Wednesday, December 29, 2010

On a good note

I don't really have much to say except that life is good today and I am so grateful.  I read this quote this morning:

"There is one thing in this world you must never forget to do.  Human beings come into this world to do particular work.  That work is their purpose, and each is specific to the person.  If you forget everything else and not this, there's nothing to worry about.  If you remember everything else and forget your true work, then you will have done nothing with your life." 


I love that quote. For me writing comedy and hearing an audience laugh is my life's work.  It's not so easy to get an audience, but still I write and hope that someday I will be doing my life's work and audiences will be there laughing.  I also hope that with that spoon full of sugar, there is more to it than simple laughter, but really also some worthwhile things to say.  Suddenly I sound very Jewish, like a Rabbi or something.  What is that?  Anyway, I am Jewish so I guess it's not such a big surprise.  Just the Rabbi part. 

It's almost the end of 2010, a year of so much transition and change and it definitely feels like it was so much better than the previous year, in so many ways.  

So hopefully, we will all remember why we are here and even if we can't all do what we feel is our true work, we will know it and look for opportunities to do it. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas

It's 2010 and there are many reasons in the world to feel worried and sad.  The state of the world economy is still bad, although today in the newspaper there was talk of signs of improvement.  But Haitians are still suffering and a war is waging in the Ivory Coast and the Congo, and the crazy budget that Congress passed is truly, even to someone who doesn't really understand economics, very worrisome.  But in my little world, for today, I am filled with gratitude.

It isn't that I'm dancing on tables right now, or am madly in love, or won a lottery.  And my beloved Lola (the beagle) is still not doing well and I worry about her.  I got new medication to help her with pain she may have in her jaw, because the growth has affected her ability to eat.  And my darling daughter Zoe isn't here for the holidays and I miss her.  And it's winter, not my favorite time of the year.  And this morning, I had a hard time getting up out of bed to feed the dogs and make my coffee, but once I did, we had two lovely walks. 

I've been reading a lot lately, one of my passions in life.  I just finished "Freedom" by Jonathon Franzen, which I really enjoyed, and now I'm reading a book called "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett, about Mississippi (love spelling that state) in 1962 and I can't put it down.  I've added Keith Richards book "Life" to my reserved list at the library, along with "The Corrections" and I have many other books I want to read.  

I'm working and yesterday I got to wander around Harlem looking at brownstones with a couple who are looking to buy one.  I've always been curious about Harlem and I saw the Apollo Theater and Clinton's office, Mount Morris Park, which I'd only seen one time before and Morningside Park (was that once called "Needle Park" years ago because of all the drug use there?)  I loved wandering around Harlem and I look forward to more trips there.  I'm excited about next year and the reading of my play and I am enjoying helping people find homes.  When sadness strikes, as it did the other day when I got so worried about Lola, I made a few calls to friends, sobbed, and then eventually spoke to the vet and the feelings passed.  Right now, tonight, Lola is sitting next to the bed, taking a nap on a rug and she is very much alive.  Right now, most of the people I love are healthy and I'm grateful for that.  Lucy, my other beagle, is about to turn sixteen and she's doing great.  

I heard a story on NPR about the Asian people who live in the Gulf Coast (worked in the fishing industry) and who are dealing with all the stress of the oil spill and lost jobs, fears of the future.  They are living on money from BP for now, but that money will run out and they will have to find other jobs.  Those who are Buddhists seem to be handling the situation relatively well, because they are not afraid of sadness and loss.  It feels natural to them and not something to be afraid of.

I don't remember exactly how I felt last year at this time, but I'm quite sure I was still grieving.  I am no longer under that cloud.  Life is good, I have so much to be grateful for and I wish for everyone, a very happy, abundant and healthy new year. Let's hope that next year many of the problems we're facing start to turn around and more people find work and peace and some relief.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


After writing about moving on yesterday, I have to also say that there is still a part of me that feels sad about the ending of a long relationship, a family, and the lack of contact with someone I was with for so many years.  

I learned that word "and" - the idea that two conflicting feelings exist within us simultaneously - happy/excited about a new life and also sad/wistful about the loss of the old life.  It's good to know that it's not that unusual to feel this way.  


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reality Bites

The reality of winter and cold, really cold weather.  And two dogs that need to be walked, separately now, because Lola can hardly walk, so I have to carry her out and Lucy, who needs a good, long walk.  Six times a day we walk, in the early morning, in the late afternoon, and then at night.  So between working and walking and going to the gym and trying to stay warm myself, my life is full.  And amazingly, happy.  Today would have been our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.  I celebrated by going to lunch with the people I'm working with and we had a fantastic lunch at Balthazar.  I love working again, I finally feel like the last year and a half of grief and loss are mostly behind me and though there's still plenty to be sad about, and worry about, and angry about -- it all basically feels pretty much like life.

I'm happy to wake up each morning, do my meditation, have my coffee, sit quietly and then walk the dogs and go to the gym, if I have time.  Simple things that feel just perfect.  These simple things I am so grateful for.  

They always say it's through the most adversity that we grow - I believe it's true.  I'm so grateful for the past year and a half.  I probably wouldn't appreciate these simple things now, if I hadn't lost so much and found myself in the process.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A year and a half

Slowly, I feel my life is coming together.  It's kind of amazing how that happens...almost without being aware of it, I have started to realize that I'm feeling happier, less emotional.  In some ways, I really enjoyed the emotion - it felt good to be able to cry whenever I felt like it, or needed to cry.  Now it comes unexpectedly, as it did during the news last night, when they reported Elizabeth Edwards' death, that made me cry.  I feel so sorry for her kids.  Life isn't fair, it doesn't play out the in the ways we think it should and often people, including her son, Wade, die too young and in shockingly unexpected ways.  I hope that her family will find some peace eventually, knowing she is out of pain and that her kids will always remember her. 

Anyway, I'm working again in real estate, with a fantastic woman and our office is like a little family.  We have some great clients and I enjoy meeting so any new people all the time.  

The best news is that my play is going to have a staged reading in April with most of the same cast who performed it at the Berkshire Playwrights Lab in July 2009.  The director is Matt Penn and he is a terrific director.  Fortuntely it's far enough away that I don't have to start panicking. Yet. There will be some panicking, hopefully not until at least March.

I'm sad about the state of the world, but there's not much I can do about that.  I'm disappointed in our President and our government and I hope that Sudan's imminent election doesn't lead to a war, and that the fighting in the Congo ends, and that the world's economy picks up and there are so many problems now - but for right now - I just feel grateful to be alive.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Today is Thanksgiving and although I miss Zoe, and I never, in any of my fantasies, could have imagined my life looking the way it does now - I couldn't be more grateful for all the blessings in my life.  My little dog Lola is lying on a small throw rug at my feet.  My loftmate Abigail is in the kitchen, making herself some breakfast, no doubt Lucy is sitting nearby.  I'm about to go to the gym for a run on the treadmill.  I am working again.  I've moved through a year and a half of the most difficult time I've ever experienced.  A staged reading of my play is scheduled for February, with a new and much more satisfying ending.

And I just read this in my latest, favorite book "Fearless" by Steve Chandler.

"In my life, crawling out of the cave of despair, one book led to another.  Where would I find courage?  How would I make a living?  How could I succeed at anything after having been such a failure at everything?  Do I try to remember what my two alcoholic parents taught me.  
Books were the answer.  Books taught me everything.  You're not going to find it in books?  Maybe you aren't, but I did."

That has been true for me, particularly over this past year and a half.  It wasn't entirely books - but all the spiritual work and research and my own writing was often stimulated by something I read, or by someone sharing something they'd learned from a book or a spiritual teacher.  

So thanks for all the lessons learned - wherever they came from, no matter how painful, they all contributed to a transformational time.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Looking back one year

A year ago I wrote these words in this blog:

Basically, my new life is starting, but not as quickly as I would like. I'd like to be back in Manhattan - by tonight - all unpacked and settled. I'd like to be really dating, not just going for coffees or talking on the phone. I'd like to find a good way to make money, because money is necessary and I like it. And if I had more, I could go to the theater, travel and do things that I really do enjoy, with friends or by myself.

I think it's true that no matter how lonely you are when you're alone, it can be less lonely than living with people.

When I read that this morning it gave me a great perspective on where I am.  I'm living in Manhattan, settled, happy, living with the nicest human being in the world, I'm dating, have interesting experiences, I just went to San Francisco to see my beloved Zoe, and to Washington D.C., both trips were fantastic. I do go to theater now and then and all the movies are about to be free to the guilds, so I'm looking forward to seeing some good movies. I am working, my play is about to have a reading in January after a really good re-write that everyone who's read it seems to really love. I could easily complain about the divorce and the pain of going through it, but honestly - I'm so filled with gratitude for where I am today, I simply will acknowledge that nothing stays the same, everything changes and that I am very lucky to be surrounded by so much love and friendship. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Missing in Action

It's not that nothing has been happening, or that I haven't felt like writing, I've been working on my play "Scrambled Eggs" and I went to San Francisco for a few days to visit my daughter.  And then Lola's lump got even bigger and she wasn't urinating, so we had an emergency trip to the vet.  The vet just suggested I give her more water in her food, so I did and she is much better.  And now I have a twitch in my left eye and it's about seventy degrees out tonight and President Obama is going to be on the Daily Show - so what can I say but life goes on?  And I'm just hoping the twitch goes away. Oh, and I loved visiting my daughter in San Francisco and can't wait to go back again soon!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sitting with the fear

I just spent the past few hours feeling unbelievably afraid.  In the past few weeks I have heard of a number of people getting food stamps.  I have heard of two suicides, both having to do with financial problems. A friend just told me about a documentary she just saw which is about the financial crisis "Inside Job." She said it was really good and also very depressing.  A professor from Columbia University was paid $124,000 to do a study about Iceland's supposedly fabulous economy right before it melted down.  All of the Wall Street players who helped get us into this gigantic mess are still out there - not one of them is in jail.

I know that Friends In Deed and many other non-profits are struggling to stay afloat.  FID has been my lifeline this past year.  I can't imagine where all of us would go if they closed their doors. A close friend of mine is about to have yet another round of radiation and oral chemo and she goes there often for support and a good place to just talk about her feelings. I cherish the times I can volunteer there, just so I have a chance to give back.  I think I would try to have meetings in our living room if they ever closed and probably half of their clients would offer that too.

I made myself some dinner tonight and as I was reading an article about a couple who broke up after six years of living together ("opposites attract, but then ultimately they can drive each other crazy).  She wrote about how challenging the past year has been. I suddenly had the thought, "Okay, well, sit with the fear and the sadness.  Stop trying to block the feelings, just welcome them in."  I have done this numerous times in the past few years, but I often forget that by not pushing it away or fighting it, sometimes the anxiety does get relieved, even just a little bit.

This morning I went to a breakfast meeting at an apartment in one of the most desirable buildings in Manhattan, on Central Park West, filled with unbelievable artwork.  There were Warhols, a Calder, everywhere you looked there was amazing art.  These people are not struggling right now.  I don't know if that triggered my anxiety, but I was there to hear about Project Kesher, a wonderful organization that enables Jewish women in six countries of the former Soviet Union, Israel, and the U.S., to get organized and become more economically and politically empowered. 

I think that the desire for economic empowerment is definitely something that I can relate to.  As I read these past few months for the United Nations about women all over the world learning trades and earning a living, even if it is small at first, I could really relate to that feeling of accomplishment and independence.   We are in an economic crisis around the world and though there are millions of people in this country who aren't feeling it, it does seem to have touched so many of us.

So I will do what I particularly love to do in times of fear:  I will open my small Pema Chodron book and look for something to read.

"Gain and victory to others

There is a classic Tibetan Buddhist teaching that says, "Gain and victory to others, loss and defeat to myself."  These words, defeat and victory are so tied up with how we stay imprisoned.  The real confusion is caused by not knowing that we have limitless wealth, and the confusion deepens each time we buy into this win/lose logic: if you touch me, that is defeat, and if I manage to armor myself and not be touched, that's victory.

Realizing our wealth would end our bewilderment and confusion.  But the only way to do that is to let things fall apart.  And that's the very thing we dread the most - the ultimate defeat.  Yet letting things fall apart would actually let fresh air into this old stale basement of a heart that we've got.  

Saying, "loss and defeat to myself" doesn't mean to become a masochist: "Kick my head in, torture me, and dear God, may I never be happy."  What it means is that you can open your heart and your mind and know what defeat feels like.  

You feel too short, you have indigestion, you're too fat, and too stupid.  You say to yourself, "Nobody loves me, I"m always left out.  I have no teeth, my hair's getting gray, I have blotchy skin, my nose runs."  That all comes under the category of defeat, the defeat of ego.  We're always not wanting to be who we are.  However, we can never connect with our fundamental wealth as long as we are buying into this advertisement hype that we have to be someone else, that we have to smell different or have to look different.  

On the other hand, when you say, "Victory to others," instead of wanting to keep it for yourself, there's the sense of sharing the whole delightful aspect of your life.  You did lose some weight.  You do like the way you look in the mirror.  You suddenly feel like you have a nice voice, or someone falls in love with you or you fall in love with someone else.  Or the seasons change and it touches your heart, or you begin to notice the snow in Vermont or the way the trees move in the wind.  With anything that you want, you begin to develop the attitude of wanting to share it instead of being stingy with it or fearful around it."

Pema Chodron, "Start Where You Are"

Last week I had to go back for more root canal and my lovely friend Maxine's husband, Dr. Paul Rosenberg, did the root canal for a small fee and told me to pay him when I can.  We thought that it might be an extensive amount of work on the tooth, but it turned out to be rather simple. Then, last April I filed for an extension on my taxes and found out last week that I had to file them by October 15th.  I talked to the accountant and within a day they were filed, for a very small fee.  As scared as I am sometimes, I do feel grateful that someday, one day at a time, things come together.

And right now, I'm sitting with the fear and I honestly think it feels a little bit better than fighting it.  

About an hour after I wrote that post, I picked up Melody Beattie's book, "The Language of Letting Go" and this is what I read:

"What do we really want to do? What do we feel led to do?  What are our instincts telling us?  What do we feel guided to do?  What are we excited about doing? Seek to find a way to do that, without worrying about the money."  

I can do that. I can try to do that.  

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Back to court

Or rather, first time to court with everyone involved in the divorce there.  All I can say is divorce sucks, but it's better than an unhappy marriage.  Our judge seems very fair and I like her.  I wish this were over already.  I wish we could move on with our lives and not have to keep paying lawyers and wasting time and money.  I wish this was a year from now, when most of the wounds would probably be healed. 

My life is good right now and I am filled with gratitude for the two friends who accompanied me to court yesterday and sat with me for three hours and then took me out to lunch.  Barbara and Cathy - friends don't come much better than both of you.  And then another really dear friend, Karen, took me out to dinner.

So how can I feel sad?  Life is great, having friends is amazing, the judge will finally bring this to a conclusion, hopefully on November 30th, when all of us are expected to gather again, this time with more information and then, hopefully, a resolution.  Although one thing I've learned from all of this is nothing is certain and lawyers make too much money.

It's a beautiful day today.  I'm going to ride my bike to a party at the Hudson River in a couple of hours, to watch a sunset and gather with friends.  

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


"LSD" as in laughter, singing and dancing.

The other day, my loftmate Abigail and I, and six other people (I won't call us all dancers) performed a dance as part of a service at Judson Memorial Church, which is Abigail's church.  We danced to Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now."  It was ridiculously fun and Judson has a long history of dance performances by both famous dancers (Twyla Tharp) and not famous (us).  I had exactly two rehearsals -- and it was a bit scary, but so much fun!

And - I'm embarrassed to recommend yet another book, but I will. This one is called "Reinventing Yourself" - How to Become the Person You've Always Wanted to Be - by Steven Chandler. Steve Chandler coined the LSD phrase.  I found the book because Mama Gena (Regena Thomashauer) the woman whose fantastic workshop I took, recommended it.  She works with Steve as her career coach and she managed to turn her life around after a very challenging divorce.  I picked up the book and it has so many great messages - the first one being about "victim" vs. "owner" of your life.  A victim lives a comfortable life, safe job, doesn't take risks.  An owner takes many chances, tests himself, fails often, picks him/herself up and continues on, taking more chances. It's definitely a scarier, but much more interesting way to live. 


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happiness without a hangover

Some mornings I randomly open my "Pocket Pema Chodron" just to see what reading shows up for the day.  This one seemed so appropriate, I had to share it.

"As we train in opening our hearts and discovering the soft spot, we gradually feel more joy, the joy that comes from a growing appreciation of our basic goodness.  We still experience strong conflicting emotions, we still experience the illusion of separateness, but there's a fundamental openness that we begin to trust.  This trust in our fresh, unbiased nature brings us unlimited joy - a happiness that's completely devoid of clinging and craving.  This is the joy of happiness without a hangover.

How do we cultivate the conditions for joy to expand?  We train in staying present.  In sitting meditation, we train in mindfulness and unconditional friendliness; in being steadfast with our bodies, our emotions, our thoughts.  We stay with our own little plot of earth and trust that it can be cultivated, that cultivation will bring it to its full potential.  Even thought it's full of rocks and the soil is dry, we begin to plow this plot with patience.  We let the process evolve naturally.

At the beginning joy is just a feeling that our own situation is workable.  We stop looking for a more suitable place to be.  We've discovered that the continual search for something better does not work out.  This doesn't mean that there are suddenly flowers growing where before there were only rocks.  It means we have the confidence that something will grow here.  As we cultivate our garden, the conditions become more conducive to the growth of bodhichitta.  The joy comes from not giving up on ourselves, from mindfully sticking with ourselves and beginning to experience our great warrior spirit."

Bodhichitta can be translated to "the awakening mind, the acceptance of what is."  Most days I feel able to live this way, some days are more challenging.  But it feels like I'm moving in that direction and it's good. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Challenging days

We are working on finishing up this film for the United Nations MDG Summit on the 20th of September and it's a difficult time.

I know that it will be great to have done this, but right now, when we're in a huge time crunch and I'm working on a section of the film that is all in Spanish (with English translations, but not everything is translated and I haven't seen the film) - it's a bit intense.

Will write more soon when I can come up from air.  All I can say is, I'm glad to have done this and I will be happy when it's completed.  It's definitely created some stressful moments, but when I remember who the film is really for - the people around the world who need so much help - I feel better.  And it's been a collaborative effort, with everyone from the director to my loftmate, Abigail, who's been enormously helpful. 

Friday, September 3, 2010


You know the 24 hour rule?  When something good happens you generally have about a 24 hour window to celebrate, before you go back to being your normal anxious self.  (Actually, I'm speaking for myself, but I have read this.)  Right now I need to jump up and down and sing and dance and do whatever it is that makes me happy, because I have just had a positive experience.  

The past few weeks has been an extremely challenging learning experience.  I am beyond grateful to have been working on a project for the United Nations that is focused on lifting the poorest people around the world out of poverty, to bring them access to food, clean water, good sanitation, health care, education and more opportunities for gender equity.  This is no easy task, the U.N. has been focused on these goals, called the Millennium Development Goals, for ten years.  Do you know about them?  Not enough people do.  There are five years left in this project and they have to take everything they've learned over the past ten years and push forward on these goals. There have been some positive results, but right now the focus is on the challenges ahead, on the countires in the world that have not benefited enough from the MDG's.  The tasks ahead are enormous, but many of them are so doable. Mothers shouldn't be still dying in such enormous numbers in childbirth.  HIV/AIDS should not be transmitted from mother to child anymore.  Decent health care can be accessible all over the world.  We can put pressure on countries where conflict is still going on and civilians are being killed and raped.  We can make sure that everyone has access to clean water and nourishing food. 

The meeting I had today was about clarifying the language for the short film we're making, while the director and her crew is out in the field working on one part of it.  It was a positive meeting and I felt good about my relationship with the people at the U.N. Development Program.  I have no idea if I will have an opportunity to continue working with them in the future, but what a gift it's been to have had this assignment.  Not only is my brain crammed with information that I never knew, I have been tested day after day, dealing with more stress in a work situation than I've had in a long time.  I handled it.  Not perfectly, not even close, but I did a very good job, given how demanding it was. And it's not over.

We still have a film to make.  And it's due soon.  The conference is September 20-22 and many people have to sign off on it before it gets shown.  Will it work?  Will it all come together in time?  Stay tuned....and I'm going to enjoy the next eighteen or so hours before the fear and anxiety returns. 


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Big changes

I'm in the middle of working on an assignment for a fantastic project that involves the United Nations and a big summit that is happening in NY in a month.

It's very thrilling and it's been one of the most frustrating and stressful projects I've ever been involved with, mainly because of the bureaucratic nightmares that are necessary to overcome with when you're working with such an enormous organization.

But I've learned so much about what is happening in third world countries and about the Millenium Project, about what has been achieved and how much is left to do. Our job is about making films around the world and sharing information about projects that have succeeded and the lessons learned.  

I'm being very vague because I have to work on a script now, but I just wanted to say that all of this couldn't have come at a better time.  It is totally engrossing and challenging to deal with all the stress and learning about the world - especially when the past year has been so involved with grieving so many losses. This has put my problems in perspective and taken the focus off of me. And aside from feeling like this is giving me a strong sense of purpose, it has also enabled me to make money - which for everyone in the world, especially those who are living in poverty - the chance to make money and improve your life and the life of your family, is a universal theme, no matter where you live. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One year later

I just looked back at this blog and saw that on August 5, 2009, my daughter, Zoe, and ex, Steve packed up the car and left our family home (the most recent one - we'd moved about three times in previous five years.)  I remember the feelings I had that day, it was probably one of the lowest points of my life.  I had just lost my mother and now my family was breaking apart.

So here I am one year later.  It's been an incredible year of magical thinking, I guess you could say.  Many miracles and many life lessons have occurred.  A one year anniversary is significant in that it is a measure of the first Thanksgiving without your family, the first birthday, Christmas and Hanukah, a long series of firsts.  Surviving these events, going through all the feelings that come up, starts to gradually make you feel stronger.  

I am so grateful for the way this year has unfolded and for all the positive changes in my life.  I have a wonderful home in Manhattan with the nicest loftmate in the world.  My dogs are still here with me and although they are both old, and not doing all that well, they have given me so much love, it would have been much harder without them. (And it was also hard with them -- walking four times a day most days, in the winter, in the heat - not an easy job.)  They are pretty famous in the neighborhood, particularly Lola.  

I am close to having a job, at least a freelance one.  I don't want to talk about it yet, but it's something that I am very excited about - and I hope will work out.  Zoe is doing really well in San Francisco.  I've met some very nice men.  I've learned so much about life just by sitting in Friends In Deed for the past year.  I've kept up my meditation practice, as imperfect as it is.  I've started running again and although recently my knee has been bothering me, I've kept it up and am working on building up the muscles around my knees.  Exercise has really helped.  We are getting closer to resolving our divorce and hopefully that will happen soon.  I wish Steve well, I am tired of fighting and look forward to someday having all of this in the past.  

My friends have sustained me and I don't even have the words to say how grateful I am.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Great news!

Lola, my little beagle, is fine!  Her lump turned out to have no sign of cancer cells and is probably hyperplastic proliferation - excessive growth of muscle or tissue.

So, I guess Lola is a bit like my mother, she's one tough cookie.  She probably has a benign tumor in her cerebral cortex which has affected her gross motor skills, making it difficult for her to walk.  She has an adorable prancing movement, which she seems to have perfected, her front legs move separately from the hind legs.  She has lost most of her vision, has arthritis, bladder issues, and frequently lies down on walks.  But her tail wags often and she seems to attract everyone who sees her.  She's the sweetest dog, except when she decides to bark at another dog, which she does for no obvious reason, just because she wants to.  

I couldn't imagine losing her yet and I'm so relieved that she will be with us for awhile longer, at least.

I read this quote on a subway yesterday, by Stephen W. Hawking, which I particularly liked:

"The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired."

Saturday, July 31, 2010


This morning I read a Pema Chodron quote about gloriousness and wretchedness from "Start Where You Are."  It says basically you just need to have both in your life, it can't be all glorious and hopefully it isn't all wretched.

Today I (and many of my friends) are waiting for a biopsy report to come back for my beloved little dog, Lola.  I have mentioned before that she has had some trouble walking and recently the vet suggested that she probably has a benign brain tumor growing in her cerebral cortex, affecting gross motor skills.  

Thursday morning, as I was petting her, I felt a very large lump on the side of her head, which literally appeared overnight.  It's the size of an egg.  We rushed to the vet and she did a biopsy and now we are waiting for the results.  It is a hard mass and the vet felt it was probably another tumor.  

I am having a hard time believing that this amazing little dog, who I have come to love so much, may be very ill.  She has a good appetite, she doesn't seem to be in any pain, and her only real symptom is that she walks like she is a bit drunk. I love my dog, Lucy, but in terms of personality, she doesn't come close to Lola. Lola is a funny, charming, adorable little dog.  She seems to pick up people wherever she goes and creates smiles and laughter as she prances down the street.  

I ran over to Friends In Deed to talk about my sadness and worry about Lola was reminded not to get into a negative prediction.  For today, she is still with us.  I don't know why our pets make their way into our hearts the way they do, probably because it's the purity of the love and the devotion.  And they make us happy. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010


I'm doing my volunteer work at Friends In Deed for the Mastery again this weekend.  (I've written about it a few times before.) 

It is an honor and a privilege to be in the presence of people who are so courageous and dealing with some very painful life events.  I can't really share what anyone says specifically, but I will say that some of the main themes are usually: care-giving, grief, life threatening illnesses, and fear of financial insecurity - either from having been laid off, or worrying about losing a job, or just running out of funds.  Body issues, for both women and men (although primarily women) is also a big theme. 

All of us in the back row (the volunteers) have been through this workshop and we understand how powerful the weekend can be for most people.  When each of us stands up and briefly describes our experience of having done the Mastery, it's unique to everyone, but always inspiring.  I wish more people had access to this weekend, although it's best suited to people who are in crisis. 

Then again, these days, so many people are in some kind of crisis and if they're not - they will at some point, probably dealing with care-giving in some form, or loss, or an illness.  This is life in 2010.  

What we learn in the Mastery is that we are not alone.  And if we ask for help and we show up for others, the reward is knowing that we're part of a community of people who are strong and capable of dealing with just about anything that comes their way. We take those difficult experiences and use them in ways that we couldn't imagine - by writing about them in my case, or creating work that has more meaning for us, or going back to school, or just simply asking ourselves: what is it that I truly love and want to do in my life?

These questions originated when the Mastery was called "The AIDS Mastery" and just about all of the attendees were dying from AIDS and HIV.  After the weekend, they thought of themselves as "living" with AIDS and HIV and though many still died, quite a number of them lived and are still living - rich and full lives.  There were many lessons learned from this illness and still more than we need to learn.  Accepting what is and living life fully, not playing it safe, in this moment are two important ones.

Friday, July 23, 2010


You know when you have something to do and you really don't want to do it, so you do everything you can to put it off, but eventually you have no choice but to sit down and do it.  Or write a blog post.

So that's what I'm doing now.

I actually have nothing terribly pressing to write about, I just don't want to work on a financial spread sheet and get it to my lawyer.  

So...what can I write about?

The fact that I just ran three miles and feel ecstatically happy and in love with everyone and everything in life?  That's how the endorphins feel for several hours after running.  Nothing bothers you, no one bothers you, everything is fantastic and you forget that the world is a mess and there are so many problems that are probably unfixable, so now I'm starting to come down a bit, no, not ready, need more happiness.  One of the things I enjoy most about my running is that I listen to music that really lifts my energy and my spirits and actually - you can always do that, you don't need to run three miles.

Okay, that was about two minutes that I should have spent on this report. I think I'll work on it now and report back later, that it's done.  Or at least partly done.  

I'm not a big procrastinator, but there are certain things I dread dealing with.  The great feeling of accomplishment when it's finished though is another high - so here I go!  

Actually, I think I'm a little hungry...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Going to divorce court

Well, I never imagined that I would have to go to family court regarding a divorce, but as I think of it now, why wouldn't I, since so many friends have gone before me?  Why would I be exempt from the fun of watching lawyers spar and a judge and her secretary make comments about my marriage, without ever knowing either one of us.

So I have gone through that rite of passage and survived the first trip to court.  Ironically, it's located at 71 Thomas Street downtown in Tribeca.  The first place we lived when we moved to Manhattan was 60 Thomas Street.  I never knew family court was right across the street from us.

I survived and I'm quite sure I'll survive the next trip to court.  I wish we didn't have to do this, but I guess it's one of those life experiences that I am supposed to have.  Yet another life experience that will definitely find it's way into my writing, I'm sure. We'll be back in two months - it's quite an education I'm having.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I realized today, as I went to the Hell's Kitchen flea market again in search of Mike the bike guy, who seems to be MIA, and then to the upper west side in search of a used bike store, that all the running around and reading about bikes, and looking at Craig's list, and asking questions and learning about bikes, is an excellent distraction for the more pressing matters of my life.  

And those issues are out of my control, unlike finding a bike, so I'm going to concentrate on the bike search and forget about the court appearance I have to make this week and take it one day at a time. 

Onward - my bike is coming soon, it will be a good bike at a great price and I will enjoy riding it.  And everything else will take care of itself.  I'm off to walk the dogs, in the heat, and to enjoy that too!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hot and bike-less

I'm not talking about hot, as in sexy, although I like to think I'm hot.  It's very warm here in NYC this summer and I am so ready to leave.  But, unfortunately, this summer isn't turning out to be a summer of travel, not with two dogs to care for.  

And last night my beloved Trek bicycle, which I've had for at least twelve years (in NYC that may be a record) was stolen.  It was parked in front of a church on 5th Avenue and 12th Street, with plenty of people walking nearby.  Someone must have driven up in a van, cut the lock and grabbed it.  I had that same sinking feeling a few years ago when my car was towed, but at least I knew I'd get the car back.  

I actually had the thought the night before when I was riding with a friend (who warned me that my tires could be easily stolen because they had quick releases on them) that the bike was going to be stolen soon.  I never had that thought with such certainty, but I just knew it.  I can't stand living in NYC without a bike and I know I cannot replace that one (it had just had a complete "tune-up," new tires, brakes checked, etc.)  The bike was a part of my old life and I guess it was time to move on.  

I'm on the hunt for an inexpensive, but fantastic used bike.  It's a priority, like having a car is for some people in the rest of the country, my bike is absolutely essential!  I love riding, especially in the summer.  I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Book reviews?

A friend of mine wrote me a note about changing the template for the blog and said she calls the blog "a book review a day."  I guess I have been staying away from writing about my personal life recently because it's been a bit difficult to write about it. I'm working on my book project, or whatever it will be, and keeping a journal - but going through a divorce and writing about it publicly, in a blog, is not easy to do.  

There are times I seem to disappear.  Usually I'm going through some difficult period of dealing with my lawyers and reading affidavits and wondering how we got to this horrible mess.  Having watched so many of my friends go through this in the past, I feel like I'm experiencing a rite of passage and I feel good about how I'm getting through it.  I don't drink or eat too much, or spend too much.  If I do anything too much it's reading books about divorce and getting through difficult times and writing about it on this blog.  It helps me to focus on the stuff I'm dealing with inside, with my soul.  

Some day I will write about it, but right now it feels difficult to reveal too much.  I am a far more empathetic person than I used to be and when I hear about people who've lost a spouse or a parent, or are dealing with a sick parent or child, or going through a divorce, or who have lost a job -- I have a sense of the pain they are feeling.  Last night I listened to a man, in a big group at Friends in Deed, talk about losing a girlfriend of twenty-nine years as he sobbed and said he'd never in his life experienced so much pain.  He said he never knew that people suffered like this before and he felt sad that for so many years he walked ignorant about grief.  I'd know about grief now, the feeling of disconnection, of crying, of not getting pleasure in anything, of the worries that it's never going to get better.  But everything does change and in this past year, I can see how much it's changed.  My reading about divorce says it generally takes two years to feel "normal" again - whatever normal is.  I'll let you know.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The challenge of daily life

Today I had a wonderful lunch with a woman I met at Friends In Deed recently.  We were talking about Pema Chodron and her writings about sitting with "what is."  And she also mentioned Jack Kornfield's story about getting hit in the shoulder with an arrow and how most of us send more arrows into the wound by saying things like: "Oh, I shouldn't feel this pain, I better get over it right now and move on, and forget about it, it's just getting in my way."  Rather than feeling the pain, removing the arrow and taking the time to heal the wound.  That acceptance of "what is" instead of "what we want it to be" is so crucial to living in the moment.

We were talking about how grateful we are for the very terrible things that brought us to Friends In Deed in the first place and how it has helped us to transform our lives in ways we could have never understood before.  We would have said, "I would like to live a deeper, more fulfilled and happier life, and really appreciate life,"  but we would have only been using those words because we've heard them or read them.  But now, it's how we actually feel.  Despite the struggle I'm still in, going through a difficult divorce, looking for work, I do feel extremely grateful and work on my attitudes daily and attend to the wounds.  So as hard as some days seem, I guess I am glad that I'm making my way through this journey and feeling such a strong connection to a spiritual core, or my "soul."  And the ability to cry, after so many years of feeling numb, is a gift I really appreciate.     

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Rapture of Being Alive - "Broken Open"

I have another book that I need to recommend.  My friend Polly gave it to me on my birthday a year ago and then recently, another friend mentioned it to me.  The book is "Broken Open" by Elizabeth Lesser, who is one of the founders of The Omega Institute in upstate New York.  I have never been there, but many friends have and they offer amazing workshops with great people, including my favorite, Pema Chodron.

The first quote that starts the book is by Anais Nin, whose work I read in my twenties.  I don't remember much about her journals, except that I was obsessed with reading them.  Here is the quote, "And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." 

Another great quote, from Rumi:  "When you do something from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy..."  And one more from Rumi:  "Learn the alchemy true human beings know.  The moment you accept what troubles you've been given, the door will open." 

And the paragraph Lesser read when she was very young that she says changed her life:

"Going beyond fear begins when we examine our fear: our anxiety, nervousness, concern, and restlessness.  If we look into our fear, if we look beneath the veneer, the first thing we find is sadness, beneath the nervousness.  Nervousness is cranking up, vibrating all the time.  When we slow down, when we relax with our fear, we find sadness, which is calm and gentle.  Sadness hits you in your heart, and your body produces a tear.  Before you cry, there is a feeling in your chest, and then, after that, you produce tears in your eyes.  You are about to produce a rain or a waterfall in your eyes and you feel sad and lonely and perhaps romantic at the same time.  That is the first tip of fearlessness, and the first sign of real warriorship.  You might think that, when you experience fearlessness, you will hear the opening to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony or see a great explosion in the sky, but it doesn't happen that way.  Discovering fearlessness comes from working with the softness of the human heart."   

"Shambhala: The Sacret Path of the Warrior," by Chogram Trungpa, a Tibetan Buddhist.

Another quote, this one from Wavy Gravy, "We're all Bozos on the bus, so we might as well enjoy the ride."  I love that quote.  When I was young, I often listened to "The Secret of Life" by James Taylor.  "The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.  There ain't nothing to it, any fool can do it..."

And finally, a terrific quote by Joseph Cambell:  "People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life.  I don't think that's what we're really seeking.  I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being that we actually feel the rapture of being alive."

This past week has been challenging for me, but in a good way.  There have been tears and I've encountered a great deal of fear.  But I've also sat with it and let it move through me.  I've also received so much help and support and I am deeply grateful for these friends who show up for me.  Meditation has also helped.  And I guess the best part of it all, is as difficult as it feels sometimes, I know I'm alive. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Pema and Pema

I've decided that I'm going to change my name to Pema and then I could call this blog, "Pema and Pema."  And then a spiritually enlightened producer would option it for a film and Meryl Street could play both Pema Chodron and me!  Wouldn't that be perfect?

Seriously, I do find that when I'm feeling at my lowest, reading Pema's writings always seems to lift me up.  This is from "Practicing Peace in Times of War"...

"Difficulty is inevitable

On a very basic level all beings think that they should be happy.  When life becomes difficult or painful, we feel that something has gone wrong.  According to the Buddhist teachings, difficulty is inevitable in human life.  For one thing, we cannot escape the realities of death.  But there are also the realities of aging, of illness, of not getting what we want, and of getting what we don't want.  These kinds of difficulties are facts of life.  Even if you were the Buddha himself, if you were a fully enlightened person, you would experience death, illness, aging, and sorrow at losing what you love.  All of these things would happen to you.  If you got burned or cut, it would hurt.

But the Buddhist teachings also say that this is not really what causes us misery in our lives.  What causes misery is always trying to get away from the facts of life, always trying to avoid pain and seek happiness -- this sense of ours that there could be lasting security and happiness available to us if we could only do the right thing.  

It is so basic in us to feel that things should go well for us, and that if we start to feel depressed, lonely, or inadequate, there's been some kind of mistake or we've lost it.  In reality, when you feel depressed, lonely, betrayed, or any unwanted feelings, this is an important moment on the spiritual path.  This is when real transformation takes place."

Okay, I would rather be transformed by winning the lottery or writing a best-selling book, but if Pema says this is the way to go, I'll have to trust her.  She's never steered me wrong.  I do find that my morning meditation is one of the highlights of my day and that going through some of the depression, does give you a sense of strength, of being able to handle life.  

This morning a dear friend of mine called and we talked about her daughter, who has been through a very rough medical procedure and slow recovery.  We both cried and talked about how deeply we love our daughters and how painful it is to see them suffer any difficulty.  Asking for help, remembering to be grateful for all the blessings in our life and knowing that although this is a challenging time, we are literally transforming into spiritually enlightened beings helps.

One question: is there a money back guarantee with this, Pema?

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Okay, this reading seemed so appropriate this morning.  Again, Melody Beattie, from "The Language of Letting Go."


Master the lessons of your present circumstances.
We do not move forward by resisting what is undesirable in our life today.  We move forward, we change by acceptance.
Avoidance is not the key; surrender opens the door.
Listen to this truth: We are each in our present circumstances for a reason.  There is a lesson, a valuable lesson, that must be learned before we can move forward.
Something important is being worked out in us, and in those around us.  We may not be able to identify it today, but we can know that it is important.  We can know that it is good.
Overcome not by force, overcome by surrender.  The battle is fought, and won, inside ourselves.  We must go through it until we learn, until we accept, until we become grateful, until we are set free.

Today, I will be open to the lessons of my present circumstances.  I do not have to label, know, or understand what I'm learning; I will see clearly in time.  For today, trust and gratitude are sufficient."

Monday, June 14, 2010

On Broadway

We live on Broadway - not where the theaters are - in SoHo, where all the shopping is.  Right now there are two men talking to each other quite loudly about pulleys and opening windows as they prepare the loft next door for a four day shoot.  The show is "Rubicon" produced by the same people who produce "Mad Men."  It's about the CIA and they are using our neighbor's loft as a set.  Our loft was once used for "Law and Order" and it's not uncommon for NYC apartments to be hired by studios for these kinds of shoots.  It is, unfortunately, very disruptive and though everyone is really nice and friendly, the shoots go late and it's probably going to be a difficult week.  (And we don't get paid for the inconvenience, only the neighbor whose loft they're using gets any money.)

On the other hand, I love show business, so I will try to make the best of it. The dogs are a bit confused by all the commotion and equipment being moved in and out, but there's also craft services, which might offer them some good scraps.  It's difficult to write when I can hear these men talking, so I think I'll stop here.  

Here's info about the show from the web:

The new TV Series, Rubicon AMC is fully cast by Miranda Richardson, Dallas Roberts and James Badge Dale (The Pacific and 24).
Rubicon by AMC is the new drama series Rubicon, which tells about intelligence analyst Will Travers, finds himself in the midst of a conspiracy. Sounds like a new espionage series starring by James Badge Dale, on Sunday.
The Rubicon premiere were scheduled to be this late summer, and the AMC will aired the sneak peak preview right after Sunday’s Breaking Bad finale.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The winding road

Last year, when I was in Spain with my...well, what do I call him?  My almost ex husband?  Steve is his name, that's what I'll call him.  I guess I could call him other names, but I won't.

We were in southern Spain, in Andalucia, which I totally fell in love with, and we were driving in the mountains, headed to Ronda. We (he) decided to take a road through the mountains because Steve wanted to go to a small town called Grazalema, I believe was the name.  We got on a road that had a sign that said, in Spanish, something about road blocked due to a mud slide, but for some reason, we saw a few cars up ahead of us, and we didn't believe the sign.  The road was extremely curvy and I tend to get a bit anxious on really mountainous roads, and this one seemed to go on and on and kept climbing up the mountain.  It was also absolutely gorgeous country, which I tried to notice as I gripped the dashboard.  There were a few turn-offs along the road where people had stopped to eat lunch and look at the views.

I figured once we got to the top of the mountains we would be safe and just go down the other side to Grazalema, but sure enough, after what seemed like a good hour or so, we came to the part of the road that was blocked and we could go no further.  I couldn't believe we had to go back down that same road and take those same curves.  We didn't argue about it, we just turned around and that hour long drive took about twenty minutes.  It wasn't, in fact, an hour, it only felt like an hour.

We returned to the town we'd driven through at the base of the mountain, found a restaurant, had some lunch and then set off again on our journey to Ronda, on a different, but still gorgeous road.  

I feel like I'm on that windy road now, just headed through the mountains, not quite sure what's ahead, but trusting that I will get to the other side of the mountain. (Or turn around and go back down and have lunch.) This divorce journey seems endless, but from all my reading about divorce, it's generally a two year ordeal - "Crazy Time" - a period of ups and downs and pleasurable periods and sadness.  Today was both.  I had some lovely times with friends and some time alone.  

I'm heading through the mountains and I should try to enjoy the views, which are truly, quite lovely.  I'm trying to stay in the moment, enjoy each day, and be grateful for all the wonderful blessings in my life. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Currently, we are all right

It's been one year since my mother's death, actually tomorrow, June 9th is the anniversary.

I think I can truthfully say that this has been the hardest year of my life, but like giving birth, we do forget the pain. Other years have been tough, but this one may have been the most challenging.  All I know is I'm still here, Lucy and Lola, my beloved beagles, are still with me, Zoe is doing well in San Francisco, and I feel like I have cried more and felt more this year than I ever have before.  I am filled with gratitude for everyone who kept me going this year and there were many, too many to name.  My loftmate, Abigail, deserves a Medal of Honor for taking me in and allowing me to share her space and her life.  Living in New York City during this difficult time has been incredibly healing.  The energy of the city keeps me from feeling despair and loneliness, although when I do feel sad, I have learned to embrace it, as Pema Chodron suggests.  

I haven't been writing as much on the blog as I might have, but I have been writing every day on what I hope will be a book.  I like sharing the readings that have helped me during this time and I know have been helpful to some of you who read the blog.  This one I read this morning, on the theme of fun, was something that resonated, since the idea of fun was challenging to me during my marriage.

This is from "The Language of Letting Go" by Melody Beattie, June 8th's reading:


Have fun, with life, with the day.
Life is not drudgery; that is an old belief.  Let go of it.  We are on an adventure, a journey.  Events will come to pass that we cannot now fathom.
Replace heaviness and weariness of spirit with joy.  Surround yourself with people and things that bring lightness of spirit.
Become sensitive to lightness of spirit.
The journey can be an exciting adventure.  Let yourself enjoy it.

Today, I will have some fun with life, with recovery, with people, and with my day."


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

...and one other thing

I just picked up Eckhart Tolle's book "A New Earth" which I am still reading.  It's not a fast read, you have to digest it all and try to internalize it.  

I don't have to type this out now, but Chapter 5 is "The Pain Body" and it's about how we are trapped in the voice of our head, which is conditioned by our past, and therefore most of the time it's impossible for us to simply be in the present, in the pleasure and joy of a moment.  I can't really paraphrase it well, just turn to page 129 and start reading! "The Pain Body." 

Stealing some more good advice - movies, music, etc.

I'm still reading "The Wisdom of a Broken Heart" by Susan Piver (I'm slow, because I'm also reading several other books at the same time.)  I've given up TV for the most part, except "Glee" and Jon Stewart.

Anyway, I opened the book to an Appendix this morning and Piver talks about the need to get out your emotions ("indulge it") and how great movies and music are for that.

Here's the list of movies that make you cry according to Susan and her friends:

A Beautiful Mind
Dark Victory
Field of Dreams
The Last Samurai
Stranger than Fiction (when Will Ferrell sings "Whole Wide World")
Anything where a dog dies  (I sobbed at "Marley" on the plane home from Spain last year...)

Big Fish
Dead Poets Society
E.T.: The Extraterrestrial
Fiddler on the Roof
Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no Haka)
The Green Mile
Hotel Rwanda
I am Sam
Life Is Beautiful
The Lion King
The Little Mermaid
Million Dollar Baby
The Notebook
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Steel Magnolias
Sweet November
Whale Rider

I would add to that list Terms of Endearment, that scene with Debra Winger's sons, that always makes me cry.


"A Change Is Gonna Come"  Sam Cooke
"The Dark End of the Street"  James Carr
"I Can't Stop the Rain" Ann Peebles
"I Can't Stop Loving You" Freddy Fender
"I've Been Loving You Too Long" Otis Redding
"There is an End"  The Greenhornes, with Holly Golightly
"What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" Jimmy Ruffin
"When I Get Like This" The Five Royales
"Whole Wide World" Wreckless Eric
"For Your Precious Love" Jerry Butler

Lately, I've found the song "I Believe I Can Fly" has been really helpful to lighten my mood. And "Vida La Vida" and "Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night."  For some reason Aretha Franklin singing "You Send Me" always sends me.  And I like listening to Regina Spektor because she reminds me of my daughter.  Also Ingrid Michaelson.

I did something else Piver recommends.  Go through all your clothing and keep only the things that make you feel attractive and toss everything else out (bring it to Goodwill, or wherever.) That was actually fun, perhaps because I've been on the divorce diet and everything fits.

Organize your Netflix queue.  I do that all the time.  

Yesterday, I did an exercise that Mama Gena suggests, which really surprised me.  She said to write a love letter to yourself, the kind that you would love to receive.  I thought, "Ah, I don't want to do that.  That's just not something I feel like doing."  But I did - I wrote myself a love letter and it made me realize that I should accept nothing less than being fully and completely loved for who I am, and to be fully and completely in love with someone, for exactly who he is.  It's a powerful exercise and it made me realize how often I have settled for less, when we all deserve so much more.   


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Talk Softly

I'm in the middle of reading Cynthia O'Neal, the founder of Friends In Deed's new book, "Talk Softly."  She has this one paragraph that I really loved and wanted to share.  (I'd share the whole book if I could, it's great.)

Many years ago, her husband, the late Patrick O'Neal, went to take the est training with Werner Erhard and Cy was pretty skeptical about his enthusiastic response to it.  But then she went to the training and wrote this about it:

"In hindsight it seems to me that est was simply saying exactly what we have heard from every wise teacher and thinker through the ages.  William James said, 'The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.'  In the Talmud it says, 'We do not see things as they are.  We see things as we are.' Proust said, 'The real voyage of discovery consists in not seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.'  Sophocles said, "The greatest griefs are those we cause ourselves.'  Agnes Repplier said, 'It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.'  Voltaire said, ' Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her. But once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.' Hazrat Inayat Khan said, 'Life is what it is, you cannot change it, but you can change yourself.' Shakespeare said, 'There is nothing either bad nor good, but thinking makes it so.' In short, the whole thing is an inside job."

I find that paragraph sums up so much of what I've been learning these past few years in my Buddhist readings, in Alanon, in therapy, at Friends In Deed - all of it - and I think that it's such a simple concept that most of us struggle with throughout our lives.  And when we give up the struggle and just accept it, it makes life so much easier.  It's hard not to slide back once in awhile, especially when life is handing you some serious challenges, but it really does work when you remember that it is all ultimately: "an inside job." There's no one to blame, there's only the work of accepting "what is" and looking at the lessons that you can learn from it. 

Saturday, May 29, 2010


I just came from a good day of rehearsing for a flash mob which is going to take place at the end of June at a secret location in NYC and then seeing "Sex and the City 2."  I thought it was not as great as I'd hoped, and it was too long, and I still loved it.  I just love those relationships between the women and being in a audience made up of mostly women.  

After the movie let out, I heard a guy really complaining about it afterward to his date and the woman said almost nothing.  He said, "I hate those women.  I don't think they're at all likable.  They're not smart.... They're so annoying."  He just kept talking and his date remained silent and I really wanted to say, "Shut up, we don't care what you think.  We just like them, they're imperfect, they make mistakes, they're shallow in some ways, and they are fun."  I thought there were some great moments and subjects discussed like motherhood, menopause and marriage, the three M's.  Not to mention men. I guess in the next movie, someone will have to get divorced and I could write a movie about that.  

This morning, I did my daily readings and I came across another really great reading in "The Language of Letting Go" by Melody Beattie, which I wanted to share.

"Powerlessness and Unmanageability

Willpower is not the key to the way of life we are seeking.  Surrender is.  

'I have spent much of my life trying to make people be, do, or feel something they aren't, don't want to do, and choose not to feel.  I have made them, and myself, crazy in that process,' said one recovering woman.  

'I spent my childhood trying to make an alcoholic father who didn't love himself be a normal person who loved me.  I then married an alcoholic and spent a decade trying to make him stop drinking.'

'I have spent years trying to make emotionally unavailable people be emotionally present for me.

'I have spent even more years trying to make family members, who are content feeling miserable, happy.  What I'm saying is this: I've spent much of my life desperately and vainly trying to do the impossible and feeling like a failure when I couldn't.  It's been like planting corn and trying to make the seeds grow peas.  Won't work!

'By surrendering to powerlessness, I gain the presence of mind to stop wasting my time and energy trying to change and control that which I cannot change and control.  It gives me permission to stop trying to do the impossible and focus on what is possible: being who I am, loving myself, feeling what I feel, and doing what I want to do with my life.'

In recovery, we learn to stop fighting lions, simply because we cannot win.  We also learn that the more we are focused on controlling and changing others, the more unmanageable our life becomes.  The more we focus on living our own life, the more we have a life to live, and the more manageable our live will become.

Today, I will accept powerlessness where I have no power to change things, and I'll allow my life to become manageable."


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Life in Hell by Matt Groenig

In the 1990's, Matt Groenig had a comic strip with rabbits as its main characters called "Life is Hell."  I read one of the strips today and I had write it down, it was so funny.

Two rabbits are talking to each other, we'll call them A and B.  In each frame they are in profile, facing each other.

A:  My therapist says that maintaining a relationship is hard work.
B:  My therapist says that everything is your fault.

A:  My therapist says we shouldn't dump our frustrations on each other.
B:  My therapist says I can do better than hanging out with a loser like you.

A:  My therapist says we need to value each other's needs and desires as highly as we value our own.
B:  My therapist says if it weren't for you everything would be fine.

A:  My therapist says we need to learn to have empathy for each other.
B:  My therapist says you need to keep your big mouth shut.

A:  My therapist says we need to manage our anger more effectively.
B:  My therapist says I'm fully justified in smashing your face in.

A:  My therapist says we have to learn conflict resolution.
B:  My therapist says you are a sick and twisted individual.

A:  My therapist says we need to learn to communicate our needs and vulnerabilities.
B:  My therapist says you sound like a real jerk.

A:  I think I need to get a better therapist.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mama Gena, the weekend, FUN!

I worked hard this weekend at the Mama Gena mastery, except it doesn't feel like work, it feels amazing to be in the presence of so many women from all over the world who are getting turned on to life and to themselves.  It's emotional, it's wild, it's sisterhood in action, it's everything I never really experienced in my life before.  I hated sororities, I always felt either threatened or competitive with women, I now appreciate and enjoy their company and their talents and beauty.  And no, I'm not dating any women, but I do love them and I appreciate myself in a way that I never have before. 

For years I was in therapy and I did my time on anti-depressants - and anyone who's read this blog knows this past year has been quite a challenge.  I wouldn't change a moment of it and I wish that all the women I know and love could have the opportunity to experience this mastery.  Or at least read her books and get the message that when we are turned on by life, and giving ourselves some pleasure for even just a few minutes every day (it could be sitting with a cup of tea and looking at a tree, or listening to music, or taking a dance break, or walking through a park, or taking a bath, whatever turns you on) - if you figure out how to do the work you love and nurture yourself, your life gets better and so does everyone around you.