He told me to “shut up” and I wondered, how should I respond to that?

Someone screamed at me recently to shut up. Now, for sure I was trying to make a point at that very moment. But someone screaming those words at me really made me stop and think: is this their issue or mine?

Interestingly, these words came at a time when I’ve been thinking a lot about respect.

In my business life, I try (most times—not always!) to find a way to show respect for those on the other side of my cases. But, one of the things I have found to be most difficult in life is being around people for whom I feel little respect. More specifically, I find it difficult to control my own behavior around those I don’t respect.

There are many reasons why I might find it hard to respect someone. But, whatever the reason, at some point it’s fairly likely that this person will say something that pisses me off (or vice versa). Then, after I’ve lost my s***, I ruminate about the interaction and wish over and over again I had kept my cool.

Yes, this person’s words or actions upset me. But, how I respond to my emotions is my responsibility. It’s how I show myself respect.

When we lose our “cool” we are more focused on our own physical reaction (anger, tears, etc) and their stupid words, rather than controlling our own emotions. Because the truth is, when we let someone get to us, we often feel shame. Focusing on managing our own emotions and how we want to leave the conversation should be paramount.

Also, what does “winning” look like in those conversations? Putting the other person down, saying mean things to them or to others about them, only feels good in the moment. It does not advance my own life ball and that’s all I have control over. Again, respect, compassion and love for me means I don’t have to “win” because I’m good … I’m ok in my space, and it frees me from the impulse to compete or “say back” with others.

Finally, I’m also learning (and you can learn at my ripe old age!), that we can’t change anyone’s mind about us. And, I don’t need to. But I also have no interest (nor the energy) to change someone’s negative narrative about me. I will always be there for people. I will always try (operative word) to do the right thing, and I will always make mistakes. But, I will also always respect and love myself. If others jump on the bandwagon, great. If not, then not.

I know it’s cliche, but life is short. Don’t spend it looking back. Respect yourself, and all other good things will follow (and try not to say “shut up” to other people! LOL)



Thailand: The Elegance of Simplicity

We recently went to Thailand, and I was struck many things, the heat, the food, the motorcycles and importantly, the simplicity of life. I wondered if I could find that same simplicity at home—in the middle of the craziness of my world. There were so many people we met there who were happy and felt successful. But in the US, would they be seen as successful? Maybe not and that seems a bit screwed up.

Over the course of our lives, we’ve measured success differently. When we were younger, we measured success by the number of our friends, or our being in sports, the college or grad school we got into. Then there was the period of time where we measured success by our choice in partners, our jobs, money and how well our kids did in school or in life (this is a topic for an entire post!).

But since Thailand (and I guess even before), I’ve been considering my measure of success. John Wooden, one of the of the most successful basketball coaches of all-time, took an approach to measuring success that I love: “Don’t measure yourself by what you’ve accomplished, but rather by what you should have accomplished with your abilities.” His book, Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court, was an incredible reminder to me of something I’ve known all along: focus on what you can control.

The book inspired me to relook at how I measure my success and allowed me to develop some new “lane lines” for my life:

  1. Compare yourself only to yourself. According to Wooden “True success is attained only through the satisfaction of knowing you did everything within the limits of your ability to become the very best that you are capable of being.” Love it.
  2. Measure success by what’s hard to measure. Money, trips, things, etc. are easy to measure. I want to measure my life by what’s hard to measure: mental and physical health, relationships, passion and joy.
  3. Measure success over the long haul. Nothing, and I mean nothing, happens overnight.
  4. Measure the “right” outcomes. The number of books I read means nothing. The number of books I read where I retain something, and share it with others, means something.
  5. Finally, and most importantly, measure success by values. Highly motivated people often focus too much on execution without spending enough time to think about what (and really why) to execute in the first place. I want to measure my success by doing what fits my life values.

Thailand was beautiful, amazing and inspiring. I learned so much about myself and the positive and not-so-helpful things in my life that I need to shed, in order to enjoy this cool new phase of life. Thailand also helped me find a more robust (and frankly more elegant) way of measuring my success!



Today is Day One

There are times in our lives where we get a do-over. I don’t mean we get to fix something (which, of course, sometimes we do). I mean a do-over in life. A time to start anew.

Everyone has changes in life, whether it’s emotional maturing, retirement, parenthood, or entering or leaving a relationship. Some of us seem to embrace these times better than others. It’s not that we’re not happy where we were. It’s just that there is a change in life that will warrant a change in our thinking and doing.

This past week I became an “empty-nester.” I don’t really love that phrase because we never stop being a parent. But we do let go. It is a time for our kids to find their own lives. To fend for themselves. To fail and to succeed. It’s a chance for a Day One for us.

Today I felt like I woke up from a wonderfully deep sleep. The years of being focused on my kids has been great and meaningful, but exhausting and didn’t always allow me to focus on me. I had one goal with my kids and that was for them to find gratitude for their lives. Not just their privilege but for being alive. For have the opportunity to help others and leave a positive footprint. To be grateful for their family and friends. When you have gratitude, all else falls into place. I’m not sure it stuck but that’s for them to deal with now, not me.

The reality is that life is not a straight line. It’s made up of many experiences—some good, some boring, and some so bad that you’ll need plenty of time to recover from the trauma of living through it. But you do live through it. You focus on healing and being grateful. And then you start again at Day One.

Life’s not one big Hallmark movie where everything’s pretty, shiny and happy all the time. Shitty things happen to good people. Life changes occur. Anxiety and depression can develop and addictions have the power to break the strongest among us. But we can always start over. Like they say, one-day-at-a-time.

Today is Day One. I wonder what will happen next? 🙂



Where are you going? What are you running from?

Today is the birthday of my twin boys (now 23!). While I celebrate their births, it’s also a quiet time from me. As some of you know, it was four days after their birth that my mom was diagnosed with brain cancer and died six weeks later. Every year from the boys’ birthday to the 21st of August, I make a point of really listening. I hear the leaves rustle on the trees. I hear the birds chirping. I hear my own breath. I think about life.

Where are you going? That’s the question floating in my brain lately. Love my job (check). Love my family and friends (check). Appreciate my life (check). But am I running away from s***? Why am I always moving so fast? Am I running toward life or away from something?

I bet, if we all dug really deep, we’d see that there are little and big scars that we’re constantly try to hide. To avoid. We don’t feel worthy of … We don’t feel good enough … We move quickly to avoid feeling those feelings.

I was on a marathon training run recently (don’t ask!) and was lamenting my inability to run at my “younger” speed. The guy running next to me said with a smile, “No one gives a shit how you are running today. We care that you’re here.” Wow. Nice.

What are we avoiding? Why can’t we embrace our present place. Why are we always running and where are we going?

I’m not saying love those unpleasant situations and people (that’s unhelpful when someone says that to me).

I guess what I’m saying is think of life like a Rubik’s Cube. You have to turn it over and over again. Even when it doesn’t seem to go together or when it seems like you’ll never get there. Don’t be afraid to look, to uncover. Don’t be afraid to slow down to figure it out. Because when it finally all matches … well, it’s time to leave this place.

I’ve let fear fuel my choices. Worried about being a single mom. Worried I was too worried or not worried enough (pretty sure that’s the Italian in me!). Was I doing an ok job raising them? Was I really solving my client’s issues? Did I have imposter syndrome (answer: yes! – who doesn’t?).

Let’s stop. Let’s not let fear fuel our choices. Let’s not worry about what people think. Be respectful, of course. Leave a good footprint, yes.

But whatever you’re running from, will eventually catch you. So, STOP. Look at it. Be ok with it. Then let it walk side-by-side with you. It’s a part of you and you can’t will it away.

To any of you who are reading this: if you want to get together and share stories. Share fears. Want to talk about where you’re going or running from … reach out. Let’s have a glass of wine. Break bread. Walk with our dogs (well, my daughter’s dog, but ok …). Let’s not (as my Jewish grandma would say) stand on ceremony and do nothing. 🙂

And to my boys – you (and your sister) add color to my life. I love you! Happy Birthday!



He bought me a card

Yesterday, I was in my favorite vegan cafe’, waiting for my drink and looking at cards, when the woman at the register started up a conversation. Somehow we got to talking about something sad in her life. I stopped looking at cards and turned to her. She continued to check people out as we were talking. We chatted about how difficult life transitions can be (I’m in the middle of some big ones) and she said that talking to others has helped her. She started to get teary eyed (as did I, but it doesn’t take much for me these days) and I felt like hugging her but didn’t because I’m aware that not everyone wants one of my Italian hugs!

We finished talking and as I turned back around to pick up the cards I was going to buy, a man handed me a small brown bag. “I bought you a card. Nice conversation.” I wasn’t really understanding what was happening at that moment, but instinctively I took the bag he was holding out. I looked in and pulled out the card. I recognized it as one I was going to buy for my friend. I started to thank him but saw he was already at the door. He gave me a quick glance and nod as he left.

In that one moment I felt so full of …. je ne sais quoi.

Maybe the saying on the card will help. It was a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald:

“You are the finest, loveliest, tenderest, and most beautiful person I have ever known – and even that is an understatement.”

All I want to say today is that we need to make a point of saying these things to people. Those we know and those we don’t know. And if there are people who are not in our space, we should still think about ways to send this energy to them. Know that even when people we love are not behaving in a way that leaves a positive footprint in our personal space, we can still send them nonjudgemental light and peace. Life has a way of working itself out.

I can only describe that moment as a fullness of perfect clear light. Does that make any freaking sense?

Look, whatever it was, I’m grateful. And, I’ll take those fleeting seconds to the bank any day of the week (anything to help with those higher interest rates!).

Have a wonderful Sunday my friends and family.


They were fighting at Starbucks

Yesterday I listened to an exchange between a husband and wife. This couple was “finishing” an argument and trying to get toward the apology. But the apologies were falling on deaf ears.

As if I had nothing else to do, I starting to wonder: what’s an apology? How do we apologize for the things we should apologize for and how do we apologize for the things that aren’t our fault but we want to acknowledge?

What’s the difference? A full apology acknowledges blame, accepts responsibility, expresses regret, and doesn’t offer excuses. Here, the person promises not to repeat the behavior, asks for forgiveness and may offer a way to make things right.

There’s another kind of apology: the rapport apology. This is an apology where you’re trying to rebuild a relationship, smooth a conflict or establish a connection. With the rapport apology one doesn’t accept responsibility for the situation, but instead they want to acknowledge the other. For example, I’m running late and I call my partner to say I’m sorry for running late. My partner says, “I’m so sorry – just drive carefully.” My partner is not taking responsibility but is just establishing a connection and understanding about what’s happening.

The big issue with apologies is which apology is occurring and whether it resonates for both parties.

Miscommunications in the apology often arise due to the differences in the apology. For example, we may assume someone is accepting blame when they’re not. We may then feel frustration when there’s no change in behavior, which is what we anticipated happening, like with a full apology.

Unfortunately, this couple didn’t understand which “apology” was occurring. Couples, friends, family members need to talk about which apology is on the table, so that miscommunications don’t occur during the repair period.

Tied to the apology is the notion of validation. Validation is the recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings/opinions are valid and worthwhile. Generally, men and women seek and give validation differently. Men tend not to seek validation because they assume they are doing something correctly unless told otherwise. Women seek validation, not because they think they’ve done something wrong, but just to understand and listen to the the other person’s point of view. Women use more nonverbal ways of validation, men often need outward information for validation. These differences mean that men seem too overly confident (when they are not) and women appear unsure, also when they are not.

What does all this mean in the case of the couple I was listening too … well they didn’t get to a good point and both stormed out of the coffee shop. Honestly, I think they both were trying … they just miscommunicated.

What does this mean for us? I have no freaking idea. 🙂 I guess it’s a good reminder to think about our own process of apologizing as well as our expectations re. someone else’s apology.



Holding Space

When my mom and my dad were dying, (my mom at 59 and my dad at 89), we were with them. I didn’t know anything about supporting someone in their transition out of this life into the next, but I knew I wanted to be near them and I believed they wanted to be near me.

The anniversary of my father’s death just passed and today would have been my mom’s birthday. I’ve been thinking a lot about them, their transitions, and how it affected me (and my crazy future goal of opening a hospice… for another post, I’m sure).

Lately I’ve been thinking of this phrase we often use as people transition – holding space.

I think holding space for someone means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. It’s the space in our hearts, which offers unconditional support and love. We hold space as they transition from life here, and we do it while others are simply experiencing life.

Sometimes we find ourselves holding space for people while they hold space for others. For example, my friend’s father recently passed and when she told me he was getting close, I made a point of holding space in my heart for her, while she was holding space for her parents.

I’m not 100% sure, but I am betting that some of my friends hold space for me. Frankly, I think it’s impossible to be a strong space holder unless we have others who will hold space for us. Even the strongest leaders, mentors and teachers need to know that there are people with whom they can be vulnerable and weak without fear of judgement.

I do my best to hold space for other people in the same way that I know others do for me. But, I have to admit that this isn’t easy. Candidly, I have the very human tendency to want to fix people or give them advice and direction! That’s not in any way, shape or form – holding space! But, I’m learning. And, I’ve figured out that I need to create a container, of sorts, where my loved ones and friends can put their fears, dreams and emotions, without judgment – and in a safe way.

As I move along in this cool thing called life, I’m clearly still learning. But, I can respect everyone’s journey. I can honor their pain, hold their hands and wipe their tears. I can offer hugs. I can back off or lean in. I can listen. I cannot heal pain or grief. But I certainly can hold space and be present for them, as we all make our way through this thing called life (thanks Prince!).



Out of the horror of the world comes beauty.

I have been glued, like many of you, to the news. Watching with horror a dictator who has freaking gone off his f***ing rocker. I’ve had a million emotions about this situation. How is this happening? And, of course it’s happening.

At this same time, I’ve also watched with tears in my eyes, the beauty and compassion of the world.

Last night I took my eyes off the news to see if I could find something else to watch. I decided to watch the cold open of SNL. Powerful.

But this is the way of the world. Ugly. Painful. Beautiful. All at the same time.

I’ve thought a lot about how easy isolation, mental illness and fear can create so much horror … even in our own country.

Look, there is no excuse for he-who-does-not-deserve-a-name to behave in this horrific way – even if he has a “mental illness” (as the news keeps talking about). And, while a mental health diagnosis is no excuse for bad behavior – most people with mental health issues do not behave badly and I don’t like it when we make one big lump of the phrase “mental illness.”

I don’t know about you, but I have those in my sphere that have mental health diagnoses and I personally have not been really adept in saying the right thing or supporting them in the right way. So, while watching this horror, I started to think about things to say to my family and friends when they call me with a problem. My goal should be to listen, rather than solve (the latter is a tough trait for me)! Here’s my list. Please add as you like:

  1. Do you want to talk about it? Even when I’m not sure I know what someone is going through, I hope this sentence lets them know that I can listen without judgment and that they are not alone. Remember: one can feel alone even when they are not alone.
  2. What can I do to help? Sometimes we just don’t know what we need or what will help. When my mom died and had three very little kids. I knew I needed help but I couldn’t verbalize it. It often helped when people just helped.
  3. How are you coping? There’s nothing like validation and comfort. This sentence is like a big bear hug.
  4. I’m here for you or You are not alone. Don’t add … “if you need me.” They need you. Just say those four words. Or add, “no matter what.” These words can be incredibly relieving to hear and lets them know that they are not battling the situation on their own.

Watching the insanity in Ukraine has made me think even more clear-eyed about what I can do in my own backyard. To help, take in, care for, and love not only others, but myself.

Let’s try to bring compassion and comfort to others (and ourselves) this week.



“Is anyone in your household over 65?”

Yes. This is the statement I was asked at the food co-op this week. I was standing there. Masked. Sun glasses. A hat. And was loading my groceries on the conveyer. I’m sure I looked bad but I was 95% covered up! Literally, in the 4 minutes it took for him to ring my groceries, I wondered what had happened to me in the last few years … I was stunned.

As I moved over to the machine to run my credit card, I saw a sign “Discount Tuesday for 65 and older.” “Ahhh, so this is a thing today,” I asked, “I thought you were making a comment on my age.” I got a half-smile from him and a nod. Not very reassuring!

I drove home in silence. No music. WTF. I’m not even near 65!.

But, as I pulled into the driveway, I remembered my mom’s motto, “The age you feel means more than your actual birthdate.” She used to tell me that she pretended she didn’t have a birth certificate and she woudl judge herself by how she felt, not what was on the certificate.

Doesn’t that just make you smile?!

There’s no question that when I was raising my kids, working, etc., I was feeling older than I actually was. I was, frankly, exhausted.

Now, it’s the opposite. There’s a lightness in knowing that at this time of my life. I have more energy and passion. I have better focus and relationships. I am not as distracted from ….. life!

I was wrong to be so taken aback when he asked me that question at the co-op. Getting older gives us the opportunity to enjoy ourselves more. To be more at peace. We can stop worrying about s*** all the time (well, maybe not…I’m Italian/Jewish… I think it’s mandated that I worry).

Let’s look forward to our birthdays! Let’s enjoy ourselves more and be at peace with who we are. I believe we have more empathy (more pure empathy) as we get older. We are better able to deal with negative aspects of life and the negativity in our lives. Our relationships are just so that much more powerful.

As we move out of this COVID world, I hope we can celebrate more, and that includes getting older. I’m going to do it tonight with an aged bottle of my favorite wine!


The energy of women.

A woman alone has power; collectively they have impact. 

There is just something about the energy of women together, having wine and just plain being there for one another. There is nothing in the world like it.

I was lucky enough to be in the company of a group of the most amazing women, from many different life spaces. Every time I’m with these women I grow and learn something new.

So, here’s what I learned last night:

  1. Women don’t see kindness and compassion as weaknesses, they see them as opportunities to connect with others.
  2. Women show unconditional love and support because it’s a win/win. By lifting up others, we’re more likely to reach our own goals and succeed.
  3. When you give out happy, kind, wise and strong vibes, others feel it. Not only will they look up to you, they’ll want to know how they can feel that way, too. 
  4. Women know that strength has a ripple effect, yet they don’t lecture or beg people to change. Instead, they just use the energy created by being the strongest version of themselves, which then inspires others to follow their lead.
  5. Women are not afraid to share their energy. They know that they have enough energy for themselves and to give to others.

It makes sense, right, that the studies show having a “pack” keeps us young and healthy. There is an uncomplicated acceptance of one another when you are with them. Honestly, I never feel capable myself, but with my friends, I’m capable of anything. We may have a million differences but we are also all the same.

I love being a woman. The sense of security that there are others like me. That care as I care. That cry as I cry. That love as I love.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Whether I was with you last night or not. You know who you are in my pack and I’m forever grateful.


Have an awesome day, everyone!