Marge’s Dying Words



Some years ago I had a very dear spiritual advisor named, “Marge.” Marge was one of a kind. A velvet hammer. She taught me so much about how to direct your beautiful anger, and oh so many other things.

Marge had breast cancer. They missed the recurrence and, by the time they found it, her disease was terminal.

During the last days, I was privileged to be part of the family that was taking turns being with her. It so happened that I spent that last night with her.

Her last words to me – “You need to do something about your hair, Jennifer.”

I promised I would but right now my priority was to be with her.

Then, I told her that I was speaking that night and asked her what I should talk about.

In her morphine-induced haze (or so I thought), Marge smiles and says to me, “ I think you should talk about . . . frogs.”

That afternoon, I happened to run across a woman who was completely bedecked in green frogs. Earrings, shirt, green pants – even her little car was frog green.

The “coincidence” was just too great. I had to know what the significance of all those frogs meant to her.

She told me this: “F.R.O.G. is an acronym for ‘Fully Rely on God.’”

My mentor gave me a suggestion, a few hours later it was explained. And I had my speaking topic for that night.

Fully rely on god.

And so it is.

Love, Jen


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The 45 Mistakes that Lead to Unrequited Dreams


NOTE: I first published this list two years ago. It was one of the first pieces I wrote that went viral — both here and at The Huffington Post — where I also write.

Since we are just at the beginning of our FREE webinar series, “Requiting Your Dreams,” I thought it would be super-helpful to repost.  If you’re curious about the series, you can register here. (We’re recording everything, so no worries if you can’t be there live.)

Women who have unrequited dreams make these mistakes:

1.  They are not consistent in their efforts to make changes.

2.  They start out too Gung Ho and that pace is not sustainable

3.  They doubt themselves when they hit the first roadblock

4.  They allow other people’s lack of vision to make them doubt their own.

5.  They are unclear about what they really want

6.  They don’t know themselves

7.  They are not used to investing in themselves.

8.  They feel they need permission

9.  They do not reach out for support

10. They think they can go it alone

11. They do not take care of themselves

12. They mean to do something for themselves, but if a challenge comes, at the last minute, they will not follow through with their commitment to themselves  because they would rather avoid the risk, feel overwhelmed, want to please other people

13. They tell themselves they are happy enough,  that the happiness of the people they love is enough for them

14. They don’t know what it really costs to get the help they need and they are so used to “getting by” with meager, ineffective support, they have sticker shock when they finally meet someone who can help.

15. They don’t see a Return on Investment (ROI) between investing in themselves and the improved way they show up in the world.

16. They think they are “less than”

17. They unfairly compare themselves to others.

18. They compare their insides to other people’s outsides.

19. They give up too easily

20. They pretend like their own dreams don’t matter because, if they didn’t, they’d have to deal with the anger they have with themselves and others for their own self-neglect.

21. They allow others to walk all over them

22. They have unhealed losses

23. They think they should be over old hurts by now, but, because they are not, they keep their sadness a secret thus risking embitterment

24. They are still angry about stuff that happened way, way, way in the past

25. They have people they have not forgiven

26. They have not forgiven themselves

27. They sometimes pretend that their relationships are better than they are.

28. They smile even when they don’t mean it.  A LOT!  (click to tweet)

29. They have been Superwoman for so long, they fear things will really fall apart if they stop since their lives are held together with a wing and a prayer.  Plus, there is that f_cking false smiling problem!

30. They have trouble minding their own business, especially with respect to the lives of those closest to them.

31. They spend more time talking about the lives of others than their own.

32. They bristle at the suggestion that what their (nearly) grown children do or don’t do is none of their business.  (This might be you if — right now — you are REALLY pissed at me for suggesting such a thing.)

33. They believe it is less painful to focus on the lives of others than their own lives.

34. They sometimes gossip and talk about others to make themselves feel powerful and “with it” in the eyes of others.

35. They don’t remember to love themselves first.

36. They are masters at delayed gratification.  Indeed, they wear their self-neglect like a Girl Scout bade for martyrdom, not realizing this is nothing to be too proud of.

37. They enjoy being the person in the group with the least needs

38. They are much better at giving than receiving.  They are uncomfortable asking for help.

39. However, when someone else needs help, they are first in line with a casserole, favor, offer of help.

40. They are overly involved in their children’s school lives and friendships.  They have trouble allowing their children to “age up” into greater levels of autonomy.

41. They often rescue their children or other family members.

42. When it comes to helping others, they believe that “if they don’t do it, no one else will.”

43. They have difficulty allowing people they care about suffer the consequences of their own choices or non-choices.  Because of this, they unwittingly keep others weak and in a perpetual cycle of failure/need for rescue.

44. They sometimes have trouble with money and debt, and yet, they do not feel like their own needs have been met in spite of spending so much money.

45. They wonder why they don’t have more to show for the choices and sacrifices they’ve made in their lives.

Did I miss any? Let me know your favorites below. And don’t worry, we’re gonna work on this list together.

Love, Jen

photo: flickr, bigbirdz

P.S. Here’s that link again: Requiting Your Dreams.


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Dear god. Hurry up!

turquoise coffee mug

You ever feel like something BIG is on the way but you don’t have a clue what it is and you’re just kind of biding time until the thing happens

Excluding, delivering babies, I mean.

Well, that’s what’s going on with me.

I’m expectant, pregnant with anticipation. I just can’t put my finger on what it is that’s bubbling up.

I know it has something to do with work. I know it has to do with the way I show up for work. I know it has to do with whom I choose to show up for.

Other than that, I’m not getting much else.

So, I’m waiting.

It’s not a passive waiting.  Here are some things that I am doing to move things along while I wait for god to give me the signal, “turn here.”

I’ve had some powerful clues. This morning, in my daily soulful writing practice, I wrote,  “I want to show up for people who want to show up. I want to work for people who want to work.”

I think that points to a growing frustration with spiritual tire kickers.  This transformation is HARD WORK people. I’ve been on an INTENTIONAL spiritual journey for more than thirty years.

If you’re doing your own work, I know you know what I mean.

Progress is slow – and that’s the point. The point is NOT where we’re going, the point is to learn to love the journey – in its ENTIRETY. The whole messy, convoluted disappointing yet gorgeous PROCESS of living – one day at a time.

The other thing I sense is that I need to come out of the closet a bit more with you. You already know I write for women over forty about midlife reinvention;  but one thing that I hint at but don’t just come right out and say is that I’m a deeply spiritual person.

I have a deep and abiding faith in the god of my understanding (lowercase intended.) Basically, I’m a spiritual mutt.  My faith borrows a bit from all the major faiths plus quite a bit from matriarchal societies with a dollop of Arthurian archetypes.

Oh, and Star Wars, too.

I want to write more about that journey. I’m not sure you want to read it though, and the conflict I’m feeling has to do with whether or not I should care.

And now what I suppose we are talking about is artistic integrity.

All I know is that my Life After Tampons shoes are a bit too cramped these days. I want to go deeper. I want to get to the heart of things. I don’t want to sugar coat anything or give important issues a cursory nod.

Choosing to live an intentional sacred life is tough. But, for me, it’s the only way.

Now, I happen to believe that we are EACH on a sacred journey; it’s just that most people don’t know that, or refuse to co-create with Spirit.

I mean, who wants to be TOLD what to do?

The thing is though, non-compliance is SUPER painful. If you feel that investing in yourself – in your personal growth – is somehow selfish, then I really feel for Beautiful you. That’s got to be so painful.

Your very nature is calling you to grow.

I’m so sorry that our culture has beaten that out of Beautiful You.

I’m sorry that we teach our girls that self-care is not the MOST important aspect of living because as beautifully whole women we show up more deeply for those whom we serve.

If that rings true for you, then you must draw the logical conclusion that NOT investing in yourself, NOT taking time to find and live your most soulful truth, is, if not selfish, deeply, deeply sad.

There. I’ve said it.

I want to show up for women who show up. I want to work for people who will DO the work.

So, I don’t know where I’m going. But I don’t have to know. A sacred life can only be lived one moment at a time. And my faith is that my moment of clarity is already on its way to Beautiful Me.

I believe this because I have lived this over and over again.

In the meantime, I show up. Because THAT is the work.

Blessed Be.

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The Problem with the “Silver Bullet” Belief

richard elzey, flickr

If you want a rich outer life, then you need a rich inner life.  The only life that “rings true” is one that reflects who you really are.

If you don’t match your outsides with your insides you end up feeling like an impostor in your own life.

Nobody wants that.

The thing is though, that developing a rich inner life is HARD WORK. It takes commitment. If you believe that loving yourself enough to do the hard work is selfish – that it somehow takes away from those you love – then you might want to consider how they would benefit from having a mother/wife/sister/daughter who was happy and fulfilled.

Anyway, just something to think about.

Even if I could create the “Silver Bullet” solution for you (and I can’t and be wary of those who say they can), it wouldn’t do the job if you couldn’t pull the trigger.

Life is like that. You have to play to win.

Love, Jennifer

P.S. If you’re done with Magical Thinking and want to Requite Your Dreams, register for our FREE webinar series here.

photo: flickr, Richard Elzey

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