Aug 242016


silver and gold.jpg


“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other, gold.” – Girl Scout Song

Lately, my life has been pretty peaceful. Some of my friends, on the other hand, have been having their turns in the blender. Professional frustrations, personal betrayals, family upheavals, big moves and small… my people have been going through changes.

I’ve been thinking about the nature of those relationships, our histories, and our connections. The ease of online connection contributes something. There’s (usually) something wonderful about hearing from someone with whom I haven’t connected in years. (Hey, cut me some slack: we’re talking about friends, not bad boyfriends, OK?)

Here are a few more thoughts on friendship.




“Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.” — Octavia Butler

day lilly


“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” —  Oprah Winfrey

“Please take my hand. I give it to you as a gesture of friendship and love, and of faith freely given. I give you my hand and welcome you into my dream.” -Wonder Woman



I’d love to hear some of your favorite thoughts about friendship. Please feel free to share them in the comments section, at the bottom of this post.


You know who else could be your friend? You might not believe it, but that pesky #innercritic that lives between your ears could become one of your strengths. Check out The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head to learn more.

 August 24, 2016  Posted by  Fun & Inspiration, Happiness, Thinking 4 Responses »
Aug 092016

Isabella GSD

Earlier this week, one of those giant, Florida, summer afternoon downpours demanded we reschedule our dog training session. I’ll admit to mixed emotions. On one hand, I had been looking forward to showing off our progress, feedback from our coach and getting the next set of assignments. On the other? The accidental drowning of an iPhone in a raincoat pocket helped me discover a strong preference for watching those storms while indoors and dry.

To make the best use of our extra practice days, I asked the trainer a couple of questions about working with my shepherd. Isabella (yes, that’s her real name) and I have a complicated history. She has never felt completely safe on-leash when there are strange dogs around and, while we are making progress in many areas, I wasn’t satisfied with my work on this problem. I did not want to move backward to where she gets anxious, I get nervous and the whole scene gets ugly in a hurry.

I’m a big fan of layered, generalized learning. I get pretty happy when, for example, I can apply something I learned at yoga to my dog-training practice and vice versa. Or when my trainer reinforces lessons I learned (and taught) back when I worked as a therapist.

I explained to our coach that I’d achieved some success keeping Isabella more engaged with me than with the neighborhood dogs who sound off as we pass their fenced yards. “Find the edge of her bubble and work there,” was the advice I got.

Everybody’s got a comfort zone — even our dogs. And each of us is different. What may be a comfortable social space for you may feel nosey and intrusive to me. Another thing we know about personal boundaries is that they vary according to time, place or situation. We feel a completely different level of comfort and intimacy with our partners and children than we do with fellow concert-goers or alone in a dark alley. Isabella can stay focused on the same side of the street as the low-energy Labrador but needs a bit more distance from the shepherd/pitbull duo guarding the neighbor’s landscape business. Duh.

Healthy boundaries enhance relationships and increase confidence. Hmmm. I can do this. I can say “no” to people or situations that don’t fit my goals. And I can do the same for my dog. It’s a decision that leaves so much more room for “yes.”


Do you need establishing better boundaries with your #innercritic? Check out The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head



 August 9, 2016  Posted by  Dog Wisdom, Happiness, Thinking 14 Responses »
Jul 202016



Peace of mind comes from not wanting to change others. – Gerald Jampolsky

If there’s no inner peace, people can’t give it to you. The husband can’t give it to you. Your children can’t give it to you. You have to give it to you. – Linda Evans

Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming. John Wooden

Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on. ― Criss Jami


To attain inner peace you must actually give your life, not just your possessions. When you at last give your life – bringing into alignment your beliefs and the way you live then, and only then, can you begin to find inner peace. – Peace Pilgrim

If you want peace, stop fighting. If you want peace of mind, stop fighting with your thoughts. – Peter McWilliams


And if you’re looking for more peace of mind? Check out The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head  (I wrote it for YOU.)

 July 20, 2016  Posted by  Happiness, Thinking 11 Responses »
Feb 102016

I love you graffitti

How’s your self-love level? If you’ve struggled to love and approve of yourself, chances are you’ve created a list of personal qualities  you like, love or approve of.  They may be physical: eyes, smile, height, weight, physical conditioning. Or, perhaps they’re spiritual or emotional qualities that influence the way you move through the world. It’s easy to love your loyalty, your compassion, or your enthusiasm, but what about the rest of you? What about your talent? Your writing or other creative endeavors?

Sometimes making (or even reading) those lists can make us cringe, bringing up concerns about being “stuck up,” selfish, or self-centered. Those thoughts can make it difficult to stay enthusiastic about your list… especially the ones that tell us we’re imposters or talentless hacks. That’s when we really need to send some love to that inner editor.

What is healthy self-love? I think it requires a level of honesty and humility that allows us to see and accept our positive traits and the ones we don’t enjoy so much. We’ve learned that some of our yuckier traits can be an invitation to grow and change, an idea that works pretty well… until we bump into that critical voice inside. You know, the one that tells us we’re somehow less than others? The Inner Critic. The Inner Editor. The Bully in Your Brain. Yeah. That one.


That’s when we start zooming around the web, reading up on the most popular Inner Critic management techniques. You find coach after coach, author after author offering tips and tactics to silence that inner voice. Get rid of it, kill it off, once and for all.

And, if you’ve followed that advice, you’ve probably had yet another interesting discovery: with most those strategies is, if they work at all, it’s not for long, is it? Efforts to silence the Inner Critic simply bring it back, stronger than it was before.

So what’s the answer? What does it take to get that voice to behave? Love. Unconditional love and radical self-acceptance. It’s true. As much as that naggy voice doesn’t feel good? It’s an important part of us, an inner warning system. To get to a comfortable level of self-love and self-acceptance means we’ve got to find a way to love that voice, too.


Andrea Patten has managed to love her inner editor long enough to publish  The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head a little book full of big ideas about how — and why — you can learn to love “that voice.”   The Inner Critic Advantage is now available on Amazon.




 February 10, 2016  Posted by  Happiness, Inner Critic, Thinking 15 Responses »