Justin Bieber is an empath. Are you one, too?

Justin Bieber is an empath

Today, Justin Bieber announced that he’s canceling all future meet-and-greet sessions with fans because of how much they drain his energy, to the point of depression. While I’m sure some people are questioning or scoffing at this announcement, it all makes perfect sense to me: the reigning prince of pop is an EMPATH. It explains so much of the wild ride he’s been on these past couple of years.

People who are empathic are super sensitive to other people’s emotional energy. An empath can feel happy walking into a room full of people, but quickly begin to feel weighed down, sensing and absorbing each person’s emotional state like a sponge. It happens swifly and subtly, and can feel like you have multiple personalities, unsure which feelings belong to you and which ones belong to someone else.

That kind of confusion can easily cause anxiousness and depression, as Justin has experienced, and can drive empaths to find ways to “numb out” – drinking, doing drugs, overeating, acting out – so they don’t have to feel so much. I know there will be lots of disappointed fans and angry concert promoters, but I applaud Justin for recognizing his sensitivity to others’ “spiritual energy,” as he put it. He’s creating healthy boundaries for himself so that he has the energy to continue creating and performing.

If you suspect you’re an empath, too, figure out what you can and cannot handle and then take good care of yourself. Before Lori Portka​ and I took the stage at our Infinite Purpose​ book launch last fall, I could feel my energy rapidly draining as people filed into the theater. I wanted to greet everyone, but I simply couldn’t. I quickly headed upstairs to the green room and Lori and I did a grounding meditation with our peeps. It brought me back to center and allowed me to focus on my own emotions. Without that quiet reflection and distance from others, I would have taken the stage feeling shaky and unsettled. So while I don’t sing & dance for millions (and never will!), I can relate to Justin’s decision and hope it serves as an example to others. If you don’t protect and preserve your personal energy, you cannot show up in the world with purpose and clarity.

(For more about living as an empath, I highly recommend Dr. Judith Orloff​’s book, Emotional Freedom and Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person)

social media got you down? 3 solutions from positively present’s dani dipirro

Positively Present Guide to Life by Dani DiPirro

I absolutely LOVE witnessing someone change their life by changing their mindset (yay, power of thought!). Back in 2009, when I still co-hosted a radio show in Minneapolis, we did a show on positive thinking. We interviewed a young woman named Dani DiPirro who said she’d spent the first 25 years of her life with a negative attitude – until she realized it wasn’t doing her any good. So, she decided to shift her thinking and committed to finding the good in every situation.

Dani’s life changed in all kinds of wonderful ways.

Dani DiPirro - Positively PresentShe was so inspired that she started a web site, PositivelyPresent.com, to share her own insights and experiences with readers yearning to find the good, too. The web site took off, she was able to leave her marketing job, and published her first book in 2012. This week, she’s celebrating the launch of her second book – The Positively Present Guide To Life – and it’s great!

She’s one busy (and happy!) lady these days, so I asked her to answer me three quick questions – including how she stays upbeat on social media. Enjoy!

line with spark

Dani, you’ve built the Positively Present brand online, from your blog to Instagram to Facebook. But spending a great deal of time online can be soul-sucking if you’re not careful. In the book, you advise readers to use technology wisely; can you elaborate on how you do this? 

“Technology can definitely be soul-sucking if we’re not careful with how we use it. There are three important things to consider when thinking about using technology in a positive way.

First and foremost, it’s important to think about how you feel when you’re using certain technology or visiting certain websites. If you feel inspired, motivated, and engaged — that’s great! If not, you might want stop visiting a certain site or, to limit your time on the site, remove its app or bookmark. (And it’s important to remember: just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you have to.)

Secondly, it can be useful to pay attention to how much time you’re spending on social media. Obviously I spend a great deal of time on certain sites (particularly Instagram and Pinterest), but I try to have certain times of the day when I don’t engage with social media and I give myself a little break.

The third point to keep in mind when striving for a positive, healthy relationship with technology is that there are many apps and websites that can actually help you be more positive and present. Finding apps and websites that encourage mindfulness can be very useful, particularly during the times when it’s difficult to stay in the moment.”

In the section on work life in your new book, you encourage readers to appreciate what’s working and accept praise graciously. I love this, because it’s so easy to forget to CELEBRATE the little things each day. So I’d love to know how you’re savoring and celebrating this moment in your work life as your new book is being born into the world!  

“We’re often so focused on big goals that we forget to stop and rejoice in the little moments. I try to celebrate something every day, even if it’s something as small as crossing a tough task off my to-do list or making some extra time to play with my dog. I’ve been working on this book for two years so it’s a big deal that it’s finally out there in the world, sitting on bookshelves all over the world. Even though it was a big moment when I first saw the book in the bookstore, I’ve been trying to celebrate all of the little victories along the way (such as turning in the first draft, completing the illustrations, etc.), and this has actually made the debut of the book even sweeter. Every little win — no matter how small — deserves to be savored, and throughout the publishing process, I’ve really tried to make time to celebrate (and write about) the little moments.”

What was your favorite chapter to write in the book and why?

“Great question! My favorite chapter of the book to write was the first chapter, which focuses on being positively present at home. I enjoyed this partly because I’m a bit of a homebody and really enjoy being at home, but mostly because I believe it’s so important for people to create a positive living space in which they can feel comfortable, relaxed, and inspired. We spend a lot of time in our homes and with the people we live with so it’s important to make the most of the moments we have at home. And this isn’t always easy to do. Sometimes we’re not living in a place we want to be or we’re living with people who aren’t necessarily positive. Ideal living situations are hard to come by, but I believe everyone can make the most of whatever situation he or she is in and create a home that feels both invigorating and relaxing.”

Thanks & congrats, Dani!

Pssst! Friends, you can find The Positively Present Guide to Life here.

And!? Dani’s also a contributor to my How To Build a Blog You Truly Love ebook here.

a taste of my own medicine: the rundown on getting run down

time for a cup of self-love (unlimited refills).
I ran myself right into a wall this week. It’s been so long since I’ve been sick, but I could feel it creeping in on Tuesday. You know the feeling, right? The heavy eyelids, the aching muscles, the scratchy throat, the sledgehammer to the head. I take pride in staying afloat when my kids or hubby are down for the count. Me, get sick? Way too busy, way too needed, way too strong for that.

Yeah. I can hear the universe laughing now, its guffaws echoing through time and space.

On Wednesday, struggling to keep my eyes open, I realized that while I may be nearly immune to my kids’ eternally germy hands, nothing can protect me from energetic exhaustion. And each of the last several days, as I’ve gone over my mental to-do list, my body has pushed back. I’m feeling forced into submission, into surrendering my concerns – from whether Tru’s getting too much screen time while I doze off to not being present enough for all the participants in the Project Light Year classroom and community.

I am getting a taste of my own medicine.

The prescription that goes something like this: you cannot serve others if you don’t first serve yourself. Damn. Hate it when my words come back to haunt me. But I love it, too.

I love the way my spirit is wise enough to get in touch with my body, how they work together to let me know I’m pushing too hard, that it’s time to ease up, that my own medicine is needed. I love being reminded that life keeps chugging along and everything falls into place even without me micromanaging it.

I do believe the universe is always conspiring in our favor – even when it gives us a dizzying head cold. And so. Body, mind, spirit, brilliant universe…I thank you for this perfectly timed reminder to rest, to treat myself to a steaming hot cup of self-love with unlimited refills. And I promise – I really, really do – to take it slow if you’ll just let me get out of my pajamas.

feeding the feelings: my confession (please be gentle) | brave blogging link-up

Liv Lane

Over the past 48 hours, I have written two other posts in an attempt to avoid writing this one. The one I’ve planned for weeks to write. The one about the thing I don’t want you to know about, but you probably already do just by looking at me.

But today’s our “brave blogging day” in my blog ecourse; a day when I challenge all of my students to follow my lead, sharing something that feels courageous and vulnerable. Guess there’s no better time to stare down insecurity than when everyone’s watching.

So here’s the deal, plain and simple: I’m fat again. I’m not writing that to get a laugh…or a virtual hug…or an artificial compliment from any of you. Friends, it’s just the truth. I swore I wouldn’t be back here again – buying bigger clothes, loathing my double chin, out of breath after a flight of stairs. But dammit, here I am. Again.

I have been riding this roller coaster with my body for over 25 years. And it’s not even fun. 

Lately, I’ve just been sad about it. Not mad (been there). Not in denial (also quite familiar). Just sad that I have spent so much time battling mySELF, taking one step forward and two steps back so many times I’ve probably circled the planet by now. I have tried countless diets, cleanses, and weight loss programs. I’ve read so. many. books. I tried everything Oprah did…and bought all of her chefs’ cookbooks and weight loss journals. I abandoned dairy – twice. I joined a support group about losing weight through self-love.

In hindsight, none of those things worked long-term because I’m an emotional eater. Maybe even a food addict. When I feel sad or mad or hurt or stressed or tired or even super happy, I turn to food to calm me, to regulate my emotions, to help me find my center. I don’t binge; it usually only takes a handful of chips or a few bites of chocolate to get me there – to lift me up or bring me down, like a drug. But when a person does that several times a day, across a lifetime, she’s going to gain weight.

I seriously just figured that out. 

No matter how many times I heard or read about emotional eating, I never felt like it applied to me. Until this recent realization that I’m fat again. Instead of searching for the next diet or entering a drawn-out state of self-loathing, I started re-tracing my steps to figure out why. See, two and a half years ago, I lost over 40 pounds in a weight loss program; I only ate salads, ground beef and bars that tasted like chalk. Since I couldn’t feed my feelings, I wasn’t a very happy camper. And the weight came off so quickly, my body rebelled; I wound up in surgery to remove my gall bladder. That road to getting healthy was clearly far from healthy.

A few months later, my dad died – but something amazing happened.

For several months, I was so besotted by grief that I could hardly eat. It was the first time in my life I didn’t feel hungry – physically or emotionally. In hindsight, I realize my body knew that a handful of potato chips weren’t potent enough to heal that level of grief or bring my dad back. Food became a non-factor and I lost weight without trying. I let myself feel the feelings – and I survived!

Wishing You Well cardEventually, regular life resumed and other emotions came back into play, co-existing with a faded form of grief. The numbing with food returned, too (though I didn’t even realize it). And slowly but surely, the weight has come back.

Today, I’m uncomfortable. I don’t feel like me. I’m ready to shed what I don’t need. Again. But this time, I feel like I know what to do: feel my way through it. I’ve been reading Women, Food & God for the third time…and it makes sense for the first time. I’ve been experimenting…asking myself WHY I’m heading toward the food pantry – and sometimes it’s stopped me in my tracks.

On Friday, I’ll  turn 39. I want to spend my last year of this decade walking through fire…allowing myself to breathe and dance and walk through the hard stuff. I plan to enjoy the food I want when I’m truly hungry. I plan to see what new hungers arise – for creativity, for connection, for conversation. I plan to work with myself instead of against myself, paving a new path to lasting health. And I plan on sharing pieces of this journey here, appreciating every little bit of love and strength you’re willing to send my way. I hope this time next year, I can honestly say I feel amazing.


Please check out the awesome bloggers below who are sharing their own brave stories today! SO proud of all of you!

my epic fight with little miss perfect

Lao Tzu quote with ferris wheel, via livlane.com

I have been living in the land of discomfort this past week, staring in the mirror at a recovering people pleaser, feeling tested at every turn. When I was much younger, I said yes to practically everyone and everything – but eventually got much better at setting boundaries, at saying no, at doing what made me happy. I thought I’d left Little Miss Perfect in the dust.

Lately, I’ve been wrestling with her big-time, realizing all the ways I’ve tried to plan (okay, maybe control) situations so that you, my readers and clients, never feel let down. My stomach flip-flops at the thought of you thinking I’m careless or don’t have my act together. I bend over backwards, stay up till all hours, over-commit – do whatever I can to keep everyone happy. It’s taking its toll – and I hadn’t even noticed.

Sometimes, the universe steps in to make me squirm – in hopes I grow. (click to tweet that)

All those best-laid plans have bit the dust. For starters, we lost our nanny a couple of weeks ago (ohhhh, holy tailspin!). I’d been avoiding the miserable task of moving on from an arrangement that was no longer working…but some stuff went down, red flags went up and, suddenly, we had no nanny – nor a backup plan. I won’t settle for just anyone; these boys of mine deserve a rock star, which will take time and care to find. And in the meantime, we’re doing lots of tap dancing and gap-filling. The squirm-worthy consequence? I’ve had to cancel some Star Mapping sessions, back out on other commitments, and I’m sure I’ve missed emails and deadlines. Ugh.

Then, during my trip to Maine, my computer CRASHED. Just faded to black the day before a presentation – with the presentation still inside it – and never came back. Awesome. Beyond the presentation, I had deadlines looming, clients booked, and documents to edit. The Limelight Letters were stuck inside and didn’t go out to subscribers this week. Squirm. Squirm. Squirm.

I arrived home Monday night and planned to rush the laptop to The Geek Squad the next day. Control the situation. Make it better, fast. But an hour after I sent Ryder on the bus to school, the nurse called: he’d injured his knee in gym and needed a doctor, stat. God sure knows how to get my attention and force me to prioritize.

More cancellations. More deadlines unmet. More squirming.  

Ryder’s okay, just limping around with a bandaged knee and on strict orders to avoid unnecessary activity. As soon as I heard those orders, I knew they were meant for me, too: avoid unnecessary activity. I took a deep breath and released my grip on the panic button. I thought about professional peers I adore, mamas I admire, teachers I trust – and how much I treasure their transparency, boundaries, and compassion for themselves and others – all things I’d been sacrificing in a desperate attempt to keep everyone happy. So, I’ve squirmed  plenty and grown a bunch.

And that’s led to a big decision.

I’m postponing the start of my blogging ecourse by a week, so it will start April 15th instead of April 8th. May not sound earth-shattering to you, but it’s a big move for me – to change plans and risk letting people down. My boys are at home for spring break through next week. I still don’t have a working computer (I’m borrowing the hubby’s to write this post). I’m behind on, well, everything. I want everyone already signed up for class to be cool with the new timing – but I have to be alright with the notion some might not.

This series of reality checks – the destruction of my best-laid plans – has certainly made me squirm, but also helped me grow. I’ve committed to being gentler with myself and honoring the things I can’t control, knowing that I can’t do my best if I’m tied up in knots. I deeply believe we are each responsible for our own happiness – so my trying to control how happy others are with me doesn’t match up. I hope you’ll understand. I hope you’ll still like me and my work. But I’ll be okay if you don’t.

Take that, Little Miss Perfect.

Why I’m Not Getting Any Work Done!

How’s a girl supposed to get any work done in a place like this? We loaded up the car and drove north on Friday night, to one of our favorite spots in the world – a lake home owned by dear family friends, loaned to us with love for a few days. My mom, grandma and brother met us here, in paradise.

You might have caught it on Facebook: I packed everything a mama can possibly think of – sunscreen, beach toys, bug spray, Band-aids, extra underwear, sippy cups, snacks {you get the idea}. The last thing I put in the car was my laptop, knowing I had sooooo much work to do and hoping I could squeeze in time to get it all done.

But….all of this happened instead…

Oh, heck. Work can wait, right?

How To Get Your Sparkle Back


The other day, I cleaned my rings in a cup full of Windex. They’d grown grimy and gross, but after soaking in that magic liquid and getting a good toothbrush scrub, they looked good as new – which led me to ask:

Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a human-sized vat of magic liquid for everyone who’s lost their sparkle!? 

Okay, okay – maybe a chemical bath isn’t all that appealing. But what would we all have to do to achieve similar results? We’ve all lost our sparkle at one time or another – and experimented with ways to get it back, to varying degrees of success.

So, I did a little research – and realized the makers of Windex know something about sparkling that most of us forget. My rings didn’t get gunky overnight; they were covered in many months of accumulated debris and crud. I only noticed it when so much microscopic crap built up that my diamond looked cloudy – no shine in sight.

So, I grabbed the Windex – a chemical cocktail that breaks down grime and dirt. But get this! There are chemicals in Windex that also keep the dirt, once it’s been broken up, from settling back onto the surface. So, all that gunk not only separated from my rings – but it wasn’t allowed to return.

Whoomp, there it is! Our magic solution!

We can’t expect to sparkle if crud from our past accumulates slowly but surely and then, after we attempt to brush it off, is allowed to settle right back in again. When we start to recognize those old habits, those old hurts, those old patterns casting a shadow on our ability to shine, we have two chores:

1) do what it takes to release the old shit

2) shield ourselves from letting it creep back and settle in

We each have to create our own Windex For the Soul – a chemical courage cocktail of mindfulness, faith and confidence to keep our pasts from dictating our futures.  Soak yourself in it and scrub the scum away until you’re downright dazzling. Repeat as necessary. Ready? Set? Sparkle, baby!



Remember Who You Are

The other night, a man told me he loves killing people and wishes he was back in Vietnam. He was sitting on a bench in downtown Oakland. Probably homeless. Definitely disturbed. I was already anxious, walking back to my hotel from the subway after a day-long photography workshop in Berkeley {more on that later!}.

The day had been lovely, but I had nothing planned for the evening ahead. The more I thought about it, the more it scared me. I’m not used to being away for so long from my boys. I’m not used to being alone, fending for myself in a strange city, or even just eating dinner alone. I’m not used to walking past people who are sleeping on the sidewalk or holding their hands out with hope for spare change. My heart ached. My mind raced. My stomach turned. With every block I walked, I felt more anxious. Even though I knew my route, I felt totally lost. And, as you might imagine, having someone declare his love for killing people didn’t help matters.

I know my place in the world when I’m in my own corner of the world. And if I’m traveling, I always do so with a label and purpose: as a mom, a blogger, a speaker, a consultant – always with places to be and people to meet. Walking down Broadway in the middle of Oakland, with nowhere to be and no one to meet, my throat tightened and my eyes started to sting with tears. Who am I in this place, I wondered? Who am I, really, in any place? I started to make a list in my head, answering the question as I walked:

I am still strong here.

I am still brave here.

I am still a mom and a wife and a daughter and a friend here.

I am still compassionate here.

I am still creative here.

I am still intuitive here.

I still matter here and everywhere.

I reached my hotel, feeling my spirit rising. As I turned the corner, I noticed this wall covered in street art with these words: Remember Who You Are. It was like a neon message from the universe, validating all that I’d just honored about the core of who I am. Turns out I did have somewhere to go and someone to meet during that long and anxious walk. I’d been coming home to me.

{Pssst! Quick reminder that the How To Build a Blog You Truly Love eCourse kicks off a week from today – May 21st. Join bloggers and bloggers-to-be around the world – we’re going to have such fun!}

California, Here I Come!

I took a giant, running leap out of my comfort zone yesterday: I spontaneously planned an all-by-myself trip to California. Holy crap. Blooming in the dead of winter, I am. This is a big freaking deal for several reasons:

1) I’m a planner.

Before any potential trip, I make lists. I do research. I dream before doing. Not this time.

2) I am tethered to my children.

Since leaving the corporate world, I have rarely been away from my boys. I hated traveling for work and missing precious time at home, so I’ve probably overcompensated these past several years. And now I’m desperately craving some me time.

3) I have never – that’s right, never – traveled on my own for fun.

Vacations have always included friends or family by my side. This time, it’ll just be me and my loudly thumping heart. It both scares me and emboldens me. I know I need this.

California’s been calling my name for a few months. I don’t know why. I never know why I feel drawn towards something or somewhere; I just trust  those gravitational pulls. So, I told myself that if a California class or project revealed itself and made my heart skip a beat, I’d strap on my wings and go. None I found felt quite right. Until yesterday – when I saw a tweet from Kelly Rae Roberts about two May sessions announced at Teahouse Studio, an art space in Berkeley I’ve had my eye on, created by these three awesome blossoms.

I could feel my pulse quickening. I started looking at maps and air fares and plotting out a trip that could include meetings in L.A. for projects in the works and then two days of merry-making at Teahouse – with Andrea Scher, Kelly Rae and a small circle of creative spirits. The perfect circle, I’m sure. Within hours of seeing that tweet, I threw caution to the wind and hit “purchase.” And a rush of holy-hell-i’ve-lost-my-mind-and-i’m-so-excited came over me.  I love the idea of having a few hours each day of gentle, rejuvenating connection and creation vs. running from class to class at a conference or bunking with dozens of strangers at a retreat. Those can be delightful too, but this feels perfect right now.

My heart races upon the thought of spending days on my own along the California coast, open to whatever comes my way. It beats with fear over the unknown. It beats with courage, pushing me to go anyway. It beats with glee, for following my bliss. It beats with great big love – for myself, for my journey, for recognizing what I need. California, here I come.