bridge or tunnel

There are many ways to get to where you want to go. Some people use a tunnel. You can tell because going through feels heavy. It’s when you are pushing through resistance and against outside forces. It can sometimes feel really dark and is hard to see much more than a distant light at the end. It can seem like there is only one road, and you are either alone in your journey or carrying most of the weight. It’s going through a breakup, getting through the day, going through loss.

If you are using a bridge, instead of through the obstacles, you are going to your goal. A bridge is outside in the light. You can see the sky and more opportunities all around. Instead of going through your next tunnel choose instead the bridge, the bridge over to where you want to go. It’s lighter, it’s faster, and you can breath.

do it now

You must get involved to make an impact. No one is impressed with the won-loss record of a referee. – Napoleon Hill

One of the things that has changed my life, increased my joy, eliminated dread, and given me incredible satisfaction is making “Do it now” part of my philosophy. It is the secret to staying motivated to exercise, the thought that keeps me focused on speaking my truth, the mindset that has virtually killed procrastination for me. It has gotten me more in touch with my intuition, the inner voice that guides me in the best direction for my growth and well being. This translates on a daily basis into expressing myself by showing appreciation when I feel it, by giving a compliment when I think it, by saying yes to opportunities that come my way without pausing to “think”. In leading my team, it places the responsibility for leadership squarely on my shoulders, as I use “do it now” to acknowledging them for their progress, to train on the spot when the opportunity arises, to hand over the reins when they are ready to take them.

Procrastination is curable, motivation is achievable, you alone can take charge of your life and find fulfillment. Start today, do it now.

its not personal

When they don’t follow up with a promise, when they are late, when they spread rumors, when they don’t do what you expect, or perform to your standards. When they criticize, when they reprimand, when they judge, when they reject you. All of the things that get your hackles up, that hurt your feelings, that leave you feeling disappointed, they are not personal. Everyone is operating to the best of their ability based on their current awareness. Sometimes we are pulled or pushed or happen into circumstances that leave us feeling deflated. Or hurt, disappointed, angry. It’s hard work to pull yourself up and out of the place where you are reacting.

Life will continue to bring you opportunities to learn the lessons you need to learn. The lessons can be tough, they can be painful, they can send us into that place where our chest hurts as old wounds get triggered. Old wounds like “I’m not good enough” or “She loves him more” or “I’m a failure”. But if you can remind yourself that ALL of us are working from the highest place we can, based on our current awareness, and that what people do or say “to you” is not personal. They are also just reacting to their own wounds, and the lesson for you is to be loving, to let the arrows bounce off of you, to see in them the same struggles that you have yourself. This is another step in becoming more self aware. Seeing your reactions for what they are, and letting go. It will continue to show up, but if you continue to let go each time the wounds begin to heal.

4th grade math

Out of the mouth of babes- or how 4th grade math is showing us the key to counteracting negativity.

I love the absolute synchronicity of life. I was at one of my restaurants and I happened to meet someone who was one of those souls who was speaking my language, mirroring my reality. His 12 year old son told him that if you add 2 negative numbers you get a bigger negative number. The only way to change the negative to a positive was to have a bigger positive number.
(-200)+(-12)=negative 212
200+(-12)= positive 188
Is the secret all around us in plain sight? The way to counteract the negativity is with more positivity. More kindness, more love, more helping. During times of strife or disaster people rush to help out. In the past month have received at least 4 dozen emails about support efforts for the people affected by the recent fires and the hurricanes. It brings out the best in us as human beings when we have a catastrophe. Is it because we fear being in that position ourselves? Is it because that possible reality activates a part of us that is usually muffled because of all of our striving? What if we remember to be our best always, not just in crisis?

What would the world look like if that was reality?

hold a place

He was quiet and I could sense he was dealing with some disturbing energy. One of my challenges has been to maintain my neutrality, my positivity, my cool, when people around me are upset. We all have the ability to know, to feel, when someone is dealing with difficult emotions. The danger is always that emotions are like magnets, and it takes self awareness and the ability to remain centered to stay put and not get sucked in. Sucked in to reacting with anger, or worry, or any fluctuation in your own mood. This is especially difficult when one of our hot spots gets triggered. You know what they are, the core issues that seem to repeatedly come up in your life. The need to be right, the need for everyone to like you, the need to be the best, the need to have more, the need to be in control…we all have some variation of these needs/wants, the roots buried deep in our personal story.

So here was my test. My son was upset, the ultra sensitive mom radar was beeping as I intuitively felt his mood. The first thing that popped into my head was “*Alert*Alert*Equilibrium compromised*Dig*Ask questions*Fix*”. My instinct, conditioned I am sure by years of practice, was to fix it. To delve in immediately and see what I could change in his world to bring him back into the comfort zone. “Hold a place for him” was my second thought, thankfully before I could act on the first. I have read about “Holding a place”, but until this moment it was a vague theory that I kind of knew what it meant but not really. In that moment I realized it is a choice to sit back, quiet the voice in your head, and be present for someone. It makes no difference if it is your child, your spouse, your coworker, or even the person waiting behind you in line.

When any human being that is in your life is upset, angry, hurt, depressed, you can be the anchor. You can be the place where they feel safe. You can be the unconditional acceptance that we all need by choosing to listen without judgment, to be present without offering a solution, to hear without reacting. This is what it means to hold a place.


It is tempting to look at the finished product and to wish or wonder or envy, but what is never apparent at first glance is the sacrifice, the hours, the foundation that it took to get there. There is no such thing as an overnight success. I know that I had a great advantage because I was blessed with the parents that I have. They are the classic American dream. My mom is an immigrant who arrived in the US bright eyed, curious, and scared when she was just 19. Her education in Spain had tapered off when she was 12 when she had to go to work. When her Papa’s second cousin, who was wealthy by marriage, visited them and took pity on their humble family, she was presented with an opportunity to change the course of her life. This was a huge jump for her. She would have to leave the only life she ever knew, leave her 5 siblings, mom and dad, and fly halfway around the world to a distant place called California with someone she barely knew. Added to that was the fact that the extent of her knowledge of English was “Ok” and “Thank you”. I still remember visiting my grandparents when I was very young. They still lived in the “barraca”, (a Catalan word which translates loosely into “barrack” or mud hut) where my mother lived with her family until she took that step into uncertainty. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to see where her life began, it is a reminder to me of the amazing freedom we have to create our lives.

My dad is a first generation eldest son of immigrants, and was brought up “the old fashioned way”. The way where his dad was the king, and ruled the family with a tight rein. His parents clung tightly to the traditions and beliefs they had brought with them from Spain, and believed in hard work, extreme loyalty to family, and keeping the clan together. My grandparents were my earliest models for entrepreneurship. They owned a motel and a poultry business where my dad spent his youth working and contributing to help support the family. His fascination with radio controlled airplanes and electronics led him down a different path than his parents had travelled, yet the ethics and foundation they had laid for him of loyalty and hard work were the basis for his success in the businesses he builds.

They have been blessed, as I am, to have been born at this time in history, and to be living in a country where we have the freedom to build our lives into whatever we can imagine. It can be tempting to look at the success that others have achieved, broadcasted so persistently on social media. But what is not shown in those snippets of life is the work it took to get there. The sacrifices that were made by my parents, and their parents before them, are all layers and layers below the surface that have ingrained in me the desire to do more. No matter what hardships we face, the disadvantages, the failures, the challenges, we can achieve whatever we dream. The secret is that it takes time, the foundation of the house of your dreams must be laid, brick by brick. Don’t underestimate what you can accomplish in a decade. 10 years sounds like a long time into the future, yet when you reflect back and see the way the world has changed in just those 120 months, it is a testament to our constant evolution. Ride the wave of constant change, set big goals, be patient, and say thank you.

change the channel

Imagine a room. This room has a comfy chair in the center, the kind with a floral print or soft velvety fabric that your grandma may have had. It’s cushy and broken in with down stuffed pillows and rocks a little, and sits in the middle of the room. In the far corner of the room is a TV. This is not a flatscreen, plasma, HD, modern style TV. It’s an old one. The kind of TV you see in old movies, that sits on a stand and looks like a box. It has a dial to change the channels, and maybe even some antennas sticking up from the top. It is beige and a bit dusty, but the picture is still clear and the sound surrounds you.

The room is your mind, and you are sitting in the comfy chair, watching the TV. And you think this is your life. The TV show may be all about stress and all of the things you have to do, how much further along everyone else is than you, all of the stuff you don’t have and never will, and every rejection and failure you ever experienced. Every once in a while a commercial comes on and you are granted a reprieve from the day to day, you see flashes of hope, mini vacations from your current reality.

What I am going to suggest is that you pull yourself out of that comfy chair, and change the channel. If you don’t like what you are seeing, change it. Get up and turn the dial and look for the good. Look for the opportunities, for the kindness, for the abundance. There are multiple channels broadcasting simultaneously, and the shows are hypnotic. So hypnotic that we get sucked into them and believe them to be the only reality we can see. It can be hard to grasp the idea that you can change the channel, that you can take control and shift your focus, but once you realize that not only is it possible, but also necessary to your well being, you can begin to be freed from the tyranny of being controlled by your surroundings.

I use the imagery of changing the channel as a tangible method to shifting my focus. I know that if I am feeling down, or overwhelmed, or out of time, sad, stressed, angry…The channel I am watching will continue showing more of the same. I take a deep breath, pull myself out of that chair, (though sometimes it wants to pull me back down) and change the channel. I change it first to gratitude. I begin saying thank you for the variations that life brings my way, because it shows me how blessed I am. Thank you for the many demands on my time, because it teaches me to focus on the important things. Thank you for the challenges, because they help me to grow.

I am not going to say that it is easy, but with practice it does get easier. It gets easier to catch yourself and remember to change the channel, though sometimes I need a nudge. The best part is that I know there is so much more than the small TV in the corner of my mind. I stand up from the chair, and I look around my mind, and I see a door. I have tried at times to open it, pushing against it, trying to force it to open, but it resists. The more I push the more shut it is. So I let go. I stopped searching for the key, pushing for the answer, asking everyone else what to do. I stood back, arms at my side, and let go. What happens next is that the door begins to open. As light begins to shine into the room, I can see a small plaque next to the door that says “door opens in”.

From here begins the journey into consciously getting to know myself by looking in and letting go.


You may never know the impact of a smile, a kind word, a “No, you go first!”. Many people are going through their day in a daze of thoughts and worries, virtually sleeping awake. When you are fully awake and aware of your body in space at this moment, it is not unlike putting on your glasses when you didn’t even realize your vision was blurred. Take a moment and try it, especially when you are in a public place. You will see people in their heads, you will see blank eyes, you will see others talking and interacting, and you will make eye contact with someone who is also awake. Smile and appreciate that fleeting connection, the recognition of another soul momentarily brought into the present moment.

I think we are so used to the hum in our heads, the constant commentary that is going on, “I am thirsty, man I need to get a manicure, I wonder if it’s going to rain today, is he going to get to work on time? What am I going to make for dinner, shoot I hate going to the grocery store. I need to stop eating crap late at night. Those bananas are overripe I should make banana bread.” If you think you don’t have all of that an more going through your head at any given moment just pause and listen. That voice that says “I don’t hear anything” is the voice I am talking about. It is so familiar to us, it has been in there talking our whole lives, so we don’t even notice it, until we do. That voice can be silenced for a time, but it can also be retrained. It takes practice, and noticing it, and quieting it when you can so that you can smile and connect with another human being. This is when souls talk to each other, through silence and a smile.


From a very young age we are taught that the more attention we received, especially for being a “good boy” or “good girl”, the more we were praised and accepted by those that mattered to us. We will even choose “bad” behaviors to get attention, as any parent (or pet owner!) knows. The better we did at fitting in, excelling at school and earning the gold star, being the best player on the team, earning the trophy, the more status we received. This began the pattern of searching for acknowledgment from the outside world, through comparing ourselves to how we rate with others.

The yearning to be famous is evidenced all over social media, as we broadcast the snippets of our perfect moments, creating the illusion of a glamorous life. These fragments of captured realities are a double edge sword, showing the rest of the world what is possible at the same time as it says “I have this and you don’t”. There is nothing wrong with wanting more than you have, this is how we reach goals we set. The awareness that has to happen, however, to truly appreciate what you attain, is that you already have everything you need right now. If you are constantly seeking, approval, fame, more, love, money, peace, they will always stay just out of your reach. The only way to truly have any of the things you seek is to see them in your life right now.

From the Tao de Ching
“Fish cannot leave deep waters” – for when they rise to the surface to see the world, the net swoops down and catches them. Practice living under the radar, stop measuring yourself against others, abstain from drawing attention to yourself, allow others to shine

mountain climbing over molehills

Years ago my husband and I had a habit of asking each other “stupid questions” when we were working together. Questions like, “Are these cookies done?”, or “Do you think I should schedule another person?”. It became a running inside joke for us, and is still a reminder that we the tendency is to look up for the answer. Its a harmless habit unless you are leading people. At some point you need to train someone to answer the questions that come to you if you want to grow. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I used to have my team trained to come to me with every problem that came up. It was easier I thought to just answer the questions and fix the issues than to take the one extra step to empower and teach.

What ensued was the slowly moving avalanche of stress and overwhelm for me. Through my weak leadership I had trained my team to come to me for everything, and came to me they did. The problem was that most if not all of the issues were normal problems, part of doing business, yet because I had not empowered the team, they became mountains rather than molehills. Instead of fixing the issues at the base level when they were happening, they had to move through the chain and in the process they either grew or got lost, causing even larger problems. The guest who was unhappy with their meal had to wait for them to find me and tell me and then wait again for me to talk to them and the issue to be fixed. The oven that was not heating to temperature, so was not getting used, so the baker was taking double time to do his job, resulting in overtime and not enough product to sell, had to wait until someone had time to tell me. All of the little daily problems that came to me, as well as the bigger ones that needed to come to me, had turned my job into “firefighter”. I don’t want to fight fires, though if needed I do. Instead I teach my team to nip it in the bud, to douse the issues when they are little, to look for the solution instead of the problems, and to see problems for what they are, a part of life.