• 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…

  • 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…

  • 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 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.

  • 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…

  • 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…

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