With inspiration, strategies and support, your dreams come true!

I feel so lazy today and I’m all wrapped up in my favorite, super soft Alpaca blanket. Do you have a go-to wrap or blanket to snuggle in with on an autumn afternoon? 😉

My body is lounging around but my heart and mind are still vibrating with energy and excitement from our Women on Fire teas in New York City last week.

I started these teas nine years ago as a way for women to connect in a meaningful way, to be cheered on, and receive support to live their lives and dreams.  Today’s a good day to reflect on what has transpired for some of you!

Attendees at one of last week’s Women on Fire teas in New York City. Front row: Sai Jimenez Fogarty, Lara Licharowicz, Shannon McCaffery, Tammy Gonroff, Janina Sebesky. Second row: Susan Perry, Terri Cole, Holly Getty, Meredith Schoenberger, Nancy Telliho, me, Jodi Graber, Carole Murko and Barbara Hogan.

It never matters whether it’s your first or your 15th tea! Each time your dreams and desires are celebrated and cherished — and then magic happens.

I like to think of Women on Fire teas as incubators — free from negativity and “germs” — where our hopes and dreams can grow and flourish in the loving, supportive caress of women who care.

*This week’s Pinspiration*

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Where are your big dreams going to take you today? #womenonfire

Here’s a recent sampling of three Women on Fire tea attendees and the status of her dreams:

Nancy Kramer of Columbus, Ohio told her Women on Fire sisters at a tea in Columbus in 2006 that she wished feminine products were made available in public bathrooms in the same way that toilet paper and seat covers are. Last week she turned her dream into reality by launching a national movement — FreeTheTampons.org — with a TEDx talk and website. You can like her Facebook page and view a 15-minute video of her speech here.  Congratulations, Nancy!

Celebrating Sai Jimenez Fogarty at last Friday’s tea!

Sai Jimenez Fogarty of Bronx, New York often shared her dream at teas that,  as a single mother, she wished to be in a relationship with a man who would be good to her son and and with whom she could create a wonderful family life. Last year Sai married Tommy who loves her 16-year-old son and they are just about to become the proud parents of Patrick, arriving any day now!  She credits her Women on Fire sisters for supporting her dreams throughout.

With Lara Licharowicz and her lucky purple ribbon that symbolizes her work on her dreams!

Lara Licharowicz of New York City came to her first Women on Fire tea a few years ago and was looking for space to launch her business The Lara Touch. She also wanted to share her life with someone special. Today, Lara, attender of many teas and our annual retreat, has a thriving practice and is celebrated for the peace and beauty of the space where she does her energy treatments and classes.

Oh, and one more piece of joyous news: Lara will marry Joe on February 22, 2014!

And, what might be in store for women who’ve just attended her very first tea …

Abby West at her first tea pictured with me, Holly Getty and Sophfronia Scott.

Abby West of New Rochelle, New York, came to her first tea last Thursday.  She recently was promoted to Executive Editor of Essence Magazine’s www.essence.com.  Where will she be at her next tea? What dream will she have gone after and accomplished?

And Carole Murko of Stockbridge, Massachusetts who drove three hours each way and came with her friend Nancy Teliho to attend their first tea last Friday.

With Nancy Teliho and Carole Murko at their first tea!

Carole told us about her inspiring business that she’d wishes to expand into the world — Heirloom Meals. Her mission is to preserve treasured family recipes and our ancestors’ tried-and-true meals and dining traditions.

How fabulous is that? Now that she is safe inside our circle of members, what amazing things are about to happen for her?

With inspiring Feng Shui expert Tammy Gonroff!

And first-time tea attendee, Tammy Gonroff of Florida, New York.

She recently received Feng Shui training from international expert R.D. Chin and her certification. What new and wondrous adventures await her now that she is a part of Women on Fire teas?

One thing we know for sure. We can speak hopes and dreams into existence when we are surrounded with others who care and cheer us on.  Of course, just coming to a tea won’t transform your life on its own.  But why not stack the odds in your favor? 😉

No matter whether you are, as so many Women on Fire find themselves, caring simultaneously for children and for parents who’ve become ill or incapacitated, your sparks and dreams are still with you.

And so are we.  You can always come to this place — online at www.womenonfire.com or in person at a retreat or tea and receive the inspiration, strategies and support you need to make your heart’s desires come true!

We are with you every step of the way!!

Please let me know what dreams you are incubating.

Mustering the courage to grieve

“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore

My brother died last week.

On, of all days, September 11.

The picture above was our last photo together taken six months after he was diagnosed with lung cancer.  Inside, my heart was breaking and when I look at his face I know his was too.

After more than a two-year battle, his death wasn’t unexpected.  But when it happened last week, I couldn’t have been more stunned.

He vigorously texted family members on September 10.  How could he just vanish from the earth a day later?

Four days later, I’m still tangled in that part of grief that is shock, sadness and denial.

Reading obituary pages, I’ve always imagined that every person listed leaves behind at least a dozen bereaved people.  That would mean millions of grieving people every day trying to carry on with their lives. How do they do it?

Now I am one of them. Again.

I’ve been in this aching, haunting, surreal spot before.  I was 10 when my beloved grandmother died, 32 when my mother-in-law died, and 49 when my father left this world.

Each of these devastating losses profoundly reshaped me.  I tuned into the spirit world when my grandmother died; my faith deepened and I started to live life on my own terms after Libby died; and I sharpened my focus on love and my life’s work after my Dad died.

With Steve’s death, I feel too sad, too raw, too guilty, too distraught to know what will come from losing this loved one.

So for now I just need to be sad.  Sad that our precious original family of seven, reduced to six when my Dad died, is now pared to five.  Sad that my mother should lose her child. Sad that my brother leaves a gravely ill wife and two daughters in their 20s. Sad that he is gone.

Our last family portrait of the six of us. My sisters Susan and Lori and my brothers Steve and Scott with my mother at Christmas.

Intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and from my experience, I know if I have the courage to lean into the grief, I will move through it.  I do believe, as awful as it feels, the nature of suffering is to develop compassion. I believe, too, that great and unexpected things will happen because of this loss.

At the moment though, I can do nothing but let my tears flow, ruminate over what I said or didn’t say, wonder if I did enough to ease his suffering.  I grab onto every new detail of his final days imagining I could have intervened and changed the outcome.

This is all part of the “magical thinking” of grief that comes with the loss of someone you love so dearly.

“Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it.” ~ Joan Didion, Year of Magical Thinking

Rest in peace, my sweet brother. I love you forever.


Thank you so much for the tremendous outpouring of love and support I’ve received these past few days.  You are all so amazing and helps so much to move through this difficult time.

I know there are many of you grieving your own losses as well.  Let this powerfully loving and supportive community be there for you. I know I’m sure leaning into it.

Take good care and I’ll see you back here next week.