Looking Back, Week 32 in the Time of Transition
I had some ideas about what I’d be addressing for this blog post, but when I looked at my calendar, I saw that it’s been four years since my mother died. We had a complicated relationship. Yet, in the last year of her life as her health declined, we found common ground with a deep and enduring love. A time I will always treasure. Most people don’t get that opportunity. Understanding that death is inevitable, her dying days were filled with peace and love.
Thanks Giving & Thanks Getting, Week 30 in the Time of Transition
We’re about to ascend upon Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. I’m grateful for a quiet dinner with Larry and a restful weekend. I’ve been looking forward to this coming weekend since rest is usually ad hoc, and I am often trying to locate windows of opportunity to relax.
Don't Get Caught with Tattered Underwear, Week 29 in the Time of Transition
Funny Thing About Gratitude, Week 26 in the Time of Transition
I find it incredibly annoying when I’m upset about a person, place, or thing, I’m on a rant, and the individual listening responds by telling me I should be grateful. It feels like a dismissal of my complaint, valid or not, and a recommendation that I pivot to a “soft music inserted here” blissful moment when I see how lovely life is and how wrong I was to find the awful in this grand world we inhabit.
20th Anniversary, Week 20 in the Time of Transition
I’m teary this weekend. It’s hard to watch the news because my mind pivots to the many clients who spoke of their losses the days, months, and years post-9/11. As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, those of us who remember can clearly recall the exact circumstances when we witnessed or heard of the attacks. I am one of the fortunate who worked downtown, but I had taken the day off to attend a seminar. I never worked in the World Trade Center, but our social service center had a direct view. There were so many other stories like that of those who for unforetold circumstances were not in the towers when they fell.
A Pandemic Birthday, Week Eighteen in the Time of Transition
A few years ago I was at a networking event when I spotted an old acquaintance. I was happy to see her, filled with memories of the two of us with mutual friends enjoying parties, volunteering, and talks in the mid-80’s. When I approached her and reminded her who I was, in a cold tone she responded, “Yes, I know who you are.” I felt hurt and dismissed. I thought about those early years in New York City when I couch-surfed and lived hand to mouth. It was a hard time, and I was not always my best self. I had thought warmly of this person recalling her dedication to friends and of her strong work ethic. Her taciturn words indicated she thought less of me.
Not This! Week Seventeen in the Time of Transition
Sweet Sixteen, Week Sixteen in the Time of Transition
Sweet Sixteen. It doesn’t feel so sweet these days. I remember when I was turning sixteen, I yearned to have a fancy party as many of my friends were having that year. We couldn’t afford an expensive affair, so I begged and cajoled my parents into allowing me to have a house party. My mother did not enjoy entertaining, nor did she feel comfortable in having a good number of adolescents in her home. I didn’t realize at the time what a gift she was giving me just by saying yes.
Cloudy, Week Fifteen in the Time of Transition
I shifted my routine earlier this week to catch the sunrise. Typically I relish the space between sleep and daytime. The sweet spot of the morning. Following those moments I shift into meditation, then move on from there with coffee and the rest of the day. As soon as I awoke I brushed my teeth and ran to the East River to get a glimpse of the sunrise.
Goodbye With the Old, Week Fourteen in the Time of Transition
I’m in my congested closet trying to decide which of the various, multi-colored pocketbooks and bags I’m going to let go. I tend to rely on the same two or three, but I love to choose from the others on special occasions. Of course, there have been few special occasions in the past year or so. Nonetheless I had the privilege of attending a joyous outdoor event last night, and though no one else would care, I was so happy to sport the perfect small, blue bag for the evening.
Lazy Summer Days, Week Twelve in the Time of Transition
I still remember my summers visiting friends and family at the Jersey Shore. This was well before Atlantic City was burdened with casinos. These were the days of shows at the Steel Pier and fragrant strolls on the boardwalk with Mr. Peanut greeting us on our way to James for salt water taffy. Those were the lazy summer days I enjoyed in my former years.
July 4th, Week Ten in the Time of Transition
Nothing is Perfect
Happy Father’s Day. For all who are fathers or have present and past relationships with your fathers, only you know how best to honor what you’re experiencing. And, for those who do not have relationships with your dads, or who have complicated relationships, take care of yourselves. That’s all I’ll say about that.
I was preoccupied this past week with a few things that didn’t quite work out the way I would have liked. You know when you hear people say, “I don’t like to complain,” and then they’re off and running with their objections? I am not that person. I actually like to complain. Truthfully it’s more that I feel compelled to complain, than that I like it, out and out. I tend to be very particular and even when things are going really well, I’m apt to find the fly in the ointment.
No Ending to Mental Health Awareness Month, Week Five in the Time of Transition
Pandemic Envy, Week 47 in the Time of Coronavirus
We have become accustomed to the average pandemic envy like seeing those who prepare feasts as a way to get through this time of Coronavirus. Many of us have felt jealousy for acquaintances in larger homes. The more exhausted have longed for the energy cited in posts of new hobbies or accomplishments. Some parents envy those with no children, or those with safe help for their families. A number of people who feel alone have been envious of those who post happy couple or family portraits. Individuals who feel trapped with their families begrudge others who they imagine live blissfully alone. Now add to that the newer vaccine envy.
Without distractions I’m able to feel my emotions strongly. Sometimes this...
You Never Know, Week 46 in the Time of Coronavirus
Sometimes I find myself quick to judge. I hear a whiny individual at a Zoom meeting, and I silently groan. I also know that there have been times, and I chance to say there are still times, in which I am the one who warrants another’s groan. In my more open-minded moments, I remember that everyone is trying the best they can. We are all going through this pandemic, and there’s nothing easy about that. But there are other times when my exhaustion and impatience take over and I am unforgiving of anyone who annoys me from the selfishly maskless to virtual-meeting squeaky wheels.
Something I’ve noticed recently in my professional and personal life is how instantaneously we are to jump from one emotional state to...
What We Don't Know, Week 45 in the Time of Coronavirus
I have to admit that I wasn’t sure that the judge I watched numerous times on Law and Order was Fran Lebowitz. It looked like her, but was she a doppelganger, or was she, in fact, the writer? After watching “Pretend it’s a City,” Martin Scorsese’s excellent (in my opinion) docu-series of Fran Lebowitz, I was happy to learn that, yes, it was her as Judge Janice Goldberg in the original Law & Order.
The short series on Netflix was a delightful, laughter-filled escape from current events this past week. I learned a lot, evaluated my own thinking, and admired FL’s ability to speak her personal truths, thoughts I often have, but don’t share aloud. Somehow the cable show also had me pondering on the...
Boy, Oh, Boy, Week 44 in the Time of Coronavirus
Yesterday I hit the wall. Before I lost all steam, I had lofty plans. I had research to do. There is always cleaning and organizing. I was behind on my writing. Yet, by the time I was three fourths of the way through a walk in Central Park, I felt as if I was dragging my leaden legs on the southern arc of the Reservoir. When I finally reached home, I couldn’t get my sweats on fast enough. Then Lucy had to go out. I love her, and also dearly wished there was someone else who would have taken her out. I was able to speak with a friend from the other coast, and that gave me a pleasurable energy shot. Though life in California is as fraught as it...
So Long 2020, Week 42 in the Time of Coronavirus
Before the end of this week we will welcome in a new year. Never will there have been a greater collective sigh throughout the globe than at the rotating midnight hour of 1/1/2021. We all faced many challenges throughout the year. And we all learned essential truths about ourselves. I learned that doing less was a relief. I learned that patience is not an end point, but an ongoing process. I learned to use my crankier tendences as a reflection on what vulnerabilities I am attempting to protect. I learned that I still have a lot to learn in asking for help. Plus, I learned that 2020 gave us endless opportunities to learn. I also learned that even with the possibility of learning, sometimes learning to relax was the...
Thanksgiving, Gratitude & Disappointment, Week 37 in the Time of Coronavirus
There’s no doubt that this is a Thanksgiving like no other. Many will spend Thanksgiving, if it is being spent at all, without loved ones. In a large number of cases, it will be the first holiday without someone because they died, either of Covid-19 or from other causes. It’s hard to feel thankful for these facts. We can embody gratitude for what we’ve had in the past. Or we may feel grateful for not having to be social when we’re not up to seeing anyone. However, that’s a far cry from the delight of festivities of past years.
Gratitude and its cousin, appreciation, can feel like a burden in times of fear, sadness and loss. I am all for gratitude journals, and gratitude as a tenet of...