The Danger of America’s “Power-On” Corporate Culture

I have a unique lens through which I see the world. I am beginning my 20th year as a Wealth Management Advisor on Wall Street, specializing in working with Senior Corporate Executives, Entrepreneurs and change-makers. I am a Senior Advisor in my firm, and I spend every workday serving men and women in Senior Leadership positions. All top of their game. Many at the pinnacle of their career. I have known for years that in my corporate culture and in the other corporate cultures I have witnessed, the more senior you are, the more demanding and all-encompassing the work becomes, and the more people expect you to be “on” at all times. I know Senior Executives that take calls and read emails into the late night. Many schedule back-to-back calls during their commutes, to maximize their work time. My ex-husband, who is still a Senior Executive at a large tech company, used to come home from work nightly and put his laptop on his placemat, ready for more. For many of these men and women, taking a mid-day break is not a reward, it is weakness. A sit-down lunch, unless it is with a client, is considered indulgent, not deserved. It has become a Senior Corporate badge of honor, a masculine-energy strategy and a super-woman strategy to “Power-On” regardless. It’s not a woman thing or a man thing, really. It’s unsustainable. It’s the opposite of well-being. It’s a mistake. I used to be that “Power-On” person, eating lunch at my desk (if you consider a Diet Coke lunch), and smugly feeling that I was being so productive. I wasn’t. I was running my body into the ground. Many of you know I learned the hard way with my health challenges: the high blood pressure, the two auto-immune diseases, the early-stage cancer. They are all gone, thanks to me revamping my life. I remember about six years ago, I was having a Vedic Astrology reading, and I asked, “Am I destined to have ongoing health issues?,” and to my shock, he answered, “You are destined to understand the consequences of running a racecar too many times around the track without a pit-stop.” Amen. The other day, I was working from my home office, and well-being aficionado that I am, I decided to treat myself to a nice lunch (by myself, gasp!) at the Veggie Grill. I had worked so hard...
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Our Well-Being, Our Exes, and What I Know For Sure

My ex-husband is getting re-married tonight in a traditional Indian ceremony, and my daughters, 11 and 13 years old, have their hands hennaed, and their jewel-toned Indian dresses ready to go. The big life moment seems even more surreal with the added exotic flair. But, this isn’t about him or about my girls. It’s about me, and how I am celebrating too. I was divorced five years ago, in 2010, and let me first admit that I experienced every bit of my sadness that year, let it pass through me. I was heartbroken. Fast forward five years, after countless hours of time alone, of reflection, of joy, of kindness to myself, of deep healing, of interesting, sexy, growth-inducing relationships…. What do I know for sure? That every romantic relationship we have ever had was meaningful. There was a gift there, something your spirit, your deepest essence yearned for, wanted to experience. Focus on what that gift was. Reclaim and own it for yourself. Focus on your gratitude. Some relationships were meant for a short time, others for years. I picture each of the relationships I have experienced, whether my 12 year marriage, or my most recent five month one, as the gift that they were. I envision each like a treasure chest, some more gilded and golden than others, with the best of what that man brought to me, and the best of what we shared. And importantly, I envision that “treasure chest” outside of my body (not in my heart- need the space for my next soulmate), and also importantly, the lid is respectfully closed. With gratitude, I can move onward. Emotions like anger, scorn, and the feeling that “justice was not served” are like poison to your physical and mental well-being. I can make you sick. During the year of my divorce, I could barely walk without limping, My auto-immune inflammation numbers were three times the normal level. You must find a way to first acknowledge and then release those negative feelings and get them out of your body. Carrying resentment is like throwing your body at a fence…does it hurt the fence? No, it hurts you. Do therapy, do a gratitude journal, see healers, get bodywork done, pray like mad, get busy spreading your gifts and your love to such a degree that you ARE love, you ARE forgiveness. Lastly, forgive yourself for carrying that crap....
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Are You Celebrating Enough?

As we checked into the Sonoma Mission Inn this past weekend, the coy concierge asked, “are you celebrating anything special?”. My sweetie and I looked at each other, smiled between us, and I simply answered, “Yes, being together.” The concierge laughed nervously, not sure what to do with that…I could sense she was thinking….is that really a celebration? It likely didn’t fall into her birthday-anniversary-wedding choice list for hotel-sanctioned pillow gifts. Hmmm… what to do with that? The day of my friend’s first book launch was only a few days away, and I phoned her, asking about her plans to celebrate. She mentioned she hadn’t really planned anything, as she had been so busy, and would likely just have the usual dinner with her husband and kids. We had a short conversation about the true joy of this momentous moment, (that’s what friends are for) and with a sudden burst of creative energy and one email invite later, she found herself with a houseful of family and loving friends toasting her that night. She brought the moment into something extraordinary. Something to be remembered. We forget to celebrate special moments in our lives. We’ve got the birthdays and anniversaries nailed, but I am talking about the special. The ordinary. The subtle. The magical. The unexpected. Some of us are so busy accomplishing, that with all our huffing and puffing, we forget to notice we have crossed the finish line. Some of us just need permission to give thanks for that thing that happened, to express our joy, letting it rise up like a bunch of colored balloons. I remember that getting my first bra was a moment of shame and embarrassment for me. I was mortified that I was most definitely the only girl in 4th grade (yes, 4th grade) that was developing and I prayed to Jesus, Mary and God every night that it would stop. It didn’t until I reached a DD, and it took an eight grade modeling stint and years of compliments and self-acceptance to get to the self-celebration mode that I have today. So, you can imagine that when I bought a first bra for one of my daughters, I felt a change in perspective was in order. I left the aforementioned personal story in my secret archive, and instead, told her it was time for a small family (the three of us girls) celebration....
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What if EVERYTHING is potentially healing?

I am convinced that the nature of everything I experience reflects the LOVE (or lack of love) I have for myself. When I am in my true essence, the beauty of the world unfolds before me like a magic carpet. You know those moments, when it’s a good day, the universe is up underneath you, when you appreciate the blooming spring flowers along the highway, the breeze feels just right, and your sister calls right after you think about her. I deeply believe that in this vibration, everything is love, and because of that, everything is healing. With your amazing mood, your high vibration, you are calling similar energy to you like a magnet, and everything lifts you. Interestingly, the opposite drags you down—a negative vibration, bad mood, and lack of gratitude. It’s damaging. It ruins healing. Let me give an example of such a funk and my funk-turnaround. Two weeks ago, on a chilly Tuesday May morning, I was at a standstill in Bay Bridge traffic into San Francisco, on my way for a check-up bloodtest, which I get every three months. My auto-immune diseases are in “full remission”(I personally call it “healed”), but instead of feeling grateful in that moment, I was feeling nervous, fearful (what if they come back someday?), annoyed (I was missing the morning of work and why did this all happen to me anyway?) and generally blah (where’s the sun?). A burst of negative energy. You’ve been there, right? A car cut in front of me, and lo and behold, no thanking hand-wave (What’s wrong with people?). This energy is damaging. It ruins healing. When this happens, like a person who suddenly realizes she’s in a dangerous riptide, I start swimming sideways to save myself. Gratitude is the best life preserver. Waiting for the Fastrak lane to move, I put on some peaceful Sanskrit chanting music (my fav, Jai Uttal), said a prayer of gratitude for my healing (I mean, let’s be serious about that gift), and suddenly noticed the beautiful new, healthy-looking palm trees they planted on the East side of the span. I thought about my girls smiling. The traffic improved and by the time I got into UCSF Medical Center, I was humming love, feeling awesome. Yes, genuine gratitude can shift you just like that. Back in one’s true essence of love and gratitude, everything is healing. Even day-to-day people...
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Everything I Experience Reflects the LOVE I Have for Myself

“Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror.” – Byron Katie “With every breath, I plant the seeds of devotion. I am a farmer of the heart.”- Rumi In my first blog of the new year, I wrote about my intention of allowing my beautiful life to unfold, without expectations, savoring the gifted moments as they arise…that beautiful tulip, that kind Starbucks barrista, that steaming cup of tea. The past few weeks taught me—and it is a BIG shift for me— that every occurrence that arises is a direct reflection of what I feel within. The nature of everything I experience reflects the LOVE (or lack of love) that I have for myself. I am convinced that the universe that I am witnessing is just a giant mirror, showing me myself and my level of self-love, in infinite ways, at this particular vibration, in this particular moment. I have really shifted. First things first. What is self-love? It’s unconditionally loving yourself with compassion, understanding, acceptance of all that you are (all!) in this moment. It’s not the self-aggrandizement that would inspire you to take a selfie because you “love” that you are in Lake Tahoe and want to post it on Facebook. Not at all…that’s your ego, seeking approval outside of itself. Rather, self-love is the love you feel for yourself when you are all alone, have time to reflect on who you really are, your deepest, truest essence, and embracing that. So how does self-love determine what occurrences arise for you? It’s because like attracts like. Similar energy attracts similar energy. I was meditating on my love for myself. I imagined a pie in the middle of my chest, and asked myself as I will ask you now: How much of that pie is filled with pure acceptance and unconditional, deep love for yourself? I have asked many people this question, and the most common answer I hear is “a half”. Others have said “a third”. For me, who has been working on self-love for the past nine years, I feel improvement daily, but I am not at 100% either. I have never met anyone that said 100%! We are SO critical of ourselves. We could lose a few pounds, we could have been a better parent yesterday, we could do better at work if we were more focused….it goes on and...
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A New Year of Perfect Moments

“Do not dwell on the past, do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment.” -Buddha “To stay present in everyday life, it helps to be deeply rooted within yourself; otherwise, the mind, which has incredible momentum, will drag you along like a wild river.” -Eckhart Tolle This is going to be my New Year of Perfect Moments. I am going to truly savor and be present to the beautiful moments that unfold– in a new and improved way. Each of us is a master-manifestor, bringing forth experiences and states of being that are a direct reflection of our individual state of consciousness. Everything that is happening to us, for better or for worse, is our own direct creation. I used my powers of manifestation over the course of nine years to heal myself from my chronic health issues, and I am using it to stay well. By truly believing and knowing that in my essence, “I am well” and “I am healthy,” I altered my reality to match that. I saw those statements as the irrefutable truth of who I deeply am, and pushed my agenda along by adopting my “Well-being Blend” of body, mind and spirit practices, not to mention endless prayers, sung mantras, nightly Reiki and the whole healing kitchen sink. My healing was one of my greatest manifestations of all time. Aside from health, I have used manifestation to create a life for myself that is filled with love, music, art, poetry, personal growth and inspired travel. My intention for all of this was set years and years ago, and the reality of it all appearing so wondrously amazes me. This is all good, but lately, I noticed a habit that is keeping me from savoring some of the unexpected beautiful moments. If the health, love and art are “big stones” dropped into my pond, these beautiful moments are the delightful vibrational “ripples” of proof that good things are coming my way. It’s all connected. Yes, I have amazing, unpredictable things happen to me every week. It’s like I am magic person and every year, the amount of this magic in my life, or perhaps my awareness of it, increases. That’s the good news. When these special moments happen, I DO get intoxicated by the amazing feeling of wonder, love, presence, connection, bliss—whatever that moment is bringing. My experience with that...
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The Love Wall, The Stone, and The Sweet Surrender

“What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: our life is the creation of our mind.” – The Dhammapada It sounds counter-intuitive, but for me, my divorce in 2010 was a conscious move toward love. It was toward a future “something” that I knew could be deeper and more connected than I could imagine—not just with a future partner, but with my friends, my family, my beautiful girls (6 and 8 at the time) and most of all, with myself. I had been thinking a lot about love- my highest value along with truth- and to set the intention, to seal it, to glorify it, a few months after my former husband moved out, I decided the girls and I needed a “Love Wall.” I had happily given him every piece of original hanging art we had bought together, blessing the memories but not wanting the energy anymore, so my little house had a lot of open space. The girls and I huddled, planned, agreed, and on a blank wall in our dining room, we painted a giant, shimmery gold square backdrop, and sat in awe of the vibration of the color—lightfulness and glittery hope. Then, we started hanging love art—works by the girls, my 92 year- old artist grandmother, and two Santa Cruz artists. We added some other love-themed randomness, and we knew when it was done. The energy around it was amazing, magical, and admiring our work, Amelia said it best, “I love it.” This past month, I set a laser focused intention for healing. I wrote in my last two blogs about how a relationship ending in July triggered buried sadness about two other endings, and how my body, doing its best, reacted by creating a physical manifestation of the pain…a small kidney stone. Having had so much success and healing with my other health issues, I went to work and set an intention to dissolve this stone before the scheduled surgery two weeks out. (Simply having it removed, outpatient, no incisions, seemed preferable to two months of medicine.) I laid in bed every night, imagined it like a small clump of hard mud, imagined where it was in my body, and sent love—at first in the visualization of love-rain falling gently on it, washing away the surface, and then a love-powerspray, like a garden...
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Red Flags, Inner Knowing and Other Wisdom We Should Listen To

“We create every so-called illness in our body.” – Louise Hay, author, You Can Heal Your Life “Once you recognize that you’re on a path, then everything you do becomes grist for the mill, becomes a part of the path. There’s a certain kind of awareness that’s there, even if you don’t like it.” – Krishna Das, grammy-nominated kirtan singer Your Body, Mind, and Spirit are hugely interconnected. I wrote last month about how I am convinced that my last painful breakup was undoubtedly related to the next day blood/pee tests showing a small red flag possibly related to my kidney problem (FSGS) that has been in remission for two years. Not a full blown emergency, but a red flag. I have few if any symptoms of my auto-immune issues, so when something comes up, it’s noticed. This red flag was something my super smart doctors immediately wanted to get to the bottom of. Where was the small warning sign coming from? I explained to my doctors that it was me at first holding back from and then willfully moving through some deep sadness, and sure enough, I pointed out, as if they didn’t know, the kidneys are the filters of your body for toxins. No wonder the red flag showed up in that part of my system. Nothing is coincidental. For so many years, my habit has been to bury my hurt, sadness and anger. This started in my childhood, when I fared far better if I was cheerful and pleasant. When the end of this relationship happened, I consciously and fully let myself feel the sadness of it. Not one of my friends could understand why I was so truly bummed- in fact, they reminded me that I used to get over things so quickly. But here’s why this one hurt so much–the last straw that ended this relationship was outrageously similar to the last straw that ended my 12-year marriage, and the last straw that ended my very first long-term love relationship when I was 22 years old. Ouch. When these dots connected for me, at first, I was outraged at myself (funny I would go there first)–how could have I possibly friggin’ manifested the same thing AGAIN? But then, the self-acceptance and reframing flooded in—because I have grown the place of finally allowing myself to feel deeply and fully about this ending, I was able...
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It’s Not the Sadness that’s Hurting You

“Sad, painful, angry emotions are NOT hurting you.  What is hurting you is the energy you expend in resisting them.” I had a blood test with my nephrologist (kidney doctor) the day after things ended between me and my boyfriend. Although we had this magic intense love and connection between us, some peripheral issues had been driving the relationship south. That day, the finality of it being over, the tears between us, the all-encompassing sadness, landed in my heart like a weighted thud.  Do you know that feeling? I closed my windows at home and really cried, really tried to get it out, and then, when I started to scare myself at how sad I was feeling, how loud my sobbing sounded, I decided it was time to tuck in my shirt and fold the laundry. The next day blood test didn’t come out as well as usual, and it showed one sign of activity in my kidney disease that has been in remission for two years. What?? I panicked. I had a feeling my toxic sadness tipped the scales, but my doctor assured me that wasn’t the case, saying that emotions don’t affect one’s kidneys. Deep in my core of truth, I know better. So being a motivated person and someone who gets things done, for the past two weeks, I have been trying to suppress the sadness, and instead trying to be happy, to move through the world busy busy busy and thinking of good things, how blessed I am, how I love my career and my girls, and how love will surely find me again someday. I AM love. I am strong. The next blood test will be better because I am almost over this! Waiting for some other test results, I decided to go ahead as planned on my personal vacation trip to L.A. I spent today with one of my new spiritual teachers, also highly intuitive, and after I shared my nervousness about this kidney issue, she offered “Sad, painful, angry emotions are not hurting you.  What is hurting you is the energy you expend on resisting them.” The truth of this– how I try so hard to contain things sometimes, to show the world the powerful “me”, plus, how hard I am on myself- started the tears pouring and to be honest, during our four hours of work together, I cried almost the whole time,...
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Reiki and My Personal Superpower

One of my special talents, personal superpowers, is that I can easily read someone’s energy. Just by looking at them, I can sense where they are at emotionally that day, and what they’re about in general. Even if they are smiling and trying to be happy, I can sense whether they are truly joyous or troubled or genuinely kind or relatively untrustworthy. This perception became uber-heightened when my sister, Mollie and I became Reiki Masters, two years ago in 2012, the year she turned 40. We had been interested for a few years previous in energy work, and in healing and let’s be honest, in escaping for a few best-friend sister weekends in the stunning Berkshires by ourselves without the kids. It was a journey that would allow us to explore something meaningful together. Mollie was interested in learning how to better ground herself amid the chaos of being a public school art teacher in Harlem, and I was interested in whether this healing art would be the magic bullet that relieved the rheumatoid arthritis stiffness and pain in my hands, feet and shoulders. At this point, I was seven years into my healing journey and still suffering daily. “What is Reiki”? People, even our closest friends, don’t know. It is pronounced “ray-key” and at first, we had to Google it too. Founded more than 100 years ago by Mikao Usui, Reiki is a gentle Japanese healing art, as well as a beautiful spiritual practice. We were attuned in how to tap into universal life force energy, and how to get that concentrated healing energy coming out through our hands. I have taken lots of personal growth workshops where I can barely remember the take-aways, but we remember everything about Reiki. Maybe because it’s such a simple concept but so empowering. We do Reiki on ourselves daily. I lay in bed in the morning before I get up and at night before I go to bed, and put my hands on my heart, with the intention of bringing that pure, healing energy to myself. I always feel better—it centers and grounds me. I can feel the energy coming out of my hands, a subtle tingle. It feels like love. Even if you aren’t a Reiki Master, you can mimic this practice, which is really one of self-care and direct intention. Place your hands on your heart, or chest, or...
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