Sunday, July 24, 2011

My small town

Last night, I went out to ride my bike and I ran into a lovely friend on the bicycle path along the Hudson.  We rode together and then sat and watched the sunset.  We talked and laughed and went back to riding - it turned out to be a lovely night.  It was kind of a date, but not.  It was what a date should be - comfortable, relaxed, easy conversation.  It was fun!  He's a nice guy, recently separated, dealing with some sadness but clear that the relationship had to end. 

Then this morning, on my way to Unity, walking up Broadway, I ran into my friend Judy who is visiting from Berkeley.  We went to high school together and re-connected on Facebook.  I mentioned I was going to Unity and invited her to come along and she said yes.  We had a lovely time together. 

And then after Judy and I said goodbye...I was walking down Broadway and I ran into another friend, Amy, who works for the Visiting Nurse Service of NY.  When my mother got sick, she was one of the first calls I made and she set up my mother's care.  Her father died early this month and we talked about that.  I suggested she go to Friends In Deed - not just for her own loss, but also as a good resource for the VNS clients.  

It's amazing how often I run into people in this small city of over 8 million people!  I love living here - even in the heat, even in the cold, even on days that I really can't take the noise and the crowds, I still cannot think of a better place to live.  I can think of places I love to visit and vacation in, but for living, it's NYC that's my home.

Friday, July 22, 2011


What is there to say today except that it's hot.  It was too hot to walk in Central Park.  It is too hot to do much of anything.  It is too hot to care.  It is scary how hot it is, how likely it is that this planet will continue getting hotter every year and our children and their children will have to live with such difficult conditions.

It's too hot to be with friends or go anywhere.  I'm lying on the bed with my beloved dog, Lucy, who is snoring, right next to me.  She's hot too.  I'll turn the air conditioner on again, but it seems likely that with everyone using their air conditioners at full blast, that we could have a blackout.  

It's July.  It's supposed to be hot.  I like it better than February.  I'll like it better when I can get out of the city.  I'd love to jump into the ocean. I'm not complaining, I'm just reporting.  It's f-king hot.   

UPDATE:  I made excellent use of the evening by watching an episode of "The Wire" - Season 4, which may be its best yet.  Love that show.  

But sadly, a terrible attack took over a hundred lives in Norway yesterday, the fighting and drought in Somalia goes on and so many are dying every day, and our own government is demonstating the art of stupidity and ineptitude.  Maybe they're so hot they can't think anymore.  It seems to me given all the riches this country has, that a compromise that doesn't kill the middle class and starts taxing the corporations and the wealthiest people should be simple common sense. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011


For a long time (over two years) I've had a daily struggle to overcome fear about the future, grief of letting go of my family, the loss of my mother and my beloved Lola, a new job, many challenges. And though I often get thrown off course by some anxiety, it generally doesn't last too long and most days turn out pretty well. 

I do find myself getting angry about the government and many issues outside my own personal sphere, but that's to be expected, I think.  Complacency is not my style.

Today I was doing my meditation in the early morning and I suddenly had a wonderful feeling come over me of tremendous appreciation for my life.  I'm helping people daily (not in Somalia and not doing anything really vital - but still - helping people), I'm working at getting the play produced, and I'm trying to take care of myself and to stay in touch with friends.  I work a spiritual program, that is, I do my meditation and try to listen to that small voice, which today said, "Hey, this is pretty good!"  

This morning, a friend and I were laughing when we came up with a good analogy for the idea that one never really reaches total enlightenment.  It's like getting your body in shape.  You go to the gym, or do yoga, or ride your bike, or dance - whatever works for you and after a time you look at your body and you think, "I look pretty good. I'm in good shape."  And then you say, "Okay, great, I'm done.  I think I'll sit on the couch from now on and eat ice cream and cake."  And then, of course, in a few weeks your body looks terrible again and you have to start all over.  

Every day, it's important to keep working on my inner life and not think I'm ever finished.  I guess I will be someday, when I'm no longer alive.  But as long as I have a breath to take, I have to keep meditating and reading and working on myself, and trusting.  And especially remembering to be grateful for all the good in my life and even some of the bad.  That's important too!  

And all I can do is hope that the sanest people we have right now - the Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warrens and Jon Stewarts (just to name a few) will keep talking truth to power and will eventually be heard. It's so hard not to be disappointed in President Obama.  I keep thinking he has a plan, that he's really not going to take cuts in Social Security and Medicare and other social services, but so far it looks like he is going against his campaign promises.

Mostly, despite the bad news, I want to laugh more.  I want to find someone to love who is funny.   I realize that's part of my spiritual path - to laugh more and take life less seriously.  There's plenty to be serious about, but I am so grateful for people like Chris Rock, Bill Maher and Jon Stewart for making me laugh.  Bill is the only single one, but I'm more into Chris and Jon. I guess I have to find my own Chris or Jon.  He's out there somewhere!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I do not like it.  At all.  I find it very frustrating and difficult sometimes, especially when the temperature reaches 90+ degrees.  I find it hard to be relaxed and easy-going when I am waiting for answers and I try to breathe and put my mind on something else, like going for a walk or riding my bike.  But tonight it's too hot to do either and so I have to figure out something else to do.

I will follow up with this and let you know how the waiting turns out.  Is it possible to just simply say, "Ah, it will all work out - relax - don't worry.  It's totally out of my hands and the best possible results will come."  There are some things that have short-term results and some that are much longer.  They're all stressful.

I should get a pedicure or something.  I think I'll just hug Lucy, my beloved dog.  

UPDATE: So far, two of the things I was waiting for - to hear back from someone about my play and to get a counter offer for an apartment I'm hoping to sell - both turned out fine.  So my annoyance at waiting was so uncalled for.  I am embarrassed.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Daily meditation saves lives!

I started this blog a few years ago to write about my journey in meditation.  Life changed course along the way, if you've followed the blog you'll know that there were a few other matters, like a divorce, the death of my mother, my daughter moving far away, and a few other major life changing events that I've had to deal with.

But I want to share that through all of it, I have continued with my (imperfect) meditation practice.  And I think it saved my life. (At least that's what Deepak Chopra tweeted about this morning.) 

There's something so peaceful about sitting for 30 and sometimes 60 minutes every morning, in silence.  It's one of my favorite times of day.  I try to also do walking meditations sometimes, or even biking meditations.  I think that any time you're alone with your thoughts and you try to focus on your breath and quiet the thoughts, is a meditation.  

Even 5 minutes, a couple of times a day, can be a great way to come back to the moment and rein in all the crazy ideas that constantly go through our heads.  That's what Pema Chodron promised when I started this practice and that's what I've received.

The past week has been a challenge.  But right now, after a good hour of breathing and sitting, I feel ready to take on the day.  And I think it's going to be a good one!  I really do. 

And I pray that everyone in Washington, President Obama and the entire Congress, start meditating, so we can get this budget crisis under control. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ups and downs

Actually, what I was going to write about was my emotional roller coaster, but after I wrote the title, I thought how boring.  Who cares about my mood swings?  Who isn't moody in this horrible heat wave?

What I want to write about is all the things I'm grateful for.  My life, living in this loft with Abigail, our friendship (we're both sitting in the living room, writing on our laptops), living in a rent stabilized loft on the best block in SoHo (I know people think Mercer is the best, but having lived there for 17 years, Crosby Street is better.)  I'm grateful for our building, all the lovely people who live here.  We have such nice neighbors.  I'm grateful for Lucy, sitting by my side. I'm incredibly grateful for my daughter.  I wish she didn't live so far away and that she didn't live in San Francisco - too worried about earthquakes.

I'm grateful for experiences and moments.  The other day I was showing a loft downtown and the woman I was showing it to asked if she could sing, she wanted to test the acoustics.  So I said, "Of course," and she sang a beautiful song, seemed like a Gospel song, and it was so lovely.

I love that I meet interesting people every day.  I'm watching a show about New York now and I feel grateful that I live here - even on a miserable summer day.  


"Trying to describe New York is like trying to hold water in your hand." 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

...and the living is easy

It is, if you don't think about the mess the country is in and the world and the Republicans and the stupid Democrats who don't seem to know how to stand up to the devious and evil Republicans, and the deficit and so many problems that seem unsolvable with the people involved in government and the lobbyists.

It is summertime though, one of my favorite times of the year, so I'm going to just be grateful for great moments.  The other day I was walking upstate, near Rhinebeck, visiting a friend.  I was on a small country road and someone was having a 4th of July party. They had a live band, but I guess the band took a break and suddenly I could hear Louis Armstrong singing "What a Wonderful World."  I was standing close to a waterfall, and the afternoon light was perfect.  I stopped on the road and just stood still, listened until the song finished.  It was one of those really special moments, beautiful setting, Louis Armstrong singing, a perfect moment.

And then a few days later, I went bike riding in Central Park with my friend, Karen.  We rode around the loop twice and sat and talked under a tree afterward.  And in the distance, we could hear a violinist playing.  I am going to try to go to Central Park and ride as often as I can this summer.  I miss Zoe, who used to be my riding companion, but I'm grateful that I have other friends who like to ride.

And I absolutely love summer.