Gifting human beings with a candid and non-judgmental view into their present state of being, David Sauvage is a deeper feeler who has lit the fuse within to cultivate alternative ways to influence radical self-awareness within others. Sharing space from a place of empathy and compassion, David invites others into a raw exploration and inspiring glimpse into themselves. On the brink of his upcoming play, I caught up with David to discuss getting in touch with his abilities, practicing compassion, empathy and more.
Tell us about the moment in which you felt into someone’s inner world.
The first time that I felt into someone’s inner emotional life, deliberately, was at Burning Man in 2015. I was doing psychic readings at Burning Man as my gift to the community. People were lining up at this cab that I was doing readings in. There was a guy who showed up and something just instinctually told me to take his hand, and when I took his hand, I had this real feeling of butterflies. It was a kind of feeling similar to how an individual feels before they get on stage, yet I never had this feeling before. It was totally new to me and it didn’t feel like mine. I started to describe this feeling of butterflies that I was having, really paying attention to it with my eyes closed, and when I opened my eyes, he was crying. I had hit what he was working on on the nose.
Wow. That is an intimate moment and feeling to share with an individual and in particular, initially. I perceive as though if an individual has cultivated the ability to embrace empathy, an interaction as such can be perceived as welcoming and allow for an open space.
I think that you’re right. This guy was the first person that I ever did this with, and he was a very open-hearted person. It was a really beautiful exchange.
Have you learned more about yourself through mirroring to others pieces of their own life puzzle?
That’s a good question that I have never been asked before. I learn more about my capacity to hold other peoples experiences in my body. I learn how to handle people better. I learn about the value of patience and compassion for oneself. There is not much that is universal; what one person needs to grow and develop can also be the exact opposite of what another person needs to grow and develop. But if there are any universal’s, it would be that it is really good to be compassionate towards yourself and wherever you are. I have learned that lesson more through working with other people even more than I have learned it through working on myself.
Right, and learned that lesson subconsciously in a sense, as I perceive that you do carry yourself as an example. I perceive that human examples of empathy and compassion are felt within a room, and it is something that enriches others experience. You are within an exciting time as your play is live come this weekend, April 13th-15th at New York City’s TheaterLab. What led you toward the desire to return to the stage to display your ambitions and ability through this medium?
About six months ago, I did readings in front of an audience at a gallery on the Lower East Side that I called ‘Intuitive Reading as Performance Art’. I sat in a chair and had an empty chair in front of me in which I read and tuned into whoever wanted to sit in the other empty chair. I expressed their feelings through my body and gave them the wisdom that came up including how to work through what was blocked within them. People would ask me, “how do you do this?”, and they would ask me, “when did you first start doing this?” – basically, a lot of people wanted to know my story. I had this idea of telling this superhero origin story where I was becoming an empath and combining it with these readings, these performance art readings that I was doing. I realized that I had this combination of storytelling and performance art, and I figured that it was called the theater. I used to do theater in my early 20’s. My first serious ambition was to be a playwright, so it felt like coming full circle.
Yes. I perceive that you have allowed yourself to explore different artistic mediums and create different opportunities for yourself and others. Tell us anything else that you’d like for us to know about the play, beyond the surface.
I am doing three shows this weekend. It is a play that has two parts. The first part is fairly conventional; it is the story of how I discovered that I had this ability and healed myself enough to use this ability to help others. The second part is me actually demonstrating this ability and working with people from the audience which is fun and unconventional. But, at the same time, I do feel that I am doing something fresh and alive because I am showcasing a kind of magic, expect there is nothing up my sleeve. I am staking this claim that I have this intuitive ability. I don’t have an explanation for what is going on on a scientific level, but I am not tricking anybody. I am not saying things that are so generic that they could apply to anybody, and I am telling you all of the major parts that I know about it. I really like the idea of showing this kind of thing which otherwise may be known as bullshit, or pawn artistry, or at the very best, frivolous entertainment. But, for the people that believe in it, it can be really deep and transformative. I really like bringing that out in ways that the culture has not yet experienced. I like doing it as art or theater, and I would love to do it as a film; conventional modes of entertainment so that people can sense for themselves that we all have these deeper modes that we can operate in.
I perceive that everything is subjective and open to interpretation, particularly within the arts. Are there wellness practices that you integrate into your life to maintain in touch with your psychic abilities?
Yes! The most important thing for me as an empath is processing others peoples stuff regularly. No matter how much I protect myself, I will inevitably absorb other people’s feelings. Every morning I go through a ritual in which I imagine all of these feelings that are not mine, and I release them out of my body and back to where they came from. I also do things with my muscles which tend to hold other people’s stuff: I tense them and release them on a regular basis.
Also, there’s no way to process another person’s emotions without processing your own. I make it a habit to allow myself to feel exactly what I am feeling rather than push it away.
Absolutely. I perceive that we all can subconsciously create a sense of judgment toward unpleasant feelings that arise, yet the deep embrace of the raw human experience is one of the keys toward living out a more serene life.
Amen! I couldn’t agree more.
How do you perceive empathetic intervention aids in other individuals wellbeing? What have you observed that others have taken away and learned about themselves through sitting with you for a reading?
Nobody is sitting with me who hasn’t volunteered to do so. I wouldn’t necessarily say that it is an intervention. Anyone who is being read by me is somebody who has explicitly decided to do that. The benefits are many depending on who is sitting there. I think that for almost everyone, there is a sense that when you sit with me, whatever you are going through is okay. Whether those feelings are hate, grief, rage, shame – these “negative” emotions are part of the human experience. I am truly bringing non-judgemental awareness to these feelings. If you are filled with hate and you sit with me, and you’ve been trying to hide your hate because it is “uncool” or you have been turning that hate into activism so that it is socially acceptable, I am going to sit with you and I am going to feel that hatred with you. I am not going to judge it. I am going to bring it up to the surface and pay attention to it with you, and that in itself can be very calming because it signals that your experience is legitimate and real, no matter what that is.
Right. That is reassuring to the individual on the other end because no matter what they are feeling, it is valid.
Yes, but people are often not ready to fully embrace their own experience. Even there, that is okay. For instance, if somebody has been doing a lot of healing work on themselves, I will feel into their unprocessed trauma upon sitting with them. They usually want to solve what they are currently going through and fix what they are currently going through, yet sometimes, it is not the right moment. It may not be immediate or on the spiritual to-do list today. Healing doesn’t happen at the pace that we want it to – it happens at the pace that it needs to, if we allow it to. It can recenter people where they are. It can bring awareness to where they are. It can bring understanding to where they might want to move faster, yet faster might not be the answer.
I am not just showing people where they are at. I am also asking my deepest sense of who they are what it is, exactly, that they need. I will tune in and speak of the next step along their journey. I will be feeling into that in the most honest and deep way that I can, and then sharing that as compassionately and honestly as I can. It can be quite practical. For example, if somebody is grieving and they haven’t yet given themselves the time to grieve, I might say that it might be nice to shut everyone away for awhile to look at pictures of whoever died and cry their eyes out.
Right – influence another to reach for a place of acceptance within whatever unique and current circumstance that they are encountering.
Exactly. The last thing that I do is awaken others to this kind of possibility. Spiritual growth is a real thing. It is a real thing as professional and physical growth is a real thing. I am showing that to people in a way that is visible, entertaining and interesting through a variety of mediums. Also, I am showing people that I have come in touch with and learned to embrace this kind of superpower, and when people who share this empathetic superpower see me doing it, it clicks. It influences them and helps them realize that they could do this too. There are also people that see me do this and recognize that it may not be their thing, yet they have another thing that they may have never explored or given full attention to. I really love that.
That is fulfilling. Leading by example and embodying your highest self is empowering for all.
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