Revising Our Stories as We Go

“It doesn’t matter what’s been written in your story so far. It’s how you fill up the rest of the pages that counts.”

You’re born. Lots of stuff happens. You die. You can’t change who you were born to. You can’t change that you will die. But the lots of stuff happens part, now that, that you can change. You’ve got a lot of input into that. You are the writer and editor of the lots of stuff happens part. Phew.

There’s always time to change the trajectory of your story. Always. ALL WAYS. Setting, plot, characters, can change – little tweaks or huge overhauls. Depends on what area of your story line you choose to work on and how you roll. Some people prefer small or gradual edits. Some people want a complete re-write. You see, revision and re-write is always possible, with one caveat ~ you can’t erase your past; can’t delete it. However, you can choose to reinterpret it and to redefine it. After all, it made you, well, you.

Characters can be the challenging  part of your story. You can’t always control what characters show up in your story, much less their motives. For you are in other people’s stories too, and they may want you to do things that you don’t want to do in your story. Cross purposes of intent can cause big problems. Don’t get sucked in (especially you, highly sensitive people and empaths!). Your story line must be paramount in your own life, not someone else’s story. (Thus, the old adage “Be true to yourself.”)

Expect plot twists and turns and unexpected surprises. Handle them the best you can. Your character will change and surprise you along the way. (I’ve often told myself that 10 years ago, or 20 years ago, I never would have imagined this in my life. Who knew?!). Because your story keeps unfolding. And the most amazing part is that you will endure. Your life story will endure. More chapters will just keep coming. And there is always time to finish a chapter and begin another one. an even better one.

We Could Light Up the World

Imagine if our common goal were to bring our best, most compassionate selves into the world every day? We could light up the world with hope. And with its companion, love. Are you in?

A little hope from a lot of people all put together is a lot of hope. It is true that there is strength in numbers. You know when you’re a little tired and you go into work? If you are surrounded with tired, and worse yet, complaining, people all day at work, you will be exhausted by the end of the day. If you are surrounded with caring and hopeful people, people who are fully present to listen and support you and problem solve whatever comes up that day at work, you will feel better by the end of the day. You see, kindness breeds kindness; hope breeds hope. We lift each other up, and a little bit of lifting by a large group of people creates a lot of hope for a better day.

One person can shift a whole room into hopefulness. It is contagious. I’ll give you another example. Birth. When a woman is giving birth, it is often a long and difficult journey. Her emotions are all over the place. It is well documented, and I know from personal experience, that encouragement and hope from another in the room makes all the difference to the birthing mother. When others are calm and undaunted, their energy embraces all in the room. It is common for birthing mothers to feel like giving up near the end. In fact, it’s a sign that labor is almost over, and the baby is almost here. Those in the room have enormous power to help the mother-to-be just by saying, “You’re doing a great job” (being hopeful).

And in these tumultuous political times, we really need to lift each other with hope and compassion, when it’s hard to remain hopeful. Optimism is a struggle. Yet, struggle with it, we must. Our success for positive change in our world lies in our combined hopes and our collective efforts. Don’t think your attitude doesn’t matter. It does. Be compassionate and hopeful again and again and again. When enough of us put forth our little lights for hope, kindness, and justice, together our glow will light up the world – and change it.


No More I Love You Buts

Everyone wants to hear I love you. No one wants to hear I love you but _______. It changes the whole meaning of the phrase. It is like a left-handed compliment. It sets you up to hear something beautiful, but ends up with you hearing something ugly. It is disguised criticism, and it is mean, thoughtless, and cruel. (Not to mention, judgmental and self-righteous to boot.)

Beware of I love you but-ters because they don’t play fair. They are especially dangerous for highly sensitive people and empaths because they cause us emotional swings. (It’s a constant challenge for us to regulate our emotions anyway.)  We hear and feel the lovely words, then get blindsided by the following criticism. I love you buts wreak havoc with us.

Urban Dictionary defines I Love You, But as: “The phrase someone close to you says before they point out a flaw, something you did or are currently doing wrong, a mistake you made, something embarrassing, or flat out mean.” (Words in bold are from Urban Dictionary, not me.)

The most common I love you buts that HSPs and empaths hear are “I love you, but you are too sensitive,” or “I love you, but you are too emotional.” This implies that there is something wrong with us and the way we are (intrinsically wrong). It is criticizing us for being us. It’s something that we can’t change, so it is a confusing and hurtful to hear from someone who says they love us. We see being sensitive and emotional as our strength (and are well aware that the rest of the world often doesn’t see it that way).The capacity to feel empathy and compassion deeply is who we are and what we do.

If you are hearing I love you but _____, I suggest that you point out to the I love you but-ter that it is hurtful and unacceptable; to knock it off. (Often, they have learned this phrase/behavior in childhood from unhealthy/critical parents.) If they love you as they say, they can unlearn it.

You deserve three beautiful words. I love you. Period.





Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin

I’ve always admired artists who paint self-portraits. Imagine looking in a mirror for hours to recreate yourself in paint on canvas? (Much harder than taking a quick selfie.) It is an intense act of bravery ~ to look so closely at yourself, to be that comfortable in your own skin.

And isn’t that the goal for everyone in life? To be comfortable in your own skin? To own who you are and what you are? To know what and how you can contribute to this thing called life? To be authentic.

We’re born authentic. But the hard knocks of life mess us up. It is often a long journey back. But it is a journey up, too. Back to innocent self-acceptance, but up in this messy world. With more tools and more understanding, we can secure a hard won self-acceptance re-entry in our adult lives.

Three beliefs have kept me going and led me back to being comfortable in my own skin. First, honor your body. Bless it; don’t curse it. It’s not perfect, but it has done some amazing things for you. Your body carries your whole life history. Give it some gratitude. Second, keep the candles burning. Keep hope alive. Seek out stories and people of kindness and examples of humanity helping each other. Cheer for the underdogs and help those you can. Third, nurture your own spirit. Do things that strengthen your inner peace. Time alone to reflect, pray, meditate, do yoga, walk, etc. is necessary to take care of inner self. The more authentic, peaceful, and self-accepting you are, the more compassion you can offer to others. And that is an empath’s super power – deep understanding, feeling, and compassion.

Empaths and highly sensitive people give much to others; now here is a prayer to remind you to honor and care for yourself. It is from a loving kindness meditation from Sita Chopra: May I be safe, May I be happy, May I be healthy, May I live with ease. She suggests saying these words to yourself several times through out the day. You wish these blessings for others, now extend them to yourself, too. Be comfortable in your own skin.

*Self-portrait is by Zinaida Serebriakova




Give Yourself a Break ~ Step Outside

It’s a tough time to be an empath and a highly sensitive person. So much unrest, anger, violence, and downright hatred in the world. We can’t help but feel the collective discord radiating from the masses, radiating from the news. Sometimes, these feelings that attach to us are overwhelming. Yet, we can’t turn a blind eye or a closed heart. It is not to our nature and not to our calling. Too much damage is being done in the world to too many people. We are called upon to respond with compassion and caring to those in need and to not feed the discord monster.

But give yourself a break. Empaths and HSPs can’t turn off emotions, but we can take a break from their impact to replenish ourselves. How? Step outside. Seek out a retreat in the great outdoors. Nature will give you the break that you need. 

Nature is a giver. (Kinda like you – but magnified!) It is vast in its wealth with gifts for the senses and the soul. Just breathing the air outside (and away from other people) will help you regain your center and your balance. Just seeing the beauty that we are given (without even asking) when nature surrounds us can help us to remember that yes, there is beauty in the world, and most of it is not manmade. Hearing the sounds of nature (for me, especially water sounds) are calming, peaceful, and rhythmic. Nature takes its time, and walking in nature can help you adjust your own inner rhythm. Nature will envelop and embrace us, if we only let it.

So when you can’t take it anymore, retreat from Man’s world, and return to Mother Nature’s. Step outside. Right yourself away from the fray by going into the forest, up the mountain, on the beach, by the waterfall, you pick! Nature will always welcome you back to her lap.

“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”                  ~ Khalil Gibran