Perfect for Parent to Child
Partner to Partner
Friend to Friend


One of the best videos explaining what makes us tick and what guides our decision-making.


My 15 year old son and I are on day 7 of our New England visit. We have sailed through Kittery Maine, had the best lobster in New Hampshire, spent two full days in New York City, while using Boston, Massachusetts as our base camp - “Don’t be a Masshole.” :)

I am fascinated by the experience. For starters, my heart is cracked wide open at the kindness of people. We have been on planes, trains, automobiles, cabs, subways, shuttles and Ubers. The sameness...we all want the same thing. Yet, simultaneously, the differences.
The houses are vintage storybook pretty...usually 100 yrs old, small three bedrooms with one bathroom, and the light switch on the outside of the room. We attended a family friend's barbecue so we fully assimilated, playing corn hole with a cornhole champion, not kidding!
I eavesdropped on the dad sitting next to me on the train explaining freedom to his young daughter as we pulled into NYC. "Freedom means that you can choose your own friends. You can live the way you want, work  where you want." Wow.

In our hotel pool, the Dad from Pennsylvania, swimming with his toddler, giggling, splashing, and cooing. The Ethiopian cab driver, so proud of his recent IT degree. Grateful and hard-working.
We enjoyed our time and felt completely safe the entire visit, even in NYC, travelling alone. The Indian grandparents, telling their grandson tales of Grandad's time in the RAF; the Hindu mom who kept apologzing for having her son in the shower stall, because he was crying (I couldnt have cared less!). The generosity of spirit; when we were locked out of our hotel room but minutes from missing our train; the nice housekeeper that broke the rules by letting us in. The TSA agent that saw our lotion and cleanser was in a "too big" bottle but allowed it through and the bearded hipster that plugged my phone in from his set.
Most fellow travellers were exceptionally kind, the food was excellent everywhere. The diverse cultures were extraordinary.
The East Coast gals are no-nonsense! It is hard not to take it personally as a West Coaster, warm and fuzzy-craving. We gals greet each other with gushing “Oh my gosh, you look great! Where did you get that top? I’m so happy to see you. Thank you for coming, please sit down can I get you something?” We definitely are more sensitive and worry a lot about offending.

I think East Coast people are tougher and grittier, because of the weather? What say you? Something to be said for humble and grounded, salt of the earth, simple and solid.
Comparatively, I don’t consider myself a Californian, not having been born here and not especially a fan, the reality is that I have lived in California now for three and a half decades so whether I like it or not, it has rubbed off on me.
I wanted to share these thoughts while it was fresh in my mind and I’m in the experience. I really marvel at the similarities and differences. 
Upon landing back in San Diego, I immediately recognized effusive and super perky flight attendant's voice as a fellow West Coaster..."Thank you so o so so much for flying with us" in that whispery fracking Kardashian way...oooh, back in the motherland, soothing to my weary bones.
My hosts; Annette and Paul Doyle


Empty Cradle - An Evening For Life

Empty Cradle is a Southern California non-profit serving San Diego County and Riverside County area parents who have lost a baby to miscarriage, stillbirth, infant death, or . Empty Cradle offers support through monthly meetings and telephone support, just to name a few of the resources provided.

I was humbled and completely filled up emotionally to attend a beautiful fundraiser recently benefiting this wonderful group of parents and family members at the Horton Grand Theater.

The pictures below do not do the experience any justice whatsoever. To be honest, I did not know what to expect. The performers, dancers, singers, musicians, the silk aerialist, were all top-shelf. The sequence of sound and movement elevated us through LOVE, SHOCK/GRIEF, ANGER, DEPRESSION/ISOLATION, ACCEPTANCE, FRIENDSHIP, LIGHT, and finally, back to LOVE. How complete is that? 

This shared experience of a community in action reminded me again about the healing value of expression; whether it is grief, joy, celebration, loss, despair, happiness - I felt all of those.  And to know that one very small seed of an idea can actually be realized...whoa. 


Women Controlling Men - Abusive Women -

Christina Neumeyer, Duluth Certified in Domestic Violence. An under-represented group of folks exist; men being controlled by women. Men who fall into this category are often too embarrassed to share it with others, and they rarely seek outside counseling to emotionally navigate their predicament (as the nature of being controlled, and sometimes abused as well) prohibits autonomy and independent decision making.
Men that I have counseled in this type of extremely unhealthy relationship often have these factors in common:
Young children, and the fear that they will be removed from his life - Men with young children in an abusive relationship worry that the courts will discriminate against him, and that he will not be believed in a court procedure. Controlling and abusive women often threaten to "go underground" or make false accusations of sexual abuse. This is usually at the heart of why a man stays in this kind of relationship, hoping that the role he plays as father will benefit the children more than the suffering he is currently experiencing. Parental alienation is alive and well, a real concern that cannot be denied. 
Financial restrictions 
Geographical restrictions - being tracked and monitored by vehicle and mobile cell
Cutoffs from friends and family  - a controlling female partner will eliminate his friends and family when she perceives them as threatening to her dominant position. This is always a red flag.
Extreme jealousy and distrust - suspicious, insecure, falsely accusing the male partner of cheating
Physical aggression by the female - not the classic domestic violent beating that one sees on tv, but, equally harmful (slapping, scratching, hitting, pinching). Abused men may not physically fear the intimate partner, but he fears her emotionally.
Property destruction to their car, clothing, and personal belongings.

A counselor can provide a listening ear as an outlet and a form of stress management. However, these male clients are reluctant to seek counseling, fearing the discovery, and will usually make a one-time visit, only to retreat again. Leaving the relationship will be financially devastating, with the verbal threat and fear of extensive litigation and costly court proceedings. In some cases, the female partner is more financially secure and able to sustain a lengthy legal battle.
It is very hard to prove the facts of toxic behavior - while he may feel like a hostage, he cannot really prove that his partner is in charge of his life. And much of it is not illegal.
Men may ultimately try to make that phone call to a shelter, the police station or an attorney, only to have it backfire and find the tables turned on him.While California courts strive for gender-blindness and biological fairness, judges, mediators, and guardian ad litems can be unpredictable.
To be clear, these are not men in denial: They see quite clearly the unhealthy state of affairs.
Attempting to persuade him to leave is useless; instead, I recommend honoring the incredible warrior commitment he is making to his children, or whatever decision making that he has on board. 
Find areas that HE DOES have control (eg, walking outside on a work break, eating well, reading books that further education). Perhaps it is an exit plan further down the road; perhaps it is building a secret support group of trusted friends. 
It is equally useless to diagnose the female with a specific psychiatric disorder; that is rarely helpful.
Additionally, the stigma associated with shame and humiliation around this type of female-to-male emotional and psychological abuse is enormous, as we usually think of women "breaking free" from a violent man. How courageous to admit this to someone and seek support and assistance.

National Domestic Hotline
If anything you read here makes you want to talk to someone, call us at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), available 24/7.


A grief-struck friend of mine was looking for some beautiful thoughts or writings to share at the memorial of young man last week.
This was my best suggestion...


Great Listens/Audio - Esther Perel, John Arden

John Arden: SEEDSApplied Neuroscience 

Essential elements for a healthy life

Ester Perel on Tim Ferriss Podcast: Intimacy and baggage


Healthy Communication Skills & Tools

Communication Tools for the Whole Family 

(discuss in a family meeting then print and leave on the kitchen table!)

Communication Skills for Healthy Relationships

Great Listen on Practical Well-Being: SEEDS, by John Arden