Sharon

She left us these words – “Don’t postpone joy.”

I never met Marlene, but her words landed in my heart with a resounding WHOOSH! Her message reached me in an unexpected way, as I walked in a beautiful wildlife refuge. Before stepping on the trail, I set an intention for this walk – that I be open to and grateful for the messages that I would receive from Nature as I walked. The fact that it was a cold, damp and windy day meant …

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To The Bright Lights in The World… Including YOU!💫

Over the past two weeks, I have spoken with three of my dearest friends who, like so many other people now, are feeling “weighed down” by events in their country and in the world. What further complicates their situations is that these dear friends are people to whom others go when they need support and encouragement. In their unique way, these friends help others reconnect with the hope, strength, and optimism needed to continue helping …

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Listening to Your Own Best Advice

You generously give your love, time, attention, empathy and, of course, your thoughtful advice to family, friends, colleagues, and others who ask for it. These people rely on you, and days or weeks later they circle back and thank you. Your advice was, is, and will continue to be invaluable to many. Why, then, do you — and I — forget to listen to our own best advice? I am always inspired by the people …

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Re-awakening Hope

In many conversations over the past three weeks, I have felt the need and the responsibility to be hopeful, and to share messages of hope with others. This caused me to spend a considerable amount of time thinking about hope and exploring its power relative to one of my favorite topics – love. At the beginning of this exploration, hope seemed more ephemeral than love, more like a flickering flame that, when the wind blew, …

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People Who Love You Exactly As You WERE!

A very dear friend of mine is grappling with a situation that I have experienced many times in my own life. I suspect that you have faced this challenge, too, when someone you love is… … resisting some or all of the changes you are embracing in your life; … judging your personal growth or your evolving perspectives; … refusing to accept the version of who you are now and trying to hold on to …

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Joy and Sadness

Why, I wonder, are we reluctant to talk about our sadness? A recent conversation has prompted me to think about this question and to explore the relationship between joy and sadness in our lives. Many of us find it much easier to share our joy, to talk about why we are feeling joyful, while silencing our sadness. There may be many reasons for this choice, perhaps reflecting what we believe our sadness says about us …

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You ARE enough, and you have ALREADY DONE enough!

I heard a familiar and persistent theme in five conversations or Zoom gatherings about various topics over the past three weeks. Five different women, from five different countries, voiced often unvoiced-but-deeply-felt sentiments about being enough and doing enough … … “I ask myself, ‘Have I done enough?’” … “Since I was a little girl, I have felt like I was not enough.” … “I know there is always more I can do. I just have …

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“Holding On” Also Holds Us Back

Late in June, I committed to journaling for 21-days consecutive days, each entry beginning with the words “I release…”. Grief and sadness had been frequent companions that month, and I decided that writing about LETTING GO would help. Each day, I wrote about what I chose to release – FULLY release – that day. Sometimes I wrote just a few sentences and other times a page or two, and after several days I actually felt …

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Releasing The Past

June was an emotionally challenging month for me. The “why” does not seem that important, other than to say that four events stirred up residual grief and sadness that I had repressed and tried to ignore. So, two weeks ago, I decided it was time to do something to explore the emotional aches hidden deep inside, and I committed to writing an “I release…” statement every day for twenty-one consecutive days. Here is what I …

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Breathlessly Overcommitting… Again?

It has become very clear to me over the years that when there is a lesson I am meant to learn, and I do not learn it, opportunities to do so present themselves again and again. The lesson that has been circling back to me recently is the one about overcommitting myself, especially in situations when someone asks me for help. Last month, a woman whom I respect asked a favor. She said that it …

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Love and Forgiveness

True forgiveness is like a rainbow – a rare and beautiful gift, precious and elusive. As a child, I was often told that it was important to “forgive and forget.” No one explained that the step of forgetting – of letting go of our hurt and pain – may be even more important than the act of forgiving. I understand that now that it is. I have been thinking a lot about forgiveness and when …

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My Top 5 Tips for Prioritizing Self-Care

Last month I was invited to speak to a group of young women about prioritizing self-care and well-being in their career. I began the talk with the often-repeated but generally discounted phrase that “self-care is not selfish” and then I followed with the thought that self-care is smart and strategic. Choosing to prioritize self-care is an important signal to ourselves that we matter, that our health matters, and that our well-being is an asset in …

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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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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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