acts of kindness
Hello Sunrise, Week 25 in the Time of Transition
When I was a young child and my bedtime was 7:30, the advent of a darker evening meant that I was awake longer while the night sky became opaque. It felt as if I was staying up later, even though I understood in theory I was going to bed at the same time. Since the pandemic my bedtime has gotten earlier. I go out less, plus I got older these past 19 months. I have yet to go to bed at 7:30, but it feels easy to get into bed when it’s been dark for a few hours.
Getting Away, Week 23 in the Time of Transition
Sometimes we just need to get away. It helps to clear our heads and take a break from day-to-day stress. That’s exactly what we did this weekend. It’s been a long time coming. I booked this trip before the pandemic shut down our world. I rebooked three times in the hope that quarantines were a temporary inconvenience. In the end we had to wait until the Canadian borders opened up for the fully vaccinated.
Singing in the Park, Week 21 in the Time of Transition
As a young child I delighted in our Magnavox HiFi. I would sit on the scratchy green wool sofa in our den while listening to Rosemary Clooney. Her album, Rosemary Clooney Sings for Children with its pink background was a clear favorite. I loved the track, Betsy, My Paper Doll, because I was the lucky recipient of the Betsy McCall paper dolls hidden in the pages of my mother’s McCall’s Magazine. The other song that spoke to me was The Little Shoemaker because my father was in the shoe business. At six, it felt like Rosemary Clooney was singing to me personally. I hadn’t realized Rosemary Clooney was an icon until years later when I watched her sing with Bing Crosby in White Christmas on the Sunday Million Dollar Movie.
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
Small Moments, Week Thirteen in the Time of Transition
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.
Emotions Ebb & Flow, Week Twenty-Eight of the New Abnormal
The cycling of moods continues. Today I’m happy. It’s beautiful outside. I get to walk on fairly empty sidewalks, and I’m ticking things off my to-do list. Earlier this week I was crestfallen. Too many tragedies and so much shared pain in the world. I find it fascinating how the ups and downs shift from day to day. Well, really, from moment to moment.
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...
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...
Cautiously Optimistic, Week 43 in the Time of Coronavirus
Is this really a Happy New Year? Yes, we survived 2020. And, yet, recalling how happy we were to be in a new decade just a year ago, we are constantly reminded of the unexpected turn of events in March.
In this first weekend of the new year, we take stock of the meaning of “hindsight is 2020.” Relieved that 2020 is behind us, our memories are raw from all we witnessed, and all we faced personally. I now know the impact of ongoing stress on my body and mind. I am just beginning to understand what is required to sooth myself and support others going through the intensity of extreme tension. Sometimes it means reaching out and caring for someone, taking the attention off myself. Other...
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...
Snow, Week 41 in the Time of Coronavirus
Initially there were grave warnings about the snowstorm that was going to plague the Northeast. When it started to fall, the winds were strong, and walking home from work was a bit of an effort. The following day there were hills with footsteps at the curbsides. Crossing the street took balance and navigation. Patience was needed, as only one person at a time could reach the next corner. Each person had their own pace, based on age, winter fitness, and footwear. Good snow boots were the best. So happy that past winters required me to find the right boots.
By Friday I was ready for a walk in the park. The park closest to me, Carl Shurz, had sledding children with their parents. It was hard to tell who was...
Simple Pleasures, Week 40 in the Time of Coronavirus
I was listening to early Joni Mitchell this early morning as the sun rose. Lucy and I were out for the first walk of the day. The weather is warm for December, and lovely in the tranquil dark. It was quiet with the occasional runner or dog passing us as they started their day.
It’s easy for me to recognize how special these moments are. As we make our way through this pandemic I find that these ten months have worn on me. At this point I really don’t want to do anything. Which is all the more reason I am appreciative of every small pleasure I encounter. This morning it was being next to Lucy as she sniffed and I watched the day begin. Now it’s sitting down...
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...
Stressing About Stress, Week 22 in the Time of Coronavirus
For the first time in years we will be at a place where there is no WiFi or cell service. To that end I set a deadline for myself to complete this post before we left. ...
No, Thank You