Archive for March, 2010


The Rite of Leaving Behind

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Sometimes, there’s one thing holding us back from moving forward into the futures we want: being tugged back by the past. I was recently reminded of this when a single woman named Kate won a free hour of coaching I’d offered through a raffle giveaway.


Where your painful past belongs

When I asked Kate about her dating history, one thing kept coming up again and again: her ex-fiancée. It had been years since they broke up, but she had a hard time getting past the pain of that failed relationship for so many reasons. So I suggested to her what I tell a lot of people, and what I offer you now: If you’re having a really hard time moving past something, a ritual can help to send a sign that you’re dedicated to moving forward.

One ritual that works: Write down all the things you want to say goodbye to on small pieces of paper and put the papers in a ceramic vase, dirt ditch, or firepit to burn. Put all the bad stuff on there: Your hurt over what happened, your fears you’ll be alone, your anger toward a person who hurt you. Put all those feelings that are sucking your hopeful future out of you into that bowl or ditch and burn them. Watch them shrivel up and blacken and disappear. Say goodbye to each of them as they wither away on the outside to make room for your new life on the inside.

This is what I suggested to Kate, and what she wrote about in her post, The Rite of Leaving Behind Part I. As she put it, it all began with admitting that the past had a hold on her, as it may on you.

“I confessed my doubts. That I just didn’t feel as if I trusted my judgment anymore. That I felt as if wanted what I wanted to give and receive in a relationship wasn’t justified. Wasn’t possible. Not after I’d failed, big time. In the end, that’s what kept coming up. That big-time failure. That horrible break-up. All the pain, all the fallout. . .But the bottom line is all that residual stuff is holding me back, and Amy knew it.”

You can also click on her site for Part II of the story, and for a chance to win her giveaway: a free copy of Meeting Your Half-Orange!

As wacky as a rite or ritual may seem to you, it is worth it to try. And I hope that Kate’s experience will help you take that step. You deserve a wonderful, happy, full future. But if you are still filled up with angst over your past, where on earth will your big future fit?

Make room. Say goodbye to your past so you can move openly toward your big great love.

You might also like:
Time to Un-Do an Un-Relationship?

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

Giving like Gramma Ruth

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

My Gramma Ruth passed away two days ago at the age of 93.

Gramma with my baby Aunt in the 1940's

Gramma with my baby Aunt in the 1940's

She was my last living grandparent, my Dad’s Mom, the matriarch of the Spencer family. She was never sick a day in her life, and lived her time to her fullest, until a ripe old age.

In the past few days, my family and I have talked a lot about what we’ll never forget about Gramma, who raised four children without raising a peep over how hard it was. My sister and I also planted pots of Forget Me Nots, and talked about a different memory of her as we dropped each seed. And the one thing that keeps coming up about Gramma was her way of giving. She took so little, expected so little and gave so much.

Every Christmas, she’d spend two days hand-making hundreds of cookies she gave out in Cool Whip containers to every family member, and she’d spend probably two months sewing original felt ornaments of ice skaters and camels and snowmen.

My favorite memories, in fact, are of Gramma sewing and teaching me to sew. One year, inspired by Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink, I took on a particularly big and public project: I set out to sew my own junior prom dress. I couldn’t afford the expensive dresses I wanted, so I designed my own dress that I hoped was going to look just as beautiful for a quarter of the price. I spent weeks working on it, and a few days before the prom, Gramma came to visit from Connecticut. She looked at what I’d done with the dress so far, and guided me through one of the last steps, a day of machine sewing the bodice onto the big ruffled skirt. The truth was, it looked pretty terrible. I went to bed frowning at how crooked and messy my stitches were, stomping at my stupidity for taking my own look into my own hands. This was my first prom! And instead of looking like the other girls in the beautiful Laura Ashley dresses I’d wished I could afford, I was going to look a right old mess. The next morning, I saw the dress laid out on the dining room table looking different than I’d remembered. In fact, it was absolute perfection. “Oh, I just fixed a few of the stitches for you,” said Gramma, waving her hand away. In truth, while I was sleeping, she stayed up all night, took the worst parts of the dress apart and sewed it back together for me perfectly. And all I remember from there is how pretty I felt on my prom day, how proud I was of myself and my dress, and how grateful I was to Gramma for giving me that gift.

My Mom said the same of her giving. Gramma, she wrote in an email, “was always understated, modest, humble, a gentle lady working quieting behind the scenes, never wanting or expecting praise or thanks. A true saint.”

It’s a reminder for all of us to look not at what we’re getting today, but at what we’re giving. Even when it comes to relationships, we’re more often focusing on what we want to get from our partners than on what we want to give. But love is a two-way street. Giving is half the work and half the fun. So don’t just think about what you deserve to get. Think about what you want to give in love: Your big heart? Your unconditional acceptance? Your sewing skills or cooking? Your ability to make people laugh and feel cared for when they need it most?

Gramma as I best remember her: smiling.

Gramma as I best remember her: smiling.

In honor of my Gramma, think about what you can you give someone else today without the need for praise or thanks. What can you give just for the joy of giving? Maybe a gift. A compliment. A phone call. An apology. A plate of cookies. An hour of your time helping them finish a task they can’t seem to get started. A shoulder to lean on. A birthday card. A cocktail. A hug. An “I love you” to the person who may know it, but needs to hear it. Whatever you have inside that someone else needs, give. Even after 93 years, life feels short, so give today, while you can.

Thank you, Gramma. I only hope we can live as generously as you did,

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

The Acorn Message

Friday, March 19th, 2010

This week, I went to another lecture by Marianne Williamson. And I love that so many of you love her too, and that some of you are even attending these same lectures (hi Kelly!). She was so full of wisdom, it’s hard to pick just one nugget to pass along, so I’ll make it easy and share the first one that made me think, “I need to tell my dating optimists this!”

What's inside the acorn and you? (Image: Daniel Towsey,

What's inside the acorn and you? (Image: Daniel Towsey,

Here’s a question for you: Have you ever said, “I don’t know if I have it in me?” Maybe you’ve said it about work or about facing a difficult issue head on. Or maybe you’ve said it about your love life: Maybe you’ve worried that you don’t have the ability to open up to love or to make a commitment inside you. Well, as Marianne Williamson essentially said,

“Saying, ‘I just don’t have it in me,’ is like an acorn saying, ‘I just don’t know if I have an oak tree in me.'”

Marianne then went on to say that “the presence of fear is proof you’re trusting your own strength.” And that’s so true. Think about it. If you really knew you didn’t have something in you—the way, say, I know I don’t have it in me to be a stuntman skydiver—we’d say just that flat out: “Hells, no, I’ll definitely never ever be able to do that!” The fact that you’re afraid is a sign that you know you can do it.

So the next time you hear yourself saying you don’t know if you have it inside, picture a scared little acorn and the strength it has inside—the strength you have inside. Like the acorn, there’s no denying what you’re capable of, whether you guys like it or not.

Branch out: Fulfill your potential in love

Branch out: Fulfill your potential in love

You have the potential to love and be loved. You have the potential to commit. And you have the ability to become positive and hopeful about it in the meantime, until your half-orange steps into your path. Tune into what you have inside and trust in it. If the acorn can do it, so can you.

You might also like:
3 Tricks to Flip Your Frustration
Marianne: Feeling Like You Blew It?

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

TODAY: Get Optimisms on your iPhone!

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a friend telling you JUST what you needed to hear before a big date? Or right after a bummer one? Or first thing in the morning when you’re having a bad hair day and can’t seem to shake your mood? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little nudge of optimism? Well, you know what I’m going to say here…now you can!


In the hopes of passing along positivity in a new way to those of you who have iPhones, I’ve created an iPhone App called Half-Orange Optimisms. (You can link to the App at  iTunes by clicking on that name.)

And it launches today, March 18th!

It’s a collection of 100 original Optimistic quotes I’ve come up with to give you a boost about yourself, your mood, your dating life and your life as a whole. Like a Fortune Cookie meets a Magic 8-Ball Meets Your Crazy Dating Life, you just shake the phone, and the 3-D spinning orange will reveal…


…a few cool words of happy dating wisdom. I’ll be updating the App regularly with brand-new phrases and tips, so it’ll always be full of some fresh, healthy positive advice.

I know I’m not perfect about updating my blog every day. And sometimes I don’t get around to Tweeting for a few days at a time either. So I thought this would be a good way to help you ralley when you need it. You know you have optimism in you, and I know you have it in you, but the iPhone App will just help squeeze it out of you when you want it most.

And look, when you upload it to your phone, it looks like this rad little orange on your screen!


I’d be honored if you deem it fun and useful enough to download it to your phone. Consider it the best love attitude investment you could get yourself this year.

Big iPhone love,

Amy Signature 4

Harry Potter: The “Magic” of Optimism

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

This past year, my husband and I have been in a race to see who can get to the last Harry Potter book first. I was ahead in early 2009, until we hit our summer house and the hubby spent a few days in the hammock jetting past me. But now, finally, I’ve pulled ahead and beat him to book number 7. (Hmm, is this really something to be bragging about? Now, I’m not so sure…)

Apparating is all about optimism

Apparating is all about optimism

Anyway, my favorite so far was Book 6: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. First because it was, well, awesome. But second, because it revealed how much the wizards at Hogwarts believe in optimism and manifesting what it is you want.

In book six, the young wizards at the school were allowed to learn the process they call Apparating: moving their bodies from one place to another in an instant. A teacher named Twycross came into the school and started slow, explaining that they’d learn to Apparate into the space of a hula hoop laying a few inches in front of them on the floor. Eventually, with practice, they’d be able to Apparate from the school to the little town of Hogsmeade if they wanted.

Here’s how Twycross explained the process to Harry Potter and his friends:

“‘The important things to remember when Apparating are the three D’s!’ said Twycross. ‘Destination, Determination, Deliberation!

Step one: Fix your mind firmly upon the desired destination,‘ said Twycross. ‘In this case, the interior of your hoop. Kindly concentrate on that destination now. . .

‘Step two,’ said Twycross, ‘focus your determination to occupy the visualized space! Let your yearning to enter it flood from your mind to every particle of your body!’

Step three,’ called Twycross, ‘and only when I give the command…turn on the spot, feeling your way into nothingness, moving with deliberation! On my command, now…one…”

This is so similar to the important process I write about in Meeting Your Half-Orange:

First, you must boldly ask for what you want. Second, you must picture yourself having the life and love you want coupled with a determination to get it. And finally, make a deliberate effort to focus on how you want to feel every day, with your entire emotional being, so that your day is spent feeling like you already have the life you want.

Apparating is magic in Harry Potter’s book. But manifesting what you want in real life isn’t magic at all. It just feels that way when you end up in the life you were determined to have.

So do as Harry Potter and his friends and focus on your three steps to end up, like magic, in the relationship you want: Destination (in your love’s arms), Determination (see yourself getting there) and Deliberation (focus on it every single day with every particle of your body).

I’m sure Twycoss and Professor McGonagall would encourage the very same thing.

Big love,

Amy Signature 4