Bouncing Back: How did you get your smooth parts?


We all have memories: some good, some not so good. Did you ever think about how some of the knocks have helped you develop a portion of the skills and talents you have today? I have great memories of playing on my porch: pots and pans and Charlie’s Angels. There was Double Dutch in the middle of the street. There were holiday rituals with my mom and there was wall ball with my cousins. Then there are other pieces that have actually equipped me to live the best life I can possibly live in this skin right now.  I’ve come up with a metaphor to help us all appreciate ourselves in the present. I hope you enjoy this 3:42 seconds of love—because you are an amazing human being. I smile when I think of you reading these words and watching this. May you sink in and receive the knowledge that you are LOVED.









Shine the Pot: When to let go of friends (and family)


You can Google “how to let go of toxic relationships” and find plenty of advice. But what about the kerfluffle, the cotton candy relationships that peck away at your energy? Or the people you love who either don’t have the time and energy for you or choose to spend it elsewhere.

Like everyone, I’ve received a lot of advice over the years about friendships, family and staying healthy. One of my favorites after I was hospitalized for a stress-induced “heart incident” was this:

Only give energy to relationships in which the other person is also giving energy.”

He went even further to tell me, it doesn’t matter if that person is a member of your family.


I know. Here’s the thing: you deserve love. If you find yourself pouring love, caring and energy into a bottomless pot, what happens? You get exhausted. You are not getting anything back.

If you can take some time to get quiet, even if it’s just 5-10 minutes a day to breathe without doing anything, you’ll get some clarity on who you want in your life.

When my mother cleaned the kitchen, she would periodically give our stainless steel teapot a really good scrub so it shined. It made the rest of the kitchen look extra clean. Recently, my husband scrubbed our Revere Ware pot (Mom’s brand). It looked like new even though it’s twenty years old!

I started thinking about how good it would feel to be shiny and new after all that time. Cleaning away the relationships whose seasons have expired is one way to get there.

This doesn’t mean you need to hurt people. Or yourself. It also doesn’t mean you’re cutting people out for life. It’s just an intention to spend your energy on relationships that give back.

Some folks won’t even notice when you fade from their radar.

When I left the pot crusty

I let a nearly 20-year friendship go too long. I became a “fixer” in the relationship. I wanted her to be someone else: she needed to fit my vision of healthy and whole. I thought I was doing it because I loved her. That may be partly true. I also think I held on to that friendship because I wanted her to be there for me in a certain way. She couldn’t. My actions were hurting her. I’m deep in my heart sorry for that. She ended the friendship in a grateful handwritten letter. It was the best gift. A space opened up inside me. Not surprisingly, my energy cleared, and within a few weeks, I met a new friend who is absolutely lovely. And it made me recognize my own unhealthy behavior of attachment. I wrote about expectations and attachment in a past post you may want to read if this resonates with you.

When I started scrubbing

That growth experience also allowed me to tell another friend, “I get why you choose not to put energy into our friendship. And it’s okay. I’m not a priority. These other things are more important in your life right now. I recognize that we won’t get together unless I initiate it.” She thanked me for understanding and being supportive of her life choices. She said she wished others saw her that way so she didn’t feel like people were upset or disappointed with her so often. She says she loves and misses me and doesn’t put any action behind her words. I realized she can have those feelings even if she doesn’t take action.

In our relationship, I employ a loving detachment, which I read about in Father James Martin’s Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything.

So I put my energies into relationships where the feelings and actions are reciprocal.

It’s keeping my pot shiny and full.

Shine your pot, fill it up and let the most important folks in your life fill it too.

My Grandmother’s Potholder Hands


My grandmother had hands like potholders. She could touch anything hot, pull it right out of the oven. When I see something floating in the almost boiling rice water, I stick my fingers in and pull it out. I think about Mama Chelo’s hands. And I think I’m like her.

The fried egg I cooked this morning, over easy, was perfect. My mom taught me that. She never used words to teach me. She just stood in front of the pan. Hers were always sunny side up.

My Aunt Peggy always said if you can read you can cook. I make her sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving. Orange juice, brown sugar, butter. Butter. Butter.

One day I thought I’d own a restaurant turned night club. Now I’m picking something floating in my rice water with my potholder hands.

I know the women in my life all gave me something even if I didn’t see it then. They picked me at one point or another.

My Aunt Connie hugged me with her bottled sexy lady scent and her nicotine and hair spray. She gave me as many maraschino cherries as I wanted in my Shirley Temple.

My cousin Jennifer gave me a pair of black mary jane-like shoes with beige stitching. They had heels like Frankenstein. They were too big and I loved them. I loved running down Connaroe street without shoes and with those shoes, no socks. Just the clomping and my heels coming out and falling back in again.

What I know for sure is that getting picked and watching and running made me feel love. And that made me give love.

And what I know is that the bad stuff made me too. The bad stuff made me learn to plan and anticipate. Find some light even when there’s barely a crack in the dark to show me.

I know you got picked once too. I know you have that cup in your heart filled up by someone that smiled every time they saw you. Or pushed a bowl across the table and told you to eat.

I hope when you feel the darkness, you can remember to dip your finger in that cup and taste the love of being chosen at least once. Then I hope you go out and choose someone so they can fill up their cup too.

With thanks to Benjamin Alire Saenz for writing Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, the most beautifully written, tender book I’ve read in the last twenty years. The book opened up a space in my heart again. I have nineteen pages to go and I don’t want to finish because I don’t want to leave Ari and Dante.

Photo credit: Ellie Seif

Be Your Own Beloved


Let me tell you what’s in store:

You are amazing.

You are beautiful.

You are brilliant.

You are hot.

You are perfect right now.

Did you cringe, back away or deny any of those statements? Try saying it this way:

I am incredible.

I am fantastic.

I am wicked smart.

I am handsome, gorgeous, powerful.

I am loved.

If you are waiting to feel this way until you:

lose weight

find a [better] job

run a race

meet your soul mate

find financial stability

start your business

earn your degree…

I have a solution for you.

Be your own beloved.


Ask Vivienne McMaster. She‘s a wildly talented Canadian photographer full of light. Vivienne is your guide to self-compassion. But wait, this is different. It’s a fun journey through self-portraiture. Selfies, that’s right! It’s not about narcissism, it’s about learning to love all of you. It’s about starting right now to accept you for you.

Imagine what you’ll radiate just walking down the street. Imagine who and what you’ll attract into your life.

You can learn more about Vivienne’s embrace and the creation of Be Your Own Beloved by following her on Instagram and visiting her gorgeous website. I’ve learned so much from her already. She has helped me to just take that step, literally, and embark upon that photo walk to connect with all that is good around me and inside me.

Take a moment to view her video about her own journey down the road to self-compassion. She went through some dark times to find her own bright light. Some of it might sound familiar. And think about signing up for her amazing e-course starting June 1. You can read about the experiences of people who have taken the course.

My friends, please remember this, every minute:

You are



Why not try on these statements today?

I am love.

I am loved.

I am my own beloved.


Love from my pulsating yes of a heart to yours,



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You’re Done


for EG

What you gonna do with that?
Magnets coming off
Drippin’ sugar from your cheeks
You can’t help but show your row of whites
every time you get a whiff
say you’re sick
in a twist
that’s love, baby
You’re done

I have been thinking a lot about romantic love lately. Remembering adolescent angst, excitement flip-over-backwards love. Answering my six-year-old’s question: “What’s a crush?” And thinking about my own marriage. My husband and I were both raised by single moms so when it comes to bumps in marital bliss, we look at each other and say, “We’re still learning.”

What if the same goes for romantic love? Are you in that kind of love now? Have you ever been in love? Were you heartbroken after? Or did it fade and now you’re bored? The poem above was inspired by my friend who fell in love and didn’t know it. She had gone on a few dates with this guy. She was complaining about her stomach hurting all the time. We were standing in line outside the White House:

Me: Girl, you’re in love.

Friend: No, I’m not.

Me: Yeah, you are. You’re done. That’s what it feels like.

Friend: Really?

Me: Yup.

They’ve been married for eleven years.

Love doesn’t always come in the form of a stomach ache. Sometimes you find it again with long-time partners. You can find it in their crooked teeth. In the way they make you laugh. In the way they fold your laundry. One thing I’m learning is that you can ask for that kind of love in your life whether you are with someone or not. It starts with your heart’s center. According to The Institute of Heart Math, your heart creates a magnetic field five thousand times greater than your brain.

For years I was a serial monogamist, in one long-term relationship after another. I even had a brief stint on Then I said, I’m done for a while. And I consciously chose not to date. It gave me a chance to just be. And what a marvelous time I had. I was so happy just taking a break. I didn’t think, “I’ll never meet someone if I don’t keep trying.” You know what happened when my heart center was generating that glow? I met a cute guy at a cafe’s art opening. He was shy and I had this kind of soul recognition and shameless attraction. I was talking to a group of people, all Mexican-American, and they were asking me about my background. I told them that I was Mexican, Polish, Irish and German. The cute guy said, “You came out good.” In that moment, I was another kind of done. I took a big fat risk with my heart and it worked out. Keep in mind, lots of risks were taken with that organ in the previous years. I was highly skilled at scooping that puppy off the pavement.

Sometimes during mundane moments of solitude on the bus, I think, “I love my life. I’m in love with my life. Someone is driving me around and I don’t have to pay attention.” This kind of happiness is cultivated consciously. Two great things happened yesterday. I read a beautiful story about a man eating his first meal alone after losing wife of 43 years. He watched a couple during dinner and was inspired to pay for their bill. Here’s a man who’s heart might be aching from grief, yet he’s morphed that into a pay-it-forward kind of love. Second, a friend and colleague sent me Pharrell Williams Happy video saying he thinks of me when he hears the song. I was so touched that I danced right there in my office. Watch it here and see your heart pulse with ten thousand magnets!

Whatever your circumstances right now, I hope that you’ll fall in love with your life. Even if it’s starting with a bus ride. You might get to know yourself better. You might get to know your partner better. Or the person next to you might give you a stomachache.

Out There

Out thereTonight I was talking to a friend about this book: Heal Your Body A-Z by Louise Hay. It helps “diagnose” some of the negative thinking that can contribute to big and small ailments from knee pain to lymph issues. It offers affirmative thoughts to get you to a place of health.  It doesn’t replace medical treatment. (Though the author did cure herself of cancer.)

I know what some folks are thinking: that’s out there!

And that’s what one of my best friends said to me a few minutes ago, “Wow, that book sounds “out there.”

It is.

I spoke to another friend, who leans conservative, and urged her to check out one specific video mentioned in my last post about food because I thought that the speaker would appeal to her. I said, “She’s not a giant hippie, so I think that you will like her.”

And she said, “Good, because those people drive me crazy.”

She knows that I can be classified as one of “those people” and she loves me wholeheartedly.

These are two people being honest about their opinions.

When I went to college, there were a lot of rich people there since the endowment for financial aid wasn’t so great. I had scholarships, loans and two jobs. I arrived with a strong prejudice against the wealthy because I assumed they were all privileged snobs. During my junior year, I was a resident assistant (because I wanted to be one and because it gave me free housing and funding for food which I redeemed to help pay tuition). One young woman who was on my “team” in the dorm, was a boarding school kid who chose to be an R.A. because she wanted to–no need for the money. In my eyes, she was rich. And she became one of my best friends.

Here’s what I want to share: challenge your assumptions.

About people that heal themselves with positive thinking. About giant hippies. About the wealthy.

About anyone who shows up in the world in a way that’s different from you.

Think about loving them. It might work out.

It might surprise you.

Tilt your head, squint your eyes and believe that someone is more than your past experience with your perception of who they are.

Time for a Soul Revolution


What does your soul look like?

Is it shaped like a lima bean or a lotus flower?

Is it delicious like a Dalessandro’s cheese steak with fried onions?

Is it waiting for you?

Hiding in the folds of your mama’s skirts?

Is it pushing at your solar plexus?

Does it keep you up at night?

Wake you early?

Pay attention to what ails you.

Throat sore? Feeling silenced?

Shouldblade aches? Afraid to be the quarterback throwing the winning pass?

Bowels in battle? Fear of missing something on your checklist got you wound too tight?

Lower back twinge? Feeling a lack of support, the victim of your own story?

What’s that they say about bootstraps?

How does one become a peaceful love warrior in the revolution for your soul’s right to blossom?

Whoa. How much granola have you been chewing?

Let’s say it from my cheese steak soul: You can get what you want while you are getting it.

You can be in love with your life.

With the simplest moment cup of tea.

With the time you take to read these words.

Then you can be in love with another moment.

And with a gorgeous hat.

And with your dog.

And with your partner. And with your idea of a partner.

You can call it all into being with love.


And your soul revolution.

Squash it – 3 Surprising Human Relationship Tips





When was the last time you took a stand and would not even consider the idea of the other person being right? Even just a little? Remember when you were a child and disagreements spiraled into the dialogue above? Here’s an idea, to consider sometimes:

1. Give up being right.

“But what if I am right?”

So what if you are right. Is it possible for you to consider that other person’s perception as their reality, which might be different from your reality? If you find yourself butting heads with someone in your life, at work, at home, on the bus, at the gym, stop for a moment and consider what would happen if you changed your reaction. Let go. Watch the other person’s reaction change. You are doing a dance of conflict, where you are spending energy making the other person wrong. You know the steps. Try changing them.

Here’s something else surprising from a woman who was raised to speak her mind:

2. Keep your mouth shut.

Wait, keep reading. This comes from my Uncle John, when I asked how he and my Aunt Joan have stayed married for so long. He told me that communication is key and to keep faith at our center. Then he said to his very outspoken goddaughter, “You know, Becca, sometimes you just have to keep your mouth shut.” I have field-tested this advice at work and at home, and it works. If there is something truly problematic, please know that I am not suggesting that you endure undue pain. However, the adage about “choosing your battles” truly does apply. I have trained myself to silently ask, “is it worth it?” for some of those little things or even to bookmark it. For example, if you know that there is an important issue which you and a loved one or co-worker need to discuss, yet perhaps that moment isn’t the right time because you are in traffic, or someone is tired and just not ready for a healthy discussion, then write it down. You can use paper, a receipt in your wallet or even your smartphone. If I have nothing to write with, I tell my muse and higher power, “Okay, I trust that you will help me to remember to raise this at the right time.”

Some of the reasons humans are not ready for constructive discussions are because they are rushed, stressed or “grungry.”

3. Ask yourself, “Am I grungry?”

Grungry is a term that has saved my marriage. Did that get your attention? Actually, my marriage didn’t need saving in the big picture, however, when my husband and I first started dating, we had some communications breakdowns around listening. What we have found is that when we are hungry, we are grumpy (thus “grungry” was born).  In this state, we are less likely to listen to each other. This is a verbal cue which we use on the phone and in person. So for example, I may come home from work and still be in, “let’s get it done mode” and start in on tasks: homework, laundry, dishes and more. And let’s just say that my mode of delivery is not great, he just asks, “Are you grungry?” There are times when I want to snap and say, “No! We have lots to do!” Then, I employ the two tips above, keep my mouth shut (even for ten full seconds of reflection and I mean counting “one Mississippi, two Mississippi…”). I think, he is right, I am grungry. So I practice some good old-fashioned self-care. I eat a pre-dinner snack and drink water, usually an ice cold “La Croix” bubble water, breathe, and slow down.

Try these tips  for squashing conflict over the weekend. It’s a way to lead a peaceful life. You will still resolve situations. You just may find that with reflection and time, they have a different look and taste.

Yo’ Mama


Celebrate what you know. You know that your mother carried you for 10 months (9 months is a myth). You may have a big pile of memories to choose to embrace whether she is on this earth or not. Or maybe those memories are from a grandmother or a neighbor.

For those who struggle with today because of a mother who has passed away, a mother who was absent physically or emotionally, or maybe too present controlling your outcomes, or perhaps alcoholic or abusive, I offer you one word: love.  For those who wish or wished to have children and it did not occur.  To you I offer one word: love. You have love in your life. It’s a mother love. From your colleague that invites you to dinner at her house, to the lady who works in the checkout line and tells you stories every time. And to you who may be childless and wanting, think today about all those folks you have mothered, Godmothered, hugged in words and deeds.

Turn this day around into a dance celebrating those mother love moments received and given. Open your eyes and one may even appear today. I’m sending you love right now.  Open your hand, your heart and receive the love in these words, the spiritual heart kindness just for you. Take the river of thoughts that are just thoughts and practice loving them to death. You see: you matter. You matter. You matter. Happy Mother’s Day! blog birthday gift-a-way!

It’s my 44th birthday and I’m celebrating by creating a personalized individually wrapped gift of inspiration and love! Follow my blog via email or your own blog and you’ll be entered to win! Contest ends April 26. Winner announced by April 30.  Refer friends and let me know via comment or at and you’ll get extra entries for every friend that follows. International readers do qualify for the contest–due to shipping and customs the physical weight of your gifts will be light and the intention will be equally bright! [Note: if you follow via email, please check your inbox to confirm that you are subscribed as a follower.]