Top Five Divorce Songs: Music That Saves Your Soul

I was frozen, the proverbial deer in the headlights, when I watched my attorney trot away from the courtroom tossing a casual, “Good luck! You’ll be fine!” over her shoulder.

The gavel had come down, and presto! I was single again after…

Read more on Huffington Post

Divorce Blues? The 6-Stop Gratitude Positioning System

After my divorce, it seemed like every one of my loyal supporters told me to adopt an “attitude of gratitude.”

I understood the concept and appreciated their help, but I just wasn’t feelin’ it.
Nonetheless, in spite of big doubts, I wrote my “gratitude list” every morning.

For a while, it worked. I got out of bed when a dive under my pillow was really what I wanted.

Then boredom hit. The usual five suspects were appearing every day on my list: my daughters, good health, a trusted therapist, supportive friends, and a roof over my head. I was thankful for all of them, but it appreciating them over and over was getting old.

Read more on Huffington Post

As Seen On Huffington Post: Re-invention Ain’t Easy: Top 10 Actions To Take When Anxiety Nightmares Strike

Last night, I dreamt I was alone with a scary, grubby man. He handed me a knife and said I had to kill his dog before I could go home.

In horror, I scrambled to leave. But there was no way out! He took out a poison cookie and fed it to the dog. I woke up, my heart pounding, paralyzed with terror.

Yep, that was a nightmare: the sit-up-straight-oh-my-god kind, where the unthinkable happens. The “unthinkable” usually has nothing to do with your real life, but occasionally, the nightmare may re-enact a real-life horrific, traumatizing event.

Read more on Huffington Post

Dr. Maya Angelou: Her Latest Re-Invention

Dr. Maya Angelou: Her Latest Re-Invention

(1928 – 2014)

Here’s what the media deluge says: Maya Angelou passed. Stop the presses!  She didn’t really die. She simply did what this magnificent literary genius has always done: she re-invented herself – again.

For Maya Angelou, re-invention was survival – all of her life – dodging, slamming, and bunting that nasty curve ball that life had pitched to her, using it to her advantage. Now, in failing illness, she stepped up to the plate again – one more re-invention.

For little Maya, named Marguerite Annie Johnson at birth, childhood was a horrific, traumatizing event. As a little girl, her parents split. She and her brother were sent to live with an aunt in Stamps, Arkansas around 1932. Not a hotbed of liberal acceptance! She saw brutal racial discrimination, unthinkable trauma and went into complete silence for several years. When life crashes in and you slam into a wall, isn’t it interesting how you adapt?

Maya Angelou begins to re-invent herself at age 7

  • At age 7, Maya was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. She witnessed the further horror of her uncles’ killing of the rapist . It traumatized her so that she stopped talking – became mute from 7-11 years of age.
  • Re-invention: During her mute years, from 7-11, she saw herself as a big ear: “I thought of myself as a giant ear which could just absorb all sound, and I would go into a room and just eat up the sound. I memorized so many poets. I just had sheets of poetry; still do. I would listen to the accents, and I still love the way human beings sound. There is no human voice which is un-beautiful to me. I love them, and so I’m able to learn languages, because I really love the way people talk. I would listen”  (from Terri Gross’ interview on NPR).  It was a dedicated poetry teacher who brought her out of her silence. She bated her by accusing Maya of hating poetry – and that the only way she could love it was to read it out loud. Eventually, that’s exactly what she did – and the rest is history. Poet laureate re-invention!
  • As a pre-teen in Stamps, Dr. Angelou experienced the terror and brutality of racial discrimination on every street corner.
  • Re-invention: The passion and music of her unshakable faith and the values of the traditional African-American community diffused her fear and aroused a love of singing and dance that turned young Marguerite into a vocal talent unparalleled. As a very young teen, she sought out and won a scholarship for dance and drama at San Francisco’s Labor School – voila reinvention!
  • She needed money to continue to live in San Francisco.
  • Re-invention: In 1942, at age 14, she dropped out of school to become San Francisco’s first African-American female cable car conductor.
  • After graduation from high school, she found herself pregnant with her son, Guy. She was 16 and unmarried. Her autobiographies describe how she traveled around the country with her baby, earning her living as a waitress,, prostitute, madam, singer, actress and writer. The lure of dance, music, and written word continued to beckon her to a better life.
  • Re-invention: She needed a stage name. In 1952, the future genius of literature wed Anastasios Angelopulos, a Greek sailor . She shortened his surname and adopted her childhood nickname “Maya” as her first name. Meet the new Maya Angelou, about to become star of stage and literary icon.


The re-inventions go on and on – and we know them well. In 1957, she was now actress and singer,  re-invents herself as civil rights leader. After living in Egypt and Guana, she befriends Malcolm X and Dr. Marten Luther King and comes home.  With their assassinations and her profound grief, she was urged by James Baldwin to write her memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, reinventing herself as an all time best selling author.

Phenomenal Woman – a gift from Maya Angelou to you

 For all of us beautiful, phenomenal women who are re-inventing, re-creating, or starting over again, Maya Angelou has a gift for us. Through all her trauma, all her success, all her fear, all her achievements, she remained a “Phenomenal Woman”, and proud of it.  This poem is breathtaking spoken from her lips – a gift of love to all women.

Please listen: Click Here.

When we begin to doubt ourselves or what we can accomplish, I will turn to Maya Angelou for inspiration. I hope you’ll join me.

I never had the chance to ask her, but I know she would unequivocally agree with me on this: You’re not getting older, you’re getting started℠.

Passed? Not this lady! She’s re-inventing herself again. I can feel it in my feminine gut.

Did anyone else besides me hear that newborn baby cry? Watch out world, here she comes again!

Photo Credit: pennstatenews via photopin cc

Barbara Walters: She opened the door for other women to compete competitively in the media

Barbara Walters – 84

(September 25, 1929)

“Relentless,” “fearless,” “trailblazer,” “aggressive,” “gifted,” “gutsy”- all words used to describe Barbara Walters, 84, retiring (to some extent) at the end of 2014. Whatever you think about this pioneer of Women-In-The-Media, one thing is for certain: her boldness made her a household name. She broke the glass ceiling more than once and opened the door for other women to compete competitively in the media.

Consider this:

  • First woman anchor on The Today Show in 1963
  • First woman to co-anchor the Evening News with Harry Reasoner in 1976
  • First woman news anchor to make one million dollars a year
  • Only reporter to land a joint interview with Egypt’s president Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Menachem Begin in 1977
  • First US reporter to interview Fidel Castro, 19

Perhaps her most famous interview was with Monica Lewinsky in 1999; a record 74 million viewers watched it.  When she asked Ms. Lewinsky what she would tell her children about the scandal Ms. Lewinsky replied, “Mommy did a bad thing.” Ms. Walters ended the interview by turning to the camera and announcing, “That’s an understatement.”

Although she was well educated, driven, and articulate, she has been forever mocked for her slight speech impediment; that never stopped her determination to get the story. Additionally, she’s had her share of stress at the height of her career she was: a single Mom, supporting her parents, caring for a disabled sister, and raising her daughter.

What’s her dream ‘get’ (interview)? The Pope. Unfortunately, he doesn’t do TV talk shows! Nonetheless, we can only imagine what this driven woman could get him to discuss.

Hats off to Barbara Walters for opening up opportunities for women in the media that we take for granted today. Retirement will be re-defined by this tenacious woman! You can expect to see her back on camera any time a good story looms.

Gilda Radner: Most of us remember her for the hilarious “Roseanne Roseannadanna”

Gilda Radner

(June 28, 1946 – May 20, 1989)

Hats off to a woman who made the world laugh at itself. It’s the 25th anniversary of the untimely death of the funniest darn woman I ever met. Gilda Radner lived across Hill Street from me in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1968. We worked together at WCBN radio station, at the University of Michigan. I recall thinking she was destined for greatness.

Every time she walked in the room, she made you laugh. She was one of those people who had “I want to be with her” written all over her. You simply rose to a higher level of pheromones when Gilda was around.

She didn’t need to die. She was misdiagnosed for 11 months before doctors figured it out. She had advanced ovarian cancer. Remission was hers for a few years, but in the end, during the height of her wondrously humorous career, during her marriage to Gene Wilder, she succumbed. I miss her still, today.

Most of us remember her for the hilarious “Roseanne Roseannadanna” and “Baba Wawa” in the beginning glory days of Saturday Night Live with Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and John Belushi. She was the first female comic on the show – a first for women. Her parodies of Lucille Ball, Patti Smith, and Olga Korbut were legendary.

When she went in for her last CT scan, she begged not to be sedated. She told Gene Wilder she would never wake up. She was right. She went into a coma and died three days later.

Through senseless loss, like the passing of Gilda at such a young age, and the silencing of a gift that gave us the belly laughs so badly needed in such an anxiety ridden society we were alerted to the dangers of ovarian cancer. The gene is transferred from mother to daughter. Her mother, her aunt, her grandmother… wouldn’t you think they would have connected the dots?

That was another time and another place but because of her death, the disease has been studied at the Gilda Radner Ovarian Detection Center at Cedars-Sinai (established by Gene Wilder) to screen high-risk candidates. It’s no longer the absolute death sentence it once was. Still very dangerous, but it can be handled if discovered early.

Gilda, you make me laugh to this very day. One quirky grin, and I can be in stitches. I miss you. We all do. I can only begin to imagine the laughs we would have had over the last 25 years. Thank you for the short, sweet, very wacky, zany, and poignant moments with you.

As Seen On Huffington Post: 7 Ways To Use Fear To Your Advantage

A hard bright light dawned on moving day. Dozens of brown, cardboard boxes filled with my belongings were stacked everywhere in my otherwise empty house. My entire history was packed up, ready to be hauled off to San Francisco where I would reinvent myself. My 33-year marriage was over. I was single again.

And I was terrified. Even though I’m a strong woman, a leader, a person who normally doesn’t break down, I cried tears of desolation. With red, swollen eyes, I looked at my friend and whispered, “Oh, Michael, I’m so scared.”

He grabbed my shoulders, placed me squarely in front of him and said, “Look at me, Kat. If you’re not scared, you’re not doing it right.”

He was right, of course. Not only is it OK to be terrified, it’s necessary. It was a lesson that helped change my life.

Read more on Huffington Post

Janet Yellen: The key to her success is to remain flexible and open to new information.

Janet Yellen – 67

(August 13, 1946)

At 67, Janet Yellen runs our money.  She’s the first woman in U.S. history to chair the Federal Reserve, taking Ben Bernanke’s place at the helm, appointed October 2013 by President Obama.  In a man’s world of economics and monetary policy, she’s steadily and consistently risen to the top.  Her love of life NOW expresses itself through her tenacity to “do the right thing,” uncluttered thinking and quiet brilliance.

Respected by men and women equally, her dossier reads like a dream sheet of intellectual and professional accomplishment: Brown University 1967 and Yale University PhD 1971.  Janet has taught at Harvard, London School of Economics, and UC Berkeley.  Needless to say, she was valedictorian of her high school graduation class… and that’s just the academics!

She spent a majority of her career in leading roles at the Federal Reserve starting in late 1970’s through today.  In 2004 she was president and CE0 of Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, not to mention becoming vice chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve in 2010.

On top of all these accomplishments, she’s been married to the same man, George Akerlof, for four decades.  She’s a Mom too – with one grown son.

Janet Yellen personifies Love Your Life Now, Step 2: ADJUST (among others) in our 6 Steps to Loving Your Life Now.  The key to her success is to remain flexible and open to new information at any moment – ready to adjust your position.

President Obama praised her because “she knows how to build consensus.”  Of course she does!  She’s a woman – and like the rest of us, she knows that it’s all about the relationship. She’s been building consensus all of her life – in and out of business.

Please leave a comment and don’t be shy about recommending other women over 50 for us to honor!

Ellen DeGeneres: Laugh as much as you can. Laugh until you cry.

Ellen DeGeneres – 56

(January 26, 1958)

“Just go up to someone on the street and say, ‘You’re it’.  Then run away.”  – Ellen DeGeneres. If humor is the best medicine, Ellen doctors us all – including herself.  She Loves Life Now through her gift of laughter.  Her life has been no joke, however.  She’s seen it all: abuse, rejection, hatred, joy, and wild success.

Our lesson from Ellen is to keep on laughing, even through the tears.

“Laugh.  Laugh as much as you can.  Laugh until you cry.  Cry until you laugh.  Keep doing it even if people are passing you on the street saying, “I can’t tell if that person is laughing or crying, but either way they seem crazy, let’s walk faster.”  Emote.  It’s okay.  It shows you are thinking and feeling.” ― Ellen DeGeneres, Seriously… I’m Kidding

No, life hasn’t been a giggly game of Chutes and Ladders for Ellen.  As a teen, she watched her mother struggle with breast cancer while secretly struggling against sexual abuse from her stepfather.  In 1997, she declared to the world “Yep, I’m Gay” on the cover of Time Magazine.  For that courageous coming-out, she paid a price: losing her Ellen show, the near end of her partnership with Anne Heche – and the resulting media swirl that led her into 3 years of deep depression.

Laughter literally saved her life.  In 1980, when she was 21 years old, she lost the first love of her life abruptly to an auto crash.  That incident caused her to write her first monologue: “A Phone Call to God.”  She made us laugh about mortality.  It was her first stand-up job, emceeing at a New Orleans comedy club. Her performance won her the 1984 Showtime’s Funniest Person in America award.

After many loves and breakups, Ellen married her beautiful girlfriend Portia de Rossi in 2008, at their L.A. home.  She says, “What can I say.  I’m the luckiest girl in the world!”

For other fun factoids about Ellen, check out this article in People Magazine.

Like the rest of us, Ellen’s ridden the roller coaster of life through the ups and downs, the pain and the joy.  She teaches us to love ourselves just as we are, to laugh through it all – that life is always worth the chance to enjoy the ride.  You just have to keep going.  She’s the epitome of my message to many of my clients, “What if it were just fun?”

Please comment about what Ellen means to you.  Also, if you have suggestions for other women 50+ that deserve honoring, please let us know.




How I Got to the Front of the Line on Black Friday Without Trampling the 20-Year-Olds

When I was a kid, the Friday after Thanksgiving meant a day off from school. In the 1950s and 60s, stores were just coming around to the idea of being open the day after Thanksgiving.

How things have changed.

This is serious stuff, the shopping frenzy that starts on Black Friday, ramps up even more on Cyber Monday, and continues through December. Retailers are grinning ear to ear. I saw photos of whole families camping out in front of Walmart just to be the first in the store on Black Friday.

It’s scary that the highlight of a weekend intended to give thanks has morphed into one of greed.

I’m not immune to the shopping bug. In fact, I’m more susceptible than I would like to admit. To prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I also planned my attack on the retail world. I sketched out my driving strategy, planning which stores I would hit first and which I would shop at later. And I felt the anxiety rise when I wondered if the website for my favorite online shoe store would go down because of high consumer demand.

“This is all so ridiculous,” I told myself. But the anxiety did not go away.

Then, my favorite classic-rock station played the Eagles. You know which song. This one. I laughed right out loud! Thank you, Universe.

Take it easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can
Don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand
And take it easy

Here’s the advice we all need for shopping this holiday season: Take it easy! This month, I plan to play this song whenever I start to feel tense, anxious, or rushed.

Once again, it’s about what we tell ourselves. No matter what our personality, driven or laid-back, here is a life lesson for all of us.

To all my beautiful women: Get your favorite tunes and sing your way through the holiday shopping season!