Facebook Feelings

We all have feelings about and because of Facebook. For most of us, the good ones include being able to connect with friends and family far and wide. I love seeing (and doing my fair share of posting) photos of family, friends and travel, as well as beautiful sunrises and sunsets too. (OK, those who know me well know I will likely never post a picture of a sunrise…). I also appreciate thought provoking posts and occasionally even enjoy reading a political perspective or two (read: VERY occasionally). Then there are the posts that make me laugh out loud in glee; I do so get a kick out of those! And I really enjoy the low carb groups I belong to on Facebook. It truly warms my heart to see the support, kindness and love this like-minded group of mostly strangers offers to one another, many with very serious weight and health issues. Thanks in part to these groups, I have a whole new way of living and eating that has resulted in notable health benefits for me. Yep, there is no doubt in my mind I benefit from the good feelings tied to Facebook in many ways!

For all the benefits of Facebook, there are plenty of costs too. For starters, I am disappointed in myself for the time and focus I have lost from frequently scrolling through my newsfeed, liking and commenting on posts that, at least in the moment, matter to me. If I am totally honest, I also admit I tire of the constraints of maintaining the unspoken but very real expectations of sharing only a carefully curated persona; the one seemingly “safe” for the world to see. This especially came home to me over the last month when my friends asked “How was your holiday?” and my response was “Do you want the Facebook answer or the truth?”. I frankly also get really annoyed with the apparent self-serving “me, me, me” focus that seems to also be a norm, and one we all know either comes from, or contributes to, the psychological distress of people dealing with self-esteem and life struggles.

Then there are all the feelings that arise from some of the more controversial posts I see. Too often there are posts about abused pets that make me terribly angry, or a photo of a lost pet that makes me equally as sad. Or there are other posts that stir up more feelings of sadness and loss, like the ones that show the after affects of a severe weather event, or the compassionately created Go Fund Me pages for people in dire need. Then there are the rants that truly don’t belong in the public domain that cause me to catch my breath. Finally, there are also times when a post will  strike a nerve and send me digging deep so I can let it go and move past it. These costly posts that drain my energy and overshadow my spirit are the ones that have me asking myself “Is Facebook really worth it? Is it contributing positively to how I want to feel and live, and to what is truly important to me?”

As I sat quietly skimming Facebook late on Christmas Day, I realized the time had come for me to answer the question of whether it is worth it.  It was then that I started my first experiment and deactivated my Facebook account. I wanted to really see what I might learn, and what the impact on me would be. 

Within a day my experiment confirmed what deep down I already knew. It finally came home to me the accumulated hours I have spent on Facebook, simply put, could be used in much better ways. If I simply stepped away, it was clear my days would likely be brighter too. More importantly, I could choose to engage with friends and family in ways that deepen my relationships and bring me much more joy than the “surface returns” of Facebook.

Over the last week I have continued to reflect and get in touch with what I know deep in my bones. Today, January 1, 2020, I am stepping fully into the truth that I…

  • Am determined to free myself of the pull to “peek at my newsfeed for just a minute” only to find before I know it an hour has gone by.
  • Yearn to have real conversations with friends over coffee, lunch or dinner rather than fly-bys on Facebook that hardly scratch the surface. 
  • Prefer to use my time to visit, call or write “my tribe” and truly demonstrate my desire to listen and be present with them.
  • Get great joy from encouraging and supporting wholeness and humanness and offering a safe space to just be. 
  • Want to spend more time on other things too, like writing, oil painting, exercise and fitness, and getting more and better sleep too. All would contribute to lowering stress and a better quality of life for me.
  • Definitely prefer to have my feelings (whether they are fear, anger, sadness, joy or love) come from real-time life experiences rather than Facebook posts.

My Christmas Day experiment also showed me the hour or so I was averaging each day on Facebook would not free up nearly enough time to focus on all the things that mattered to me. Thus in 2020 I will be incorporating other experiments too, including dialing back on work so I can open up more time for all those things. I also know I want to maintain my connection with the low carb groups so I can stay up to date on research and medical outcomes in that space.  With a family history of diabetes and Alzheimer’s, it will surely be a valuable investment of my time.  Some of you have already noticed I opened a new Facebook account in my married name, which I did for the sole purpose of  staying on top of the latest research. It too is an experiment and I’m wondering how it will work to not add friends on that account and be mainly an observer, soaking in all the wisdom of that group. Perhaps by utilizing Facebook in that way, it will help me to not get distracted by (read: sucked into) a newsfeed that can so easily draw me in and keep me in. Finally, and admittedly with some trepidation, I think I will keep my original account active for now. (Besides, it is one of the places I have set up WordPress to publish these blogs!) Fortunately, thanks to the experiment that began on Christmas Day, I no longer feel compelled to frequent Facebook like before. To that end, I have also turned off Facebook notifications and intend to only occasionally peruse, post or comment. I truly want a new experience with Facebook, one that better serves my intentions. Should I slip back into scrolling for hours on end, then my commitment to myself is to “go dark,” permanently.  Last but not least, my husband has promised to support me in these experiments by being my accountability partner too.

For all my friends and family, and especially those of you who have already sent friend requests to my new Facebook account, please accept this as my open invitation for us to get together and bring our whole-selves to a real-time conversation. And when we do, please also ask me how my experiments are going. As we head into this new decade, I would love to include you in my accountability tribe!

Facebook. Does it bring you great joy or is it the bane of your existence? Or is it a mix somewhere in between? And is the time you spend on Facebook proportionate to your answer? I encourage you to experiment too and find the answer right for you! ❤️

A Quote

“Don’t grab hurtful comments and pull them close to you by rereading and ruminating on them. Don’t play with them by rehearsing your bad ass comeback. And whatever you do, don’t pull hatefulness close to your heart. Let what is unproductive and hurtful drop at the feet of your unarmored self. And no matter how much your self-doubt wants to scoop up the criticism and snuggle with the negativity so it can confirm your worst fears….take a deep breath and find the strength to leave what’s mean-spirited on the ground. You don’t even need to stomp it or kick it away…..just step over the comments and keep daring.” ………. Dr. Brene Brown


Living the Dream!

Last week a dear friend and I slipped away to Bald Head Island for a change of pace while my husband was away on business. The weather was gorgeous and the reprieve just what we both needed after a hectic, albeit productive, spring.  Before our trip, my friend and I agreed to experiment with a few things. We wanted to truly be living the dream while on BHI, even if it was only going to be for five days! For my friend and I, what that meant was paying attention to several things. First, we decided we would eat only healthy foods while on our get away (i.e., whole foods, nothing processed, no added sugar).  Just for kicks, I also decided to cut back significantly on my caffeine, allowing it only at breakfast. In addition to eating right, we also agreed to walking daily and practicing yoga.  Last, but certainly not least, we vowed we would not read the news. Full stop.

It is one thing to experiment in this way for a week or so. The bigger question for me was what would happen once I returned to the real world, where the every day demands return, where work, family and life happens no matter what?  Would I be inspired enough, much less able, to keep it up?  I really feel compelled to share with you the insights gleaned for our little experiment, the impact some of my habits were having on my body, mind and spirit and where I am now.

First, the food.  My friend is an excellent cook and has focused on eating only healthy foods for a couple of years now. For this trip, she offered to plan our meals and online shop for us.  My job was to pick up the groceries in route to BHI and to manage  the clean up after each meal. (Trust me when I say I came out WAY ahead on this deal!)  Our goal was simply to have tasty, satisfying food at every meal. It was not about calories, fat, carbs, Keto, Paleo or any of the latest fads floating around in the media. More specifically, it was NOT about dieting or weight loss.

Our menu included things like seafood, chicken, beans, fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, whole grain breads, olive oil and avocado. We ate three meals a day and typically had an afternoon snack, such as a smoothie or yogurt with fruit and granola. Each night also included one or two glasses of wine. (Insert “happy dance” bitmojis here!)

I was pleasantly surprised – almost immediately – to notice several things about the food part of our experiment:

  • I felt truly satisfied after every meal; comfortably full while not stuffed.
  • Water actually tasted better with these meals, likely because of the array of flavors packed into each of them. While calorie-free drinks weren’t banned completely, I noticed that my desire for them diminished greatly. Water very quickly became my go-to source for all hydration, vs the habitual diet soft drinks.
  • Since I don’t usually consume alcohol every day, the wine felt like a real indulgence.  And, given we mostly drank red, surely it fits within the criteria we had established for healthy eating.  🙂

Next, as promised, we walked every day and practiced yoga too. After literally months of long days sitting at my computer, it just felt great to get out every day and move. Wow. I mean really great.

Other things I noticed:

  • I was ready for bed at a decent hour every night, i.e., 10:30-11:00 pm vs. my usual habit of lights out at 1:00-2:00 am. (Some credit definitely goes to the reduction in caffeine for this one!)
  • I slept better than I have in months, perhaps even years!  Equally important, it was easier to get up in the morning too.

Then there was the “no news” bit.

  • Believe it or not, I completely halted the compulsive clicking on various news apps on my IPad.  Other than to check the weather, not once did I look at WRAL, the New York Times, the Skim, CNN or any other news outlets.  (Note: I did not swear off Facebook, so I had to work extra hard not to get sucked into the responses to the news that were posted there.)
  • I marveled daily over how many times I almost clicked on one of my various news apps out of habit. I shudder to think about how much time and energy I have wasted, particularly the last two and a half years, compulsively jumping from one source to another, often multiple times a day. I wondered out loud how long I could actually go without a “news fix”….
  • The shift in my emotional energy was particularly obvious. Within just a couple of days I noticed I felt lighter, more free. Gone was the tension that arose in anticipation of the next ridiculous political move or the insane finger-pointing rhetoric that has become our nation’s new norm. Gone was the dread of reading yet another article about a heartbreaking catastrophe or death. The little black cloud that had been following me practically evaporated completely!
  • Though it was subtle, the internal shift was obvious. I felt more calm, balanced and at ease.

One other thing was interesting to note. My friend and I didn’t feel compelled to GO anywhere or DO anything other than read and relax for five straight days. Other than a trip to the grocery store to pick up fresh fish, we stayed home and enjoyed the peace and quiet. We just enjoyed BEING.

So…now what? It has been a week since my friend and I departed BHI.  While trying not to sound cult-like in my transformation, I must confess I feel like I have been born again.  I came home equipped with all the recipes we enjoyed for the week and have added a few new ones too.  A quick but well-planned grocery run was all I needed to cover three or four days of healthy eating.  Prep and clean up when I cooked was a breeze. Actually, I noticed there was something quite satisfying about the whole process of prep and clean up. Just knowing I was making nutritionally sound decisions and taking care of my body really motivated me. I have also eaten out several times since returning home too, and each time I was very selective in terms of what I ordered.  In short, lots of veggies and a lean protein. Oh, and of course, wine….

Walking and yoga have continued to find a spot on my calendar too. Success for me is simply a minimum of thirty minutes at least 5 days a week.  Longer and/or more frequent is good too, and determined on a daily basis as I look at how to balance the demands of any given day vs, trying to stick to a rigid routine.  I just want to move more!

The net of it all:

  1. I feel better!  I’m more centered, more present.
  2. Completely GONE is the compulsion to keep up with the latest fad diet or research, much less the “breaking news.” I know now the news habit was about to break me. (I still have not found it in me to read the New York Times again…)
  3. Thankfully, I have more time in my day for the stuff that matters. Walking, writing, family and friends…that kind of stuff.
  4. Ironically, I suppose I also should report I’ve lost weight too.  But rather than get hooked by the what the scales say each day, I am committed to that worry not being my focus any more. Instead, I just want to provide for my body the nutrition and activity it needs to thrive. Unlike the first two thirds of my life, I want this next third to be free from the scales, the “rules” on how to follow this plan or that, fretting, the fads and the constant search for the magic bullet that would make me thin again.  My focus going forward will be on health and nutrition.  PERIOD.

How about you? As each of you, my dear readers, look at your life, what experiments do you want to try out so you can get closer to living your dream?  Feel free to share here what’s on your mind as you do!

A Quote

“Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.”  ~ B.K.S. Iyengar


The last thing you need to read on nutrition:



For some good news, based on facts:

Factfulness:  Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think, by Hans Rosling and Anna Roslin Ronnlund.



The Call of the Internet

Anyone who knows me knows I love all things technology. I truly love my devices and I especially love having information at my fingertips. Whether it be work, home, family, friends, doctors, banking, insurance, leisure activities or health and fitness, literally every area of my life is managed, at least to some degree, by the internet. When it works like it’s supposed to, I can’t imagine my life without it.

But we all know the flip side of the coin. Often times, my turning to the conveniences derived from devices, the internet and technology leads to immense frustration. Mainly, I suffer from frustration with accessibility (think lost internet connections and balled-up passwords).  I confess it sometimes it drives me to the brink of insanity (think obscenities and alcohol). Rue the day when nothing works like it’s supposed to!

Then there are the privacy concerns that continue to swirl around in the news. Every day we are besieged with stories of how our national and/or personal security is at risk. Again, all maddening.

Perhaps most insidious though is the impact on my time, energy and life by the constant need, or perceived expectation from others, to connect. When I stop to look at all the technology crutches I have come to depend upon, and how they have slowly but surely crept into every area of my life, I am struck by how much of my time and emotional energy is sucked into the vortex of all things internet. At a minimum, it can quickly become counter-productive. On occasion it’s downright unhealthy. If the truth be told, I have come to realize I am sacrificing much too much of what I know to be really important to me to something akin to an addiction to the internet.

Once I realized what was going on, I thought to myself, “Oh, I’ll just quit!” Cue a weird sort of grief that seemed to come over me as I considered the losses of not being constantly connected to others via email, text and social media.

After a week or so of angst, I finally came to terms with what I need to do. Rather than abstaining from all things internet (which simply is not possible!), I came to realize it’s actually about balance. Figuring out the right balance in each area of my internet use then became my focus. Now what I know is if I don’t make a conscious effort to figure out the right balance for me and then work to hold myself to what I deem it to be, life as I want it to be will be lost. No more will I succumb mindlessly to the seemingly innocent call of the internet. I’m taking back my life and making sure I live it exactly as I want it to be.

First a Quote

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!”    Henry David ThoreauWalden


Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, by Sherry Turkle.

Alone Together:  Why we Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, by Sherry Turkle.

(In the spirit of simplicity and reclaiming, I am purposely omitting the Lessons and Habits portion of my blog. If you would like to talk about this topic and how to figure out the right internet balance for you, I welcome a phone call!)


Suits: It.Keeps.Coming.Up.


Until Prince Harry proposed to Meghan Markle I had never even heard of the TV show “Suits.”  Now, I confess, my husband and I are just shy of binge watching yet another series.  Let’s just say it is our way of winding down after a busy day and has nothing to do with whether “My Purse Still Fits.”  (cough, cough…)

But I digress. The point of this post is about something I notice that keeps coming up.  Whether it is Harvey or Louis (two of the protagonists in “Suits”) or my family, friends or clients, I keep seeing or hearing about the struggle that occurs when someone gets triggered and then thinks and/or behaves in less than constructive ways.  And though I am eager to write of other things, I have a sense this topic is begging for some more attention.  So here is another round for your consideration.  It starts with a couple of scenes from “Suits” and concludes with some questions and insights that have emerged from the collective conversations I have had with others.

Scenes from “Suits”

In season 7, episode 10 of “Suits,” there are two particularly intense scenes where Louis lashes out at an associate. He is unbelievably harsh and condescending and his verbal assault ultimately results in a harassment suit being filed against him.  In short, Louis is on the brink of being fired.  In deep indignation, and also out of desperation, Louis goes to see his therapist.  His therapist, who has an ongoing role on the show, supports and encourages Louis to look within for the real cause of his outburst.  Because of their exchange, Louis is able to see what is going on for him and take ownership for his behavior.  His demeanor shifts and in the next scene, he goes to see the associate to apologize.

It is a very moving scene.  In it, Louis tells the associate how deeply sorry he is for how he treated her. Because he is finally willing to be vulnerable, he also shares what is going on in his life that caused his extremely inappropriate behavior.  After hearing his perspective, and accepting his heart-felt apology, the associate shares her perspective too. Louis then comes to understand how what he did deeply offended and hurt her – even more than he originally surmised.  And because of this exchange, they come to see one another in a different light and their relationship is back on track.

Though this brief paragraph doesn’t begin to do the scene justice, it validates a deeply-held value of mine.  I believe when two people are willing to take the risk of being vulnerable, when they allow themselves to have a heart-felt conversation, when they speak and uphold one another in a respectful manner, when they can share their perspectives and own their mistakes – all while showing kindness and compassion to one another – it leads to deeper connections and healthier, more satisfying relationships.  (And yes, being able to show up in that way is a very tall order, particularly when coming on the heels of a triggered event.  I am reminded once again how blessed I am to have a husband who shares this value with me and is consistently able to show up in this way!)

Several years ago I asked my coach if the goal of being grounded, centered and present was to never get triggered.  She assured me the answer was no.  Now, instead of hoping to never be triggered, I find it’s a lot less daunting to focus instead on resilience and recovery. Today I work hard to make friends with those times when I or those around me are triggered; to see those moments as my teacher instead of something to dread.  If I can pause and reflect, there is always much to learn, and even more to gain, once I have come to understand what is beneath the trigger.  From this place, more constructive thoughts and better behavioral choices become available to me and a new wisdom becomes part of who I am.

First a Couple Quotes

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” Helen Keller

“When people can tell the truth and people can hear the truth, it is a holy moment.”  George Peabody

So now, dear reader, it’s your turn.  Below are some questions for you to reflect upon.  If you are the journaling sort, all the better.

Questions for Reflection:  Finding Your Wisdom

Think of a recent time when you were triggered. What circumstances or people cause a triggered reaction in you?

Note:  If any of the below are going on for you, it may set you up for the possibility of reacting from your less than best self.  See if any of these compounded the situation:

  • Lack of sleep, being over-tired or hungry.
  • Experiencing high stress or time pressures.
  • Carrying underlying feelings of inadequacy.
  • Unresolved past experiences that can re-surface from today’s unrelated reminders (particularly experiences of trauma and loss).
  • What else sets you up?

When you get triggered (and we all do!), what are some of the things you think or do? Indicators that you are triggered can include outward and/or inward reactions.

Outward Reactions

  • Speaking down to others in sarcastic, condescending, cynical or critical ways.
  • Outbursts of anger or emotion, such as shouting or tears.
  • Laughing nervously or when your voice becomes high-pitched or strained.
  • Becoming a whirling dervish, knocking over anyone in your way.  Usually this reaction is marked by impatience and a curt demeanor that gives everyone the message you don’t value them or want to be around them.
  • Body language that speaks volumes: Wringing your hands, bouncing your leg or a folding up of your body in attempt to make yourself smaller?

Inward Reactions 

  • Withdrawing from others.
  • Ruminating about what a horrible person you are, or they are, or how awful your life is.
  • Becoming more self-loathing, self-critical to the point of diminishing your self-esteem.  (Note:  This happens to a lot of women I know every time they look in the mirror or step on the scales…)
  • Experiencing depression, sadness, anxiety and worry.
  • Having knots in your stomach, tension headaches or other physical reactions.

How do you want to think and behave during triggered and trying times? What matters to you about what you are thinking and how you show up in your interactions with others and life?

What is the difference in your behavior when you react vs. when you respond from your wisest self, aligned with your values and with what you know to be important to you?

What do you do that helps you recover, bounce back and be more resilient?  (Hint:  It takes practice, practice, practice….)

Lessons, Insights and Perspective:  The Stuff Beneath Our Triggers

As you continue to reflect, note whether any of the reasons below speak to the deeper reasons you get triggered.  (Be assured, you are quite normal even if all apply to you!)

  • Your identity, who you know or define yourself to be is questioned, threatened or mislabeled.

In the book “Difficult Conversations,” this is known as the identity conversation. At times like this the voice inside you head will pummel you with questions like “Do they see me as capable and worthy of my job?”  or bigger still, “Am I worthy of  love?” (And they say if this is happening, the difficult conversation is actually one you need to have  with yourself.  I agree!)

  • Much like the chicken or egg thing, what comes first for you, the triggering event or voice inside your head that too often points out your [imagined] inadequacies?
  • A deeply-held value is violated.

For example, if you value being treated with respect (who doesn’t?) and find yourself in a situation where you, or someone else, is not being treated respectfully, it can cause a triggered reaction.

  • Whether consciously or not, a current circumstance can remind you of a defining past event or life experience. Then something occurs in the moment and, like a bolt of lightning, it goes deep into your body or psyche, finds the old wound and causes a triggered reaction.
  • Often, we become unhinged by a fear. (i.e., a fear of being wrong, fear of failure, fear of being “found out,” fear of being embarrassed or even a fear of success.)
  • What else might be true for you and be beneath your  trigger?  

Note:  Sometimes we may not even know or be aware of what is really going on. All we know, in hindsight, is we reacted in less than stellar ways.  Think of it as a clue…

Now What?

  1. It is easy to lose sight of both our own and others’ perspective when we are triggered.  Exploring perspectives puts a new light on everything!  (See Resources below for more on these first three in “Changing on the Job.”)
  2. Ask different questions.  (Play with it and I think you’ll see what I mean.)
  3. Seeing systems.  (Think bigger picture and polarities.)
  4. Having someone in a supportive role (friend, family, coach or therapist) can help us find our way out of the dilemmas our triggered behaviors can create.  What’s important is to not stay stuck in the story of what happened and instead look to understand cause and solutions.
  5. Think about why this happened and what thoughts or behaviors could move you towards what is important to you. (See Resources below on Acceptance, Commitment Therapy, which is a great model as you consider this move. )
  6. Allow room for the possibility that your reaction was appropriate, given the circumstances.


Mindfulness or “Centering” practices come up in all of my posts.  Please trust me on this one!


  • Difficult Conversations, How to Say What Matters Most, by Douglas Stone and Bruce Patton.
  • Changing on the Job: Developing Leaders for a Complex Worldby Jennifer Garvey Berger.
  • Polarity Management:  Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems, by Barry Johnson.
  • Brief Interventions for a Radical Change, by Kirk Stroshal and Patricia Robertson.
  • ACT Made Simple, by Russ Harris.






Trapped in an Avalanche…

Who would have thought we would be trapped in a “snow storm” on Bald Head Island???  For those of you not from around these parts, BHI is a short ferry ride off the southern coast of NC.  And trapped we are, as the ferry is not running and there is no way to get off the island until potentially mid-day tomorrow.  There appears to be an inch or so of ice on the ground, though very little snow…

Meanwhile, all this trapped-ness got me thinking about avalanches (you never know…) and reminded me of something I learned watching Season 3 of Madam Secretary. (Yes, this was before swearing-off my binge watching…).  Did you know that if you get buried in an avalanche, one of the secrets to survival is to spit?  Apparently, when you are swept up in an avalanche you completely lose your bearings.  By spitting, you are able to determine which way is “up” and can start digging your way up and out.  Good to know!!!

It’s pretty safe to say the probability of an avalanche, much less having to dig out of one, particularly on BHI, is essentially zero according to my husband, the statistician.  Still, the thoughts of snow and avalanches and spitting did metaphorically bring something to mind that has come up before in my blog and is likely true for all of us. Triggering events can be like an avalanche of sorts and cause even the best of us to get angry, overwhelmed, emotional or upset; to lose our bearings, so to speak.  And then, instead of being able to choose our response, we react.  We say things we later regret, we cry, we storm around and potentially create yet another avalanche with our reaction.  Truth be told, our reaction, much like spitting, comes from deep down inside us and is borne of the instinct to survive. (Just so you know, why we do this can be traced back to worms, exoskeletons and the neuroscience of it all; the details of which I will spare you for now.)

Obviously, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in my life thinking about triggered behaviors, both mine and others’.  I used to think if I were to get good at recognizing my triggers I would someday be able to say “I never get triggered and I certainly never spit!” (Admittedly that was a stretch goal…)  Lately, I have become more reasonable in my expectations of myself; a bit kinder and gentler, if you will.  Now my goals are less about never being triggered and more about learning how to right myself when I am overwhelmed or out of sorts.

So how do I come back to center during times of stress or duress?  How do I respond from a grounded place, clear about my choices and aligned and congruent with who I want to be?  These questions come up nearly everyday in my life or the lives of people with whom I work.  Quite frankly, these kinds of questions are why I started this blog.

First a Quote:

“Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about those who don’t. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.”
― Harvey MacKay

Being able to right myself, being grounded, centered and present, especially during times of stress, is no easy feat.  I promise the journey is so worth it.  See if any of the below could help you as much as it has helped me:

Lessons (in the form of Steps) and Habits (in the form of examples):

Step I:  Identify your triggers.

  • Nothing gets under my skin more than when my deeply held values are violated.
    • For example, when I witness, or am on the receiving end, of someone being treated with disrespect. Examples of this are in the news every day.
  • High stress deadlines, too much noise and chaos, lack of sleep or food can all be precursors to a triggered reaction.

Step II:  Identify your range of reactions.  i.e., What are the things you tend to think or do when  you are triggered?

  • I generate (in my mind and sometimes on paper!) a long list of all the things the offender does or has done, things that are just wrong or annoy the heck out of me.
  • I may respond in righteous indignation, pushing back vehemently on the offender.
  • Or I may withdraw, putting some distance between me and the other person for awhile. This habit can be a good thing, serving both me and the other person, if I am gathering my thoughts regarding how I can most appropriately respond.  What’s limiting about this habit is when I don’t invest the time or energy to find ways to resolve the conflict or the cause of my initial reaction.
  • If I am grounded,  centered and present, I can simply say what’s true for me.

Step III:  (Re)Commit  to who you want to be.

  • I want to be supportive, open and compassionate to those closest to me, especially when we don’t see eye to eye.
  • I want to honor and uphold my values, but not in a righteous or indignant way.
  • I want to refrain from blaming the offender for making me do work I’d rather not have to do.  Yes, life would be so much easier if they would stop the offensive behavior, but the truth is my reaction or what I need to “do” isn’t about them, it’s about me.

Step IV:  Move beyond the cognitive and engage your body.

  • Instead of sitting with the thoughts spinning in my head, I make a “PAC-MAN” like move with my hand that represents a nipping in the bud of the unhelpful spinning. (For those not familiar, imagine a tapping of 3 fingers on your thumb.)  It really helps, if for no other reason than it makes me laugh at the visual it creates!  Soon enough, what I notice is the negative thoughts and energy dissipate, which is the real intention of this move, and I can think more clearly as to how I want to respond – or not.
  • Identify practices that help bring you back to Center, as mentioned in every blog to date…

Step V:  Self-observe and repeat Steps I-IV the rest of your life.

Here’s to digging out in the morning – and to the ferry running again!




My Purse Still Fits….

As I wind down from a fun-filled holiday, I am relieved to report my purse still fits.  I think that is a good thing, especially after enjoying an abundance of Christmas treats and consuming my fair share of some really wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon…

You see, I have been thinking about 2018 and what fits and what does not fit in terms of how I want to live each day in the coming year.  I want  the behaviors I “wear” to be truly aligned with what is most important to me; to be more comfortable, if you will.  After taking stock, here is what comes to mind:

What Does Not Fit:

It does not fit to rush around trying to do more in a day than a reasonable human would do in three.

It does not fit to live on my computer, IPad or phone 10-12 hours a day.

It does not fit to miss opportunities to spend quality time with family and friends.

It does not fit to binge watch West Wing, The Crown or Madam Secretary until 2 am, thus missing out on the sleep my body needs to  properly recover before the dawn of another new day.

(Yes, that is a bit of a confession….).

It does not fit to miss my walk, yoga or trip to the gym for [fill in the blank].

It does not fit to make food choices without thinking about my longer-term goals.

It does not fit to worry excessively about things outside my control.

It does not fit to take responsibility for life choices belonging to others.

It does not fit to take on or wear the negative energy of others as they deal with their own struggles and challenges.

What Fits:

It fits to listen, empathize and be present with others in their time of need.

It also fits that I get to decide what healthy boundaries look like for me.

It fits that I remain vigilant in balancing work, family, friends and fitness in ways defined best by me/what is important to me.

This year it will also fit for me find more time to pursue my creative interests like entertaining, cooking, leisure reading, and handmade crafts.

It fits, in the most sleek and elegant ways, that I manage my time mindfully, with a conscious awareness of what is important to me as I live and choose wisely each and every day.

Most important of all, it fits to be grateful for my many blessings:  my precious family, my cherished friends and my amazing clients. Oh yes, and I am definitely grateful my two-year-old Michael Kors purse still fits.  I really didn’t want to have to buy a new one….

(P.S. I invite you to add your comments below as to what fits or does not fit for you!)

My Habits:

(See “What Does Not Fit” above….)

My Lessons:

  1. (See “What Fits” above….)
  2. I want to pay close attention to the signals my body gives me (i.e., a tightness in my shoulders, a knot in my stomach or an adrenaline surge, etc.), which will help me know when I am taking on too much. (i.e., too many tasks, too much responsibility for others, etc.)
  3. I want to keep in mind Stephen Covey’s time management lessons on the “Urgent and Important.” (See link below.) In short, while Urgent and Important things “act upon us” (i.e.,  crying babies or an urgent work crisis), we have to “act upon” the Not-Urgent and Important things (i.e., relationship building, planning and true recreation.).
  4. With just a wee bit of planning, I can make it my norm to prepare and cook healthy, tasty meals and snacks and save eating out for only 2-3 meals a week.


  1. Remember to come back to Center multiple times a day, which will help in the moment of choice.
  2. Keep up with my fitness and yoga practices.
  3. Create a small notebook of quick, easy “go to” meals, complete with shopping lists for each, that are healthy, tasty and filling.