Tag Archives: strength

Going BIG and Going Small

UntitledOn a recent flight from Trinidad, after doing my TEDxPortOfSpain talk in October, (watch my talk here: bit.ly/1OGFcX5) I saw the movie, “Ant Man.”  I am not usually a fan of these superhero movies, but my brain was tired and I decided to watch.

There were tons of great computer graphics, no gratuitous sex or badly behaved teenagers… just an old fashioned action movie with a good old-fashioned ending, where the blended family lives happily ever after.  Okay, it was formulaic and predictable and I do not really recommend it.

Here is what I DID enjoy.  Ant Man can move from “BIG” to “small,” and each size has its drawbacks and gifts.  The best thing about being “small” is that the strengths don’t get smaller. They stay the same.

So just like an ant can lift many times its body weight, Ant Man has amazing strength and can do amazing things even when small so he is still a formidable opponent.
When he is his usual size, his powers are ramped up and he is the hero we want him to be.

Here is what I took away from Ant Man.  We can choose to play big or play small and it needs to be our choice. When we choose to play small we still need to bring all of our skills to the stage.

Recently I was on a panel of six people, all of whom had their specialty jobs. The panel consisted of a judge, a police sergeant, a district attorney, etc.  We were all there acting as one body and we all had small jobs in support of that one body.  We each showed up as one hundred percent of our larger selves even as we treaded lightly, and did not hog the microphone.  None of us felt like we had all the answers.

We had never met each other and I was so proud of how we played nicely together.
Any one of us could have been plucked out from that panel and been asked to do an hour presentation to the audience and we would have stepped up.

I like going from big stages to smaller stages, it helps me to practice my skills in different ways.

While speaking at the United Nations, and on the TEDxPortOfSpain stage, I played to a global audience. My thoughts were more encompassing and I used imagery that could resonate with a more expansive audience. I was introduced in a formal way and some of my achievements were read out loud. The audience in those venues wanted the bigger picture of me.

I also had the great fortune to speak on a much smaller stage at my high school Alma Mater, and when I heard how I was being introduced, I realized that the kids did not need that version of me.  They needed to hear I used to be “one of them.” They needed to know that my “big,” started “small” and they needed to resonate with my small.

When I began to speak I said this to them:  “Those words are things I have done over the past 35 years but I am really just a big eye coolie girl.” I could see them relax. They understood that term. “Coolie” is a derogatory term for people of East Indian descent in Trinidad. That was a phrase they had heard and could digest.

It resonated.

From that small position I began the story …. and I built on it to get bigger and bigger, and told them they could do it also.  I ended with reminding them I was still a big eye coolie girl and I always remember my humble beginnings.

The ability to move between big and small is something we humans can do, and it helps us to stay grounded. It helps us to know that our heroes, whom we hold in high regard, also put on their pants one leg at a time.

My question to you is this… How big are you when you are small?  Stay strong and use your “big” to your advantage, and help people accept you for all the talent you bring to the party.

Love and light,


The story of Tatty…

I first heard about Tatty from a dear friend. Tatty was in an abusive marriage for 11 years.

She was not allowed to work and her husband was an alcoholic. She faced his wrath nightly.
My friend, Jackie, told me that from time to time Tatty would call her in the middle of the night and beg for help. Jackie could hear him screaming and the children crying in the background. Jackie would sometimes go over to try to ease the situation, until I advised her that she should not go and should instead call the police. I advised Jackie that she had to take care of herself and her own family.

Jackie has four lovely children and they need her to be alive.

Over the years, I would ask about Tatty and offer Jackie some more tips on how to help her. I made it clear that it was Tatty who needed to stand up and seek help. Tatty made several attempts to flee, but the husband would apologize and she would go back. About four months ago, Jackie told me that Tatty called again at 3am.

Jackie told her to call the police.
This time, Tatty did call the police.
I advised Jackie to tell Tatty to leave the city and find shelter far away from her abuser.

Fast Forward to today, Jackie tells me:
1. Tatty has the first job of her life.
2. Tatty now feels useful not useless as she had been told.
3. Tatty’s abuser calls every day, screaming at her to come back and says it’s the last time he will call.
4. Tatty is strong enough to say ok, I am NOT coming back.
5. Tatty says that she has never been happier and that all the kids are in school and are happy too!

What an amazing woman Tatty is! What courage! What strength! She is WOMAN; hear her roar in defense of her kids and herself.

If you are being abused, you can take some advice from Tatty.
What did she do?

She reached out for help, left the city and went hours away from her abuser.
She made sure that she had a police record of the abuse.
She made sure that her kids were settled in their new school.
She got a job that she likes.

Tatty is a restaurant worker and is happy at her place of employment.
She goes to work knowing that she is free and peaceful and that her kids are safe.

Tatty finally raised her voice and roared NO MORE ABUSE!

You can take some small steps to help yourself but be sure your abuser is NOT aware of what you are doing. Call your local shelter for tips on how to get away safely.
Millions of women are abused yearly, and thousands escape to safety.

Know that there is a large support network out there for you, whatever your choice may be.

Take care of yourself and reach out for help.

Love and light


It’s all in the nose that makes a child with down-syndrome run towards you with open arms for a hug.
It’s all in the nose that makes children hide behind their mother’s skirt, and peek from behind it.
It’s all in the nose that brings warm, kindness and love to the abandoned HIV positive child.

It’s all in the nose that brings a smile to the parents as you share a balloon with their child who has cancer.
It’s all in the nose that brings a sigh of relief to the overworked nurse when we pick up a crying baby to hold.
It’s all in the nose that makes families waiting in the ER take a few easier breathes as they wait for a doctor to see their child.

It’s all in the nose that makes an elderly person get up and dance as if they were young again.
It’s all in the nose that gets that old person to crack a smile.
It’s all in the nose that takes the old lady from feeling lonely to feeling loved.

It’s all in the nose that makes a policeman directing traffic smile and wave.
It’s all in the nose that gets a toothless grin from a woman making tortillas on the curb.
It’s all in the nose that makes men blow kisses to the clown bus as they walk down the street.

It’s all in the nose that gives us clowns strength to see a once beautiful old woman playing with a stuffed toy.
It’s all in the nose that helps us hold back the tears as we see abandoned children in an orphanage.
It’s all in the nose that gave me the strength to watch a doctor siphon fluid from a baby’s lungs, while she was not breathing, and resuscitate her again.

It’s all in the nose that brings all of humanity just a bit closer.


I’m with the band…

Help, I need somebody,Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone, help.

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody’s help in any way.
But now these days are gone, I’m not so self assured,
Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won’t you please, please help me.

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways,
My independence seems to vanish in the haze.
But every now and then I feel so insecure,
I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before.

We all know this Beatles tune… but can you say help when you need it?

I have learned that this is what the 12 step program is all about, changing your mind and opening up the doors. For many of us we have lived a life never needing anybody’s help in any way. Now our egos, our shame seem to create a rift between us and the help we need. People who are OCD, control freaks, people pleasers, codependents, abused, abusers, alcoholics, addicts: we all have trouble asking for help.

Our independence seems to have vanished in the haze, and we fool ourselves into thinking if we just buck up we can work through the issues, but does this really make us hum a happy tune?

It is amazing, the comfort in sharing and listening during a support group gathering. Here is a band of people you don’t know, who have seen through the haze and asked for help and who have the strength to offer another person sitting right next to them through their challenges. They listen with a kindly tuned ear and a melodic, compassionate heart. They help lighten the tune of our dissonant chords of life.

And as a people pleaser myself I can say with confidence that trying to be the conductor who orchestrates lives to bring out everyone’s happiness is usually at my own expense. My song not being heard makes for an unbalanced symphony of life.

We are not alone with our instrument of life and when we share together in support it is a comforting melody.

People in support groups can be your band to help you find the music of inner peace and happiness.

You do not need to be one of the fab four to ask for help.