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 We marched, we sang, we carried signs about issues that matter and are at risk of being dismissed, denied, or repealed; we hugged, we spoke up, we cared, we participated (around the world!), we showed the world what loving each other, our country, freedom and our rights looks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

11/20/16
Torrey Pines Razor Point Lookout Stars of Torrey Pines by Mary Marcdante

Mindfulness: Smile. Click. Laugh. Connect.

Torrey Pines Razor Point Lookout Stars of Torrey Pines by Mary Marcdante

No matter how much mindfulness training I do, my mind still notices what is different about other people I meet for the first time, most often their physical characteristics and then their language. But what’s equally true, is that when I’m at Torrey Pines, a smile and a conversation about the beauty of nature and what we’re privileged to be in the midst of transforms those differences into unique opportunities for connection and understanding. It turns strangers into stars for me. Stars of Torrey Pines.

Yesterday afternoon, there were three groups of people standing against the wooden fence at Razor Point Lookout gazing out at the ocean. On the right was a group of two young men and a woman, dark haired, sturdy looking, taking photos of each other. I asked if they had taken one of all three of them together so they could return in 10 years and celebrate their friendship. They nodded no, so I offered to take that photo. The man in the red hoodie handed me his phone. They posed, I clicked, and it turned into a fun photo session. Smile. Click. Laugh. Connect.

As I walked away, a couple standing to this group’s left – he a tall, thin yogi-type and she, a lithe brunette, said, “Would you mind taking a photo of us.” “I’d love to!,” I said, “Especially with that t-shirt.” (It said, “Heavily Meditated.”) We laughed and the man, who had a German accent said, “If you think that t-shirt saying is creative, you should go to Japan and see what they do. Sayings you wouldn’t believe.” Smile. Click. Laugh. Connect.

To move along the trail, I had to backtrack past a third group of four people. Wow, did they look alike. And like the others, they were posing for each other. I asked if they were family. Four heads nodded yes while one pair of eyes rolled noticeably. I asked if they’d taken their holiday photo yet and if not, this would be a perfect place to do it. They all looked at each other, the eye roller laughed and nodded no, and the mom handed her phone to me. They were full of expression and clearly enjoyed one another’s company.

Three groups, a total of nine people, from all over the world, and for a few minutes, we were all in the same community enjoying the park and each other’s presence.

I felt this warmth of connection and gratitude wash through me as I walked away. When I was about 30 feet back into the foot trail, I turned around and yelled, “Thank you so much! You’re my Stars of Torrey Pines! How about a group photo?!” Not knowing what to expect, I held up my fingers, 1, 2, 3, and yelled, “Go!”

Much to my surprise and delight, they rallied and gave me another first at the park – a spontaneous group photo of people unknown to each other, people willing to let down their guard with each other for a few moments, mug for the camera (instead of mugging each other) and welcome me as if I were a family friend posing them for the Holiday photo. Wishing that for you and your family and the world.

Smile. Click. Laugh. Connect.

04/10/15
Happy Siblings Day. Love my sisters and brothers!

Happy Siblings Day


Happy Siblings Day. When I first heard the words today, I thought it was just another marketing effort and wished my three siblings well in my mind. Then I started to see all these photos and amazing and funny tributes on Facebook by friends about their siblings. It made me wonder who started this celebration and what their story might be.

Turns out there is a for-real National Sibling’s Day and Siblings Day Foundation started by Claudia Evart on her sister Lisette’s birthday April 10, 2012. Nice touch, I thought. And then I read their back story, the one the headlines leave out, which causes a lot of people to smirk, make smart-ass cracks about their less-than-perfect relationships with their brothers and sisters and move on to their next relationship-lite conversation to avoid “the feels” (um, guilty).

But wait, wait, I do need to tell you: National Siblings Day was started to honor Claudia’s siblings 40 years after Claudia’s older sister, 19 at the time, and their father, died in a horrific car crash and 26 years after her brother, a Vietnam Vet, died after falling in a freak accident at home.

I know. Take a breath. Horrible tragedies no one should have to experience. But some do. And turn those memories into something beautiful we can all celebrate with our less-than-perfect-but-still-here-so-try-to-make-the-most-of-it families. Thank you Claudia.

Nothing like perspective to remember what matters.

Whew. I think about losing my own siblings and feel this tender, teary wave of love go through me. God, I’d be lost without my sibs Eileen, Paul, and Jeanne. I don’t say that often enough. Have I ever said it — I mean really said it straight out — to myself or to them? I could write a book about all the ways they’ve inspired my life — but won’t, haha, because I’m blessed to have all of them still talking to me after my first book My Mother, My Friend was published.

However the short story must be told: Eileen, Paul, and Jeanne, thank you for keeping me real, staying connected even when it’s hard, and becoming adults who make me look better by association and make the world a more inspiring place to live. I love you. Happy Siblings Day.

What do you love about your sibling(s)? Please share your comments below.