“Don’t leave before the miracle happens.”


The tragic suicide of one of the world’s most beloved comedians has rattled us all.

Robin Williams struggled with depression, addiction, alcoholism and other demons for many years. His death did not come out of “nowhere”.

From what the media reports, he tried, very hard, to bring himself to a place of balance.

Whatever he tried… it wasn’t enough.

I wish that Robin had been able to stay with us.
I wish that Philip had been able to stay with us.
I wish that my uncle Adam had been able to stay with us, too.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, I urge you…

… in the words of my beautiful friend Catherine, an addiction survivor herself:

“Don’t leave before the miracle happens.”

Stay. Just one more day. Then another.

Your breakthrough moment of healing… your greatest creative idea of all time… the child you have longed for… the love of your life… your personal “miracle” could be waiting… just around the bend.

If only you’ll stay.

Don’t leave.

Please stay.


PS. If you, or someone you love, is struggling to stay in this world, please seek help.

PPS. Today: call a friend just to say: “Hey, I’m glad you’re on the planet.” (My friend Dyana’s signature catchphrase. It’s a good one.)


Read More grief // catharsis

Be the one who says “YES.”


“Hello. May I speak with Alexandra Franzen?”

The woman on the other end of the line sounded weary and beaten down, like she’d been riding a Greyhound bus through Hades for the past fifteen days.

“Speaking,” I said.

I knew, already, that this was some kind of fundraising or tele-marketing call.

Part of me wanted to preempt the whole conversation by saying, “Look, I’m not interested. Please take me off your list.”

But a small part of me said, “Just listen”.

The woman launched into a pre-scripted monologue about the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.

She spoke to me about her work, which includes walking door to door to talk to people about each person’s right to marry the one they love.

She told me, too, about her sister — a lesbian — who had committed suicide after experiencing excruciating bullying in school.

She could have stopped after the first 10 seconds or so. She had me at the word “love.”

“Can I count on you for a donation, today?”

She paused after making her request, and I could practically hear the “cringe” in her voice. The cringe of a hundred NO’s, slapping down hard like a ruler on your wrist. Or worse: phones just clicking… dead. Goodbye. The end.

But I said:


She sounded stunned.


“Yes, I’d be honored.”

“WOW!” she exclaimed. Her voice cracked. She sounded close to tears. If I had to guess, I’d bet this was her first “YES” of the entire week. Maybe the month. Maybe ever.

We had a short, lovely conversation as she collected my payment and email details.

“Thank you for your donation,” she finished.

“Thank you for the work that you do. Don’t give up.”

I hung up the phone and began sobbing — instantly reliving all those moments in my life where I, too, had prayed for that kind of sacred YES.

Yearning for just one person, anyone, to say… YES. I believe in you, and all that you do.

It felt so full-circle, so perfect, to be able to send that kind of YES back into the ‘verse — this time, for somebody else.

You can’t always be the one who says YES, of course. In fact, sometimes it’s essential to say NO. Sometimes you don’t have the money, or the manpower, or the time, or the emotional bandwidth, or the necessary skills, or the desire.

Not every YES is yours to give. Not every battle is yours to fight.

But when you CAN be the one who says “YES”…

Do it. Make someone’s day. Hell, make someone’s decade.

Be the One. It’s a YES you will never regret.



35 things you can do… instead of starting a blog.


So. You want to start a blog.

(Or take your current blog to the “next level”.)

But, let me ask you:

Do you… really?

Does blogging make you happy?

Does it feel natural? Energizing?

Or is it a perpetual drag? An energy leak that ruins your week?

When you’re blogging, do you feel like the best version of yourself?

When you’re blogging, do you feel like you’re creating little miracles for the people you wish to serve?

Or is blogging just… something you think you “should” do?

Here’s some good news:

If blogging just isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to carry your stories, ideas, helpful insights and hilarious observations out into the world. Plenty of other ways to create a positive dent in the universe, build a name for yourself, attract clients, or whatever else it is that you’re hoping your blog will do.

If you want to blog, blog.

If you don’t want to blog, stop.

And instead, why not…

: Create a library — a curated selection of your finest work. (Think: 10 – 12 timeless pieces.)

: Build a collection of amazingly useful resources (like this one. or this one.)

: Host an online TV show (like this one) … and then get it “syndicated” on a website that already has thousands of readers + viewers (like this one).

: Publish one short poem, just once a week.

: Design a game.

: Compose + post one song a day.

: Create a customer appreciation survey to find out what your people want most. (Then… give them exactly that.)

: Create a podcast.

: Post (or email) short voice notes, instead of written words.

: Create a collection of inspirational desktop wallpaper.

: Write very short stories on Twitter.

: Write a column for your local newspaper.

: Create a collection of digital travel guides.

: Send a “thank you” postcard to the last fifty people who hired you, taught you something, or did you a favor.

: Create a collection of audio meditations.

: Create a series of helpful classes.

: Create a monthly or quarterly online magazine (like this one).

: Or, publish an old-school ‘zine (like she did).

: Host a monthly salon or dinner party for your ten top clients.

: Publish other people’s secrets. (With their permission, of course.)

: Send out inspirational text messages to the masses.

: Design happy e-cards that people can send out to friends.

: Start an advice column (like she did).

: Make a webcomic. (Then sell prints of your most popular sketches.)

: Create a series of fun quizzes.

: Make a cookbook or collection of recipes.

: Make + share your own music playlists.

: Send out uplifting notes via email newsletter, only (like this guy).

: Start a gift of the month subscription service.

: Just post jokes.

: Just post illustrated workouts.

: Just post ideas on how to be a nice person.

: Just write love letters.

: Just write your damn book already.

Or, you know…

: Just have sex.

Happy un-blogging…



PS. If blogging didn’t exist, what would you do… instead?


Kindness is not a joke.


“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” –Plato


“Hey Nick. You OK?” I asked.

I could tell by the sound of his voice on the phone that… he wasn’t.

“Not really,” he said. “I have cancer.”




“I’m cutting way back on my clients right now,” he continued, as my brain went into shock. “Treatment is going to be tough, and I only want to surround myself with people who are super positive. People who will lift me up. Help me get better. You know?”

I thought about Nick’s words for days.

He reminded me that …

Being positive can, literally, help save a life.

And that…

Being negative can, literally, shorten a life.

Your attitude, your energy, the way you treat people …

It can be a healing balm or a deadly weapon.

It’s so easy to be careless with your words and your actions. So easy to avoid eye contact. Avoid heart contact. Check out. Detach. Be cold. Short-tempered. Or bitter.

I do it. We all do.


You never know who is fighting cancer. You never know who is about to find out that they have cancer. You never know who is getting a divorce. Or grieving an unspeakable loss. You never know who just lost her job. You never know who woke up this morning wondering if there’s really any reason to keep living. You never know who is desperately aching for an encouraging word, a smile, a moment of human connection — from anyone. From you.

You just never know.

So, be positive.

Or as Nick would say, “super positive.”

Be patient. Be kind.

Kinder than necessary.

Kindness is not a joke.

Kindness is what keeps us alive.



Don’t know what to write in your online dating profile? Try this.


Delving into the world of online dating?

Struggling to craft a profile + tell your story — without rambling on for an eternity?

Here’s a series of fill-in-the-blank statements to help you craft a witty, playful, not-too-long dating profile.

Because brevity is sexy.

And love is the best.


. . .


A little about me.

I think every morning should begin with __________________, and every evening should end with __________________.

I feel proud of myself when __________________, and I feel annoyed at myself when __________________. (I’m working on that.)

I think __________________ is really important, but I think everyone should chill out about __________________.

If you were to peek inside my fridge right now, you would find __________________.

My number one priority, at least for the moment, is __________________.

If there’s one thing I’m really, really good at, it’s __________________.

When I think about being in a relationship with someone new, I feel __________________ and I get so excited about the possibility of __________________. (I am ready for big-time love… and I hope you are, too.)

If we go on a date, you can expect __________________.

And please don’t freak out if I __________________. (It just means… I like you.)

If you write to me, I want to know: [insert intriguing question here].

. . .


Happy writing. Happy dating.

Here’s to love… in every flavor.


PS. If you enjoyed this piece, you might also like…

: How to ask someone on a date.

: 10 of the best first date questions… possibly ever.

: How to write a ridiculously sexy (but totally classy) note to your sweetheart.

: 10 sexy, dorky + adorable ways to show your love on Valentine’s Day. (Or: any day.)

: And … this. Enjoy.