September’s Book To Live By

Is depression a medical issue? Or is it a crisis of the soul?

The Women on Fire Book To Live By selection for September takes a unique perspective on society’s epidemic of emotional suffering and the way it is treated.

It is my pleasure to announce our choice is the latest book from my friend and mentor Marianne Williamson:

Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment

Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment by Marianne Williamson.

This groundbreaking offering by one of our best-selling authors and most profound thinkers changes the conversation.

With the compassion and wisdom expected of one of our great spiritual teachers, Marianne challenges the way we understand depression.

Life comes with heartbreaking losses, difficult relationships, and crushing failures.

Rather than accepting grief as a natural part of the human experience, we often treat it like a disease. We numb it with medication.

Marianne shines a light on our spiritual ills, showing us how to embrace the pain and learn its lessons. In doing so, we can experience growth and find deeper inner peace.

Using insights from A Course in Miracles, Marianne helps us to see the miraculous universe around and within us. She offers hope and comfort, including prayers that are life-changing.

Tears to Triumph is available from Amazon and in bookstores everywhere. I highly recommend it – and all books by Marianne Williamson.

Lots of love,

Debbie Signature

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September 2016 Sneak Peek Interview with Marianne Williamson

During a troubled period in my life, a time when I was experiencing my own psychic trauma, I discovered the work of Marianne Williamson.

I must have listened to a cassette recording of her lecture” Emotional Healing” a thousand times.

Her brilliant insights gave me purpose and strength in those dark days. They continue to inspire and guide me to this day.

I was fortunate to meet Marianne in 1999 and she has been my friend and mentor ever since.

For the September interview, I am pleased to introduce you to this internationally acclaimed spiritual teacher and New York Times best-selling author.

Marianne shares her humanity and wisdom as we discuss her new book, Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment.

She believes we are seeing an epidemic of the overuse of antidepressants.

She describes how normal human pain — such as the grief that follows the death of a loved one — is being diagnosed as depression and treated with psycho-therapeutic medications.

This deadening of deep feelings robs people of life’s most profound lessons.

Listen in as Marianne outlines what she sees as a crisis in this country:

Click here to listen to the Sneak Peek!

In the full interview, you will learn:

• That emotional suffering is treated way too often as mental illness
• How numbing strong emotions stunts spiritual growth and hinders progress
• What your tears can tell you
• About the fallacy of a “normal” timetable for grieving
• How our own troubled times teach us compassion for others
• What is keeping you from experiencing miracles in your life
• The importance of finding a path to forgiveness
• Why you should have a daily spiritual practice
• What A Course in Miracles teaches about personal responsibility for our own experience

To hear the rest of this thought-provoking interview, join the Women on Fire Monthly Membership today.

You will become part of what Marianne Williamson herself calls Women on Fire — “the ultimate ‘you go, girl’ community for inspiration and support.”

You have only a few more days to receive the full interview with Marianne, your personalized coaching materials, live chat master classes, access to the Women on Fire private Facebook page and much, much more.

Join us today at!

We can’t wait to meet you!


P.S. When you join today, you will have access to this powerful interview, the September Women on Fire live video master class on September 13, and you’ll be invited into the private Women on Fire Facebook page. Plus, when you do you’ll become part of the safest, most connective and inspiring group of women you’ll ever meet.  Why not join now!?

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Top 10 Women Who Set 2013 On Fire

With so much in the news about what a tough year 2013 was for women and their rights, it got us thinking. What if, instead of focusing on the all the negatives around us, we repositioned ourselves to look only for the good?

What reverberations could that have? Could it be that we are unable to move forward into a new era of feminism because we let “setbacks” delay us from arriving at our desired destination?

That’s not to say that we forget our past, but rather we challenge ourselves to shift focus. To help us do that, we compiled a list of 10 women who totally rocked 2013. Let their stories of courage, vulnerability and fearlessness fuel your own story of hope and promise for 2014.

Top 10 Women Who Set 2013 On Fire from Women on Fire -

10) Marianne Williamson, the spiritual teacher, best-selling author and political activist, has recently placed her name in the running for the California District 33 congressional election in November 2014. Marianne is working to bring spiritual and political ideals into alignment with one another. On top of that, she’s just published a new book, A Year of Miracles: Daily Devotions and Reflections, to ring in the new year. #yougogirl

Marianne Williamson #10 on Women on Fire's list of the 10 Women who set 2013 On Fire

9) Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff of the PBS NewsHour became the first female co-anchor pairing last August. Although this isn’t the first time we’ve seen women take the lead on-air, this is the first time a network broadcast has had two female anchors. Television is the most powerful medium, and this duo of respected journalists provides the very best role modeling.

Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff #9 on Women on Fire's list of the 10 Women who set 2013 On Fire PBS

8) In September, Diana Nyad, an author, journalist, motivational speaker and world-record-holding long-distance swimmer, completed the more than 100-mile swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective cage. This was her fifth attempt, and it took her almost 53 hours to achieve her 35-year-old dream. “Find a way” is the motto she lived by, and find a way she did.

 Diana Nyad #8 on Women on Fire's list of the 10 Women who set 2013 On Fire

7) Thanks to her role on Orange Is The New Black, Laverne Cox has made television history as one of the most celebrated transgender individuals. She was also named by OUT Magazine as one of the 100 most influential gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people of 2013. It’s monumental to watch her opening the door for a more inclusive definition of what it means to be feminine.

Laverne Cox  #7 on Women on Fire's list of the 10 Women who set 2013 On Fire photo by Dan Hallman  Dan Hallman

6) Gloria Steinem has long been recognized as a leader of and spokeswoman for the Women’s Liberation Movement, and that recognition finally transcended through to the highest civilian honor when she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, along with Oprah Winfrey and Sally Ride, last November, with the acknowledgment, “This was a medal for the entire women’s movement.” Bravo, Gloria!

Gloria Steinem  #6 on Women on Fire's list of the 10 Women who set 2013 On Fire Getty Images Mandel Ngan Getty Images- Mandel Ngan

5) Angelina Jolie publicly announced that she was undergoing a double mastectomy in early 2013. Nothing says bravery like broadcasting such an extremely personal decision about a medical procedure with the hope of inspiring other women and starting a conversation on preventative medicine for breast cancer.

Angelina Jolie  #5 on Women on Fire's list of the 10 Women who set 2013 On Fire AP Joel RyanAP/Joel Ryan

4) Fawzia Koofi, Afghanistan’s first female Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, announced her bid for the country’s presidency. She is a force within the Middle East for women’s rights and is hoping to run despite the dangers of challenging a government under the oppressive influence of the Taliban. She is looking to propel her country “out of the days of darkness, and bring about change.”

Fawzia Koofi #4 on Women on Fire's list of the 10 Women who set 2013 On Fire NBC News Rasheed Turkmen NBC News/Rasheed Turkmen

3) Wendy Davis, a Democrat from Fort Worth representing District 10 in the Texas Senate, staged an 11-hour filibuster of a measure to limit abortion in Texas. She is now running for governor of Texas and is an inspiration in advocating for the protection of the rights women in America have worked hard to acquire.

 Bob Daemmrich/Corbis

2) Eva (6) and Jasmine (8) were recently adopted by a foster family after releasing a prayer balloon with their desire to be adopted attached. This is the story of two extraordinary little girls who were brave enough to ask the universe for exactly what they wanted and, in return, were rewarded with the greatest gift—love.

Eva and Jasmine #2 on Women on Fire's list of the 10 Women who set 2013 On Fire Photo by Inside Edition Inside Edition

1) Malala Yousafzai was an absolute beam of light in the world in 2013.  This Pakistani schoolgirl was shot and nearly killed by the Taliban for taking a stand on the importance of education. Months later, after her miraculous recovery, she graced us all with a powerful speech at the United Nations — on her 16th birthday.

Her book I am Malala, shot straight to the top of the lists of best-sellers. She continues to demonstrate unrelenting hope, unwavering courage and a fierce intellect that can come only from facing danger head-on. She’s absolutely a young Woman on Fire and an unstoppable force for the next generation of feminism.

Malala Yousafzai

with love,

The Women on Fire Team

January Book Of The Month

Welcome to a brand-new year of exciting, popular Books To Live By to inspire your amazing life!

Our selection this month highlights Women on Fire’s January membership program theme of “Stepping Powerfully into the New Year,” and I can’t think of a better person or guide to help us set our souls on fire in 2014.

My dear, long-time friend, Marianne Williamson, has released a daily devotional to inspire and ignite your whole heart for the next 365 days.

A Year of Miracles by Marianne Williamson- Women on Fire January Book To Live By

A Year of Miracles, Daily Devotions and Reflections (amazon link) is Marianne’s latest and greatest work.

Marianne is an author, speaker, spiritual teacher and now California congressional candidate, and she is also a powerful voice for women everywhere looking to reconnect with their hearts and higher selves.

I’ve mentioned her work many times here before. A Return to Love and Illuminata of two of my very favorites, and A Year of Miracles falls in line as another perfect companion to any of her books.

It’s a collection of Marianne’s teachings that remind you of your inner power as a miracle worker, change maker, and love generator.

Marianne says, “Anyone can be a miracle worker—anyone who chooses to be.” This book shows you how to do just that. It encourages you to embrace the momentous shift your life can take when you let love in and let go of fear.

Each day’s reading is packed with loving, down-to-earth insights. It’s my new favorite way to start the day—with a cup of coffee, as I sit down at my desk in the mornings, and sometimes even before I make it out of bed.

Here are a few gems from this latest book:

  • It’s not enough to wash yesterday’s dirt off your body. Wash yesterday’s stress off your mind.
  • Exercise your attitudinal muscles like you exercise your physical muscles, and you’ll have more than a new body — you’ll have a new life.
  • There’s enough love in the world to create peace on earth. What’s lacking is the collective conviction that we should.
  • There can be no darkness where I provide the light.

I started my copy on the first day of the new year, and the beauty of this devotional, unlike many others, is that it isn’t organized around actual dates, so you can start Day 1 whenever you are ready. Or better yet, just open it to a new page everyday.

A Year of Miracles truly is one of those books that every woman should own—every man, too :)—and I hope you treat yourself in this new year, to kindle your goals and discover the miracles, by purchasing your copy today!

And as always, let me know as the love and insights unfold.

‘You go, girl’ strategies

Hello to you from Martha’s Vineyard, where it is blissfully quiet and peaceful this time of year.

Quite a contrast coming from bustling New York City where this past week I got to see many of you, and it made me oh-so-happy!

A group of us attended the Women on Fire-sponsored “Our Inner Lives” event featuring Marianne Williamson, singer India.Arie and other spiritual leaders, organized by

Some of the Women on Fire who spent time with Marianne Williamson: Jessica Robinson, me, Jenifer Madson, Marianne Williamson, Jan Nolte, Shannon McCaffery, Robyn Silverman, Holly Getty, Janina Sebesky and Michelle Whittaker.

Women on Fire from as far away as Ohio and California joined us in New York to be motivated and inspired by Marianne’s wisdom.

Becky Counts Freese, owner of Cookies on Demand in Montpelier, Ohio, traveled to New York to meet Marianne!

As many of you know, Marianne came into my life (thanks to Woman on Fire member Kelly Boggs who introduced me) nearly two decades ago when I was picking up the pieces of loss, despair and uncertainty in my life.

Her wisdom guided me to the very happy life I now live!

In fact, Marianne’s spiritual teachings and  ‘you go, girl’ encouragement saved my life.

She helped to bring me back from the brink after losing to death my beloved mother-in-law, then getting divorced, coming to a fork in the road with my career, moving to a new city, and eventually finding love again.

A teacher, author and lecturer for more than 30 years, Marianne has published ten books, including four New York Times #1 bestsellers.

I know many of you know and love her work with The Course In Miracles.  If you don’t know about Marianne, I encourage you to check her out.

My favorite is her prayer book Illuminata.  But if you are reading her for the first time, you might start with her classic A Return To Love.

Celebrating at lunch with my wonderful friends — Marianne, Edward Beck and Kathy O’Hearn

Today I want to share with you five powerful, ‘you go, girl’ strategies I learned from Marianne – and continue to follow — to create inner peace so necessary in this crazy world.

1) When I have conflict with another person, I take this action:

“Who is more sane in this moment?” It is the job of the person who feels the most sanity to listen and attempt to understand the other party in a conflict.

2) When I feel scared or that I am not good enough, I read this:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

“We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

“There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”

3) When I can’t forgive, I remember:

“The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.”

4) When I feel depressed or lost, I consider:

“We are not held back by the love we didn’t receive in the past, but by the love we’re not extending in the present.”

5) When I feel overwhelmed by negative emotion, I go here:

“Always seek less turbulent skies.
Hurt. Fly above it.
Betrayal. Fly above it.
Anger. Fly above it.
You are the one who is flying the plane.”

Even though these strategies of Marianne’s wisdom may seem simple, if you practice them, you will find your burdens lifted in ways you can’t imagine.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

The other night in New York Marianne reminded us of the power of the ‘you go, girl’ attitude and the absolute necessity to have each other’s back, if we are to change the world and our lives.

“It’s time to encourage each other. It’s time to say to each other, ‘You go fly. You can do it. You’re brilliant.’ The only way we can believe that about ourselves is if we help other people feel it about themselves.”

Cheering each other on is what we have been doing at Women on Fire for 10 years.  And encouraging each other to fly is what we will continue to do.   From Marianne and me to you — you go, girl!

*This week’s Spark PINspiration*  

Pin to Pass on the Love!

We are bringing "You Go Girl" back one Woman On Fire at a time.


Here we go!

Did you have a good holiday?  Are you wishing for another few days off?  Me, too. Yet, I’m very excited to dive into this year!

My husband Rob and I “worked” — as we always do over the holiday break — to create a plan for a great year ahead.  And, if you don’t have a plan yet for your amazing year, it’s not too late.

I put “work” in quotes, because it isn’t really work when you transform your dreams into reality.  It just takes time and patience and some guidance.

My theme for 2013. (Ooops, no spell-check with that orange Magic Marker!)

We invented Vision Day, a strategic planning day for your work and life, 15 years ago, and it has been the foundation of our success year-after-year no matter what bumps in the road we hit along the way.

I hope you won’t get tired of me telling you how essential it is for you to have a plan! If you don’t, life just takes it course and you end up feeling one year melts into another and you’re not sure what you’ve accomplished.

Each year, Rob conducts my Vision Day; I conduct his; and then together we create a plan and theme for us as a couple.  (You can imagine it’s a little more lively when we’re both in charge during the couple’s Vision Day;-)

Because you mean the world to me and my work is to help you put your gifts and talents into the world, I’d love to bring you inside for a peek at my Vision Day.  And outline some easy, simple steps so you can set up your own terrific year.

(Women on Fire monthly members, you have detailed instructions for your Great Start 2013 in your January CD package.)

First, it’s important to take stock and celebrate what you accomplished — or even lived through and survived — last year.

Next, it’s time to think about what you really want in this year ahead and write it down as goals.  Even if it seems out-of-reach now.  You have 365 days to move toward it!  Be sure to write down a list of people you can call on to support you in your efforts.

Finally, create an overall theme to inspire and guide you with your biggest dreams.

So, this year, my Vision Day results were a bit of a surprise to me.  When I allowed myself the luxury to really dream and think about things I deeply want in my life, I discovered some BIG goals.

A few of them raised fear.  And then I asked myself: if not now, when?

I was even afraid that my theme, which came to me out of the blue and felt so perfect — “The Year of Magnificent Accomplishments” — would seem too grandiose.

And then I remembered Marianne Williamson’s letter from many years ago to a struggling Oprah:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

Marianne to the rescue at the perfect moment!

Rob and I then made a step-by-step plan for me to get where I want to go … and you can do that, too.  Here is where you can return each week for support and encouragement!

One of my gigantic goals is launching Women on Fire Media and publish at least one and maybe two books this year!

I have been wanting to do this for years — and after our last successful book — as a way for women to share their voices, inspiration and strategies with the world and in service of all women who need them.

Another big goal is to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Women on Fire with style and fun next October.  It’s unbelievable to me that our very first Women on Fire gathering at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York City was 10 years ago already!

Were you there? 🙂 I remember how excited I was as the room filled with 77 attendees and I watched how people shared what they were “on fire” about with such joy and enthusiasm. And 10 years later, we are thousands of women strong!

I was afraid then, too.  And I received so much support that my dream was serving a valuable need that I just kept going. And planned each new year. And here we are together!

There are more big goals to share with you as the year unfolds and I look forward to hearing all about yours.

I’d love you to know that Rob (with help from Wilber!) came up with a great theme to guide his year too.

When you have a moment, please let me know your progress in the comments section below.


Pick yourself!

I’m writing to you from my coziest chair on Martha’s Vineyard!

We just arrived here after my husband Rob and I, along with Wilber, our 17-pound cat, spent the winter in Florida.

Wilber has made the Great Migration South and then back North so often that he receives JetPaws frequent flyer points.  And, he is apparently so excited to be home that he is on my lap right now trying to take over the keyboard!

It feels great to be home and to now get ready for a number of you coming to the Vineyard in the next few months for vacation and your Vision Days!

Before I share highlights from my inspiring time with best-selling author, marketing guru and business/life strategist Seth Godin last week, I want mention a sadness within our Women on Fire community.

And, to express my deepest sorrow to at least two Women on Fire who were close friends with Mary Richardson Kennedy.

Mary was the wife of Robert Kennedy Jr. and the mom of four children, ages 11-17, who died tragically last week.  It is a horrible to hear about … let alone experience when you are friends or family of someone who takes his or her own life.

Friends and family survivors of suicide are often plagued with unrelenting  thoughts of  “Why?” and feelings of anger and guilt.

For any of you who are survivors of a loved one’s suicide and struggling, I highly recommend Alan Wolfelt’s Understanding Your Suicide Grief: 10 Essential Touchstones for Finding Hope and Healing Your Heart.

For you who were directly affected by Mary’s terrible death, on behalf of all of us, may you be surrounded with love and understanding and comfort in grieving this loss.  We are with you.

So now I have a question…

Who or what do you turn to when you need a jolt of inspiration for new ideas and learning?

I have a number of go-to people, as you know.  They range from spiritual leaders — Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, Thich Nhat Hahn and Edward Beck — to thought leaders — Gloria Steinem, Warren Bennis, Barbara Sher and Seth Godin.

Some of you may know of Seth, famous for his Purple Cow theory.  To be successful, he urges us all to find ways to be REMARKABLE … like a purple cow would be!

Last week Rob and I spent the day with Seth in New York at his conference creatively titled “Pick Yourself.”

Rob has worked with Seth in the past.  And, the night before the conference we attended a very fun, private dinner with him.

Seth is such a good sport. I’ve been told by my friend Mark Henson that stroking Seth’s head is worth seven years of good luck!

Here are seven gems of wisdom I learned or heard in a fresh way by being with Seth:

1) Technology is evolving and it is destroying the Industrial Age. The new economy is about CONNECTION. What do you have to offer that a certain group of people (your tribe) will absolutely love?  Keep in mind most people won’t care what you have to offer; some will even hate it; but your tribe will not be able to get enough of it!

2) Three skills necessary to possess in the Connection Economy:  fundamental skills; understanding strategy and the big picture; being willing to get knocked down and get back up again.

3) Are you doing work you are so passionate about that you are willing to fail at it … or be arrested for it?

4) To succeed, you must dance on the edge. Ask yourself what scares you? What are you afraid of?  And, go dance on the edge of that. Because once you do, then you put your fear behind you and you make leaps forward.  Know what it is that holds you back, because it is your growth opportunity.

5) Be extreme in your dedication to yourself and your work and your organization. Travel lightly.  Carry little in your backpack in order to run faster.

6) Forget mentors. Instead find heroes and emulate them. If you need support or to learn particular skills and strategies, hire a coach.

7) Do not wait for someone to select you to do the thing you want to do. You must pick yourself!

I’d love to hear how you stay current with your own learning and inspiration!

Video Book Review: Lose Weight Without Dieting?

I know at the beginning of each New Year I — and many of you — redouble our efforts to lose weight and get into better shape.

This week I am eager to share a new book I am finding extremely helpful in my quest to totally love my body and to get in touch with my slimmer side. And, it is written by Marianne Williamson, a friend and a wonderful spiritual teacher whose work has guided me for years.


>>>>>If you do not see the video above, click this link to play it

If you have anything you’d like to say, please comment below!

Also ~
Is your year off to the best start possible?  Are you all set to live the life you really want?

If not, please know Women on Fire has a coaching group led by Andrea Dowding and Jerry Browning in Columbus, Ohio starting next month for those of you living there.  Contact: or

And, I’m busy working on plans for the first-ever, exclusively for Women on Fire, group Vision Day®.  Details available this week for our gathering in Naples, Florida February 3-5, 2011.  You will join a small group of other fabulous women and craft a vision and a plan to help you take the next leaps forward in your life.  In Naples.  In the warm. With sunshine. Very exciting!

With love and all good wishes for you to feel great about your life ~


You go, girl!

Not sure who said it, but I love this quote:

“If you don’t travel, it’s like reading one page of a book.”

I am back home on Martha’s Vineyard after nearly two weeks on the road  (and two inspiring Women on Fire Tea Parties!) in New York City and Columbus, Ohio.  After being on the go, I feel so enriched from the Women on Fire I met and talked with.

Here are the phenomenal women who shared their aspirations at the tea party in Columbus hosted by Andrea Dowding and Jerry Browning:

Receiving support from fabulous women can move you forward!

I love to travel and I know many of you do, too.

These are five of my favorite strategies I use to get the most out of my business trips:

  • When I can, I stay with friends in the cities where I’m working because it gives me a sense of family and allows me to catch up with people I love. (Thank you for hosting me Holly Getty in NYC and Nancy Kramer in Columbus!)
  • I seek out what I can’t find anywhere else (on this trip Jeni’s for ice cream and the Polarity Center for bodywork in Columbus and the YELO napping/reflexology station for relaxation and Lee’s Art Shop for unique cards and gifts in NYC.)
  • I double my self-care and schedule manicures, pedicures, haircuts, massages and other treatments in between my meetings and events to bolster my energy and ease any weariness.
  • I pack a travel candle (I like The Naked Bee® beeswax brand because it’s small and burns so nicely) and bring along an inspirational book such as Marianne Williamson’s prayer book Illuminata.
  • And, my favorite strategy of all is that I meet as many Women on Fire as I can.  It energizes me to meet you in person and to hear what you are “on fire” about! It also gives me ideas about who I might connect with whom.

In New York, for instance, I met chef and entrepreneur Elizabeth Ann Foster who is launching MacHealthy’s, a soon-to-be franchise with a twist — healthy fast food!  I can’t wait to introduce her especially to the many Women on Fire moms who are frustrated to find quick and healthy eating options.

In Columbus, I met up with Kacy Cook, who has published three books in the past year, including an acclaimed children’s novel Nuts.  A brilliant writer and editor, Kacy is in her mid-50s as she experiences this astounding and exciting success.  (It is never too late to turn your long-held dreams into reality!)

There were many more Women on Fire I loved meeting these past two weeks, and I returned home energized, inspired and with many new ideas.

For those of you who travel:

  • What do you do to get the most out of your travel?
  • How do you take care of yourself when you are on the road?
  • What activities leave you feeling the most energized and inspired?

Please share on the blog with the hundreds of women who read The Spark! each week and would love to hear from you.

I wish you an absolutely terrific week ~



PS  More snapshots from the Women on Fire Tea Party in Columbus!

Bobbie Celeste and Jerry Browning

Jenn Bajec, Susan Rosenberg and Connie Hieatt