Mindful Self-Compassion for Women Free Introductory Zoom Class

Join us for a free introductory hour exploring our upcoming 8-week Mindful Self-Compassion for Women Online Course. Learn how you can integrate self-compassion into your daily life.

Self-compassion is an inner adventure guiding you to becoming your own best teacher and friend while learning to respond with wisdom and kindness to yourself in the midst of big life challenges and daily irritations.

In addition to sharing the 8-week course overview, my co-teacher Cheryl Shah and I will be guiding two of the many self-compassion practices in the Mindful Self-Compassion for Women Online Course to help you respond to whatever is challenging you in the moment. It could be Pandemic Fatigue or Election Burnout, a relationship issue, your own self-image, or motivating yourself to do something hard.  

If you’re on the fence about joining us, here are some other reasons you might want to join us:

>> You’ve had more family connection (homeschooling kids, working from home with a spouse, maybe some tension or overwhelm) than you’re accustomed to and are looking for better work-life balance

>>If you’re single, working from home, and would like an hour of social interaction and support to learn more about how to be more compassionate with yourself

>> If you have a strong inner critic and want to give yourself and hour to experience a more encouraging inner coach in a supportive community of women who share the same interest.

>>If you’re curious if self-compassion really can make a positive difference in your life. We’ll explore three of the myths of self-compassion — that it’s selfish, self-indulgent, and undermines motivation — and the truth, validated by research: self-compassion is generous action, encourages healthier behavior, and strengthens persistence in the face of failure.

Open Sessions

Tuesday, February 12 from 6:30-7:30 pm

Saturday, February 16, 11:00 am – 12 noon

Tuesday, February 19th, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Email us your preferred session date and we will send you a confirmation email with a zoom link.

Our first cohort of 2021 starts February 2. For more specific details or to register for the 8-week course, go to http://marymarcdante.com/self-compassion.


How the Covid Grinch Saved Christmas

“Maybe Christmas isn’t in a store, maybe it is much, much more.” The Grinch

It’s St Nick’s Eve. On my evening walk, the neighborhood is starting to show signs of the holidays with lights and blow-up Santas and snowmen. I’m in the middle of watching for the first time “How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” by Dr. Seuss while decorating my tree pandemic-style—by myself.

In the movie, after much terror and disaster that the Grinch inflicts on the citizens of Whoville, Little Cindy Lou continues to be kind to him and he realizes that, “Maybe Christmas isn’t in a store, maybe it is much, much more.”

One of my favorite holidays as a young girl was St. Nicholas Eve and Day. As children, before bedtime we’d hang our stockings, the cuffs tucked under books on the bookshelf in the living room. Mom would send us off to bed, say our prayers with us, and then spend the evening stuffing our stockings with trinkets, chocolate kisses, nuts we had to crack open with a nutcracker and a tangerine.

It wasn’t much, but looking back on that tradition what I remember is watching her delight in our excitement in the evening and our joy in the morning and remind us that someone we didn’t even know thought we mattered and were deserving of treats and to remember to be kind and generous with each other and others less fortunate.

Did you have any Holiday traditions as a child that you have continued? Is there one that really matters this year during Covid restrictions. Please share in the comments below. I know it will brighten my day and anyone reading this.

With so many suffering incredible hardship this year, I feel incredibly grateful to have my health, a comfortable home, work I value, and family, friends, clients and colleagues I love. Wishing that for you and the rest of the world.

If you can, donate to your local foodbank. In #sandiego, even $1 will provide 5 meals through the #sandiegofoodbank.



Forever Friends: Leaving a Legacy of Learning and Love

Friends Sylvia Patzlaff (left), Chris Clarke Epstein (middle) and me bed-dancing (instigated by Chris) at my first NSA Convention, 1987

One of my forever friends, mentor, colleague, instigator of all things creative and empowering, Chris Clarke-Epstein passed away on Friday from metastatic breast cancer. Whew. You think you can handle it and you should hold it together because that’s what she would do and want for you, and yet my walks are plodding and my heart hurts—for her, her family, for all of us who knew her and those who never will.

I know I’m writing a memoir here in this post and Chris would edit me for brevity but some moments, some lives, give and teach you so much, you ask for a one-time papal dispensation on word count.

Last Wish

I also know so many, many people are feeling as deeply as I am. Her leadership, reach, and impact on members of the National Speakers Association (NSA) and her local Wausau community are legendary. Our shared friends on Facebook number 319 and many have written such beautiful tributes and memories to Chris and I have loved reading all of them. If you didn’t know her, I hope you have a Chris in your life, and if you don’t, make it a priority to find one. And vote. Early if you can. One of Chris’s last wishes.

Along with the feelings of sadness, I’m equally grateful for all the life I was lucky to share with her and her family over the years, especially during the early growth of my speaking career and our leadership in NSA that gave me a life I never could have dreamed up on my own.

Big Sisters, Best Advice, Hardest Truths

Chris and I met at our local Wisconsin chapter back in the 1980’s. Wow, we were young and so excited to share our motivational messages and learn the speaking business. Similar to many of you, along the way Chris and I became close friends. She was the big sister I had always hoped for. She always had the best advice and sometimes the hardest truths, spoken with care and always with the intent to help me be a better me.

Chris celebrated me, encouraged me, made me laugh (including dancing on hotel room beds when we were conference roommates), lighten up, and step up, and cheered me on as we moved through NSA Chapter Leadership and into National leadership. She’s the one who whispered in my ear at a Wisconsin chapter meeting for board nominations, “Put your hand up. You’re ready. You can do this.” Two chapter presidencies followed.

“Yes, your decision is difficult for many reasons. So try this on: What is it that you most want and need? Decide for that and decide on a reasonable time to re-evaluate, let’s say, six months. And in between then, live that decision with your whole heart, no wavering or looking back, only forward until that future day arrives. Only then, evaluate and ask yourself, “Am I better off now than I was back then?” Likely you’ll be better off, but if not, you go back to the other choice or make a new one.”

Chris’s values, her belief in herself, and in me gave me the confidence to follow my heart and move to San Diego. Twenty-eight years later, it’s turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.

A few months after moving to San Diego, 1992.
There is nothing like Big Talk on the beach with a best friend!

“Of course we’re here. Where else would we want to be but here!”
-Chris Clarke Epstein

My Mother, My Friend

After my mom died and while I was writing my book, “My Mother, My Friend,” Chris shared her stories and her mom JunieB with me. When the book came out, my first stop on the book tour was hometown Milwaukee at a Barnes & Noble where the most intimidating audience of family, high school and college teachers, and friends who had never seen me speak were coming. Chris and June drove four hours from Wausau and surprised me just before I was ready to go on with the biggest hugs and “You can do this.”

Chris, her mom JunieB, and me at my book signing, 2001

Happy Moments, Memories and Photos

As the years went on and our paths went in different directions, we didn’t connect as often but every phone call was as if no time had passed. Two summers ago I took her writing class and as always, her insights and edits made everything better. When her mom passed last January, Chris wrote on Facebook that she went through photos to remember her mom from her favorite memories and suggested that we not only do the same but that we remember to take the photos in those happy moments. I’m so glad I did. Over the past few days as I’ve been going through my photos, thinking about Chris, her fierce love, messages of lifelong learning, showing up, and embracing change, the words from an old Flavia card kept wandering into my mind. I finally looked it up. For those of you who knew Chris, I think you’ll agree that she was all of this and more…

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to a new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.”

– Flavia
Mentors matter. These three women leaders (top/Leslie Charles, center/Chris Clarke-Epstein, right/Marilynn Semonick) mentored me through my speaking career.

Who is a Chris in your life? Do they know? I encourage you to write them an email or handwrite and send a letter, or better if you can, go visit them. Tell them what you’ve learned from them while you still have time. Chris would love that.

PS. And remember to vote. And vote early.