• 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…

  • 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,Β  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…

  • 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…

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