Shot Through the Heart: My Energetic Heart AttackAug 22, 2023
Is it possible to have chest pain that is not yours? Can we feel another person's heart ache?
Once upon a time in late 2005, I was working primarily as a manager of a medical billing office for a large clinic. My bodywork business was a small side hustle that costs as much as it made. I began noticing strange experiences that started during my massage therapy training in 2000 and were continuing randomly. The focus of these experiences was strange sensations or sudden changes in my mood during massage treatments I was performing. In particular, I would ask a client how the massage was feeling, and they would say it felt fine and I could tell they were lying - they didn’t feel good. I didn’t have anyone to speak to about what was happening, and I held these experiences in a quiet fear, primarily telling myself that they were only in my imagination.
One day at the office I walked into my department, and I was introduced to a small group of clients talking to my colleague. They had a billing question that I was able to answer quickly and excuse myself. As I retreated into my office from this conversation, I felt an intense pain. It came out of nowhere and felt like being punched in the chest. I shut the door and sat down, trying to catch my breath. I quickly realized that I could breathe, but it hurt to breathe. I have a history of a heart condition, and that was simultaneously soothing and worrying me.
Is this what a heart attack feels like?
But I went to the cardiologist, and he said I was fine.
Didn’t we learn in massage school that rib pain is a thing that feels like you are dying?
Isn’t this how people die of a heart attack, by minimizing serious chest pain?
What's wrong with me?
After a few minutes and some deep breaths, the pain diminished. I got back to work so I could be ready to scribe for the medical case presentations happening at the end of the day. Practitioners from local clinics would meet at our center to discuss complex cases and brainstorm treatment options with each other. I would take notes so the staff could coordinate any referrals that were needed for the clients to move forward with their treatments. One of the doctors raised his hand to present a case and I immediately recognized the name of the woman he introduced. I had just met this woman in front of my office. It turns out this woman was shot in the chest by her ex-boyfriend and had intractable chest pain from the gunshot wound.
It felt all my hair standing on end.
That wasn’t my own chest pain I was feeling earlier, it was this woman’s pain.
How did that happen? What's wrong with me?
I was extraordinarily fortunate that I was seeing a practitioner to learn about reiki, and she helped me to understand what had happened. But it took me years to put all of this together. And it was years later that I learned that empathic experiences are not that far out; we just don’t talk about them.
But what if we did? And what if we talked about our empathic and intuitive experiences in a supportive environment? And we learned tools that helped us grow our skills and balance our nervous systems? How does a person first realize that they might be an empath? What is that like? Are you reading this article because you have had some unusual experiences that you would like to put into context? Throughout my life it has been helpful for me to feel safe when I have better understanding. Perhaps sharing this story adds to your knowledge base so you can learn about the possibilities in expanding your gifts.
Ease Keys for Empaths and Intuitives creates a safe harbor to meet with others and share our stories and what they mean for us. You will gain an understanding of what is happening in your body and senses that will help you feel at ease with your superpowers. You will also learn skills to focus your awareness and create habits to ground and stabilize your system. Finally, we will practice integrating these skills into your daily life so you can have more energy for living. Click here for more information and to register for Empathic Success Practices.