What You Think, You Become

“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” ~ Buddha

Perspective is our vantage point, our attitude, our outlook, our way of looking at the world. People describe perspective as a mental view, but I would argue that it is equally an emotional view. Perspective is how you  perceive something, and perception is always colored by the lens of personal emotion and investment in  a view.

So perceive carefully. Bear in mind, that each perspective is unique. Each is individual. Don’t be swayed by the collective perspective (which these days we see can quickly drift into mob mentality).

We think what we think. We feel what we feel. We perceive what we perceive. However, we are gifted with the ability to reflect, evaluate, and adjust our perceptions. We are always thought in motion and feeling in tandem. Self-reflection is key – as is the old adage of first do no harm – to others, but also to oneself.

“Attitude is everything. That is the secret.” ~ Louis Zamperini (former Olympian and POW survivor).

Our perceptions grow and change as we do. So be careful with what you feed your soul. Nourish it. Take care of your mind, body, and soul. Read well, eat well, pray well. Take a break from social media and news. Limit and avoid time with people who dismiss you and your thoughts and feelings.

Sometimes, we are stuck in situations or circumstances that we cannot control – often at work or in our families of origin. Remember, we still have the power of perspective. Own it. Grow it. See the opportunity to get out or drive for a change, and seize it.

And last, our perspective does affect those around us, those closest to us. Be aware and careful of the energy that you put out in world. Light breeds light. Calm breeds calm. Hope breeds hope. Lean towards hope.


The Road


“Once you realize that the road is the goal and that you are always on the road, not to reach the goal, but to enjoy its beauty and its wisdom, life ceases to be a task and becomes natural and simple, in itself an ecstasy.” ~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

The road  is the goal. You are always on the road. You are on the road not to reach the goal. You are on the road to enjoy its beauty and its wisdom. Seeing the road this way. Living the road this way. Life ceases to be a task/a chore. Life becomes natural, simple, and enjoyable.

Reframing our lives this way presents as easy and difficult. Could our goal be that straightforward? Could we see deeply with such clarity of thought and feeling? Would we judge less and experience more?

We would be a lot less harder on ourselves. We would measure less and compare less. We would notice more and appreciate more. We would focus more on our own journeys and journeying companions and less on where others may or may not be going. We would have less anxiety and more trust. As long as we are moving forward and appreciating the way/the path, we would be doing okay.

Simple and hard at the same time. It’s like a release. A big release of trying to control the outcomes and the steps – not only for ourselves, but often for those around us. And how has that been working for us? Not so great. This past pandemic year has left us often feeling guarded and depleted.

Is it possible to go backwards? No, but it IS always possible to move forward. No matter your age, no matter your stage in life, no matter where you got lost. Reframing the road as the goal and seeing the journey as both the means and the ends will change us. The road is telling us to trust the process.

Tell Your Story

A wise woman once told me, “When you tell your story, you give someone a gift.” I did not really understand what she meant at the time. How can my story be a gift to you? How can your story be a gift to me? Do they matter that much?

Yes, they do. Stories are gifts. Stories are bridges. Stories are our history and the history of those who came before us. Stories connect us. Stories teach understanding. Stories make us laugh and make us cry. They make us feel deeply. They pull us in to someone else’s life. And we start making the connections with ours.

Stories are all around us. They are the songs we listen to. They are the family histories told at gatherings. They are the friends reminding us of our shared adventures. They are the podcast that you listened to or the Ted Talk that you heard and cannot stop thinking about. They are our children’s retelling of their day and our grandparent’s retelling of their youth. They are in the memoir we just read and the wikipedia bio we just checked out. They are in the documentary we watched and can’t shake. They are in the whispered confidence of a dear friend.

Sharing our stories helps us to remember and also to move on. Stories make us feel less alone. They make us pause and think. They remind us of the past and give hope to the future. They give rise to sharing and give rise to growth.

My favorite stories? The underdog stories. So many variations, but the same message. It’s possible.


Empath School Teacher During Covid

Best time to be at school this year? When no one else is there. Never thought I’d say that. Never thought I’d feel that. Never thought it would be true either. But it is. When I go in on weekends or stay late when others are gone, I can breathe and focus.

It’s been a hard year for empath school teachers. Teaching during Covid with schools open. Everyone’s emotions running rampant and running high. My friend calls us “sitting ducks.” So much anxiety in the building. Fear too. Anger too. Sadness too. Discord too. People taking sides. Emotions in flux. Finding new work friends and allies. Losing old friends and colleagues. Social dynamics in disarray and dysfunction.

Yet, empaths feel it all. Piles onto our own anxiety. My chest hurts, my heart hurts by the end of the day. And I just have to get out of the building.

And I am usually not a complainer. I am not an “I’m an empath; woe is me.” I typically celebrate being an empath. But this year has been completely different. I don’t want to be the “woe is me,” but I find it’s time to acknowledge the heartache and to pause.To just say it’s been a rough year and a rough school year.

That’s why I took a hiatus. It’s been 7 months since my last post. The anxiety took a toll on my health. So I needed to pause, reflect, realign, work on getting healthy. Turn inward as empaths need to do. Because everyone’s heightened emotions day after day take a toll on us.

And now there are vaccines. And now we can get them. Relief is at hand. I can feel one huge sigh in the school building as we line up for our turns. We can breathe. We can hope for better days. We can be filled with gratitude rather than anxiety. But we will remember this year and the toll it has taken. And we can reach out with compassion for those teachers and students and families for whom the vaccine did not come soon enough. And there are too many.

Songs Will Save You

Lyrics can save us. When we have no words of our own to express what we are feeling, we can look to the words of others to express them for us. In this time of great division, songs can communicate what we feel and make us feel less alone. Hard truths mixed with compassion and inspiration linked to a steady beat can help steady us. For example….

See it:

“I was just a boy when I sat down, To watch the news on TV

I saw some ordinary slaughter, I saw some routine atrocity

My father said, don’t look away, You got to be strong, You got to be bold, now

He said that in the end is beauty, That is going to save the world now…”

~ There She Goes My Beautiful World ~ Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Stand up:

“We sick an’ tired of your ism-schism game, Dyin’ n’ goin’ to Heaven in a Jesus’ name, Lord

We know when we understand, almighty God is a living man

You can fool some people sometimes, But you couldn’t fool all the people all the time

And now we see the light, you stand up for our rights, yeah…”

~ Get up, Stand Up ~ Bob Marley and the Wailers

Help each other:

“Does life seem nasty, brutish and short, Come on up to the house

The seas are stormy and you can’t find no port, Come on up to the house, yeah

You gotta come on up to the house, Come on up to the house,

The world is not my home, I’m just a passing through, Come on up to the house…”

~ Come On Up the the House ~ Tom Waits

Hope and Reassurance:

“Brother called me on the phone, Saying ‘I’m done with it all’

Safe to say I’m done with it all too, Trying to right all these wrongs

Never seemed so impossible, It’s clear to me we’re scared to hope, too

I don’t know why, I don’t know why, I cannot stop this feeling inside

I don’t know why, I don’t know why, I cannot stop this feeling inside 

No matter how bad it all gets, I can’t stop this voice in my head

This voice in my head says, We’re gonna be alright, We’re gonna be alright …”

  • – Alright (frick it!) – Judah & the Lion

Of course, the lyrics need go with the tune for full effect of catharsis. Pick the songs that help you through the day, and listen to them a lot! Put in your ears buds, turn up the volume and go….







Hard Times for Empaths

These are hard times for the open hearted. For those who live on the emotional plane. Because that is where we reside. Not out of choice, but out of nature. We were born with amplified feelings and are susceptible to the feelings of all of those around us. There is no way to turn it off. So, these are tough days. Far too many negative emotions circling us daily, invading us hourly.

For those who read Empath Lights, you know that I tell us to celebrate being empathic. What a wonderful gift it is to feel emotions so deeply. To be able to read the emotions of a room just by walking in. To know if someone’s outside matches their insides. To experience existential joy in a joyful crowd. To commiserate with a troubled friend. To hold the hand and the heart of a beloved family member. To tremble with emotion in intimate moments. All of these experiences come naturally to us, and we learn to accept and embrace the moments as we accept and embrace our gift to feel them deeply.

But now. Now it is different. It is not so delightful being an empath. Because what do we see? What do we feel? What is flowing through the hearts of many others? Hatred. Violence. Cruelty. Aggressiveness.  Selfishness. Self-righteousness. Sorrow. A lot of sorrow. Fear. A lot of fear. And anger. A tremendous amount of anger. Although normal emotions, these become dangerous emotions when they are non-stop. Our country is raging with no immediate sign of stopping. And it is heart breaking.

I have no sage advice to make it stop hurting. It won’t any time soon. We have to move through this as a society to get through it. We can only hope and pray that the emotional and societal upheaval will leave us with a more humane society.

So, my dear empath, please take care of yourself the best you can. Adjust your expectations for yourself until this time is over. We are not going to carry on as normal or get lots of stuff done. Our energy will often be depleted. We are going to feel and to cry for this deeply broken country and all the injustices and lies that we see and feel. Our prayer must be for the best possible outcome and the return of hope and justice. The only way out is through.



Fearless vs. Reckless

Reckless and fearless are not the same thing. Reckless has no boundaries. It is impulsive. Fearless creates boundaries. It is deliberate. Reckless feels hopeless. Fearless feels hopeful. Reckless is haphazard. Fearless has conviction behind it. Reckless has no direction. Fearless has a goal. Reckless is often driven by others in close proximity. Fearless is often driven by belief and faith in self.

Some would say that there is a fine line between reckless and fearless. However, their definitions and modus operandi are quite different. Reckless is defined as “without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action.” Fearless is defined as “brave, courageous, unshrinking, intrepid, calmly resolute in facing dangers.”

Now is the time and place to be fearless, not reckless. “Be wise enough not be be reckless, but brave enough to take great risks.” (Frank Warren). In times of great change and upheaval, we see both reckless and fearless behaviors on a large scale. Both require action. Both require energy. Both require change. But only fearless has any gravitas and long distance vision – to challenge us to be better and to create a better world. Reckless behavior usually seeks to destroy -that’s its endgame. Yet fearless behavior – fearless behavior seeks to build – to challenge and defeat the status quo for a better endgame.  “If you would venture, let your mind be bold….not reckless but bold.” (Louis D. Brandeis).

I urge us to be fearless, and to recognize that it is a constant state of becoming. “I feel my self becoming the fearless person I have dreamt of being. Have I arrived? No. But I’m constantly evolving and challenging myself to be unafraid to make mistakes.” (Janelle Monae)

“Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me. The first time we take that first fearless step, we begin to change our lives. And the more we act on our dreams and desires, the more fearless we become and the easier it is the next time.” ~ Arianna Huffington

Be fearless, build up, be bold, become.


Keep It Together

When the world seems like it’s falling apart, how do we not unravel at our own seams?  We need our souls to expand, not shrink, in times of turmoil and hardship. Yet, how is a sensitive soul supposed to manage during these combative times and upheavals when all we want to do is cry with the world?

Keep it together. Make it your mantra. Think. Feel. Act or don’t act. But keep it together.


1. The devil works hard, but the Lord works harder.

2. Stay informed, but don’t drown in the news.

3. Move – walk, run, swim, bike, kayak, dance, do yoga….

4. Have an outlet – talk to a caring friend or family member every day.

5. Don’t judge your emotions – feel what you feel.

6. Go out in nature and seek its beauty and bounty.

7. Listen to music that speaks your truth.

8. Get up. Get showered. Get dressed. Get going every day.

9. Read fiction – escape into other worlds and times.

10. Seek inspiration in thoughts, words, deeds, and pictures.

11. Encourage someone else.

12. Pray for strength.

We gotta move through it to get through it. Do what you need to do to sustain and nourish yourself, especially now. We will  live through this, and change will come.

Music Will Get You Through It

Tough times. Very tough times. Confusing times. Really confusing times. Joyful times. Ecstatic times. Sad times. Sorrowful times. Angry times. Disturbing times. Thoughtful times. Peaceful times. Music embraces, acknowledges, and expresses all the emotions of the world – piece by piece and song by song. And in that way, it saves us again and again and again.

I don’t know about you, but I’m listening to music a LOT every day. Sometimes quietly. Sometimes at a deafening volume. Sometimes plugged in. Sometimes out loud. Why so much NOW? To feel the feelings without exploding. That pretty much explains it.

We find ourselves in the midst of a situation we never expected (at least most of us). For those of us who tend to be highly emotional anyway, our emotions are higher still. For those of us who are more sensitive and aware of the feelings of others (both near and far), we feel the overload of emotions overwhelming us at times. We need a release. We pick music.

“When things get too heavy, just call me helium, the lightest gas known to men.” ~ Jimi Hendrix

Music will take us where we need to go without harming us. We can express our anger, confusion, and frustration, and have it released through an ass kicking song. It is cathartic. Conversely, we can experience great sorrow or great joy through the lyrics and notes of someone else’s songs – birthed just to move us, energize us, soothe us, or heal us. Music encompasses every feeling, every experience, and every taste. We can find the right song for the right mood on any given day. Technology makes it so easy now.

My friend teases me that I know a song for everything. She is right. There IS a song for everything. And I remember them because each one shares a personal memory for me. You know how a few notes can just conjure up a memory from your past and you are there again? And the longer you live, the more songs will be added to your own personal song catalog.

So while you are home, remember, you are not alone. You’ve got your trusted friend at your beck and call. Whenever and wherever. Thank you, music.



Hold On

When we don’t know what else to do, hold on. Keep going. Continue. Persevere. Sometimes that is all we can do. We may feel weak. We may feel helpless. We may feel afraid. No matter. Hold on. Hold on.

To what are we holding on to? We hold on to hope. We hold on to endurance. We hold on to the notion that this moment won’t last forever….even if it seems so. We hold on to the knowledge that this dark night too shall pass.

And while we are holding on? How to go on?

“I do my best because I’m counting on you counting on me.” ~ Maya Angelou

We need to bring our best selves to the situation at hand – here, the pandemic. We need to be thoughtful, compassionate, and informed. We need to listen more than speak, to plan more than hoard, to reassure, more than freak out. And we need to acknowledge that it’s hard and we are all in this together. There is no more us and them. The virus doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t stop at borders of countries or borders of states. The virus doesn’t consider one’s age, ethnicity, or locale. It’s a free for all for this virus. So we must recognize how invasive it is and give it the smallest of arenas in which to spread. Staying away from others can keep us both alive.

Feel your feelings, but do not lose heart. Sensitive people and empaths will feel the sorrow of the world more acutely, and it will exhaust us at times. Acknowledge it, but don’t let it overtake you. And take time to yourself to rest and restore your energy.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, gives us this advice in her post How to Hold on to Happiness When Your World Collapses –  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/how-happiness/202003/how-hold-happiness-when-your-world-collapses,   

“Experience bursts of positive emotion throughout the day.”  Small acts like listening to a song, watching your children play, going for a walk, smelling home cooking, tasting a good meal, touching the new budding flowers of spring can bring you small reprieves from the calamity going on around us. We need these small breaks of joy. We need time to breathe and to reset so that we can continue to persevere.

We must hold on to get through.

” No matter how buried it gets, or lost you feel, you must promise me, that you will hold on to hope and keep it alive. We have to be greater than what we suffer. My wish for you is to become hope. People need that.” ~ Peter Parker/Spiderman

OK Spiderman. Holding on.