“It’s just a house! Do something with it!!”

  Last year, Paul and I bought the family beach house and these words from my mother's painting class keep me going. She charged her painting students with this and other pithy sayings when they were blocked. Today, the words seem prophetic. On the 15th anniversary of my mother’s death, my dear husband and I became sole owners of the Cape May house she adored. It’s a house that has served generations of our family and friends as a respite, a place of celebration, a center for art … [Read more...]

3 Ways to Play Your Edge in 2017

If you pay attention to patterns, you know that clinging to that which fails to love you back is toxic;  you must play your edge if you want to love your life. When Carrie Fisher wrote Postcards from the Edge, she was playing her edge for all to see. Fisher shared a difficult mother-daughter journey that illuminated the path for others. She died suddenly on Tuesday, and the following day her mother died of heartbreak. Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher gave an object lesson in how to play … [Read more...]

Does Generosity Cost You?

If generosity is a good trait, why does it get tangled up in angst and confusion at this time of year? How can you maintain inner peace in a season of relentless advertising, competitive shopping and expensive gift-giving? I have been mulling over this question since we focused on the week six theme of generosity with my Mother-Daughter Way ONE goddesses last month. It was easier to manage week 6 during the pilot group last January when I tagged the focus as a week of … [Read more...]

Open Heart, Open Hand: My Prayer for You

Although I strive for an open heart, I've been quiet lately. Let's be open with each other. There are reasons for my silence. Yes, I lost my father recently. And yes, I am in the midst of running Mother-Daughter Way ONE, which is fabulous and bountiful and exciting. But my quietness puzzles me: I love to write. I write daily, so why have I been reluctant to post? Perhaps I've muted myself because the airwaves were overcrowded with incredibly loud and angry, even hateful speech. The … [Read more...]

Guided Self-Discovery Can Be Sublime

The Mother-Daughter Way LIVE weekend was a celebration of shared self-discovery. On the sign-in book, I see these comments: "A warming of the heart," "Wonderful sharing and fellowship," "Beginning to really enjoy life," "Sharing with others is very healing," and "an opening of the heart in remembrance of Mom." Although our event began on a snowy afternoon chronicled by local photographers, we offered a warm welcome at "Ocean Alice's." Our off-site host, the Victorian Motel also rolled out the … [Read more...]

Transcendence in the Mother-Daughter Way

    For the final week of the Mother-Daughter Way, we focus on transcendence. What does that mean in everyday terms? When my mother asked me to sit for this portrait, I resisted. I was busy. She was dying. I imagined having yet another unfinished portrait to remind me of the ways we couldn't sign off on each other. However, I agreed on the condition that I could write while she painted. I loved watching the way she rallied when she picked up a brush. As I recorded her … [Read more...]

Envy Opens the Mother-Daughter Connection

  Connection is the focus of this, the 7th week of the Mother-Daughter Way journey. My connection to my mother, Alice Steer Wilson, fifteen years after her death, is one of imagination and memory. I lead this part of the journey with a renewed sense of the relevance of the program mission, which is to open up the process of self-mothering the way you wish you could be mothered, or in the case of a difficult daughter, the way you wish you could open up that connection using the MOM … [Read more...]

Loving, Losing, Letting Go

Yesterday, I helped out as my friend Sandy Sampson conducted an estate sale to empty her parent's home. I had to see how she did it. Sandy is an awesome daughter who provided much family caregiving over the past decade. Her father, Harry Trigg, died in April 2009, and her mother, Marion Jane Bold Trigg, passed away four months ago, on Christmas Eve. Sandy set her mind and heart to the difficult task of clearing out her family's lifetime of collections, and to do so with the willing … [Read more...]

The Promise of Mothers and Daughters

...this is how you sweep a corner; this is how you sweep a whole house; this is how you sweep a yard; this is how you smile to someone you don't like too much ...   Jamaica Kinkaid, "Girl" Will you be there?  ...  Can you hear the truth?    Tori Amos, "Promise"   It's been a lovely meditation for me to sit down and write daily tributes for Women's History Month. Now, on the last day, I'm returning to the relationship with the most elemental power­: the Mother-Daughter bond. So … [Read more...]

Malala: Standard-Bearer for Girls’ Rights to Education

This month of honoring women may be coming to a close, but it's been an opening for me in a way I never dreamed. As a writer who is given to privacy, revision, and possibly overworked revision, this blog accomplished what my mother said the shift to watercolors from oil paints did for her. I had to trust my instincts, post it, and let it go. Your responses have been awesome, and I will not crawl back under that rock any time soon. Thank you for reading, liking, and responding. So, yes, I'm … [Read more...]