Daily Inspirations

Are You Choosing or Backing Into Love?



A few years ago, I met an amazing man in Phoenix one winter weekend. I knew him from walking the beautiful beaches of Southern Maine, talking endlessly about life, work, family and what I wanted for my life. A “retired” Jesuit priest turned amazing career counselor, Al was calm, direct and never shied away from the truth as he saw it. We shared that way of being and living, so it was no surprise when he showed up as himself in that restaurant.


I had been in a really painful place that, honestly, was quite foreign to me. I have always seemed to know what I wanted to do in my life and was so fortunate to have been doing it. Counseling teenagers, women and men who found themselves having to make big decisions about their lives, speaking in schools to young people eager to be heard and to feel better about themselves…and more and more wonderful work that was so perfect for me. Suddenly, having moved to California and finding myself on what felt like another planet, I had no idea what I wanted to do and so, called Al for a consult.


We sat over tea, his questions always exactly the right ones, I told him I had always been happy in my work life. That everything I had done I loved, and asked him, “What happened? Why don’t I know what I want to do now?”  He nailed it and I felt at first like he had also nailed me. I sat unable to say a word when he said something that changed my life. “Donna, I know you liked the work you did, but you never chose it.” Incensed, I fought back, “Of course I chose to do it.” Al, still calm as a cucumber said, “You didn’t choose it. It chose you. It was there and it seemed like you’d enjoy it, but you didn’t decide you wanted to do that, then go find it…you see, you didn’t choose it.”


Now, how does this apply to finding love, our special someone with whom we want to spend this chapter of our lives? I hear it now in ways I may not have had it not been for Al. Clients who say things like this…

-“I don’t really know what I want. I just try to stay open and see if it works when I meet someone.”

-“Oh, I’m fine with most anybody.”

-“I think there’s a soulmate out there and I will know when I find them.”

-“Nobody’s perfect, so I’d just as soon be with him as somebody I don’t know.”

Would you look for a job without more information about yourself and what you wanted in that job? Would you look for a new car, a home, or plan a pregnancy without really thinking the decision through and being clear about just what will make you happy?  Why then is finding a relationship partner, one of the most important things in our lives so different??


Why do so many people just back into a relationship when taking the time to really think about what and who will make them happy is such a good plan? Maybe it seems less romantic? A bit cold? WRONG! It is the most loving thing you can do for your sweet self. You are worth getting what you want. First, you have to take the time to know what and who that is. Don’t back in this time! Take the time to get to know who you are, then you’ll know exactly what you are looking for in someone else.

If you really want to find someone to love, you need to know what you want…and they will be there.

Tired of the turnover in your dating and relationship life and wish you could find a “keeper”?

We can work together to create the clarity and direction you need to find the perfectly imperfect sweetheart.

Call or email me to schedule a “Choosing Love” Session
Donna Bailey, MS
Coach, Speaker,Writer and Expert, Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”
510-817-4242  donna@donnasbigredchair.love
When you’re done with watching sunsets alone and really ready to find love for your next chapter of life, we can make it happen!

How to be Friends With Your “Ex”

Photo from NPR.org

Photo from NPR.org







Breakups are never easy no matter how much you carefully and gently pry your fingers off each other’s hearts and souls. You’ve shared your lives, allowed each other into places of greatest vulnerability and best/worst of all, bonded with each other’s friends, both two-legged and precious four-legged ones too.


You tried everything to make it work for both of you. Assuming there was nothing abusive, it wasn’t perfect but there were some wonderful trips down the coast, snuggling on cold mornings and feeling the day is a little softer and kinder because there’s someone there beside you. Now, every rock turned over, conversations running into the same immovable walls, acceptance is the only route to extrication and moving on. But, maybe it doesn’t have to really end? We’ll  just be friends.


Ah, were it that easy. We could skip the part where the memories feel permanently etched in our hearts. Thoughts and feelings, those conversations that hurt tumbling in our heads like a dryer that we can’t unplug. Zigging and zagging through anger, sadness, joy, regrets for things said and unsaid and the doubt that keeps coming back…could it have worked if….?


The only way the heart heals is taking the time to be gentle with ourselves while our heart finds its way back. Nobody’s journey is the same, but one will be necessary in order to move on, pick yourself up and get ready to open to love again. And it won’t heal if you can’t let go of the other person, at least for awhile.


Sometimes we want to be friends with our “ex” and sometimes we don’t. The fabric of friendship needs to be strong,  made of respect, mutual interests, the ability to solve problems amicably when they arise, and a commitment to be there when times get tough, to listen deeply and to allow the good, the bad and the ugly in each other. My question…shouldn’t that have been the foundation in the love relationship as well?


Friendship might be possible if the elements of what makes a good friend are/were there between two people who were formerly lovers. But, only time will tell. Time apart to allow the tears to dry, the heart to heal and to become ready to love again.


How much time needs to pass before friendship is possible? There is no temporal magic number, but my recommendation is at least 6 months to a year. Anything earlier will often recreate the hurt, like pulling off a scab that protects and heals the wound. Time, and time alone heals most things. And, sometimes it’s wise to find friendship elsewhere. But by all means, be sure your friends draw near when love ends.

Has your relationship just ended? Need some guidance about when to begin again?
When you are ready, let’s get together to get you back on that horse.

Donna Bailey, MS

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

510-817-4242  donna@donnasbigredchair.love

Are you tired of watching sunsets alone, want more than kisses from your four-legged companions? I am here to show you how to find the right person for the next great chapter of love, and life. I’ll help you find the sometimes invisible roadblocks so that you can choose the perfect person to spend this next amazing chapter of your life snuggling, traveling and enjoying what love can bring when we choose it.

Give me a call, and we’ll see if we’re a match for the journey ahead!




It is All About the Action




Some of us live by the Serenity Prayer, but for those of you who are less familiar with it, here it is:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.”


I know when there is something “we I cannot change” when I talk and talk and talk about it and nothing changes. In the absence of change, I just talk more.  Many of us spend our lives talking about things we would like to do, know we need to do, think we ought to do and time flies by. We talk and talk and talk about it and then, one day we smell the coffee and reallllllly realize that life is not a dress rehearsal. This time, we know, because our knees need replacing, we get that dreaded call about our mammogram, or if we are lucky, we just need to take an Advil to get moving.


I have a good friend who wakes up to a lot of regret about decades of not fully living and feeling the joy of each day,  often talking about work he never did, degrees he never finished, and love he experienced but couldn’t keep. Like most of us, his childhood wasn’t perfect and the heaviness he feels most days might be a result of that childhood. Perhaps there were people who meant well but didn’t know the power that words, or the lack of them have on young children. In the end, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is doing the hard work it takes to heal the hurt.


Harville Hendrix, PhD, a brilliant therapist and writer says, “Stubbornly, we want what we need without having to change who we are, but that is impossible, for what we need is ourselves–our lost wholeness–which is attainable only through changing what we have become.”


Listen to yourself when you hear yourself say…”I would love to, but….”, “If I had the money, I would…..”, “It is too late to……”, ” I wish I had…..”, “Yeah, that would be nice, but….”.  Those are pieces of unfinished living and they are taking your life on a daily basis.  Do everything you can to find “the courage to change.” so that you feel the real joy life will give you.


Donna Bailey, MS
Coach, Speaker, Writer
Donna’s Big Red Chair
Expert in Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”

If you are ready for some action and not just talking about it, give me a call or email me to set up a strategy session.
510-817-4242    donna@donnasbigredchair.love








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