Archive for November, 2010


A Brilliant Idea: Joy’s “Thanksgiving List”

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Ooh, I love me other people’s genius ideas.

And today, the credit goes to Joy Meredith, author of the thought-provoking book, My Last Wishes: Life, Love, Laughs & a Few Final Notes.

This week, she wrote a wonderfully brilliant post called “The Thanksgiving List” on her blog Finding Joy, about a tradition she started called her Thanksgiving List. First, she makes a list of all the people in her life she’s thankful for and why. Then, on Thanksgiving morning, she calls and tells them so. Here is the short version of how it works:

“On the morning of Thanksgiving,” writes Joy, “I wake up early, make two Pepperidge Farm cherry turnovers, and begin my calls around 9ish.

Working off my notes I take a moment to get present with my gratitude and then I call my friend Ann (the list is alphabetical) and begin the thanking. It is designed to be a quick call, there are no pleasantries or small talk, it starts: Are you ready? Ok, Ann this is why I am thankful for you this year….”

Joy writes more about it—including how she rarely allows them to thank her back how her friends and family have responded to being on the list. So check out her full post for the story.

But I had to pass this on. Because if you want a loving relationship, you have to live a loving life. I mean, think about it: You can’t live like a hermit with a cold fish attitude who’s not engaging in any warmth of emotion with any family or friends around you, and expect that—Poof!—a loving partner is going to recognize you as their dream girl or guy as you grumble your way forward on the drugstore line with a pack of paper towels. You have to tune into that soft side, the heart side. The more you get in touch with your feelings of love and gratitude, and the more you engage in relationships with friends and family, the more open and ready you’ll become for a romantic love in your life.

Joy’s Thanksgiving List is a perfect way to do this. Plus, it can help you pinpoint the right relationship for you. How? It carves out some time in your life to reflect on what really matters to your heart, which can help you make your Big Love List. (My post OPTIMISM WORKSHOP: Your Big Love List will get you started.) But making your Thanksgiving List and your Big Love List can become intertwined: Are you thankful for a friend who always supports you, even when you do stupid stuff? Then you’ll probably want to feel unconditionally supported by a partner, too. Are you thankful for a cousin who always leaves hilarious messages on your phone in a French accent when you’re having a down day? Then feeling like you can laugh with a partner through tough times should be on your love list.

Go on, make your Thanksgiving List. I know I’m going to. Even if you’re not as organized and amazing as Joy obviously is to squeeze in those calls on Thanksgiving morning, making the list itself is a darn good start.

You might also like:
The Coffee Test

Big love,

Why You MUST Put Yourself Out There

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

I’ve been so slammed with pre-holiday work, it’s taken me a minute to write this up, but I had to share something I saw on the most recent Parenthood episode. The episode, which was actually called “Put Yourself Out There,” made me cry (as every episode of Parenthood seems to). And it can change your dating and love life if you take it to heart. Really, it’s THE MOST IMPORTANT message I can think to pass on.

Adam (Peter Krause) had an important message. (

Here’s what went down: Sarah (Lauren Graham)’s high-school daughter Amber (Mae Whitman) was offered an opportunity to speak to a hot shot woman who could help her get into Berkeley. The hot shot was a friend of Sarah’s brother Adam (Peter Krause). But Amber didn’t want the interview, dammit! When Adam asked her why, she explained.

She was too scared, she said. She was afraid to fail. She couldn’t bear the idea of rejection or messing things up, like she felt she’d messed up so many things in her life already. (Ahem, sound familiar daters?) So this is what Adam told her:

Amber, life will knock you down more times than you can possibly imagine. Don’t knock yourself down. Don’t avoid feeling embarrassed because you’re afraid something’s not gonna go well. So what? Amber, you are a wonderful, talented and really smart young woman. Put yourself out there. Give yourself a chance.”

What a message, right? So look at your love or single life and think about the same thing.

Amber (Mae Whitman) needed to hear it. Do you? (

When I was single, I got to a point where I didn’t feel like going on dates anymore, because even when I found a guy I liked, he always seemed to want someone hotter or richer or younger or blonder or less jokey or more sexy. I felt like I couldn’t win, so what was the point? Instead, I started putting myself down before they could do it for me. Have you ever done this? Talked about how you’re probably not what someone wants anyway—before anyone’s ever said a negative word about you?

Well if you have, stop. Stop right now. Because Adam’s right. Life will knock you down plenty of times. So don’t knock yourself down. Don’t count yourself out of the game before you’ve even had a chance to play and see how you do! Put yourself out there. I’m not saying that you have to walk up to every single cute person you see at the deli, bus stop, bar and bathroom line. But I am saying that if you like someone, talk to them. And if you’re talking to someone you like, tell them the good things about you and your day, not the bad. You’re uniquely awesome, and you’ll never know if someone wants exactly that—exactly you—unless you put yourself out there to see.

Please. Stop badmouthing yourself. Don’t knock yourself down. Build yourself up. Talk about what’s great about you. Let yourself see how fun being a positive you can be. Please, give yourself a chance.

You might also like:
Get “Blue Crush” Brave

Big love,

Be Your Own Superhero!

Friday, November 19th, 2010

When French photographer Sascha Goldberger realized that his 91-year-old grandmother Frederika seemed depressed and lonely in her old age, and he wanted to cheer her up. So he did the natural thing: He turned her into a Superhero.

From the "Mamika" series by Sascha Goldberger

Here is the link to Grandma’s Superhero Therapy, the story about Sascha and his grandmother which includes the eighteen photo series “Mamika,” of his grandmother in full Superhero regalia, lifting cars, stopping cars and flying.

It turns out, Sascha has said, that simply by acting like a Superhero, his grandmother came out of her funk, and has felt happier, more alive and less depressed than she was. It’s a reminder to all of us: Sometimes, you have to put on the costume of someone who is happier and larger than life, and soon enough, you’ll start feeling like you are.

The series was such a success, by the way, that Sascha has taken more photos of his grandmother, which you can see posted on Frederika’s MySpace page he created for her, in the new book Mamika on or in the art show Wanted currently up in Paris. I say, let it be your inspiration in life and love today to pull out the big guns.

Put on the figurative cape and start acting like you are someone worthy of Superhero admiration. Sitting home and waiting for a call or a text or an invite to a party where maybe someone will finally come talk to you is no way to engage with life and get what you want. Take life by the horns, put on a helmet like Mamika, and head into it with strength and bravery. Even if you feel like you’re playing a role at first, that’s okay. As psychologists say, “Act as if.” As business motivators say, “Fake it til you make it.”

If you start acting like a strong, worthy, amazing, incredible person, you’ll start realizing how much you really are. Find the Superhero in you!

You might also like:

Big love,

VITAMIN OPTIMISM: Pick the Right Filter!

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Green PillYour dose for today…

“You see the world through the filter of your emotions.” —Marianne Williamson

If you look for beauty and happiness, you *will* find it. (Image of Hozu River in Kyoto by Amy Spencer)

This is a quickie as I’m running off this morning to…Alaska. A lucky opportunity to travel for work, and I’m suiting up in my duck boots and taking it! But I was thinking about this quote last night and wanted to pass it on.

It’s something that the wonderful Marianne Williamson said in a lecture she gave in L.A. a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. It’s so simple, I know. But the fact is, you can choose your filter. Two people can meet the exact same circumstances (getting stuck at a red light, meeting a new person) and have two entirely different experiences based on one thing: How they view the situation.

If you have a positive filter, you will see the good. You will enjoy the respite of the red light. You will introduce yourself to the friendly stranger. You will view the situation at work more gingerly and take the long walk back to your car and agree to go on a second date with the funniest, sweetest person you’ve ever met, even if you’re not sure you want to kiss them yet. And you will be the better for it all because seeing the world from a positive viewpoint will bring you more positive experiences.

Do yourself a favor today. Pick the right filter.

You might also like:

The Tale of the Big Hill…i.e. What’s Taking This Dating Optimism So Damn Long?!?

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

Hopes That Reach the Sky

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Today, I’m inspired by a friend of mine, Nicole, who started a gorgeous blog called Truth + Fairytales. Kind of what we all need to know the difference between in dating, too, huh.

Nicole, a former coworker of mine, is one of those girls who’s always wearing the cutest thing while her hair falls in just the most naturally enviable way, with a creative talent you wish you could bottle. So I wasn’t surprised to love her latest post called Hopes that Reach the Sky. The post is about another cool blog she stumbled upon called The Beginning, which is full of sharp, inspiring or spot-on quotes presented in delectably artful ways.

Nicole posted her favorites on Truth + Fairytales, and I adore her choices. So my suggestion today is to check both blogs out and skim them for a few minutes to see if you find something that speaks personally to you. Sometimes when you’re feeling lost or buried under or mildly hopeless in life or love, just seeing that someone else has felt something you’re feeling can make all the difference.

One of my favorite quotes, for instance, is presented on the image of a little girl hiding behind a balloon. It says:  “I’ve finally discovered that my greatest fear is not being alone; it’s being vulnerable.” Amazing, right? Because when you figure out something big like that, it can change how open you feel with others every step of the day.

Find yourself an insight that resonates with you like that, and here’s to your hopes reaching the sky.

You might also like:
How Do You Feel? No, Really…

Big love,