Announcing renowned health coach Jessica Cording's new book on wellness, diet, and mental health!

Jan 21, 2019

Jessica Cording is no stranger to health, wellness, nutrition, and dieting!

Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN, INHC is a registered dietitian, health coach, and writer with a passion for helping people streamline their wellness routine and establish a balanced relationship with food and exercise. She is a frequent contributor to Forbes and SHAPE, among other publications. Through her writing, consulting, public speaking, and counseling, she works with individuals, corporations, and the media to help make drama-free healthy living approachable and enjoyable.

Viva Editions is proud to announce her forthcoming new book…

The Little Book of Game Changers: 50 Healthy Habits for Managing Stress and Anxiety (January 2020):

For anyone burdened by stress and anxiety, just the thought of trying to make a positive life change can feel utterly overwhelming. Wanting to live a healthier life may sound easy, but what about the time needed for meal prepping? What about the added meal plan costs to your budget? Do you have to wake up at dawn to take that meditation class? When you are surrounded by stress, it’s all too easy to completely derail yourself…with more stress. Life is hard enough—the road to a stress-free life should feel easy!

Dietitian and health coach Jessica Cording is here with one simple solution: focus on healthy living for your real life. Just like you, she doesn’t have time for a step-by-step plan or a one-size-fits-all, gimmicky solution to all your stress- or anxiety-related health and wellness problems. Cording’s short, simple, no-nonsense advice will help you make healthy choices to improve eating habits, sleep, energy levels, mentalities, and exercise routines. These 50 mind, body, and spirit hacks will dial down the drama and find workable ways to nurture health and wellness when life gets real.

Cording’s insight and experience will have you laughing, rolling your eyes with her, and exclaiming “Aha!” more than once. This book is for anyone and everyone who wants to chill the heck out and feel a little—or a lot—better. Watch out health and wellness goals—we’re coming at you with some game changers!

Jessica is available for interview and comment about her current work, her forthcoming book, or to weigh in as an expert on any matter relating to health, wellness, nutrition, and dieting.


The cover for this book is forthcoming, but will be available soon!



50 Healthy Habits for Managing Stress & Anxiety

By Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN, INHC

Diet & Nutrition/Stress Management/Spiritual/Self-Help | Trade Paperback Original | 224 pp

Viva Editions | January 2020

ISBN: 9781632280688 | eISBN: 9781632281241 | $16.95



Why preparing your kids for sex is just as important as preparing for their birth

Aug 13, 2018

When we’re preparing for the birth of a child, everything has to be perfect: pack the overnight bag, save the doula’s emergency number to your and everyone else’s phone, have friends and family on call to rush to your aid, make sure the nursery is perfectly prepared with ALL THE THINGS to welcome your little bundle of joy home…

So… Why is it so important to take such painstaking steps to welcome a child into the world, but, for so many, teaching a child exactly where they came from is something that can trigger feelings of shame and embarrassment on both sides?! If giving birth is so beautiful, then why are we not arming out kids with all the information they need in order to survive the years of puberty, high school, growing up, forming healthy relationships, and ultimately (gasp) having sex themselves? Why would we not give as much thought and attention to prepping a nursery as we would to educating our kids to make smart choices about serious topics? Why is it not more common for parents to develop a plan to educate their children about sex? 

It is just that curious, sex-positive line of inquiry that has inspired Alison Macklin, Vice President of Education and Innovation at the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, to write Making Sense of “It”: A Guide to Sex for Teens (and Their Parents, Too!) (Viva Editions, September 2018).

As parents, we can choose to leave sex education up to the schools (if a program should even exist in your district) where a school’s teaching plan may not align with your own values/ideals. Or, even worse, kids can be wildly misinformed if your district does not make health and sex education a priority. Personally, I still remember my high school “health teacher,” who was not certified in any way, getting into a heated verbal debate with a fellow student. She believed that cancer IS a virus. Too bad the rest of the world (and fortunately my class) disagreed with her…

Or, perhaps even worse, we can leave sex ed up to the media, movies, music, etc., which tends to paint sex in a truly poor light, misinforming both sexes by conforming to a wide array of unrealistic standards and negative stereotypes.

Championed as the “Our Bodies, Our Selves for today,” Making Sense of “It” can help parents from any background to teach their kids/teens/young adults a variety of different sex-related topics:

  • the human brain in relation to sex and puberty
  • the need for human touch
  • gender roles, sexual identity, and sexual orientation
  • feeling horny
  • various levels of “risk” in sexual behaviors
  • signs of healthy and negative relationships
  • consent culture
  • fetishes, fantasies, sex toys, and pornography
  • choosing when to become sexually active
  • tactics to improve communication with sexual (current or potential) partners
  • how to get help and be an active bystander when witnessing sexual harassment and assault
  • various methods of contraception and abortion

We all know not one family is ever the same, nor is any parent-child relationship, so chapters are conveniently arranged in such away where you can cherry pick your lessons. Making Sense of “It” also includes handy conversation starters at the end of each chapter to help make the “talk” your own, and to forge a closer relationship, which is a challenge unto itself for any teen and parent.

Sex will always be awkward, but talking to your kids about sex shouldn’t be. Making Sense of “It” will help parents everywhere enjoy and appreciate this time as another beautiful step on your parenting journey.




ALISON MACKLIN has been with the Responsible Sex Education Institute at the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) for over fourteen years and is currently vice president of education and innovation. Macklin is an award-winning, nationally recognized leader in sex education and holds a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Denver. She is a mother of two who lives in Colorado.


Making Sense of “It” is available for preorder/purchase at all major retailers. Or you can always purchase a copy through your local independent bookstore! Don’t forget to mark it as “To Read” on Goodreads!




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The Eight Biggest Mommy Mojo Blocks

Apr 16, 2018

I am sure most Mom’s will agree that the fantasy of having a baby – all the oooh’s and aaah’s, and dreamy Pinterest-worthy visions of domesticity – quickly fade as the new reality of motherhood settles in: a crushed libido, unpredictable lactation, constant exhaustion, and an underlying identity crisis.

But how do you get past all that in order to feel playful and inspired as a woman again, satisfied as a loving mother, and more importantly, to discover a renewed enthusiasm for sex? How do you learn to reconnect with your “new” body? How can you marry your new identity as a mother with the woman, lover, and boss babe you were before?

Thankfully, Dana B. Myers, founder of Booty Parlor, has written an exciting new book meant to help all Mamas dealing with these questions: The Mommy Mojo Makeover: 28 Tools to Reclaim Yourself & Reignite Your Relationship. After encountering this postpartum sexual and identity crisis herself, Dana set out to help Mamas everywhere. Her first recommendation is to take a look at the most common obstacles you’re encountering – the mommy pains that are draining you of desire, lowering your self-esteem, and leaving you wondering if passion will ever return to your partnership. Before you can begin whipping your Mommy Mojo into shape, you must uncover your blocks. If you start by shedding some light on what’s been holding you back from being the alluring and inspired woman, mother and partner you’re meant to be, you’ll be taking the first steps on your path to rediscovering your sexual self!

Here are the eight biggest Mommy Mojo Blocks according to Dana:

1. The Mom Zone

You have a super-busy life balancing the many responsibilities of motherhood. Between schoolwork and activities, cooking dinner and tending to your kids’ every need, the pressure to parent perfectly is burning you out. Whenever you see your friends (probably on a play- date), your conversations revolve around kids and are constantly interrupted by them. Sometimes you feel overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood and that you’re lacking the personal freedom you desire. You might even feel bored to tears with your domestic load, and left wondering where the real you went. Sex has fallen low on your priority list, which is not that surprising considering how much energy you give to your kids. Since you don’t have the energy to nurture the sexy woman within, you feel stuck in the Mom Zone.

2. Low Libido

Since becoming a mother, your desire has been on a slow and steady decline. From hormonal shifts to sleep deprivation, chronic stress, and physical exhaustion, your sexual appetite has waned. It’s also possible that after a long day of the kids hanging from your every limb, you’re “all touched out” and just want to be left alone once they’re asleep! Mother- hood requires being 100 percent “on” all the time, and so you’re always thinking about the safety, well-being, and development of your little creatures. This constant mental multitasking—and likely a lack of self- care—leaves you feeling physically and mentally drained, and sexually uninspired. It’s no wonder you’re too tired to make love after the kids are in bed.

3. Body Confidence

Some moms feel just as amazing as they did pre-baby, regardless of whether their bodies changed, but many more moms view their body in a very different way post-baby. If you’re one of those moms, you may feel depressed about your appearance, or even hate how you look. Your inner vixen doesn’t give you a wink when you look in the mirror anymore. Maybe you’ve started to reject your spouse’s compliments, or you turn o the lights during sex to hide your body. You might find yourself talking trash about your thighs, tush, or tummy. There’s never enough time to exercise the way you like or get your favorite beauty and self-care treatments, all of which leaves you feeling less than thrilled with your post-baby body.

4. Time 

You’re short on it. Short on me-time. Short on kid-free time with your spouse. Short on time to do what you love and to see your girlfriends. You feel like you’re barely getting through your to-do list, let alone finding a moment to decompress and leisurely think about sensual things or get busy in the bedroom. The carefree bonding time you once shared as a couple has winnowed away to nearly nothing. Not only are you desperately short on precious together time, you and your spouse may be prioritizing time in different ways—causing your busy schedules to feel out of sync and driving a wedge between you.

5. Identity Crisis

There is a very real identity crisis that happens when you become a mother—and no one seemed to warn you about it! Perhaps you once a social butter y, with seemingly unlimited time and freedom to explore restaurants, hang out with friends, or take trips. Maybe you were an ultra-productive rock star at work, and then slipped on sexy heels and went salsa dancing at night. You defined yourself by your accomplishments, your passions, your talents. And then you became a mom: “So-and-so’s mom.” Perhaps you chose to take a break from work to raise them. And then you question, Am I just a mom now? And, Am I a good enough mom? And perhaps the biggest one of all, Why aren’t I having more fun with this?! The sudden lack of freedom and the enormous responsibility of caring for a child is a big deal, and it can make you feel like you’ve lost yourself. You might sometimes wonder: Where is the fun, social, sensual woman I used to be?

6Romantic Disconnect

When you brought your baby home, you immersed yourselves in the blissful experience of becoming parents. You swore that having kids wouldn’t change your relationship, but it did anyway. You became 
incredible partners in parenting, and maybe even better friends than you thought possible, but the sex went from hot to obligatory—and the desire and erotic tension you once had for each other began to fizzle out. The steadiness and routine that helps family life run so smoothly has zapped all spontaneity, flirtation, and adventure. Your conversations with your partner are now mostly about the kids, and your once-a-week date nights have turned into once-a-month outings where you’re home by nine. Perhaps you’re even feeling a genuine loss of sexual attraction, and worry he feels the same. The loss of romantic connection is one of the most gut-wrenching and pervasive pains of motherhood!

7. Resentment

Many moms have shared with me that they resent their spouse because they feel unsupported. Moms tend to take on more of the childcare and domestic responsibilities, and can feel like we’re just not getting enough help, appreciation, or acknowledgment. Working moms, SAHMs, ultramodern progressive moms, hippie moms, it doesn’t matter: moms just take on more. But the resentment creeps in when he 
rarely-to-never takes charge of the kids’ activities. or when he leaves for the gym, hangs out with friends, or works on a passion project without considering family responsibilities. It seems like you’re always the one who has to secure childcare while you squeeze in your “other” life (work, hobbies, friends, self-care, etc.) between errands and playdates. Maybe he’s the breadwinner and feels entitled to relax after his workday, while yours just keeps going. Nothing kills the desire for intimate, connected sex like simmering resentment; when it goes unchecked, it can lead to intense hurt and anger, which can (surprise!) result in less sex.

8. Unsatisfying Sex

There was probably a time in the not-so-distant past when you couldn’t imagine using “bedroom” and “boring” in the same sentence. In the pre- baby phase of your relationship, your sex life was hot, heavy, passionate . . . and you expected it to be that way forever. But now, your lovemaking has slowed down to a predictable, uninspiring once-a-week a air: you know exactly what’s coming because it’s always the same. Worse, your 
sex drives often feel way out of sync: maybe he wants more, you want less—and you might even feel pressure from him because of it and struggle to turn o your brain and let go during the act. or maybe you both are stuck in a cycle of sexual fatigue from the relentless emotional and physical stresses of parenting. You’re both spending your energy just getting through another day, and little is left over for feeling turned on together.

If you have nodded in agreement more than once, there is a good chance that you will find a friend in Dana and in The Mommy Mojo Makeover. Books and ebooks are available at all major retailers: Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo, and many, many more.


Exclusive Excerpt: The Mommy Mojo Makeover

Apr 06, 2018

Hey, Mamas!

Feeling like you can be a sexier version of your current self? Missing that extra bounce in your step that comes with feeling sexually fulfilled?

Dana B. Myers, founder of Booty Parlor is here to help with The Mommy Mojo Makeover: 28 Tools to Reclaim Yourself & Reignite Your Relationship. This practical and actionable guide is meant to help you rediscover and redefine your post-baby body, post-baby relationship with your partner, and post-baby sex life. Yes, there is such a thing!

Lucky for you, Dana is here to restore your hope and start to reignite the passion in your life and partnership with an exclusive sneak peak from one ofDana’s mojo-boosting tools!

From Tool No. 6: Choose Fun over Obligation

When was the last time you used the word “fun” to describe your daily life as a mom? Is it fun to clean up toys, be thrown up on, prepare meals and snacks, potty train, teach manners, run errands, carpool, help with homework, wrangle wild things into bed, and monitor a teenager’s social media account . . . all while juggling a career and your relationship? The short answer: Not so much.

This letter submitted to my website, from Abby, a mom of one, illuminates this issue perfectly:

Dear Dana,

Having a loving husband, my own business, and a baby girl is truly my dream come true, but if I’m honest, it doesn’t always feel so dreamy. My girl is three, and I thought I’d be so much more in-the-moment with her. Instead, it feels like I’m robotically “plugging in the pieces” of our day. I’m always looking ahead to what’s next—a meal, activity, bath, bedtime, etc.—so much so that I miss out on the sweetness of “what’s happening now.” I see other moms having FUN with their kids and it makes me sad. I’m even ashamed to admit that I often feel angry about it. I was also raised to believe that you have to nish your work before you play. And my work—both as her mom and as an entrepreneur growing my business—is never done, so I never allow myself to fully get to the “play part” of motherhood. This leaves me feeling stuck in stress mode and isolation, and it’s certainly not making magic happen in my relationship with my husband either.

Please, please tell me . . . how can I enjoy motherhood more? I desperately want to be a happier mama, woman, and wife!

xo, Abby

I could totally relate to Abby’s predicament. I often struggled to experience the joy “in the moment” with my kids—my mind would inevitably drift to work deadlines or other domestic obligations. While I hate to admit it, I often found the minutiae of motherhood boring, which only made me feel guilty. on top of that, I was mentally and emotion- ally exhausted from constantly shifting between the roles of mother and businesswoman. For me, trying to be everything to everyone at every single moment, meant that I missed out on the joy of being in the here and now. What’s worse is that this inner discord also affected my marriage and sex life. I was often restless, resentful, and unhappy at the end of the day, and my husband was getting the bare minimum

from me—whatever was leftover. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved being a mother, but there were times I was downright irritated and overwhelmed by the endless obligations that came with it. Let me tell you something: obligation is So. Not. Sexy.

I wanted to unearth bliss within the chaos, rediscover delight in the precious moments with my children, and find a way to make my life a whole lot of fun again! Something had to shift and I had a hunch it would have to be my attitude. That’s when it came to me in a flash, like a light bulb going o in my brain:

♥ I decided I would CHOOSE FUN, whenever possible.

♥ I would choose PLEASURE over a sense of obligation.

♥ I would choose SILLINESS over boredom.

♥ I would choose AMUSEMENT over irritation.

♥ I would choose MY MOM TRIBE over isolation.

♥ I would choose to SEEK SENSUALITY over strict scheduling.

This radical change in mind-set was a revelation. I realized that, amidst all the chaos and sleeplessness, there is magnificence to be had in motherhood. Why miss out on it? Why not squeeze the pleasure and bliss out of every single moment?

Even with this new attitude, I still had to run the household and get my work done, change stinky diapers and operate on less than six hours of sleep, but I decided I would do it with more merriment. I’d listen to more music, find the humor in the madness of it all, and eat more chocolate along the way. I’d abandon my strict by-the-minute schedule and opt for a more spontaneous family ow. I’d attend more playdates with friends, even if it meant I had to leave work early and finish up once the kids were in bed. Fun would be my choice. And it worked! Motherhood 
became much more fun. I became much more like my old self again. The moments spent doing the simplest of things with my kids became so much sweeter, so much more amusing. I began to get my glow back, and feel like me again. I freed myself of the unnecessary feelings of anger and obligation that were plaguing me, and my Mojo began to steadily rise. Motherhood became more joyful, and that newfound happiness carried right over into my relationship.

I shared this personal success story with Abby and, inspired by my process, she began to focus her attention on finding more fun and plea- sure, and her experience of motherhood changed for the better.

Mama, pleasure and fun are your birthright—they are yours for the taking. That’s not to say that holding onto this lighthearted mind-set is always easy, but it is worth it. When you’re having more fun within the daily grind of motherhood, your whole life will become happier. Fun o sets exhaustion; fun is a way out of feeling blue. Fun melts away fear, doubt, and stress. Fun can keep you from unleashing your inner tyrant upon your kids and husband. Fun makes room for present moment magic with your kids, opening your eyes to the possibility of more plea- sure in all areas of your life—including in the bedroom! Choose fun every day, and you will access your glow once again.

Available wherever books and eBooks are sold:

Amazon.….iTunes…..Barnes & Noble…..Google Play…..Kobo

and more!




The Sacred Earth

Apr 22, 2016

by June Cotner, editor of Earth Blessings

As a child I was always drawn to the outdoors … as an adult, I still am! Some of the most memorable times in my life have been spent surrounded by nature. To this day, I continue to hike regularly—and I honestly don’t know where I would be without the solace of wilderness.

But we don’t need to be in the wilderness to experience the beauty of nature. At home, I continue to be astonished by the everyday marvels that surround me—birds, plants, animals, sky, sunshine, and moonlight. These things serve as reminders that we can carry nature with us wherever we go.

It was the book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson that first drew my attention to the fragile nature of the environment. I read it in college and her words opened my mind to the notion that human actions could affect the very ecosystems upon which our lives depend.Where would we be if we did not have Mother Earth to rely upon? How can we view humanity, if not through the lens that is the world around us? And what does the state of the world today say to our communities and to our children?

It is my belief that the sacred can be found not in things abstract and ethereal, but in the earth itself. I hope that, by reading Earth Blessings, we may all come to realize what a vital place the earth holds, not only in our relationships with one another, but in our relationships with the world we live in.

Many books have been written on the practical aspects of living green, but only a few focus on the spiritual. I set out to create a book that would be an ecological celebration, complete with inspiring poems, interfaith prayers, and spiritual prose. In Earth Blessings, I have chosen selections from over ten years’ worth of collected material, pieces that authentically speak to the earth and to the intricate ties that bind us to it.

As Henry David Thoreau said, “Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.” I hope Earth Blessings will encourage us to look more deeply at our unique planet with a global awareness and respect, to gently remind us to do our part in sustaining an environmentally-friendly lifestyle, and to cherish Earth for the presence of the divine that appears to us through the natural world.


You can order Earth Blessings here. Happy Earth Day!


Let Go and Let the Laughter Flow

Apr 19, 2016

by Allen Klein, MA, CSP

In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang on to the past is holding you back from a new life.

—Mary Manin Morrissey, spiritual teacher

It had been an incredibly frustrating morning. When I got to my office, I received a call from my credit card company. They informed me that my card had been compromised. Someone attempted to charge a large purchase to my account. Because of this, they wanted to cancel my account and issue me a new card. I didn’t want that because I had a similar experience the previous year and it took a lot of time to contact all of the merchants who automatically deduct my monthly payments. After the first person refused to let me keep my card, I spent about forty minutes on hold, waiting to speak to a supervisor. I finally made a deal with them to keep the card but get a new one if a fraudulent charge happened again.

Then I attempted to stamp a letter that I had written the night before only to find that my stamp machine had a “lockout” message. Usually it is only a matter of minutes to clear the lockout, but every time I tried it this time, it didn’t work. Finally, after several attempts and more frustration, it finally cleared.

Right after that, just as I thought things were running smoothly again, my attempt to back up my computer didn’t work either. Again, it took a number of tries and mounting frustration against technology that wasn’t cooperating that morning.

On days like this, in an attempt to get a little levity in the situation, I often tell myself, “The moon must be in tapioca.” I have no idea where I got that phrase but it always brings a small smile to my face. Perhaps that is because it parodies astrologists who sometimes attribute not-so-great stuff happening to such things as the moon being in retrograde.

But that morning, with some many things going wrong, my usual mantra of “the-moon-in-tapioca” didn’t help much. What did help was the Daily Word, a Unity publication. I normally don’t get much laughter from the wisdom the magazine provides me everyday, but that day I let out a big laugh when I saw what the word of the day. It was “surrender.”

How very appropriate for what I was experiencing that morning. How appropriate anytime. “In the midst of disagreement,” it said, “I may be tempted to give in to frustration. Yet, no matter what happens outside, I have the ability to choose how to respond.” With the help of the magazine, I was able to let go of my frustrating circumstances, and let laughter save the day.


Allen Klein is an award-winning professional speaker and best-selling author. His latest Viva Editions book is You Can’t Ruin My Day: 52 Wake-Up Calls to Turn Any Situation Around. More information about Klein and his work at:


What do you do when bad things happen?

Apr 12, 2016

New from Viva Editions, When Bad Things Happen to Good Women is a guide to dealing with all of life’s tragedies, from losing a job, to house destruction from natural disasters, or deaths in the family. Carole Brody Fleet, an expert on grief and the author of two previous books, explains the best way to deal with over 40 common situations, and also tells you how to comfort those around you who may be experiencing these events.

when bad things happen to good women



Beginning a book of this sort with a chapter intended for people not directly affected by a bad thing is kind of like trying to frost a cake that has not been baked—you just don’t do it that way. However, I also believe that the more urgent a message, the sooner it needs to be heard. So as I am wont to do, I am breaking from convention by beginning with a chapter dedicated to the people who surround the “warriors”; the survivors of bad things…loss, life-challenges, adversity and situations that we all dread ever having to face.

We begin with the “Don’ts”:

The Biggest “Don’t-Say”

The absolute, no-doubt-about-it, definitive, number-one thing that you should never say to anyone who has just shared any kind of bad-thing news with you is:

“I know how you feel”
(also occasionally disguised as “I know what you’re going through”)

Little does more harm to a person in need of compassion, sympathy or actual support and help than hearing “I know how you feel” or “I know what you’re going through” from the people around them. A seemingly innocuous phrase, and commonly used in an attempt to relate to the pain of another person, this sentiment has the capacity to create very hard feelings. No one knows how someone else feels, and to say otherwise is presumptuous at best and can be devastatingly hurtful at worst.

Let’s explore the reasons why this phrase needs to be immediately eliminated from our sympathy lingo and blasted off of the planet (along with phrases like, “Aren’t you over it yet?” and “Everything happens for a reason,” both of which you will see recurring many times throughout this book).

Reason # 1

It is not your turn. Leave the spotlight where it belongs.

I have spent many years in service to the bereaved. I have written about, been interviewed regarding and spoken about a wide variety of loss and life-challenge experiences at great length. The stories that I have heard are countless. Moreover, when it comes to loss and life-challenge, I unfortunately also have a great deal of personal insight and experience (that includes widowhood); far too much overall for my liking.

It might then surprise you to learn that not once have I ever looked at anyone who shares their story of loss or challenge and responded with, “I know how you feel.”


Regardless of whatever news has just been shared, whether you have been through the same or similar experience or not, the minute you say, “I know how you feel,” you will inevitably follow those words with, “because I…” and then you are then likely to fill in the blank with your own tale(s) of woe. There is then an unspoken and automatic shift in the focus of the conversation and the person who has just come to you in need of sympathy, compassion, advice or perhaps just a shoulder to lean on is now being forced to focus on your story, your feelings and how you were affected by your situation. Whether intended or not, the emphasis is now on you and at this particular moment in time, the emphasis is misplaced. It is not about you right now. The focus needs to remain on the person who has opened a conversation with bad-thing news and is looking to you for compassion and reassurance. They should not have to be in the position of consoling you. Leave the spot-light where it belongs—on the person in immediate need.

Reason #2

Most of us have experienced at least one traumatic or challenging situation in our lives. While you may think that you are compassionately empathizing with someone by letting them know that you have had what you perceive to be a similar experience, what you may be unintentionally doing is trivializing their loss experience by making impossible comparisons. For example, imagine the horror of a mother who had recently lost her young child and in the guise of consolation, was told, “I know exactly how you feel because that’s how I felt when my [105-year-old] great-aunt died.” While the loss of a 105-year-old great-aunt is sad and the loss should be mourned, this is not only a violation of the spotlight-shifting rule, you cannot and should not compare loss experiences—particularly those that are simply incomparable.

Reason #3

You are you

As stated earlier, I will never, ever look another widow in the eye and say, “I know how you feel,” even if that widow lost her husband to the same illness as the one that claimed my husband’s life. I will never look at someone who has lost their father and say, “I know how you feel,” even if they lost their father. You really can’t compare apples to oranges (…or one situation to another situation)to cancer mere months after they lost their husband, as I did. I will never look at someone who had to euthanize a beloved pet and say, “I know how you feel,” even though, like so many, I too have taken part in this very sad good- bye process with our own furry family members. I have had every single one of these experiences (and then some), yet I refuse to utter that phrase. Why?

Because I am not the other person who is sharing their life challenge or loss experience. I am me. I am individual. I am unique.

(…And the world breathes a collective sigh of relief.)

If I am unique, it then follows that everything surrounding my experiences is unique. Even if I have lost a loved one, a job, a relationship or anything else in what appears to be the exact same manner as another person, the fact is that my circumstances, the people who surround me, my reactions and my relationships to what has been lost or challenged are each unique. So how can anyone else know how I feel? How can I know how someone else feels during their time of loss, when their own loss experience is unique and individual to them?

It’s impossible.


Order the book here!