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“Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in” Leonard Cohen

 How many of us have seen Season 1 and 2 of Big, Little Lies, or read the book?  Wow..it seems to catch on like crazy for a reason.  Of course, the brilliant cast, excellent production of a powerful story of such suspense and complexity is without a doubt. The unfolding and tragic weaving of stories of abuse, violence, and tragedy command our hearts, intrigue, and pain. Each character brings forth such a compelling story. I  believe there are triggers of memory of our own often untold stories that reach deep into our personal narrative. We may not have suffered in the same ways or to the same degree, but certainly including stories of pain, betrayal, brokenness, and regret we all endure contribute to our common humanity. On a relational level, we now have more permission to reveal our stories of shame and vulnerability.

It also connects, thankfully with grit, courage, authenticity, the rising skills that allow love, friendship, justice, humility, compassion, forgiveness, faith, and resilience to win. “Glasshouses” are broken and the light gets in.

Here are a few considerations and steps toward increasing consciousness, recovery, and healing:

“If your heart is broken, make art with the pieces.” Shane Koyczan

Be gentle, brave and compassionate toward yourself. I believe that memories surface because we are ready to take the courage to heal. We don’t need to go digging around for past episodes of hurt. There is enough that surfaces on their own. It’s important to have support to tackle the challenge of awareness and conscious living.

Let it Be- Name the emotion.  It is important to experience the loss, the regret, the impact. We cannot “numb” these emotions without also numbing our joy. (Brene’ Brown) Rather than turning away or turning against ourselves through distraction or addiction- (overworking, eating, drinking, social media ‘ing”, etc) we can turn toward with love, forgiveness, faith, and compassion. (John Gottman)

Speak the unspeakable.

“The truth shall set you free.” (John 8: 31-32)

When feelings and memories occur, we can learn to face them from our own core leadership. If we don’t face them, they will “own” us and carry their toxic power into our relationships in all spheres- at home and at work. It’s that important to dig in and do the work. Bring in your caring and courage to gain resilience and healing over the shadow parts.

Let It Go- I believe that facing our “shadows” requires great courage. So then does the process of letting go. You really don’t want to carry that baggage any longer.

Let It In- Make amends by taking responsibility and seeking forgiveness. Our forgiveness of self and others for pain and regret is a huge step. Rather than BS (blame and shame), we can learn better ways to “stand our sacred ground”, speak the truth and demonstrate authenticity. Rather than pitting ourselves along with gender, racial, economic lines- let’s heal “toxic” patterns and stop the blame game.  “Let in” compassion and forgiveness and let it absorb and stick. Stand for respect, integrity, mutuality, a value of what emotion, heart, diversity, and inclusion bring to the table and high moral ground.

Meryl Streep shares an interview with InStyle, May 29. 2019. On the topic of “toxic masculinity”

“Sometimes, I think we’re hurt. We hurt our boys by calling something toxic masculinity. I do. And I don’t find [that] putting those two words together … because women can be pretty……. toxic,” Streep said. “It’s toxic people. We have our good angles and we have our bad ones. I think the labels are less helpful than what we’re trying to get to, which is communication, direct, between human beings. We’re all on the boat together. We’ve got to make it work.”

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”  Margaret Thatcher

Focus on what we have in the middle. In these times of great division, caring,    civility, and respect are the core values we have in common.  Celebrate our similarities and allow for our differences.

We are experiencing a loneliness epidemic:

“Three-fourths of Americans experience moderate to high levels of loneliness, said the study, published this week in International Psychogeriatrics. Previous studies found loneliness rates of 17 percent to 57 percent. Men and women were equally affected.”

Choose carefully the people that belong in our “inner circle”. Not everyone belongs in your most precious, trust-worthy, intimate family or friendship space. There is nothing more healing than the connection of kindred souls and the strength of unconditional love- those that stand with you when you “win” and when you fail and fall. Discern the quality, commitment and trust, and nurture and prioritize these most important people in our lives. Seek a therapist and/or a support group. Shame disconnects. Empathy and compassion connect.

“The secret to happiness is freedom… And the secret to freedom is courage.” Thucydides

When we are free from pain, we have greater energy and joy to embrace a deeper sense of meaning, purpose to pay it forward.


Big, Little Lies https://www.hbo.com/big-little-lies

Brene’ Brown, http://brenebrown.com

Rick Hanson http://rickhanson.net

Kristen Neff http://selfcompassion.org

Meryl Streep https://www.instyle.com/news/meryl-streep-toxic-masculinity

John Gottman http://gottman.com

Terry Real http://terryreal.com




I was introduced to a friend of a neighbor in our new “digs” recently. I was taken with the question, what do you do? I paused and thought upon that question, usually so easy to answer with my usual professional credentials and response. This time,  however, I was truly struck by the existential challenge. I have thought long and hard over the last couple of days and pondered the answer.  What is it I really do and why do I do it?

The answer in and of itself sheds so many layers of complexity, specialization, and ego in order to find the simple kernel of truth.


FYI, engaged couples!

You are in the wedding planning stages — planning the location, the venue, the vibe, the dress, the photographer, the honeymoon, everything — to make the day you’ve both dreamed of come true. And you have such love and excitement planning your lives together.

Getting married is exciting! Creating a love that lasts requires wisdom, skill, planning, and conscious ways to build trust and commitment.


These days, there seems to be one tragic event in our world after another not to mention the turmoil within our own country. Over these last years the persistence of violence from Newtown, Charleston , Ferguson and most recently the shootings and violence in Dallas leave strife, heartbreak and lack of a sense of justice and safety.  These events are happening at a more frequent pace globally  from Paris to  Nice, Orlando, Turkey, Baghdad and Munich. We can barely catch our breath when another event occurs. The task at hand is to pick ourselves up, heal from within and learn to live wisely with positive impact, resilience and optimism.  What are the steps that can help this happen? (more…)

What are our deepest desires in relationship? I believe these 6 qualities are what we most yearn for: Presence, understanding, appreciation, play, vision and romance. When we  nurture and sprinkle these qualities into day to day living, relationships  thrive.



Joy! Just saw this movie and loved the story based on the life of Joy Mangano, brilliantly portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence nominated for an Oscar for her role. The movie itself had mixed reviews, yet the story and it’s portrayal of female entrepreneurial venture is to be commended. This is what attracted David O Russell (director of American Hustle And Silver Linings Playbook) to put her unlikely life story on the big screen.

“It’s about emotion and about people and humanity and what is ridiculous and ordinary about them – but where that becomes extraordinary and magical,” the director says of his film. “That’s that place where we live.”


You are in the wedding planning stages- planning the location, the venue, the vibe and the dress, photographer, honeymoon everything to make the day you have both dreamed of come true. And you have such love and excitement planning your lives together. One wedding essential necessary to make sure your marriage is headed for success is pre-marital counseling.


Welcome to my new website and blog Designing Relationships:     Connect. Deepen. Grow.

I dedicate this blog site to those who live real and ordinary lives that create extraordinary and powerful stories. I believe these stories deserve to be expressed and recognized. They will serve as inspiration and hope. (more…)

Are you going through a transition in life, relationship or career? Change is challenging isn’t it!

Whether it is pushing ourselves forward out of the comfort zone toward personal or professional growth, a great change like a new marriage or a baby on the way, a change in life, geography, or an unexpected diagnosis in health or moving from frustration to fulfillment in work….it is a compelling process and it helps to have a navigational roadmap. (more…)