“I could be righteous and take the high road, but it doesn’t get me anywhere.”


I was coaching a client about the way she and her husband argue. “He gets upset when things are not put away. I could tell him he’s overreacting, but it won’t help. I’d be justified in taking the high road, but it doesn’t get me anywhere.”

This is a familiar scenario. We know we are right, but sometimes a disagreement is often not really about the disagreement. My client understood this and considered what was a better use of her energy. “What if you just listened to why he was upset and showed him you were listening?” I offered. “He is feeling a strong feeling. Remember the three troublesome emotions are anger, sadness, or fear. What if you listened to what he said, not for the content but rather with your heart to see what is going on with him?”

My client, being the brilliant woman that she is, said “he’s probably feeling scared that I don’t care how he likes things to be. I can see it’s not about anything I did wrong, it’s just that he needs things to be calmer, so he’ll feel safe.”

When we are compassionate for the person we are battling, the fight becomes irrelevant. In this case, she no longer felt defensive and now responds with compassion. I have no idea whether things are any more orderly than they were in their kitchen, but emotionally things are much more peaceful. Hopefully they are both enjoying that.

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Shifting The Money Script


When I first started dating my husband Michael, he said “We are all economic beings.” I found this comment rather dry, but I was also curious. “What do you mean?” I pressed him.  “Money is an inevitable  part of our existence. And since it is, we really ought to look at what we want our relationship with money to be like.” This conversation about money continues between us and in my coaching practice too.

In a coaching session today I gave the following advice:

1.  Money is just about exchanging energy. Often we attribute other qualities to it too, but it is just an exchange of energy. Therefore we might as well have good thoughts about money.

2. Treat money as if it were your friend. When I think about my best friend Karen I immediately think about finding a nice mug to give her for her tea, asking her how she’s doing, and just loving being with her. So I would similarly be considerate about my money, and be happy to spend time with it. If we always complain about money, then like people, it will most likely not want to be around us. But if we are a good friend to it, the relationship can just get better and better throughout the years.

3. When we appreciate something it grows. So if we appreciate money, if we are grateful for it and are generous with it, we end up getting more of it.I remember one time I was low on gigs and clients. So I went through my email list and I emailed everyone I was grateful to have worked with in the past or with whom I was still working. I did no advertising, or putting up flyers, or giving talks. And yet just by being appreciative of everyone, I ended up getting several referrals that week for new work.

4. Decide how you want the situation to be and make a commitment to having it. Often when people come to me for coaching they complain about how things are. When I ask them what they want they usually can describe it. “But how do I get it?” they ask. And my answer is often that they need to make a commitment. When we make a commitment and are truly open, things begin to change. So decide how you want it to be. It can be a powerful step to shifting not just your money script, but your money too.


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The magic of EFT: Emotional Freedom Technique

eftmonalisa* Mona Lisa with the EFT points highlighted

Lately there is increased interest in a modality I use called Emotional Freedom Technique. It also goes by EFT or tapping.  I tried it with one client in Cambodia, who told a friend also in Cambodia who loved it, who then recommended her friend in Senegal do the technique with me too!  They each report that the relief they experience with tapping has been more effective than all the different kinds of therapy and other techniques they tried before.

Tapping is an extraordinary process, whereby negative thoughts and feelings are removed by tapping on certain acupuncture points throughout the body. In addition, one affirms the things one wants to happen. But part of what distinguishes the way I use EFT from how I’ve seen it used by other practitioners, is that I bring in a poetic blending of many of the things people say during their session and integrate it into a script that is impromptu and utterly tailored to whatever that person is going through at that particular moment. In any coaching session I find what transpires is highly co-creative, meaning that it is about what I’m doing but also what my client is saying and doing. The same thread of intuition that I use in listening during a session leads to the way that I do tapping for that person as well.

One of the clients I worked with this morning offered this feedback:

“I love that you create the EFT tapping script from all the hardship and reveals that come out in our session and morph it into a sort of bath of truth telling, life affirming beauty and goodness.” I find it exciting that people get so much out of the EFT work I do because it is one of the best ways I know for me to be in the unknown, present and creating solutions for people that help change their lives. It’s one of the most healing ways I have found to be creative.

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Sometimes You Need A Good Shove


When I was 17 I competed in the “Macbeth” contest on Broadway. High school students from all around New York City participated, seeking to best all others in Act 2 Scene 2 of the Scottish Play. My scene partner, Phillip Baskerville, and I advanced, round after round, until we found ourselves standing onstage to compete in the finals at the Mark Hellinger Theatre.  The judges were the producers of Macbeth, currently playing in this  Broadway theatre, as well as the inimitable Glenda Jackson who was starring as Lady Macbeth.

Shortly before our turn, I became immobilized with fear. My heart racing was nothing new to me, but frozen legs were a first. What was I going to do? “Phillip! … ..You have to push me onstage,” I pleaded. With a great shove Phillip succeeded in launching me onstage and into my opening monologue. Once offstage, neither of us could remember how our performance went, but hoped that we somehow did our best to replicate the choices we’d made during countless rehearsals.

Finally it was time to announce the results. First were the third place finishers, and it was not us. Then second place went to the students from the High School of the Performing Arts (our greatest competition). At last we heard our own names called as the victors! We appeared on the news, interviewed by Christiane Amanpour and were featured in an article by the great theatre critic Howard Kissel. As we toured the theatre on a subsequent visit we also got to meet Christopher Plummer. “Don’t be an actor,” he warned, while sweeping his sword and marking a battle scene, utterly undermining his own words with every jab. 

So when people ask if I have performed on Broadway I say “yes.” But I rarely tell them how I did, or that without my amazing scene partner, I would never have made it onstage. There are so many resistances that keep us from going forward and trying, but I hope this piece serves as a good shove to push you where you want to go.


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Many people have been asking me recently for advice on how to have faith. Not the religious kind, but the faith in dealing with everyday challenges.

One client of mine is undergoing IVF.  She devoted her time, energy, and vacation days from her high powered job so she could undergo the procedure. She and her husband really wanted it to work. After all that, she found out it was unsuccessful. 

“The doctor says there is nothing wrong and that the chances that it will eventually work are in my favor,” she told me. “The thing is for now I am just so broken-hearted and disappointed. How am I supposed to keep going, when there’s no guarantee it will work?” she asked.

There was a philosopher named Epictetus who said “There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” This brilliant advice came from someone who was born a slave in 55 AD, but later in life became an advisor to not just one, but two Roman emperors!! The desire to influence things beyond our will is what still tortures many of us. We wish we could control things: our bodies, our feelings, our thoughts, other people, even our sports teams winning! But in fact when we start to examine what we have control over we begin to see that we have much less than we thought. So where does that leave us?

“We don’t have control,” I told my client, “but we can shift to being willing to have things go well.” One of my favorite self-help gurus is Louise Hay. She offers the saying “I am open and receptive to all good.” What a beautiful intention.   As soon as my client tried adopting a willingness to have things work out, and let go of her fears and insecurities, she felt at peace and more assured. She wasn’t giving up by stopping her worrying or feeling sad, she was just letting go. She was even more devoted to a good result, but without all the pressure she had been putting on herself. She looked to see the things she actually had some choice over and set to work exercising those. She decided she would do IVF again when she felt ready. She decided it was silly to think it was her fault. She was just going to intend things working out. Everything else was just a waste of her precious energy.

So much of the time we want a miracle, a change, an improvement. It’s when we release attachment to it that we start to have a different experience, which ends up creating a different result. I find that it’s easier to create from nothing than creating from fear, or from rules that feel constricting, or from what someone else tells us which at times can be a limiting thought. Some people call that faith. I say it is actually the process of creating, and it’s one of the most fulfilling ways I know to engage with life and get fabulous results.


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Tuning Up Our Relationship with Money, Part I: “I am going to get rich by giving away money!”

One day Lily got it in her head that giving money away would be the coolest thing ever. She had me create an index card that said “I’m going to get rich by giving away money.” She placed quarters on the edge of the card and set it out on the pavement outside our house and waited for the magic to begin. She spied on each passing person. Would they take the money? At first no one bit, but then people started to read the card, and when they realized she wanted them to have her money they started to cooperate and take the coins. Our next door neighbor Heather asked Lily about what she was doing and Lily jubilantly explained how important it was to give money away and Heather nodded. Lily kept at it for a solid hour. She was elated! Her money was circulating out into the world. What could be better? She felt rich. She wasn’t trying to get anything. The goal was to give and see how far she could get doing that.

The next day a card came through the mail slot. In it was two dollars from Heather. The card said “Dear Lily, Girls who give away money deserve to be rich.” This is prosperity at its best. Lily was focusing on giving rather than getting. Because of that she just focused on having fun. As a result she got back twice as much as she gave away. She freaked out total strangers with her profound generosity. She made a connection with our neighbor. Best of all she really enjoyed the process the whole time, experimenting with giving and receiving. There are many ways to get more prosperous and one key is to realize how you already are.

Try this crazy experiment and let me know what happens when you play with giving away money. What comes back to you?


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How To Get Your Ideal Job


“Want to go out for a coffee?” a member of my yoga class asked after class one day.  “I’d like to discuss your one-woman show which I saw last weekend.” I was thrilled, of course, and agreed. To get acquainted, we discussed our favorite foreign films, particularly Pedro Almodovar.  Then we shifted gears to discussing my show, particularly one of the characters, Caroline Casey, who advocates for the rights of the disabled. He told me it inspired him to enter a contest designed to create an app to make it easier for disabled people to use public transportation around Philadelphia. “Would you believe that all the stops in center city are not necessarily wheelchair-accessible?” he asked. “With my app a person can know which stops are good ones to use because they are wheelchair accessible.” James was a fascinating thinker and unlike most conversations which start with the generic question “What do you do?” I finally got around to asking him that at the end of the hour.

“I’m between jobs” he told me, wistfully, “but I am ready to start working again. My last job was too consuming, and I have intentionally taken time off to reboot.”

“Can I give you some coaching for how to manifest your ideal job?” I asked. He nodded enthusiastically.

First I needed to decipher what sort of work he was accustomed to and the kind of job he wanted to create at this point in his career. He was clear about his goals which was a good start.

“Now all you need to do is write the following question I am going to share with you. You write it ten times a day for 21 days,” I told him “The affirmation is based on a similar one by the amazing Louise Hay, the author of “You Can Heal Your Life.” She is a self-help writer and is often considered the spiritual grandmother of today’s self-help authors.  Here is the affirmation: Why is it so easy for me to have a wonderful new position, one that uses all my talents and abilities, and allows me to express creatively in ways that are fulfilling to me. I work with and for people whom I love, and who love and respect me, in a wonderful location and earning great money?”

“Why 10 times a day for 21 days?” he asked.

“It takes that long for the mind to be able to recognize something which is actually already here. There was a study conducted on patients who had a deformity corrected on their faces. After the surgery they still believed they had the deformity. It took them three weeks before they could actually see their faces as they were. That is how the mind works. It takes us 21 days to be able to see clearly. In your case what you desire.”

“Why do you write it as a question?”

“Because our rational mind will debate with us whether or not something is possible. It doesn’t matter whether we genuinely want to have a great new job. If our affirmation is phrased as a statement, our critical mind will point out that it isn’t here yet, that we are affirming something that is in fact not true.  If we phrase it as a question, however, our unconscious goes to work on our own behalf, looking for ways to answer the question.”

“Why is it phrased ‘Why is it so easy…’?”

“Because when choosing whether we want something to be difficult or easy, might as well have it be easy.”

So my friend went and did this as directed. He manifested a job offer in two weeks! He was then offered an even better one soon after that! I believe that is the one he accepted. He really loves his new job. The only problem is due to his schedule change I never get to see him in my favorite yoga class or for a tea afterward anymore. I guess now I have to work on manifesting that.

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The Undeniable Yes

bradleywhitfordpaulandjoanne1  lauralinney

Ever since I was seven, I’d dreamt of being an actress. Now, here I was, 22 years old,  assisting at my first legit reading for a teleplay. To top that, my favorite acting professor  had gathered all of us players at the home of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman! The script was written as a vehicle for Ms. Woodward, but as I looked around the room I recognized other famous faces and tried to keep my cool. At a break I stood with Joanne Woodward and Laura Linney and Ms. Woodward admitted “When I first debuted in Picnic on Broadway I felt so awkward. I had no idea what to do with my hands.” I laughed on cue and stuck my own hands deep inside virtual pockets. I had no idea what to do with my entire self in that rarefied space, let alone my hands.

As we took a break I approached Bradley Whitford of West Wing fame (though this event took place several year before the series began.) Whitford had attended Wesleyan University as I had. He was infamous as both a student and also as an acting instructor. Still, I could not resist asking him for advice. After all we’d attended the same school. Maybe my timing was bad, maybe he was in a bad mood, or maybe he really meant it.  He looked at me closely and my bright shining face. “Don’t be an actress,” he told me. “They only cast the mom or the babe — and you are neither.”

Shocked, I retreated to the bathroom where Mr. Newman had framed a happy letter from a fan of his spaghetti sauce. Why did Whitford say that? Am I that unattractive? Why didn’t I talk back to him? Where did my voice go? Does an alma mater mean so very little? My mind kept spinning with questions, trying to process his dismissal.

I returned to the room where I delighted in reading stage directions and a few bit parts. I was still in heaven, though the edges of my skirt were tinged with my brush with hellfire. We finished the reading. There was a subsequent reading for the same project a few weeks later. Mr. Whitford was not invited to the other reading, so I never got the chance to challenge him about his comment. I tried to focus on what was most important: it was an honor to participate and to have met Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. I still consider that event one of the most magical and elevated moments of my life.

My mind, however, had hooked onto that awful pronouncement. “Don’t be an actress.” I continued to roll it over in my mind while I attended acting class, while I starred in a short play off-Broadway, while I worked with an acting coach who told me I wasn’t pretty. I kept thinking about this awful message. I couldn’t shake it until one day a friend of a friend of mine told me there was an opening at the Samuel Beckett Theatre on Theatre Row and asked if I knew of anyone who would want to rent it out?

This sparked me. I moved into high gear, gathering together pieces I had worked on at P.S. 122 and at the Dia Center for the Arts. I cobbled together an evening of work. I had it recorded by a client of mine that often shot for the PBS channel. In essence I created my first one-woman show in 1995, despite not having a clear plan or totally knowing what I was doing, and I was not a babe, and not yet a mother!

We can use the worst things people say to us as fuel. It’s not just the good things that inspire, but the challenges we face that can actually create a fire in our bellies to launch us into our bigger selves. Artistically, I don’t know if I would have been quite as desperate and as dissatisfied as I needed to be to take the leap of creating my first one-woman show had it not been for Bradley Whitford and what he said. I am now grateful for his comment (though still perplexed). Sometimes when people tell us no, but there is a stronger yes inside us, it does not matter who they are. Our undeniable yes overrides the background noise and becomes the most sacred roadmap to follow.


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“Ms. Blaine, am I a bad actress?”


The High School student blinks back tears.

“I know I did not do well with my monologue today. The other kids here are so good.   I don’t know if I should just stop trying.”

I am the resident acting instructor at the Kimmel Center’s Showstoppers program. As we headed into our last weeks before showtime, the pressure was on for the students to nab the remaining juicy roles. I looked at my sad student, moved closer, and held her hands.

“You are not a bad actress,” I told her.

She sighed, letting the chair support her for the first time.

“But you know what we look for in acting, right?”

“To be real?”

“Yes. Do you think what you did was true to the character?”

“No. I was trying too hard.”

“Exactly. It’s good that you know that. What you were doing is called “indicating.” That means we are showing the audience how something should be done, or how we should feel. But if we try too hard it comes across as forced, flat and empty which is not a very good choice. It’s not that you are not a good actress, it’s that it wasn’t your best performance.”

I locked eyes with her. “Why are you here acting with our program?”

“To show a different side of me. To be more than just a sweet girl princess type of character.”

“Okay, good. I’ll write a character just for you.”

She brightened. “Really Ms. Blaine?”

“Yes, if you promise to stop trying so hard and enjoy yourself. That’s all the audience is looking for. They want to experience a great story and you have to transmit it by making interesting choices. Promise me you will try.”

“Yes, Ms. Blaine. I feel so much better already. I know you probably can’t tell, but I feel just so much better. I am so glad I spoke up.”

“Me too. In fact you speaking up is a good start to being more truthful in life as well as onstage, which will make you the best actress you can be.”

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Collecting No’s

collecting no's

“I was looking to get a regular performing gig set up in Philadelphia,” I told my friend as we walked along South street back in 1999.  “So I spent the entire day on Saturday collecting no’s.”

“What do you mean?” She asked.

“Well in business I have heard that you need to reach out to 10 potential customers every day in order to get one who will sign up for what you’re selling. I have also heard that if you try to get 10 of those to say a flat out no, that it’s harder than you think and it becomes like a numbers game.”

“That’s funny,” she giggled.

“Yes,” I admitted. “I was determined to leave my materials with 10 places and I did. I don’t know if they will be interested or not, but I feel unattached to the outcome and just proud of myself for trying.”

“That’s great,” said my friend, who is a good friend.

“Why don’t you go into the Starbucks and try?” She suggested.

So we walked in to the Starbucks at 4th and south and I asked the barista if they ever had entertainment. She quickly deferred to her manager, Steve.

I stood there and pitched Steve on my talents as a comedian. “I do funny characters, and could just work for tips.”

“No, you can’t work for tips here,” Steve broke it to me. I was about to chalk it up to another no when he added “I can pay you to entertain the customers though.”

And there it was! A regular comedy gig in Philadelphia twice a month. I used the venue to develop and try out new material. I even got a feature in a newspaper about my performing there which led to a spot on the local ABC chat show. It was an ideal gig and a great transition to bigger venues which could sometimes be a cold impersonal environment such as a casino. After performing for strangers of all kinds I gained a stronger stage presence. I got better and better at that venue, and got paid to boot.

If we shift our focus to being unattached and just trying to get those no’s we can gain results that surpass expectation or anything we might have dreamed up for ourselves.


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