You are allowed to be happy even when there is a pandemic

Although I am socially isolating, I'm doing my best to stay in touch with people. More than one person has said that they were kind of feeling cozy and enjoying being at home. In such a difficult time, there’s a bit of guilt that goes along with enjoying this time of isolation. Because although isolating can be challenging—even harrowing—the truth is that for some, it's not all bad. 

Let me acknowledge that it is quite bad for many.  Some who isolated folks are working with depression and anxiety and isolation is the wrong recipe for being well.  

And the people who are suffering with the actual virus and their families, times are tough. Also, for people who are not able to socially isolate because we need them. We can all send our gratitude and our support and our care to the sick and the people on the front lines, especially in health care. But all over, people are working in jobs because we need them, and they cannot...

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This is why you can't sleep: How to build all-day energy

by Anne O'Connor

Sleep solves so many problems. And the more irregular and infrequent your sleep, the more problems you have.  

I'm not just talking about sniping at the people you love and being unpleasant to be around—although I am talking about that. Don't sleep and your relationships are going to stink. That's the real deal. If you find yourself regularly cranky, irritable and short-tempered, you may want to consider more sleep. Your people certainly want you to.  

It's more than our relationships that are affected though. Not getting enough sleep can contribute to all kinds of other problems—everything from being overweight, to lower libido, a host of illnesses and car crashes. Plus, people being sleep-deprived has been linked to some of the most serious accidents in memory—Chernobyl, the Exxon Valdez crash, and the space shuttle Challenger accident. Some research shows that people who sleep less die earlier. With...

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This Is Why I Do What I Do


Who actually gets everything they need from their parents? Almost no one. Is there anything worse?

Well, passing all that didn't work on to our kids or others we love...ugh.  

Today, I tell my story about going to hell--first with my father and then, as so often happens, with my own children. And how we all found the way back. 

There's never been a better reason for me to become a better person than my children. 

Take a look at today's video and sign up for my email list so you won't miss this amazing offer we're putting together for you. 

Thanks for being here! 

love to you and your favorite people, 



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Resiliency? Not so fast.

Uncategorized Sep 06, 2019

by Anne O'Connor

The brutality of sexual violence seems unbearable. But here’s the thing about seemingly unbearable parts of life: we still have to bear them. How can we help one another bear life’s tragedies, big and small? 

There’s a ton of talk now about resiliency: the ability to overcome—especially quickly. The research is clear that we can build resiliency even after the worst of circumstances. But I wonder if this hopeful perspective is helping us do some thing we humans are already so good at: rushing past the hard parts of recovering from a traumatic event.  

Timing and support is everything. 

There are times when resiliency is too much to ask for.  Sometimes, the weight and the cost of the assault is so heavy and high. How hurt is too hurt? Are there some of us who just won’t be able to stand back up? What do we do then? 

There is a way to help deeply hurt people. But we don’t...

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How to Know Yourself: Look to Your History

self-knowledge Mar 17, 2019

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 

For me, this is a day to remember my ancestors and to celebrate Ireland, the green island of my grandparents.

My father’s name was Patrick, and maybe you know that Catholics are fond of celebrating their saint’s “Feast Day.” This is a day on the calendar that the Catholic Church assigns to a particular saint—the patron saint of Ireland. And while I long ago left behind the shame and the guilt and the abuse of the Catholic Church, I’ve had to make peace with the guy who raised me in that church.

So St. Patrick Day in my household always had the fanfare of the holiday—parades and shamrocks and wearing green and a celebration of all things Irish. And the deeper meaning of it being my father’s day. Now, it seems that everyone loves to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I was reminded of how prevalent this is when I looked at the Google icon today:

Google is using the triskelion in a beautiful tribute...

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Ten Reasons I Love Shoveling Three Inches of Wet, Heavy Snow

Uncategorized Feb 24, 2019


I have this thing I do when I notice myself feeling grumbly and irritated. Because most of the time my complaints are minor in the grand scheme of the world, so I like to shake myself out of complaining. And even when the complaints are straight-up legit, there’s always more than one way to look at a situation.

So, I make a list. Right there, on the spot, of all the things that I can genuinely appreciate about the thing I was grumbling and complaining about. The only rule is that the appreciations have to be real. Sometimes it’s difficult to get to 10. But I do it and it always gives me a better perspective.

Today, I decided to do my list out loud and in public, because I’m thinking that some of you could use this list today too. Snow shovelers unite!

Without further ado:

  1. The most obvious: I get to have shoveled walks and a shoveled driveway. I can get my car out and go places. My neighbors can walk on my sidewalks without falling. I can feel like a...
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Looking for the best life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness? Include women.

elections inclusion women Jan 30, 2019

It’s a familiar feeling for women in these United States. We live in the best of times, we live in the worst of times. We live with a president who shows little respect for women. We see violence and division grow each day.

But then we see the faces of the winners in the 2018 mid-term elections and oh!  We are so powerful--we are making the changes. 

Women made history in this week’s elections: Our new U.S. Congress will have more women than ever before in the history of our nation.

Great, right? So how many of our 535 seats available will now go to women? Half--the percentage of women in the country--would be 267. 

But the best we've ever done is more like 22 percent

Results are still coming in, but we know it will be at least 118—up from the previous high of 107.  

It’s great! We are right to celebrate our progress. It’s also not enough.

If the numbers were to reflect the composition of our country, half women and half...

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Say "Hell no!" to overwhelm and focus on what matters most

There’s been a bit of a dust-up in my small town since town leaders decided that all plantings on the boulevards have to go: no flowers, no shrubs, no bushes, no rocks—everything has to be pulled out. A group of residents is working to get a more reasonable stance negotiated with the city.

And I started thinking. I could help with that.  I could help draft language and help meet with the city leaders and help formulate a workable plan with these other good folks willing to step forward. I care about this; my neighbors and my mom have great boulevards and they’re worth preserving. Besides, my philosophy is that more plants are better.
All of which is completely true. But I have this problem: I try to do too much. I care about everything. And I want to be useful! I want to help! 
You already know what happens when I try to take it all on: I am not useful to anyone. 
Recently, I’ve been trying something new when I’m about to plunge...
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Gratitude 2012

For firm mattresses and soft down comforters. And mango with sticky rice. Voicemail messages cheering me on. Unwavering love. The sound of small feet making their way down the stairs in the morning.
For the salty water of the sea. And fresh water lakes. Expansive, fast flowing rivers, especially the Mississippi. For tiny rivulets, and creeks running through the woods; for cold, clear springs; for the pond in Sheila and John’s backyard.  Clean water for drinking; hot water for renewal.
For exercise balls in meeting rooms. And camaraderie of colleagues. For my office painted to match the sky. For chair massages and yoga and tai chi offered by my workplace. For children and dogs wandering the office and the resultant delight of my coworkers. For working together to change the way we have food.
For clean food, lovingly tended, and abundantly available. For the comfort and community of our coop. For a piece of hearty bread toasted, covered in avocado, a bit of salt and pepper,...
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Small groups: the most hopeful thing around

“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead
I recently completed a year-long commitment to self-development work called the Wheel of Initiation. I’m left in wonder at the power of a small group of people to change the world.
We did change the world. For fifteen people, the world became a shade brighter, a bit easier to accept, and a less random and confusing place.
The world became what it has been all along: a beautiful, supportive place where people can see all of us and find us more than worthy of love and respect. Most importantly, we were able to see ourselves in this way.
What this means is that fifteen people will move out into the world differently. We’ll be more connective and less combative. We’ll accept more and resist less. We’ll find ways to get to places where we want to be more and figure out how to stay out of...
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