I learn so much from other people’s personal stories and love reading memoirs, autobiographies, and narrative nonfiction. When I read an especially good memoir, I marvel at how honest, revealing, and vulnerable the author is willing to be with me. The Empath’s Journey by Ritu Kaushal is one of those books.
The book’s subtitle describes it well: What working with my dreams, moving to a different country and learning about Carl Jung taught me about being an empath. It was fascinating to read about Ritu’s journey of moving from India to the U.S. and her many personal stories about how she learned she was a HSP (highly sensitive person) and empath, what her dreams revealed to her, and how those experiences and knowledge shaped her into the author-artist she is today.
As I was reading The Empath’s Journey, I felt like I was walking along a mandala-shaped labyrinth. I’m a fast reader but found that I couldn’t rush through the book like I usually do. Ritu’s language and imagery was so beautiful and rich that it literally made me slow down my mind as I read every sentence and paragraph like I was taking a mindful, meditative walk.
Instead of reading a chapter a day, I’d read part of a chapter and then give myself several days to let the stories and examples sink in. It took me two to three weeks to read each chapter and several months to finish the book. At first, I was alarmed that I wasn’t reading at my usual speed, but once I surrendered to this experience, I realized that this was what Ritu’s story was trying to teach me: slow down, take your time, notice what’s happening inside you.
Here’s an example of one of the many passages that I loved.
In the music of our dreams, in the dance of their stories, we can find these lost fragments. We just have to risk beginning the adventure, with its frightening, snarling creatures, with its breathtaking cosmic vistas. We have to decide to ride its crests to see where it takes us.
And another one.
Then, I think I can meet the world as it is instead of projecting nice things onto it, instead of believing that niceness will protect me from the turbulence of the world. I am learning now that the real harbour is inside myself and that what really protects me, in the end, is me.
Even though I haven’t been through the same external experiences as Ritu, I could relate to many of her inner experiences. I’m grateful to Ritu for writing so openly about her life. The Empath’s Journey made me feel seen, affirmed, and comforted.
If you’ve ever been labeled “sensitive” by other people, or told that you “take things too personally,” I think you’ll really enjoy this book. Get yourself a copy of The Empath’s Journey today. The journey of reading this book will be well worth your time.
ps. To learn more about Ritu and her creations, check out her site, Walking Through Transitions, and subscribe to her blog.
Peg Cheng is the author of Rebel Millionaire: Get Rich on Your Own Terms, a guide for how to retire as a millionaire even if you make a modest income. She is also the author of The Contenders, a middle-grade novel that asks, “Can enemies become friends?”; the creator of Fear & Writing, a workshop for procrastinating writers from all walks of life; and a career adviser combining the practical with the metaphysical.