Category Archives: Adaptation

The nose knows.


Katie the Farm Dog on Patrol, protecting the barn and the horses!

Sometimes late at night here in the country, my dogs suddenly go nuts, barking and wanting to get out. I don’t see anything for them to bark at, nor do I hear anything or smell anything, but their noses know. A dog’s nose can smell 300x what a human nose can and I have some very good noses at my house. It is skunk time in Tennessee as Russell recently let us know.

Russell seems to be of Terrier descent although he was labeled a cocka-a poo. Dogs from shelters are often labeled things with no particular reason, which is why Francis Marion’s flat coated retriever mix and Bedford’s dalmation mix are questionable. I believe that all of our dogs are mixes of mixes, much like their Celtic, French, Swedish and Irish owners. W e are mutts with mutts.

Regardless of labels our dogs all have excellent noses and they know who should be where, so my alarm system is in place. Harmless pups who know the property line ( the borders patrol in the AM and PM) could get less friendly if they feel there is a threat. So how do dogs distinguish between a mere intruder and a threat. Dogs can smell the difference and distinguish the intention of the intruder by their smell.

I think it would be great if we could smell the sociopath in the room or sniff out the burglar in a hotel. Sometimes we can sniff out the potential drunk drivers and take away their keys. Sometimes we can sniff out the people who latch on to us for the wrong reason. I recently told a single friend of mine who was not happy when a slightly smashed guy in the elevator asking her, “What do you do?” to tell him she sold whole life insurance . This answer is guaranteed to move most people down the line. People fear the person who can close a deal by getting them to think about their own death.

I would love to always have a dog with me, because they can tell so much about a person by the way they smell even through hideous cologne. So turn on your nose, your eyes and ears and stay present with people and you will have less fear and more delight! Dogs wag their tails and smile because everything smells just great! Dogs always live in the present!


What do I do?

Needed....Elevator speech!

Needed….Elevator speech!

In our country, the first question people often ask is what do you do? Often people are so anxious to get to this question that they do not remember your name.

Our culture enjoys the quick route to evaluating people. This has often been a hard question for me to answer. When my business partner and I started our company our focus was on Pension Consulting, which involved meeting the ERISA stated criteria of having an independent third-party to evaluate pension plans; that was a relatively new field, less than twenty years old and typically required some explanation.


Every marketing and sales training book suggests that you have “an elevator” speech that defines what you do in sixty seconds are less; this is difficult to do without limiting one’s usefulness. My business partner at Mabry-Calvin and I have evolved over the past 25 years, honing our skills in sniffing out B***S*** to help our clients avoid common pitfalls, moved our focus to families and developed investment programs for qualified and non qualified investors with complete liquidity and transparency by using what we have learned from ” the best and the brightest.”. We have spent thousands of hours on reports people do not wish to read to realize that they really want us to just do the work and occasionally show them the statistics. We have learned and continue to learn as any good professional should.Our investment programs keep us easily in the top quartile of performance, but we do not seem to do much marketing. I believe that we know that the truth is that no one is bullet proof and bragging about your numbers is often a good way to take the elevator to the basement in the fluid world of finance.We are constantly competing for business in a world of oversimplication of the investment process and a sense that a big advertising budget guarantees safety. Few people will ever evaluate the numbers.


My “elevator speech” does not exist. I continue to evolve with Mabry-Calvin, but have also started Worth Healing to help people with their financial behavior. So although it is an uphill marketing climb as I participate in a field that is 10 years old ( Behavioral Finance or Financial Therapy) a pigeon-hole answer sounds limiting. I have over thirty years in helping people with their finances and over forty years in helping them with their behavior.  Money and behavior both have huge emotional components. Psychology and Finance offer us tools, but not all of the tools we need.


I can only build relationships by leading with my strengths. My top strength on virtually every scale I have taken is Empathy. My strong suit is that very often I can quite easily understand and empathize with the situation someone is in. People come to me to ease their pain, make themselves more effective at what they do, spill their guts in a safe non judgemental environment and talk about what brings them the most shame. You might be surprised at how often money is a part of these conversations. Money, the fear of letting others down or of appearing stupid are common themes of conversation.When life changes, people often become paralyzed, overwhelmed and just can’t think – then I am a “thinking partner.”


So for any of you out there who can come up with an elevator speech for me, please send it!


When what was is no longer!

It takes lots of heads to help the ones we loveQ

It takes lots of heads to help the ones we love !.


Life sometimes picks up the pace when the trajectory appears to be in reverse. 

Sometimes our brains wear out before our bodies and this is a terrible irony. Brilliant engineers, Phi Beta Kappas, Judges, Physicians and people who have vested much of their identity, life and work in their intellect begin to feel it fade, The struggle for words or what day it is starts innocently enough, but then picks up speed and the person we know and love seems to be disappearing before we can even say goodbye. The caregiver, sadly gets to see the day-to-day of these changes and suddenly their responsibilities are doubled. Fear, paranoia, confusion and the inability to recognize the familiar is observed by the primary caregiver in a thousand little heartbreaking and sometimes frustrating moments.



I can not stop the process of this disease, but I can help the caregiver adjust to the transition of making difficult decisions. The crushing weight of many big decisions fall on the caregiver just as they lose the person they have loved for many years. They must grieve what once was, as they head off the cliff of “what’s next?” . Well-intentioned people will ask the caregiver how they are doing and expect the typical answer of “fine.” I have not seen anyone be “fine” while watching their beloved’s personality and life evaporate.



Most of us have very little knowledge of brain chemistry and envision that  dementia will allow people to just be “buoyed up” like an angry 4-year-old. What really happens is a crushing amount of paperwork from agencies, the government, coordinating sitters, while finding places where a couple who has been married 50 years can still live together. People really do not want to talk  or hear about diapers, raging, swallowing problems, falls, obsessive delusional thinking, hitting of others and self and the loss of the person who is standing in front of you.



Life transitions that point us to the loss of a loved one often include hard financial choices. These diseases force us to watch the difficult reality of a progression that robs our loved one of their talent, their intellect, their knowledge of the world, their freedom and ultimately their life. These types of transitions are among the most difficult ones in life. What can be done?



Worth Healing is here to help people navigate life’s difficult transitions and to give people a safe place to say what they can not say anywhere else, to grieve while living a life that requires tremendous strength and to help clarify the process of making decisions. What is most important when life changes is not to suffer in silence, to give yourself the support and help you need, that’s why I created Worth Healing!


“Life Changes, money changes. Money changes, life changes!”

“When life changes, money changes. When money changes, life changes.” (Susan Bradley- Sudden Money Institute) Why do we act as we do when it comes to money? We view money in the manner we learned as children.


Bags Of Money Showing American Finances

People with very little money, people, with massive amounts of money and people with changing life circumstances most often fall back on their well established “default” behaviors. Decisions concerning money are often  “forced ” on people in periods of very intense stress. It is critical to understand how YOU use money in order to understand how to make it work for you rather than against you.




How can money work against you? Decisions involving money often throw people into a state of paralysis in their decision-making. Suddenly having money can find people with too many choices and too many well-meaning friends and family. Data will show that most NFL players are bankrupt 5 years after their professional football career ends. Money can become a crippling obsession, a badge of entitlement, a source of shame and it does not “fix” much at all.



Many people “believe” that only fools lose their money and that people who do not have much money are lazy and stupid. After 32 years in the financial business, I believe that anybody can make a bad decision or get lucky in spite of themselves.




How much money you have has very little to do with the quality of your life past your basic survival mode. So let’s put money in its place. Let’s find out what all the mind chatter surrounding money is about. Let’s get to the bottom of how you are affected by money and look at ways to use your behavior with money to your advantage. We are all Worth Healing!


When money changes, life changes. When life  changes, money changes.
When money changes, life changes. When life
changes, money changes.



3 siblings get together!

3 siblings get together!

It’s the Holidays, the time of year when people routinely think that more is better. I have a good collection of cardboard boxes that someone will enjoy. Christmas can be a terrible time for people who have lost a partner, a child or a friend. The Holidays do not empty the hospitals, jails or rehabs, but they often empty wallets and fill up credit cards. If you are missing someone you have lost this year, just do whatever you need to feel as good as possible. Not feeling is never the “correct” answer when it comes to grief, as it is impossible to control what might “trigger” sadness, so be who you are.



As a culture we are obsessed with December Holidays Chanukah, Christmas, Ramadan and let’s just go crazy and see our families. I used to hate all  holidays, then one year when I go “mono” I changed. I had fever of 103 starting in early December and I could not keep food down, or even think of having the energy for anything but the essentials. I discovered during that year that Christmas would go on without me. I am pretty sure no one noticed except my friends who made food and brought it to George, being carefull not to enter the contagion zone. Christmas always has had some “forced” gaiety which was not always “real” at my house.” Grandma is coming over and we are going to have fun:” my mother would declare. Translation = the meanest and most judgemental white woman on the planet was coming over for a meal which will leave one or more people crying and several others drunk. Advice for these holidays was always to lay low and fight to carry plates out to the kitchen.




I am pretty sure my family was not the only one trying to look like the Normal Rockwell paintings, but acting more like a Tennessee Williams play. The holidays provide many types of ” shows.” I like looking at lights, especially really over the top home-made light displays. I have really simplified Christmas since mono brought me to my knees and there are no tears or drama. Oh yeah and no Grandma either!




This year, my siblings and I will be together just after Christmas for the first time since 1969. There will be no “forced” roles just the sound of grown ups showing the next generations that is never to late to reconnect with a family that seemed to be forever shattered  after the loss of our father. We as adults get to define what the holidays are for us and to come together in JOY! So for the holidays, don’t worry about what you are wearing, your gifts or what anyone else is doing, just bring your “heart” to the occasion and as much humor as you can muster.






How can we prepare for life’s unexpected transitions? We can’t plan our way out of the unexpected events that affect our lives. We have to let life unfold and maintain an “openess” to the process and progress of LIFE.


Most people are surprised at the adjustment that receiving  unexpected money requires. Inheritance generally involves the loss of someone dear to us. Financial compensation awards as a result of injury leave the “winner” with  major adjustments, because the fight is over and yes there may be some financial relief, but the loss is still there. Even winning the lottery has a huge adjustment, that frankly most people are not able to make, because you can not spend your way to happiness. The person who has started a company from scratch and sells it for unimaginable sums suddenly has to realign themselves with who they are without this drive to create and build. A driving personality needs to take the time to reestablish who they are, while holding off all the attention about their past success and the rush to tap into their gratitude and generosity.



Living life as a mindful human BEING instead of a human DOING occurs to most people during  periods of transition. No matter how successful a person is I have never met one who would not hand over everything they have to save the life of their child. Loss and near loss bring us all to our knees though painful, they are the most efficient teachers for us of what our priorities really are. In the world of treatment and recovery parents, spouses, entire families literally “hold their breath” hoping that “this time” treatment will work. Recovery from addiction and trauma often brings with it the loss of a job, a standard of living or a marriage. My work is about guiding people through transitions both good and bad, up and down, so that they can work at an optimal level when faced with decisions that will impact their lives and the lives of their families.




Success is not an especially good teacher. In fact, we learn far more from our troubled transitions in life than our successes. Financial success can bring about a wide variety of conflicting emotions which may include depression, guilt, is this all there is?, fear that life’s accomplishments are over and an emptiness over what to do next. Jimmy Carter is an interesting study in this concept. For many, the idea of being President of the United States seems to be the top of the mark, but repeatedly, former President Carter (and he is not the only one) sees his greatest achievements in other areas of his life.



People have often have great difficulty with Estate Planning. The numbers and the tax code are not the hard part of estate planning, assuming you have a top lawyer working for you. (Not to worry, I have those names stamped in my brain). The hard part is talking about your own mortality, your legacy, how to care for your family. The serious issues of trying to help your family after you are dead bring up a vast array of competing issues which lead to many failed plans. Even an excellent will does not help much if the assets are not held as the will states or no one can find the original.



People spend money for an attorney to draft a plan and then do not follow through with what needs to be done to make it work. Instead of easing the burden for those left behind, they have unconsciously created a nightmare for their families who now must deal with untangling a huge mess at a time when they are grieving.  People who do not have much money think they do not need a plan, but they do. Who will take care of your child if you die? your dogs? horses? cats and other critters? Who will pay the bills for the funeral, write the obituary and find the passwords to all the stuff they need on your computer? You do not have to have any money to create a nightmare for your family or friends as they try to survive the transition of your loss.



Transitions call on us to get to the heart of the matter. If you are experiencing or planning for life’s transitions, do the emotional work FIRST and you will then be far more successful in deciding your next course of action. I created Worth Healing for people to have a place to talk about what is hard to talk about in a safe place, because I have spent over 35 years helping people navigate the transitions in their lives. Few things in life go as planned, but getting to the essence of any life transition brings clarity and the ability to adapt to your life. We all need a place where we can speak our fears, our rage, our hopes and dreams without judgement in order to fully process transitions that have occurred or plan for the inevitable. All to often we feel we must filter what we say to not scare or hurt someone else. I used a tree in the Worth Healing logo, because trees have always provided me with a safe place to express my feelings and a reminder of the constant changes in life. Look at some of the big trees in the forest, they have scars, missing limbs and yet they are still growing. Nature gives us many examples of growth and survival from transitions.



I am a transitionist for your financial issues and your emotional issues, which become intertwined. My specific training for financial transitions is with the Sudden Money Institute headed by Susan Bradley, an internationally recognized expert in this new field. Check out my website at for further information about my training for the past 35 years. We can’t outplan life, but we can learn to be in FLOW with it, so we can make our transitions with grace.



Enjoy your holidays! When the chaos gets to you ask this question, “How important is _____________ (it) really?” Just take time to be a Human Being! We are all Worth Healing and we can all help others heal during painful transitions.