• Saying No: An Act of Self-Care and Self-Respect and It Doesn’t Have to Be Hard.

      Imagine a stream of water. Its source begins at the top of a mountain. Down it travels toward the sea; its water supply renewed by rain and melted snow. The stream winds through villages and towns and soon it takes the form of a strong, plentiful river. The people who live along its banks use the water to grow their crops and sustain themselves. They’re grateful, but soon, they begin to take the river and its abundance for granted. They’ve come to believe that the river will be there forever, filled with cool, clean water for them to use and support their lives. Then, things begin to change. There’s a long period of drought and the river is not renewed. In the meantime, the villagers continue to draw water as usual. Their needs are met. This goes on for some time, until the river becomes a stream, a trickle, and finally dries out. Now what? What if I were to tell you that you’re the river? And . . . if you’re the river, whose…

  • You Got Rhythm

    My mother loved to dance. She taught me how to listen and feel the rhythm of the music. “You can’t dance if you don’t have rhythm,” she used to say. She taught me the waltz and the tango and some folk dances. The Flamenco from Spain, the Kalinka and the Cossack from Russia, the Tarantella from Italy, and of course a number of Greek regional dances.  Music and dancing were a big part of my childhood and the main form of entertainment duringfamily gatherings, national holidays, seasonal celebrations, and informal gatherings.  Folk music and dancing are deeply rooted in the collective experience of the people in world regions. They tell a story — of how people lived and loved, of hardship and triumph, love and betrayal, desire, disappointment, and heartache — and when the music begins you can feel the emotions in your body. The story takes over when you dance.  When I became a mother, my daughters showed me that there is contentment in personal rhythm. They were two of the happiest babies and…

  • Chase the Frenzy Away!

    It’s December, the holiday season is upon us and two buzz words are on the move – “Holiday Stress!” There’s a wealth of resources on how to manage holiday stress and allow room for joy and love to go around. It happens every year and it makes me wonder. Are people applying the tips and ideas? Are people taking their own advice? Do we really want to manage this thing or do we just want to talk and complain about it? Is it possible that there’s a sense of self-worth derived from being stressed? If we all agree that the best gift we can give to ourselves and each other is love, why on earth are we driving ourselves crazy? Over the years, I watched myself dealing with this paradox. Over time and with practice,  I’ve been able to change a few things from the inside out and since I pride myself for being a good cook, I thought I could resurrect an old recipe of mine and share it with you. “Chase the frenzy…

  • You Can Say No to Self-Blame

    The other day, I had a first hand experience of how self-blame is a choice we can live without. I’m pretty sure that, the “multi-taskers” among you, will understand what I mean. Here it goes. The Middle School spring concert day was upon us and the girls were going to perform for last time as middle schoolers. Having been there before, I anticipated a certain level of stress for that afternoon. Regardless, I allowed myself to get distracted throughout the day.  As a result, I found myself scrambling to get things done while trying to be, emotionally and physically, available to the girls. It wasn’t long before I became breathless. I knew my stress level was increasing and I was starting to feel irritated. That was not how I wanted it to be. I stopped to take a few deep breaths and look outside the window. I reminded myself that this whole whirlwind of activity was the result of choices I’d made earlier. I knew I could have made different choices during the day, but…

  • Turn on the Light!

    On Tuesday evening, I sat to meditate, in honor of the winter solstice. It was my intention to sit still, breathe and be present in that very moment. I prayed for inspiration and guidance for this coming year. What I received was a deep sense of peace and acceptance. I’ll be holding on to this experience and here’s why. I usually drive myself crazy, trying to do it all well and produce the results I think I should. This last year, my focus has been on being mindful and accepting of what is instead of fighting against it. I’ve been focusing on doing what I can and not getting too hung up on the results. I’ve been giving myself permission to relax more and enjoy the nuances of my life. It must be working because I’ve been feeling lighter, more accepting of myself, and truly grateful. Today, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the support you’ve shown me over the years. You have inspired me in so many ways. My…

  • Change Happens!

    “Change is as inevitable as rain in the spring. Some of us just put on our raincoats and splash forward.” ~ Amy Bloom Being willing to flow with change isn’t always easy, even when we know that change is fundamental to our growth. Change provides us with opportunities to reflect and evaluate, make adjustments, and open to new possibilities. Whether change happened by choice or not, whether we view it as positive or negative, we’ll have to go through the process of transformation which, at times, can be challenging. Change tests our comfort level with uncertainty. As the old gives way to the new, we enter the “I have no clue where I’m going or who I am” land. There is a gap between the familiar and what’s next and it’s in that gap that we feel the most vulnerable. Our fears and doubts, as well as other people’s expectations, begin to weigh down on us. How do we survive and successfully navigate the gauntlet of transition? “For a person who’s used to our culture’s…

  • Living in Present Time

    Abigail Thomas is one of my favorite authors. I read “The Three Dog Life” sometime ago, liked her style and what she had to say, and I decided to read all her books. “Thinking About Memoir” is another one of hers and as I was reading through it the other day, I couldn’t help but think of how our personal stories evolve. We go on living our lives, going through the motions, dealing with unexpected events, checking off our to-do lists, and crossing paths with each other. Somehow morning turns into evening and we don’t know where the hours went. Much of life’s richness goes unnoticed. There is treasure to be found in every day living. When we live in the past or constantly agonize over the future, we forget to recognize and appreciate the fullness of our lives. When I stop and think that the present moment is all I have and allow myself to become absorbed in it, my mind becomes still and quiet. I’m at peace, I’m focused, and I accomplish all…

  • Life Balance! A Myth or a Choice?

    Life doesn’t present us with a clear, unobstructed road. On our way, we get potholes, roadblocks, and mudslides. Here and there, our lives spin out of control. We worry about our jobs. Our businesses falter. Our children seem to have grown up overnight and we are not the center of their world anymore. Our parents age and their health fails. We fall out of love. We’re stressed . . . a thousand thoughts racing through our mind . . . no time left for us and us alone. Life is complicated. We can’t possibly divide our lives into neatly separated territories. “Is life balance a myth?” we wonder. “Am I really expected to keep all these balls up in the air?””What if they all come crashing down?” Here’s the catch. If we’re not happy at work, it’s going to affect how we’re at home, with our family. If we’re concerned about our family life, it’s going to affect the level of energy and creativity we bring to the office. When things at work begin to…

  • Workaholic no More: 7 Steps to Transformation

    I joined the work force upon graduating from high school, worked my way through college and kept going. There are many reasons why I love to work. Not only am I able to support myself – which is extremely important for my self-respect – but I’m also able to channel much of my creativity, knowledge and passion into a specific direction. Time went on and life gave me plenty of opportunities to adjust my perspective. I found out that, loving work, can also lead to identifying with it so much that it’s easy to loose sight of what really matters in life. Work can become an excuse for not being fully engaged with life. Being a workaholic may earn us a gold star as a “team player” at the office, but it won’t give us a rain check for all we miss out on. Because of our unhealthy working habits, relationships and family life will suffer. Our health, creativity and ability to enjoy will be undermined. As a result, our effectiveness and productivity will be…

  • Work is What We Do Not What We Are

    Years ago, while at a networking event, I met these two guys who were account executives for MCI, a phone company of the past. We were introduced during the meet-and-greet session and they asked what I was doing. They were curious. Back then being a life coach was still new. They were both married and had young children. They asked many questions and at some point we got talking about being available to our clients. I told them that I kept a clear boundary between family and work time. After all, my corporate days were fresh in my mind and I wasn’t going to repeat the same mistake. Their response was fascinating. They both smiled, with an air of clear superiority and pride. One of them said (while the other one was nodding in agreement) : “My family knows that clients come first. My cell phone is with me at all times. A client calls, I answer.” Then he proceeded to ask me: “How can you not be available 24/7? What if someone needs you?”…

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