Who am I anyway?
...
After 25 years as an
award winning
advertising Execu-
woman I'm on a
campaign to inspire
women to unzip their
inner joy through
my writing, paintings
and transformational
speaking. To find out
more about me
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Do you know a Goddess
of Transformation?

Each month we'll honor
a woman who has
changed her life or
someone else's. 

Contact me to
nominate yourself or
another goddess
(and tell me why).

What makes your heart dance?


It’s almost Valentines Day. My absolute favorite holiday.

I just love a day that’s all about Love.

But, this year, there’s a lot more than hearts and flowers on my mind.

I am totally moved by a movement called One Billion Rising.

This Thursday is V-day.

One billion people all over the world will be dancing to end violence against women.

I can’t think of anything more important. Or urgent. (Did you know that 1 in 3 women will be abused or raped in their lifetime?)

But  here’s the thing:

I am not in a dancing mood.

I’m kinda embarrassed to say that.

But the truth is, I just came back from seeing my mother in a very depressing nursing home.

And I’m also very shaken that my only son is away at a therapeutic boarding school.

There’s a voice inside my head (yep, Edna) who keeps ranting about  how selfish it is to be thinking about myself when women all over the world are suffering through much worse things than I am.

I’ve tried to talk myself into “rising” to the occasion and joining my goddess girlfriends in their divine flash mob.

But honestly, my heart and nerves just can’t handle any kind of a mob right now.

Then, I had a revelation.

We’re talking about ending violence against women.
And I keep beating myself up.

Instead of being kind and loving to the vulnerable mother and daughter who I am right now, I keep pushing and punishing myself.

But then I got it:

We each have our own dance to do.

Mine is with words and colors. Not hips and feet.

It takes practice to rise about the prison of self-criticism. And to follow the beat of our own hearts.

But it’s so liberating.

I felt such joy painting this painting and writing this post in the quiet of my little sanctuary.

When we give ourselves the freedom to fully be ourselves, I believe we are helping to free every other woman on the planet.

Whatever dance you choose to do, let’s end violence against women.

Starting with the woman right there in your mirror.

Happy V-Day. I’d love to hear what your heart has to say about this. (Just comment below.)

Much love,Wendi

The Year of the Dragonfly.

According to the Chinese, 2013 is The Year of The Snake,

But my dragonfly friends have a different point of view.

Yes, I said dragonfly friends.

I know it sounds strange, but over the last couple of years, I’ve gotten to know quite a few of them.

It all started one day, when swarms of red dragonflies suddenly showed up in my garden, whirling and swirling above my patio umbrella. (I’d never seen a red dragonfly in my life.)

Just to make sure they had my attention, the whole gang came back three days in a row. (For more on that, read this.)

Since then, I’ve spotted dragonflies in the craziest places.

On Hollywood Boulevard. Sunset Boulevard.  The streets of Beverly Hills. Even on the freeway.

As if that wasn’t bizarre enough, at my friend Moira’s house, an enormous blue dragonfly flew into her garage and did a circle dance around my head. (If Moira hadn’t seen it, we would have both questioned my sanity.)

But I must say, the ultimate dragonfly woo-woo experience took place a couple of months ago when my husband and I were walking under the mighty oak trees at the Ojai Valley Inn.

I was telling Will about the book I’d just been reading by the pool. And how it talked about ancient cultures that worshipped the Goddess and actually revered older women. (In fact, they were honored as High Priestesses and Medicine Women, valued for their wisdom, experience and leadership.)

Just as I was launching into how different things are in our current youth-obsessed culture, I stopped mid-sentence.

Suddenly, dozens and dozens of whirling, twirling, swirling red dragonflies appeared out of nowhere.

Again? Seriously? More dragonflies?  (In all my years in Ojai, I’d never seen a single one.)

Okay, that was it. There was no ignoring the fact that the dragonflies had a message for me.

But first, a little Dragonfly 101:

You see, a dragonfly spends most of its life as a “nymph” (an alien-looking larvae-like creature) crawling around the bottom of a pond. (This stage can last up to four years.)

Then, one seemingly random day, the nymph climbs out of water, onto a reed and out into the sunlight.

There, it sheds its skin and reveals its true dragonfly self.

Transparent wings unfurl. Magical colors emerge. And the dragonfly spends the rest of its life soaring.

And then it hit me. That’s what this was all about.

I’m a dragonfly. And maybe you are too.

-Have you found yourself  submerged in the dark waters of self-doubt?

-Is the Real You somewhere in hiding?

-Do you have gifts and passions that you long to express?

-Do you feel like there’s something you’re meant to do but you’re not sure what it is (or how to do it)?

-Do you worry you don’t have enough time to fulfill your dreams?

Yep, I had a feeling I wasn’t the only one. Which is what I believe the dragonflies have been trying to tell me.

Well, I’ve finally gotten the message:

It’s time to start a Dragonfly Movement.

I’m not sure exactly what that means or how to do it.

But I do know, deep down in my soul, that no matter what age or stage we’re at in our lives, we’re meant to crawl out from under our fears and give our hearts wings.

When one of us dares to shine our true colors, it lights the way for all of us.

Here’s a little poem that flew into my imagination (along with the painting above.)
Kind of a “Dragonfly Manifesto.”

Dragonflies
Take to the skies

Colors twirling
Passions swirling

Hide no more
Express, explore

Ageless, cageless
Soaring sages

Find out what you came here for

I’d love to know if the idea of a Dragonfly Movement moves you.
And, of course, feel free to share whatever’s on your mind. Or in your heart.

(Just leave a comment below.)

The Gift of Presence.

I used to hustle and bustle  to find just the perfect this or that for everyone on my list.

But after taking an inventory of my favorite gifts through the years, I’ve realized the things I treasured most weren’t things.

They were moments.

Like the moments I spent as a little girl with my one-of-a-kind grandmother, cutting pictures out of wrapping paper or picking threads up from her carpet. (Seriously.)

“Ma Lillie” had a knack for turning the mundane into magic. Just being in her presence was a gift in itself.

So were the moments I spent in the garden with my beloved Daddy, planting a tiny pink rosebush together. And checking on it each week to see how much it had grown.

Fast-forward several decades, to one of those seemingly small and insignificant moments that happened just last week.

Instead of rushing out the door the other morning, my husband Will stopped, looked me in the eyes and gave me a giant-sized, totally unexpected hug.

“You’re feeling off today, aren’t you?” he said softly.

You know, we’ve shared a lot of meaningful moments in our 26 years together.

But that simple instance of being seen and being heard (even without words) was truly one of the best.

Everyday, each of us is reminded of the fragility of life, the tick-tick-tick of the clock and how little control we have over what happens in the outside world.

So,instead of just wondering about the meaning of life, what if we created more meaning in our lives?

It doesn’t have to be anything big or dramatic.

Here are some small suggestions on how to give more presence this holiday season:

Unplug and connect.

Isn’t it wild these days how we share the details of our lives with “friends” we’ve never met.  But in person, we connect more with our smart phones than each other?

What if we declared our holidays a technology-free zone? And made sharing a good old-fashioned conversation a gift to be savored?

Enjoy the family drama.

Let’s face it, every family has its crazies. Before the next gathering, remind yourself that “all the world’s a stage.”

So when Aunt So-And-So does that that thing that makes your skin crawl, imagine you’re just watching a show at The Theater of the Absurd.

(It helps to have a “theater companion” so you can remind each other “it’s just a play.”)

The gift of listening.

In this bada-bing, bada-boom world we live in, most of us plan our comeback before the other person finishes their sentence.

Well, what if we all just took a long, deep breath and really felt what the other person was saying. And then took another breath, before sharing our perspective?

You want world peace? That’s a good place to start.

The gift of being.

We humans carry around a lot of judgment. Adding  in all the stress and expectations of the holidays, we become extra hard on ourselves. And each other.

So, try this:

Imagine a great big fire blazing in an imaginary fireplace.

Every time a thought comes up about something or someone being “right” or “wrong,” just toss it in the fireplace.

With each flame, you’re giving yourself and everyone else permission To Be.

Celebrate the present.

It’s easy to get caught up in how things used to be. Or how we wish they were.

But what if we just sipped in this moment, like it was the warmest, richest hot cocoa we’ve ever tasted?

As life changes, it’s hard to let go of the past. But what if we created new rituals for the present?

If money is tight, maybe we take the whole family on a timed shopping spree at the 99 Cent Store.

Or perhaps everyone sits in a circle, passes a candle and tells each loved one why they are a “gift” in their lives.

Really, who cares how our gifts are wrapped?

What matters is wrapping our arms around each other.

Happy Holidays from my heart to yours.

And as a gift to us all, what’s one of your favorite “presence?”

Take it one candle at a time.

You don’t have to be Jewish to love Hannukah.

It’s The Festival of Lights. And a celebration of miracles.

Here’s the story: Over 2,000 years ago, a small band of faithful Jews fought one of the mightiest armies on earth to take back their temple.

Everything had been destroyed except a small container with just enough oil to light the menorah for one night.

Miraculously, it kept burning for eight days and nights.

Well, speaking of miracles, yesterday morning, I woke up at 5 am yesterday, compelled to write about Hannukah.

Staring out at the big black sky, I thought about how dark the world can seem at times.

And how overwhelming it feels to be just one little person with a burning desire to make a difference

Then, it dawned on me.

We don’t have to light the whole menorah. Just one little candle at a time.

Here are a few of my bright ideas:
(But I ‘m sure  you’ll come up with plenty of your own.)

Turn your heart light on.

When you wake up in the morning, take a minutes to breathe right into the center of your heart.

Imagine there’s a light switch there. Simply “turn it on” before you go out into the world.

In any moment, ask yourself what kindness can you extend to  a friend, a colleague, a stranger, a relative or the world.

If your light feels like it’s starting to dim, just flick the switch.

Join a light brigade.

My brilliant, inspiring friend Debbie Tenzer started a kindness revolution at DoOneNiceThing.com.

Check it out and I guarantee you’ll  find at least one simple and pragmatic yet powerful  thing  you can do make a difference this holiday season.

But be careful. It can be habit-forming.

(For instance, “Nice-o-Holics” have sent 200,000 pounds (that’s 100 TONS) of school supplies to U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, who give them to local children so they can study.)

Find out what makes you glow.

Our lives are filled with so many should’s, have to’s and ought to’s that sometimes it feels selfish to do things for ourselves.

But here’s the thing.

When you take time to feed your soul, you have more nourishment to give away.

When you share your true gifts, you remind others of theirs.

And when you light the flame of joy within yourself, you help light up the world.

Celebrate each little candle.

Never underestimate the power of the smallest gesture.

Sometimes all it takes is one little smile or the words  ”I understand”  to shift someone’s day from hopeless to hopeful.

Imagine, if each of us shared our own little flicker of light, together we’d have the power to illuminate the darkest sky.

And shine with the possibility that we’re always  just one candle away from a miracle.

Wishing you magic, light and love—no matter what holiday you celebrate this season.

xoxoxoWendi

P.S. Feel free to shed some light on this subject. It’s always such a gift to hear from you.

Don’t worry. Be sad.

It’s not easy being blue. Especially not when the ho-ho-ho holiday season has officially begun.

I don’t know about you, but all those twinkling lights make me think I should be feeling a lot more twinkly than I do.

The truth is, I’m in the midst of a heart-wrenching family crisis. And while I’m hoping for brighter days, ‘tis not my season to be jolly. (At least, not yet.)

But in this quick-fix, smiley-faced, Hallmark world, it’s hard to allow ourselves the time and space to sit with our real feelings.

Especially if you received the same childhood message that I did: That it was my job to make others happy. (I call it the “Suzy Sunshine Syndrome.”)

Now, I’m not advocating raining on everyone else’s holiday parade.

And yes, there are countless problems worse than mine.

And yes, I have tons to be grateful for.

But let’s face it. Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to feel blue or blah.

Especially if  we’re letting go of a job, a home, a pet, a relationship, a life stage, a dream or a picture of “how we thought things were going to be.”

I’ve learned that the best way to get out of a blue period, is to first allow yourself to be in it.

Here are some things that have been making me feel better. See if they work for you:

1. Go to your womb.

Sometimes you just have to wrap yourself in a blankie, give yourself a hug and say “there, there.” (Quite the challenge when you’re used to taking care of everyone else.)

Hard times call for soft foods like tapioca pudding or Cherry Garcia Frozen Yogurt.

Or settling down with a yummy book and a cup of real mint tea. (Just toss a big handful of fresh mint into a small infuser, add boiling water and let steep for 5 minutes. )

In other words, be your own sweet mommy and baby yourself.

2. Just say no.

If you’re a recovering people-pleaser like me, this is a tough one.

But when that little voice inside you says “I’m not in a party mood,” listen to her.

Not the well-intentioned friends who say “Oh come on, you’ll feel better going out.”

Take the time to check in with You. (Don’t feel like making small talk? Permission granted.)

When you respect your feelings, others do, too.

3. Ask for what you want.

Very few of us are mind-readers.

So, when a friend asks “Can I do anything? ” don’t say “no,” secretly wishing they’d drop off some soup or stop by for a hug.

And if a loved thinks they’re helping by offering “solutions” to your feelings, it’s okay to say “Please, I just need you to listen.”

A little speaking up can make a big difference in how you feel.

4. Let it rain.

Of course, there’s nothing quite as cathartic as a good cry. Instead of feeling all grey and cloudy, you get that clean, fresh feeling, like after it rains.

Flowers bloom. Birds chirp. So what if mascara runs.

Besides, scientific research has shown that tears actually release stress, hormones and toxins accumulated in the brain. So, bring them on.

Ahhh, just allowing myself to talk about feeling sad here has made me feel better already.  (Thanks for listening.)

5. Don’t worry. Be grateful.

There’s a lot of pressure out there to have  “Happy Holidays.”

But this year,  I’m choosing to have “grateful” ones.

By consciously letting go of  “happy” for a while, it tends to show up unexpectedly.

Especially when I’m working on what I call a “Gift List.”

Instead of writing down all the gifts you need to buy, write down the ones you already have.

For instance, I just listed “the hummingbird outside my window.” “The laptop I’m typing on.” And “You.”

I’m so grateful that you’ve taken the time to read the musings and schmoozings of my heart.  (And might even be sharing some of your own.)

No matter what colors you’re feeling, I wish you a (happiness-optional) Holiday Season full of gratitude and love,

xoxoWendi