Saturday, April 21, 2018

A Wonderful Guidebook for Empaths, Part 3

    I'm still gushing about Dr. Judith Orloff's terrific and useful (even lifesaving!) book, The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People.  How much grief I would have been saved if I had known about how to deal with energy vampires.  Here's how to know if you've run into one:
  • You feel suddenly tired
  • You are suddenly in a terrible mood
  • You feel sick
  • You don't feel seen or heard
  • You reach for sugar or carbs to cope
  • You start to self-doubt or criticize yourself
  • You feel suddenly anxious, angry, or negative
  • You feel shamed, controlled, or judged
     Dr. Orloff then discusses the seven types of energy vampires and how to handle each one.  She talks about the Narcissist, the Rageaholic, the Victim, the Drama Queen/King, Control Freaks and Critics, the Nonstop Talker, and Passive-Aggressive People.  I can point to past bosses who fit into at least one of those categories.  If only I'd known how to handle them!  Well, save yourself some of the grief I've experienced and buy this book.  Yes, right now.  

Saturday, April 14, 2018

A Wonderful Guidebook for Empaths, Part 2

     Last week I was raving about the terrific book by Dr. Judith Orloff, The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People.  What a find!  I only wish I had read it years ago (but that would have necessitated time travel, since it was just published last year).

     What I found most helpful is the list of  strategies to combat toxic energy (and if you're an empath, you know exactly what I'm talking about).  Here are a few of the suggestions I found most useful:
  • Ask yourself, "Is this symptom or emotion mine or someone else's?"
  • Step away from what's disturbing you
  • Limit physical contact
  • Set limits and boundaries
  • Plan alone time to regroup
  • Spend time in nature
  • Get plenty of sleep and take power naps
  • Be fully present in your body
     If I had known how to practice those strategies years ago, I would have saved myself days of emotional overwhelm, physical symptoms such as sudden headaches or body aches, and so on.  Do you experience those issues, too?  If so, get this book.


Saturday, April 7, 2018

A Wonderful Guidebook for Empaths

     Have you ever found a book that you wished you had read years ago?  A book that would have saved you a great deal of grief, overwhelm, and confusion?  A book that would have given you wise advice and important life strategies?  Well, I found just that book.

     It is The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People, written by the psychotherapist and empath Judith Orloff.  If you are a highly sensitive person, or even an empath, this book is for you.  Let me say that more forcefully -- YOU NEED TO GET THIS BOOK.

     Far from airy-fairy, Orloff understands completely what it is to be a sensitive person or empath in the modern world.  She sprinkles various checklists throughout the book for the reader to measure where they are on the empath spectrum, whether the reader is a physical or emotional empath, coping mechanisms of the empath (including addictive behaviors), how much of an empath the reader is regarding food or relationships, whether the reader's child is an empath, and what kind of intuitive the reader is.  I found that very insightful.

     Dear Empath, if you want to do more than just cope through the day, get this book.  You won't regret it.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

A Couple More Quotes

     More thought-worthy quotations:
Real change never takes place from the top on down.  It always takes place from the bottom on up.  It takes place when ordinary people, by the millions, are prepared to stand up and fight for justice.  That's what the history of the trade-union movement is about.  That's what the history of the women's movement is about.  That's what the history of the civil-rights movement is about.  That's what the history of the gay-rights movement is about.  That's what the history of the environmental movement is about.  That's what any serious movement for justice is about.  (Bernie Sanders)
In the final analysis, a democratic government represents the sum total of the courage and the integrity of its individuals.  It cannot be better than they are.  (Eleanor Roosevelt)

 (photo courtesy of 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Couple of Quotes for Today

     Your pondering-material for today:
Principles invite us to do something about the morass of contradictions in which we function morally.  Principles invite us to clean up our act, to become intolerant of moral laxity and compromise and cowardice and the turning away from what is upsetting: that secret gnawing of the heart that tells us that what we are doing is not right.  (Susan Sontag)
We must dissent from the fear, the hatred, and the mistrust.  We must dissent from a nation that buried its head in the sand, waiting in vain for the needs of its poor, its elderly, and its sick to disappear and just blow away.  We must dissent from a government that has left its young without jobs, education, or hope.  We must dissent from the poverty of vision and the absence of moral leadership.  We must dissent, because American can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.  (Thurgood Marshall)
(photo courtesy of

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

May your joys be deep as the oceans,
Your troubles as light as its foam
And may you find  sweet peace of mind
Wherever you roam.

(image courtesy of

Saturday, March 10, 2018

A Terrific Book, as an Overview, Part 2

     Last week I mentioned enjoying Eva Wong's Taoism: An Essential Guide.  I did find one section in the book very enlightening, even moving, because it gave the background to a ceremonial practice. Let me explain.

     On a Taoist altar in certain sects, there are six rows of items.  In the back is the icon of the deity, with a sacred lamp directly in front of that.  In front of the lamp are two candles; the one on the right representing the moon, and the one of the left representing the sun.  In front of those are three cups:  the center one holding uncooked rice, the one of the left holding water, and the one on the right contains tea.  In front of these are five plates of fruit of the following colors:  black, white, yellow, red and green, going from left to right.  Finally, in the very front is an incense burner.

     And here's what I didn't know: each thing has symbolic meaning.  The sacred lamp is the light of wisdom, the original spirit.  The two candles represent both the sun and moon in nature as well as the two eyes of the human body.  The three cups, one each of rice, water and tea, have correlations in the male/female duality.  Tea represents yin, or female energy, water represents yang, or male energy.  The rice symbolizes the union of these two energies.  (Is there a Twin Soul link here?)  The five plates of fruit correlate to the five elements in Chinese cosmology:  wood (green), fire (red), earth (yellow), metal (white), and water (black).  And in the very front, the incense burner represents the fire of refinement and purification.

     So this arrangement demonstrates in material form the essential teachings of Taoism.  Progressing backwards from the incense burner, one must undergo the fire of refinement, which then nourishes  the five elements in the body (the five plates of fruit); next, the male and female energies "copulate," that is, become one, a balanced, complete whole (the plate of rice).  This wholeness will shine in the eyes as a golden light (the sun and moon candles), and finally the individual unites with the original spirit (the sacred lamp).  Cool stuff.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

A Terrific Book, as an Overview

     I recently finished reading Taoism: An Essential Guideby Eva Wong, which is a terrific overview of Taoism.  I appreciated the fact that the author tried to explain all the various branches of Taoism, to cover their core tenets, and to give some essential philosophy or practices.  I especially liked how at the end of each chapter she offered additional resources if you were interested in researching that area in greater detail.

     After giving a history of Taoism, with its roots in shamanic practices in China, Wong then covers the various systems of Taoism.  Included in this section are chapters on magical Taoism, divinational Taoism, ceremonial Taoism, internal-alchemical Taoism, and action and karma Taoism.  Really interesting stuff!  Lastly, she presents an overview of some Taoist practices, such as some meditation techniques, how Taoists cultivate and strengthen the body, and certain rites and ceremonies.

     I read one reader's review, a complaint really, that the book doesn't go into enough detail.  I think the author did a fine job of presenting the essences of each practice.  If she had gone into a lot of detail, I don't think I could have lifted the resulted book!  For an overview, this book works well.  Recommended.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

'Tis the Month of Love, Part 4

     Every day is an opportunity to practice love, isn't it?  We have the mission of seeing God within every person we meet.  We have the mission of interacting with our fellow creatures in a holy manner.  We have the mission of treating our Earth Mother with reverence.

     Whatever your religious belief or philosophical viewpoint, we need to dig deeper and get to the essence of how to meet that mission.  Here are some thoughts:
Being a Christian does not mean hating or belittling the non-Christians.  Being a Muslim does not mean hating or belittling the non-Muslims.  Being an atheist does not mean hating or belittling the religious people.  In a civilized society, diversity in religious orientation should be the reason for celebration, not the cause for hatred and differentiation.  (Abhijit Naskar)
Skip religion and the politics, head straight for the compassion.  Everything else is a distraction.  (Talib Kweli)
Kindness is the mark of faith, and whoever has not kindness has not faith.  (Muhammad) 
     So, keep practicing love.  Every day.  For every person, place, or thing you meet.  It matters.

(image courtesy of

Saturday, February 17, 2018

'Tis the Month of Love, Part 3

     So far we have focused on loving ourselves, on loving our partner if we have one, and this week, I'm going to ask you to focus on loving those around you.  That means the people that live next door, the ones in city hall, the ones from opposite political parties, and those from different religions. A tall order, I know.  Here's a wonderful quote from Kelsang Gyatso that may put things in a different perspective:
Normally we divide the external world into that which we consider to be good or valuable, bad or worthless, or neither . . . For example, our habitual way of categorizing people as friends, enemies, and strangers depending on how they make us feel is both incorrect and a great obstacle to developing impartial love for all living beings.  Rather than holding so tightly to our discriminations of the external world, it would be far more beneficial if we learned to discriminate between valuable and worthless states of mind.

(image courtesy of

Saturday, February 10, 2018

'Tis the Month of Love, Part 2

     For this week, I'm going to have you focus on the love relationship in your life, if you have one.  If you don't, then please re-read last week's post and focus again on loving yourself.

     But if you do have a love relationship, then I ask that you focus on that person.  Really focus.  Pretend that you have just met and study his or her face, his or her words and the topics of discussion, how he or she spends their free time.  Try to learn things that you never knew before.  Ask questions.  Truly listen.

     Maybe you are in a relationship with someone who you have decided is not your Twin Soul.  That's OK.  The Universe has you in this relationship for a reason.  Learn to love the one you're with.

      But if the one you're with doesn't make you feel loved or cherished, or worse, makes you feel diminished or controlled, perhaps it's time to step back and focus on loving yourself enough to make some drastic changes.  That's OK, too.

     Whatever you do, direct your heart to the highest vibration of love that you can, and go from there.  You can't help but soar.

(image courtesy of

Saturday, February 3, 2018

'Tis the Month of Love

     February is the month of lovers, with Valentine's Day celebrated mid-month, but today we're going to focus on you.

     Yes, you.

     After all, you can't "love your neighbor as yourself" if you don't love you, right?  So, we're going to focus on how to love yourself.

     Perhaps you're better at this than I am, but I've learned that as an empath, it's pretty darn hard to love myself.  I'm swamped by other people's feelings and needs that I feel I have to take care of, soothe over, or try to get away from.  It's hard for me to just focus on myself.

     But here's something that I've learned.  If I want to love myself, I have to feel myself and what I want or need at that moment.  So, I get away from people, get quiet and listen to my feelings and thoughts.  They tell me a lot about what I want or need.  Then, I tell myself that I'm worthy of getting whatever it is that I want or need and go do it.

     I know, as an empath, that it's very, very easy to put others' needs first.  But I'm giving you permission here to take care of yourself first.  Take the time for you.  You deserve it.

(image courtesy of

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Start the Year Right - Book Recommendation #4

     We now call to session our fan club meeting for the artist, poet and writer, Deng Ming-Dao.

     Kidding.  Sort of.

     The last book I'd like to recommend is Deng Ming-Dao's beautiful translation of the I Ching.  Entitled The Living I Ching: Using Ancient Chinese Wisdom to Shape Your Life, he again brings this ancient text to modern times.  As a bonus, he provides the glorious artwork that illustrates the different sections.

     This is a huge book. But it is definitely worth an honored spot on your bed stand or book shelf.  The author presents the history of the I Ching, what the yin and yang symbols are, how they combine into trigrams, and then how the trigrams combine into the hexagrams used for divination.  If you are interested, he also presents who the different authors are purported to be, how various people and traditions changed it, and how it can be relevant in today's world.  A beautiful book.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Start the Year Right - Book Recommendation #3

     A third book I'd like to recommend is by my new one-of-my-favorites author, Deng Ming-Dao.  I'll tell you -- the man is prodigiously talented.  He is a gifted writer and poet as well as a renowned artist and Taoist master.  Seriously, why doesn't the man have a fan club?

     Similar to 365 Tao, that I recommended last week, Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony is another book which takes a word or topic, shows the Chinese character, and then expounds on the subject.  What I really like about this book is that it explains the parts of the Chinese character and the essential meanings of the word.  It gives greater depth to the topic and how it is relevant to today's life.  The author, while well-versed in Taoist philosophy, is no ideologue.  He gets how it is to live in this world.  His essays are relevant and useful, not abstract or nebulous.  I use it as I do 365 Tao, reading one page per day to give me something to mentally chew on.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Start the Year Right - Book Recommendation #2

     If you like a reading-a-day type of book, you will probably enjoy Deng Ming-Dao's 365 Tao: Daily Meditations.  He presents a word or topic -- everything from Absorption to Youth -- shows the Chinese character for it, has a short poem to contemplate, and then expounds on the word.  Sometimes he includes stories from the Taoist tradition, and sometimes he follows the Taoist method of finding something to learn from that topic.  A brilliant book.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Start the Year Right - Book Recommendation #1

     We all like to think of the new year as a way to start over, to try something new, to build new habits.  I have some book recommendations that may be a good way to start your new year right.

     A few years ago, a friend of my Significant Other's gave me a wonderful book, a collection of poems by my favorite poet, Rumi.  Entitled A Year with Rumi: Daily Readings and translated by Coleman Barks, it presents a poem for each day of the year.  I've used it year after year and find new treasures each day.  His ecstatic, soulful, thought-provoking poems have helped set the tone for my day.  In fact, it was reading his poems that I noted the Twin Soul relationship between Rumi and Shams Tabriz.  Perhaps you will find the same.  I highly recommend it.