How to Bring the Light Back Into Your Life




Back in 1992 I drove across this big old country of ours, leaving a little village in Maine that had been my home for 13 years. Idyllic, nestled between a chain of pristine lakes, loons calling all summer long, sailboats down at the Yacht Club and friends so dear to me, I thought I’d die without them. Why in God’s name would anyone leave that? Only one thing could have sent me packing to California…light. Or, in this case, the lack of it. Seems my body wasn’t thriving there any more as days got shorter, nights longer and snows that lasted for 6 months made Donna a SAD woman. Seasonal Affective Disorder left me no choice, so in early October I headed to Berkeley.


A friend was my marathon man. He drove us 700 miles a day while I slipped into an exhausted coma. I’d wake just long enough to see the sun rising in Kansas out the front window while the moon was still high in the midwestern sky out the rear window. The salt flats of Utah as we drove down the “World’s Loneliest Highway” created mirages. They were right. It was truly lonely but I couldn’t trust that a semi wasn’t coming ’round the corner when I really needed to pee and there wasn’t as much as a tumbleweed to squat behind.


We made it in 5 days and my driver hero turned right around and headed back home leaving me standing in my friends’ driveway, happy to be in warm sunshine but already overwhelmed by this huge change in my life. Cars creeping along jammed freeways. Where were the loons and peace I had so treasured? What had I done!?


I’d like to say within a week I was sipping lattes and wearing tye-dyed tees. Seems I had traded SAD for sad. I struggled to find work in a place with different priorities and values than New England. My work was less relevant and, a single parent of a fifth grader, I had to earn a living. Things looked very dark, even with the sun shining every day.


I knew I needed help. Truly depressed, so much so that I did the unthinkable (for me). I went to see a psychiatrist and left with a prescription for an antidepressant which I carefully folded up and put in my wallet. Knowing I can hardly tolerate Tylenol, the idea of any meds were terrifying. I had to do it another way and the only thing that had always worked was acupuncture. How I found this particular acupuncturist I can’t recall. Let’s call it a miracle.


Picking my chin up off the floor, I found my way to her office in the trendy, “very Berkeley”area named after trees. Her office was upstairs over the famous Gaia Books and though I had read most every self help book in there, I knew this sadness was beyond me. Finally in the treatment room, she asked me what was going on in my life and all I could do was cry. I told her I’d moved from a beautiful little village of 800 people, 1500 in the five weeks of Maine summer and I was frozen now not from winter, but because of freeways, traffic, noise and the absence of loons and my sweet friends. She smiled and told me something I have never forgotten and that I use to this day when overwhelmed by life. “Just make your world smaller”, she offered.


Jenny was like an emotional Sherpa on my journey from transition-induced depression to finding peace and joy in a new home. She said, “Find a place you love to have coffee each day and just go there. Then, find a park up in the hills with trails you like and just hike those. Go to the same grocery store near your home. Live your life without ever getting on the freeway. Use city streets. Find your places, your people, your favorite sandwich shop and movie theatre. Just make your world very small for now.”


So, as we change our clocks today, let it be a reminder that when in periods of great transition and feeling like we are pulling a refrigerator behind us everywhere we go, we can feel so alone. overwhelmed and sad. I hope you’ll remember what Jenny said to me.When you are feeling powerless, hopeless, fearful and don’t know how you’re going to deal with it all...”just make your world smaller”. Last night I fell asleep, not counting sheep, but one by one saying the names of all the people in my life who love me. It worked for me and perhaps, tonight if you’re struggling, it will work for you.

Feeling the loneliness of the holiday season, and are ready to get yourself out there to find someone to share this next amazing chapter of your life, give me a call at 510-817-4242. I would love to be your guide to finding love again.
May the light grow brighter each day!

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”

Donna’s Big RED Chair




Got a Problem With Urgency???

woman in fear



I’m not talking about the kind the drug companies are more than happy to offer you drugs to fix. It’s that urge to talk when the man in your life, or who used to be in your life wants exactly the opposite.

As women, we really need connection. When it isn’t there, we can feel like a fish out of water. If only we could talk to him, he would “get it” and things would be better. Alas, one of life’s little jokes is that men, when faced with emotion, indecision, confusion or just uncomfortable with their feelings or our feelings, want to be alone. It’s that “man cave” kind of place where they want to go breathe, turn on a football game, run 6 miles…anything but talk to us. What was nature thinking???? In defense of women, we now know it’s a brain thing that partially explains our anxiety about “too much time passing”. Recent research says that we need oxytocin to rejuvenate and feel calm. Contact and connection is a greater need for women and when we don’t get it, that oxy drops big time and we feel anxious. So, guys…it’s not because we’re needy or can’t take care of ourselves. It’s that we need that contact from you. So, somewhere in the middle…your need for space to regenerate and our need for contact to feel calm and safe is where you want to aim.

What can we do when the urgency to communicate pushes us to the brink? Anything but hit the SEND button. Yes, write it all down on a legal pad, all the things you want and need to say to him. Don’t censor it, don’t judge it and by all means, use every single expletive you can conjure up. Cry, scream, call a girlfriend, make an appointment with your counselor or coach. Just don’t speak to him right now.

When is the right time to talk to him? Why not have a conversation with him and find out where that middle ground is located for both of you? These kinds of exchanges head bigger conflicts off at the pass. Find a good time when you’re not feeling stressed or defensive. Then begin with, “Let’s figure out what works for us about this need to connect…”

If the relationship is new, or you’ve only been dating for awhile, it’s an opportunity to see how you both handle emotions, discomfort and communication. If that’s high on your list of qualities that matter to you, pay attention to how you get to agreement, or not.

Donna Bailey, MS
Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert, Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”
Donna’s Big Red Chair  510-817-4242
Tired of watching those sunsets alone? Ready to do whatever it takes to find that special someone with whom to share this next chapter of your amazing life?

Give me a call or send me an email and we’ll do a

Complimentary Session!

What Does a Really Good Man Look Like?





“He’s a good man.” How often have you heard someone say that?


Often, we hear only about the men that did a woman wrong, or worse, the Harvey Weinsteins of the world. I rarely hear much about good men either in  my personal or professional world. Of course, you might say that I wouldn’t because helping people find their next love will naturally bring the need to talk about the hurts and heartaches that often make it difficult to trust again.


It seems that “old people” I used to know did use the phrase more often back in the day when they talked about their husbands. Did it mean those men were perfect or maybe even very nice to them? Could it have been women of the times asked for very little from men other than that they be good providers? Perhaps. I remember telling my Mother I was separated from my husband and with a look of surprise and a heavy dose of the critic she said, “Why? He’s a perfectly nice man and he treats you OK.” 


Now that I’m getting older by the day, I find myself less and less interested in bells and whistles of all kinds. I want more peace and quiet, a simpler life than a big city offers, and I want a really good man to cuddle up with at night. So, looking for a way to describe what exactly that means…a really good man...I asked my friend who’s a decade older what it meant when Jane Fonda described Robert Redford’s character in the new movie, “Our Souls at Night” using just those words. Thinking for a minute, she came up with two men we both knew well. I immediately thought about their politics, very different from mine. Then a light came on and I felt a softening in my heart.  “Oh, but the politics aren’t the issue. They are really good men.”  Redford’s character met the qualifications and when I saw this movie, I felt the sweetness a woman feels when she is around one of those men.


What do you think makes a guy a “really good man”? I’d  love to hear your comments, so leave them for me and others in the comments section below so we can all read and ponder together. It will help all of us learn more, be curious and maybe be better at paying attention to what matters in our relationships. 

I really encourage you to see this Netflix-produced movie or read this beautifully written book, Our Souls at Night if you’re having trouble describing it for yourself. Then see if you agree with me.


Are you tired of watching sunsets alone and ready to find a really good man or woman with whom to share this next amazing chapter of your life? They’re out there and if you’re ready, I can be your guide to finding love again.

Email me or call me at 510-817-4242 for a Complimentary Session with me to find out if you’re ready for the journey!

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big RED Chair



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