BARRIE DAVENPORT: “17 Reasons Why Being An Intuitive Empath Is A Gift”

Do you ever feel like you have a heightened sense of understanding and emotion for other people’s feelings?

Maybe you feel like you are really good at reading people or you simply have an inclination toward being empathic.

If so, you might be an intuitive empath.

Being an intuitive empath means you have a high sensory perception and can actually be impacted by other people’s energies.

You have an innate ability to perceive those around you. But, being an empath is more than just being an especially sensitive person, and it isn’t limited to simply feeling and expressing emotions.

It is often said that empaths are naturally intuitive, and while this is true for some empaths, it is not true for all. But, if someone is intuitive, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a lot of empathy. Some believe the words are interchangeable, but the two abilities are actually quite different.

Empathy is one’s concern with things other than oneself — the external world. It is the ability to sense the feelings and energy of other people and one’s surroundings.

However, intuition is the internal feelings one has to evaluate and understand a situation. While it still involves absorbing the outside world, the final component is very internal.

When empathy and intuition come together, a very unique ability is born, and those who hold this trait have a special gift.

What is a true empath?

A true empath is one who can feel the pain of other people as their own. They can also feel the joy that other people feel.

Because of this, a true empath often likes to help people in order to make those around them happy and therefore be able to feel that happiness themselves.

Empaths are great listeners who never ignore people and refuse to be fake or put on a facade.

These traits probably sound like they could apply to a lot of good people, but a true empath helps other people to the point of exhaustion and is very sensitive– not only to people’s emotions but also to external factors in the environment, such as light, noise, and motion.

Intuitive Empath Traits

There are many traits that intuitive empaths share. For example, they strongly dislike seeing other people suffer and often avoid watching the news or even sad movies because of this.

After feeling strong negative emotions, intuitive empaths are then likely to feel physical symptoms in addition to their emotional despair, such as a headache and fatigue.

Intuitive empaths have a tendency to remain attached to people who are in need, even if it is not in their own best interest.

This may be a stranger or could be a partner, which puts intuitive empaths at risk for being in toxic relationships.

Some of these traits may sound like negative things, but being an empath is a gift in many ways. Here are 17 reasons why this capacity to understand other people is actually a good thing.

 

17 Reasons Why Intuitive Empaths Have A Gift

 

1. Empaths surround themselves with positive things.

When an empath sees something bad, they instinctively turn away so they don’t feel the negativity. Because of this, they try to surround themselves with only positive things.
This leads to empaths having positive friends who are aiming to live a happy and satisfying life.

Happiness is contagious, so one of the most effective ways to find happiness is to surround yourself with those who can create their own happiness and share it with others.

2. Empaths typically have meaningful careers.

Empathic people can often be found working as mentors, life coaches, and teachers. Because of their compassion for nature, they often either do volunteer work for the environment or make a career out of environmental activism.

Due to their acute senses, empaths love to spend countless hours going through nature and enjoying the songs of birds, the sounds of the ocean, and the smell of flowers.

Having a meaningful career or giving back to the community is a fulfilling way to lead a happy life.

3. They bring other people together.

People who are empathic find it deeply uncomfortable to watch other people be mean or hostile towards each other.

Due to their peaceful and easy-going nature, empaths often act as intermediaries to bring harmony between others who are at odds.

They have a gift of being peacemakers and reducing the stress of other people by decreasing any resentment that is being held.

4. They don’t rush into making decisions.

They seek a deep authenticity before making decisions. Empaths find it bothersome to settle with a solution if they feel it may have been influenced in any way.

Because they like to stay true to themselves, they will take the necessary time to come to informed decisions.

This is a gift because having the ability to resist making last-minute decisions helps people avoid having regret in the long run.

5. They can experience the emotions of their loved ones, even if they are not with that person.

It is common when an empath is in a strong relationship with someone to experience sudden surges of emotion or pain to later learn that their loved one was feeling the same emotions or pains at the same time.

Often, empaths describe this feeling as being “blindsided” by emotions when they are not expecting them.

6. They like to stay focused.

While many people may believe that having the ability to multi-task is a strength in life, this is usually not true because none of the tasks are completed at a high-quality level.

In fact, multitasking divides one’s attention into many different things at once, leading to confusion and feelings of being scattered.

Intuitive empaths feel more comfortable and do more effective work when they do their tasks one at a time and in a certain order.
Focusing on one thing at a time and doing it to the best of one’s ability can be an empath’s source of personal energy that can lead to great success.

7. They have a knack for listening to other people’s stories.

One distinctive characteristic of this population is that they offer a trustworthy and treasured sense of companionship to other people.

Other people gravitate to them and feel comfortable confiding with empaths about their own personal struggles. Even strangers may approach an empath and open up to them about their problems.

This is good because empaths know that other people feel relieved when they are done talking about their feelings.

Empaths can then feel this sense of relief themselves because they have helped someone who is having a hard time.

8. Empaths are quick to spot someone who is being deceitful.

People who are empathic can easily spot a lie.

They pick up on even subtle hints of deception, which allows them to be very trusting of those who they choose to be close to because they know the people surrounding them are not deceitful people.

However, this also means that empaths know when someone is hiding something when they say they are “fine”.

Empaths know when these people are actually crying on the inside and putting up a false front.

9. They pick up on non-verbal cues.

One of the greatest gifts that an empath has is the ability to read other people. This allows them to quickly decide if someone they meet will end up being a part of their life for the long-term or not.

In addition to non-verbal cues, empaths can pick up on even slight indications of others’ physical needs and emotions.

This gives them a specific talent for being able to pick up on the needs of those who cannot speak, like animals, babies, and the human body.

10. They are able to see the big picture.

Having a sense of synchronicity allows empathic people to grasp the grand scheme of things because they can recognize the interconnectedness of each individual organism in the world.

Being able to see the big picture allows people to feel a sense of meaning in what they do and work towards a final goal, which ends up being more fulfilling.

11. Empaths have great imaginations.

When an empath finds themselves stuck in a mundane daily routine, they tend to drift off using their great imagination.

If their surroundings are not providing any emotional stimuli, empaths can easily lose interest in what is going on around them and get into their own world of imagination and creativity.

12. They are creative and artistic.

Empaths can convey a message in ways that other people can’t. They are able to use their feelings to project their artistic and creative talents.

This could come out in many forms, such as dancing, painting, writing poetry, or playing music.

Empaths have a special talent for creativity in life with not only art, but also their experiences, situations, and various conditions that arise.

Because empaths think in a unique way, they are able to see certain things that other people can’t quite conceptualize as easily. This thoughtful creativity and ability to process information in a distinct way is a notable capacity.

13. Empaths can see everyone’s point of view.

One of the reasons that empaths are such good friends to other people is because they are willing to listen to and understand everyone’s point of view.

This also makes them be able to be life-long learners as they cross paths with many different types of people.

14. They are natural healers.

Empaths are natural healers and can actually give their healing energy to other people through their senses.

They possess a healing energy that can help those around them and help themselves as well.

15. They have a huge enthusiasm for life.

Because empaths feel everything with such strength, they are prone to feeling greater highs than other people.

Therefore, most empaths are very enthusiastic about life and they are able to experience joy with a greater intensity, which leads them to be more kind, caring, and compassionate towards other people.

16. Empaths are comfortable being alone.

A lot of people who are not empathic feel uncomfortable being alone, but empaths crave time alone and actually need it in order to balance themselves and de-stress.

They value this time to have a chance to recuperate and are able to increase their self-awareness because of this.

17. They are able to contribute to other people’s lives like no one else can.

Because empaths truly care about other people, they are able to touch the lives of those who feel like they have no one to turn to.

This means they can make a huge difference in people’s lives and leave a positive impact on those who are possibly suffering.

Final Thoughts

While being intuitively empathic may seem draining because you are taking on the feelings, burdens, and emotions of other people, it is actually a great gift to have.

It is important to learn how to protect yourself from becoming dragged down by negative energies and find a way to practice self-care to release the negativity.

Empaths understand very clearly that the problems in the world won’t be solved by hate, instead, they need to be addressed with love and understanding.

It is important to people who are empathic to use their energy in a positive way for the world, even if it is through small actions like donating to a food bank or volunteering their time.

Being able to positively impact the world can help anyone feel positive about their empathic and intuitive feelings.

 

 

~via LiveBoldAndBloom.com

LOUISA LOVE: “20 Signs Of Implantation”

“Unexpressed anger is unhealthy for us, but expressed anger, laying down our boundaries and stepping into our power as sovereign god-beings saying no is absolutely essential along our path of awakening to our own God/Goddess selves. The last time these beings came for me I telepathically told them to f*** off. They immediately packed up and left. I have full memory of this event, as they were unable to wipe my memory.”

~Louisa Love

 

The Extraterrestrial Deception that is taking place here on Earth is a highly controversial subject, as it still remains hidden behind the layers of earthly mind distractions. To those of you who have raised your consciousness to such a degree that you can see, feel, hear or know that it is here this article will be hugely helpful.

Abduction by the Grays

Back in 2013, around two weeks after my own rather dramatic kundalini awakening, an extraterrestrial group known as the Grays abducted me. These beings definitely did not have my highest and best at heart. In fact, these beings seem to be void of feelings and to be working for a hierarchal controlling ET hive mind like network that has infected earth and humanity over thousands of years. Due to this particular time line we are in, a time that was even predicted by many different ancient cultures as ‘the end of time’, ‘the great purification’, ‘the awakening’, etc. many of us are now starting to awaken from our sleep or unconsciousness.

Due to my awakening and to my ability to hold more light these controlling beings now saw me as a threat. I also willingly went with them, as I was completely uninformed of what was going on. The questions I had was, “Why are we being abducted and implanted?”.

We seem to be an energy source for different astral or fourth dimensional beings. We are enslaved by our own low vibrational fears and limited thinking and we have forgotten how powerful we really are. These inter dimensional beings can only take our energy when we give our power away by allowing our monkey programmed minds to run the show.

The grays implanted me with many different types of energetic or astral implants, and some of these implants that are highly parasitic and seem to have a bio-genetic life form, can grow, shrink and effect our thoughts, were aggressively implanted within my psyche also affecting my physical body. Over the last 2 years I have been learning how to deal with these implants, and I have come to learn that these implants/entity structures cannot remain within our bodies or our mind if we remove its food source. These implants feed off unconscious fears and old or recent traumas that is stored within the body/mind. Some of these traumas may even date back to previous or parallel lifetimes. For instance, I was shown two past life traumatic deaths that I was able to clear and heal.

Avoiding an ET Abduction

How we can avoid an ET abduction scenario? I know how to do this now as I have experienced the power of my own righteous anger. Yes, you’ve read right … anger. You see, within the New Age religion there exists much programming that shames our natural feelings such as anger. We are left open and gullible as easy targets for these types of post awakening abductions. Most people who are abducted have no memory of it, as memories are wiped clean. Literally from one day to the next they feel possessed, tormented, and completely out of control. Usually at this stage mental health is called in. Unexpressed anger is unhealthy for us, but expressed anger, laying down our boundaries and stepping into our power as sovereign god-beings saying no is absolutely essential along our path of awakening to our own God/Goddess selves. The last time these beings came for me I telepathically told them to f*** off. They immediately packed up and left. I have full memory of this event, as they were unable to wipe my memory.

Symptoms and signs of implantation

1. Nightmares

2. Crawling sensation over or within body

3. Feeling anxious and out of control
4. Being completely unable to let go of certain thoughts.

5. Suicidal thoughts

6. Physical body becoming super sensitive. I have met many clients with autoimmune disorders who are completely aware of the implants. I have even wondered if the immune system is actually attacking the implants and so it looks as if the body’s immune system is attacking itself! Something to think about.

7. Tight necks shoulders and back related issues.

8. Extreme fear at odd times, such as waking every night at the same time in cold sweat from fear

9. Overwhelmed by negativity

10. Tightness over face, head, or other body parts.

11. Static like feeling over head

12. Buzzing or white noise in ears

13. Depression, violent thoughts

14. Feeling drained and exhausted

15. Hopelessness and despair

16. Addiction to sex, drugs, gambling, etc

17. Feeling as if you are out of your body

18. An inability to connect to your feelings/numbness/lack of empathy

19. Nausea or tight feeling in solar plexus

20. Some highly sensitive people can feel energetic tentacle like structures wrapped around their windpipe, the sternum, etc.

I discuss how to neutralize the implants in my next article “32 Ways Of Neutralizing Implants” on howtoexitthematrix.com:

http://howtoexitthematrix.com/2015/09/29/32-ways-of-neutralizing-implants/

 

 

~via HowToExitTheMatrix.com

ALETHEIA LUNA: “4 Popular Myths About Being An Empath”

Thin-skinned, hyper-sensitive, sooky, wimpy, spineless, wussy, feeble, weak, fragile, melodramatic, temperamental…

If you can relate to, or have been called a combination of any of these words, chances are you’re part of a unique group of people: the Empaths.

Occurring in an estimated 5% of the population, Empaths are known for their highly developed ability to sense the emotions and thoughts of the people around them. As author and empath Christel Broederlow put it “empaths often possess the ability to sense others on many different levels”, this includes the abilities to intimately understand what a person desires, yearns for, and is currently feeling, suffering or thinking, as well as the ability to feel other people’s bodily illnesses. These occurrences manifest themselves as energy vibrations that the finely tuned empath can pick up on, or “tune into”.

Commonly identifying as clairsentients and HSP’s, Empaths possess an ability that is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, the empath is an excellent listener and counselor, knowing the best way to comfort and assist those around them. On the other, being an empath can be painful and tiring. It’s common for the empath to be weighed down and constantly congested with the negative emotional energy of others, often creating physical and psychological disharmony.

Although the empath has a wonderful gift, and is often greatly cherished by those around them, they are often challenged and confronted by a variety of misguided perceptions towards their innate gift.

Myths & Misunderstandings

“You need to grow some thicker skin! Stop being so overly sensitive.” I wish I could tell you how many times I heard that in my childhood! Growing up as an empath, you may have experienced similar insults from your parents, friends or peers, and perhaps even worse.

It’s not at all trendy or popular to be sensitive or feeling in our society that values efficiency, cold calculation and industrial resilience. Therefore, you may have experienced and still experience, a lot of antagonism towards your behavior as an Empath. I will explore 4 of these main misconceptions below.

Myth #1 – Empaths are navel-gazing and self-absorbed.

Truth – We often focus more on others than on ourselves.

It’s true that Empaths are often unexplainably moody and quiet on the outside. However, this isn’t because they’re excessively absorbed thinking too much about themselves and their feelings. Rather, the empath is often deeply affected by the exterior emotions of others that he experiences as his own. The empath’s ability to intuitively feel the feelings of others is what weighs him down so much. In fact, it’s characteristic of the empath to pay more attention to others needs than his own.

Myth #2 – Empaths are mentally ill.

Truth – We are magnets for negative energy. This often creates psychological disbalance within us.

Empaths are excellent listeners, confidants and counselors. For this reason, it’s common for people to be drawn towards their sincere and caring natures, almost like magnets. Therefore, empaths often experience a lot of “emotional baggage dumping” from other people, and have difficult releasing themselves from the negative energy that remains in their minds and bodies afterwards.

Unfortunately, this can lead to a lot of lingering depressive emotions that the empath is left with. Thus, the empath can appear to be mentally ill and depressed, and in some cases legitimately is. However, in most cases the empath is congested with remnants of harmful emotional energy, like sinuses are congested with mucus during a flu virus.

The root of the problem doesn’t lie with the empath , it’s a result of their outer emotional climate.

Myth #3 – Empaths are psychologically frail.

Truth – We are biologically programmed to be more sensitive and in tune with our surrounding environment.

As empath Nicole Lawler wrote, Empaths are essentially “walking around in this world with all the accumulated karma, emotions, and energy from others”. Understandably, this results in a lot of inner emotional tension for the empath who is more prone to crying and exhibiting other signs of “weakness”.

Additionally, the empath finds it extremely difficult to partake in many “normal” activities. For instance, watching a movie about Nazi concentration camps is extremely emotionally upsetting for the empath , and getting a job in an office is overwhelming and tiring for the empath who is bombarded with other people’s emotions constantly. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the empath is often perceived as “wussy”, “frail” or “weak minded” to the person who fails to comprehend the constant pressure the empath lives under.

The fact that most empaths aren’t driven clinically insane by the constant emotional flux they experience is testimony enough to their mental strength.

Myth #4 – Empaths are lazy.

Truth – We often lack mental, emotional and physical energy due to our intense empathetic ability to understand others.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) amongst other physical issues like headaches, insomnia and Fibromyalgia, have all been commonly attributed to Empaths.

If our minds are constantly overloaded with stress, tension and pressure, it therefore translates that our bodies are as well. This often results in sicknesses such as the ones mentioned above. Thus empaths often lack the energy and therefore desire to do many things, preferring to relax (including taking naps) instead.

 

 

~via LonerWolf.com

MATEO SOL: “5 Things Every Sensitive Man Should Know”

If you have grown up as a male in our society you’ve been taught one very clear message: emotions are a weakness, big boys don’t cry.

Being “strong” means you have to be forceful, aggressive, competitive and largely unemotional. If for some reason you are born sensitive, cooperative and compassionate, you are perceived as “weak,” “effeminate” or “weird.”

Throughout history, men have gained their identity, peer respect and self-worth through status, sexual prowess and money all of which contributed to their sense of power. In a physically demanding hunter-gatherer and agricultural world, men had to be the warriors that shouldered the responsibility of providing for their families. But now as women have become more independent with our society shifting to value mental labor over physical labor, men are struggling to let go of their old warrior habits and role dynamics.

However, regardless of our external bodies and sexual orientations, we all carry differing degrees of masculine and feminine energy. Some people will carry equal amounts, others will carry more of one than of the other (which might oppose their physical bodies), as can be seen in females referred to as “tomboys” and sensitive men.

It saddens me to see so many fellow men who outright ignore their sensitivity, or are aware of it but choose to reject or hide it. Many people associate sensitivity with neuroticism or low self-esteem, and courage with “numbing the pain.” Sensitivity and courage are not mutually exclusive. To be sensitive is to be aware of the feelings and perspectives of other people as well as your own. To be courageous means to be completely aware and to feel fear yet to still fight for what you feel is right or what you want.

In fact sensitivity and courage can compliment each other; the greater your sensitivity and fear is, the greater your courage has to be to fight through it.

In psychology, Carl Jung was aware of the differences between masculine and feminine energy, and divided them into his Anima and Animus Archetypes. Personally, I’ve found that by embracing my sensitivity as a male and using it alongside my logic and courage, I have become a much wholer human being. In the end, to be intelligent is useless unless you can combine it with sensitivity. When intelligence is filtered through sensitivity, it becomes wisdom.

5 Things Every Sensitive Man Should Know

Here are some vital lessons I’ve learned as a sensitive man that I want to pass on:

1. Sensitivity Helps You to Grow Deeper Connections

When a man is capable of transforming his insecurity about being sensitive into something empowering, it can allow him to create deeper connections with others. For instance, I’ve found that when I go beyond simply sharing factual information and opinions with my male friends, I see a whole new side to them which is more meaningful and creates a deeper long-term bond.

2. Sensitivity Encourages Emotional Maturity

I feel that the evolution of men will be one towards a balance of strength and sensitivity. One of the biggest struggles for men in relationships is to openly express their emotions or show vulnerability. This emotional distancing is done to display “strength,” but quite often the more sensitive female lover perceives this as ambivalence, being “unavailable” or even a phobia towards commitment. To be able to give love, show love and receive love freely is incredibly attractive.

3. Sensitivity Makes You More Body-Conscious

Sensual awareness is not limited to sex (although it does make you a better lover), but rather, it extends to the body as well. The greater your sensitivity is to your body and its senses, the more you’ll learn about yourself, the better you’ll be able to take care of yourself, and the healthier you’ll feel. However, I’ve observed that often many sensitive male students of mine have tried to drown their emotions out with food as an unconscious buffer.

As a sensitive man, I’ve discovered a variety of foods that I can feel my body quickly rejects by making me feel subtly ill. I’ve also learned that having long hair not only allows me to express my Anima externally, but it also serves as an extension of my nervous system amplifying my empathic senses. It’s no surprise that the Incas, Mayas, the Samurai and the Native Americans were aware of this (the latter using their hair almost like “antennae.”)

4. Sensitivity Allows You to Become More Creative

Creativity is not the result of logical empirical deduction, it is the child of playfulness and sensitivity. Creativity is born in the right side of the brain instead of the left.

To be a painter, writer, musician, actor, photographer or anything creative requires a sensitivity towards beauty and emotion.

5. Sensitivity Helps You to Grow Spiritually

A thirst for wisdom and truth can only come to those who possess a spiritual sensitivity. To strive toward a better society and the peace of man demands an immense amount of courage to stand up against the status quo and a great spiritual sensitivity to question it.

Jesus, Buddha, the Dalai Lama, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. were all figures who possessed this quality to speak the truth and question cultural morality, virtue and justice. Many people who have embraced their sensitivity will know that they are often the ones whom their friends come to, to ask for counsel and advice.

How to Embrace Your Sensitivity

In our society men are rarely taught how to express their feelings, and so it can be very difficult to know where or how to begin. In fact, if you are like most men, you’ll find it difficult to even become aware of what you’re feeling in the first place, e.g. how the mood of your boss may be affecting you, or how the stress from your busy schedule is making you short-tempered. And when someone asks how you are, you are so disconnected from your emotions that you’ll resort to the habitual “I’m fine,” making it harder for anyone to provide any support.

Ignoring feelings won’t making them disappear though, in fact, the more we ignore our feelings the larger they’ll grow. I’ve often seen men who appear to be well and calm before they burst out in an explosion of anger or rage when something bad happens. It’s often these very same men who become isolated and depressed due to their tendency to avoid and limit their social contact to avoid emotional vulnerability.

How do we embrace our sensitivity? Recognizing and accepting ourselves as sensitive men is the first step. No matter what “macho” ideals you’ve been taught, sensitivity is a gift, not a weakness. To be more empathetic and to be able to appreciate art, music and beauty, is a blessing. While burying our feelings is certainly easier, acknowledging our feelings helps us to empower ourselves which requires much more courage, and is a lot more rewarding. Can you imagine how many wars and ecological forms of destruction could have been avoided if we all cultivated greater sensitivity?

The next step is to examine your feelings about sensitivity. Is it a “weakness” or some kind of illness to you? You’ll have to change the core beliefs you hold about masculine sensitivity in order to accept it. Only after this can you integrate aspects of your sensitivity into your daily life. You can do this by changing your old habits of ignoring or hiding your sensitivity and instead decide to slowly process through them, expressing them to yourself and your trusted loved ones.

It takes time and effort, but changing our personal paradigms is essential in order to embrace our own sense of personal power. It’s time to change this outdated male ideal of aggressiveness, thick-skin and emotional retardation. By empowering sensitive men with self-confidence, we’ll all contribute to a more peaceful, balanced and healthy planet.

Once you become aware of your feelings and have learned to express them, you’ll begin drawing loving people into your life, you’ll be able to help others through their own problems, and you’ll be able to feel as though every part of you is living life to the fullest.

 

 

 ~via LonerWolf.com

THE OPEN MIND: “Synesthesia — Smelling Colors And Tasting Sounds”

“As music is the color of sound…so is painting the poetry of sight.”

~James McNeil Whistler

 

Do you taste strawberries when you hear the sound of a guitar?  Are you convinced that Fridays are Yellow?  When you see the number 7 do you see it in Light blue?  Approximately 2%–4% of the population has some form of synesthesia, perhaps you do, too!

What Is Synesthesia?

Synesthesia is a perceptual condition in which one sense (for example, hearing) is simultaneously perceived as if by one or more additional senses such as sight.  Another form of synesthesia joins objects such as letters, numbers or shapes with a sensory perception such as smell, color or flavor.

Synesthesia can involve any of the senses. The most common form, colored letters and numbers, occurs when someone always sees a certain color in response to a certain letter of the alphabet or number.  For example, seeing the word “dog” as forest green or the number “9″ as light purple .  There are also synesthetes who hear sounds in response to smell, who smell in response to touch, or who feel something in response to sight, some even taste sound.  Just about any combination of the senses is possible.

Scientists hypothesize that in synesthetes, neurons and synapses that are “supposed” to be contained within one sensory system cross to another sensory system.  It is unclear why this might happen but some researchers believe that these crossed connections are present in everyone at birth, and only later are the connections refined.  In some studies, infants respond to sensory stimuli in a way that researchers think may involve synesthetic perceptions.  It is hypothesized by these researchers that many children have crossed connections and later lose them.  Adult synesthetes may have simply retained these crossed connections.

Some People Really Can Taste The Rainbow

We’ve covered this phenomenon in the past. And I’m a synesthete myself — I see letters and numbers in color, and associate sounds with shapes and textures.  But only a very few people — maybe only 1 percent of synesthetes — have sensory crossovers that affect their relationship with food and drink.

Jaime Smith is one of those people.  He’s a sommelier by trade, and he has a rare gift: He smells in colors and shapes.

For Smith, who lives in Las Vegas, a white wine like Nosiola has a “beautiful aquamarine, flowy, kind of wavy color to it.”  Other smells also elicit three-dimensional textures and colors on what he describes as a “projector” in his mind’s eye.

This “added dimension,” Smith says, enhances his ability to appraise and analyze wines. “I feel that I have an advantage over a lot of people, particularly in a field where you’re judged on how good of a smeller you are,” he says.

Atlanta-based pastry chef Taria Camerino also has synesthesia.  But for her, synesthesia is more than just an advantage — it’s a necessity.

Camerino experiences the world through taste.  She tastes music, colors, shapes and even people’s emotions.  She says she has a hard time remembering what things look or sound like, but she can immediately identify objects based on their synesthetic flavors.

“I don’t know what a box looks like unless it’s in front of me. I don’t know what the color green looks like. But I know what green tastes like,” she says.

“I don’t know what the color green looks like. But I know what green tastes like.”

~Taria Camarino

 

In addition to working as a pastry chef, Camerino is often asked by clients to make dishes that mimic her synesthetic experiences.  She creates “flavor profiles” of things like satisfaction and discontent.  She takes inspiration from music to put together nine-course tastings.

“I move through the world this way all the time,” she explains.  “If I want someone to understand it, I have to create a dish out of it.  I have to make it palatable.”

Diagnosis

Although there is no officially established method of diagnosing synesthesia, some guidelines have been developed by Richard Cytowic, MD, a leading synesthesia researcher.  Not everyone agrees on these standards, but they provide a starting point for diagnosis.

Synesthetes do not actively think about their perceptions; they just happen.

Rather than experiencing something in the “mind’s eye,” as might happen when you are asked to imagine a color, a synesthete often actually sees a color projected outside of the body.

The perception must be the same every time; for example, if you taste chocolate when you hear Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, you must always taste chocolate when you hear it; also, the perception must be generic — that is, you may see colors or lines or shapes in response to a certain smell, but you would not see something complex such as a room with people and furniture and pictures on the wall.

Often, the secondary synesthetic perception is remembered better than the primary perception; for example, a synesthete who always associates the color purple with the name “Laura” will often remember that a woman’s name is purple rather than actually remembering “Laura.”

A select group of synesthetes can truly “taste the rainbow.”

According to researcher Sean Day, approximately one in 27 people has some form of synesthesia.

A synesthete himself, Sean Day is president of the American Synesthesia Association and has been tracking research on this condition for more than three decades.

Summarizing the state of current research, Day says the brains of synesthetes do appear to be anatomically different (although he cautions that scientists have only studied a few types of synesthesia so far).

In particular, it seems that the neural connections between different sensory parts of the brain are more myelinated in people with synesthesia.  Myelin is a fatty sheath that surrounds neurons and enables neural signals to travel more quickly.

“Because the myelination is different, the interaction between certain parts of the brain is different,” explains Day.  “This allows parts of the brain that are responsible for different senses to communicate when they normally wouldn’t.”

Hypermyelination could explain why synesthetic experiences seem so real for people like British IT consultant James Wannerton, who is also the president of the UK Synaesthesia Association.

Wannerton has a particularly intrusive form of synesthesia, in which sounds, words and colors all have taste and texture.

“It’s like having an eyedropper of taste sort of dripped on your tongue constantly, just one after another after another,” he explains.  “It’s a full mouth feel.  It’s exactly like I’m eating something.”

Even Wannerton’s brain gets fooled.

“I wouldn’t know what a hunger pang is because I don’t get hungry,” he says.  “My brain is constantly pumping acids into my stomach to dissolve food that isn’t there.”

Synesthesia affects his social life, too.  Eating out, for example, is a nightmare:

“Different voices, the ambient atmosphere in the restaurant, it all makes a difference to my experience,” says Wannerton.  “You serve me food on a blue plate — it just totally messes up the eating sensation.”

But even though his synesthesia can be quite disruptive at times (it’s “absolutely ludicrous,” he admits), at the end of the day, Wannerton still enjoys it.

And most synesthetes would agree, including sommelier Jaime Smith.

“My synthie thing is the added bonus for me,” he says.

“It’s the joy and sometimes the fun of it all.”

 

 

~via The-Open-Mind.com