house, Shamanically that, uh, I could differentiate between their stuff and my stuff. And understand. Is that kind of what you, what you're talking about?
Signe: Totally. I mean, you have talked in your episode about the shamanic thing and you used a phrase that I had heard many, many years ago and I actually had a chapter that didn't make it in the book called, hollow to be hollow.
Wendy: Hollow bones.
Signe: Yeah. Yeah. And it's, it's very [00:24:00] important, especially if you are in service. The one thing I do want to point out about this evolutionary arc from empathic to empath is that an empathic person is passively receiving information, right? We don't go looking for, it comes to us, just like we smell something, the smell comes to us. So when you're empathic, you know, you're just passively receiving information that you can process and do what you want with it. But when you're an empath you pass that threshold from being passive to going in and being active. And so for me, you know, if anyone wants to kind of define for themselves where they are on the arc, ask yourself, can you passively receive information, discern it, you know, witness it? Or are you going into a more active phase and looking and investigating it more and working with it more energetically, because if that's [00:25:00] where you were, you're at, you're in the realm of an empath.
Wendy: Can you give an example of what you mean by working with it?
Signe: Okay. So when I do property clearing, I think empathic people are naturally suited for property clearing or energy clearing. So, um, when I was doing the property clearing in a, in a house, I talk about this in the book. I usually sit and I allow passively whatever's in the room to come to me and I discern, oh, that's interesting. I'm not interacting with it. It's like reading a book.
You're just taking in information. Oh, there's sadness. Oh, that's interesting. And in this one case I really got the person, the teenage daughter, whose room I was in. I kept getting symbolism of being trapped, like a prison. This instantly makes me start to question. And at that point, when I feel like I've collected enough information, I then go into an [00:26:00] active and it looks like I'm just sitting meditating by working through my third eye.
I am communicating to the person who's running. On a soul level on an energetic level. I am saying, this is what I'm feeling for you. And usually things that are pushed out into the environment is unprocessed emotions. The person couldn't deal with it. They're in denial. It gets kind of shelved. It gets as far as way as from them as they can.
And that's why it's easy to pick up if they had an inkling of it, or if. Processing it at all, even just to say, this is my issue, this is my wound. This is my trigger. You've already taken it more inward because you're accepting it. You're owning it, you're holding it. But when you're not. If you haven't gotten that far, you haven't really even named what's bothering you.
You haven't even named. And so it becomes more behavior because that's what like displaced anger is because a person [00:27:00] hasn't looked at what's really making them angry. So it comes out as behavior. So, um, when I pick up things, I start to have kind of a conversation in my mind's eye with the person about this is what I feel.
Um, is this something that you relate to, and it's not that I'm telling, oh, are you angry? Are you there? So I'm not telling them that because I have a friend, she said the definition of terrorism is when you tell someone who they are. This is for somebody's own right to know who they are. So I don't come saying, oh, you're angry. I'm like, I'm feeling trapped, prisoner these things. Can you relate to this? And so I sit with. Until I can feel like an opening or a shift I can not coming undone. So imagine being a prisoner is like a knot and a tightness and congestion. And I sit with this just kind of feeling [00:28:00] energy of opening, of being safe.
We can talk about this and suddenly there's just a shift in the energy. Something happens and it's not because of me, but something either the consciousness of the person's room shifts. And so in this particular case, I left the house. I told the parents that I told them what little bits I picked up. I didn't go into specifics about the daughter's room because ethics and privacy. I just said, you know, I worked in her room and, you know, we'll see. And they didn't have her set that there was an issue with her either, but she was the last daughter at the house. And, um, it was a new marriage between these two, so there was a step-mom. And so I'm driving back to my house, which was like a 45 minute drive. And I get a phone call before I'm even home. And the daughter had come to them and wanted to talk about how she had been feeling and not able to really [00:29:00] talk to them about it. One, I think she was feeling trapped because she hadn't come out to her parents yet. And, and there was a whole other thing, but they called and they said, I don't know what you did, but oh my gosh.
You know, and that was simply by actively, intentionally, respectfully engaging the energy. I felt.
Wendy: That's a great example.
Signe: Yeah. Yeah. It really, because it wasn't a lot of bells and whistles that didn't require smudge sticks, you know. It was just that I saw, and I was an observer at one point and I switched to a witness.
Wendy: So what kind of tools do you recommend for people to use? To develop their empathic skills more intentionally.
Signe: Well, you know, my book, I wrote it as a guide. Each chapter has questions at the back of each chapter for self reflection. I've had people say this could take six months or I've had people say I read it and then I had to start over again. And the idea was to [00:30:00] help people to come to know themselves. And, and that is a powerful intention in and of itself. But I do believe that. Look for resources. You know, I put resources in the back of the book too, of people who I believe they have schools or teachings, intuitive teachings that, uh, and that's just a small little thing. I mean, there is... right now, there's so many, an even yourself, I'm sure you do teachings. I very much go seek out your local resources, but don't give over your authority. Have a consultation, try a few classes if it's not doing it for you, don't think you have to do it. Go find another teacher. And you know, what is that saying? When the student's ready, the teacher appears. That has been the case for myself and I energetically there's teachers as well. You know I've very fortunate to have energetic teachings [00:31:00] off of the physical plane, that then the challenge is can you take that and bring it into the physical and embody it? That's always the invitation too.
Wendy: The challenge is translating it or actually trying to embody it?
Signe: Well, translating it to the point of embodying it. Talk about how powerful language is, but sometimes you can be in a meditative state. And it's a knowingness that kind of is beyond language. And so, you know, and I'm often one that I don't like to talk too much about what I might've experienced, because if I don't have the language. Yet, it just means it hasn't settled enough.
And then it's like, I always say, you know, you have theory and you have application, you know. Science is based in theory and application. And the heart center is the center between the theory and the application. So we have these theoretical notions of love and compassion and forgiveness, [00:32:00] but then you have your life experiences where maybe your family has been kind of shitty and it's been very challenging.
So how do you bring the theory and your own life experiences together? And then that's usually done at the heart level. I think life is a big trip, actually.
Wendy: Such a trip.
Signe: It's more a trip when you're trapped in trauma and drama.
Wendy: No, that's horrible.
Wendy: One of the game changers for me in my shamanic training, and this was in the advanced training, and it made me feel like this is something that we should be teaching every kid early in life, was the notion of first discovering if you have a personal boundary in the shamanic realm, and then if you didn't, creating one. And then from that point, developing a relationship with your personal boundary. I think a lot of people, especially sensitive people, sensitive on all [00:33:00] levels. Their personal boundary gets eroded away or damaged over time. And so they're just open. It's just open season, come on, everything, bring everything in. One of the really marked things that I noticed was once I had that personal boundary, I was actually more effective. I was primarily a mental health clinician at the time. I still am one. That I noticed when I was with clients that I was running clean. With this personal boundary that I could be actually more effectively empathic because our stuff wasn't getting all tangled up together. And I didn't have to sort it out as much. Just this idea that, oh, it's not an energetic boundary. It has an energetic reflection, but it's a really sturdy boundary that's around you all the time. And, um, funny story. Uh, just really quickly. I went through this little initiatory experience, deeper into my practice, [00:34:00] where I was initiated into working with lightning medicine. And the day after, I was with a client in a talk therapy session, and she was very angry. She was very, very angry and she was yelling at me like something was my fault. It was my very first time meeting with this person. And, um, and she was just pissed. And so she started laying her stuff on me and in my head, I'm like, "fuck you," you know? And then I'm watching myself like, whoa, Wendy, what the hell is going on?
And, and after she left and of course she never came back again because ...I never said, fuck you out loud. But, but when she left, I just closed my office door and I'm like, what the hell is going on, Wendy? And then I was like, I need to check my personal boundary. And so I went into an altered state. And I realized that the lightning medicine that, that whole ceremony I went through had just obliterated my [00:35:00] personal boundary and I needed to get a lightning proof personal boundary.
And it's a weird story, but just how dramatic the difference was when the, the boundary was gone. All of a sudden I was absorbing and taking on the person's stuff, but normally with that boundary, I wasn't.
Signe: It's really interesting. I had a client once. She didn't travel though. She wanted to. And I noticed like in her, her space, she had all these pictures of, of her family, of her diplomas.
And she had everything around her that said who she was or what she was connected to. And it was as if, when she went traveling and she didn't have that, she didn't know who she was. And she was very uncomfortable with traveling, but as we were. Together. And she kind of came back into herself and she understood like her "I am's" because to me, if you can really hold your, I am statements in the [00:36:00] center that too builds resiliency because you know who you are and what you will accept. And so that kind of helps builds a boundary as well, personal boundary. And she travels all over the place now. And it was just interesting to see as she came to know who she was.
And she didn't need these external props. She could go wherever she wanted to. And she would always know who she was. And I said, I think it's boundaries. I also talk about for empathic people, their true boundary is the ability to ask, is this mine because empathic people, our energy fields expand to one to two feet, like a, a suitcase that has a extender zipper. We pick up something and this is why it made me feel like the people who are presenting: you need protection. You need to do all that. Or like, I'm like, you don't understand your energy systems protecting you. And it's designed in a way, because we pick up this thing from the environment and a holds [00:37:00] sit there on the outside of our energy field for us to discern. And it may feel like it's right on you because the physical world and the energetic realm, energy moves and feels differently. So I can feel it right here, but it's actually on the outside of my energy fields and it gives me a chance just like. You can see fire, you can smell fire. You can feel the heat.
Everything's at a distance to give you the chance to get away from the fire. Your empathic nature to is not putting you in a vulnerable position. It's just letting you know, I've picked this up. What do you want me to...? What are you going to do with it? And so this idea that we have this sponge. Because we are sponges. We, we have this element of expanding. Oh, I picked up this feeling. This feels like sadness. I'll just use that as a very easy one. Somebody around me must be sad and I just send love to the sadness. I don't go trace it to who was the creator of the [00:38:00] sadness. I just I'm somebody who doesn't really want to know other people's stories so much energetically.
So I'm just like, you know, let's not complicate this. Let's just, it's sad. Let's send love. I'm not going to judge it beyond that. And then, then, you know, there's techniques you can do to squeeze your sponge. Like I, in a pinch, if I'm driving I'll just squeeze up, hold my breath, blow out. It's just kind of a reset for your nervous system.
Or you can be very creative and customize what feels good like for clearing it. Maybe even just the imagery of squeezing out a sponge. But I think you're very correct in that. Everyone needs to have a relationship with their boundaries in some way. And understanding that, you know, what is the difference between a barrier and a boundary? Because a lot of people overwhelmed will create barriers.
Wendy: Great point.
Signe: Yeah. They then have to dismantle, but they think they're setting their boundaries. Or you can have people who are [00:39:00] very porous and they have no boundaries and no filters either because they'll pick up something and they'll think nothing about telling that to the other person. Which is kind of overstepping a boundary, as well. And I think this is the thing, you know, you may be sensitive and empathic, but there's still ethics.
Wendy: I was actually just going to ask if you could say a few words about ethics. I know we're running out of time here, but I think that is vital. It's so important to be ethical when you have this kind of access.
Signe: Right. And I, you know, I have a bit in my book called When helping is hurting. And I give a few examples of when you're, you're coming into accepting that you pick up things. Intuition to me is personal guidance. So if I pick up something intuitive it's to help me, it's not a psychic reading. If you're going to go read somebody in order to help them, that's fine.
But intuition for me is my use. So if I pick up something from someone I [00:40:00] really have to discern, is it my place to highlight this to them? Because they may not even be aware that you're picking this up. Right? And so they're not going to be that open and receptive to hearing what you have to say. It's funny. I use some example the other day, somebody was interviewing me, and they said, can you give an example of when it really hasn't been helpful? And it was a few years ago, I was with somebody whose knee was bothering them, but they didn't have the awareness of it. They were not in tuned with their body, but man, my knee was killing me and I just happened to say, oh, what's going on with your knee? No, I don't know what you're talking about. Nothing's wrong with my knee. The next day they come to me and they go, what did you do to my knee? My knee hurts.
Wendy: Oh no! They became aware of it?
Signe: The became aware of it, but they thought I did it to them.
Wendy: You're powerful. Wow!
Signe: This is a thing, you know, people are aware of. [00:41:00] They're projecting perhaps. And that's why I became more compassionate and less neurotic about my environment because I realized this is an attendant to me. This is benign. I'm just eavesdropping or I'm just,
Wendy: It's just information.
Signe: And so I really dial down the whole fear and the protection sort of aspect on some things.
And I realized this is where you stay in your heart and you be compassionate. Because they're obviously out of balance, something's amiss. And I do like to, just in closing, like to point out that for me, the neutral channel is in the heart where compassion is and compassion... I can call compassion neutral because you're not judging when you're in compassion. And to me, that that is the most ideal middle place to be is in, in that neutral channel.
Wendy: No, that makes sense. All right, so you've written this book as a guide to help people on their [00:42:00] road to being an empath. Are you working with folks doing workshops, trainings, or are you just sticking to the book ,as far as that's your message you're putting out there?
Signe: I do, you know, I can work remotely. So I do still do some clients, but my, my hope is that eventually I can start doing workshops. I've used dousing rods to show people their energy fields and how projections impact them or how this sponge element works. And it helps to give a visual to something so abstract.
Wendy: Yeah. I bet.
Signe: And what I would ideally like to do is become just a guest speaker for somebody who's already having a workshop. I could come in and present for maybe three to four hours on the subject and particularly projections, because whether you're empathic or not, everyone projects, and it's the pollution of.
Wendy: Just a little bit, yeah.
Signe: That [00:43:00] I always like to, to explore with people and that's about the power of their mind and how are they using that? Consciously. So, um, yeah, that's my hope is in the next year or two to, to be able to be in gatherings and demonstrate.
Wendy: All right. So how do people find you?
Signe: Yeah, my website is just www.SMHovem.com. And I will point out that in my book at the back, there is a link to my website where there are three meditations for download. It's not on the audio book naturally. But for people who bought the book or the ebook, there is a link there and it's a subtle body clearing. There's a projections meditation. And then there's just a relaxation where it's called ebb and flow, because I like people to understand that their energy fields, their body, most of the way our systems [00:44:00] work, comes with a pulse. And you know, when you're rigid, when you're not moving and you're stagnant, that gets less pronounced. And so this meditation kind of helps you recognize that your heart beats and it contracts your lungs go in and out your esophagus. There's this pulsation. And I think kind of really honoring that pulse of life in a deep way physically, biological, cellular, spiritually, everything. And it's really great self care.
Wendy: I was just going to say: and great self-care. Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show and having this conversation with me.
Signe: Thank you for having me.
Wendy: If you'd like to learn more about Signe's work or to get a copy of her book, The Space Between, you'll find a link to her website in the show notes. That about does it for this episode.
Thank you to Signe for coming on the show. And thank you for listening. I also [00:45:00] want to offer my enormous thanks to Joanne for donating to the podcast! It means so much, and it makes me feel all gooey inside. Thank you, Joanne.
Until next time. .