The power of forgiveness

When I went through a divorce after years of a struggling marriage, my ex asked if I forgave him. I was confused. I didn’t feel that forgiveness was in my power. I didn’t feel any judgment toward him – I just needed to not argue anymore. But forgiveness was important to him so I said I didn’t hold anything against him and wouldn’t have changed a thing – we had had a great life with lots of friends and two wonderful little girls. We were just too different to stay together and it was time to part friends – but definitely to part.

When I walked away, I felt no bad feelings toward him. I just felt free and ready to get back into the world again, to get back to a positive, high-energy place.

Throughout my life, I’ve known plenty of people who are bitter about relationships and about splits and I see the bitterness weigh on them. It’s heavy. It steals their energy and their focus and holds them to part of the past that’s done. It makes them miserable and it can make them kind of miserable to be around. Continue reading

The importance of showing up

Like any business, you have a brand. If your brand is strong, it might be “100% guaranteed.” Or “Always on time.” You may be known for having an open heart. A generous soul. A guaranteed laugh.

If your brand is feeling a little tarnished, you have the power to change that simply by showing up – physically and mentally. When you show up to a conversation, you listen with intent. When you show up to a function, you show up on time and fully take part. You make promises only when you know you can keep them. Continue reading

Ring bells. Light candles.

As much as I love organization, I’m not a big fan of organized religion. I hope you don’t take offense; I know many love the church. But I struggle with churches that: Continue reading

The peace of the pause

I wrapped up a big theater project last weekend and Monday morning felt like I’d hit a wall – face first! Every step, every thought took effort. What was going on? I was exhausted after 3 months of intense work, 6-7 days a week. And I was sad. Ending a show feels like the end of summer camp. You’ve had a great time with a new group of friends you know you’ll never be with again in that same setting. And while everyone is still around, you grieve the moment that’s lost.

AND to make you crazy, the songs from a musical run in a continuous loop in your mind for another week or so! Torture.

So this week I’ve spent time meditating on the challenges we met, the fun we had, and the show we produced. I’ve sent out thank you notes to add closure. And I’ve tried my best to be quiet to give myself time to pause for a couple of days between projects. Continue reading

The Power of Positive

In Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, Gretchen writes about small steps she took each month to improve different aspects of happiness in her life.


Because research shows that happy people are more altruistic, more productive, more helpful, more likable, more creative, and more resilient. They’re more interested in others. They’re friendlier. And they’re healthier!

If there was a magic elixir to help you accomplish this, wouldn’t you be tempted? And wouldn’t you like to hang out with the happy people described above? So why not be in that group? Continue reading

We are terrible at listening to people we disagree with

“We are terrible at listening to people we disagree with.”

That was the topic of a TEDx speaker yesterday in Portland.

Chanel Lewis was visiting a local flea market, taking pictures for her Instagram account when she met two staunch Republicans who wanted to know what she was doing and why. She explained she was looking for unusual images. Somehow, that evolved into politics and she quickly discovered she had nothing in common with these two men. But she chose to continue the conversation with them because she’s practicing “internal quieting, and radical listening.” That’s where you turn off your inner murmur and just listen. Continue reading

The importance of mentoring

When we started rehearsals for a show I’m directing this fall, I saw the line-up of kids in the show and got a flash from the past. “Oh, my gosh. I’m Helen Todd.”

Helen cast me as Napoleon in The Nerve of Napoleon at the Little Theater of Alexandria when I was about 10 years old. You remember big moments like that in your life. And you remember the person responsible for giving you a break. A person who saw something in you that other people hadn’t seen. Who gave you encouragement. Who showed you how to do something. Who pushed you past your limits.

You had a mentor.

And now you can be a mentor. Continue reading