05/14/17

My Mother, My Friend Turns Sweet 16

My Mother, My Friend by Mary Marcdante - available on AmazonMy mother’s presence lingers in the 25 years after her passing, especially on Mother’s Day. Her legacy is filled with the births of five children, one who, sadly, died a week after birth, and four, fortunately, who still carry her story into their own lives — two with children of their own, two with contributions that include mothering in myriad other ways.

This Mother’s Day 2017 one of my mother’s greatest legacies to me turns Sweet 16. My book, written in her honor after she died, My Mother, My Friend: The 10 Most Important Things To Talk About With Your Mother, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2001 and remains in print and available on Amazon, having sold more than 30,000 copies, a feat I’m proud of and so grateful to so many for in a world according to Nielsen BookScan where the average book sells less than 250 copies and no more than 3,000 copies over its lifetime

I still receive letters and emails about how the book has changed a woman’s relationship with her mother, her daughter, her extended family of sisters, aunts, grandmothers, granddaughters, and what has really surprised and delighted me because of my own journey — her relationship with herself.

As a first time published author I was beyond thrilled to finally have that book out of my head and into print. After ten years of living with my mother’s spirit (or my imagination, take your pick), telling me in two dreams, “We have a book to write together; it’s a book for adult daughters and their mothers so they can know each other better and make healthier choices than I did,” I was ready to move forward with my life.

In those 16 years since publication my life has been filled with more choices, more challenges and lessons than I could imagine. Buoyed by the thousands of women I’ve met and talked with all around the world through my speaking engagements, coaching, blog, and social media, I continue to be inspired and humbled by their stories of strength, courage, forgiveness, heartbreak, loss, creativity, wisdom and deep love. Something else that I didn’t expect but kept showing up were opportunities to explore my own mothering and befriending — and lack thereof oftentimes — of myself.

The exploration and adventure of self-care, self-discovery and creative expression has continued after My Mother, My Friend as a new book waits in the wings to find its way from my heart to paper: My Self, My Friend. My resistance to finishing the manuscript is strong but I’m inspired to keep going based on a dream I had a few years ago where my mother appeared again, having an equally significant conversation with me, guiding me to choose a path to greater presence, connection and valuing of myself in my life and in the world.

If this is something that calls to you, I invite you to walk the path of My Self, My Friend along with me as we learn how to live, love, listen and laugh with ourselves through anything. I would love to hear from you with a comment below or click here to be notified of updates.

01/22/17

San Diego Women’s March Review

Keep democracy alive. Participate
Amazing. Brilliant. Courageous. Destiny. Extraordinary…I could run through the alphabet of superlatives to describe yesterday’s Women’s March in San Diego. So many of you posted about your experience on Facebook and I have loved reading every one. Thank you for inspiring me. This was one of those once in a lifetime moments for me.

I am still thinking about all the families who brought young children and the leaders these children will have the potential to become over the next several decades. They’re watching and participating and even if they’re not sure what it’s all about, they will remember it was important enough for their parents to participate and bring them along. They were making their history. And they could one day say, “I was there and now I am here and I am making a positive difference in the world for human rights. Look what we did. Look what we can do together!” #ittakesavillage


Another image that has stayed in my mind are the people in wheelchairs being pushed by their family and friends in an unending crowd of moving people while their frame of reference is eye level with most people’s waists and they are dependent on the kindness of others to make sure they are safe. People were kind and it was safe.

And I think of that story President Obama told about a town hall meeting he spoke at in South Carolina where very few people attended early in his first campaign. There was an uncomfortable silence when he finished speaking and then out of that silence a woman in the back yelled, “Fired up! Ready to go!” and slowly others start to follow. “One voice can change a room…it can change the world.”

In San Diego, 40,000 people got fired up and went. We marched, we sang, we carried signs about issues that matter and are at risk of being dismissed, denied, or repealed; we hugged, we spoke up, we cared, we participated (around the world!), we showed the world what loving each other, our country, freedom and our rights looks like and feels like — that is love in action — and we opened the door along with the rest of the marching world for everyone to join in.

And today, we begin again. Fired up. Ready to go. Again. Right? We hope and pray. But we need more than hope and prayers. We need action. Ongoing action.

I have not been as active a citizen as I could be. I’m still learning. I made a promise to myself that I would commit to minimum one action a day – email, letter, social media post or comment, photograph, phone call to my representatives (now in my contact list), a conversation with someone who may have a different perspective – to listen, to learn, to stay informed and to speak up on the key issues that matter to me. I may fail at times but I promise to keep getting back up. How about you?

What ideas and commitments will you follow to stay fired up and not just ready to go, but going, already there, and speaking up and sharing whatever is most important to you?

It’s a choice every day. And not always easy. In fact most of the time pretty challenging. Grateful to my circle of inspiration. Stay inspired. And invite others to join you. Our presence, your presence, does make a difference.

I appreciate you and look forward to walking with you on this journey and where it will lead over the next decade and lifetime.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead

See more photos on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marymarcdante. Let’s connect.

#whyimarch #sandiegowomensmarch #womensmarch

07/28/15
"Inspiration lives in the possible." Mary Marcdante

Inspiration Lives in the Possible. Gnarly Trees, Dr. Seuss and Chainsaws

Gnarly Old TreeThe light on this twisted tree limb called to me from a distance. My first thought was what happened to it to cause such a crookedness in its growth. When I got close enough to really look at it, I had the strangest sensation of awareness run through me. Suddenly, just for a few seconds, it was as if I was looking at an gnarly old man crossing his legs while enjoying the view of the sky. Then it morphed into frog legs. And then I saw Dr. Seuss characters starting to appear.

And then, back to reality by the sound of a chainsaw across the street being started by the landscape team in the neighborhood.

Tree, Mary. Old tree. Branches. Blue Sky. Walk. Get going. You have work to do.

Right. Work. And then Dream Time. Maybe. If there’s time. And now yesterday’s moment is a memory and this morning I’m thinking again about that tree.

When an image is that strong for me, I’m always curious to revisit it to see if there’s a deeper meaning, message or metaphor for me. It’s a way for me to access ideas and insights and problem-solve.

Scanning through my iPhone photos this morning, there was that gnarly old man tree again standing with crossed leg and now he was smiling and reminding me to let go of preconceived notions, to enjoy the freedom of the moment, to see beyond appearances and truly feel the beauty, inspiration and creativity of the natural life that always surrounds us and lives within us…if we will only pause long enough to drop the judgment, open our minds and hearts and then take the risk to create from this space and share our creative expression with others so we can all feel more alive in this wild adventure called Life.

I flashed again on Dr. Seuss. One of the most creative minds and greatest teachers in my book. He lived just a few miles from me. The trees in his neighborhood are similar. What if the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch got their legs from Dr. Seuss pausing long enough to look up at his trees and let them talk to him? Wild. I know. But possible. Inspiration lives in the possible.

What possibility is calling for your presence today? It’s out there waiting for you to feel it.

And I’m here waiting to hear about it. Have a creative and beautiful day and let me know what you experience.

07/22/15

2,920 Days: The Power of Your Presence, Words, and Kindness

TOPS International Recognition Days with Keynote Speaker Mary Marcdante

TOPS International Recognition Days with Keynote Speaker Mary Marcdante

2,920 days. This weekend I had the privilege of speaking to 2000 TOPS members at their International Recognition Days on “Finding Your Genie Within.” So much energy and emotion moved through me – I felt anxious, excited, humbled, grateful… At the end of my speech, two women – mom and daughter – came up and asked if they could have their picture taken with me and then surprised me with a photo of the three of us from eight years ago when I spoke at another event. Eight years! 2,920 days of our lives had passed and it was important enough to them to stand in line for over an hour to remember and connect with me. What a gift they gave me.

If I’m really honest with myself and you, I share this selfishly and humbly to celebrate a personal milestone with you, but equally important, to remind you in your weaker moments that your presence and words are ALWAYS an opportunity for impact. Even if it doesn’t look like it on the outside, we all need each other’s kindness — and maybe even more for some us — our own kindness to ourselves.

If you don’t know me well you may not know that I suffer self-doubt and worthiness issues in my quiet moments, which is one of the reasons I speak on the topics I do – I need the positive reinforcement as much if not more than the audience. In my strong moments, I sense that I am a channel, catalyst, example, role model, and human post-it-note for others to experience the power, value, and beauty of their presence within themselves and their relationships, but oh how those weak moments can rise up out of nowhere and try to dim my light. And then out of the blue, Grace flies in through two beautiful human beings and says, “Thank you,” just like you do with your presence right now.

Thank you.

04/5/11

Inspired Action: Life is Always Guiding You. Are You Listening?

I am always amazed – although I shouldn’t be because it happens often enough to know it exists – when Life intuitively provides for the continuation of our joy, well-being and safety if we take the time to listen. And actually, even when we don’t listen, given the number of accidents and unexpected deaths around the world on a daily basis that don’t happen to us.

Life’s guidance shows up in so many unique, wonderful and surprising ways as I discovered again in a news report from Good News Network that is so good it’s worth repeating.

Tami Akanuma, 83-years-old, who lives in Miyako, Japan, saved her own life by following her dog Babu’s insistence on going out for a walk and taking a different route minutes after the big earthquake in Japan struck. Instead of going toward the beach as they usually did, the dog pulled her in the opposite direction up a steep hill and wouldn’t stop pulling, as if to rush her along.

Tami was surprised because the dog never wanted to go that way in the past. But she relented, flashing in the moment on a memory of an earthquake and subsequent tsunami 78 years earlier (78 years!) that destroyed the town in which she lived. Imagine! She was only five years old back then! Her intuition – her inner GPS that tapped into her life experience, along with her dog’s natural instinct for survival – and possibly even love for Tami – offered her information and guidance. Fortunately for Tami and Babu, she listened, took inspired action and started walking up the hill.

As Tami got to the top of the hill just minutes later, where an evacuation center just happened to be located, the woman turned around and saw a tsunami roar through the neighborhood below and wash away her home. According to Wikipedia, 339 lives were lost in this small city and only 30 of the 1000 fishing boats that support the livelihood of 57,000 people remain.

Every time I read one of these stories that shows the powerful guidance system that Life provides us for free, I feel excited, relieved, more confident, and determined to pay closer attention to my own inner voice, now lovingly referred to as Life’s IV – the energetic intravenous therapy that keeps me alive and well – when I listen and take inspired action.

One technique to connect to my inner GPS that I’ve found really helpful when I’m reading information, especially news information, is to notice the thoughts, memories, or messages that my mind gives me about my own life while I’m reading. These insights often come quickly – in less than a second – and disappear as quickly, but their impact registers in my body, usually from the area around my heart and up to the top of my head (also believed by some to be energetic communication centers, also known as chakras). Occasionally, they’ll show up in other areas of my body – my gut, my feet, an old injury, triggering cellular or muscle memories.

Some people dismiss this information as frivolous. Others are afraid of it so push it away. Some are so outer focused, they miss their inner guidance altogether. I’ve done all, but when I listen and take inspired action, I am always amazed by the results. What about you?

Life is always talking to you. Are you listening?

Read the story about Tami and Babu on Good News Network.

Share your thoughts in the comment box below. Thanks for connecting.

07/13/10

How to Use Enthusiasm to Create Your Future Now

Expectations are powerful indicators of your future. Positive expectations strengthened with enthusiasm help you to access your deeper desires and create a path for more abundance to come your way.

Let me share a great example:

When I was writing Day 6 of The Smile Diet in my book, Living with Enthusiasm: How the 21 Day Smile Diet Can Change Your Life, I was looking for a way to explain how you can increase your enthusiasm for an activity you’ve scheduled in the future to help maximize and increase the enjoyment of the experience.

I created the example of anticipating a massage that you would schedule a week after doing your daily reading for Day 6. I suggested doing a conscious 16-second savoring smile every time you think about the upcoming activity to increase the pleasure of the experience, but then deleted the story because of space.

Because of the synchronicity that happened two days later, I added it to a later chapter and still marvel at how Life is always giving us clues and gifts to help us live richer (in all meanings of the word), healthier, and more inspiring lives. Continue reading