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Get Your Own Oxygen First

Posted on January 28, 2013 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (286)
While teaching a series of classes on opening to intuition, I received a psychic  hit to provide more specific information about clairsentience, which means "clear feeling." All participants in the class were women, so they were naturally nurturing and tuned into the emotions of others. This was working for them, by helping them understand how other people feel. But at times, it was working against some of them, leaving them feeling drained and exhausted, as a result of  "taking on other people's stuff."

In between classes,  I was Googling something unrelated, and happened upon an article about empathy on a website called As soon as I began reading the article I knew this was the information I was to share with my class. And even though I practice techniques to energetically protect myself, to release unwanted energy, and to call my energy back to me,  this information was for me too!

Empathy is a gift that helps us feel and perceive from another person's perspective. It helps us connect with others and be more compassionate, often motivating us to help.  But when we don't know how to turn it on and off, the disadvantages of empathy can be devastating. Empaths often take on other people's emotional and physical pain and have difficulty letting it go. This can be debilitating and can keep us from fully living our own lives. Additionally, in Anna Sayce's article, "Is Empathy Ruining Your Life," she reminded me that when we interfere in people's lives, we sometimes keep them from taking responsibility for themselves, learning their lessons, and creating their own positive change.

In her second article, "How to Turn Off Overactive Empathy, Anna Sayce recommends three steps: getting centered, recognizing your empathy triggers, and moving from unconscious empathy to conscious choice. “When you suddenly notice yourself getting swept along by what’s going on around you, you can bring centeredness into that moment of empathy out of control – and turn it to empathy under control.”

I teach and practice a daily routine of grounding, releasing, replenishing and shielding your energy field. This is in essence what Ms. Sayce recommends when she suggests you "center yourself." Below is my daily practice to help you get "empathy under control."

Ground, Release, Replenish, Shield (Protect) 
  • Relax by simply breathing
  • Ground yourself by imagining connecting to the center of the earth
  • Release any energy that is not yours, or is no longer serving you (simply intend it away)
  • Replenish your own energy, by calling back energy you have left with others or in places from your past. And fill yourself with what you want: love, laughter, sunshine, courage, hope...
  • Create a protective bubble. Visualize a light in your heart center, and allow it to expand throughout your body and even further, creating a bubble of light all around you, about arms length in every direction. Use the outer layer of this bubble to shield you from picking up others energy or leaking your own.
  • Just be present in your safe space.

Additionally it is important to be aware of your empathy and what triggers it. Notice when you are "over-identifying" with someone, then consciously call your energy back. Often the events on the news, emotional movies, or people who are in need or distress will trigger empathy. Pay attention to what triggers you, and stop your empathy from getting out of control.

Remember that you are in the best position to help others when you are strong, grounded, and focused.  If you are energetically in their distressed world, you will not be in a healthy place to provide the best support. Remember what they say on the airlines, get your own oxygen first.

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A Life Changing Story About Illness and Healing

Posted on April 9, 2012 at 5:51 PM Comments comments (259)
I have a tall stack of partially read books by my bedside, but every now and then a book shows up that I just can't put down. I read Anita Moorjani's, Dying to Be Me in less than 24 hours, even waking up in the middle of the night to finish this inspiring story. This is a memoir about a woman who has a near death experience as a result of the cancer she fought for 4 years, and then chose to come back when she realized "heaven is a state, not a place." She came back cancer free!

In the first part of the book she tells about her challenging upbringing, growing up in Hong Kong as a child of traditional Indian parents, and about her adult life with cancer. In the second part she recaps her amazing near death experience and the synchronicities that led her to write this book. The third part inspired me to dig out my highlighter, as she shares what she learned about illness, healing, and the importance of truly loving ourselves and living life fearlessly.

I am grateful to Dr. Wayne Dyer and KQED for turning me on to this life-changing story.

Go to for more information about Anita Moorjani and her book, DYING TO BE ME, My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing

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Shine on Ed! I'm Following Your Lead

Posted on April 5, 2012 at 10:02 PM Comments comments (143)
This past week I had the pleasure of entertaining my brother, his wife, and my two lively little nephews who were visiting from Michigan. Unfortunately, during the visit my brother received a call from home. I could tell by the sound of his voice, that it wasn't happy news. Our cousin Ed, who was only 59 years old, had passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack. We were in the toy store with the children at the time of the phone call , so we all just continued on shopping, and watching the little ones search for the perfect toy. We didn't talk much about it over the next few days. For me, it just didn't seem possible.

I left Michigan in 1984, and saw Ed only a few times since then. But the memories I have of him are delightfully positive. As children, we loved him. And when I think of him as an adult, I envision a man with a smile that filled his whole being. From what people tell me, he was always there when others passed away, spreading positive thoughts and just the right amount of humor. He was a shining light.

Since I wasn't there for his funeral, that day I began writing cards to my cousins and Ed's wife, Karen. I remember when Ed and Karen were dating, we thought they were the best  couple ever. We wanted to be around them, maybe somehow hoping their wonderfulness would rub off on us. I recall there was a short time when they broke up, and we crossed our fingers hoping they would reunite. And so they did, they were married 40 years and had 5 children.

As I wrote my note to Karen, things became more clear for me. I realized that the best way to honor Ed was to follow his lead, and spread light to others. Later that day, I sat down to do my daily meditation. I thought of Ed, and how he had become devoted to God as an adult, and how he made some people a little uncomfortable with his regular references to God. But everyone loved him anyway, because he was Ed, and we all knew he was special. 

I meditated on how I could follow his lead in my own way. I envisioned his shining smile and realized that words were not necessary, all I had to do was center in my heart, fill and surround myself with loving light, and then send it out to others. The light I have available to me is a never ending supply, just as it is for everyone. We can give and give, and there will always be more than enough love and light for ourselves and for any person or situation we wish to share it with. Shine on Ed! I will follow your lead.

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Go Outside and Get the Stink Off Ya

Posted on November 15, 2011 at 12:06 PM Comments comments (73)
I remember when we were kids, and Mom was fed up and desperately needed a break, she would roar, “Go outside and get the stink off ya.” I used to think that was an odd thing to say to a gang of raggle-taggle farm kids who liked to play in the cow pasture. But as an adult who is approaching 50 (although still a kid at heart), it makes a lot more sense to me now.   

I don’t know about you, but when the days get shorter and crisper, I tend to make less time to get outside and enjoy nature. By the time all of  life’s demands are taken care of, darkness has fallen. Then I just want to settle into my warm cozy home, eat home-cooked meals, and snuggle down to a good book or movie.   Today, I made the time to take an oceanside walk. 

Today nothing deterred me. Not the call to work harder. Not the lure to do something “more productive.”  Not even the chill in the air. Nothing stopped me today.   

In spite of the cool air, the sun warmed me nicely. I meandered down the path, hypnotized by the frothy, rolling waves. I imagined the sounds of the waves sending messages from faraway places. I observed the ravens congregating in a triangular pattern, and wondered what they were saying that was so urgent. I caught a whiff of a faint scent similar to sweet grass; and I noticed how the wind had shaped the trees along the pathway.   

My heart pounded, reminding me of how long it had been since I climbed these stairs to Mori Point, this favorite place of mine in Pacifica. And just as I reached the top, a bunny hopped out of from the brush, as if to greet me. She seemed to freeze in the moment. I wondered if this was out of fear or fearlessness. Either way I felt comforted by her soft, warm presence.   

And even though I had enjoyed this view hundreds of times, I marveled at the beauty of this sanctuary. For years, it has provided me a place to relax and contemplate, a place to remember, and a place to give gratitude. I thought of how this place had helped me LET GO of  "old stuff,” and how new dreams were inspired here. As I stood overlooking the ocean, I thought of my Mother’s words. Today I was grateful for “going outside and getting the stink off me.” 
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Dolphins in Pacifica

Posted on September 6, 2011 at 6:28 PM Comments comments (168)
This morning as I was driving down highway 1 through Pacifica, and I decided to pull off and take an ocean stroll. I parked near the Pacifica Pier and started down the trail to Mori Point, one of my most favorite places in the World! It was a crisp, cool, morning, so I wrapped my scarf around my wet hair and surged forward. I was deep in thought as I walked, nodding occasionally at the early morning dog walkers.

I made my way up the built-in stairs on the side of the cliff, and saw a cute black lab heading my way. The woman with the dog said, "Did you see the dolphins?" She pointed down to the ocean, "There's a dozen or so." I strained my eyes and eventually began to see the black spots surfacing one by one, then three in unison. I was so caught up in the moment, the excitement of being so close to the dolphins, I wasn't conscious that the dog was nuzzling me for a little attention. They were long gone before I realized it.

I sat on the edge of the cliff gazing out at the sea of blue, waiting for the next dolphin to show itself. I was in an open-eyed trance as the dolphins appeared and disappeared. I began to wonder why these dolphins had come to me this morning. Thoughts weaved in and out of my mind, "roll with it," "be playful," "relax and go with it," "breathe, just breathe." They made it look so easy.

Throughout the day, as I was confronted with problems of friends and family, I remembered the dolphins. I visualized myself floating and rolling in the ocean waves, swimming with the dolphins. In some way, each "interruption" seemed to be a test, to see if I had paid attention. I just kept reminding myself to go with the flow, live life playfully...and don't forget to breathe.

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