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7 Metaphysical Practices That Help Me Thrive As An Empath

On paper, I had every Black woman's dream, but I was also severely burnt out.

Wellness

On paper, I had every Black woman's dream. A six-figure salary. A flashy career in entertainment. But what most didn't realize is that I was severely burnt out. Corporate America had me working 70-hour work weeks, on average. I was juggling this while raising two small children. And as if that wasn't impossible enough, I was (and am!) an empath. I peep everything, intuitively pick up on vibes and easily absorb other people's energy and intentions.


Fast-paced environments that require lots of social interaction are extremely taxing for empaths and introverts, and that was my life for 10-12 hours each day! Every day, I constantly brushed off racist and sexist microaggressions, executed high-stakes presentations (despite being shy), schmoozed with celebrities and took on all of the last-minute, high-pressure projects needed to overcompensate for the deep insecurity that I felt inside about being a Black introvert.

Looking back, I was a train wreck waiting to happen. And happen it did.

At the height of my career, my once statement-making hair started to fall out in clumps. Then, the stomach issues, joint pain and random food allergies set in. Imagine being a young Black woman trying to convince your doctor that you're struggling with all of these random symptoms? Good luck!

Life has a funny way of forcing you to slow down when you refuse to slow down by choice; I was finally diagnosed with lupus and had to resign from my job. My doctor told me that my condition was likely triggered by my stressful lifestyle. Without realizing it, ignoring my true nature made me sick.

Although it was a hard pill to swallow at first, I recognize now that diamonds are forged through fire. Being diagnosed with lupus led to my spiritual awakening. If I hadn't gone through this crisis and discovered my passion for the metaphysical, my self-acceptance journey would have never begun. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Despite society making Black women feel like we need to constantly display super-human strength and resilience, I am proud to be an empath. My experiences have taught me to respect my deep intuition and my need for a quieter, more introspective lifestyle. These are some of my favorite metaphysical practices as an empath that keep me healthy, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

1. Crystal Healing

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According to Harper's Bazaar, crystal healing is a type of alternative therapy that involves using gemstones to bring balance to your life and mind. Healing crystals have been referenced in the Bible, by ancient philosophers, and were frequently used as healing and protective talismans in ancient civilizations like Egypt, Greece and Japan.

Each crystal emits a unique energy pattern and frequency. Carrying these crystals influences your own personal frequency and the quality of your aura in very specific ways.

Rose Quartz crystals are purported to attract love. Citrine is rumored to attract wealth. My personal favorite is Black Tourmaline. I never leave my house without it. It is highly protective and resistant to negative energy. It shields you from taking on the energy of your surroundings and the people around you - an absolute must-have for empaths, introverts, and highly sensitive people.

2. Acupuncture

According to PopSugar.com, acupuncture is the "placing of acupuncture needles at certain acupuncture points to treat a variety of ailments and pain, which are rooted in the blockage of energy." I have used acupuncture consistently over the past five years and for me it has significantly reduced bloating and joint pain and has improved my digestion. It has also promoted deeper sleep, reduced stress, and tons of other benefits that I swear by. I always feel incredibly refreshed and sleep deeply following my acupuncture treatments and try to schedule these in at least 1-2 times a month.

3. Mindfulness

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According to MayoClinic.org, mindfulness is "a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment." The key to practicing mindfulness successfully is through allowing ourselves to be "fully present, aware of where we are and what we're doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed" by what's going on around us.

I practice mindfulness by taking a phone-free walk for at least 30 minutes each day and turning on my senses so that I can fully take in and appreciate all that is going on around me. Limiting your time on social media, turning off your phone, and doing one thing at a time (like eating with the TV off) are other ways to incorporate mindfulness into your life.

4. Astrology

Astrology is "the study of the influence that distant cosmic objects, usually stars and planets, have on human lives." Astrology boasts lots of legendary followers including Psychologist Carl Jung, Hippocrates, and bank tycoon J.P. Morgan who famously said, "Millionaires don't follow Astrology. Billionaires do."

Whether you believe in astrology or not, science has shown that the phases of the moon and planets have a profound effect on humanity, especially those who are already highly sensitive by nature. I notice that I am particularly tense and wound up during the full and new moon phases when lunar energy is super charged. Knowing my astrological placements and transits have also been extremely helpful and incredibly accurate in determining my energy patterns and experiences in the days and weeks ahead.

5. Feng Shui

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According to Invaluable.com, feng shui, "often referred to as the art of placement" is, in the simplest of terms, "about positioning different elements to optimize 'Chi,' or energy in your environment." It is based on the belief that your environment has a direct effect on your mood and experiences.

I am so fascinated by feng shui and have noticed that when I follow its basic practices, like making sure my living space is clear and clutter-free so that energy can freely move, my mood, productivity and energy levels are instantly elevated. Notice how you feel immediately uplifted after cleaning your room? Having clutter and clothes around can be extremely draining to empaths and highly sensitive people.

6. Reiki

According to Reiki.org, "Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by 'laying on hands' and is based on the idea that an unseen 'life force energy' flows through us and is what causes us to be alive."

When our "life force energy" is low, we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of feeling happy and healthy.

Reiki for me has been like therapy. The advice and energy that I receive from my Reiki practitioner is holistic and makes me keenly aware of the patterns and imbalances in my life. I try to schedule in a session at least once a month.

7. Taking Spiritual Moon Baths

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Rooted in ancient Ayurvedic practice, moon bathing is the act of tapping into the powerful energy of the moon to promote optimal physical and emotional health. There are a number of ways to tap into the energy of the moon - my favorite way is through my bi-weekly Moon Bath Regimen, i.e. taking a healing bath with crystals, essential oils, herb botanicals and a variety of sea salts.

When I take my baths, I use formulas that are specifically targeted to what's going on in my life at the time. I use Ylang ylang and Rose quartz if I need to boost feelings of acceptance and love for myself or to reconnect romantically with my partner. I use Green Aventurine and Eucalyptus essential oil if I'm feeling stagnant and unmotivated. Rhodonite is my go-to if I'm going through a tense situation like a break-up, or difficult work project. This practice has helped me so much that I created a company out of it.

Of all of my metaphysical and ritual self-care practices, moon baths are by far the most fulfilling and effective for me. I schedule them in twice monthly during the New Moon and Full Moon phases - with additional baths whenever I am feeling particularly heightened or over-stimulated. I view my ritual moon baths as much-needed alone time where I'm able to manifest positive vibes and experiences in my life.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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