What Women Can Do For Women

imagesThere is not a day that goes by that the struggle for women to keep the rights that they have had for years, is not in the news. Just yesterday I read a compassionate and well written article from Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards urging women to stay in the fight and not back down. Like her mother Ann, Cecile is a tireless advocate for the rights of women everywhere, especially in the southern states that are suffering the most. Texas is leading the charge with the likes of Perry, Dewhurst and Abbott, the trifecta of all that is evil and wrong within the state. Also like her mother, Cecile is not intimidated by the likes of these vile white men who are hell-bent on making affordable health care for the women who need it the most obsolete. Every time I hear another report of what is going on down there my blood boils.  There have been devastating cuts to family planning services and Planned Parenthood has been banned in the state of Texas, closing many locations and making it more difficult for women to find a clinic and get access to preventative care and other services. These guys don’t want anyone to have access to a safe and chosen abortion, but they don’t want to support all the children that have to come into this world because of lack of access either. They just want to bully and treat women like second class citizens. Making life harder and more hopeless for them. Taking from them at every turn and making sure that they suffer.

Every female and most males that I know are just as pissed off as I am. But us being angry and not using that anger as leverage to do something to help is just wasted anger. One way I channel my anger is to make monthly donations to Planned Parenthood.  Another way and perhaps the best way is through community service, specifically reaching out to low-income affected women.  I donate my time as a coach and help women find the road to a better way. At least this gives me the feeling that I am giving them the tools and resources to stand up and be counted and be part of the fight. To take back their power and self-worth. The point here is this; women need to make it a part of their lives to help other women. There are countless ways to do this, we all have something valuable to share. Volunteer your time, write checks, march at your state capitol, write your legislators and if you live in Texas, vote for Wendy Davis. But most of all get involved, take all the pissed off feelings that you feel and channel it into helping to change the life of another not so fortunate women. It’s like Anne Richards said in her perfect simple way of putting things ” Any Jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a carpenter to build one”. The world is full of Jackasses, so ladies get your tools!

Are you living life from the cheap seats?

ImageWe all aspire to live the best life we can right? But in order to really do that we need to clean house and work through whatever issues we may have that is getting in our way. I know this because I did it. Every time I hit a brick wall in my own life I had to get uncomfortable, get out of my own way and let the healing begin. Every one of us has our stuff, our issues. Within the process of life there will be obstacles and many times issues from our past will surface and obstruct our view, hence, life from the cheap seats.

Every time I meet with a women and we begin our work together we talk about this very thing and they love the cheap seat metaphor ” yes that is exactly it” they say. We all want those cushy velvet reclining seats up front but in order to get them we have to be wiling to do a few things. 1. Be okay with not being okay 2. Be ready to roll up our sleeves and work hard 3. Get out of our own way  4. Know that change takes time, it is not going to happen overnight. The rewards of course are many. Just being aware of the crap that bogs us down and beginning to change our inner monologue will greatly improve our lives and make us happier.

Depression in women has doubled from 2000 to 2010. Staggering right? I almost fell of my chair when I read this. Now let me be very clear, I am not an expert on depression. I am however an expert on myself and I have suffered at times with depression and I know that all of the women that I know personally and professionally have as well. It is normal to a degree. Life can be cruel and we cannot help but be effected by it’s roller coaster ride.

Self work can be the best time you spend with yourself and it is worth the investment of a good therapist or coach. Love yourself enough to want out of the cheap seats. Don’t be afraid to do the work. Like I told a client just yesterday, “we just need to dust you off a bit” because under all of this is the bright, shiny , beautiful and best you. I can see you in those velvet seat from here.

The Guilt of Leaving an Addict

Like so many fans of Philip Seymour Hoffman, I was deeply saddened by his death. This guy was simply one of the best actors of our time and I loved everything he did on screen. So much has been written of him since his death by heroin last Sunday, but little has been written about the woman he shared his life with and who was the mother of his three young children. I think of him, but I think of her more because she is what is left behind in the vortex of addiction that was his life. I don’t know Mimi O’Donnell but I wish that I did so that I could send her a note of support. A note from one woman who once loved an addict to another. From a woman who decided to leave because the pain and suffering of living with an addict was just too much and I, like Mimi had had enough. I would tell her not to feel guilty which is much easier said than done, but the fact of the matter is you only have two options with an addict. Option one, you stay and continue enabling and living in hell. Option two, you leave because you love yourself and in her case your children, more than you love your life with an addict. Even more difficult in this case was the fact that Mr. Hoffman had been sober for over 20 years. By now the knot that lives in the stomach of us enablers had probably subsided for her. She was able to breath and feel good about their life together and perhaps even let her guard down a bit. Then the unthinkable happens, he falls off the wagon and the peace called sobriety they once had is now back to the constant turmoil of addiction. It is a horrible place to be. I would also tell Ms. O’Donnell that she did the brave thing, the hard thing, the thing that none of us want to do. She left him. It was the right thing to do and it took guts and immense courage. Those of us who have walked in these shoes know this; the pain will become more manageable and over time we get to a place of peace again. None of us are equipped to fight this formidable demon called addiction, it is like fighting a war with no weapons, it cannot be won. All we can do is let go and hope that the addict we love finds their way to treatment and gets the support they need. In the mean time we do the brave thing, the hard thing, the thing that gives us anguish. We leave. You did the right thing Ms. O’Donnell and  although your grief and agony now is deep and cutting and you carry a heavy burden of guilt, you will be ok. It will take time and much support for your family, but you will be ok.

I wish you and your children peace and healing.Image

Enabling and Co-dependency

Everyday, all around us there are women living in unhealthy, co-dependent relationships. It is virtually everywhere. Women living with addicts, abusers and overall unhealthy individuals. These women are wives, mothers, partners, daughters and friends. I know these women because I used to be one of them.
If you love someone who is an addict or an abuser that I can guarantee that you are living a life of fear, walking on eggshells, and being controlled by someone else’s dysfunction. You dread going home and you walk around with a massive lump in your stomach waiting for the other shoe to drop. Your life is void of peace, happiness and joy. You are miserable and feel trapped. Depressing isn’t it?
I think you deserve a better life than this. I think you deserve to have peace and joy restored to your life. I think that you deserve all the good and positive things that this life has to offer. I know where you are, I have resided in that very place. But I got out and so can you.
My message to you is this; help is out there and is just a phone call away. Whether you get it working with me or take another approach, just get help for yourself. I promise you this, there is light at the end of this tunnel and you have the power and the strength to get there. All you need is the desire and enough love for yourself to say no more, I deserve better.

Stop whining and get to work!

2013 came in like a lion for me, so many new opportunities and changes that I am excited about. I have not blogged in a while because I was busy writing my first book From This Day Forward; Letting go of the addict you love, available on Amazon. My second book which is also finished will be up in early March. A new website is also being built as we speak and women are finding their way to me everyday. Life is good. As we begin this new year together I encourage you to let go of the past that is dragging you down. Stop being afraid of change and begin to embrace exactly what you want for this one and only life that you have. Most of all stop complaining about what is wrong with your life and channel that energy instead into creating positive changes. I must tell you that I am sick to death of negative women who want to sit across from me and piss and moan. I get it, you have issues, we all do. You carry those issues everywhere you go, like rocks on your back. You walk around with your head down like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. Pessimistic, gloomy and depressed. I do the work that I do because I love to lift women up not to have them drag me down. If you want a place to be pitied and dig through your past and everything bad that ever happened to you, then get a shrink who is into taking your money and allowing you to wallow in your crap for the rest of your life. There are plenty of them out there. There are also some really good ones who would probably tell you exactly what I am telling you. However you decide to proceed do it with the attitude that you have the power to be exactly how you imagine yourself to be when you are at your best.  Roll your sleeves up, do the work and stop being afraid of facing the demons that have you so stuck. Change that old tape in your head from I can’t, I’m afraid and I am defeated to I can, I will and I am worth it! Get uncomfortable and get those rocks off your back. Stay the course and know that it will take time. Don’t quit. Take back your power and kick Eeyore to the curb!