Taking Care of Yourself

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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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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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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Whose Drama Is This?

I recently made a commitment to notice when I create drama in my life or when I get pulled into other people’s dramas. It happens more often than I care to admit and I ask myself why that is still true. In the most recent example, two friends were disagreeing over something that did not seem very important, and as I observed their anger flare, I could feel tension building in my body. As their …

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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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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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Forgive Yourself

I listened closely as my friend told me that she was letting her family down. Her eyes filled with tears and then, as her story continued, she began to cry. “Letting them down?” I asked softly and in disbelief. Knowing how much time and energy she devotes to her family, I could not believe what I was hearing. How could she believe there was more she should be doing? We talked for a long time, …

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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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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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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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The Burden of Unfinished Business

I sat at a departure gate at Newark airport, watching a woman struggle with more bags than she could possibly take onto the plane. She looked around and the only open seat in the waiting area was directly across from me. She sat and immediately began to unpack and repack the contents of four bags, trying to rearrange her belongings to meet the airline’s carry-on limit of two. Within a few minutes, this woman seemed …

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Asking “Do I really, really want to do this?”

For years I spent most of my waking hours doing what was expected of me rather than what I truly wanted to do. I like to think of myself as a strong and independent woman, but somehow I was driving my life following the roadmap of others’ requirements rather than my own. Was I alone in this? I know I was not. Over time I learned to check in with myself more often, to do …

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Dealing with Grief

It’s a sad and lazy Sunday afternoon and I have just watched a quick, angry summer storm drop heavy rain and snap branches that now clutter my yard. As the rain poured down I thought, “Nature is weeping with me today. Weeping for those who have gone.” In the past week, two young, vital and vibrant colleagues died suddenly, leaving family and friends stunned, bewildered and grief-stricken. I cannot make sense of these tragedies or …

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Saying Goodbye to the Little Red Hen

I am reluctant to admit that one of my very favorite stories as a child was the tale of The Little Red Hen. Many times over the years I remembered two of the lines repeated throughout the tale — “Then I’ll do it myself“, said the Little Red Hen. And she did. And so did I! Like so many women I know, I needed to prove that I could handle everything that came my way, …

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Our First Thought of the Day

Many of us skip our first important decision of the morning, one that we make before we open our eyes and get out of bed. It is the decision concerning how we feel about this new day. Our first thoughts upon waking shape our experience of the rest of the day. Will we be calm or harried? Happy or frustrated? Will we feel confident and comfortable about what lies ahead, or worried about how the …

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