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They Say It’s Your Birthday… July 18, 2013

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in My Life as I See It, Self-Development.
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1348_687167021310513_1966544250_nToday is my birthday! Usually I just quietly observe the day and let it pass. But with Facebook in my life, I get a million birthday wishes. Wow…who’d have thought? And I actually kinda like it.

Today’s a 22 master number day

I also found by reading the blog of my favorite astrologer of the moment that today is one of the eleven ‘22 master number days’ of 2013. As near as I can figure out these are supposed to be days of increased energy and days to move forward with your plans by taking action and getting things going.

A Rampage of Window Washing

I must say, this has been a pretty high energy day for me. And what have I done? Wait for it….I’ve been washing windows. In fact, I’ve gone on a window washing rampage. .Go figure. It has just suddenly become very important to me to have a clear view out of my windows. I even raided my next door neighbors’’ recycling for their old newspapers. These are great for washing windows—just in case you’re getting the urge to wash yours.

A Metaphor for seeing clearly

I think the last time I washed windows was about 3 years ago. Why wash them when it just rains and gets them dirty again? But something is different for me now. I think it’s probably a good metaphor for seeing clearly about what’s going on in my life, what I’d like to achieve and how I’d like to live the next phase of my life.

So now that my windows are washed, I’m taking care of other things that seem to be productive actions toward some goals I’ve set for myself. I’m even doing this blog post, this on the heels of having posted a mere three days ago.

Use these days to your advantage

I think these high energy days when they come (and who knows when they will appear) are wonderful opportunities to get some important things accomplished and more importantly to feel good about what you’ve done.

So don’t waste the 22 master number day…go for it! The next one is July 27th and the one after that is August 8. If you’d like to see the entire list, you probably will need to sign up for Elizabeth Peru’s newsletter. You can try this link Elizabeth Peru to find the other 22 master number days for the year.

Now I’m going to eat cake…


OH,PS If you haven’t visited my new web site yet, get the heck over there. I’m working on some cool new coaching offerings to be rolled out as soon as I can get them done. You don’t want to miss them, do you? Well, get on my mailing list and you’ll be the first to know.


Be there or be square…

Going Backward is Going Forward October 24, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in My Life as I See It, ontological coaching, Self-Development.
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This is me walking backwards with my friend Roman. Photo taken by my friend Godwin

I have found in my 18+ years of studying that dance—especially partner dancing–is an excellent metaphor for life. So you have been duly warned—this post is about dancing (sort of) and how it relates to life. Specifically Argentine tango—my current dance love and passion.

When two people dance the tango together there is a leader and a follower. Happily, my teacher insists that we learn both parts to speed up our dance competence. However, I am primarily a follower as are most of the women I know. As a follower it is important to know how to walk backwards–and to do it well. How hard can that be you ask? Well, to do it properly can be very hard. You probably remember the comment about Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers: Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did only walking backwards and in high heels. And that’s the way it is in tango.

I spend time in my lesson each week learning how to walk backwards correctly. The leg must extend out with no hip movement. There must be no settling of the hips as one moves from side to side or to the front. The back must stay engaged in the process. Lori has an exercise called “The Magic Leg” and even though it sounds well,magical, I can assure you that the magic is sometimes hard to find. But when I’ve done three or four steps correctly I get a great feeling of accomplishment, as well as praise from Lori. Who’d have thought that walking backwards could be so demanding and yet so rewarding.

Now comes the life application bit… You may have noticed that the same type of situations keep coming up for you in your life. One of my coaching clients kept attracting men into her life that were either losers or who were not available to her in some way. (I know, this is a very unusual example) When she finally looked right in front of her to an ‘ex’ who was still on the fringes of her life, she found that going backwards was indeed a very good thing for her.

One of my friends has been the primary care-giver for her elderly mother for the past 6 years. She formerly had a very nice life and a good job in New York City. ‘Coming home’ to care for her mother could certainly look like going backwards. However, she spent much of that time asking her mother questions about her life and delving into the patterns of their family and the reasons for them. She recently said to me, “I learned more about myself and my world by sitting with an old lady in my childhood home than I could have learned by working ten years in New York City.” Hmmm, once again walking backwards may not be the problem it’s cracked up to be.

Let me qualify this by saying that if you are continually looking backwards by living in the past, blaming your upbringing for all of your problems, or refusing to  be optimistic about your future—you are probably not moving forward. That said, sometimes we just have to be patient and learn from what has been placed in front of us.

What are your current ‘backwards’ challenges–the situations that you’d rather have a root canal than deal with?  These are the situations that keep coming up for you with different players in different costumes but who are acting out the same roles. Things like the unfair boss, loser boy(or girl) friends, friends who abandon you or who just want to take rather than give—to name a few examples. We all have our own flavor of ‘issues.’

Well, maybe, just definitely, there is something that you can learn from the situation that keeps repeating itself in your life. I’ll go even further—if it keeps repeating itself you cannot go forward in that particular area until you have learned what it is about you that keeps inviting in the same circumstances.

So turn around, take a deep breath and start walking. Keep doing it till you learn something new…


There’s a Reason For That September 25, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in My Life as I See It, Self-Development, spirituality.
photo by Larry Thomas

Me looking relaxed and peaceful...


First of all, thanks to those of you who have emailed to see if I’m still alive and healthy. I am –just had a touch of the writer’s block this summer but I’ve decided to steam through it. Enough is too much!

A visit to Louisville

I arrived in Louisville KY yesterday to visit my  ‘boyfriend’ (somehow boyfriend strikes me as a weird term after the age of 35—how about inamorato?) for a week. I was supposed to have arrived on Friday afternoon ,rather than Saturday afternoon, so I was about 24 hours late. There was a whole lotta rain going on in Philly where I flew from and also in Louisville where I was going. And for some strange reason, USAir simply cancelled the flight, with the next opportunity to fly out being Saturday morning at 6:30 am—way too early for any creature to have to get up considering that one has to be at least an hour early for a flight these days—an hour and a half to be safe. So I got to stay in an airport hotel and get up at 3:45 (I shudder to recall it) in order to catch the hotel shuttle to the airport.

And the story has a little more to it than that. When the shuttle driver came to pick me up so I could check into the hotel, he inadvertently locked his keys in the van. Picture the van idling in pouring -down rain, my bags on the ground next to the van, and other people waiting two stops down for the shuttle to pick them up. The driver used his ingenuity and before too long (about 15 minutes) we were on the road. The folks two stops down were unhappy—could not figure out why it should take so long at terminal B/C to pick up one person. I smiled enigmatically and kept my mouth shut and so did the driver.

And there’s more…

There are two more points to complete the saga, the first being that when the new flight was ready to take off for Charlotte (I’d had a non-stop originally), engines revving, crew in place, the pilot clicked on to tell us that the Charlotte airport had just been closed to incoming traffic because of fog–Holy Chicago! We finally took off a half hour later and I arrived safely in L-ville. The next little inconvenience happened when Larry’s car suddenly quit in the middle of a parking lot and refused to start up again. He thinks it’s the fuel pump.

So it’s been an interesting couple of days. And through it all I have totally shocked myself at how much equanimity I have been able to maintain. I’ve been smiling mildly at each new occurrence. And that’s about the extent of my reaction. If I wasn’t inside my own head I’d have probably thought I’d had a frontal lobotomy.

Practicing surrender

But no, this is me practicing surrender. I’ve just decided that it’s too painful to get all worked up about things I can’t change. I know there’s a lot to be said  for venting and blowing off steam but that takes a lot of energy. I’ve been busy this last month and I want to conserve my energy.

I do believe that everything happens for a reason and so I spent some time trying to figure out who or what was blocking my graceful and easy entrance into Louisville. I got nowhere with that. So I’ve come to a conclusion about trying to figure out the purpose for everything that happens in life.

Asking why

Yes, I believe we are in ‘Earth School’ to learn life lessons that help us to grow spiritually and emotionally. And yes, I think it’s important to examine our lives to determine what we learn through our experiences. But sometimes you can just make yourself crazy with that. “Why did this happen?”, “Did I attract this disaster into my life?” “What lesson should I learn?”  All good questions but there comes a time to just give it a rest. Yep, there is a reason,a lesson in most things, I guess. But what if it just happened because God burped, or the Universe felt like playing a prank, or for no good reason at all? Perhaps I just need to leave it alone and insights will come in a week, a month, or a year.

Give it a rest

So I’ve come to the conclusion that there are times to just take a rest from  the self-imposed rigors of living your life. Do what you can do, with the tools you’ve got at hand and then just surrender…

Works for me….


Not Seeing Is Believing June 26, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in My Life as I See It, Self-Development.
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My conscience has been bothering me because I have not been posting on my previous weekly schedule. Well not really my conscience, just that little inner voice that pipes up when I’m not living into my declarations about my life. And this blog relates to the one that in which I declare I am a writer.

OK—that’s said and now I ‘m over it. The reason for the title of this blog is that it became necessary for me to have a second eye surgery to repair my torn/detached retina. I was unpleasantly surprised because I am used to being able to pray, meditate and visualize my way to good health. Hmmmm, what up?, I wondered. Then I decided that there was some very good lesson I needed to learn through this process and I set about learning it.

The first question I asked myself was “What am I not seeing that I need to see?” There was a lot of great stuff to mine from that one. So what follows is what I have seen without the use of my eyes.

Everything happens for a purpose.

All right, I admit this is not a new learning for me. I have long believed that everything does indeed happen for a purpose but I got some extra practice in remaining steadfast in my belief about that. I think in my case it was just time for me to have time to re-evaluate some important aspects of my life. There were a couple of relationships that I wasn’t sure needed to continue. In one case, I concluded that it should and in the other that it was time to let go of the relationship and what it represents in my life. As I was preparing for the first surgery, my friend sent me a quote (he said I said it but it’s much better than what I said) that I think really speaks to this ‘everything for a purpose’ idea.

Things don’t happen to us, they happen for us.


It’s ok to be vulnerable and in need as long as you don’t make it a way of life.

Man, I don’t know about you, but it is sometimes hard for me to ask for help. I pride myself on being a non-needy person who only makes requests that are appropriate for the size of the relationship. Suddenly I found myself needing to ask people to drive me places, mow my lawn, listen to my fears about losing my eyesight, and so on and so on. And it’s been my great blessing to have people in my life who were more than willing to offer me the help and reassurance I needed. So I now see even more than I did before that it’s necessary to be able to receive as effortlessly as it is to give.

Sometimes we need a Significant Emotional Event (SEE) to see what’s been right in front of us.

It’s the darndest thing but we human beings are silly animals at times. Instead of learning our lessons in laughter and love, we seem to need to be turned upside down and shaken a bit before we pay attention. That’s my metaphor for a SEE—and it’s no coincidence that the letters spell that word. When we are very upset emotionally about something and we feel as though we are backed up against a wall, it is then (and only then) that we change our perspective. I have changed my opinion about what’s important in my life since I’ve had this SEE. Seeing is important in my life—forget about how well I dance the tango, or if I look terrible without eye makeup or whether I’m keeping up with my writing goals. Nope—seeing is important—both physically and metaphorically. The rest of that stuff matters but its relative importance has changed. Additionally I have had plenty of practice in navigating my mood. It’s been challenging but I know I did the very best I could. Another quote that I have been daily holding in my hot little hand helped with that a lot (once again courtesy of my friend Michael):

Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.  Eckhart Tolle

Think about it….






Celebrate! February 6, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in My Life as I See It.
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Vday national archives

I was all set to write a post about forgiveness. That’s a great topic but it can be a bit heavy. And I feel like doing a little celebrating today. Why? Well, for one thing it’s the middle of a trying winter and today is sunny and almost 40 degrees…Now that is something to celebrate. And to add to that I didn’t have to skate to my car this morning.

And my second reason for celebrating is that I just finished a round on the HCG diet and as of today I can again eat foods that were off limits to me for the past 23 days. AND I lost weight—bunches of it. Yea, yea, and yea. So I am celebrating by writing a shorter post than usual, by  drinking coffee with lots of half and half in it, and by going to a store to try on clothes in a smaller size (I hope).

What can you think of to celebrate today? So often we forget how blessed our lives really are. Of course we all have worries, annoyances and challenges. In spite of that we have so many things to celebrate. Your mission for today, should you choose to accept it 😉 is to find at least one thing to celebrate.

And maybe, just maybe you’ll defeat the winter blahs for a day or two.

Spring is coming!


The Tango Connection December 12, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in My Life as I See It, Personal Observations.
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tangoheelmediumI am delighted to say that I have a new addiction. And that addiction is Argentine tango—one of the more demanding dances I have ever attempted to learn. In spite of the fact that it is illusive, I have fallen in love with it. What do I love about the tango? Well, it is illusive—not full of set patterns like ballroom dancing, a dance form I have been doing for 17 years. In tango each partner I dance with has a different style of putting the steps together, selecting which steps to do (and not do), and executing those steps.  As a new dancer I find following challenging but fascinating. At a milonga (a tango dance) when you dance with a partner, it is usually for a set which is 3 –5 songs. And for me that is a good thing since it takes me that long to catch on to a new partner’s rhythms. Tango is its own mysterious and exotic world and I am smitten.

Perhaps one of the best aspects of tango is that tango dancers think of themselves as a community. And there are tango communities all over the world. As I began my basic 10 –week class at Sangha Space in Media (near Philadelphia), our teacher, Lori Coyle, constantly emphasized that tango dancers are a community. She often talked about the importance of connection in tango.  And since we are a community there are some standards of behavior which go along with that. These were taught, along with dance steps in the beginning class.

Some examples: When invited to dance you are usually accepting an invitation for a set—multiple songs—not just one dance, the way it is in ballroom. This is great unless you find yourself dancing with someone you don’t enjoy. And here is a subtlety:  whenever you say “thank you” to your partner, you are giving the message that you are finished dancing and so you will be escorted off the floor. So the key is if you want to continue to dance, do not say thank you to your partner until you  are ready to stop. One of my friends could not figure out why she kept being escorted back to her seat after only one dance while others were dancing multiples. The reason was that she was thanking her partners after each song and they assumed she wanted to stop. She soon got over that.

Another practice (also taught and reinforced in tango class) is that you always escort your partner back to the same place where he/she was when the invitation to dance was accepted. (The leader usually does the escorting.) Again, the emphasis is on treating a person with respect and care.

There is also a practice in tango of leading and following being shared by both men and women (at least where I’m learning it). So when I am in class I take my turn at following (which I am pretty good at) and leading (which I am not so good at). The theory is that the student can learn much faster if he/she can dance both parts. It is also perfectly acceptable for two men or two women to dance together without eyebrows being raised. (If I tried that at my ballroom studio the teachers would not be amused.)

That’s another thing I like about tango—there is a tradition about it that I find very comforting. And the tango shoes—well that’s a whole other story—be still my heart.

When I started this post I had intended to write about the importance of community, using tango as a small example. However, I see that I have gotten carried away with my example and now have no time for THE BIG LESSON. Oh well, sometimes it’s ok to just do something for the sake of pleasure. That’s why I do tango and that’s what I’ve decided about this post.

So no great lesson today except to say….Learn the tango!!!


Shhhh, you didn’t hear this here October 31, 2009

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in My Life as I See It.
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I really hate to mention this here because it’s evidence but I am starting NaNoWriMo tomorrow. Read this in a whisper…Why? Because I have absolutely no evidence that I can do it—none. Intrigued?

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month—described on the website (www.nanowrimo.org) as “Thirty days and nights of literary abandon.” Those who are crazy enough to sign up for it start on November 1 and finish a 50,000 word novel by the 30th. I have been toying with this idea for about four years now but have always thought it was too big a commitment to make. This year, however, I have a book that I laid out in August and not one word of it has been written since that outline was completed. So, unlike many of my fellow wrimos, I will be writing a non-fiction book during November. But please don’t tell anyone…

So, what does this commitment mean in practical terms? Well, for starters it means that each and every day of November I need to write at least 1600 words. And yes, they could be gobbledygook—but what’s the purpose of that? I need to write 1600 somewhat coherent and meaningful words in sentences that make sense. Yikes!

This also means that my life is going to take on a new pattern during the month. I have to cut out some things to be able to find the time to write 2000 words a day (my personal goal suggested by one of my writing buds who did this successfully last year).

I thought about cutting out eating—that would further my weight loss goals as well. Hmm, maybe not. However, I have decided to cut down the amount of time I spend on the Internet indulging in bad habits like checking email. I also will watch less TV but I am not cutting out Dancing With the Stars… Also not out of the picture is dancing and quilt making—at least at this juncture.

What about my blog, you ask…I intend to post when I can but this may be the month I cultivate my as yet undeveloped pithy, terse writing style. Move over Mr Hemingway.

So, wish me luck but don’t tell anyone I’m doing this—that is until I successfully complete the challenge. Then you can tell everyone…


Writers! Retreat! #3 July 30, 2009

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in My Life as I See It, Uncategorized.
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taos mountains by amara ann bertorelli

Here’s my third entry for the writer’s retreat that I am attending. There is always a point in any retreat (at least for me, and I have reason to believe for many others) when the shit hits the fan, so to speak. That is when everyone around me is getting on my last nerve and I am forced to confront the reality that it’s my stuff not theirs. Well, boys and girls, that’s just where I am at this point.

We hit the halfway mark of the retreat yesterday. The good news is that my friend Rachel and I decided to break off from the group for a few hours and go white water rafting. That was an excellent idea (Rachel’s, not mine) and it was very therapeutic. There’s nothing like being a little scared, a lot exhilarated, and totally surrounded by nature to clear out what ails you.

One of the main issues that many of us in the group are working on is that of “internal sovereignty,” as Havi Brooks so wonderfully puts it. Briefly put, we are the queens (I do enjoy being a queen) of our own internal landscape. Because of that we give no one but ourselves the permission to determine our assessments of our own worth and validity. This goes for praise as well as for criticism. This is a compelling project for me—and seems to be for others as well.

Dance of Shiva (led by Havi) also remains an interesting if frustrating activity. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it seeks to have us leave behind the patterns of our life that are not serving us, using physical movement. I recommend it for anyone who wants their creativity to break out. That said, I do believe it brings forth some of that other gunk that was residing unexamined below the surface of things. Sort of like the pus in a sore—yuk! Suffice it to say that I am not all sweetness and light at the moment…However, I do hold as a possibility that this could change by the end of the retreat on Saturday.

Onward and upward (I hope)


Writers! Retreat! #2 July 28, 2009

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in My Life as I See It, Personal Observations.
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flower cart at mabel, taos nm

Today marks the first full day of the writer’s retreat that I am attending in Taos, New Mexico. It’s been the first day without a thunderstorm since I arrived here. As is usually the case here, the weather is glorious—clear, dry and of course sunny. And the smells here are wonderful—juniper, sage, pine and many other lovely natural scents

Today was the awkward first day which I find common in most retreats and workshops I have attended–people just getting to know one another’s names and stories.

I started the day with free form dancing for a half hour. I always enjoy this because I am a ballroom dancer and like to move my body.

Our topic for the morning session was Waking Up Your Brain and Settling In. Jennifer Louden engaged us in a free writing exercise or two. Then it was time to work on breaking out of our old patterns with Havi Brooks. Havi does something called the Dance of Shiva whose purpose it is to re-groove your brain through movement. She challenged us to “do it wrong” and I certainly obliged her. The technique is a series of movements done with the arms. These movements are shuffled and sped up as the session goes on. Wow—I was perplexed by it, so I guess I was really doing it right.

This session was followed by our writing time—it is a writer’s retreat after all. I made some progress with the help of Jennifer’s coaching. I am venturing into a new project—a non-fiction book on how it’s possible to make the workplace a more satisfying and joyful place. So far—so good!

This afternoon we had a session which enabled us to confront our inner critic in a constructive way. Last year I absolutely hated this particular session and the temptation was to skip it. However, good sense prevailed and I attended. Surprisingly, I found that I was able to move through it with a lot less tension. I believe that the process of surfacing this critical voice that is part of me was an important piece of being able to incorporate it into my writing process in a more productive way.

So, the first day is almost over. Tonight will be another evening council.

There is the usual assortment of reasons that women have come here—some of them even have to do with writing. I have noticed that many women come because there is healing for them to do and this is a safe and supportive place to do it. And I guess we are all healing on some level all the time anyway.

Stay tuned.


Staying Alive–I Mean Young February 23, 2009

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in My Life as I See It, Personal Observations.
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Amara's Monkey Slippers pic by Larry ThomasI have the very good fortune to be 61 years old and look ten to fifteen years younger than my chronological age. I say this, not to boast but as reference to an oft-repeated assessment by other people. Some of the illusion, I have to admit, can be attributed to hair color and some to genetics. However, yesterday I received a note on Facebook (what an invention, that) from a high school classmate who had discovered me. She was asking if I was the same ‘Ann Bertorelli’ that she had gone to school with in the 60’s. I replied that of course I was the same one—how many Ann Bertorelli’s did she think there were? Her response was that she would never have recognized me if we met me somewhere.

That got me thinking. Is it just the hair color and the good genes? Nope, I don’t think so. I think there is a little more to it than that. Since there is always interest in finding out the secret to (relative) youth—witness the practice of asking the newly-made octogenarian that very question—I thought it might make a helpful blog entry. So, what’s my “secret?”

Here goes, in no particular order…

  1. I take lots of vitamins and have since my early thirties. (not just randomly, I have a health professional who advises me.)

  2. I learn new things often.

  3. I take care of my teeth and skin. (Oh alright, I could floss more often)

  4. I hang out with younger people.

  5. I am interested and interesting.

  6. I read a lot.

  7. I meditate and pray every day.

  8. I keep trying to make myself better in as many ways as I can think of.

  9. I dance.(Ballroom Latin)

  10. I don’t listen to negativity anymore than I have to. I seldom watch the evening news or engage in depressing conversations ad nauseum.

  11. I refuse to call myself old or even think of myself as old—I am wise.

  12. I don’t discuss ailments, medications, or surgeries unless I see no way out of it or need advice that I can’t get any other way.

  13. I use my creativity in the ways that appeal to me—and I do that often.

  14. I work hard to drop my judgments of others—a never-ending project.

  15. I talk to angels. www.graceintime.com

So there’s my short list. I’m sure that I could think of more but those are the ones that sprang to mind. Maybe I’ll write a book on the subject—or maybe not. Life is just full of possibilites.