Archives for category: Uncategorized

Long before we have even roasted the turkey, we are pushed to go shopping for Holiday gift-giving. I am feeling old and stodgy when I say that (in my day…) we used to celebrate one holiday at a time. But I am not so jaded… (And I am not THAT old!)

At the same time that we are distracted from enjoying the holidays by believing we already need to be preparing the “stuff” for the next one, it is heartening to see a new wave of mindfulness.

On Thanksgiving,  my sister-in-law’s young grandson showed us the yoga pose he had learned in school. A client, who is a teacher, informed me that they teach  meditation techniques in the Head Start program where she works. I see hope.

What do you really want out of the Holiday Season? What is the meaning for you? Are you diminishing the value of the season for yourself in getting distracted by all the To-Dos?

Just as I once read in tips for meditation: 15 minutes per day is great, unless you are very busy, then 30 minutes per day is suggested.

My advice: Slow down. Take time to recharge–sharpen the saw, as Stephen Covey called it. Meditate for 5 minutes before getting out of the car after parking. Stop and take 6 conscious breaths. Pause and notice the sunrise.

The renewed energy and clarity of mind will make up for the time spent. And, who knows, you might just enjoy the Holidays more!


Personally, I am still celebrating the achievement of a goal—becoming a licensed Acupuncturist and Practitioner of Oriental Medicine. So, in addition to my services as a Life Coach, I will now be able to support clients using this medicine.

I am proud of my accomplishments, which included the completion of a four-year graduate program, close to one thousand clinic hours, treating hundreds of patients, and passing four national certification board exams. Unlike some goals in my life, I was extraordinarily prepared to pursue this one.

The goal of becoming an Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Practitioner was not the first one for me that really grabbed my attention, this time, however, I was more ready to really achieve. As I discuss with my clients, there is no wrong choice. If it makes your heart sing, you can achieve it. The path may not always be easy to travel, and yet, if you stay focused on your vision, you can achieve it.

A few things that I recommend to maintain focus:

  1. Reconnect with your vision, the “Why” of your goal
  2. Keep things in perspective
  3. Stay mindful of accomplishments

1. What does the achievement of your goal mean to you? What will change? What will your life be like once you reach your goal? This is what I mean by your vision or the “Why” of your goal. This is your intrinsic motivation to strive toward a goal or to make any change. Reconnect with your vision often to maintain motivation and alignment with your dream. With my clients I compare this to autopilot in a plane. You set the course, and keep checking in to adjust for environmental influences. A plane will continually get slightly off course, due to air currents, for example, and the autopilot will make the needed adjustments to keep the flight on track.

2. This leads to keeping things in perspective. Understand that it is possible to reach a goal despite getting slightly off course every now and then. Sometimes, it may be necessary to veer around an obstacle. Be like an autopilot—it does not feel guilty or worthless for straying slightly. The autopilot checks in with the desired coordinates and realigns. There are no doubts about the coordinates—these are as valid as they were in the beginning.

This is where reconnecting with your vision will rekindle your passion, helping you keep things in perspective. A bump in the road is simply that. It does not need to be a sign that you shouldn’t take that road. Remember that any goal will require your commitment and continued pursuit to be achieved. This is part of learning and growing. If you already had all the skills and knowledge you need to achieve your goal, then you are not growing as a person. No change would be necessary. So, keep things in perspective. You are capable and worthy of your dream.

3. Stay mindful of your accomplishments along the way. Notice your gained competence. Now you are able to do _______________, or at first doing ____________________ was slow and difficult, now it comes naturally. Celebrate.

You were perfectly fine with your skillset and knowledge before; you have, however, added to your portfolio. Revel in the achievement. You are one step closer to reaching your goal. This is the fun. As the saying goes, it is the journey that is the adventure.

As you progress, and continually reconnect with your vision, maintain perspective, and celebrate accomplishments, you will notice how quickly you move toward you goal. Before you know it, you will be setting your sights on the next target.

Enjoy the journey!

Like the drawing in of a breath that allows the body to function, inspiration also refers to “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially something creative.” A creative act is not simply limited to art or writing–each and everyone of us engages in creative activities on a regular basis, whether we are aware of it, or not.

We create experiences for ourselves and others with each thought and interaction.

Today I was obviously inspired. I listened to a recording from a respected spiritual teacher, which opened my awareness of my gifts and possibility. Before class, my colleagues and I chatted and caught up on happenings, feelings, and thoughts. It feels good to be part of a group of interesting, intelligent, and talented individuals. The professor and class content then lit the fire of my fueled and loaded rocket. Within minutes I was zooming out to an excitingly distant orbit! That energy spilled out into each interaction thereafter. Each conversation ended with both of us smiling. I was very productive and happy.

Flying high provides an expanded perspective of opportunity and possibility, which motivates action and positive emotion. This is reflected in your mood, behavior, and the way you relate to other people and events. This is the exact opposite of feeling stuck, unhappy, and tempted to procrastinate. This is being inspired to creativity.

You know what I mean. Don’t you just want to be around someone, who is happy and motivated? Doesn’t it make you feel good? Don’t you see more opportunity? Don’t you notice that you then run into more happy people that day and things flow smoothly?

Each of us has something completely unique that we can share with the world. It doesn’t matter if the world we directly reach consists of a spouse, a neighbor, 50 employees, or the nation. We each make an impact. Decide if you want to make that impact feeling unhappy and stuck, or happy and motivated. Either way, you are creating that experience.

You choose to what you listen, and with whom you surround yourself, to name a couple influences. Do you feel inspired by these people and thoughts? If not, find those that are inspiring. Be selfish. The world needs you to take care of you. The world needs you at your best.

If you started smelling a bad smell, you probably wouldn’t breathe deeply, right? If you don’t find fresh air, you will be depriving your body of the oxygen it requires, and its functioning begins to falter. Similarly, without mental inspiration, your emotional and creative well-being suffers, and the people around you are robbed of the optimal you. So, your responsibility is to find what makes you happy and do it–that is your “work.” By keeping yourself inspired, you inspire others, and around it goes.

Follow what strikes your chord, and that will get your world humming.



I saw a single sail from the corner of my imagination. It stretched my sight until I could finally see again. Renewing my love for all the things we cannot see anymore. The joy of imagining that we lose as we lose our inner child. I saw a single sail that reminded me to sail […]

via Sail — HarsH ReaLiTy

Sound familiar? You are in a foreign country and your phrasebook query elicits smiles, whispers, and children’s wide-eyed fascination. The person, to whom you are speaking, gently tells you that instead of saying “Thank you,” you spoke of diarrhea. After a shocked moment, you all have a good laugh and end up discussing life over a bottle of wine.

I wish these moments on everyone. For me they represent the connection that can be possible anywhere, anytime, with anyone. How would you like to live in that kind of world?! A world, in which a miscommunication is simply that–and maybe even a chance to talk more, to clarify, to connect, to discover–yourself and others.


What is different about communicating in a foreign country and communicating on your own turf? I believe it is the willingness to hear past the semantics, and to give the speaker the benefit of the doubt.

My assertion is that if we view each person as a Culture of One and if we communicate as if interacting with a foreign language and customs, we would have that connected world.

When dealing with an obvious difference of language or culture, the willingness to understand and to see the similarities in another person is more prevalent, despite the potential faux pas that can occur. This leads to a friendly or neutral interaction. It seems clear that if a person is raised with a different language in a different culture, her words and behavior may have a different connotation than mine. So, I don’t take things personally. I ask questions to clarify meaning and intent.

We each have a unique set of circumstances and experiences that gives rise to a very specific perspective that is reflected in everything we say, all our behaviors and reactions, and our interpretations. These interpretations fine-tune our perspective, and around it goes.

So, Jane Doe may have been born in 1983 in the U.S.A. with hundreds of other children, AND she was raised in New Hampshire, AND in the town of Bakersville, AND in the school district of Mount Washington, AND in the Family Doe, AND on Maple Street, AND…, AND in her own head. Each sphere represents an added layer of “culture.” The overlap of shared perspective is diminished with each layer. Jane Doe lives in her own unique point of view framed by her own unique set of beliefs. Her culture is, therefore, similar and yet unlike that of John Smith, also born in 1983 in the U.S.A.

images.culture speech balloon

If you grew up using the same language as another person, it is easy to believe that she has the same connotations for each word as you do. That leads to arguments and being right about what another person said.

How often do you experience a person angrily saying, “But you said _______!” only to hear the rebuttal, “I never said that!” This is not communication, and it causes a disconnect.
Communication happens when the message that Person A sends, can be repeated by Person B, and Person A can say, “Yes, that is what I said.” This requires listening and being open to the meaning behind the words. It requires the willingness to understand a different perspective.

Speaking the same language obscures the fact that we each have a unique perspective and subtly different connotations and interpretations. It is BECAUSE we believe we are speaking the same language and meaning the same thing, that we feel justified in our position, and communication breaks down.

Applying the concept of Culture of One would allow us to step back. In the space we create, there is room to seek clarification and hopefully to deepen connection.



Looking through my photos, an obvious theme emerges: Nature, and specifically Sunrise. If I am not directly viewing one, I live vicariously through FB Friends. I never tire of sunrise.

Each and every moment leading up to the sun peaking over the horizon, is savored. Captivating. The play of subtle shades on the water accentuates the lines of the waves and lends an air of an oil painting to the ocean and sky. The sights, smells, sounds, and feel of the breeze combine to engage all senses in a perfectly orchestrated commencement of each day. Not foretelling, but rather reaching perfection in each step; a string of complete experiences unfolding into a whole, perfect story.

Such is each and every moment of our lives. I believe that to savor each moment as the complete experience that it is, would be the way to honor and enjoy the whole, perfect story of life and ourselves.

There is no condition to meet for perfection to exist. There is nothing to do. It is a matter of perspective. To be open to perceiving the beauty and perfection is not always our first reaction, and yet it is there. Remind yourself of other instances in which, in retrospect, things turned out exactly as–or even better–than desired/imagined.

Breathe deep, and take a closer look/listen/sniff/feel. This moment is unique. It may be difficult to see a sharp, uncomfortable situation as perfect. It is like a tile in the mosaic of your story. Seen alone, it may not convey much, and as part of the whole, it is exactly right–lending contrast, framing, enhancing, continuing a theme, adding accent, etc.

Live and enjoy each moment. And in this way, your perfect life story will unfold and be told.



image_stairway-to-heavenAmbling my way into the morning on the tail of the sunrise, I saw a neighbor sitting at the top of her flight of stairs. It was a lovely picture: she was surrounded by a garden of flowers cultivated on the landing, accompanied by her regal all-white cat, who was supervising her task and surveying the area. The woman was tying up a trash bag.

On another occasion, I had assisted this neighbor by carrying a package up the stairs for her, because I had seen her step-by-step inching first the package, then herself up. So, again, I asked if I could be of assistance.

She smiled at me, declined, and said, “Watch this.”

Gently she shoved the bag forward toward the stairs. Placed on a hard plastic liner, the trash bag swiftly tobogganed down the stairs and came to rest at my feet. We both laughed and appreciated the ingenuity.

Continuing my walk, I pondered. In what way am I facing a flight of stairs and stuck in a narrow approach to navigating them. How can I make things more effortless? What solutions would appear if I put aside the belief that I should do things on my own? Or by utilizing physical strength? Or other arbitrary limits?

This woman potentially began seeking new solutions only when her physical abilities diminished. And yet, we don’t have to wait. Not only do famous inventors have such creative abilities–we all do.

Two examples of this creativity, are my mother and one of my professors.

My mother loves to play ping pong. She is very energetic and agile, yet in anticipation of not being able to use her right hand, since she is “old” and might have to deal with injury, she switches up. Throughout a match, she will alternate, using her left hand now as adeptly as her right. This is one way in which she went past limitation. In addition, it is her way of stimulating the brain bilaterally. And, “Shhhhh!” Please don’t tell my nephew that he was only able to win when she used her left hand.

My professor joyfully proclaims his laziness and the fact that he did not graduate top of his class. He is a brilliant practitioner, and has a sharp mind, yet his take was different. He looked for systems within the body of knowledge to find explanations and gain understanding into principles, rather than beginning with rote memorization like his colleagues. Yes, memorization of some things is necessary, but he sought a framework within which to do so.

A few weeks ago, I attended his seminar on Two Opposites Theory. His laziness inspired him to see things differently–even in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which has been around for thousands of years–and he developed a theory of understanding and treatment that is simple and effective.

Belief. Once again, it boils down to the belief–or not–in the perceived limitation. Are you willing to believe in another possibility?  What do you have to lose? You might even navigate those stairs more easily.





Everything up to now in your life has been perfect, leading you to this perfect you, now.

As we age and move through different stages of life, our focus can shift. We might change our goals, our friends, our jobs, or find new ways to define ourselves. Throughout our life, however, some things do not change. Our personality traits, for instance, remain stable. What about our needs? Once we retire, do we still need to worry about Maslow and his hierarchy of needs? Is it enough to graze in the green pasture and leave the race to a younger generation?

For many of us, the search for meaning in life is not a new one. The quest is also not new to our lifetime. Over the centuries, religions and philosophies have evolved; Shakespeare asked, “To be or not to be…”; and motivational workshops and coaching businesses are booming—all with the goal of helping us decipher the puzzle and decode our purpose.

Even in the thick of things, when life is full of tasks, challenges, to-do lists, goals, and deadlines, we sometimes feel a lack of purpose. We are busy responding to others’ needs, we are doing our job, we are raising our kids, we are moving ahead in our career, we are celebrating successes—even then, we can feel lost or disconnected from meaningfulness.

What about after all these tasks are completed, the kids are raising their own kids, the deadlines belong to someone else, and seemingly, so does the success…and the purpose. Increasingly, we are living longer. To what end?

Every week, I have the opportunity to meet one or two people to whom I administer a psychological test battery. My patients are in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Each has her own story. Some are recovering from surgery or an illness, some are struggling to regain the ability to take care of their own daily tasks or to walk up two steps or down the hallway again, but they are all learning to cope with varying degrees of depression.

The test battery I administer is not a walk in the park; it can take up to three and a half hours, it challenges one’s memory, logic, some specific brain functions, and general intelligence. Although some of the tests can be uncomfortable in pointing out weaknesses—lack of memory especially can be painful—my patients often brighten up during my visit. A woman told me that she was glad to undergo the test, because Sunday afternoons are otherwise so lonely.

Recently, two people in particular, struck a cord in me. Both are relatively fit, have their wits about them, are painfully aware of faltering memory, are lonely, and are waiting for life to end. Their financial situation allows them the comfort of a private room in a clean and well-run facility. Physical needs are met, but emotional and social ones remain woefully neglected. It is human interaction and purpose that is lacking. The gentleman said it so succinctly, “I can no longer contribute.”

Where is the disconnect? How is this happening? What can be done? How can they contribute? With whom could they connect? 

I feel confident that this is not conscious abandonment, and there are luckily many happy exceptions to this end-of-life wasteland. Broad individual differences exist. On a societal level, however, a number of factors can contribute to this current situation: geographical mobility, smaller families, economic pressures, perhaps even technology and a change in the amount of face-to-face time we expect to spend with family members, to name just a few. These are just speculations on my part. I can only guess. I know neither the cause, nor the solution. Likely, a number of solutions will be needed, depending on the circumstances and the angle of attack.

For my part, I do not know what I can do. A suspicion is creeping in that I personally will ponder the situation, delicately disentangle myself, and slink back into my sideline life. Yes, the emotions I felt—the sadness, guilt, disappointment—will surge up at various times, triggered by a sight or a memory, and I will let it sink back down. After all, what could I do to make a change? How can I help these people connect and contribute?

Perhaps the act of putting this in writing, inviting others to look and ponder, will lead to ideas and actions of others. It might even embolden me to feel that I can do something, however small, to make a difference.


This past week at the Letelier/Moffit Human Rights Awards Ceremony,  I heard Sweet Honey in the Rock sing. I had never heard of the group and will never forget the feeling I got hearing their beautiful voices.

One diddy really got me.

If there is light in the soul, there is beauty in the person.
If there is beauty in the person, there is harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home, there is honor in the nation.
If there is honor in the nation, there is peace in the world.

This is what I seek to do for myself and my clients: help keep the light in the soul burning strong.

My colleague from International Coach Academy (ICA), Mark Reinisch, gives some great tips in his latest newsletter regarding living in the moment (check it out at Shift the He also quotes one of my favorite books, Flow.

A couple tidbits that Mark mentions that jive with my thoughts today–movement, striving to improve oneself. Both of these help us reach our goals/dreams. Additionally, in my reading today, I came across the thought “find your life (by centering on yourself) and you will lose it; lose your life (by centering on your partner) and you will find it.” This refers to the interconnectedness of our needs within a relationship.

Again, it comes down to focusing on your goals, setting priorities and putting one foot in front of the other.

Trust that even if you (feel that you) get off track, you can refocus, set priorities and put one foot in front of the other. The journey may be like the Beatles song, long and winding. Look how successful they were, and their music certainly did not remain the same! It changed and grew in complexity over the years, they were not afraid to experiment or incorporate new ideas.

So, take care of yourself, do something relaxing, strengthening, keep your dreams in sight and keep moving toward them even if you have to wind around/over/under various rocks in the path–the sweet honey is there!
This will keep a light in your soul.

As an update on my Habit post: yes, I’ve been more active. Tennis, a few runs, yoga. Today’s run was already so much more pleasant, I can feel the increase in condition. Very powerful (the feeling, that is).
I also just started a Spanish class.  So, my timeline for getting my biz off the ground is looming. I don’t think I’ll make the date, but I will get it going!