• 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…

  • The Transformation Process

    “Sweetheart, you are in pain. Relax. Take a breath. Let’s pay attention to what is happening. Then we’ll figure out what to do.” –– Sylvia Boorstein Recently, I came across this quote by Sylvia Boorstein. This was not the first time I read that, in her effort to cultivate loving kindness, Sylvia addresses herself as “Sweetheart,” especially when self-criticism and self-doubt bubble up. Today, as my daughter and I were driving to visit a friend, I found myself sharing these words with her and talking about the importance of practicing loving kindness and how this practice needs to also include ourselves. It has never been easy for me to include myself to the practice of loving kindness. I tend to be hard on myself and “sweetheart” is not exactly the term I use when I get frustrated with myself. I know that I’m not alone in this. Most of us tend to judge ourselves harshly and beat ourselves over the head. As we began to discuss the brilliance of finding a loving way to address…

  • On Strength, Health, and Sanity

    The day after Paying Attention was published, I received a thoughtful email from a friend and faithful reader of my posts. She usually writes back to let me know what the post meant to her, ask me questions, and at times challenge me to go deeper. These email conversations have become our little ritual and I love it. After I posted Paying Attention, I sat with what I had written. I felt that the post was incomplete. There was more to be said about how each of us is handling the tremendous stress and pressure we’re experiencing. There’s nothing simple or straightforward about our current, collective experience. When I received my friend’s reply to the post, something she said gave me pause. I asked her permission to share one of her comments and decided to jump-start a conversation based on her experience. This is what she said … I have found lately that I have wanted to be less introspective. I think I am less willing to look inward now even though the time is…

  • On Finding Goodness

    It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again. Anne Frank Anne Frank wrote that, in spite of everything, at a time when her world was being destroyed. She was 14. I’ve been thinking a lot about goodness lately. It has become exceedingly difficult to focus on goodness, given the tsunami of bad news and toxic culture assaulting us daily. Racial tensions, inequality in the face of a pandemic,…

  • 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…

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