Tame the mind, Wake the heart

May 30th, 2020

As I witness this world today especially my very ill country, I’m called to dig deeper into compassion. To do this, I must rally my heart. What I know is this. In me and in you, is a place of calm. There is no virus, prejudice or violence there but only well-being. We must nurture that practical and precious light that we truly are. I’m not suggesting any spiritual mumbo-jumbo here. Rather, that we put solid “boots on the ground” with our hearts wide open.  We must tame this beast.
We start with ourselves. What are you spreading these days? 
If you hang around me, you know that I repeat two important things. First, awaken your heart and enjoy coming home to your best self. Secondly, find and practice a simple and effective method of emotional processing. As I mention in my book, “it doesn’t really matter if six enlightened Zen Buddhists came up with the technique or not. What’s important is that you use one, especially when you least want to.”
Tame your mind, please. Take responsibility for the type of boot signature that you are leaving now on our fragile terra firma. 
I personally and professionally know how difficult it can be to swaddle this frightened and angry mind.  Emotions need expression. I get it. But first can we just ask ourselves this question; “Does this current thought or action that I’m about to say or do, does it uplift or degrade/threaten the safety and well-being of another human being including myself?”
A good mental health practice involves taking lots of pauses. A few seconds of stillness can save lives these days. One breath in and out can carry so much wisdom.

How Slow Can You Go?

September 30th, 2019

Greetings! It’s been awhile since I’ve been in touch with you via my blog. I hope that you are well and thank you for taking the time to connect here. I’ve been a busy bee!  With some important nudging from the Universe, I’m being “encouraged” to write & reflect more, slow down my pace and all that comes with it.  Last month, while body-surfing in the Pacific, I got a wake-up call.  I didn’t choose wisely and took too big of a wave. And it took me! Thankfully, I have recovered physically but I have yet to fully face Mother Ocean again.  I’m being humbly reminded of that immense Power that sustains these bodies of water including me. In the 12-Step rooms, we call it becoming “right-sized”.  

As a healthy aging advocate, this topic of going slower is an important one. We live in a culture that says “slowness is bad”. We often distract ourselves from ourselves.  In fact, our society seems to reject “slow” and pretty much the whole process of aging.   When Jim and I were in Costa Rica earlier this year, we absolutely experienced what the locals refer to as “pura vida” (the simple or pure life). One of my favorite countryside signs which was creatively crafted and colorfully painted. It read: SLOW THE F— DOWN.   Upon seeing it, I burst into laughter and hope you receive the wisdom from this reminder as well.  

If you’d like to explore and gain support with healthy pro-aging, I’ll be co-facilitating my “Aging with Passion” Workshop on Sunday, October 13th in the Thousand Oaks, CA area. More information is included in the attached link below. We would love to have you join us!

Aging with Passion! – Workshop Flyer

The Strength of Love: Q & A

May 28th, 2018

Greetings, I hope this finds you doing well and enjoying this end of May 2018 time!

Jim and I just returned from a holiday morning hike with a visit from a large blue heron near Malibu Creek and matilija poppies lining one of the trails (see photo above). Mother Nature continues to save me, one more time. She provides reminders that within our daily fragility there is strength and gorgeous beauty that is still growing. As I’ve shared in my book, if you want to be reminded how age can look and feel magnificent, return to the earth. Mother Nature ages well. So can we.

Question: When you look back over all the years you’ve been practicing, what’s the biggest difference about your psychotherapy today from when you began over 32 years ago?

MN response: As I’ve continued my own inner work over several decades, I’ve definitely more comfortable with my own humanness. I’m less critical and less censoring of my self-disclosure with clients. I’m also more direct in how I connect with others. Time and safety are very precious commodities. Within that therapy time, it’s my role and good fortune to embody warmth, honesty and really call upon the strength of love.

Another big difference from several decades ago, I’m a ninja of the here-and-now. In becoming less rattled by the demands and noise of this world, I’m able to channel more calm and peace. More than ever, good therapy and a life well lived is about recognizing these special moments of being alive, feeling connected and appreciative.

Finally, my clients know that I am there for them. I’m game to go into any depths. Bring it on! I often joke reassuringly, “Don’t worry, I know this neighborhood. We’ll go into this darker street together—OK?” My job is not that easy. Yet, I continue to have a front row seat to witness and support so many incredible lives.

a timely Holiday message from Marcia

December 5th, 2017

Winds are blowing…be safe!


As I look back on this topsy-turvy past year, I’m in awe of the incredible light of goodness that has not been snuffed out. Each day I’m on a personal and professional mission to notice what’s working and to feed what’s beautiful and truly humane. Many moments of 2017, I have had to dig deep to find it. And I know that I’m not alone in this mission. Thank you for continuing to share your light and love!

Our collective prayers to those being affected by our California fires and too many others around the world who remain homeless.

Higher Power, your comfort is needed. Help each of us to soothe the fire of suffering with compassion, generosity and hope.

The gift from the mechanic

August 25th, 2017

We all have a gift. My gift is akin to being a mechanic. Instead of working on cars, I work on people and humanity.

We come into life on Earth, fully assembled. If not, hopefully medical science and/or the Divine intervene to give us enough parts to make us road worthy.

Chugging along the way, we all experience road damage, wear and tear, and weather conditions whether we are driving solo or packing a full load of passengers. Parts of us get stolen, places in us start leaking and some parts need replacing. In other words, as my first husband often wisely said; everything is maintenance, my dear.

Over time, the mechanic will eventually need to go deep into the belly of the engine. It’s called an overhaul.

Yet, the expert mechanic doesn’t go in alone. She goes in with proper light and hopefully, the best tools and tracking system possible.

It gets messy working inside the engine. Deconstruction occurs piece by piece. Sections of our car (personality) are lying around awaiting examination. This is the essence our needed inner work for positive change and growth.

When it’s tougher job (the longer you wait and the deeper you go), make sure you get a good mechanic. Why? Number one: You want to make sure your engine is in fact repaired (those broken-unloved aspects of self are revealed and healed). Number two (and most importantly): You make it back safely with a fuller capacity for compassion and joy!

Thought for the day:
God (Divine Master Mechanic) help me to ask and receive the help I need today. Only then, can I truly help others.

A lesson from the trenches

August 8th, 2017

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
-Mahatma Gandhi

Delayed grief. I’ve seen so much of it over the years in working with clients.

It’s now hitting home. My own sorrow is emerging while working in the trenches with our nation’s deadliest drug epidemic ever. A few days a week, I consult at a local outpatient facility that specializes in drug addiction and mental health services. One of my clients in his early 30’s, has lost over 10 friends (and still counting) from fatal overdoses over the past four months. Two of them, I worked with directly. Even the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office can’t keep up.

Opioid and other prescription drug abuse isn’t just taking out our young people by the droves. Nearly 14,000 people age 45+ died from an opioid overdose in 2015–42% of all such deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The actual number is probably much higher. Overdoses in older people are often mislabeled as heart failure, a respiratory issue or linked to a fall.

So how did we get here? Over-prescription. In 2012, 259 million opioid prescriptions were written by their physicians. This translates to one script for every adult in the U.S. Who are the new drug dealers? Older Americans are now selling their painkillers to drug dealers to raise needed cash. As Mahatma Ji would probably say, dark and “dirty feet”, indeed.

Well, if you’re still reading this blog, I give you credit. I’m not trying to depress or scare you, really. I need to vent!

My clients who died were good people. They were gentle and beautiful men who got lost in their dirtiness. Heck, we all hold loads of dirt within us. To uphold what’s right and good, I choose to remember them in their happiest sober days at the clinic. And I shed tears because I can.

Perhaps, you or a loved one, are also shedding another layer of worldly dirt and tears?
Bravo then, courageous ones as you allow yourself to feel, let go and hopefully, hunker down with the Divine.

With much love always,

How should I treat this Guest?

June 16th, 2017

A warm hello to you and a Rumi poem for your consideration…

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
– Rumi

What guest is currently circling or visiting your house?
I’d luv to receive your responses.
Oodles of love,

Aging is another word for Being Alive

April 7th, 2017
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old,
we grow old because we stop playing.”  
            -George Bernard Shaw
Springtime greetings to you!  I’m so glad to be back in touch. I’ve just concluded teaching a 10-week healthy aging graduate course with Antioch University.  Some of you know, I made the weekly hike to their beautiful Santa Barbara campus. It was a joy and a professional stretch to teach what I love–principles of conscious living and healthy aging!  
My awesome students (therapists-in-training) ranged in ages from their 20’s to late 60’s and it was a unique multi-cultural and inter-generational experience. We covered a diverse terrain of aging concepts and controversies including;  What should we call older adults? Why do our bodies grow old?  Should people have the choice to end their lives? Is retirement obsolete?
According to the U.S. Labor Department, with 8,000 Boomers turning 65 each day, careers in successful aging will continue to be a high growth area in the next decade. As we find our places in an aging society, our discussions included three key ideas;  
1)  Aging is a gradual, lifelong process we all experience, starting at birth.  Aging is not a disease. However, our society is infected with an anti-aging mindset that treats it like a disease. 
2)  We’ve been taught that aging is synonymous with decline. We’ve learned to equate aging with heavy losses (which can happen). Yet, with a mature life being well lived, we have the opportunity to strengthen our muscles of appreciation for all we do have and take the action to share our gifts as wise elders.
3)  Children are wonderful teachers.  They help us to remember how to play, open our hearts and learn how to share our toys more.  The dilemma being that children and elders are increasingly becoming isolated from one another.  We must pursue more creative, meaningful and fun ways to connect all generations.  We need each other more than ever.
How are you doing in your process of living and giving?  Are you making gains with performing outrageous acts of silliness and dispensing kilos of kindness? 
I’d luv to receive your responses. 
Join me on my Facebook page; Gifts of Pro-Aging.
Remember, aging is another word for being alive.
May your Spring be celebratory and playful!

Let’s Make Some History!

November 4th, 2016

“Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day.  Give a woman even a micro-credit;      she, her husband, her children and extended family will eat for a lifetime.” —Bono (singer/activist)

As I’ve shared in my book, studies by the United Nations World Bank have shown that women are more likely to contribute to community development than men.  Therefore, women are better candidates for support programs.  Yet, domestically and worldwide, the dignity and respect for human life, especially for women has reached an all-time low.  One out of every six people in the world live on less than one dollar a day; 75% of them are women.

Many ancient cultures have predicted this current time in history.  Kali Yuga–the age of darkness.  “Kali” to Hindus and Buddhists means “strife, discord, quarrel or contention”. 

Hold on tight…we’re about to burn through this Kali!  An image that first emerged for me was that of walking by tons of sleeping bodies.  Today, the image turned into to walking through acres of cemeteries—yes, dead people.  The message? 

“Keep walking…without fear, my fellow humble warriors.” 

Of course, I’m excited for Hillary to win this ball-busting presidential election.  And I’m very clear that she is not my savior. However, she collectively now represents this long overdue feminine that must have this chance, in a world that desperately needs mothering.  

So let’s grow up and make some history.  I’m already celebrating this profound evolutionary event since I see it in the light-filled tunnel–straight ahead. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts & feelings.  You can also share on my Facebook page;  Gifts of Pro-Aging.   Click here to join.

Hold on tight and stay centered.



How do you start your day?

July 19th, 2016

“How you start your day is often how your live your life”– Louise Hay

I’ve never been a big fan of the alarm clock.  I’ve got enough adrenaline racing through my bloodstream, thank you.  My preference is try to go to bed early enough to awaken with ease.  Sometimes, I awaken before the sunlight crests our nearby golden hills.  It’s my favorite time of the day.

For several decades now, I’ve been fortunate to have this early morning “me time”.   When I skip it, the world is not right because I’m not connected with the real me.  For years, I’ve worked with clients on creating a morning ritual, the importance of having a daily discipline that positively feeds your heart, cells and de-clutters your mind.  It does set the tone for the rest of your day.

Here are some of my morning favorites that I incorporate when I can…

I try for at least one hour of daily meditation, time for prayers,  journaling feelings, doing affirmations with mirror work, reading 12-Step literature,  listening to inspirational people like Prem Rawat, light yoga stretching or moving my body to music and drinking yummy Tulsi tea.

I’d love to hear what you do to start your day.  Is it a reflection of how you live your life?

Please post your comment here and/or share with us on my Facebook page Gifts of Pro-Aging.