Reflection Cube

Three-dimensional thoughts

Tag: mind

stream - poem about leaves on a stream - cognitive defusion exercise - thoughts, negativity, identity, observation


I hate these thoughts I'm having
They're just not me.
Gonna place them on some leaves
And let them flow down the stream.

I'm not the author of all of my thoughts
I'm more like an observer as they float by me.
I'm not responsible for everything that pops
Into my head, only if those things become my identity.

I'm not these thoughts
And they're not me.
I'm just watching patiently
As they travel down the stream
Inside my mind - that ever moving current
That brings me joy and pain.

Inspired by a meditation technique shared with me by a friend:

“Leaves on a Stream” – Cognitive Defusion Exercise

© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

picture of rain, raindrops - thoughts, reverie


In reverie I dance, enraptured by a world of thoughts
And I wish that I could catch them all, but they fall much like raindrops.

I scurry about with my bucket, hoping to all the raindrops taste.
Then I realize that I'd capture more if I'd stand in just one place.

I cry over the drops uncaught, that teased me but moved on.
I raced to seal in every thought, but half of them are gone.

They're buried now within the dirt - land of subconsciousness.
But like the water soaking earth, they cannot be expressed.

Once they've mingled with the ground, their purity is gone.
My most transcendent thoughts, once found, swift to the earth withdraw.

© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

picture of memo


I wish my back would learn
That it's okay not to hurt.
It feels as though a little child
Stuffed my muscles tight with dirt.

I wish my legs would understand
It's a fine thing not to wobble.
My productivity and time
Vanish quickly as I hobble.

It's difficult to be a mind
Whose subjects miss the memo.
It's a journey, learning to resign
And live inside my soul.

Yet in these prison bars that bind - 
In my soul - at last I find
I've never felt more whole.

© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

girl letting go - heart-shaped balloon flying away - what are you afraid of losing?

What Are You Most Afraid of Losing?

One of the things I would most “fear” losing is my ability to reason, learn, remember, process information, articulate my thoughts, and comprehend the world around me. Essentially, my mind and sanity.

In my mind, the magnitude of this loss would far outweigh that of losing my limbs or hearing or eyesight – which is saying a lot!

If I were to lose my mind, how would I communicate meaningfully with my family and friends?

How would I know what is real or isn’t?

How would I appreciate the beauty around me?

I suppose the one advantage to losing my mind is that I probably wouldn’t realize what was happening, so I wouldn’t really be present to experience the misery. 😛

What is the one thing you most don’t want to lose?

© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

eye of an empath

Empathy and Empaths

Types of Empaths

When people hear the word “empath”, many think “someone who shows or feels empathy”. Which is generally a true of an empath, but not always.

Empaths typically have empathy. Some may show it, some may stuff or hide it.

However, the type of “empath” to which I’m referring in this article is not the empath who “demonstrates empathy”, so much as it is the clairvoyant empath.

What comes to mind for some – when hearing the word “empath” – is, “Oh, new agey stuff. ‘Natural witches’ or psychics or whatever”.

While the empath often does possess some seemingly-psychic qualities, I am neither a witch nor a new-ager, and I have still experienced odd empathic encounters.

I will share what empathy looks like for me, and at the end, what I suspect may cause “clairvoyant empathy”.

(My) Experiences as an Empath

– Watching people get injected with needles – even in movies – makes you sick, because it’s happening to you (as far as your neurons are concerned).

Tomato being injected with needle

Photo credit: Pexels

(Honestly, even this photo makes me cringe. Poor tomato! 🙁 )

– In social settings, you get distracted from – or sometimes find it difficult to process or hear – the verbal information coming your way, because you are reading other information. You’re reading between the lines. The unspoken. People’s feelings, thoughts, personalities, and the words left unsaid. This information captivates your brain, and distracts you.

Empathic soul

Photo credit: Arif Wahid

(This photo is actually not too far off from my mental image of a “soul”. Yes, souls have a shape and color. 😆 [This perception may be connected to my synesthesia in some way.])

– Massaging or hugging someone sometimes gives you information about them – such as their emotional/mental state, or where they’re hurting in their body.

– You can (often) tell when someone is lying or not shooting straight with you, but you don’t always let that person know that you’re picking up on that. You choose to appear naïve, unperceptive, and unwitting.

– You know when someone is manipulating someone else (but maybe not always when they’re manipulating you, at least until after the fact). (Note: manipulation is different from deception, although the two can overlap or coincide. An empath may be able to sense deception but not manipulation – especially when it pertains to them.)

– You know what people expect of you, and you typically give it to them (meet their expectations, often through “adopting” a particular persona). The alternative (potential conflict with others as a result of you showing your real or raw self and ruffling feathers by being – *gasp* – you) is just too overwhelming for your neurons. Conflict is emotionally and physically stressful, so you use your ability to read people to avoid it, by choosing to be exactly what they want.

– You don’t know who you really are. You only know who you’re “supposed” to be (usually according to others), or who others think you are.

– You operate day to day imagining your friends or other people you know are always watching you – and almost beginning to believe that they are. You imagine how they would perceive everything you’re saying and doing, even when they’re not around. You see yourself through the lenses of other people.

– You quickly begin to care for people and feel a connection with them, and then you experience intense pain when you realize that some of them only wanted to use you and never actually valued your “relationship” for its own sake.

An empath in pain

Photo credit: whoislimos on Unsplash

– You have surreal dreams and/or frightening visions or “flashes”.

An empath's surreal dream mountain landscape

Photo credit: Anton Repponen

– You can sense pain and suffering outside the walls of your house. You know in your heart, soul, and body that others around the world are hurting. This is not simply a general awareness of suffering that comes from reading or watching the news. Your body and soul (and no longer only your mind) suddenly know that something isn’t right. You sometimes feel dizzy or shaky, or struggle to breathe in these moments.

An empath can sometimes feel the pain and suffering of the world

Photo credit: Pexels

– Others’ problems become your own burdens.

– Monday hurts, even if you don’t work outside the home, or work on Monday. You still feel Monday pain.

– You’re a bit of a mind-reader (maybe not 100% accurate, but you can often accurately guess or know what others are thinking or how they’re feeling in a given moment).

Empath reading others' minds

Photo by Eli Defaria on Unsplash

– You know when someone doesn’t really like you, but is pretending to.

– You often know when you’ve hurt someone, even if they act like you haven’t.

– You catch the subtleties and nuances of facial expressions – even small changes or shifts that might not be apparent to most other people.

– You know and see things (occurrences, patterns, actions, attitudes/outlooks in people) which you find difficult to articulate and that you cannot prove to others – things that others find hard to believe if/when you share, because the “clues” or “information” which supply your data and inform your conclusions are almost invisible (but nevertheless present, just difficult to make tangible to others).

You value honesty and transparency in your relationships, and are often drawn to straightforward or “simple” people (with the best possible meaning of “simple”), because you’ve seen enough deceit, trickery, and manipulation, and you just want someone “safe”. Someone who you know isn’t trying to hurt or use you or lie to you, even if they accidentally do hurt you with their words sometimes.

– You require a significant amount of alone time to recharge, process social/emotional/spiritual information, and decompress.

An empath reflecting and basking in solitude

Photo credit: Mariam Soliman

– You’ve been steamrolled in the past at work, in school projects, or in family/social life. People know they can walk all over you. Sometimes you know that that’s happening, but are afraid to speak up for fear of conflict, job loss, or other consequences which your hyper-aware-and-sensitive mind may not be able to endure. Other times, you don’t realize you’ve been hoodwinked until the very end (e.g., when leaving your workplace or pulling out of a toxic situation).

– Feeling or creating certain vibes within yourself changes the way people and animals respond to you. You can “send” feelings of warmth and safety to, say, a bunny rabbit. Or “transmit” “healing energy” into someone else when hugging them. Honestly, I don’t know how this works, only that it truly seems to be effective. Of course, my perspective is subjective. Ack…this is starting to rhyme. Just…pretend that I intended it that way. 😉

Empathic vibes illustrated by bright gold objects

– You know how to sing in a way that comforts animals or draws them closer.

Animal being sung to by an empath

Photo credit: Ray Hennessy

– You’re an experienced actor/actress when it comes to social settings.

– You recognize a false or manufactured smile.

fake smile

Photo credit: Pexels

Skeptical? 🙂

Maybe some of you are freaking out – or laughing somewhat incredulously while reading this.

Mayhaps you have concluded that I’m a bit off my rocker. 😉 😛 😨

I don’t always know how I have these experiences – or what causes them.

It is difficult to explain or describe this form of consciousness to someone who has no personal reference point from which to understand “psychic” empathy. Often, when we have no reference point or personal experience (building blocks) with which to understand a concept, we default to concluding that such a concept is false, imaginary, or the product of an unsound and crazy mind.

I know I am not the only “empath” out there, as I have read the writing of others who have had similar occurrences, experiences, or encounters, and I also personally know other people who have similar ways of perceiving information.

But it is not uncommon for empaths to be questioned or discredited by others who cannot relate on this particular line, plane, or dimension of vision. Especially because empathy largely involves an invisible and unseen dimension. And many of us only trust or believe what we witness with our eyes.

There may very well be a scientific explanation behind empathic experiences – which we haven’t yet discovered, or at least of which I’m unaware.

My doctor has said that prayer and meditation have been found to promote healthy frequencies in people. (Cell phone exposure is an example of an energy source that can harmfully alter one’s energy “balance” or frequencies.)

Our bodies are comprised of both energy and matter.

Could it be that some of us are just hypersensitive to changes in frequencies – not only in our own bodies, but in other people and in our environments?

Considering that I have a pretty sensitive nervous system, it would not surprise me if this were to cause me to be more aware of energy changes in me and around me, explaining – at least in part – my “empathic traits”.

Stress can alter our frequencies.

Perhaps when there is a “surge” of suffering in the world or the local environment – and the people in that environment are therefore stressed – the frequencies and energy balances in the environment are changing, and the empath’s body can tell that something’s off.


Photo credit: Valeria Andersson

Another speculation of mine is that people who “tap into” the spiritual world are also more likely to experience this form of “natural”, “inborn”, or “psychic” (vs. practiced, external) empathy.

It is possible that witches or others who are involved with the paranormal may become – or already naturally be – empaths (I am not a witch or affiliated with Wicca, but I am a follower of Christ and I believe in the Holy Spirit, so I am “tuned-in” to the spiritual world in that way).

Whether empathy draws individuals into “spirituality” OR exposure to “spirituality” and the supernatural creates empaths – or neither/both – is hard to say.

Are you an empath? Share your experiences!

Are you aware of any scientific explanations for “psychic” or clairvoyant empathy?

Please see disclaimer.

© 2017 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved


faceless person

Battles in My Head

Another piece I wrote about depression – pretty sure in 2016. Slightly modified.

Battles in My Head

I'm tired of picking myself off the floor.
Sick of pasting on a smile when I walk out the door.
Tired of trying to believe I'm fine, trying to ignore
The hopelessness that feasts upon my core.

Faces, lots of faces, everywhere I look.
I wonder if my mind is like an open book.
And if the faces choose to look the other way,
Or if my suffering's a closed display.

Sometimes I don't even know I'm there.
I breathe it in and out just like the air.
It wears the guise of headaches and fatigue
Laziness, restlessness, nightmares, and fitful sleep.

Depression, why won't you show your ugly face?
And wear your heart on your sleeve, for all to see?
Why must you be my secret enemy
To torture me
When no one's looking,
Then force me to smile
And hide my trial
Live in denial
of you?
So they will never know what I am going through?
But punish me instead
For the outward signs of battles in my head?

© 2017 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved


This is something I wrote last year (with slight modifications), in an effort to express myself and sort through my thoughts.


Sitting here, writing songs
With a tea kettle burn on my left arm,
Wearing my tee shirt and yoga pants,
Wishing I had a good tune, to get up and dance.

Got a mind full of questions
After such a long day.
Watched the people's expressions,
Tried to study each face.

I went to the mountains,
Drove to the store.
Read a good book,
And tackled some chores.
And I'm not really sure
Which things mattered more.
Am I wasting my life?
I don't know, but I'm worn
And I'm

Torn between the surreal and mundane
The mental battles and the physical pain.
Not really sure which one feels more insane.
Maybe the questions I'm asking are lame, but I'm

Torn between the blue sky, the green earth.
Yet somehow, I think without one, there's a dearth
Of the other, they cover and link with each other.
The flesh and the soul often breathe together.

Not really sure where this conclusion brings me.
It's nice though to know every moment has meaning.

Washing laundry, fixing tires,
Paying bills, repairing wires,
Dancing in the rain and fire,
Climbing mountains, soaring higher.

Maybe you are feeling discouraged because
That venture that you started transformed into rust.
Your steady, unseen efforts got lost in the dust.
Get up, keep moving on, get up because
It's not about the end - it's all in the process.
The glory doesn't matter - it's the progress
That you make in every moment
When you're faced with disappointment.
The struggles that you face have been anointed.

© 2017 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved


a blue four painted on a canvas, standing by a lake or pond

Four is Blue.

Monday is red.

“Fur Elise” is yellow and black.


At least…in my mind. 🙂


This neurological pattern is called Synesthesia.


What is Synesthesia?



1. a sensation produced in one modality 
when a stimulus is applied to another 
modality, as when the hearing of a 
certain sound induces the visualization 
of a certain color.

Types of Synesthesia

According to Wikipedia, there are at least 80 different types of synesthesia.

colored pencils

Photo by Kelli Tungay on Unsplash

words/letters/characters => color

music (notes, chords, certain pitches) => color

Spatial sequence synesthesia

Numerical sequences = points in space.

With spatial sequence synesthesia, the number 7 might be farther away and the number 8 might be closer. People with SSS may also see months or dates in the space around them.

Auditory-tactile synesthesia

Certain sounds => sensations in parts of the body.

Hearing a specific word may feel like touch in one specific part of the body.

Mirror-touch synesthesia

Individuals experience the same sensation that another person is feeling (such as touch).

In mirror-touch synesthesia, when a synesthete observes someone’s face being slapped, the synesthete involuntarily feels a slap on their own face as well.

Lexical-gustatory synesthesia

words => taste

For example, the word “abalone” might taste like bone broth. “Chill” might taste like cherries.

Spatio-temporal synesthesia

A mental mapping of days, weeks, or months of the year. An ability to “see the time”, possibly in the form of a circle or ribbon.

pretty red ribbon

 Other forms

Other synesthesia types include but are not limited to:

  • smell-color
  • flavor-color
  • month-flavor
  • sound-flavor
  • pain-color
  • personality-color (sometimes referred to as “auras”).
  • emotion-color

And so many more! 😀

In my experience, synesthesia is both a blessing and a curse. The strange neural connections have caused physical discomfort for me many times (there are some commonly used words that trigger odd physical sensations for me in internal organs), but then, I’ve also managed to soothe my stomach by listening to minty songs (this method was partially effective).

multicolored eye

Photo credit:

Why/How People Have Synesthesia

Synesthesia may be linked to neural cross-communication between normally separated brain regions.

It is speculated that stronger and/or more neural connections may play a role in the manifestation of synesthesia.

When we are young, we tend to have more brain connections than we do when we get older. Over time, neural connections are usually pruned away to a degree. It is thought that synesthesia may be connected with a “failure” (for lack of a better word) to pare down the neural pathways.

It appears that the neural pathways in synesthetes may be more myelinated.

Myelin is a fatty sheath surrounding neurons, which enables neural signals to travel more quickly.


My Experience with Synesthesia

fruit smoothie with mint leaves

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash


The word “college” tastes like grilled cheese (specifically, grilled cheese from Sonic that I ate as a kid. The thought of eating that now is nauseating to me for several health reasons.😛)

The G-flat note and chord are green. A-flat is red, D is blue, B-flat is a purplish-brown (it changes color somewhat).

“Bright” by Echosmith sometimes tastes minty.

“The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel is blue (and also minty).

The number nineteen is yellow and white.

Body odor often smells orange.

Certain people are sometimes certain colors or blends of colors in my mind. (This is often – though not always – connected with the color(s) I associate with their names).

And that is only a taste of the crazy world that is my brain. 🙂


Are you a synesthete? Share your synesthetic experiences in the comments below!


Thanks for reading! 🙂

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