Taking a Break

Taking a Break
Dec 21, 2015 by Janet Zinn

I took an unintended break from my blog. Every weekend I thought of writing something but I felt distracted, uninspired. This weekend is no different except I’m going to post this. Breaks are important. We could all use a vacation from time to time. But discipline is important, too. Sometimes I’m not quite sure what’s most important at any given time.  It’s like when I need to rest, and I also know it will feel good to workout. What do I choose?

In the past few weeks I defaulted to taking it easy. Or, more accurately I took it easy on writing while celebrating the holidays and catching up on daytime tasks. I just didn’t feel like writing. In life there...

Grief Shaming

Grief Shaming
Nov 24, 2015 by Janet Zinn
Last week on Facebook I had changed my profile picture to one with a transparent French Flag on top of my face. When I was in college I had gone to school in Paris one summer studying Art History and French. The art history stayed with me, the French, not so much. It was a seminal summer for me. Memories surged after the bombings and I responded based on my relationship to my past and those in my present. Yet, shortly after that, so many people started writing pieces or making comments about how wrong it was to change our profile pictures when so many more had been tortured and killed in Damascus, Beirut, Jerusalem, Sierra Leone….. And the shaming...

A Theatrical Moment

Apr 20, 2015 by Janet Zinn
I was so happy. Sitting in the mezzanine of the historical Palace Theater, one of what I believe are only four theaters sitting directly on Broadway. It was a perfect combination of Gershwin music played by a full orchestra and sublime dancing and choreography. As much as I love the theater, it’s been a long time since I was transported in the way An American in Paris carried me away to pure joy.

Utter happiness and joy are powerful experiences that can get us through harder times. I value those transcendent moments. But I’ve chased them for so long, not appreciating lovely moments since they weren’t absolutely amazing. For instance, watching a sunset, or listening to Emma, my daughter, tell me...

Tidying My Life; A Ground-Spirituality Post

Tidying My Life; A Ground-Spirituality Post
Apr 06, 2015 by Janet Zinn
I’m reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It’s a unique philosophy of organizing. My biggest take-away so far is to ask the question of each item in my apartment, like clothing or books, “Does this item bring joy?” It’s a great question, and it got me thinking. Could I do this in the rest of my life? I ponderedt this today as I was choosing what to eat. It was nice to appreciate what I had and enjoy it in this way. Then I thought, what about my social life? Shouldn’t I be hanging out with those who bring joy to my life? I do for the most part, but there are still times when I don’t take joy...

In Pursuit of a Good Vacation

In Pursuit of a Good Vacation
Feb 18, 2015 by Janet Zinn
What I left behind in going away

It turns out I’m not much of an all-inclusive gal. We are in a gorgeous setting, in the warmth of Mexico. I am so happy to be out of the New York winter for the week. And, yet, in this lovely setting, I hear muzak when I yearn for quiet. I dine at restaurants that have stunning menus with adequate food. We are in the lap of luxury, and I crave simplicity. Tonight we walked the property. It is spa-like in design, though I heard a mariachi band playing to diners at a themed buffet. We went to the café for an after-dinner espresso. There was a lounge singer nearby....

Getting it Right

Feb 01, 2015 by Janet Zinn
There is a myth that if we just did things better or differently we could avoid some unpleasantness. That certainly has been my credo for a long time. My self-criticism has known no bounds. I was sure that my unhappiness was a matter of me lacking something essential. And, once I was able to gain that something special, I would know eternal happiness. In my mind this included having more money, a fit body, harmonious relationships, and constant inner peace.

I thought I just needed to be more positive. Or, I should be more disciplined, or less critical. Maybe that’s true, but going on a mind loop of what I need to change hasn’t actually helped me. So, rather than perpetuate...

Goodbye 2014

Jan 01, 2015 by Janet Zinn
I vacillate between seeing the New Year as a fresh start and thinking of January 1st as the day after December 31st, part of the ongoing process. Either way, I seem to get serious thinking unoriginal philosophical thoughts. What happened this past year? How did it impact me? Did I laugh enough? Did I grow? What did I learn?

I enjoyed the company of my friends. I enjoyed time alone. No, I didn’t laugh enough. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m always thinking of what else needs to get done, or comedy isn’t as funny as it used to be. Perhaps Robin Williams death quieted my laughter for a bit. In the plus column I worked on being less invested...

Matisse Makes Me Happy

Dec 15, 2014 by Janet Zinn
One of the pleasures of living in New York is the amazing art available to view. I realized that being a member to various museums was an easy way to make short visits to old favorites and new exhibits. This week I went to a new show at MOMA. I’m not a huge fan of contemporary art. It is a good show as far as these go, and I was happy to be introduced to the art of Dianna Molzan. She has a fresh perspective on how we deliver art, and it made me smile. Because contemporary art is not my first love, I moved quickly through the 6th floor gallery.

When I finished, it was still early member hours and...

My Two Careers

My Two Careers
Sep 28, 2014 by Janet Zinn
In my every day life I’m a psychotherapist. I love what I do and I am always awed by the courage and growth I witness in my practice. I am committed to my work and my clients, giving what I can to do the work necessary   Even though I go for long walks, meditate, go to my own therapy, take vitamins, and do what I can to laugh, I tend to be exhausted by the end of the week.

Given my line of work, it’s ironic that when I go on vacation I tend to lie about what I do. But I have reason to lie.

Sometimes I make the mistake of being honest when asked, “What do you do?” This past...

Larrys' Wedding

Larrys' Wedding
Sep 06, 2014 by Janet Zinn
I just had a wonderful time. My friend Larry married his love, Larry, in a full service Episcopal wedding. It was a lovely blend of Christian tradition and modern love. After was champagne, a buffet, and most importantly, dancing. Larry and I met in our early college years while we both worked at the Echelon Mall in Voorhees, NJ. I was of a mixed mind working there since the mall had edged my dad’s independent shoe store out of business. Larry and I became fast friends. He always had a smile on his face and we laughed easily together. Within months we realized that he got his school shoes at my dad’s store. The most fun we had together was...


Aug 16, 2014 by Janet Zinn
My hangers have been more important than I am. When I go out I quickly find that I have thin strands coming out of my sides. I haven’t gotten into the habit of cutting the strings on my dresses and shirts that hang out of my sleeves when I wear them. Instead I have loyally kept them attached so that I can hang them neatly in my closet. Apparently I respect the garment more than I care for myself.

Actually it has more to do with the discovery that there are still small life skills that allude me. I was in my last year of college when I saw someone drying themselves with a towel following a shower. I had always...

Slowing Down

Jun 09, 2014 by Janet Zinn
I walk quickly, city savvy, righteously scorning the oblivious loiterers congregating in the middle of the sidewalk. When I’m not internally criticizing those I pass, I delight in the city around me. Happily I walk along, noticing building details, unexpected spring flowers, and public sculptures. These last few days, though, I had to slow down. Somehow, unbeknownst to me I got tendonitis behind my knee and walking became painful.              I like being on the go.   I don’t rest much. I more or less collapse when I become exhausted. But pain stopped me. I slowed down, walked less and enjoyed time off. I saw a movie on HBO, read a bit, cooked very little, and listened to a lot of...

MTA Kindness

May 04, 2014 by Janet Zinn
Last Sunday evening I was on the crosstown bus coming home from a meeting. I left early to have dinner with the family. I wondered if Emma would be coming home on the same bus. And, alas, three stops later she got on, exhausted from a full day of rehearsal. She nabbed a seat behind me, and I turned to chat.“You wouldn’t believe my day,” she said.“Tell me about it,” I respond.“We had to learn a new routine, and my legs felt like Jello. I could barely move. I cried because I was hurting all over. And, you know what they did? You know what they did?” She repeats. They told me to do it again! Can you believe it.”“That...

I Love Lucy

Apr 22, 2014 by Janet Zinn
Lucy is our Zen Dog, the stressless being in our household.  She is delightful, having us laugh and bond in ways we hadn't prior to having her as part of our family.  She grounds us in a frenetic city, reminding us of the importance of simple love.  

I Did It!

Apr 14, 2014 by Janet Zinn
I'm 54 years old, I have a torn meniscus, pleural effusion, tendonitus, and I completed a half marathon today.  I love walking but never thought I could run. Thanks to my friend Lisa, who told me I could run slowly, really a jog, so I tried it out and found that I could jog slowly.  I started running at the age of 51.  I ran around the block, then a half mile, then a mile.  I always felt like I accomplished something doing these runs.  Little by little I challenged myself to jog longer, always slowly.  I would have people pass me on a regular basis.  At first this was difficult.  I can be competitive.  With three siblings, it was...

I Can't Keep Up

Apr 02, 2014 by Janet Zinn
I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.--John Burroughs There was a time in my twenties & thirties when I did all the planning with my friends, when I sent birthday cards, and called to catch up. No more. As a working mom, trying spend time with my family, write on a semi regular basis, workout, and keep up with the day to day, I no longer have the mental dexterity to juggle anything else.When Facebook came on the scene, I was able to be in touch with friends from around the...

A Glutton for Punishment

Mar 16, 2014 by Janet Zinn

“Get out.!  You just want me to be perfect. You hate me.  I know it.  You just want a perfect robot child.  Well, guess what?  I’m not a robot.  I fuck up.  I’m a fuck up.  Happy?”


Happy?  No. I don’t think most parents are happy when their child is in emotional pain.  Nor is there any joy in being the hapless beneficiary of my daughter’s verbal lashing.  There’s a part of me when I hear Emma’s screams, that thinks, yes, I’d love a robot at this moment, one who has not been programmed to raise her voice.  But, alas, the reality is I have my imperfect 14-year-old daughter pushing as hard as she can.


As a psychotherapist in my professional life,...


Mar 07, 2014 by Janet Zinn
There’s been so much talk about this arduous winter.  The news reports spend at least half their time telling us what storm is coming or the reprieve we may see.  This weekend is supposed to give us a break with warmer weather.  The up side is, it gives everyone an easy subject to address when grasping for small talk.  The down side is that this winter has been brutal on our nerves.  Even as we trudge through the snow, or put on the many layers it takes to face the cold, we grit our teeth in anticipation of the discomfort we endure.  We are more inclined to order in, and less disposed to go out of our way.             We commiserate...

Winning Awards

Jan 13, 2014 by Janet Zinn
I’m watching the Golden Globe awards.  Usually I love this show, but tonight’s is less inspired.  Nonetheless, it does remind me of the years as a child and teenager when I would watch the Academy Awards, the Tonys, The Emmys and the Golden Globes, writing and rewriting my acceptance speech in my mind.  I so wanted to win to prove to my family and the kids who taunted me that I had arrived.  The only awards I remember winning were student awards.  I was happy to win them, but they lacked the global recognition I so longed for.  Now in my 50s, I value my autonomy, but live vicariously when watching award shows.  Hopeful for those who inspire me with...

A Jewish Christmas

Dec 26, 2013 by Janet Zinn
In years past I looked forward to Christmas because I knew that I’d sing to strangers in the morning, see a movie in the afternoon, and enjoy a Chinese feast in the evening.  I didn’t have the pressure to visit family or put on a fake smile for the gift I would never request.  But today I’m relaxing.  As a busy New Yorker, quick to fill in an open slot with a museum visit or a show, I eschewed relaxation as an unnecessary commodity.  I lived by Warren Zevon’s song title, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”    No more.  It’s been a great day.  Resting was required, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.             It’s so nice to change things up.  I know...