Rediscovering Joy

Rediscovering Joy and Wonder

I was about 5 years old, staring into a bassinet where a newborn baby was sound asleep. She was lying on her back and I was as mesmerized by her stillness as I was by her tiny hands. Soon, I became aware of someone standing behind me. It was not my Mom or one of my aunts because I knew that if it were, I would feel a hand on my shoulder or hear a …

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Becoming the true you!

The most significant changes in our lives are obvious to those who know and love us (and even to those who do not). A change in careers, a marriage or divorce, the birth of a child, the death of a loved one – these are life events that spark outpourings of congratulations, caring, celebration, or condolences. But there are also important but subtle changes in our lives, those that result from the decisions we make …

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Our Openness to Receiving

If life were a college curriculum, you would probably earn an A+ in the course called “Giving to Others.” You willingly and generously share your love, time, and energy with family, friends, colleagues, and others. It’s a wonderful thing to do, and surely they are all very grateful. For many, the last six weeks of the year are hectic, a mix of joy, pressure, delights, deadlines and wondering where the year has gone. It is …

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Will You Be Your Valentine?

The words “I love you” have great significance in our lives and in some cultures Valentine’s Day is a day devoted to this and many other of expressions of love. It is a beautiful tradition with one significant drawback – Valentine’s Day is focused entirely on our love for others. Last year I suggested finding time to write “an old-fashioned, straight-from-the-heart, love-letter to yourself.” The response was fascinating. A number of women posted comments on …

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When We’re Tired of Running in Place

The title of a long-running, off-Broadway play – “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” – always makes me smile. It pokes fun of the common human pattern of falling in love with someone and then wanting to fine-tune that person and create the ideal partner. Recently, I have been thinking about a different pattern in relationships, one more along the lines of “I love you, don’t change.” Some of the people who love us …

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Not Exactly a Vacation Day!

On a challenging afternoon at the beginning of February, I decided to schedule a vacation day before the end of the month. I clicked through my calendar to find one that did not seem overly booked and Friday, February 22, seemed ideal. There were two blocks of unscheduled time on that day and the meetings already scheduled were ones that could easily be moved to earlier in the week. I blocked off the 22nd and …

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New Valentine’s Day Traditions

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 (for some of us) chocolate, 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 …

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

The best advice I have received over the course of my life has come from my mom and dad, much of it in my early years – important lessons like listening carefully while others speak, treating everyone the way I wish to be treated, and their precious words “remember that no one is better than you and you are better than no one.” My parents taught my brother and me invaluable lessons about trust, unconditional …

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Rediscovering Joy

Many years ago I discovered a photo that made my heart smile.  My mom or dad had taken it at the very moment I discovered a new rocking horse on Christmas morning.  I was not yet three years old and if you saw the photo you would agree that this little girl was in a state of absolute joy.  Years passed and I forgot about the photo and, if I am truly honest with myself, …

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