Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Beautiful People" by Elizabeth Kubler Ross

 "The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.  These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.  Beautiful people do not just happen."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Life today

Last night, I was watching "The Daily Show" and clips from the Republican debate.  What can you say about these debates other than you wish these people were running for office in another country?  Some country whose name you can't pronounce, preferably on another planet.  

I've been to Occupy Wall Street a few times, marched, I'm glad that they have have managed to change the conversation from what it was a few months ago (the debt ceiling) to jobs and the issue of money and inequality, but it's hard not to feel incredibly hopeless about how we are going to fix the mess we're in.

I'd like to make this blog funnier.  I'm grateful that people like Jon Stewart, Bill Maher and Steven Colbert can find humor in the political scene.  I am still reeling from seeing "Miss Representation" - the documentary about women in our culture, the way we are portrayed, the lack of power we have even though we are 51% of the population.  I'd love to be able to laugh more, which brings me to news about my play, it is moving along.  As Robert at Friends In Deed says, "...totally committed, completely unattached."  I hope SE gets to have a production and at this point, it's out of my hands.  I'm so grateful for all the people who are working so hard and having meetings to get it up.

We need to laugh.  We need to remember what's important and sit quietly with all the feelings.  I always try to fight the sadness rather than embrace it.  I'm sad that so many people all over the world are struggling.

Pema Chodron says in our meditation practices we can "breathe in suffering and breathe out God."  So that's what I try to do every morning in my imperfect practice.  I don't know if that helps anyone other than me, but it's good to remember.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

No gym, no good

I put my gym membership on hold for a month after I heard someone say, "You don't need to go to the gym, you just need to do fast walking."  But somehow for me, getting to the gym, giving myself 30 minutes of cardio and fifteen or so minutes of yoga and sit-ups, really changes my mood. 

The freeze is up on October 21st.  I can't say that I jump out of bed and race to the gym, excited about hitting the treadmill or the elliptical trainer.  But I can say that once I'm there and I'm exercising and especially once I'm finished, I feel so much better.

Lesson learned.  Save on lunches, save on coffee, don't skip the gym. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

San Francisco favorite frames

I just came back from spending six days with my daughter, Zoe, in San Francisco.  One of my favorite tools from Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts is to talk about "favorite frames/moments" of an experience, so that's what I will do:

- Arriving in San Francisco airport and trying to find Zoe, while we both talked on our phones and then turned around and saw her and we both cracked up
- The greatest first hug
- Walking around the city with Zoe and talking, talking, about everything and everyone
-Going to the movies (one of our favorite pastimes.  We saw "50/50" - which we both loved)
-Surviving Fleet Week and the Blue Angels as their fighter jets swooped down over the city practically giving us heart attacks - especially when we were in a cab and the driver screamed
-Wandering through the Western Addition and finding Hayes Valley, which felt like an oasis with a big park filled with parents and their kids
-Watching Zoe's delight upon entering Isotope, a terrific comic book store
-Walking into a beautiful charcuterie a few doors down from Isotope and discovering one of Zoe's former co-workers, Nathan, behind the counter
-Going to Alanon meetings in San Francisco and meeting so many lovely people
-Meeting Wayne, a high school friend, who showed me around the Castro (we saw Harvey Milk's old photography store and Delores Park, as well as the Castro Theater)
-Having a fantastic lunch with Eric, the person who hired me to work at the Corcoran Group and a total sweetheart.  He moved out to San Francisco for his partner's new job and is adjusting to moving back home, after enjoying life in NYC
-Visiting It's A Grind with and without Zoe
-Great meals with Zoe at her favorite restaurants and more walking
-The Nook, a great place for reading and drinking coffee
-Hanging out with Zoe's roommates and Ian and Natalia
-Sleeping in the same bed the morning I left because the couch was finally just too uncomfortable
-A long goodbye hug
-Driving to the airport and seeing some beautiful scenery on the way - remembering what I do love about California, nature, the hills, the sky, the ocean

It was a more challenging trip this time, since last year I went with my friend Karen and Christian was also there.  But this time I really made the effort to get to know the city better, to meet people and to spend more time on my own, as well as with Zoe.  It was fantastic.  It was a delight.  I miss Zoe but I am so proud of the life she's made there.  When I moved out to Los Angeles in my early 20's I felt so lonely.  Zoe seems to have adjusted well and created a wonderful community.

It was hard being away from New York while Occupy Wall Street continues to grow and San Francisco's efforts to find a place to camp have been prevented by the mayor, but it was a wonderful visit and I look forward to seeing Zoe again soon. And now I can go back to marching and it feels great to be home.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Truly, the best of times (and the worst too)

In the past two and a half years, I lost everything that I thought was well, everything. I lost my daughter to California, 3,000 miles away. I lost my 23 year marriage. I lost my mother. I lost my home. I lost my job. Recently, I lost my beloved dog, Lola.

And as hard as these past two and a half years have been, they have also been an incredible growing experience, unlike anything I have ever experienced.

Perception, that is the key.  Sometimes, I have felt that I couldn't go on, that life was too difficult.

Most of the time, I am filled with gratitude for having had a spiritual awakening, a shift in perception of my circumstances, a re-evaluation of what is really important to me - my daughter, my friends, my writing, my job, my faith - that is what has kept me together. Being of service and showing up, being more empathetic and grateful for simple things in life. 

I lost something else, about 15 pounds.  "The Divorce Diet" - I wouldn't recommend it as a way to lose weight, but it definitely was one of the perks. 

I read an amazing chapter yesterday in Steve Chandler's book "Time Warrior" and here is the last part of the chapter:

"...whenever something comes crashing down something else can start building up.  And that's where I want my mind to go.  What's good about this?  What's great about this?  What strengthens me?  What can make me better?

Here's a fresh option of perception: These are good times because they are challenging, not in spite of the fact that they are challenging.  These times are my wake-up call.  This is where I get my true strength.  This where where I find out what I am made of.  Who would not want to find out what they are made of?"