Coach Marla Beck

A Few Thoughts on Love, Writing, and My Mom

by Marla

in brilliant self-care

FullSizeRender-3A few weeks ago, my mother passed away. Mom was a reserved woman, and throughout my adult life I had often hoped for more intimacy between us. Although the closeness I yearned for never materialized, in her absence my brother and I discovered much evidence of love and connection among her possessions, including:

  • a tin box containing my mother’s 1953 green card photo, her parents’ German passports and a handwritten letter from a war-time friend of my mom’s biological father, detailing how mom’s dad had died in the war, and expressing his condolences for the family.
  • a professionally framed and Photoshop-altered photograph of daffodils in a glass vase, with this note inscribed the back of the frame: “Vase from Marla; flowers from Jim’s yard; tablecloth from Helga.” My mom was not a sentimental woman – or, so I thought. Here, though, she had captured a still life with objects from her daughter, her partner and her sister, and thought enough of their juxtaposition to hand-write the objects’ origins on the back of the picture frame. Discovering this surfaced a deep tenderness within me.
  • a Siberian puppy stuffed animal, a present my daughter gave to my mom because it matched her own smaller version of the puppy, a toy my little one nibbled on as a toddler and sometimes still sleeps with to this day. My mom kept her stuffed puppy in pristine condition, storing it in a glass-fronted cabinet she used to store her favorite candleholders. The day after she died, her grieving partner – a more overt sentimentalist — returned the toy to me with many tears

In my mind, “love” is an expression of care, connection and warmth. I experienced my mom’s love through her possessions. And most days, I intentionally view the stuff of my life through a lens of love: caring about, connecting with, and extending warmth to my relation with the Divine, my own self, my family, my community, my world;

  • devoting myself to meaningful practices and creative pursuits;
  • cherishing the fleeting and interesting moments I often notice between people as they talk or interact;
  • savoring the Divine presence I often sense in blues music sung authentically; Bach pieces played well; and the mind-blowingly varied shades of green that cover the grassy hillsides during Northern California’s rainy winters.

How do you define “love” for yourself?

Where do you notice expressions of love in your own life?

  • If you write, chances are good that you’ve occasionally after
  • read books that truly inspire you
  • written passages that amaze you
  • worked with great care and tenderness on your writing (whether you were polishing a manuscript, a writing exercise, a grant application, or a bio…)

We writers are gifted with an accessible, fulfilling pathway to love that our less creative friends can only yearn for.

Are you tending to this precious talent of yours? Have you been allowing yourself time to write? Permission to pursue what matters most? Are you occasionally feeling moments of great love or gratitude when you write?

If not, it’s time to restore your love for writing. Your relationship to your creativity and productivity deserves tending to — just as much as if it were a treasured relationship in your life.

Reach out to me at and let me know what’s going on, if you need help. I’m happy to share with you my proven solutions to help you regain your love and joy for your writing, your book project and your life.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

with love from your coach,


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