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Your best friend

If your best friend was having a bad hair day, you’d tell her she was nevertheless beautiful, because you see her personality shining through. If your best friend was worried about something, you’d listen with love and kindness, and you would hold space for her, just be with her.

Do the same for yourself. If it’s hard, do it for a day. Then another. And another.

Start fresh every morning and soon it will be your default.

The way you speak to yourself matters. So be kind, be supportive, be loving, give yourself time and space to be who you want to be, who you are meant to be.

Be your own best friend.

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Staying soft

Staying soft is a challenge. If it was easy, everyone would be soft – kind, gracious, forgiving, accepting, loving.

It’s not easy, though, and the result is hateful and angry people, people allowing bitterness over the state of their lives and situations to spill out into the world.

People feel disenfranchised and powerless, and they let their pain make them hate; they let their hate morph into bitterness and vitriol.

Admitting that you hate, admitting that you are bitter – and more importantly, moving beyond it, letting it go and releasing your anger and bitterness – is hard.

Life is hard. There are so many chances for us to stand or fall, to accept our circumstances with grace or try to change them with equal grace. There are many more chances for us to explode in anger, to allow it to simmer in our souls and eat away at our peace of mind, our calm. So much – most of it, in fact – is beyond our control.

The only thing we can control is our reaction to that which life lobs our way.

Being the control freak that I am, I’ve always had a hard time with this concept of letting go and staying soft, but I’ve learned from the things I won’t let go creeping up and biting me in the ass, turning me into someone I don’t recognize, somebody I don’t particularly like.

Once upon a time, I was casually cordial with another woman; friendship was never in the cards due to disparate priorities. The problem was, despite our differences, I envied her and judged her.

I judged her for behavior that I just couldn’t fathom, the way she lived her life and took care of only herself, while also envying her freedom to live life just for herself without encumbrance.

It took me a long time to realize why I felt such enmity towards her, but when I began to look more closely at my own reactions, my own motivations, it was a lightning bolt; I felt hatred towards her because I envied her. I wanted to be in her shoes, and admitting that to myself was excruciatingly discomfiting. I was jealous.

Because she had the outline of a life I wanted, I was allowing that bitterness seeping into every crevice of my life, every important relationship, affecting everyone I loved. I was becoming someone I didn’t like, the type of person I accused her of being – bitter, angry, jealous and petty.

I’m not going to sit at my keyboard and claim that it was just that easy, that I realized the problem and it was fixed with a magical wave of my hand banishing the bad thoughts. No; It was hard and involved a lot of soul searching and deep thoughtful work on myself – and it is still a work in progress – but each day it gets easier.

If she ever crosses my mind these days, it’s to say a silent “thank you” for motivating me to move forward in creating the life and future I want.

Now I just focus on building the life I want for myself, ensuring that the world sees the person I truly am instead of someone who is so hardened by hatred and envy that all my sweetness and softness is gone.

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10 Benefits of Calm

The so-called fight or flight reaction is an excellent one to have in life or death situations, but in our modern life, the stress reaction is not usually accompanied by the need for heightened physical response.

Unfortunately, many of us are so consistently stressed that our bodies are continuously and needlessly flooded with adrenaline and other hormones, which taxes our nervous systems and drains our immune systems, thereby making us susceptible to a range of physical and psychological ailments. Insomnia, heart disease, anxiety, depression; all have links to constant and unchecked stress.

Cultivating deliberate calm in your life can make an appreciable difference to your emotional and physical well being. There are many ways to cultivate more calm, but no matter how you do it, the benefits are huge and can make a real difference in your life.

Here are the ten biggest benefits of having more calm in your life:

1. Calm makes you feel happier in general.

2. Calm helps restore both good health and energy levels.

3. Calm raises mental acuity and increases concentration.

4. Calm inspires you to create and to enjoy yourself.

5. Calm helps you develop your intuition or learn to listen to it again.

6. Calm slows down the physical and mental aging processes.

7. Calm helps you connect with yourself and build better relationships with others.

8. Calm enables you to relax, let go, and rejuvenate.

9. Calm increases your capacity for hope, forgiveness, and compassion.

10. Calm allows you to spend more time on what is important to you.

So spend some time cultivating calm – emotional brain training, cognitive behavioral therapy, yoga, mediation, whatever is best for you – and make a real difference in your life.

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Important Work

Today’s task was clearing out the office on the first floor of my house, the one that my son uses for homework and school assignments. Sometimes I’ll sit in there and work with him, sometimes I’ll just sit and enjoy the silence during the bustle of my days.

Today it needed to be cleared so he could be there with his tutor.

Here’s what the room looked like before I cleared it out:

Not very office like.

Here’s what the office looked like when I was done:

Decidedly more like an office space.

The television that needs to be swapped out grates on my nerves, and there are just so many more books than I want stuffed onto the shelves.

It’s not perfect, but the floors are clean, the recycling is gone, the shelves are somewhat organized, the desk is clean and ready to receive a new assignment (even with the cat in the chair), my son’s balance boards are in the corner where nobody will trip over them, and it smells like oranges.

It’s a little zen haven in the middle of the chaos of our home.

Once I finished, I sat on the couch and closed my eyes for a quiet moment, recognizing that just like my little boy with ADHD, I need calm for my mind to function at its best. I sat and enjoyed the silence and then penned an essay on my mother’s Christmas bags.

My first essay in months.

It was as if the block was lifted for just a second, just long enough to let out the good stuff that has been stuck behind the barricade of junk and energy overload.

Tomorrow I’ll tackle something else. I don’t know what, yet, but I’m sure it will come to me through the small break left by today’s clearing.

Until then.

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Don’t Dwell on the Past

To the Brig!

It’s January 1, so there must be a new project in the offing.

This year will be different, however, because the stress of not getting anything done, not achieving the goals I set for myself, and not making any appreciable change in my life, is beginning to affect my physical health. Something needs to change, and I’m determined that this is going to be the year because I can no longer accept feeling the weight of it all on my shoulders.

I’m not making resolutions, just a promise to myself to clear something, to write something, each and every day for the next 365 days.

My husband has decided the time has come to move towards minimalism, so I’m cautiously optimistic that this may actually be the year we get the house and garage cleared out, after watching my space get more cluttered and feeling progressively more blocked each day for the last many years.

From the day we moved in together, my space and our shared space has become more cluttered, and my stress levels have risen as the walls of detritus have closed in around me. It’s laughable at this point; my friends know that we’re always in the middle of a big cleaning or organization project.

My friends don’t care, but as a suffocated neat freak, my cheeks get hot and I want to hide under the floorboards whenI allow myself to think about it.

Our son is beginning to pick up his father’s habit of collecting things and I have to stop it. I can’t move forward in any appreciable manner with the clutter and stuff all around me.  I’ve been struggling to get my coaching business off the ground and I’ve finally realized that where there is clutter, there is stagnant thought and energy. I sometimes find myself not caring about the mess, which is a huge red flag to me that I’m entering into some state of Stockholm syndrome.

I don’t want to be that person.

When I was on a call with my coach in December, she asked me what I wanted for 2018, what one word I would pick. Immediately I said clarity.

So, today begins my journey to clarity: clarity of space in my home, clarity of mind and direction , clarity of purpose and movement in my business, and balance resulting from that clarity.

Today’s project is clearing out the downstairs office. Pictures will be posted.

Until then.

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10 Ways to Survive the First Months of a Divorce

Sitting Alone on Bed Thinking of You

Four words guaranteed to devastate anyone: I want a divorce.

Divorce is one of the most painful and frightening events a person can experience, and it takes time and energy to get through it and come out whole on the other side.

I’ve been through a divorce, and I’m not going to lie – it was awful. However, there were some things I did in the first weeks after my marriage fell apart that made it bearable and even gave me moments of joy, which although they were fleeting at first, became more frequent and lasted longer as time went on. Continue reading

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Starting Anew


Marie Curie once said that nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Most people would agree that one of the scariest life events that anyone can experience is divorce.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Divorce can also be a gift. Divorce is an opportunity to rebuild your life according to YOUR vision, YOUR core desires, YOUR compass instead of what you’ve compromised on during your marriage.

Divorce – whether you have chosen it or whether it has trounced through your life unbidden – forces you to start over, to figure out who you are again. It’s like repeating adolescence, only without the raging hormones (or perhaps with the hormones, depending on how you decide to distract yourself from your feelings). Continue reading

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The Midas Touch


The subject line of the message was “Should you sell your engagement ring?” Continue reading

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The View From Here: On Being a Jewish Mother


This post was originally published on Jen Hall’s blog, Dancing in the Rain,” on August 28, 2014. The terrorist attacks over the the last two years – Paris, San Bernadino, Orlando and Nice, to name just a few – had not occurred when this post was written, and thus they are not referenced.


I worry about the sensitive soul we are raising, the little boy who is scared of bugs and wants them gone, but who cries if I kill them. My heart is in my stomach most mornings as I scan the headlines. I am horrified by the recent election results in several European countries illustrating just how much of a political uptick in anti-Semitism there seems to be.  The violence in the Middle East, the anti-Semitism that feels more visible daily, rattles me. Continue reading

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Sunsets and Parenting


At 16, my parents dragged me, along with my four-year-old sister, on a rainy and miserable family vacation to a television and telephone absent vacation rental in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.

My overriding memory of that week is sulking around the neighborhood dodging the mosquitoes, hoping the sky would clear so we could at least take a walk to the beach or do something – anything – outside.  So intent was I on not being inside that I destroyed my virgin white Members Only jacket by spraying Avon’s Skin-So-Soft on it as the preferred bug repellent of the 80s. Continue reading

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