Remembering Who You Are

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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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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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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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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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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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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The Difficult Decision to End An Unhealthy Friendship

Most of us vividly remember the joys and pains of adolescent friendships, and the dramas inherent in them. Thankfully, as adults our friendships with other women are deeper and richer, influenced and enriched by the shared experiences of navigating life as a woman. The depth of these wonderful friendships is difficult to describe, and it is even more difficult to describe the comfort found within them, within a cocoon of support, understanding, encouragement and love. …

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What color is the elephant in your room?

In recent weeks I have been watching as two very dear friends navigate the emotions that result from deceit, betrayal, and destruction of the deep trust they shared. It is painful to observe their drama play out and, most obviously, extremely painful for them to live it each day. Everyone one of us has experienced betrayal of some kind, and the very word often evokes a physical response in our gut. Memories can flood back …

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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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Navigating Others' Expectations

Some of the best advice and insights I have ever received has been offered by children. In some cases, they were words actually intended as advice – ”Don’t get into a car with someone you don’t know, Sharon.” But far more often the insight had an unintended impact, a thought spoken with the clarity and conviction beautifully alive in most children. Several years ago, I was visiting friends who have three children. The oldest, a …

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A Moment Just for You

2015 was not off to the start I had imagined. Illnesses, slips and falls, and other life challenges faced by family and close friends in the first two months of the year had left me feeling a bit frayed at the edges. In the midst of the various “pulls” in my life, I had planned a quick dinner with two wonderful women whom I do not see as often as I would like. The drive …

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Help is Always There When We Need It

I am convinced there should be a mandatory course for totally responsible, self-sufficient women (and men). The course title would be: “How Asking for Help Can Significantly Improve Your Life.” So few of the women I know ask for help and, even worse, many actually refuse help when it is offered — “No, thanks. I can handle it.” (or some variation on that theme). I recognize the condition because I suffered from it for many …

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Nine Words That Are Changing My Life

I often arrive at the end of my day having accomplished a lot, although rarely all that I had hoped. I’ve tried many approaches to setting and resetting priorities, and confess to being a nearly obsessive list-maker. While lists remind me of what I want to do throughout my day (and sometimes my evening), they do not help determine how much time to spend on any one activity or project. By now you may be …

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Honoring Aunt Tucker

The voice I heard when I woke from a dream this morning was my Aunt Tucker’s. Not actually her voice, but definitely her. I could not go back to sleep so instead I begin celebrating Aunt Tucker’s life. On this day when her body will be placed in a grave, her soul is dancing with the moon and her sister stars. She has already sent us small but distinct signs that she is loving us …

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Creating Your Best Year Yet

There is much fanfare over the first day of the New Year and many people make resolutions about things that they will start or stop doing when January 1st rolls around. I do not limit myself to starting over on the first day of January, as sometimes the early days or months of a new year seem more like what I wanted to leave behind than what I planned to carry forward. Letting Go of …

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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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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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Before You Kiss 2012 Goodbye

During the past few weeks many of us prepared for and happily celebrated holidays, traveled to visit family and friends, closed out work projects, and juggled the other wonderful December activities that sometimes seemed overwhelming. At least they did to me. How, then, dare I suggest one more thing for you to do in the remaining hours of 2012? The answer is simple…I believe this brief exercise will help you let go of this year …

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Giving Thanks

In conversations over the past few weeks, I have heard a number of people comment that Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday. My Dad said this often when I was growing up but I did not understand. My favorite holiday then was Christmas. I used to think that Dad preferred Thanksgiving because he is shy and does not feel comfortable receiving gifts, or because he does not like the fanfare often associated with celebrating the Christmas …

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A Commitment to Yourself

Most of the women I know pour out their love, their energy and their hearts to help family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and sometimes even strangers, often without being asked. There always seems to be a good reason for them to put others first. Does this sound familiar? If not, you have good advice to share with us. If, however, you struggle with putting your needs ahead of (or at least on par with) the needs …

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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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