We’re All Warriors

During the holiday season, there was a holiday card being sold at Dana-Farber that I helped to create. On the back, they credited me as the “artist” and used my ‘cancer slayer’ term that I often called myself. I had approved it but when I saw it in print, I felt a little weird about it – I had always equated being a cancer slayer to being a warrior, and then the thought popped into my head that I was a warrior but I’m not a warrior anymore. I often look at the two years that I underwent treatment and overcame cancer to be two years of my life that I am proudest of, I feel very confident talking about my experience and am always open and empowered to share it with others. But when it comes to other aspects of my life, particularly my career, I feel very sheepish and unsure of myself- I don’t feel like I have slayed the past two years and I certainly don’t feel like a warrior very often anymore.

I had that thought and then I let it fade. But then it came back to me one afternoon during a meditation sitting during my yoga training and I began contemplating the idea that I don’t have to have cancer to be a warrior. I can be a warrior in my everyday life- with every action I take, every compassionate conversation, every day that I get up and go to work, every night when I try being a chef to make a healthy dinner for our family, every time I go to the gym instead of sitting on the couch, every time I do something to accomplish a dream. In so many aspects of life, big and small, I can be a warrior. What if I’m not a just a cancer slayer or work slayer or yoga slayer or pup mom slayer… what if I’m just a life slayer? What if we’re all life slayers?

One of the greatest learnings that I’ve become more familiar with throughout my yoga readings and trainings is to see each human being as who they are and be okay with it. Essentially, to see the warrior inside of everyone. To remember that you never know what’s going on behind closed doors, or sometimes more powerfully, what’s going on in someone’s mind. To remember that everybody has a family that loves them, everybody has a friend that thinks they’re funny or enjoys their quirkiness. Everybody wants the best for their family and friends, their community. Everybody wants to be healthy and to live a prosperous, happy life. Everybody has the same innate quality to feel connected and be included – to “be a part of.” Everybody looks up and sees the same stars, and the same beautiful sun and moon. We all share the same home – we all have different struggles but it doesn’t matter what the struggle is because to each individual, it’s their struggle, it matters, it’s hard, and it takes work to overcome. Yoga, mindfulness, Buddhism teachings have all taught me to remember those common things about other human beings. When someone is particularly annoying or aggravating me, it’s helpful to take a deep breath and realize that I may not know what’s going on in their life and to remember that they have a mother that thinks they’re wonderful, and they probably love the very attribute that I may find annoying. They’re a human, just like me. They have worries and fears and anxiety, just like me. And in one way or another, they are slaying their life. They are slaying the worries that keep them up at night and are a warrior to the personal demons that plague their body and mind. We all are. We all are trying our best—even if to the outsider it may not look like they’re slaying or doing their best—remember that who they are, in this day, is doing their best – maybe they will do “better” in the future, but at this moment in time, this is their best self. We’re all warriors- slaying whatever life throws our way today.

Being a warrior doesn’t mean doing some remarkable achievement—it certainly can mean completing a marathon, or conquering an illness, or beginning an impactful social movement—but a warrior can also be someone that has so much anxiety that their chest hurts and they go to work anyway, it can be the mother that puts their career on pause because they believe in the importance of being home to raise their children—it can be the son or daughter that sacrifices personal growth and time with their significant other to become a caregiver for their sick parent—it can be a person who sees someone being bullied and says something about it—it can be a person who absolutely loathes their job and simply goes to work with a smile on their face because they know that’s what they have to do to get by – it can be a person who’s overweight and goes to the gym despite feeling uncomfortable. It can be anyone because it is everyone.

Everyone, in some way, is a warrior.

Respect that notion about others but most importantly, respect that about yourself. You are slaying life right this second.

Warrior on. 💪🏼

Love & light,


p.s. Speaking of being a warrior….. here’s me slaying the winter walk to work


The Fabric of Life

Did people talk to each other on public transportation before mobile devices? 
I’m working downtown for my new job and it’s easiest to take the train. Everyday I become more fascinated by how so many individuals can be in one location and nobody talks to each other. Nobody even makes eye contact. Most people are on their phones, texting, listening to music, checking emails, reading. Clearly, many are connecting with other people- just none of the other humans near them. It’s such a weird concept- kind of like being on an elevator – to be sharing, many times, super personal space with another individual but make no connection. Why is that? I’m totally guilty as I listen to my music and people watch. I probably would text or email or go on social media if I could but I’d crush my data in a day so I don’t. As I people watch, it’s interesting to see everyone’s moods, expressions, attitudes. Hundreds of people packing into a single object like a can of sardines most likely to do the same thing- go to work or to go home from work- but rarely is an acknowledgement made.

Even though the vast majority of us are riding the train for the same reason, it’s different than when we go on the train to go to a Celtics game- those rides, there’s a clear sense of comeroddery- we act nice towards others because we know we’re rooting for the same team, we’re doing the same thing- we must be “like each other.” But aren’t we all like each other when we’re going to work too? Just trying to make a few bucks to help put food on the table, a roof over our heads, pay for cable, save up for that vacation, to spoil our pets. 

Since I’m taking the train twice a day now, every time I get on, I think about this concept and it’s been kind of bumming me out. But then I was walking to Sullivan Station one morning and I notice some new graffiti below the underpass. 

“Even though I don’t know you, I need you….. #FabricOfOurLife”

And there it is. I’m not the only one feeling the disconnect with one another. Whoever this person is, they feel it too. 

I’m not sure how long Somerville authorities will keep this one up, but I hope they do for a little while- it made me think. I think it’ll make others think.

We may not know each other but we all need one another. I’m going to remember this before I make eye contact with someone on the train and quickly look away… maybe tomorrow, I take the time to smile. Who knows, that person could use a smile. 

Love a Little Differently This Year


Valentine’s brings up many different emotions for a wide array of people. Happiness to those in healthy relationships, saddness to those that aren’t in one, longing or loneliness for those who want to be in a relationship. It brings pressure to those in relationships to make sure they do something special. And it brings anxiety to 7th graders when they’re waiting for their name to be called signifying that someone bought them a flower. I love love. I’m a sucker for all romantic comedies and I watch viral videos of engagement proposals. But I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day (as my parents can attest, I used to color the day black on the calendar as a way to “skip it” when I was probably 14.) But as time has gone on and I’ve been lucky enough to be in relationships, I’ve ended up enjoying the day as another reason to go out to dinner and hopefully get flowers for my kitchen table. But when thinking about it this year, it dawned on me that I have no idea what the origin of Valentine’s Day is? What does it actually mean? What’s the real purpose? How did people celebrate Valentine’s Day before there were boxes of chocolates and 1-800-flowers?

So I decided to look it up, and to be up front, I really don’t like the origins of this holiday. Let me give you a synopsis of where it comes from. In the century 3 A.D., the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia by men sacrificing a goat and a dog and then would whip women with the hides of these slained animals! Young women actually would line up for the men to hit them, because they believed that it would make them fertile. There was then a matchmaking selection in which a woman could be ‘coupled’ up with a man. So romantic, right?

The ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name this day after Emperor Claudius II executed two men during this same festival— both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years. This, for some reason unknown to me, was then honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day. As years passed, Shakespeare began writing about this day and romanticizing the realities of it which lead to popularity in European countries during the Middle Ages where people began creating handmade cards for their loved ones. by 1913, Hallmark of Kansas began mass producing “Valentine’s Day” cards and the rest is history.*


But what if we changed this day to simply a day of LOVE? Then anyone and everybody who wanted to celebrate could feel like they’re included on this day. Of course, those in healthy relationships that want to do something sweet for their partner, do it! But how about loving yourself? How about sending love out to the universe or to Mother nature? If we could all act in a loving way today– not to just those that we’re “in love” with but all those individuals, animals and things that we love, this day could be far more meaningful and positive in a world currently so divided.

Why not get a trash bag and pick up around your community? Love your mother Earth.

Why not send a letter to a friend that you haven’t talk to in a while and tell them how much they mean to you still.

Why not volunteer at a homeless shelter and show love to those individuals who very much need it?

Why not reach out to an old teacher and tell them that the love they put toward you has inspired you in someway?

Why not call your mom and dad and say thank you for all the love they’ve given you in your life?

Why not show yourself some love by getting a massage or going for a hike or doing whatever it is that your soul desires? Loving yourself is not selfish, it is actually selfless. Because if you don’t love you  then there’s certainly no room for you to truly love others.

There are so many ways to show love– flowers and cards and chocolates and dinners are all nice– but there’s other ways to show you, your partner, your friend, your neighbor, and your world that you love them. Even if it’s just one act of loving kindness today, I dare you to do it.

Don’t let your Valentine’s Day be filled with negative emotions — sadness, loneliness, anxiety, anger– simply make YOUR Valentine’s Day a day full of L-O-V-E.

Lots of love & light,


*source cited: http://www.npr.org/2011/02/14/133693152/the-dark-origins-of-valentines-day

The Beauty of Being Blind

To my amazement, over the past year and a half, I’ve continued to receive Smile Cards on a regular basis to take to the Brigham. Sometimes they’re from friends or family but more often than not, they’re from individuals or groups that I’m not associated with or know personally. Upon returning from the Cape on Saturday, I was immediately greeted with two batches of cards from different people. After we unpacked, I started reading thru them and, as I always am, I was moved by the kind words these strangers were writing to patients. But as I was reading through them, my mind wandered to the many tragic events that have unfolded in our country and throughout the world in the past month. It struck me, quite poignantly, that the many children and adults writing these cards don’t know who they’re writing to so they certainly don’t know the patients’ race or religion or gender or sexuality. They just know that they’re a human being. A human being in need of some support and so they selflessly offer their love, prayers and healing thoughts to complete and total strangers.

I wish that we could all see the world like the people who write these smile cards do…blind to the labels society puts on people. Blind to whether or not the person is voting for Hillary or Trump, blind to what kind of car they drive or what God they believe in or whether they’re gay or straight or transgender. They’re blind to it all; all except the fact that there’s a human being on the other end of that card, there’s a human being in a hospital bed that has a family and friends that love them. In the end, isn’t that all we really need to know? A person, just like us, is in need… We should help. 
It’s time we see people truly for the heart that beats within them.
Thank you to every single person who has written a Smile Card over the past year and a half. You’re making the world a more caring place. Keep them coming!
Lots of love & light,


So Many Smiles

Over 350 Smile Cards are on route to the Brigham!!!! I have received letters from so many people wanting to help in this small initiative and it makes my heart so full. Keep them coming; there are always patients that need a little pick-me-up! 

Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who has helped me with this. You truly are making a difference.
Lots of love & light,


May My Heart Be Kind

I was so grumpy after the Pats game last night. Two losses in a row? How terrible! I was letting it make my mood on a Sunday night be spoiled. And then The President came on and spoke about Isis. And then my pissy mood regarding the game of football quickly switched to a genuine feeling of sadness thinking of the hatred that’s out in this world. I can’t fathom wanting to bring such harm to any living thing, never mind an entire subset of the human race.

I wish there was something I could do to help, to make a difference, to make this craziness stop. But there isn’t. I can’t change the evil in someone’s heart, I can’t rid the world of their monster-like actions. But what I can do is go out in the world that I do live in and bring light and positive energy to it. I can be a kind person who respects others and cares for others. I can bring others happiness. Just like their hatred can spread and infect those around them, let us infect each other with positivity and compassion and love. Your small action of kindness can bring someone else joy and in turn can make them a kinder person and so forth. Remember that as you start this week– your actions spread. So make your actions positive ones!

We may never know a world with only peace and love, but we can hope and pray for one. So that’s what I’ll continue to do and that’s what I hope to motivate you to do. Love always wins. 

Lots of love & light,


Cast Your Stone

Sometimes I get caught up in the fact that my daily work doesn’t help anyone other than myself. I get upset thinking that my actual work leaves little to make a difference in the world. But this is a good reminder that making a difference in the world doesn’t always have to be made with a big splash. Sometimes it can be little things that you do, smiling at a stranger, donating $10 to your friends fundraiser, really listening to someone when they’re upset, babysitting for a family member, volunteering at a soup kitchen. Whatever it is, spending time doing something for someone else makes a difference. If we all made small ripples, it would create a large ocean current, with rolling beautiful waves.

Something to think about as we start the week. Even if it’s teensy tiny, make a difference today. 

Lots of love & light,