Kala Ambrose, host of The Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show speaks with authors and researchers, delving into topics of ancient mysteries, paranormal explorations and new discoveries from science and spiritual arenas. Transcribed here is an interview Kala conducted with Dr. Judith Orloff.
Kala: Welcome to the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show. Our guest today is Dr. Judith Orloff, a psychiatrist, practicing intuitive, and pioneer in the new field of energy in psychiatry. Dr. Orloff offers ten empowering prescriptions from her latest best seller Positive Energy, which maximizes well-being by tapping into our body’s subtle energy which is our most primal life force. She’s here today to speak with us about her book, Positive Energy. Welcome, Dr. Orloff, to the show.
Dr. Orloff: Thank you. I’m delighted to be on your show.
Kala: It’s wonderful to have you here. I’ve followed your work for a long time. From what I understand, this book is number three in a trilogy that you put together. Is that right?
Dr. Orloff: Yes, it is. My first book is called Second Sight and that was about my journeys and struggles coming to terms with my intuition and bringing it into my practice as a physician. And my second book is Guide to Intuitive Healing, which is 5 steps to developing intuition, and Positive Energy is about how to elevate your energy and bring it into your intuitive knowings and intellectual perceptions to relieve exhaustion and avoid energy vampires and take better care of yourself.
Kala: Dr. Orloff, tell us about this. People today feel exhausted, they feel rundown, we’re so busy, there’s so much going on and these days you’re even in trouble if you don’t answer your cell phone 24 hours a day. What do you think we can do to transform our lives?
Dr. Orloff: Well, I think it’s really important that you prioritize and decide what kind of life you want because it’s very addictive, the computers and internet and information overload and cell phones and all of the external messaging that wasn’t even around you know, a few years ago. And so we have just been impacted by this. It’s very important that you learn how to tune in to intuition, begin to listen to your body’s energies to be able to centre yourself and be able to choose what input you want in your life and what you don’t. And what I’ve seen as a psychiatrist is that people are exhausted, burnt-out, running day after day, depressed, anxious, and they accept this state as normal. So in Positive Energy what I want to say is that this can’t or must not be normal. You’re entitled to a much more vibrant life and the way to do that is do a technique I call energy in psychiatry which is the combination of everything I’ve learned in medical training plus an awareness of subtle energies, intuition and spirituality. And so when you include all of those things together to boost energy and awareness is really incredible as people get very drained when they stay just in their mind, when they just think all the time and it doesn’t bother us. So what Positive Energy does it gives you a chance to learn other forms of perceiving other than the mind in terms of intuition and energy and opening up to spirit which is so huge and it’s such an omission if you want health and healing you must open up to something larger than the self and the mind in order to perpetuate healing.
Kala: Do you think that’s where conditions like chronic fatigue are coming from?
Dr. Orloff: Well, I do and in Positive Energy I talk about something called intuitive empathy and what this is, is that some people like myself and a lot of people are very sensitive so you can sense it in the world but you take it on your body and you become exhausted or sick from it. And if you’re an intuitive empath I have a quiz in the book to identify this and some of the questions would include: Have you been labelled as overly sensitive all of your life? Do you replenish yourself alone and get drained in crowd? You avoid crowds. You often run to the refrigerator to eat after you’re around negative energy. All these things support that you’re an intuitive empath and have to take particular care of your energy because if you don’t then you’re prone to things such chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia but it’s chronic exhaustion syndrome, when what’s happening is that you’re absorbing the energy of other people in other situations into your own body which is not you want to do. So you have to learn techniques in order not to become just a big energy sponge for all the angst around you.
Kala: You mentioned ten prescriptions in your book. I’d like to touch on a couple of those. The first one being that there’s a prescription to generate positive emotional energy to combat negativity. How does a person go about doing that?
Dr. Orloff: Well the first thing is that you have to make a commitment to yourself, that you don’t want to live a fear-driven life. That’s very basic. Otherwise, fear is an energy that can just take you over. It’s a survival-oriented energy and it has an adaptive function but when it takes you over and you’re chronically afraid of so many things it can eat away your energy level and deplete you in and just be very negative. And so you have to do with fear in particular is to leave all the top 5 fears that really get you. For instance, fear of abandonment, fear that you won’t succeed, fear of poor health, whatever it is so that you know what they are so that you’re prepared for your fears and at the point when the fear has come in you can take a breathe, center yourself and begin to shift out of them, by saying thank you for sharing but let me you know, go on to another way of being. So number one, you have to have mindful awareness in order to just deal with negative emotions and realize that you’re bigger than any one emotion. Emotion is just simply one aspect of your being but when you can expand larger than the emotion it’s very powerful.
Kala: Absolutely. Understanding where that emotion is coming from it may not be even what you thought it was. It could be something deeper or something that you’re reacting from earlier in the day and then putting your attention on it for the experience.
Dr. Orloff: Oh yeah, or if you’re around someone who’s upset if you’re an intuitive empath and you’re around someone who’s really angry or upset, that can wear off on you. It has the tendency to absorb energy. When I was a little girl I couldn’t go into shopping malls or crowded places because I’d go and walk out either exhausted, drained, anxious or with some pain I didn’t have before. So the whole… people who are developing intuition who are very sensitive need to know about this so that you can be aware that sometimes it’s not you, sometimes it’s you taking on negative energy of the world which isn’t good.
Kala: I talk about this with my experiences being an intuitive empath as a child and feeling the energy during holidays there were so much stress and energy that I would end up with a stomach ache and not know why.
Dr. Orloff: Exactly.
Kala: It took me years to figure that out and learn how to release that energy, because it’s very easy to take those things on especially if you’re a caring person and you’re sympathetic to people, you open up, and then you have to be able to differentiate between what’s yours and what’s going on with you and what you’re just picking up and release it, I agree.
Dr. Orloff: Yes, and that if you sense that you’re taking on some negative energy from elsewhere you breathe and be sure to exhale it and center yourself and begin to work with it so that it doesn’t stay lodged to your body and you don’t panic. And one thing I suggest in Positive Energy is the three-minute meditation that you can do to breathe, center, ground yourself and focus on something positive. And you can do this like if you’re stuck in a holidays at a family dinner table and you’re feeling like you’re taking on negative energy you go to the bathroom just for three minutes breath, centrer that intuition and bring yourself back to you instead of just sitting there absorbing all the negativity at the table. It’s very empowering.
Kala: I really like that idea because so many people think of meditation as being a drawn out deep experience they have to do or it doesn’t work but short bursts like that, are like a nap, which can refresh and restore your energy field. Thse can be a lot more effective sometimes than trying to disconnect from the world completely in that way.
Dr. Orloff: Oh yes, that’s a misconception. People are so afraid that if they meditate they have to do it for 45 minutes or an hour, butt I’m a believer in having a short burst meditation. It’s tuning in to the sacred for three minutes. It’s really amazing to be able to go in and tune in and then come back out to your environment more grounded. I use that all the time in between patients, I do that,a three-minute meditation to ground myself. I have a particularly hard time in airports because I can’t stand them because of the loud noises and the people and energy and it’s just very unpleasant for me and I get drained in airport. So I go into the bathroom and I’ll do this three-minute meditation and it brings me back myself so that I can be centred in an environment that’s disturbing to me.
Kala: I also like your energy aware approach to diet, exercise and health. You explain that it’s not one way that works for all, whether it’s exercise or a certain diet. We’re all unique and that’s what you find, don’t you? Each person needs to be aware of their energy and what’s right for them.
Dr. Orloff: Oh, exactly. I mean when it comes to exercise, for example I talk about in the book, each person has designed out the exercises most of the time with their body. What would work for me might not feel good in your body and it has to be something that feels good to make your body come alive. I don’t believe that if you continue to do exercise that feels inharmonious with the body so for instance I can’t go in those gym with all those people in them and the loud noises, it just really bothers me. Because I like to be around just a very quiet environment when I work out and a very peaceful and beautiful so I don’t go to those gyms. So I take care of myself in that way. And so each person has to see what environment really makes the most sense for them.
Kala: In your book, you speak with a variety of people who have learned to develop their energy awareness. One of them was Quincy Jones, you talked about his brain surgery and how his intuition grew afterwards. Can you tell us about that?
Dr. Orloff: Oh, yes. Well, behind each chapter of Positive Energy I got to interview heroes of mine. One of them was Quincy Jones. He’s amazing, not only as a Jazz musician—and he’s in the music business—that he is very attuned to his intuition. He has had the aneurysm surgery in his brain. After the brain surgery, he said that his intuition just blossomed and that that he could know if somebody was going to call, who was on the phone, and it just opened up. And he asked his brain surgeon, why this so, how is this happening? The brain surgeon, who sounded brilliant, said that this is the way the brain was meant to function—with this clarity.
Kala: Very nice. I think we’re getting closer to that in science everyday to understanding that the sixth sense doesn’t have to be such a mystery. It can function just as well as the other senses, we just haven’t quite put it all together yet of how it works.
Dr. Orloff: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s something as a physician along with my medical training, I use intuition, I use both. You see, you don’t have to use one or the other.
Dr. Orloff: No traditional medicinal relief. You could incorporate so many different parts of your brain and your being, you know, why not? And why just stay in your mind? It makes no sense to me when you can have both intuition, spirituality, senses of energy. When I practiced energy in psychiatry and the things I talk about in Positive Energy, I’m opening up my whole being to input and I’m really into it. I’m sitting with a patient opening my mind, my energy feels my intuition and quick, quick, quick, everything comes to together. It’s really very spontaneous and improvisational. So it makes better and exciting. I train other health care professionals to incorporate this into their work which I think is very important because most of us don’t have this in our training program. We’re not taught to tune in and it’s so essential.
Kala: I think historically, it was used in ancient Greece. There were temples where you went – one for physical healing, one to talk about emotional things, another for the healing of the spirit, and they used to connect mind, body, and spirit nd we see a lot of that in Eastern medicine in many ways. It seems to be coming back around and we’re getting smart in realizing that it’s a whole mind-body-spirit connection.
Dr. Orloff: Well, it’s about time.
Kala: It is and you’re a big help with that, with what you teach and what you write about in your books.
Dr. Orloff: Well, thank you. You know, I feel very strong in my conviction because I use everything I’ve ever learned in my entire life to help people. And I have no biases so I just want to use what is going to help people and sometimes traditional medicine will help people, sometimes it won’t, sometimes a mixture will help people. So when I sit with patients and I tune in, I just tune in to what’s right for them without any bias on my part. And I think it’s very important not to give in one camp or another but to just tune in to the person and what they need.
Kala: I like your down-to-earth sensibility and descriptions of things that some people know about in the metaphysical world but other people don’t, they just experience the side effects. An example would be ‘energy vampires’. Some people who have heard of this concept and others haven’t, but when you explain it, they actually can relate to experiencing some of those effects. Tell us about energy vampires and what’s the best thing to do if someone is draining your energy, what do you do?
Dr. Orloff: Well, chapter nine is all about energy vampires and it goes through the different types of energy vampires and exactly what to do about it. But first of all what you have to do is intuitively tune in to your own energy levels so that you can notice if you’re around somebody and your energy starts to bottom out. You know, a lot of my patients, they feel it; they have no way of trusting it because they talk themselves out of it. They think, oh I have this flu or oh this person is so nice how could I be feeling this way? And the mind gets going and before you know it, your intuition is out the window and you’re drained. So it’s important when you get in those situations to honor how you’re feeling, whatever reason you’re feeling drained around this person. You could figure out the reasons later but for whatever reason you are, it’s important to honor your energy. So that’s number one.
People question themselves so much, they don’t trust their intuition, that even though somebody can look good on paper — they could be attractive, they could be funny, they could be smart, everyone you know you could be in love with them but if your energy bottoms out, that’s the most important thing – how do you feel. It’s not a popularity contest, it’s not about taking opinions about how other people feel. When you want to protect your energy and detect your energy vampires this is about how you feel. So what I suggest that works is that you take an inventory of who are the people in your life who give you energy and who are the people who drain you and be very, very honest about that. And then you can determine how to deal with both of these people. But ideally you need to create a life where you will have a lot of positive people around you who could nurture and support you, a lot of Positive Energy. And minimize the energy vampires or learn to deal with them.
Kala: Some important points there coming up. First of all, we’re taught to be extremely polite and if someone’s speaking to us, it’s impolite to pull away when they’re not perceivably doing anything wrong. But sometimes we do have to say that it’s okay to step away politely, if we’re feeling an energy drain. I think we should also say too that energy vampires, some of them aren’t aware that they even do this. Some of them maybe, but others it’s their energy and they’re not aware of the effect that they’re having on other people.
Dr. Orloff: I would say most energy vampires aren’t aware. I mean you have the rare malicious type who will just want to get you for whatever reason to put you down. But usually people are unaware. For instance, one of the vampires I talk about I call ‘the sob sister’. This refers to a man or a woman who complains on and on and on and on about their problems but don’t want to do anything about it so they keep you on the phone for two hours after a long days work and you’re listening to them going around about their mother doesn’t understand them, their boyfriend broke up with them for tenth time, their boss is going to fire them, whatever, but doesn’t want to talk about solution so they go “yes, but…” whenever you talk about a solution they go “yes, but…” and talk you out of it.
These are the kind of people where you’ve got to learn how to set limits with them. You’ve got to say, “You know I love you, you’re my friend but I can only talk to you for five minutes unless you want to talk about a solution.” And be very kind but firm. The tone of your voice is essential. When you talk to someone you don’t want to go, “I’m sick and tired of your complaining. Stop it.” And people can’t hear that. They might get some temporary satisfaction. I mean you could talk about the person to another friend that way but don’t talk to them to their face because you won’t get results with that tone. So just be very kind but firm and centred and keep setting limits so that they don’t eat away your time and your energy. And sometimes as good friends you’ve got to recondition them if it’s been going on a long time. So just take perseverance and centeredness but it can create really beautiful relationships so that you’re not dodging their calls and trying to avoid them running scared. You’re dealing with the situation and building your energy up.
Kala: What happens to those sob sisters? Some of them don’t want to move forward and find a solution or enhance the relationship deeper with you, they just want to complain. Once you stop allowing them to sob, do they move on then to another person and that’s just a life pattern for them?
Dr. Orloff: Oh, absolutely yeah, they’ll go on to someone else. It takes two to do this then.
Kala: Yeah, that’s very true. They can’t do that if you won’t listen, so they’ll go to someone else who will listen.
Dr. Orloff: Oh yeah..
For more info: Due to the length of this interview, it is being offered as Part One and Part Two. Join me here tomorrow for part two of Positive Energy with Dr. Judith Orloff.
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*Special Thanks to TaDa Transcripts for providing the transcript of this audio interview.