What is Your Mother Story?

In search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.

~ Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, 1983


My mother and I were both born in August, 26 years apart. This year my mom, Dorothy McVerry Conley, marks 90 years on the planet, which is quite an achievement. The 64 years that I’ve known my mother represent the longest relationship I’ve ever experienced. Knowing how many others cannot say this, I am especially grateful.

Whether or not we knew our mother in person, we each have stories about her. A friend of mine lost her first mother at birth. Given up for adoption, she grew up under the wing of a second mother. She always knew that her birth mother wanted her to be adopted by parents of the same national heritage. This was honored in her adoptive family, which valued connection to the old country. She eventually found her first mother. Another friend was left with only guesses and dreams. Each found her way toward herself.

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Self-Influence: Your Path to Freedom


Are you a daring woman over 50? Check out my article,  “Self-Influence: Your Path to Freedom,” in the inaugural issue of UNLEASHED magazine.

Entering the sacred through yourself: Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015

The Women Healing Women program is claiming its new name,  so reserve your spot and mark your calendar for our Women Awakening Women retreat on Saturday, Jan. 24.

It’s an all-day event this year.  Since new beginnings come after something has ended, you’ll explore how you’ll shape your coming year, seeded by this question:

What is ending now for me, and what is coming into being?

As I’ve been preparing for the retreat, some questions have been weaving in and out of my reflections:

w-hih-ebk_free-graphic_stamp_tealblue What is it about that habit that stopped serving you so long ago — and yet still has you hooked?

w-hih-ebk_free-graphic_stamp_tealblue What wants to awaken in you now about this hurt, this sorrow?

w-hih-ebk_free-graphic_stamp_tealblue What is it telling you that you are ready to hear?

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Maybe your problem with sleep isn’t what you think

Have you ever said – or heard – things like, “Why can’t I get to sleep? Why can’t I get back to sleep after I wake up? Why am I still tired when I’ve gotten enough sleep? What’s wrong with me?”

This sounds a lot like the Habit of Personal Responsibility For Everything.

Yes, I know, you really are the center of the universe. This true for every single one of us from our own perspective.

Ah, but this is a continuum from one end of “I’m the cause of what happens” to the other end of “I’m the cause of what happens.”

The healthy habit side might [Read more…]

An Everlasting Gift From an Extraordinary Woman

Many years ago, I met an extraordinary woman. I knew this by how she handled the situation of our meeting — with graciousness, despite the insult that I had perpetrated on her.

It was 37 years ago this month, and I was a young journalist in Memphis, Tennessee. I came to work that day with no particular plan in mind, but fate was on my side from the minute my editor rushed up as I approached my desk.

Handing me a slip of paper with a name I did not know, my boss told me to leave immediately for the cafeteria of a nearby college, where the interviewee was scheduled to [Read more…]

Not Your Usual Suspects: May 3 retreat for you

Do you sit around a lot — at work or in a car — even if you exercise?

If this is true, you qualify for the #1 habit that is just as unhealthy as smoking.

The folks at Rodale, who bring you Prevention Magazine, learned that six habits lead to the same cancer rates as smoking or expose you to the same contaminants that are in cigarette smoke!

Smoking is one of those habits that I call The Usual Suspects. The other three are drinking or eating too much and using street drugs. Most of us recognize these as unhealthy behaviors.

But what about habits that are Not The Usual Suspects. [Read more…]

Self-Care for The Caregiver!

Jack & Dorothy Conley

When my father died four years ago, it saved my mother’s life.

My father’s death in November, 2009, ended many years of my mother’s role as the primary caregiver of a loved one with a long-term illness.

He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and it was about time to moved him to a higher level of care than she could [Read more…]

As Sick As Your Secrets?

At my recent family reunion, we celebrated two birthdays.

Everyone knows of the plan and it goes like this: It doesn’t look like anything special is in the works, but dessert is hidden, cards are quietly passed along for signing, gifts are stashed.

At one of the recent celebrations, we had begun to sing the birthday song when it was discovered the candle had been forgotten. “You didn’t hear that,” someone joked to the person of honor. Moments later, candle lit and in place, the cacophony of song joined the procession as the “surprise” unfolded.

No one is surprised. But it’s a secret — shhhhh, don’t tell!!!

There’s a saying, “You’re as sick as your secrets.”  But secrets designed for fun are worlds away from secrets that create distress. Many people live with secrets that create isolation, depression or worry. This [Read more…]

Tame Those Monsters!

In childhood there’s a stage when imagination and certainty get all mixed up. Whether the monster you invented was under the bed or in the closet, you were sure that it was real. But at that age, distinctions between reality and fantasy are fuzzy.

Wise parents know that the best way to reassure a kid back to sleep is to go along with the fantasy and shoo the monster away. As the brain develops, the child begins to grow out of this “magical thinking” phase.

As adults, we have monsters in a different way. They don’t hide out under beds or in closets. Instead, they are internal aspects of ourselves that we don’t like or that create problems in our lives.

One day many years ago, a client who was healing some monsters exclaimed something brilliant that she’d heard, “My mind is a dangerous neighborhood. I can’t go in there alone!”*

I’ve written previously about the negative bias of the mind (the neighborhood). Its stop signs and warning flags are there to [Read more…]

Dealing with that Negative Mind

“My mind is a dangerous neighborhood. I can’t go in there alone.”*

I ended last month’s column with this quote, but I really blew it.

What I said was, “Don’t let this attitude get in your way.”

What I meant was, “Hold onto this attitude with everything you got!”

If you’ve ever made a mistake and wanted a do-over, you’ll understand when I take this opportunity for a do-over.

This month’s column is about why the mind is so darned dangerous.

Ever heard of Negative Thinking? Sure you have – and it has a bad reputation doesn’t it?

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