Posted by: Abby Caplin, MD | February 10, 2010

Not So Subtle Energy

Energy moves, transfers, ebbs and flows.

It’s been said that if you are in large crowds and you notice yourself beginning to feel drained, then you are an introvert. If you feel yourself energized by the same situation, then you are an extrovert.

Whichever category you belong to, it’s important to recognize what sucks energy, and what gives you energy.

A few weeks ago, I was facilitating a small group of chaplaincy “students” (I write “students,” because these holy people are mostly my seniors) in a discussion about illness, healing, grief, etc. I’ll share here that for an introvert like me, a small group inevitably gives me energy.

At the end of the session, I invited people to say their names and what quality they wished for themselves for the coming week, until our next meeting. For example, they could ask for more love, joy, downtime, peace, etc. Between each person, for a few moments, the rest of the group sent a silent intention that the wish would be fulfilled.  As group leader, I was last.

I had been so focused on everyone else, I hadn’t had time to think about what I was needing. But my heart had been tortured the past few days. I had embarrassed myself by forwarding an email in a way that looked as if I had written it. Despite apologies, attempts at correcting the problem and an inner critic inflicted migraine headache, I had yet to forgive myself.

Self-compassion was what I needed, and I said this.

Within seconds I felt a WAVE of compassion flood my body, filling me with well-being and a sense of deep peace. I was powerfully and completely cleansed of the ravages of inner critic energy.

I told them what had happened, how amazed, relieved and grateful I felt.

Their response?

“Don’t mess with us, Honey. We’re chaplains!”




  1. Dear Abby,

    What a lovely piece this is, and so funny too!

    I’ve just returned from an experience in Hawaii with 2 kahunas. From one in particular I received a personal blessing in Hawaiian chant, spoken English, and Hawaiian words. It was done outside at sunset while seeing humpback whales leaping in the bay. Words can barely describe my feelings through all this — I was flooded with love, compassion, and deep joy. A feeling of ultimate peace and comfort remain. With your blog post I giggle and think, “Don’t mess with us, Honey. We’re kahunas!”:-)


  2. Dear Pam,

    What a wonderful experience that must have been. Just reading it, I’m feeling like I am there with you…



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