What We Resist Does Indeed Persist

Do you experience struggle in your life?

And how does that affect your children?
This past weekend, Oprah had clinical psychologist and conscious parenting expert Dr. Shefali Tsabary as her guest on her popular TV show, Lifeclass. In a segment on sibling rivalry, Dr. Shefali asked one of the parents who complained about the arguments between her boys what battles she had in her own life. Talk about cutting to the chase! This mother knew right away exactly what she meant. Instantly, we learned about her recent life and death battle with metastatic breast cancer. Her inner struggles were being reflected outwardly through the sibling rivalry between her children.

As Carl C. Jung says “What you resist, persists”, and those hurdles tend to show up in the lives of the people and environment closest to us.

Last December a study on the relationship between traumatic events and inheritance was reported by the BBC. The findings provide evidence of "transgenerational epigenetic inheritance" which means that the environment can affect an individual's genetics, which can in turn be passed on.” Now science is beginning to see that our unhealed wounds may be showing up in the future generations that are born from our genetic inheritance. Now that’s an eye-opener to me!

There is another scientific phenomenon that I have recently learned about called microchimerism. Microchimerism is when two genetically distinct cell populations are found in the same individual. It happens most often from pregnancy. Scientists have found that fetal cells can linger in the uterus years after the pregnancy is over, whether by pregnancy loss or birth. These cells can be found in the mothers, twins, or even siblings born many years later.  
To apply that theory into perspective to my life, my grandmother had an abortion prior to the birth of my mother. It is very possible that the cells from the aborted pregnancy were not only in my grandmother, but also shared with my mother, her next child. I have recently learned that I may have had a missing twin in utero that miscarried early in my mother’s pregnancy with me. Do I carry cells from my lost sister in my body? The possibilities are incredible to think about. This is a different situation than transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, but both ideas raise the same questions:
  • How much awareness do we have of our ancestors’ lives on a physical level?
  • Is it an accident that my grandmother had an abortion and I, her grandchild, did also?
  • Is there healing that I can do to minimize this possibility happening in my daughter or granddaughter or great grand-daughter's life down the road?

  • Plus how much of my ancestors’ stress and trauma do I carry in my body and how much of that, plus my own, am I passing down to my own children?  

I don’t know the answer to these questions… yet. But I do know that what I take charge of and heal myself from not only helps me be a happier and aligned human being, it also has the potential to do that for my descendents as well.
Wherever our pain lies, in secrets or shame from our past, I believe the greatest hope for the future lies in healing ourselves first. And then, finally, what does not persist, cannot exist.

Desperately Seeking Acceptance


My upcoming book, How My Unborn Children Saved My Life, is a spiritual story of my journey to wholeness. It navigates the terrain of abortion and narcissism and how my unborn children led me to find my way out of a world of unhealthy behaviors.

Often we do not realize how broken we are and it takes an earth-shattering event to shake us from the world of illusion that we live in. 

We are born and raised into a world that over time becomes our “normal” way of living. Yet we can become so disconnected from the truth of who we are that we have little hope of discovering who we truly are without a crisis to ignite our transformation. 

I recently met two women who grew up in a household where narcissism was their mothers’ defining character trait. Both of these women were givers and both of them wanted more than anything else to be loved and acknowledged by their parents. And yet their mothers were so self-centered that it was impossible for them to clearly see their daughters and recognize their needs. I understood their stories well. Their stories were so similar to my own. 

I realize as I come full circle in my own life and understand why I made certain choices, why my life brought me in the directions it did. I understand that as human beings we all have one thing in common:

We desire acknowledgment and love from our parents. 

Our unborn children are no different.

I believe whether we have had an abortion or we have lost children through miscarriage, they are spiritual beings who chose us as their parents. They saw a beauty and light in us that made them want to be a part of our lives. 

Part of the healing journey from our pregnancy losses is their healing journey as well. They desire what we also desire – acknowledgement and love from their parents. 

It makes sense, doesn’t it? How many of us strived for a good part of our lives wanting to be seen and cherished by our parents? How many of us studied to get straight A’s or perhaps even developed a negative behavior just to get our parents’ attention? I think it is an unusual human being who has not been caught up in wanting such recognition. 

Why would our spirit children, our unborn angels, be any different?

The moment I connected with my unborn children, my life began to change. The heaviness in my being lifted and my transformational journey began.  

In fact, opening up to the bond of my unborn has led me to a deeper connection with my embodied children. Both my born and unborn children have taught me so much. The very least I can do is acknowledge and thank them for it.


Why We Really Need to Tell Our Stories

My good friend and author Susan Westbrook, of the extraordinary new book The Five TibetansYoga Workshop, believes that “We tell our story so others will tell theirs.” It is in telling our story that we give others permission not only to tell theirs, but if we do it right, sharing with an open heart and deep vulnerability, then they will share their story the same way.

But sharing our stories honestly and with integrity isn’t always easy to do.

Last week, at a conference of transformational leaders and visionaries from around the globe, I had the opportunity to speak to the concern of being vulnerable and authentic in storytelling.

I shared with the audience how difficult that experience was for me. I wrote no less than six drafts of my story for the Amazon bestseller, Pebbles in the Pond –Wave 2. I think the actual number was eight, with the final version coming out in draft nine. Each draft took me deeper into the land of vulnerability and opening my heart. Each draft brought me closer to the truth of who I was. You see, by committing to writing this story, I had also made a commitment to myself. Sharing my story has certainly given others a place of comfort in sharing theirs, but it also gave me a chance to know myself better; to take responsibility for my life, and to finally begin to live as an empowered woman, not a victim.

Writing and sharing my story was a spiritual practice; one that brought me profound inner healing. 

What I didn’t share at the conference last week was that writing my story was not something I consciously chose to do. Just like being awoken from the repressed feelings of my abortion when I had a miscarriage, the sharing of my story was something that chose me.

I spent years doing the inner work I needed to do to heal from my abortion. And yet each time I thought I was done with it, I received a message from the Universe gently letting me know that there was still much more work around this subject that needed to be addressed. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t escape it. My grandmother’s confession was my first realization of that, but over time the message was felt in other ways as well.

Never in a million years did I imagine I would write about pregnancy loss, abortion and our unborn children – definitely all of them suppressed, stigmatized and “woo woo” subjects. I was forty years old before I knew that my life’s work would include a significant component of energy around these experiences. Even then I did not envision that I would be writing about them for the whole world to read.

But this thing that I did not imagine, it kept coming back to me. Just when I thought I was done dealing with my abortion, my unborn daughter, or my grandmother’s startling news she shared with me, these events would weave their way into my prayers and dreams and remind me of their presence, of their stories and of their love.

Yes, it is true that I tell my story so others can more easily tell theirs. I also tell my story as a conduit so that my grandmother’s story and my unborn daughter’s presence can be acknowledged and appreciated. You see, for in doing so, in listening to the inner promptings to open my heart and let out the good, the bad, and the ugly, I find I am transformed as well.

Thank you Mor-Mor and Mary, for reminding me of this fact last week.



Why Take Sides?

It was on my mind for years. Literally. Am I pro-choice or pro-life? I used to wonder what was wrong with me that I couldn’t pick a side and stay with it.
And you know what was wrong with me?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

When it comes to the topic of choice where life is concerned, taking a side seems like the only way to go. Abortion isn’t the only part of life where this decision comes up. What about euthanasia or doctor assisted suicide? Are these issues really so straightforward and uncomplicated?

Before I had an abortion, I was pro-choice, although with the stipulation that it was something I believed in for other people and it was not something I would ever do. Can you feel my judgment oozing out of those words?

Even after my abortion, it made me feel better to believe that I had a right to choose what to do with my body. It validated the experience for me. My choice – my responsibility, but also my justification.

But then a miscarriage activated memories from the abortion that I couldn’t escape and I found myself beginning the process of healing from my abortion.  

At this point, I made a 180 degree turn around from my previous pro-choice stance and became pro-life. Healing was hard work and I had repressed a lot of negative emotions. Releasing all that toxicity was excruciating. I wanted to save anyone else from the trauma I experienced. At the time, a devout Roman Catholic, I confessed and repented my choice. In many ways, becoming pro-life was a way of restitution for me.

But atoning for my choice didn’t open me up to the whole story of my life and why I made that choice in the first place. It blinded me to the deeper parts of my story and kept me in shame – for I was continuing to judge myself.

The truth is I had my own issues to resolve around worthiness and self-esteem. And I am finding that so do many, many others, both men and women.

I met a woman the other day who told me she moved to California from New York forty years ago. When I asked her what brought her out here, she shared in lengthy detail the traumas of her childhood, still fresh in her mind like they had happened yesterday. The anger, bitterness, and resentment after all this time were still raw for her. Most of us aren’t that expressive, especially to a complete stranger, yet many of us hold onto some very deep childhood hurts for far too long.

Am I pro-life? You bet. I believe most of us believe in the sanctity of life. It is sacred and beautiful and miraculous. Just think about how any of us came to be here – who could ever have imagined an egg and a sperm united to create each one of us?

Am I pro-choice? You bet. We all deserve the right to choose what to do with our bodies and our lives are precious too. Do I have any less right to live my life on my terms than anyone else?

In the over two decades since my abortion, I have been on both sides of this conversation. What I have found after being in both places is that I actually am in reality in both places. I value life AND I believe in a person’s right to choose.
I have been studying abortion for over a decade and what I have concluded is that there isn’t a person I have yet to meet who isn’t both pro-life and pro-choice. We think that abortion, like euthanasia, war, poverty, and violence, is a black and white issue… but it’s not. It’s full of story, nuance and lots of gray areas. Maybe the real story behind this question is not which side we are on, but what we do to honor the life that is here already.



PS: Here is a link to a short movie (21 minutes) with actor James Cromwell that I saw this week about taking sides. It’s current and powerful. Can you imagine a world where we lived in unity instead of separation?


Lessons From A Flat Tire On The Streets of San Francisco

Do you ever feel like life is handing you one batch of lemons after another? Last week, was one of those weeks in my house.

It began with our cars. My teenagers have fourteen year old cars. They are meant to get them back and forth to school and don’t get too many miles put on them. Because insurance for teenagers costs an arm and a leg, rating them on older cars with minimal coverage was a whole lot cheaper than rating them on my car and juggling everyone’s logistical needs.

Last week, what seemed like a minor repair to my son’s car, took over a week of waiting for a part, while at the same time my daughter’s car was waiting (and she, not so patiently) to get into the shop to be fixed. The ongoing pod racer sounds emitting from its engine were one thing, but the grinding noises every time she made a turn were becoming a more serious cause for concern. Just as we seemed to be getting their cars all figured out, I had my own little “situation!”

One of my former neighbors from Massachusetts was on the west coast visiting San Francisco and had called a few days earlier to let us know she was in town. About to enter her senior year of college, she has been an important and pivotal person in my life for many years, and I really wanted to see her. Unfortunately, I had to cancel an appointment I had made weeks earlier with very little notice in order to make this visit happen. There was no question that I wouldn’t find a way to see her. My seventeen year old daughter and I were driving through San Francisco that morning to rendezvous with my friend when I made a tactical driving error, blowing out my front passenger side tire.


The road had forked into two pieces and I was in the right lane, not sure of where to be at the divide. As I stayed right, it looked as if the road was going to take me off course, so I looked in my mirror, saw I had room to turn left, not noticing that there was precious little space to make the move without hitting the beginning of the curb dividing the two parts of the road. Sure enough, I hit the curb in that perfect sweet spot and immediately heard the telltale pop release of air from the tire upon impact.

I knew I couldn’t make it far without damaging the tire rims, so I took the first turn off the busy road that was available to me… which happened to be up a hill. But what else is there in San Francisco, but hills?

It was obvious that I wasn’t going to easily find flat ground anywhere. Inwardly I cursed myself out for making such a stupid mistake, while outwardly I struggled to put on an optimistic face for my daughter.

As we were stopped at the side of the road, I found a garage with tenant parking in a driveway and backed up into it. After calling our roadside service and learning it might take 45 minutes or so to be back on the road, and knowing we only had only a short window of time to see our friend, I said to my daughter, “Let’s do this ourselves.”

She hesitated as I pulled out the equipment and spare tire. When she saw me reach for the car manual with directions, I am not sure what she thought!

Half paralyzed with thoughts of “Is this safe? What if the person who lives here needs to get their car out to go to work?”, I realized that I was only wasting time – time that could be much better spent doing something other than being stuck in my head worrying about what “might” happen. 

Car manual in one hand, jack in the other, we figured it out.

Just as we finished installing the spare tire, the roadside service arrived, checked our work, gave us a big thumbs up and we were back on track. We managed to make our breakfast reservation about 25 minutes late, and enjoyed well over an hour catching up with our dear friend. Just like old times (minus the flat tire part).

The old me was lurking in the back of my mind that day, wanting to feel sorry for herself and say it was all her own damn fault for getting the flat tire. I felt her there. I knew, too, that there was a stronger and wiser woman in this body – one that knew she could change a tire, knew that she could create a more desirable outcome, not only for myself but as an example to my daughter.

I have beaten myself up over so many things in my life, and have wasted so much time while doing this damaging practice. Living in a space of negativity and bashing myself, I can’t possibly find a creative solution to my problem: I am too busy whacking myself upside the head! The flat tire last week was a reminder to me that I can course correct. There is nothing to be gained by self-flagellation, but everything to be gained by positive thinking.

And who is to say if I really made a mistake in the first place? Perhaps learning to change a flat tire will serve my daughter or myself well in another situation in the future, maybe in a time of more crisis than just being late for breakfast.

It’s amazing how your perspective and your thoughts can make all the difference in the world, even if it’s just dealing with a flat tire.