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Be who you are...

Pic credit: Stuart Miles

Pic credit: Stuart Miles

everyone else is already taken.

- Oscar Wilde

and say what you feel, because those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter. 

- Bernard Baruch, also often attributed to Dr. Seuss

not your idea of what you think somebody else's idea of yourself should be.

- Henry David Thoreau

What's holding you back?

You'll never please everyone all the time anyway. 

Does being who you are give you carte blanche to do whatever you want, wherever and whenever you want it? 

I don't think so.

The Bhagavad Gita says, 

All living creatures, even wise sages, behave in accordance with their own nature. Everyone's behavior is rooted in the thoughts and tendencies that predominate them. The answer is not to restrain your nature, but to progressively improve your nature. You have to live by your inner truth rather than your selfish desires.

I invite you this week to pay attention to your thoughts and behaviors as they shape your interpersonal interactions. For example, you could set a timer on your handy-dandy smartphone to remind you two or three times throughout the day to stop and think about what you were thinking, doing, and the last person you interacted with beforehand.

If you don't want to set a clock, you can also set an intention to reflect about it every time you eat or drink something. This exercise will increase your awareness of thoughts and tendencies that make up your nature bit by bit. As we can all hopefully agree, awareness is the first step.  

See if you can also take the point of view of those you interact with; what might be motivating, aggravating, inspiring, or saddening them? This would not only exercise your empathy muscle, it will also help understand the part you play in every interaction you have. If there's a conflict, can you soften your tone? Ease up on your way of inquiry? If there's a misunderstanding, can you explain yourself more fully using different words or gestures? Modify your facial expression? This might go a ways in identifying how and where you might "progressively improve" your nature. As a bonus side-effect, your relationships will blossom. 

Let us know how it goes in the comments? Thanks! :-) 




Sex and the Expat

Young couple frustrated in bedI'm putting the finishing touches on an eBook full of tips for the first few months of an expat assignment, stay tuned for details! To give you a taste, here's a paragraph on: Sexual Intimacy

Every couple’s routines are different, but when you notice an interruption in yours, don’t wait too long before you address it. Multiple factors influence a change in sexual appetite.

Try and develop an understanding for your partner’s experience. Everyone is adapting to cultures differently, and while you’re struggling to find a daily routine, your partner may be overwhelmed at work or vice versa.

Keeping a relationship alive and strong is difficult under the best of circumstances. International relocation takes stress and tension to a whole new level, so you have to communicate and discuss your needs and fears even more openly and pro-actively.

The two of you are a team, now more than ever. You’re in this together, and a fulfilling sex life will go a long way in affirming your commitment and improving resilience to tackle all the obstacles this assignment will throw at you. Make time for intimacy, schedule it if you have to, and spend quality time together. In and out of the bedroom.



Type and Relationships

Have you ever consciously thought about how you show your loved ones that you care? Or what it is that makes you feel loved and appreciated? Awareness around these details will enable you to build relationships you'll want to stay in, as well as help you move through challenging situations much faster. One year ago this month I participated in Elizabeth and Katherine Hirsh's webinar "Relationships and Type - Caring, Conflict, and Meaning." The workshop came at just the right time to help me figure out what it is that I value in a romantic relationship, and how our Type preferences influence our behavior. We all like to be the victim and point the finger at the other person sometimes, but let me tell you, there's nothing more effective than looking in the mirror. The lessons I've learned in this workshop still serve me today in all my relationships, including the ones at work, at Toastmasters, and with friends and family.

As a person with Extraverted preferences, I will always enjoy an in-person meeting more than an online one. Since I have already had experience with an online coaching workshop, however, I knew that what I'd get out of the experience would be directly proportional to what I put in. Elizabeth and Katherine created a safe online learning environment where all participants shared their different view points and talked about their relationships freely. It is the variety and diversity of the group that made the experience so worthwhile.

Every topic was examined through the Type lense, naturally, and the forum offered a lot of opportunity to comment, ask clarifying questions, offer support, and yes - my all-time favorite - find that we're not crazy or weird or alone, just different. :-) Combined with strategies and helpful tips on how to be more mindful of other people's Type, I recommend this workshop to anyone who would like to improve their relationships. Even, including, and especially the one you have with yourself.

To sign up, please visit

Please note, I am not affiliated with Hirshworks LLC and cannot be held responsible for your experience in the workshop. This is just a friendly recommendation.

Thanks to Photostock for the free pic!



Tending your garden

flowerpotsI had breakfast on the balcony today. I felt the sun's still cool rays as they made an effort to dry the concrete, still wet from last night's rain, morning dew, or possibly the sprinklers. I listened to the breeze announcing spring in the air, carrying over chainsaw noise from the gardeners cutting down trees at our apartment complex. The time was right to re-pot my plants. I like re-potting plants. There's quite simply something serene and unequivocally natural about rummaging your hands through earth; playing God in silver Ikea buckets - just add water and hope the roots will take. Is this how surgeons feel when they transplant organs?

As people, how do we know we need re-potting? How many of us are quite content in their designated spaces? Having made peace with the constraints, doubling over and curling up our roots so they might fit without causing pain. How long can we live like that, bending, folding, before we begin cutting off any vital blood supply? We've all had our hands or feet go to sleep, what about our creativity? Our imagination, love? Do they tickle our soul and spirit to alert us to their impending doom? Shake us awake into movement, inviting us to stretch out, because only that exquisite stretch will bring even more exquisite tingling before that most comfortable of reliefs when blood starts flowing again?

Imagine we do stretch and allow ourselves to outgrow our respective pots. As we search for new grounds, how do we make sure the soil is fertile? If we're transplanting existing ecosystems, we want to be careful of their needs. Maintaining the balance between what is needed to maintain, and which changes are necessary to grow and make the most of the new environment can be challenging. If you're starting a new business, you do market research. If you're starting new relationships, it's more important to research yourself. You'll be tempted to re-use familiar soil, so you want to be sure that it's not ridden with old roots that may hide seeds which will only grow the same old plants.

What is the right amount of manure to stimulate growth? It can't all be sunlight and sprinkles, we need a little fertilizer to jolt our buds into action. And what if we choose too big a pot? Do we stretch to the left, and stretch to the right, looking for the comforting walls of our limitations? Will stretching too far in opposite directions leave us fragmented, broken at the center? Will we lose hope and start spinning if we continue to give up before reaching those walls?

What about expat spouses who are uprooted against their wishes? If the roots are clipped too tightly, no amount of fertile soil, sunlight or flawless irrigation will allow the plant to grow. Personally, I believe that is one of the reasons why repatriation is so stressful: once a plant has known a bigger pot, it's nigh impossible going back to the previous one.

Is it time you started looking for a different pot?

Can't wait to read your comments! Thanks and til next time.


"Divorce Piggy Bank"


"Divorce Piggy Bank"

This is a post I found in the Psychology Today blogs, written by Sam Marguiles PhD, Esq.Sam has been active in mediation for thirty years. He has written three books, numerous articles and has taught and consulted throughout the USA. I am re-posting the following with his permission, and will share here today that I owe about $780 for last week. You?

Having mediated thousands of divorces I have acquired some knowledge over the years of what acts and omissions reliably contribute to divorce.

I have also learned that marriages generally don't break over a specific event but rather erode over time as spouses fail to feed the marriage what it needs to thrive. I also know that most divorces are expensive and that is common for each lawyer to ask for a retainer of $3,000 to $5,000. So this post is designed to help you finance your divorce gradually as you engage in those behaviors that slowly damage and eventually destroy your marriage.

Here is what you should do. First, buy a good size piggy bank. Every time you commit one of the acts listed below, or anytime your spouse commits one, you deposit the required amount in your piggy bank. This way, by the time you need a retainer you will have saved it. You will want to count the money in your piggy bank once a year because it may serve as a guide to how close you are to divorce. Be sure to share this data with your spouse.

  • Go to bed angry with your spouse. $3.
  • Spend an entire day without expressing affection or praising your spouse. $3.
  • Make a sarcastic comment to your spouse. $5.
  • Raise your voice in anger to your spouse. $3.
  • Do the above and fail to apologize. $5.
  • Dismiss as unimportant an issue raised by your spouse. $7.
  • Install a TV in the kitchen. $20.
  • Watch TV while eating together. $10.
  • Spend a night in bed with your spouse and make no gesture of affection such as a kiss or caress. $5.
  • Refuse a request from your spouse for sex for the second time in a row unless you have a note from your doctor. $7.
  • Refuse a request from your spouse for sex for the fifth time in a row unless you have a note from your mother. $30.
  • Roll your eyes at something said by your spouse. $5.
  • Refuse a request to go to counseling with your spouse. $100. ( almost 100% predictive of divorce.)
  • Spend a year and not take a vacation with your spouse while leaving the children home. $25.
  • Schedule so many activities for your children that you leave no time for your marriage. Each week pay: $5.
  • Be upset with your spouse and not raise it because you believe it pointless to discuss it. $10.
  • When your spouse raises an issue stonewall and refuse to discuss it. $50.
  • You fail to learn what actions by you bring pleasure to your spouse. $50.
  • (Being made aware in due time to correct behavior: priceless - added by Dee.)

Although this list is by no means exhaustive it represents a good sample. Readers are invited and requested to add to the list.

Image by Die Gruenen Osterreich, Flickr, Creative Commons License.