Monthly Archives: August 2010

The “Write” Stuff: Assignment 3

Facing down the “Beast”


That’s how many of us react when – once again – the rabid specter of overt racism raises its ugly head. Thank goodness it’s no longer a regular occurrence in most of our lives. That’s why its barbs and arrows may seem even more potent and painful now than in the past.

Whether we mumble some spontaneous reaction or totally lose our cool, it’s usually not until later that “the perfect response” reveals itself to us.

Choose a situation from your (recent) past in which you were faced with overt racism and which – in all  honesty – still frustrates and irritates you today. Now spend 20 to 30 minutes writing about that incident. This time, though, change the scenario and give yourself the opportunity to say what you wish you had  said!


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The “Write Stuff”: Assignment 2

Making a Living While Living Your Dream!

Whether you are a student, a full-time mom or a business professional, many of us have a secret dream or special talent that we (still!) don’t have an opportunity to fully express in our lives. Do you realize that somewhere in the world someone is earning money – and increasing the joy and satisfaction in their lives – doing what you only dream about?

Spend 20 – 30 minutes writing about how you could turn your dream or talent into a full- or part-time career. Don’t censor yourself while you write! There are no wrong or right ideas right now, so let your fantasy run free.

When you are finished are finished with this assignment, write a note to yourself to have another look at what you’ve written in a month’s time. Are there any ideas that still resonate with? What would you have to do with those ideas to find out which one has the most “mileage”, and to take that idea from dream to reality?

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The “Write” Stuff: Assignment 1

Your Earlier Self

We’ve all had one. The dream job we didn’t get… The lover that just didn’t love us back… The golden opportunity that slipped right by us, because we didn’t react quickly and decisively enough. Take a minute to two to think back to that specific time in your life – a time when that problem seemed insurmountable;  the situation too much for you to bear.

Obviously, the world has – successfully! –  moved on.  There were (maybe many) other job, (maybe many) other lovers, and (maybe many) other opportunities. But back then?  We didn’t think it would; didn’t believe it could!

Visualize the woman you were in that situation. What were her fears, her insecurities, her dreams?

From the perspective of the woman you are today, take 20 to 30 minutes to write a letter to that earlier self. Address her shortcomings, but also speak of her strengths. Reassure her that – yes – she will make it. Yes, she will overcome. Yes, she will prevail.

Because – guess what? – she/you did!

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The “Write” Stuff


I began keeping a journal when I was in my teens. The first one a had was one of those black & white marble-covered composition books the you use in the States. I filled it’s pages with my first attempts at poetry and short stories, as well as whatever was burdening or brightening my budding spirit.

In the meantime I have almost an entire shelf filled with the journals I have kept over the years. I graduated from the composition books to those black hard-cover booklets with red corners, then on to leather-bound notebooks I found on sales one time (I brought the last three they had!). It’s amazing to pull one off that shelf at random, and dive back into the person I was in college or during the early years of my marriage. In those days before the internet and online blogs, I printed out entire passages from books that had an indelible impact on my life, as well as quotes and the names of songs that became interwoven into the unique soundtrack of my life. It’s interesting, too, to discover which things that so moved me back then and now have sunk into total insignificance, just as it can be frustrating to recognize myself struggling with certain bad habits or obstacles as clearly today as I did back then.


It wasn’t until a bit later that I would put more structure into the cathartic practice of writing my journal. Instead of simply allowing my writing to follow any path it wanted to take based on the external or (more often) internal happenings in my life,  I experimented more and more with different types of journaling exercises to further uncover the truth about the person I am – and to explore in depth the things that make me tick, hum and sing. I found myself writing about everything from what talents and gifts I wanted to be able to make use of in my career to how I envisaged spending my time as I grow older.


Whether you are a person for whom writing is already a way to free and explore your spirit or you are someone who has often thought about keeping a journal but never really gotten around to starting one, I’ve developed a selection of journaling exercises for you.


I’ll be posting three different journaling exercises from tomorrow till Friday. Each one will have a different slant and address different aspects of your life.

  1. Before you begin, it’s best to separate yourself from any and all distractions. That means turning off the TV or radio, switching your cell phone to “vibrate”, and maybe even ignoring the door bell.
  2. Give yourself a minute or two to center yourself…to quiet your mind…to concentrate.
  3. Read through the exercise once or twice.
  4. Then – for 30 minutes – WRITE :  Any- and everything that comes into your mind about how this subject resonates with you

How do you feel when you are finished? Do you feel liberated and relaxed or did something plop up onto the surface of your consciousness that irritates, frustrates or saddens you? Before you get back to the busy-ness of life, at the very bottom of the page write down the one word that best describes your mood!

If there is anything you’d like to ask or share about any of the exercises, please feel free to post it in the comments section or – if it’s more personal – to me directly.


If three exercises aren’t enough and you’d like to keep up the journaling momentum, contact me! I have put together a journal with two weeks worth of journaling exercises, and I’d will send you a copy.


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Sisters in Europe…Who We Are (3)

Marie Nejar aka Leila Negra

Child extra in Nazi propaganda films, Popular post-World War II singer, Nurse, Author

To find out more about Marie Nejar’s fascinating story of growing up in Nazi era Germany, watch the short presentation below! (Click “full screen” under the menu option  – bottom left – for better viewing quality).


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The last few days have been really pretty busy for me, but I wanted to drop in and let you know what I’ve been doing. In the last 10 days or so I  have been:

  • going to some outside meetings and presentations
  • (still) editing the TableTalk shows into topical segment (You can listen to the recording of  Part 3 online now, too!)
  • writing proposals for workshops and other training events (potential) clients
  • touching bases with some friends of the site/program via phone and Skype (Hi, Ladies!)
  • designing an interview series with a Swiss cooperation partner
  • working on the next “Sisters in Europe – Who We Are”
  • putting the finishing touches on a journaling challenge for this site
  • developing a concept for a monthly radio show for Uncaged Birds™ (Have you added your voice to the survey? If not, please do!)

In other words, I’m busy in the background helping things take shape in the way I would like them to in the very near future.

Although I am dealing with a wide variety of things, when it’s time for me to focus on a coaching session it’s time for me to switch out of the “me” mode. All that outward activity and the inward thought processes have to come to a grinding halt. In coaching it’s not about me; it’s all about the coachee –  their values and struggles; their challenges and goals; their setbacks and triumphs. From being either busy getting my ideas out there to the world or getting them down onto paper, I become someone who is…QUIET.

Some who not only hears, but…LISTENS.

For the duration of my coaching session, this “active listening” encompasses my entire being. I cue into the nuances and pauses in my coachee’s speech pattern, and – if it’s not a telephone coaching session – their body language and eye contact:

  • What is s/he telling me between the lines? Not only what s/he’s saying is important, but what’s not being said as well!
  • What “blind spot” is s/he ignoring? How do I guide them to it and help them acknowledge it?
  • What question has remained unanswered, or – unasked? What are the hard questions that I must ask because s/he isn’t willing (or able) to ask or answer them?

Sometimes as I ricochet between a highly active professional phase and a coaching session, I catch sight of that essential part of “me” that’s the motor for everything I do in life. It’s the “me” of intuition – the inner voice – who is in touch with my life purpose and my own core values. And if I haven’t in a while, I know it’s time to me to simply STOP and listen again – this time to myself.

When was the last time you truly listened – to a loved one, a colleague, or yourself?

  • Were you present in that moment, or busy preparing your own witty/biting/sarcastic comeback?
  • Were you attempting to see the world from their perspective, or just waiting for a chance to add your say to the mix?
  • Were you open and porous like a sponge, or closed and solid like a clam shell?

Here’s what Iyanla Vanzant has to say about “listening”…

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The Final TableTalk and What Comes Next

Thanks again to all the ladies who were present for last night’s final TableTalk. Thanks to Love Newkirk (Germany) and Yvette Jarvis (Greece) for lending their voices and sharing their experiences and perspectives. Thanks, too, to the ladies in the live chat, who were not only listening in, but also bouncing around their own ideas and experiences amongst themselves.

I love the BlogTalkRadio format for such get-togethers! It’s allowed me to communicate with some women I’ve been connected with via social media in a completely different quality. That got me to thinking… I originally conceived of the TableTalk as being a twice yearly “big topic” event, and I still believe that idea has a lot of merit. But I would hate to lose the momentum we’ve built up already. Several women have tuned in to two out of three TableTalk events – and a few have made it to all three!

Enough of my thoughts and impressions, though. What I’d like to know is YOUR reaction to the three TableTalk sessions! Please take a few minutes to answer these 10 quick questions:

Click here to take the Uncaged Birds™ TableTalk survey

Thanks – and have a wonderful weekend!

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