Speak Wisely

What are you saying?

The Practice:
Speak wisely.

Why?

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Ah, not really.

Often it’s words – and the tone that comes with them – that actually do the most damage. Just think back on some of the things that have been said to you over the years – especially those said with criticism, derision, shaming, anger, rejection, or scorn – and the impacts they’ve had on your feelings, hopes and ambitions, and sense of yourself.

Words can hurt since the emotional pain networks in your brain overlap with physical pain networks. (The effects of this intertwining go both ways. For example, studies have shown that receiving social support reduces the perceived intensity of physical pain, and – remarkably – that giving people Tylenol reduced the unpleasantness of social rejection.)

Besides their momentary effects, these hurts can linger – even for a lifetime. The residues of hurtful words sift down into emotional memory to cast long shadows over the inner landscape of your mind.

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The One New Year’s Resolution I Hope You Make…And Keep

This one New Year’s resolution can change your life, heal your relationships, create health and well being, and heal our planet.


One of the most important aspects of Inner Bonding is opening to a compassionate intention to learn. I’ve been thinking a lot about compassion, and I’ve realized that compassion is often more than people think it is.

Compassion does include the standard definition: the ability to feel empathy with another or others who are suffering, to be moved by the suffering and to want to help alleviate it.

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Limitless Love on an Evolving Planet

Is love on a global scale, for oneself and others, possible? I believe it is, despite evidence to the contrary. Let’s face it. The current planetary paradigm that we inhabit is based in limitation. From a very early age, we are taught to curtail our heart’s desires for fear they will be crushed within a skewed social matrix that does not allow universal self-fulfillment and growth. Most social constructs in our world are organized on a top/bottom basis. Whether you are at the bottom or top, your life is limited by the very fact of inhabiting a limited paradigm. What would it take to shift that paradigm, to make it inclusive instead of exclusive? How about a complete transformation in global consciousness? Because until the collective consciousness changes, we are all caught in a web of limitation.

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Ego Puppy’s Tips To Taking Radical Responsibility for Your Happy Holiday

The holidays can be so much be fun!

Trimming the tree, old familiar traditions and the warmth of our family and friends. Those are the holidays… in a perfect world.

But, how many people live in a perfect world?

During this time of year, many are overworked trying to create the perfect holiday.

Shopping, cooking, cleaning, juggling in-laws and traditions that feel never ending… and when the whole thing is over you’re left feeling tired, empty and unappreciated.

Does this sound familiar?

It’s important to remember that when family comes together, stress is often sure to follow.

Let’s put an end to that this year!

Do you know how to enjoy the holiday and remain stress free in your natural state of love?

The key is to take radical responsibility for YOUR OWN happy holiday!

Imagine what an impact that would have on your entire family.

When your spouse or love of your life sees you in a relaxed state of love, imagine what they will feel.

And what about your children and grandchildren? When they see you truly enjoying the season, imagine how much better the holiday will be for them.

Have you ever flown in an airplane and listened as they tell you that in the event of a crash, you should put your own mask on first?

The same principles apply here. If you’re not consciously living in your natural state of love, you can’t help anyone else live in theirs!

Taking radical personal responsibility for your own Happy Holiday will have far reaching effects.

You’ll feel more relaxed and appreciative of the beauty of the season and so will those you love most.

Let’s get started:

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How To Speak Your TRUTH To Those You Love

There are certain moments in life when you know that you need to have a difficult conversation and share a deeper truth.

Difficult conversations require more of you. They require that you dig within yourself and access a part of you that might have been dormant.

It’s not always easy sharing the truth of how you really feel with another. But it’s essential if you are to grow, be fulfilled and have real relationships.

Honest communication frees you and frees the other. When you withhold, it creates a blockage in your relationship and deeper intimacy is blocked.

We often hold back having difficult conversations because we are afraid of how others will respond and the resulting conflict.

Or we are afraid to cause harm to someone we love.

Or we fear the end of our relationship.

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Relationships: Accepting the Challenges or the Loneliness

Is the fear of getting hurt or losing yourself keeping you from accepting the challenges of loving a partner?

“My inner child is lonely and wants to be in a relationship, but relationships are too hard. I feel like I don’t want to work that hard,” Karen told me in a phone session.

“Are you ready to fully accept the loneliness of never being in a relationship?”

“No, that sounds too sad and awful. But why do relationships have to be so hard? I’ve worked on myself for years, yet even relationships with close friends are hard. It shouldn’t be that way.”

“Karen, they are hard because most of us come from families where we did not see our parents or other caregivers being open to learning with each other, especially during conflict. We saw them get angry, give in, withdraw, resist and turn to various addictions. So this is what most of us learned to do. Relationships challenge us to give up trying to control each other and instead open to learning with ourselves and each other, so we can share love. When two people are open to learning, relationships are not hard. What’s challenging is reaching the point where we can stay open to learning in the face of conflict.

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The Perfect Gift You Can Bring Is Your Heart

"At this table, everyone is welcome. At this table, everyone is seen. At this table, everybody matters. No one falls between." -Idina Menzel


I've Been Thinking...

Everyone I’ve spoken to this week has told me how overwhelmed they feel. They are, of course, talking about the holiday season and not the impeachment hearings (which would overwhelm even a constitutional scholar).

To each of them, I said: “Believe me, I get it.”

I tend to feel overwhelmed at this time of year, too, which is why I’m going to share a personal story this morning that I hope might ease what you’re feeling and carrying with you right now. It might just reveal that the perfect holiday gift is closer than we realize…

So, there I was early Monday morning in the TODAY show makeup room, chatting away with Laura and Mary (two talented hair and makeup magicians), when a text popped up on my phone.

It was short. Three words to be precise. “This is you!” it said. It was accompanied by something to download, but no surprise, I couldn’t figure out how to download it, so I just went on gabbing.

Then Hoda burst into the room.

“Did you hear the song I sent you?!” she squealed with delight.

After I explained that I couldn’t download It, she insisted that I stop everything and listen right then and there. “It is you!” she repeated.

Hoda pulled up Idina Menzel’s new Christmas song, "At This Table,” and as it played, my eyes welled with tears, and goosebumps formed on my arms.

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‘Tis The Season For Receiving

There is no doubt about it. December is the time of year that is synonymous with giving. Whether it is to family, friends, co-workers, charitable organizations, or the people who make our lives better, we all have our lists and are checking them twice!

Most of us love to give – and when we do so, we feel good about ourselves, abundant, and alive.

But what about receiving? Most people feel very uncomfortable about receiving.

Whether it is a gift, an act of kindness, help from others, or even a compliment, we have a difficult time receiving.

For many, our awkwardness around receiving started at an early age. We were brought up hearing messages like, "Tis better to give than to receive" or "Give more than you get." We decided, consciously or unconsciously, that people who receive are greedy, selfish, weak, or needy – and since we didn't want to be any of those things, we made receiving wrong. When I first looked at my inability to receive, I realized that I had a belief that if I received something from someone, then I would owe them something in return. For me, being beholden to anyone was a loss of control and a very scary place, so receiving became taboo.




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Pull Up Those Big Girl Panties!

Today I am sending all of you a virtual pair of Big Girl panties as you embark on a New Year – a year to be filled with love, laughter and the meeting of your soulmate/lifepartner.

I want you to close your eyes and imagine you are putting them on now.

The purpose of these Big Girl panties is to be a constant reminder that you deserve Big Love.

The fact that you have the desire for this is PROOF of its fulfillment.

Your soulmate/lifepartner is out there seeking you!

It is your job to be open, ready, available and VISIBLE so you can find each other. And, you can make this process FUN!!!!

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The Language We All Speak

“There's nothing you can do that can't be done. Nothing you can sing that can't be sung ... All you need is love, love. All you need is love.”  -The Beatles


I've Been Thinking...

At the beginning of the week, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to write about this morning. I had been thinking a lot about how unscripted the world feels, and how it sort of mirrors my own life’s trajectory.

What I mean is that I feel like I’m basically making things up as I go these days. And where I’m going is shorter than where I came from. That feeling can either be very anxiety-inducing or freeing, depending on the day.

But then, a few things happened that made me want to write about love instead. I wasn’t called to the topic just because I had finished binge-watching “Modern Love” on Amazon (a TV show based on the NY Times column, both which I recommend). No, I was called to write about love because, in a deeply profound way, I think it’s our common denominator. It’s our common desire. It’s the feeling that we all want more of, and that we (and our world) desperately need right now.

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4 Steps to Walk Away the “Winner” of Any Argument

A fight between two people (lovers, spouses, family members) is a kind of psychological battle often filled with personal attacks, accusations, and dredging up past mistakes. When both parties are exhausted, or one grudgingly concedes, the fight ends—for the moment. But nothing has changed; resentment has just gone underground until it’s dug up again, and hostilities soon resume.

But it needn’t be this way. There’s a little known “magic” that can stop any fight in the moment and helps prevent the next one from getting starting. It’s the result of what we can call “relationship jiu-jitsu.”

Jiu-jitsu is an ancient Japanese martial art based in “the art of yielding.” The combatants use special “moves” to turn an opponent’s energy back on them. But here, I’m using the term psychologically, where the opponent isn’t a person you’re fighting. The true “opponent” to be overcome is a negative, lower level of consciousness in each of you that blames the other for the punishing pattern you’re both caught up in.

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See Beings, Not Bodies

What happens when you look at someone?

The Practice:
See beings, not bodies.

Why?

When we encounter someone, usually the mind automatically slots the person into a category: older, younger, your friend Tom, the kid next door, etc. Watch this happen in your own mind as you meet or talk with a co-worker, salesclerk, or family member.

In effect, the mind summarizes and simplifies tons of details into a single thing – a human thing to be sure, but one with an umbrella label that makes it easy to know how to act. For example: “Oh, that’s my boss (or mother-in-law, or boyfriend, or traffic cop, or waiter) . . . and now I know what to do. Good.”

This labeling process is fast, efficient, and gets to the essentials. As our ancestors evolved, rapid sorting of friend or foe was very useful. For example, if you’re a mouse, as soon as you smell something in the “cat” category, that’s all you need to know: freeze or run like crazy!

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You Don't Have to Live With Guilt

Do you know that it is completely possible to heal your guilt? I did it and so can you!

I grew up in a family that constantly used guilt as a form of control. Sometimes the guilt was somewhat subtle, such as “Fine, do what you want,” said with a blaming tone. Other times it was blatant, such as my grandmother (who lived with us) saying to me, whenever I didn’t do what she wanted, “How can you do this to me? You are so selfish.”

As an adolescent, if I came home five minutes after my curfew, I would hear my mother hissing at me from their bedroom as I tried to tiptoe into my room, her voice dripping with anger, “You’re late again. You know I worry about you.” My mother had many ways of making me responsible for her feelings – from her intense anger to her victim tears. I was always to blame.

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How To Get Others To Love You

How do you get people to like you?

How do you get people to love you?

How do you get people to validate you? 

The more time and energy you spend trying to get other people to love you, focusing your energy on being a certain way in order to get love, only causes you suffering. 

Realize, you don't have the power to make other people love you. 

The more time you spend to make people love you, the more disempowered you'll become and you will suffer. 

Watch Kute Blackson as he shares the keys to get other people to love you:
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Forgive

Are you holding onto feeling wronged?

The Practice:
Forgive.

Why?

Forgiveness is a tricky topic.

First, it has two distinct meanings:

  • To give up resentment or anger
  • To pardon an offense; to stop seeking punishment or recompense

Here, I am going to focus on the first meaning, which is broad enough to include situations where you have not let someone off the hook morally or legally, but you still want to come to peace about whatever happened. Finding forgiveness can walk hand in hand with pursuing justice.

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Turning The Tables on Turkey Day Trauma & Trepidation

Can you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving? 

What happened to Fall?

Although the song says "Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays," the fact is that most of us experience a sense of dread as we envision our upcoming holiday gatherings and being around our family.

Feelings of resistance, anxiety, and resignation start to bubble up as we anticipate the drama and dis-ease that will undoubtedly accompany the candied yams and pumpkin pie. As we contemplate the upcoming holiday, our minds naturally drift back to Thanksgivings past and any hope of warm and fuzzy feelings turn cold as we think about our family dynamic and the scenarios that consistently cause trauma and trepidation at our Thanksgiving table. Situations like: 

  • How do I once again try to explain to my family why I have to bring my own food since I eat vegan or gluten-free? 
  • What can I do to appease my parents and in-laws, who are all divorced but expect us to show up and make their Thanksgiving meal the most significant one? 
  • How should I handle it this year when, at the last minute, my sister-in-law once again decides to invite four more people to dinner? 
  • What do I do when Uncle Bob inevitably brings up politics?
  • How do I not get pissed off at my family when they stay glued to the television as I do all of the work in the kitchen?

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Marry Your Conscience

Have you heard about the studies that say we are a reflection of the five people that we spend the most time with? That’s right! We become most like the people we most like!

When you look around your life, who or what do you see?

Are there people who inspire you? Are willing to be straight with you? Hold your greatest dreams and visions?

Or are there people who are more apt to choose harmony over truth, even when it comes to situations that are not in our highest?

Years ago, I attended a ceremony in which Jay Leno, the comedian, was being honored. Accepting the award and thanking all of the people who supported him in his career, he of course singled-out his wife. In speaking about her and the success of their long-term marriage, Leno said:

"Marry your conscience. Marry the one who makes you want to be a better person."



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What we become when obstacles are removed for us

What’s standing in your way right now? A relationship that’s no longer working but you don’t dare to end? Parents who won’t support your dream to become a musician because they want you to be lawyer? Your fear of being judged so you don’t show who you really are and live behind a mask your whole life? Whatever is getting in the way between you and whatever it is you’re trying to be or do, you’re probably wishing that you could will it away or that someone would take it away for you.

Life is not always smooth sailing, as we all know. Throughout our lives, we encounter obstacles—both external and internal—that prevent us from getting what we want or where we need to be. They invoke all sorts of emotional reaction from us. Sometimes, we feel annoyed. Sometimes, we get angry. And sometimes, we become afraid. But never do we feel glad about them. We often see them as unwanted roadblocks that delay our journey and bring us inconvenience and unnecessary suffering. But do we ever ask ourselves why they are even there? If we don’t deal with obstacles, what would we become?

Chicken or jerk?

One of my friends is raising an only child. She and her husband are very protective and they do everything to make life easy for their son to the extent that when the boy was 10 years old, he didn’t even know how to eat a meal with a fork and a knife. One time, we were having lunch and she got a phone call from him. Her son was 14 at that time. He was at the train station and asked if her mother could pick him up and take him home. So, we had to quickly end our lovely meal.

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Bursting the Super Woman / Super Mom Bubble

Wake up. Work out. Make breakfast (for everyone). Drive the kids to school. Drive yourself to work. Take the kids to all their activities. Bring them home. Make sure they’re doing their homework. Make dinner (for everyone). Be a mom. Be a friend. Be a daughter. Be a lover. Go to bed. Repeat.

Okay, so maybe not everything on this list applies to you personally, but I’m sure there are some others that are unique to you that you could swap in – and then some. As women, we are often expected to do ALL. THE. THINGS. And let’s be honest: our families, coworkers, and others learn to expect this from us because we are so darn good at making it look like we really can do it all! The reality, though, is that with so many balls in the air, something is going to drop. 

When something does inevitably drop, what’s your reaction going to be? And perhaps even more importantly, how are you going to react on a daily basis to the juggling act you’ve got going on?

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Wabi Sabi Love

Some say the hardest part of life is dealing with the other humans.

Unlike most cats and dogs, people behavior is often not predictable. (or sometimes too predictable and that can also be maddening!)

Figuring out how to manage my feelings and judgements about people, and myself, has been a long-time mission and when I discovered Wabi Sabi, that made a big difference (most of the time).

The ancient Japanese practice of Wabi Sabi is about finding the beauty and perfection in imperfection… in all things old, worn, imperfect, and impermanent, from broken pottery to driftwood and beyond.

In my world, I expanded it to be Wabi Sabi Love, to find the beauty and perfection in behavior and things that make us crazy.

It’s essentially about finding the gold in the dark.

Shifting your perception.

Changing your story.

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