• A Time to Breathe – An Invitation

    “To pause is to go on a pilgrimage into ourselves. We discover something new every time.” It’s never been easy being a woman. These days, it’s beyond challenging. Women have become caretakers on overdrive. We’re negotiating profound changes and heightened emotions, along with the logistics of caring for home, family, our professional lives, and our communities. Our well-being and sanity are being undermined daily. Let’s face it, does self-care even make the list? Where do we start? When do we even get the time to breathe? Yet, here’s another fact. In order to cross the gauntlet of our current reality and make it to the other side, we need to stay strong and healthy. We need to look beyond the obvious, keep our priorities straight, and turn self-care into a daily practice. We can’t possibly access our compassion, stay present with difficult emotions, and show up when we’re needed, when we’re exhausted. It takes determination, faith in ourselves, and the willingness to renew our commitment to our well-being … every single day! I’ve been through…

  • Sacred Space

    Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again. Joseph Campbell Lately I’ve been waking up even earlier than usual. Fall has already made its entrance and I find that I need more quiet, alone time with myself. It’s dark outside when I make my way downstairs. The light begins to faintly arrive around 6 am. Nature comes alive when we’re going to sleep and the animals wrap up their activity as the morning light announces itself. The coyotes are having a howling convention in the late evening hours. As I tip toe around my kitchen in the early morning hours, I’m treated to glimpses of activity I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. Today, I counted five skeins of geese flying overhead, heading West. A fox ran through the backyard and into the woods, while two red tail hawks chased each other and landed on the tree outside my kitchen window. I make myself a pot of tea, ginger with lemon. It feels good to hold a hot cup of tea at…

  • Paying Attention

    Is there anyone among us who doesn’t know by now that we’re being shaken to our core by immense social and global changes? There’s the ever-evolving pandemic, the chaotic political landscape, and the recent, long-due protests that the NY Times is calling “the largest movement in the country’s history, according to interviews with scholars and crowd-counting experts.” Although we all inhabit this world at the same time, our individual experience of the crises are not of the same intensity. Yes, our lives have been disrupted and our rhythms and rituals upended. But then, there’s loss of life, livelihood, and security. There’s a thundering, universal demand for letting go. Letting go of old belief systems and destructive behaviors. Letting go of our attachment for things to go back to the way they’ve always been. Letting go of our need to be comfortable. Letting go of our tendency to turn a blind eye. Letting go of our illusions, among other things. The ground underneath our feet is shifting and emotions run high. Everything’s up in the air,…

  • What’s in a Day

    A couple of days ago I was listening to Tara Brach as an intro to my morning meditation. In her talk, she referred to RAIN: Cultivating Mindfulness in Difficult Times; a four-step process we can use when we find ourselves in the grip of difficult emotions. When we can’t see the forest for the trees, RAIN can help us cut through the stress and confusion by: Recognizing what is happening. Allowing what is to be. Investigating our experience, gently without judgment. Nurturing what needs to be nurtured, with kindness. As I listened to Tara Brach walking me through the four steps, I found myself at a place of honest recognition and raw vulnerability. I was able to sit with whatever was triggering me and allow it to exist without trying to change the narrative and distract myself. It was a rewarding experience. You can play with RAIN anytime and anywhere. Right now, as you’re sitting, just close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths, and scan your body. What comes up for you? Is…

  • On Self-Compassion

    I woke up Monday morning (last Monday that is) feeling energized and ready to go. I had plans for the week ahead. In addition to the usual tasks, I was going to write, reach out to some friends and family members, and begin setting the foundation for new projects. My intentions were good and I had the energy and inspiration to match them. It didn’t exactly go as planned. It’s now a week later. As I sit down to write this, I look back and wonder where the days went. My mood began to deteriorate from the get go. It was a rainy and cold week. Neal and the girls were frustrated. They’re all working remotely but last week the Gods of internet decided to play games. As soon as I’d sit down trying to focus, somebody would burst in, frustrated, asking me to do something about this forsaken internet. We kept getting in each other’s way. I found myself getting more and more distracted. Inspiration, energy, and creativity went out the window. Eventually, I…

  • On Resilience

    These days I often catch myself contemplating resilience. I think about it as I observe the variety of responses to the pandemic and the restrictions that were put into place. Times like these bring out the best and the worst in us. I watch my own reaction as the days begin to blend into each other. I find myself reflecting back to my years as a child and a teenager in Greece. Memories of my parents, family members, teachers, and neighbors sharing their experience during World War II are vivid. The aftermath of the war defined my generation after all. I grew up at a time of cultural and political upheaval. I watched people persevere through adversity and hardship. My own journey as an immigrant has given me a unique perspective on issues. I tend to draw strength from my past. There’s this deep seated belief that, as long as I have my health, I can find my way through. This doesn’t mean that I don’t come up against my limitations or I don’t feel…

  • The Eye of the Storm

    We're being hit by a powerful storm. We're asked to take cover and wait it out. We're trying to care for our family and keep healthy, while working from home. We're trying really hard to keep our perspective and maintain hope. Staying calm, sane, and present with ourselves in the midst of chaos is not easy.

  • The New Normal

    This morning I asked the girls … “Hey girls, what do you think I should write about today?” Elinor turned to me and said, “Write about normalcy. I keep thinking that when I go back to New York, life will not be the way it was before I left. I used to walk to work every morning and I’d see familiar faces, the same young people walking to work too. Some of us will not have jobs by the time we get back and how is that going to play out? And, what about some of my favorite places? Will they survive? How is the new normal going to be? I have no idea.” I have to admit, although this idea of life not returning to what it used to be has been on my mind too, hearing my daughter say it out loud, made me pause. The girls are at the very beginning of their adult life, a life that will be defined by this pandemic. The decisions that people my age have made…

  • Breathing Through the Storm

    Only a few months ago, our family entered yet another phase of endings and new beginnings. Our twin daughters, having graduated college, found jobs, moved out of the family home, and launched their new lives in earnest. Three weeks ago, both of them, having being asked to work from home, made the trip back to the family homestead to weather the storm. There are suitcases lying around and a dining table covered in laptops and paperwork. One of them begins the day with an early video conference call, at the end of which she’s joined at the table by her sister, who also begins to work. Neal too is working from home, distance teaching, and meeting with his students and staff members over video. I’m doing my best to keep a sense of routine for me while making sure there’s food for all and keeping the house in relative order. Our little dog is confused. So many people, so much traffic. What happened, mom? We had just started to settle. Surprise, surprise… To top it…

  • Working From Home

    I don’t know about working from home, she said. I don’t know if I can be as productive. It’s going to be an adjustment. We spoke the day she found out that her office would be closing for two weeks, because of the coronavirus epidemic, and she would have to work from home. Hearing her apprehension made me realize how challenging it must be to start working from home, not because of choice, but because you have to. Not only that, but you’re asked to work from home because of an epidemic, during a time of chaos, confusion, and uncertainty. When I decided to leave corporate, launch my coaching practice, and work mostly from home, I did it because I wanted to be there for my girls. It was a choice that I made willingly and happily. This is not the case these days, as people are asked to practice Social Distancing, change their daily routine, cancel travel plans, remain vigilant, and self-protect against a contagion. Anxiety, fear, and stress are escalating with each News…

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