dog diving

Diving In

So I just asked a whole bunch of you to follow my blog. Something that, believe it or not, I’ve never done before, not in the five years I’ve been coaching clients and writing here. I mean, I had the expectation that people would read my blog posts. I just wasn’t being very vocal about it. Kinda like when I used to meander around my front yard hoping the kids across the street would see me and ask me to play.

I took a chance, and I asked for what I wanted: readers! And my first thought was, “Yay me!”

Quickly followed by, “Crap! If I want people to follow my blog, I should give them, like, something to actually READ when they get there!”

Brain lock ensued, followed by longing looks at a bag of cashews on my kitchen counter.

Even if you’ve never written for publication, you may still recognize what I’m doing here: when writers don’t know what to write about, they write about how they don’t know how to write. Or their writer’s block. Or about their process. Or about their scrambling for a process.

How often do talk about what you’re going to do (learn a foreign language lose weight go to the gym clean out the Dreaded Junk Drawer take a painting class) instead of actually going and doing it? How many of you shy away from doing something because if you started it you might have to actually, like, KEEP DOING IT?

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Geez! What Do You Want NOW????

Parents know that sometimes, kids have no idea what they want. They ask for food when they’re actually thirsty. They get weird and whiny when they’re tired, confused, uncomfortable or bored. They ask for toys almost reflexively, even when they know the answer is going to be no, even when I told you before we went into the store that I’m not buying you anything!!!

cowboy bootsOf course we all outgrow all that.


I find that when I am craving “stuff,” which could take the form of elaborate cowboy boots, a kick-ass hat, baubles and bangles, food, drink or even sex, sometimes it’s because I don’t KNOW what I really want. I haven’t given myself over to the discomfort of quieting long enough to question my spirit.

Why do I want that thing/that person/that cookie/ margarita/experience? How do I think I will feel once I get it? Is that thing/person/cookie/margarita/experience the best or only way to get to that feeling?

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How to “Fixit” for Your Inner Four-Year-Old

Something didn’t go the way I wanted today. Someone isn’t doing what I want them to do today. And the weather is totally misbehaving and out of my control. My inner four-year-old is stamping her foot and is totally pissed off. And that’s okay.

maggie mcreynolds blog, tantrumsI’m kinda letting her have her say at the moment, because it’s interesting and a little entertaining—she’s cute when she’s mad. She wants things when she wants them, the way she wants them, and at the exact time she wants them! She is hollering and her cheeks are red and she is still trying to control things by pouting (the lip thing sometimes works, you know), wishing (lack of magic lamp issue aside), and doggedly trying to put the “broken” things back together with kindergarten scissors and that thick, weird paste some of the kids used to eat in school.

My grown-up knows that at some point, she will tire of this effort and will thrust it at me and say, “Fixit.” What she really means isn’t that she expects me to change other people’s behavior, or magically alter the weather, or wave a magic wand and make the pants that arrived in the wrong size (too big) suddenly be the right one.

She wants me to fix her feelings, she wants me to fix it by helping her figure out how to feel better, and how to go with it when things and people and weather aren’t going the way she expected or the way she wanted them to.

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Love, Actually

When I was a kid, the quintessential holiday movie was It’s a Wonderful Life. That, or that weird Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer stop-animation thingie with the electric razor-riding Santa. I never could figure out what Norelco had to do with anything, but I was busy being freaked out by the Abominable Snow Monster.

These days, it seems, everybody’s watching Love, Actually, a 2003 Christmas bon bon at once sweet, tender, joyful and heart-breaking. Guys, if you want your woman to go all misty-eyed, kiss on you lots and fall in love with you all over again, you will sit down with her and watch this movie. Trust me.

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Finally Marshmallow-Free!

Okay, so some of you really love marshmallows and don’t understand why I’d single them out for derision.

Allow me to explain.

Stay-Puft Marhsmallow Man,Maggie McReynoldsI don’t actually like marshmallows—never have. To me, they are little plump blobs of sugar and who-the-the-heck-knows-what-else. They are weird and unnatural.

But as it happens, I’m not talking about literal marshmallows. I’m talking about metaphorical ones: the sticky, gooey, unnecessary, over-the-top unhealthy stuff that so many of us pile into our holidays just as we pile them atop our sweet potato casseroles.

We don’t really like them. We don’t really want them. We certainly don’t need them. But there they are anyway, because Grandma always used them, or because we think everyone expects them or because it “wouldn’t seem like (insert holiday here) without them.”

These metaphorical marshmallows are white, fluffy La Brea tarpits of expectation and obligation, all our shoulds and supposed-tos and have-tos and ought-tos miring us in “tradition” and perpetuating guilt, shame and major blood sugar crashes.

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Maggie McReynolds blog

237 Kinds of Blind

In E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality, author Pam Grout postulates that we see what we expect to see. It sounds sort of obvious, but go beyond that first reflexive response to get to the deeper truth: all the things we habitually think about show up for us, every day. Piece by piece, moment by moment, they make up our experience of life.

Leave aside arguments about whether or not that’s because we manifest them with our thoughts. Just consider that if you are thinking about seeing yellow cars, you’re probably going to notice yellow cars. Which is fine, of course. Unless it would serve you better to see/find an orange car, in which case, you may be blinding yourself to it.

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What the Hell Are You Doing?

Is that really the smartest marketing move I’ve ever made, asking you something like that in a subject header?

Well, no. No, it isn’t.

painted into a corner, Maggie McReynolds blogBut isn’t that the question many of you are asking yourself these days?

Here you are, somewhere in the middle of your life, and, really, does it look like anything you had in mind for yourself when you were a kid? I don’t mean in the sense of a Barbie’s Dreamhouse-style fantasy (at age 6, my sole ambition in life was to be a mommy and, I blush to say, a waitress with a frilly apron). I mean, you knew when you were little that you could do anything, be anything, go anywhere, create the life of your dreams.

So did you?

And if you didn’t, what the hell are you doing?

Listen, if you are happy–and many of you doubtless are, this email is not for you. This is for those of you who find yourself looking around at your job, your relationships, your home, your life and experiencing a disconnect.

This is for those of you experiencing that exquisitely painful and bewildering state of “WTF???”

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Maggie McReynolds blog,

Lessons from a Piece of Pizza

There is a piece of my son’s leftover pizza in my refrigerator. There is half a package of his Oreos in my cupboard. There is a bottle of truly fine pinot noir and some expensive Russian vodka in my cabinet (um, those purchases would have been mine). There is chocolate in my freezer.

For probably the first time in my life, I am oblivious to all of it.

Like many of you, I’ve used eating, drinking, shopping and getting multiple mani-pedis for comfort. I didn’t know it for years, but I was doing it for the same reason most people do: to not have to feel the things I didn’t want to have to face.

So what made me stop all of it, quite literally overnight?

The obvious and true answer is that I became a life coach, and, in doing so, learned how to deal with all of those feelings and fears I was trying to stuff down with Pepperidge Farm Double-Chocolate Milanos.

But the more important and also true answer is that I found something I wanted more than the “comfort” any of these things might bring me in the moment, something I could finally believe in with all my soul:

I want 100% good health. And for the first time in my life, I believe it’s within my reach and that I deserve it.

So when my eyes land on a tray of freshly baked scones at the teahouse I frequent, they keep on moving without my giving those pastries a second thought. When a dinner party host offers to make me one of his fabulous and famous basil-lemon martinis, I go for ice water without a quiver of regret. I pass up cute shoes because I know that money I would have spent on those will buy me probiotics and another month at the recreation center where I swim.

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