Author Archives: michelle

No Regrets, Open This (a note about our moms)

Today is Mother’s Day. 
(Why not?).

I attended a Sangha early this morning with nine strangers. We talked about our mothers amongst other meditative things.

We had been told beforehand to bring a photo of our mother so I did…well, it’s this one of the two of us in Napa on a bike ride (it had been one year since Dino had passed).

I wanted to share the following excerpt from a piece from Thich Nhat Hahn shared with us today because I trust it might move you and love you and the special nurturer in your life way up.

I’ve added another photo that I love of us below in the comments. Feel free to indulge yourself (and me 
(-:) by sharing a photo of your mother or nurturer, living or passed, too. I’d love to see it and have you share in this honoring).

Scrolling through Facebook these days, it’s those photos — of us with our moms (or dads) — that I always stop to comment on. xo

Mother’s Day.

It’s a mother’s day.


“Mother is a boundless source of love, an inexhaustible treasure. But unfortunately, we sometimes forget. A mother is the most beautiful gift life offers us. Those of you who still have your mother near, please don’t wait for her death to say, “My God, I have lived beside my mother all these years without ever looking closely at her.”

Just brief glances, a few words exchanged asking for a little pocket money or one thing or another. You cuddle up to her to get warm, you sulk, you get angry with her. Throughout her life we expect her to cook, wash, and clean up after us, while we think only about our grades and our careers.

Only when she is no longer there do we realize that we have never been conscious of having a mother.

If I were to have any advice, it would be this: Tonight, when you return from school or work or, if you live far away, the next time you visit your mother, you may wish to go into her room and, with a calm and silent smile, sit down beside her. Without saying anything, make her stop working. Then, look at her for a long time, look at her deeply. Do this in order to see her, to realize that she is there, she is alive, beside you. Take her hand and ask her one short question to capture her attention, “Mother, do you know something?” She will be a little surprised and will probably smile when she asks you, “What, dear?” Keep looking into her eyes, smiling serenely, and say, “Do you know that I love you?” Ask this question without waiting for an answer.

Even if you are thirty or forty years old, or older, ask her as the child of your mother. Your mother and you will be happy, conscious of living in eternal love. Then tomorrow, when she leaves you, you will have no regrets.”

~ A Rose For Your Pocket,
Thich Nhat Hanh 


Life is good,

Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur 

Who I Dedicated THIS To…(xo!!!)

I’m celebrating 17 years this week inside what I confusingly call a business, but that is that and much more.

17! 🎉

The thing I feel the most peace around with this anni can be expressed by sharing this: the other day at the Sausalito Art Festival, an art installation asked passersby to write what their dream job was on a post it.

There were 50, 60, 70 post-it notes on the wall. The uniqueness in the answers was inspiring.

“The one I have” was my answer and contribution to the wall.

There are, of course, larger goals on my writing timeline and inside continuing to help women reinvent and integrate all of who they are inside their chosen work and inside their brand expressions (make happiness your business by creating your authentic brand), but this work is (right) for me.

I attempted for eight years before these 17 to make myself into a shape that didn’t fully allow for what I was best at. The last 17 have been different. There’s been no contorting, just expanding.

Last Saturday, I made sure I tapped my Dad on the shoulder to show him what I wrote. I think in showing him, I also knew I was sharing it with my Mom, who, besides Dino, was my biggest fan (Nolan, on the other hand, told me earlier this week that he wouldn’t want to do what I do, but that he might enjoy Papa’s work). 😆

To each his own.

And that’s the point.

I think of what I specifically want for Nolan and it’s for him to find and express more of himself, and as unapologetically as possible inside the work he chooses to devote time to in his life (work that ultimately if it’s meaningful to him, will choose him).

It could be one career, two, three…it doesn’t matter as long as he feels his contribution does.

How we feel our lives matter makes work feel like something different than the word implies.

I’m dedicating this anniversary to my Mom.

Thank you, Nancy Motta Ghilotti, for making choices to express your own fuller [true creative self] by finally deciding to leave a situation that ultimately helped land me right here in this moment, about to pick Nolan up from school in this corner of the world that I enjoy so much.

It was your strength, along with Oma’s nudging, that ignited my fire and birthed this life that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Thank you for being my cheerleader and my Creative Heroine, the woman who moves from problem to solution to express to the world who she *really* is.

Life is good,

Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur 

Unapologetic is a Strategy (“are you an artist?”, he asked me)

Are you an artist? he asked me. 

My answer and the two beliefs/acts that bring the biggest reward (or allow you fast entry into festivals). 

Did you catch my latest livestream? HERE she is!

Make happiness your business by creating your authentic brand…enjoy your business, enjoy your life! 

Life is good,

Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur 

The Friendship Experiment CONTINUES (livestream replay inside)

Months back, I shared about the post-it note that held the names of the people (friends and family members). I wanted to step up my connection/’more QUALITY time spent’ game with. 

My thought was that this small piece of paper with approximately ten names on it would yield big gain; a powerful and joyous time coming off of four years of tragic loss and it did — and continues to. 

The time spent inside this experiment or adventure has given me what or who I actually felt like I had lost with each death ~ a bit of myself.

I never really lost *them* per say…I didn’t lose my brother and mother, I simply lost my ability to relate or communicate with them in the only way I had learned or known for so many years. 

That ability to relate or connect in the way I always had was what contributed to feelings of “loss”, but the truth is that they…they’ve always been here, albeit in a new form. 

I’ve had the opportunity now to learn to successfully connect to this new form over the last few years (both their names are on that post-it, too.

This last year plus, on what I’ve called my Friendship Experiment (see livestream replay link in the p.s) and after connecting deeper and more consistently with more than half the names on that list in more meaningful ways (especially since the losses) has shown me what research has told us for a long time: 

Good friends / a community who is actively engaging and supporting one another = longer life. 

I may not know in this moment if my life will be long in its number of years, but I do know that my days have felt as wide and deep (as the ocean) since I recommitted to a new level of closeness with those still living. 

Treating them, maybe, as I would treat the very beloveds I lost (treating strangers throughout this time as if they, too, were the very ones I lost). 

Inc. Magazine recently shared a new study of 300,000 people and said the one secret, as they called it (not sure it’s so much a secret), to a healthier and longer life, goes back to the strength of the relationships we keep. 

But to keep them, of course, what’s inferred is that we get to nurture them more consistently by figuring out creative ways to be there (be there for *ourselves* through being there for others — and they also for us), no matter how busy life gets.

We have the ability to live long in so far as the number of years goes as well as draw out each of our days by feeding the connections that surround us.

The gorgeous woman in this photo is my cousin. She’s also my sister, my friend, a confidante and someone who, just three years before my brother Dino passed, lost her own beloved sister in an accident, too. I can also add a compassionate listener to the list.

A few weeks ago she saw her eldest off to college. She was feeling the rush of emotion, so I rushed to her…

For one day and night, two weeks in a row after he left, we were together at her home in the desert. Simple times and the best of times (during the second weekly visit ~ bubbly). 

She just left my house late this morning after being together yet again. 

And that’s what I’m after ~ the yet agains; being with those I care about yet again in the most quality (simplest) and meaningful of ways.

Are you after the yet agains with your beloveds also? Who would your post-it have on it?

Enjoy your business, enjoy your life! 

Life is good,

Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur 

p.s. Friendship Experiment livestream replay from my Alaska friend trip: