Self-Care… and Guilt

A conversation I have many times throughout the week, every week, is one in which I am encouraging someone to practice self-love and self-care. I have this conversation so often because many, many women I know and some men I know, too, are much better at taking care of others than taking care of themselves. I understand completely, because I am also better at taking care of others. Over the past month, I have had …

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Self-Love and Compassion

This period of “staying home” has stretched from weeks to months, and many of us find ourselves in a world we barely recognize. The people we love are afraid or discouraged or angry or frustrated because their plans have been put “on hold” while we all try to navigate life in a quickly shifting world. That world has changed in ways most of us could not have imagined and we know that the future — …

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Our Harshest Critic and Our Best Friend

How much easier our lives would be if we followed the advice we lovingly give to others. For many of us, this period of “staying home” has significantly limited our face-to-face time with family members who do not live with us, colleagues, and others who comprise our various communities. Time together is facilitated by technology and flexible schedules, and we are all supporting people who are afraid, or who feel alone, or who long for …

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Training Wheels

I am grateful for every lesson on my path to empowerment, and for the past week I have been especially grateful to a joyful 4-year-old girl (I am guessing her age). Last weekend, in a long neighborhood walk, we saw a few individuals and families out for walks and bike rides, away from the work-from-home, school-at-home, video-conference-from home experiences that fill our weekdays now. I heard that little girl before I saw her across the …

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I am not afraid!

A very dear friend of mine is wading through a morass of self-doubt and fear. Not the fear that one experiences in an abusive relationship or living in an area where violence is prevalent, but that other kind of fear that keeps us from living to our fullest potential. The fear of failure. The fear of criticism. The fear of disappointment. The fear of losing love. As I observe and listen to my friend, I …

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“I was going to finish that sentence.”

Well into my career, I was in a meeting with a great group of intelligent, successful and confident business leaders. I respected every one of them. They were all men. It was in that meeting room that I found the courage to say, finally, to one of the men who had just interrupted me, “Eric, I was actually going to finish that sentence.” (There was no Eric in the meeting, but I choose to protect …

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Whose expectations?

There are important lessons at every twist and turn in my life, and often these are lessons I have been ignoring for years. Most recently, I have been focusing on expectations – how they affect me every day, and what I can learn from them. I have previously written posts about managing other people’s expectations* and about managing our own expectations** of what we believe we can or should do in a particular situation. There …

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Moving through grief…

I woke from a dream about my Dad this morning.  He looked exactly as he did in the weeks before his death eighteen months ago.  He looked tired.  When I was fully awake, I knew (again) that he was gone and I sobbed.  I miss my Dad – the Dad who had been a superhero, as my Mom had been, throughout my life.  Crying seemed the only way to release the sadness, so I cried. I used to think that …

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Choosing Love Again and Again

It is usually (but not always!) easier to choose love over anger, fear, frustration or other emotions when we are interacting with people we deeply love.  This is especially true when we have reached a level of unconditional love, of loving someone without expectation.  I cannot claim to love everyone this way, but I am committed to this goal. Each day, I become more aware of how choosing love improves all of the experiences of my day-to-day …

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She Gave Us The Moon

Catherine Lafferty D’Agostino was not afraid to die. When she was twelve years old, she sat at the bedside of a woman who was dying.  The woman lived alone, so her neighbors took turns sitting by her bed and waiting with her until she was ready to release her final breath. Catherine’s mother had another commitment that afternoon, so she sent her daughter to keep the vigil in her place. Catherine sat alone and watched over the dying …

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The Freedom of Forgiveness

I believe in the healing power of love, in the transformation created in our lives when we allow ourselves to give and receive love with our hearts wide, wide open. Life events this year have led me to examine more closely the various aspects of love, and to feel love even more intensely. In the process, I have been exploring forgiveness, an aspect of unconditional love that is sometimes overlooked. We may lose sight of …

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Looking Up

A recent trip has me thinking a lot about the expression “Things are looking up.” This is not a phrase I ever use myself because, like other optimists, I usually find glimmers of hope in challenging situations. In the past few weeks, two things happened that have shifted my perspective to one of even greater optimism, and have given me an appreciation for the practice of literally looking up. For nearly six months, our family …

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Celebrating Dad

Our Dad truly was a superhero and when he crossed from this life into the afterlife, he left an unimaginable void in our lives. He left us many weeks before his actual death in April, experiencing what his doctor called “degenerative dementia.” So in the end we had a medical term for what had happened to Dad, though what we really wanted was a reason. There was no reason, but in an odd twist of …

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Invisible Hoops

My dear friend Emma* is making a career switch and has been interviewing for jobs in fields that have long interested her. In describing the process, she told me that one perspective employer had her “jumping through hoops” with continually changing requirements. After our call, I thought a lot about Emma’s use of that particular expression and about how most people I know, including me, are jumping through hoops on a daily basis. Often, we …

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That Was NOT An Apology

We know that forgiveness is a central tenet of all relationships. Our willingness to apologize, or to accept someone else’s apology, acknowledges and accepts the occasional or frequent missteps in our daily interactions with others. In recent months I have been thinking about the importance of forgiveness, of how it shapes our day-to-day experiences. I have been paying closer attention to situations in which people apologize, and especially to the words they use to express …

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Facing into Anger

The first time I watched two talented performers dance the tango, I was mesmerized by the precision of their movements and the rapidity with which they changed direction. Anger is like that for me. Not there at all and then, in an instant, staring me in the face. My experiences with personal anger are much rarer than they once were, partly as a result of years of meditation training and partly from the related exploration …

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Learning to Say “No”…AGAIN!

Early in my career, I worked with an abrasive man who was almost always angry at me. He was angry at everything I represented as a woman in the workplace, and furious enough to raise his voice whenever he spoke to me. But it is not his anger that made a lasting impression on me, it is a simple expression of his, one that has served me well since. In a meeting with this man, …

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"No, no, I can manage"

A recent interaction with a young mom has me thinking a great deal about our reflexive reluctance to accept even the simplest form of help when it is offered. My brief exchange with this woman made a lasting impression. Dave and I had walked into town for lunch and as we approached our destination, I noticed a young woman pushing an old-fashioned, larger-than-usual baby carriage. The woman was walking towards us and when she was …

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The Magic in that Moment

I was standing at the kitchen sink washing a pan when I thought I saw something sparkling just above my line of sight. Looking up and out the window, I noticed drops of water falling from the garage roof as the recent snowfall melted in the afternoon sun. Nothing special. Melting snow. As I looked down at the soapy pan in my hand, something told me to glance up again. The sun had just peaked …

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Whom Do You Love

We celebrate Valentine’s Day by telling others how much we love them, and it is a wonderful tradition. We want people to know how much they mean to us, how much we love and appreciate them. This year, in the flurry of red hearts, flowers and sweets, we have the opportunity to rethink this holiday that celebrates love. Here are two suggestions that may make this Valentine’s Day your best in years, and maybe even …

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The New Year’s Resolution You Need in 2017

Most of us welcome a New Year and the opportunity to focus on what we love about our life and also on what could be better. New Year’s resolutions offer a tool to begin re-creating our life by defining and pursuing what we truly want and deserve. In some aspects of our life, all we need is a bit of fine-tuning, while other aspects may require major revamping. Much has been written about how effective …

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It Has to Stop Somewhere

I am genuinely fascinated by memory, by how something from the distant past comes to mind for no obvious reason – a special moment, a long-forgotten experience. Sometimes, when this happens, I wonder why the memory came and if it holds a new lesson for me. Many years ago, my Mom was driving my brother and me home from a visit to my grandmother’s house. Suddenly, the car moved into a sheet of pouring rain. …

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Who Stands Between You and Your Dreams?

I have been thinking a great deal about my friend Adam (not his real name) who died several years ago at a relatively young age. He comes to mind nearly every time I observe someone who is not pursuing her/his dreams. Adam wanted to study law after college, but his parents had other plans for him and he followed their dream instead of his own. Unlike some people who fall in love with their profession …

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Choosing Love Over Fear

Every minute of every day, we are faced with choices that shape our lives. There are big choices related to our relationships, our beliefs, our work…and smaller choices (or so they seem) about what we will do with our day, with whom we will speak, how we will invest our time and energy. Our days might look very different if we consistently asked this question: “Am I making this choice from a place of love, …

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The Life We Create In Telling Our Story

We create and re-create our life in the stories we tell others about ourselves and in the stories we tell ourselves. Several years ago I heard Ben Zander, conductor of The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, speak about the impact of our answer to a simple question most of us are asked many times each day – “How are you?” As we reply to this question from others, we also signal to ourselves how we feel about …

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Choose YOU!

I have had the very good fortune over the past month to meet or to reconnect with several women who inspire me and from whom I have learned (and continue to learn) a great deal. And while I was not searching for a unifying theme for my conversations with these wonderful women, one eventually did emerge. Each of these women is facing the decision to end a relationship – a friendship, a job, a family …

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Quieting Our Inner Critic

I recently met a young woman who is making a significant difference in her community, a woman who is helping people transform their lives. If you had been listening to our conversation, it is unlikely you would have known how amazing Anna is. Hearing her describe herself and her work, you might have been underwhelmed. But I knew something about Anna before meeting her, and in our conversation it was clear that her inner-critic was …

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To Whom Do You Give Your Power?

I love kaleidoscopes because they remind me that in an instant, everything can change. In many of the “kaleidoscope moments” of my life, I have been able to see long-held beliefs or fears in a new and completely different way. So what does this have to do with our personal power, and how we give it away? Two years ago, I wrote a draft post called “Do they hear you?” The point of the post …

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Celebrate YOU this Valentine’s Day!

I absolutely love the idea of a holiday during which we celebrate LOVE with paper hearts, cards, flowers, chocolates and, of course, hugs and kisses. Love is an essential component of our human existence. If I asked you to make a list of all the people you love, it would probably be quite a long list of family and friends (and perhaps a celebrity or two). But who would be at the very top of …

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Feeling Good About "No"

Recent conversations with four friends from different walks of life left me wondering what happened to our collective ability to utter that very simple, two-letter word that could help make life so much less complicated. Anyone who has been around a toddler for even a few moments understands the effectiveness of an emphatic, fully-committed “no.” So how have we lost this reflexive response when faced with a request for which we have little time or …

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