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Somewhere in my news feed I saw a clip of our nation’s elected leader in Houston, telling the media and hard-hit flood victims, “Have a good time everybody.” It reminded me of the moment when, in the throes of the worst tragedy ever to hit my beloved hometown of New York, our mayor encouraged us to “go shopping.” Leaders may believe that encouraging people to make light or turn away from tragedy calms them, but I know the opposite to...

Years ago I heard a captivating talk by Resonate author Nancy Duarte at the World Domination Summit. Duarte’s talk, delivered seamlessly and in fact, resonating deeply, was about the elements of a great speech.  Her talk modeled everything she spoke of: it had a good story arc in which the audience was the hero, and she, as guide, clearly illustrated the potential for our success as speakers. She spoke mostly of renown speakers like Martin Luther King Jr. and Steve Jobs, but she included just the right...

If one doesn’t immediately come to mind, you’re probably scanning your life for your latest bad habit. Is it the late-night, TV-watching snacks? Or the TV watching itself? The addictive drugs or alcohol you’ve struggled with over the years? Maybe it’s more like a vice, like coffee. Or your phone. As you wade through the pile of destructive habits, I’ll wager there’s one that’s worse. A killer that lurks beneath the other habits, and one you may not have even...

I was onsite interviewing several employees about their work environment, when, between meetings, I couldn’t help but overhear the playful banter of two IT guys, pouring over a monitor at a station nearby. They were trying to fix one problem when they apparently uncovered another, unrelated problem. They paused for a second. Then, one said: “Not my problem dot com.” He stared into the screen and moved on to something else. I giggled quietly. And I wondered: was he speaking...

One of the things I really enjoy about working with business leaders and organizations is the ability to grow by focusing on something outside oneself. As a therapist, my focus was internal and naturally, always directed towards my clients. As we talked, we focused on the emerging stories, and intensely on each other. In that sacred space, much about relating in general is revealed. It is a binary process. In my work with businesses, our focus is on growing the initiative. Even...

I was talking to a man who started dating. He was irritated because when he took his date to the restaurant, she said, "I can’t eat here. It’s not vegan.” He didn’t mind her food preferences and thought there would be some options for her at the place he chose. But her declaration had a tone of entitlement.

A few years ago I worked with a woman who had been suddenly and brutally abandoned as a young girl by her father, who left her family for another in another country. As you might imagine, as a grown woman, trusting men in intimacy was extremely difficult. Every perceived threat of abandonment by an intimate — like a late returned phone call or decision to go somewhere without her — would set off a chain of reactions that felt real...

This weekend I celebrated the 50th year of a close friend. It was a momentous and intimate gathering, and many people who could not attend contributed their thoughts and feelings about the birthday girl via letters to be read aloud. As we sat around the candlelit table, sharing these heartfelt words of appreciation, I could feel what a profound and powerful gift was being exchanged. We were all deeply moved, ricocheting between bursts of laughter and tears. My friend saw...

  Not too long ago, nestled between the political rants, adorable animal videos and proverbial ‘happy life’ photos of my Facebook feed, this video stopped me in my tracks. In it, a young girl with a prosthetic leg receives a fancy doll who also has one, and she is overwhelmed by raw emotion that appears to be part joy for receiving a gift she so badly wanted, and part self-compassion, sparked from the experience of being mirrored. “She’s just like...

“I said to the abbot — I’ll get in the habit, but not in the habit” — Steven Sondheim  When I was a teenager, when you could still smoke in restaurants, I studied acting at a Summer Stock program with the soon to be famous actress Mary McDonnell. I worshipped her and thought she was the sexiest, wisest, most humble and talented woman on earth. In the mornings when I had to be up early for some lame apprentice task,...