While my memory carries back to when I was only one or two years old I believe it was around nine or ten years of age that my perception and understanding started to become clear. My sister, several years older than myself, had become interested in Wicca and while I didn't directly follow her along that path I became aware of the various concepts related to it. This is where I mention I was blessed by a very open minded and accepting core family that allowed all of us children to pursue our own path.
Over the years it became abundantly clear that our family is chock full of dreamers. I once came across my sister's journal and it was a dream journal that noted occurrences she'd dreamt that later happened. When I was old enough to clearly discuss it with my mother she related several poignant stories of my maternal grandmother's dreams that sadly came to fruition. Sure enough, I myself often have dreams that define future paths. Some are harmless and joyful moments that come to pass and some are clear warnings that I impart as best I can to those concerned.
I've always 'felt' things. From places, people, things. I often stand back from myself and situations and just WONDER, how? I can meet a person and know instinctively exactly what kind of person they are, how they think, feel, and whether or not they are trustworthy. I am under the impression that empathic abilities run in the family. I think my friends could explain this better. I am keyed into them in a way that boggles all of our minds. They'll just say a few sentences and ask me what's going on, I can lay out everything for them. From childhood traumas to adolescent insecurities, right down to the doubts they have about their present decisions.
The bright side about the empathic turn is that I've somehow developed the ability to, I'm not entirely sure how to put this, turn their negative positive? It's hard sometimes and reading other stories here I see I'm not the only one that's dealt with this. When people come to me with hurt, anger, and insecurity I redirect those feelings to bright things. Hope, surety, happiness. It hasn't weighed me down thus far, for which I'm endlessly grateful. I don't know how but I somehow always let the negative dissipate. Thank goodness!
The empathy I have found easy to deal with comparatively. I personally believe that all the gifts that may manifest it is the best to use for the benefit of others. It's the one I actually use daily. The one that makes me somewhat uncomfortable is the ability to channel.
I want to clarify that I've never sought any abilities. I never wanted to see spirits, hear them, speak for them. I am an artist and I do everything from dancing, acting, painting, etc etc etc. So, for the skeptics that may be reading, No, I never felt the need for attention.
That being said, I have always had difficulty accepting interaction with spirits. When I was about fifteen I was at an 'end-of-school party' and being one of two pagans present I was elected as the medium for a seance (?) because I was the practitioner with more experience. I honestly don't know how it feels for others but I was half aware and speaking. When one of the boys went running from the group I snapped out of it and was told that I'd spoken for his mother. I'd not only mentioned how and where she died, but also the date and his name. The message I shared was her love for him but somehow I felt guilty just landing that on him. And no, I did not know the boy or that his mother had passed. I knew only two other people at the gathering. It certainly gave me food for thought.
While I don't mind spirits in the sense that I can feel them and pick up impressions etc. I was extremely unsettled actually channeling one. I haven't attempted to channel since that occasion and don't know if I ever will. At this juncture in my life I'm unsure what, if anything, I should do with my abilities. I know it's an instinctive and natural thing but not how or if I should direct it. I do feel a driving need to help people but I'm unsure how to apply it.
I have a lifetime of stories to share but I'll spare the reader and save the others for another time. For the readers, I'd be grateful for any advice or suggestions. It's a tough nut to crack. If you have a gift, how much responsibility do you hold to share that gift?