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This time of the year, I like to reflect on what has inspired me during the past year, what has given me courage, helped me grow, brought me new insights. I’d like to share with you a few of the discoveries that have inspired me this year, in hopes that it might inspire you to reflect on YOUR inspiration sources this year, so that these may carry you into the new year with a smile on your face and joy in your heart.

Relationship as the cure.

Stan Tatkin’s Wired for Love, and the idea that most of our original wounds occur in relationship, and must be healed in relationship. Tatkin’s approach integrates the insights of interpersonal neurobiology of relationships and attachment theory with acute observation of the physiological state of the couple as they interact with each other. I think his approach has a broader application than couple’s therapy and look forward to learning from him next year. His work provides ways to explain to people the structure of what is happening to them, what the patterns are that drive them and family systems.

Empathy as the basis for a civil society.

I was also inspired by Bruce Perry’s plea that we tend to the development of empathy, Born for Love: Why Empathy is Essential –and Endangered, with Maia Szalavitz, 2010. Check out his work with the Child Trauma Academy.  Empathy is the basis for trust: because I can see that you know how I feel, I can trust you. Trust is the basis for agreement: because I trust you I can make an agreement with you for some future event and have confidence that you will deliver. Agreement is the basis for our complex society: because we can make agreements we can bring our different talents and efforst together in pursuit of common goals.

Touching spirit as a grounding for the day.

Don and I decided to get the eBook, A Year with Hafiz, rendered by wisely irreverent Daniel Ladinsky. Each morning we read a poem derived from the Sufi mystic and wiseman.  Entertaining, touching, and inspiring, revealing the divine in the mundane and celebrating it ecstatically, these little poems have helped us start the day with a smile and a sense of connection in our hearts. Somehow that makes the day easier. Making this a daily practice brings heart-felt-ness into our experience.

The culture of compassion and the power of women.

Through my own health challenges this year, I discovered that women can make a difference. The medical “establishment” I dealt with treated me like a human being. Efforts were clearly made to tend to my feelings as well as my body, and this is evidence of many women who preceded me through the medical system and decided to humanize the path for those who followed them. Together we can change cultures.

The courage to grieve.

As some of you know, my beloved mentor and the dissertation chair for much of my doctoral journey at Fielding passed away in November of 2011. His wife and soul mate, Kim Pearce was, of course, devastated by the loss. Rather than try to cope or “get over it”, Kim had the enormous courage to allow herself to fall into the grief process and discover that love and grace are waiting for those who trust Life. By opening to the pain and loss she allowed herself to be transformed and showed that it is possible to fall apart with grace and find the way home.

My husband.

We’ve been married for 31 years now. Since Don left Xerox and “came home” as we like to say, he has daily demonstrated such a deep willingness to stay engaged with me and learn our business, and to make personal changes so that he could support the work of the Institute full time (well, maybe more than full time!) Age 65 has been a year of blossoming for him. I am so inspired every time I see him smile and am blessed to be his wife and business partner.

These are a few of the inspirations that have guided me this year. What inspired you in 2012? How have you grown or changed as a result of those encounters with the divine in its mundane disguises? What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

Wishing you many inspiring moments in 2013,


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