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PHONE      1.855.EMPATHY or 1.855.367.2849
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Gainesville, FL

1 (855) EMPATHY

Life and communication coaching for women.


Love Poem for the Broken-Hearted

Marina Smerling

When the world, as far as you can tell, is falling apart,
A hopeless, mad, unraveling mess
Nations slamming their borders shut in fear of “the other”
Oceans warming, wildfires burning, lowlands flooding, polar bears starving
Our queer brothers and sisters, celebrating wide open to life, gunned down mid-song

And it’s more than your heart can take

And you yourself want to withdraw, or erect your own mile-high borders, or to clench your hands tight into fists and fight back, scratch back, throw missiles back across the border of us/them

Can you feel

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Lifting the Curse of the Funk

Marina Smerling

Gentle here.

We can't get the memo too much.

We can't hear it too often.

Tread gently here.


I don't know about you, but these past two weeks, I'm pretty sure the planets have been in the constellation of Funk.  It's been funky in the home, funky on the street, funky in the various circles of friends and communities.  I'm pretty sure those midnight stars are getting down John Travolta-style to "You Should Be Dancing."

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Shame And The Other S Word

Marina Smerling


For the last of my Shameless Summer Series, I wanted to write to you all with a message about "the S-word," identity to be determined in just a moment.

But a problem arose: I didn't know how to do it, without being regarded as spam and sent away to a far off mysterious land called Junkmail, never to be seen again.

And so I am resorting to sneaky sideways references to that three-lettered word that is, needless to say, a fundamental part of life, insofar as none of us would be here without it.

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Love, Reactivity, And Installing A Template For Peace In Our Relationships

Marina Smerling

You’re in a conversation with someone you care about. You catch a hint that one of you wants more closeness/more space than the other. One of you pulls away in silence, or perhaps pretends that “everything’s fine” with not-so-hidden undertones of hopelessness, while the other moves in closer, perhaps tightening in fear or impatience.

Angry, fearful, or withdrawn reactivity bursts like a flame onto the scene.Criticisms and accusations abound, feeding one another like logs on a fire.

Suddenly: disconnect.No one present in the room.

Sound familiar?


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Unsolicited Advice, Feedback, and Criticism: What's Self-Love Got to Do with It?

Marina Smerling

People love to give advice.

Whether you want it or not. Whether it's useful or not. Whether they've considered, digested, reflected upon their own triggers, feelings, and needs -- or not.

They love to tell you what's wrong with you, what you should do with your life, where you went astray, and what you "need to do" to get back on track.

Oftentimes, such "help" comes in moments that we're hurting and in need support, we're genuinely wobbly, vulnerable, and in need of guidance. Then comes our friend who generously decides to "speak their mind," and suddenly the mess only gets messier.


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A Love Letter To My Community

Marina Smerling

Dear ones,

As Valentine's Day approaches, a day that can provoke so much angst in us whether we are single or partnered, I wish to join that revolutionary current which every year helps re-write the script of what's possible on a day curated and seemingly owned by Hallmark.  

Let us declare Valentine's Day an invitation to that energy of love which beckons all of us to lean just a little deeper, a little more surrendered, into its wildly open and unconditionally tender arms. 

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Love in the Time of War

Marina Smerling

So many of us are deeply impacted by world events as of late — the bombings in Paris and in Beirut, the hostage crisis in Mali, the refugee crisis sweeping through Europe, and the crisis of xenophobia pouring faster than refugees into our own nation.

So many of us are feeling heartbroken and wanting to make a difference — whether to make our world safer,  to contribute to more compassionate dialogue about refugees and asylum, or to foster awareness of the underpinnings of what we call peace and terrorism.

The sights and sounds of terror and trauma front and center in the news can feel like too much for these hearts and bodies to make sense of. Often I have wondered, “Was I born into the wrong time on this planet? I never asked to live in a world this broken,” and I know many of you have asked the same.

This article was published online.  READ MORE AT REBELLE SOCIETY

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The Vulnerability of Kindness

Marina Smerling

There's a reason more of us haven't checked perpetual self-kindness off the to-do list, aren't more habitually loving to ourselves when things fall apart, when it seems the only person to blame is ourselves, whether we've said the "wrong" thing in a tenuous relationship, forgotten an important date, or flown off the handle in a way we deem despicable and/or humiliating, and want nothing more than to bury our head in the sand.

There's a reason we aren't more kind.

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Transforming Conflict Into Connection

Marina Smerling


It happens.

No matter how much we tip toe... and walk on egg shells... and say all the right things... and pull all the right dance moves... still... it happens.

Conflict is an unavoidable part of life, and yet, so much suffering comes not from the skirmish itself, but from the added layer of "there's something wrong with me" that we pile on top of it, finding in conflict proof, yet again, of our defectiveness and not enoughness.

How, then, when conflict rears its head, might we portion out just a little more self-gentleness, a little more trust, a little more mercy for ourselves amid the madness?

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