Sunday, November 22, 2009

Are We Hardwired for Empathy? Research says yes.

This is a repost from

UC BERKELEY—Researchers have found compelling evidence that people who are more empathetic possess a particular variation of the oxytocin receptor gene.

Published in the journal Proceedings in the National Academy of Sciences, the findings by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, support other research showing that oxytocin plays a major role in countering stress, says study coauthor Sarina Rodrigues, assistant professor of psychology at Oregon State University.

All humans inherit a variation of this gene or “allele” from each parent. The study looked at the three combinations of gene variations of the oxytocin receptor. The most empathetic—able to get an accurate read on others’ emotions were double "GG"—that is, they had two copies of the “G allele.” In contrast, members of the AA and AG allele groups were found to be less capable of putting themselves in the shoes of others and more likely to get stressed out in difficult situations.

“This is the first study to suggest that a tendency to be more empathetic and stress reactive than others may be influenced by a single gene,” notes Rodrigues.

Informally known as the “cuddle” or “love” hormone, oxytocin is secreted into the bloodstream and the brain, where it promotes social interaction, bonding and romantic love, among other functions.

But while nature might have given some of us the DNA to be more empathetic, those who are not in the GG group should not despair, Rodrigues says. “There are plenty of people in the AA or AG gene pool who are empathetic, caring individuals,” adds Rodrigues, who is not a double G but counts herself as caring and empathetic.

If you know you’re not in the GG group, you might just have to work harder at making social connections, she explains.

In the study of some 200 young men and women of diverse ethnicities, participants, who provided DNA samples, filled out questionnaires that gauged their levels of empathy and their ability to read emotions displayed in eye expressions. Those with the GG variation were better at reading eye expressions than their AA and AG counterparts.

Participants were also were given stress reactivity tests, including one that measured their heart rate as they awaited loud blasts of noise. While female participants were found overall to be more sensitive to stress, both men and women in the GG group maintained a lower heart rate in the face of the sound blasts.

While the findings might inspire science fiction musings about genetic screening for caring professions or even for sociopaths, they point to positive applications, Rodrigues says.

“Not everyone is going to be a touchy-feely person,” she adds. “We should reach out to people who aren’t because research shows it’s better for everyone to be socially connected.”

The study was funded by the Metanexus Institute and UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.

UC Berkeley news:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Comment on the Sweat Lodge Deaths

There's been a lot of press lately about the sweat lodge deaths in Arizona.

These headlines can possibly scare interested people away from an experience that has been used without any drama for thousands of years.

These are the times when a bridging of the Native American and white/black/latino cultures is happening, and so one unintended aspect of these deaths is that they can bring about cultural communication and understanding, even though it is under tragic circumstances.

In the press, there has been only minimal exploration of the historical uses of sweat lodges. Some of it, rightfully so, is clouded in mystery. That's because the ways, the uses, and especially the effects of the sweat lodge are not immediately apparent to the outside observer, especially the western outside observer. It's somewhat akin, I would imagine, to the outside observer who looks at masonic culture and traditions as portrayed by Dan Brown -(I happen to be reading the Lost Symbol right now!).

I have had the privilege to partake in traditional ceremonies facilitated by Native Americans, American Indian, whatever you want to call it (because some Indians certainly would never call themselves Native Americans) - for 6 years now. That's not a lot of time, as any true Indian would tell you, however, one thing is for sure: there is no reason to be scared of the sweat lodge. I have many clients who are interested in these ways and are pursuing them in their local areas from those who are trained.

A trained sweat lodge leader is one who has been chosen by Spirit, and one who has endured years upon years of rigorous testing and training. A lodge or "altar" would never be passed down by an elder unless the individual has passed many, many tests of endurance, heart and strength. The sweat lodge leader must be strong enough to withstand the sickness of ALL those who are in the lodge. By sickness I mean karma, bad decisions, generational DNA influences, trauma, accidents, illness - all sorts of nasty stuff, whatever comes up. It can be a very, very difficult path to follow. It is NOT to be taken lightly, nor is one's decision to enter a sweat lodge.

The sweat lodge leader is most likely is not profiting from their use of sweat lodges, although it is custom in today's society to give the leader of the sweat lodge a monetary donation after the lodge. The fact that the leader of the Arizona lodge, James Arthur Ray, is charging $10,000 per retreat has been used as criticism from some. However, his retreat included a lot more than just the sweat lodge itself. The only person who truly knows what happened at that lodge is Great Mystery and Creator - and that's probably the way it should stay.

One enters a sweat lodge for a higher purpose. I have seen many people enter a lodge to test it out once, twice, or a handful of times. That's fine and it's intended for that. Every single sweat lodge that I have ever been to has been an EXCEPTIONALLY welcoming and SAFE place for ALL people.

There's been criticism from Indians, who say they would never cram 60 people into a lodge. In my experience, the most I have ever seen in a lodge is around 20-25 people. Any more than that I don't think the sweat lodge leader could be fully attentive to every person's healing experience.

Thankfully, I have had teachers and mentors whose goal in life was to extend these Indian traditions and understandings to ALL people. Understand that many Indians don't want their traditions passed on to white people. Many still have deep-seated, generational distrust of white people.

While understandable, this is what I am using MY LIFE to pray for. I am using MY LIFE, with the use of my gifts and every ounce of strength, to pray that this old DRAMA be healed. ONCE AND FOR ALL.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Test Your ESP & Psychic Experience Forum for Empaths

Found a great little psychic test website that I'd like to pass along.

You can test your psychic ability with a series of fun & interesting tests.  I recommend the classic Zener test (which many parapsychologists use), as it only takes 5 minutes and will analyze the results and tell you the 'amount' of psychic ability you have.

I spent 30 mins this morning; seemed to have great success with the 'Guess the Random Number' test, not so much with the remote viewing test. Interesting how for empaths & highly sensitive, often our psychic ability rests on the fact that it may need to be connected to a person in order for it to be optimally effective. When emotions or other people are involved, our sense of knowing comes through with more ease.

Computer psychic tests are impersonal and may throw empaths off.  Beware of the psychokinesis test! I tried it once and decided it was better to avoid it; (I once sent sparks flaring from my TV by having the brilliant idea to do Reiki on it).

Looks like a great site to share empath and psychic experiences as well.


P.S.  If you haven't done so, sign up for Empath Connection's free eCourse with eBook and Audio presentation, along with our empath quiz.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

2012: Spiritual Manifestation & Attraction are Quickening

I have noticed lately that whatever I think about seems to come into reality quicker than ever! I hesitate to use these words, but I've heard friends & clients call this new awareness "freaky," "weird," and "scary." Indeed, this speeding up is causing us pause, because it means we must be extra careful with our thoughts! What comes out of your mouth today will soon be coming into Reality tomorrow.

There's an explosion of interest in 2012. What some call The Shift is happening RIGHT NOW. Others call this the Quickening, or the Ascension. There's a new movie about this Shift and also a new book by Lee Carroll regarding this.

In preparation for this 2012 Shift, Carolyn Cobelo and I are organizing a Sacred Journey to the Yucatan to explore Mayan Temples coming in early June (with a smaller test-run happening March 22-29). We will explore the prophecies of the Mayans and focus on rejuvenation as we spiral into our new age of global consciousness.

This is all very exciting. And yet, on the other hand, this infusion of LIGHT also means that Darkness is being pushed to the Surface.

Anything incompatible with Light is being forced to leave. Thus, with the current chaotic state of our world, see the Darkness for what it is; simply a reflection of the tremendous infusion of Light that is happening right now.

We are not able to get away with our little Lies to ourselves any longer. We cannot take any shortcuts any longer. We must Face up to what we've individually and collectively created.

I hope and pray that you continue to soldier on in your Spiritual Journey. Don't let the Darkness get you down. Take great caution with your thoughts and intentions.

Most of all, I pray that we all be extra VIGILANT in this special time about our thoughts, our language, and our own Power, for our Power is increasing every day.

In Peace,

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Can See Why Ghosts Exist

I can see how ghosts exist.

Just got up from a dream; still a bit bleary eyed.

The full moon energy wreaked havoc with my sleep, and for that I'm grateful. I had fantastic visions.

One of the things I "saw" was how emotions and memories can cause us to get attached to times and places in our lives.

When I was in college, I was manager of our college radio station. This was before the internet & all that. I would go down to the studio in my free time and play around, making shows, commercials, anything with total joy and exuberance. And all for probably 10 listeners at any given time - we had a 5 watt transmitter at a small residential campus on an island in the deep forests of central Minnesota.

In my dreams, I was back in the studio. Only it looked very different now. In the dream, I was confused. I knew it was the studio, yet it now looked very different. In the dream-state, I retraced my old physical steps, remembering where the offices were, where the records were kept, and where I used to walk to get to those records.

I was faintly aware of some other people who were slightly aware of my presence. They noticed me, but they didn't notice me, if that makes sense.

Did I bi-locate into the current physical space? Was I shifting into the future? Was I partly back in the past?

I haven't the slightest idea.

Yet something tells me this is related to why ghosts exist.

When we love (or hate) things so much, there's a certain part of our Soul that is encoded with memories and emotions that are related to Physical places. We can go back to those places at will.

Anyway, I'm rambling here. Felt important to get these vague impressions out.

I haven't had my morning coffee yet!