Happy World Health Day. Here is Your Stress.

Posted on April 7th, 2014 and currently has Happy World Health Day. Here is Your Stress.
April 7 is World Health Day. And while the World Health Organization has Vector-borne diseases on its mind, I’m thinking about the overall health of our future leaders. At a conference on at Wake Forest University over the weekend, we heard from researchers and campus leaders about the various facets of well-being. And the statistics about today’s college students in that regard are jarring.

Researchers report that the stress levels of today’s young students on a regular day match those of students after completing a “duck and cover” nuclear attack drill in the early 1950s. In a recent survey, 30% of college students admitted that sometime in the last year, they were too depressed to function. The top three concerns for college students? Stress (39%), anxiety (29%) and sleep (26%).

I remember sleep being an … read full post

Our Idols are Human Too

Posted on March 4th, 2014 and currently has Our Idols are Human Too
I never imagined wanting to come to John Travolta’s defense. But amidst all the post-Oscar Travolfrenzy about his on-stage butchering of Idina Menzel’s name, I’d like to weigh in. Sure, I typed my name into the generator to “travoltify” it (it’s Murray Taylor) and I chuckled at the snide comments on Facebook. But inside, I cringed a little, thinking back to a rainy day in Kitty Hawk, N.C.
I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Travolta. The closest I came was when we helped produced a big event in 2003 celebrating the Wright Brothers’ invention of flight. Travolta, a pilot and avid aviation buff, agreed to appear on stage just prior to President Bush’s arrival. A colleague put on the big show; my company was responsible for guest hospitality.
It was cold and raining hard that day. My business partner and I were positioned just in … read full post

Going for the Gold

Posted on February 10th, 2014 and currently has Going for the Gold
My friend Julie posted her goal of someday working on the Olympics on Facebook the other day. It’s a great goal—and one I am sure she’ll accomplish. A young superstar, Julie started as an intern when I still owned Tribble Creative Group, and I later hired her to work with me at the Democratic National Convention. She went on to work the Inauguration—all before graduating college. Most event planners would swoon over her resume, regardless of her age.

When I first started my business, my short-term goal was to make enough money to pay the rent and buy cat food (for my cat, not for me). My long-term goal was to plan the SuperBowl half-time show. I thought being the master of those 12 minutes while the world was watching would be the ultimate ballyhoo of my career.
I never accomplished that goal—not because I gave up, but because my goals changed over the years. … read full post

White Rose Love

Posted on January 22nd, 2014 and currently has White Rose Love
My time at Wake Forest was transformational.
In four short years, I learned how to balance a checkbook, footnote a term paper and get out of bed for a 10:00 A.M. class. My friends taught me how to dance to beach music, tap a keg and execute a dorm prank without detection. I figured out how to live on a budget and stretch my meal plan to cover one more bowl of mushy lima beans every month.
While these skills have served me well, the real meat was in the seemingly mundane. The giant blooms of the Magnolia tree, the anticipation of a professor’s first lecture, the refrains of the school song whose words we could never remember, other than “mother so dear,” which we belted out with abandon at every home game.
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When The End is Only the Beginning

Posted on July 10th, 2013 and currently has When The End is Only the Beginning
I did it.
I typed The End after I wrote the final sentence of my book a few weeks before I left Costa Rica. I think writer protocol says you are supposed to center a few hash marks in the middle of the page, but I really wanted to write The End, so I did.
[Those who follow my Facebook posts also know of the drama that ensued the day after I wrote The End, when someone broke into my casita and stole my computer from my safe. The short version of the story has me back in Charlotte with a replacement computer and all the data, which thankfully was backed up to the cloud. Thank you, CrashPlan.]

But before all that, I wrote The End. It felt joyful and scary at the same time, which is read full post

Knowing the Questions but Not All the Answers

Posted on May 19th, 2013 and currently has Knowing the Questions but Not All the Answers
I moved to Costa Rica to write the book that’s been roiling around in my head for nearly 15 years. I first thought of it in 1999 when, at the lowest depth of my despair, I decided to take a silent walk across the Sahara desert. I had come to realize that somehow in building a business, I had lost touch with my true self. To others, I seemed to be swimming in a sea of success, but inside I was gasping for air. My drive to succeed overtook my spirit to fully live, to the degree that I found myself staring at the ceiling at night, wondering, “Is this all there is?”

Since that time, I have measured my life by “before the desert” and “after the desert.” That trip started me on a journey to explore my inner spirit, and led me to the question that so many business people ask themselves: is there a way to be accomplished in business and still keep my spirit engaged and fulfilled? Can I be successful and stay true to myself? I made a brave but futile … read full post

Our Mothers Map Our Lives

Posted on May 13th, 2013 and currently has Our Mothers Map Our Lives
I have always been the crier in the family. Growing up, I cried every week when Gilligan and the castaways were stranded yet again on their tropical island. On the other hand, I have seen my mother cry on only a few occasions. The time I remember most was when my piano teacher chastised me for not practicing enough. My piano teacher’s words barely fazed me, seeing my mom cry as a result stung hard.
If you rarely see your mother cry, the few times you do are memorable. When my father died several years ago, it was after a weeklong vigil by his post-stroke bedside. During the transition, my mother, siblings, aunts, cousins and I gathered round and hunkered down. We alternately cried, fretted, planned and laughed. During the whole ordeal, while I cried almost hourly, I never saw my mother shed a tear.
This … read full post

Meetings Made of Magic

Posted on February 20th, 2013 and currently has Meetings Made of Magic

Have you ever thought about how complicated it is for the universe to bring two people together?  

To get the right folks in the right place at the right time, there are tons of strings to pull, planes to delay and sleep to disrupt.  When you think about it, it seems like a complex web of interconnected impossibilities unlikely to pull off.

I arrived in Nosara, Costa Rica in early January.  When I moved here, I knew very little about the area; I just knew I was supposed to show up and write the book that I’ve been carrying around in my head for nearly 15 years. 

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Pay Attention to the Burning Bush

Posted on January 15th, 2013 and currently has Pay Attention to the Burning Bush
The Omega Institute is an organization that offers high quality programs for physical, mental and spiritual growth.  Whether it’s yoga, health and wellness, creative pursuits or self-reflection, Omega offers powerful programs for even the most jaded workshops junkies.
While Omega is based in NY, it turns out they have an active program just outside my little town of Playa Guiones.   And, while the week long retreats are out of reach of my anemic checkbook just now, it turns out they offer a free lecture once a week at the Yoga House, not far from my casita.  Score!
The lecture recently was by Gregg Levoy, author of Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life.  Coincidentally, I took a weekend workshop with Gregg back in the late 90s, when his book first came out.  At the time, I was an outwardly … read full post

All I Am Asking, Is To Give Peas a Chance

Posted on November 15th, 2012 and currently has All I Am Asking, Is To Give Peas a Chance
I was in Pickens, SC recently, ensconced in a charming artist’s retreat run by my artist friend Ellen Kochansky.  It’s a beautiful expanse of land in the foothills of the Carolinas, carved out to encourage writers and artists to leave behind their cares and pursue their art.  I spent the week resting, writing, visiting with Ellen and her husband Jamie, and exploring the area.  
One day, I stopped at the local store to pick up some groceries, and was amused to find that in the produce section next to the yams, there was a prominent display of pre-packaged cotton candy.  I found this hilarious and posted this photo on my Facebook page with a caption about the fresh-from-the-farm offerings at Bi-Lo.  

This generated a long string of comments from my clever friends that had me giggling all day.  There were memories of the cotton candy trees on the old plantation heavy with their ripened fruit, cautions about pesticide-laden cotton candy imported from … read full post

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