Friday, May 28, 2010


Yesterday was a terrible day.

I had a really awful migraine, my foot hurt, a storm blew my patio table over again and broke another pot, my kitty Edward is sick again after less than a week, my older daughter Ana's (12) best friends kind of ganged up on her in that way middle school girls find a scapegoat when something isn't going right, my husband had to extend his business trip another day... it just all added up.

So I spent the morning on the sofa, really sick.  Then, as I felt better, I started doing a few things.  I threw the ball for the dogs, took my neighbor a Starbuck's and loaned him Jane (9) as "help" while he was spreading mulch.  I took Ana supplies to decorate another friend's locker at school and talked to her and empathized when she told me about her day.  I made a fabulous dinner, put the kids to bed with kisses and love and laughter.

Then, (this is going to sound crazy) last night at about 2:00, I was lying awake in bed and just talking to God (in that way I do) about Edward and asking that he please just not suffer anymore.  He was really suffering.  I was pretty worried.  So I decided to go check on him, threw back the covers and there Ed was in my room.  He hopped up on the bed, curled up in the crook of my arm and gave me the Harley Davidson purr.  He's well.

I would normally not say anything about this because I'm not a Holy Roller and I don't want to scare anyone. But I have to say my truth and that honestly, really, truly happened.

Someone or something or some energy is apparently listening.  I feel like when my heart is true, when I am really trying to keep on going, when I am connected and not in flight --I ask and I receive.

Just kind of...well...looking at the world with fresh wonder today.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Last night was the first of the sessions in my on-line conference with Geneen Roth, author of Women Food and God.  It was a powerful hour, that's for sure. I am still processing many of the things I heard. I wasn't thrilled with the idea of this conference taking six weeks but now I'm glad I have a week in between sessions to really absorb the information.

One of the action items for this week was to be astonished by what I already have.

This is the perfect action item for me, especially today.  My foot is terribly painful and I had to cancel having coffee with my friend Sherry because I of it. My older daughter had clothing issues this morning, which threw off our schedule and we ended up forgetting her lunch.  I'm mad at my lawn guys, which makes me feel impotent and like I'm not a good manager.

So, deep breath.

By having a little extra time to make my daughter's lunch, I was able to first go to the grocery store and buy things that she might actually, well, EAT. (I KNOW!) I had money to do so and I had the luxury of time to pick the perfect strawberries for her.  I was smiling as I packed her lunch, aware of how blessed I am and also, how blessed she is to have me as her mother. I delivered the lunch to her school and did so with a glad heart.

Sherry and I made plans for her family to come over for dinner on Saturday.  She understands my chronic pain issues and is always unfailingly flexible in accommodating them.  I am so blessed to have her as a friend.

I'm calling the yard guys today, which will make me feel all brave and efficient.

So then I started noticing all of my blessings. I would enumerate them but suffice to say, I am probably the most blessed person on this planet. And you know what else?  I am so unbelievably loved.  It takes my breath away to think of it, really. 

I'm going to spend the rest of my day feeling this amazing feeling of abundance --reveling in it, wearing it like a crown, paying it forward in my every interaction.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Look what came out of our garden yesterday.

It doesn't matter that it's a little misshapen.  It doesn't have to be perfect to fill my house of aspiring farmers with great joy.

And then I put it in my daughter's lunch today, the ultimate present.

How great is a world where we can grow our own strawberries?

Monday, May 24, 2010


I spent a great deal of yesterday just resting.

I had a lot to do but since I was in so much pain, I was kind of wiped out so I just rested.

Today, I am still in a bit of pain, but nothing like yesterday and apparently, my sense of humor and appreciation for the absurdity of life is intact again.

It's something to think about, this idea of actually resting.  Our world and lives are so crazy and there is so little downtime.  I think we need it. I KNOW I do.

I wonder what ways I can build rest into my lifestyle so it doesn't take a day of pain to make me slow down?

Sunday, May 23, 2010


This post deals with God.  Most of you know I have a very strong belief in God but am not very enamored of organized religion.  I almost never talk about God stuff because, frankly, I don't want to sound like the religious nut jobs that are constantly in the news, pointing to God as definitive rationale for their hatred, ignorance, bigotry and petty mean-spiritedness.  That has NOTHING to do with the God I know. Those people do not speak for me.

I am in a great deal of pain. I have a very messed up foot which gives me a great deal of pain from time to time and this is one of those times. It's excruciating. I can barely hear myself think.

Years ago, I heard a sermon by Tim Cook, who is the minister of the Church of Conscious Harmony in Austin. (I know, I know--the name. But there is nothing implied. It is a church dedicated to conscious living--MINDFUL LIVING. And the minister is simply the best extemporaneous speaker I have ever heard.) In this sermon, Father Cook spoke about how St. Teresa said, "Oh, how I love my suffering for it brings me so much closer to God." He preached an entire sermon about the idea of suffering bringing us so much closer to God.

I didn't "get" it.

I bought a cassette of the sermon and I played it over and over and over again in my car.

And I still didn't get it.

I still don't get it.

Mostly, I connect the most with God through my joy.  I feel the closest to my Creator when I am joyful because I think it's the way we could feel all the time if we had an unbroken awareness of God.  It feels like a taste of heaven. It feels like what I could feel like all the time if I wasn't so broken.

I'm going to think about that today.  And I'm going to think about how I can find my God even in this enormous pain. What am I supposed to be learning? 

Also, I feel like I might do a little crying.  (It really hurts.)

(I am leaving the comments open but this is not the place to debate religion, to point out the error of my ways, nor to demean others for having differing views.)

Friday, May 21, 2010


"Despite writing down their self criticisms during the first day of the retreat, despite naming The Voice's presence, almost every student gets reentranced by it over the next day or two.  Since The Voice feels so much like you, and since you are utterly convinced that without it you would romp through your life without restraint or morality, releasing yourself from its grip takes a bit of time; it happens in stages." Geneen Roth, Women Food and God

I'm really struggling with the whole concept of checking in with myself every few minutes.  Checking to see how I'm feeling.  It feels narcissistic and indulgent and I realize that I don't think I am worth it.  I think this is normal back-sliding but I was kind of hoping for  Epiphany=Instantly Whole Barb.  What do you mean there's more work to all this?  I don't have time for this!


Yesterday, I signed up for an on-line conference with Geneen Roth.  I was absolutely AWASH with anxiety afterward.  But also?  Electrified at the thought of making real progress at regaining my joy. The conference begins Tuesday and will last for six weeks, an hour and a half every Tuesday night.

This morning, I was in a very depressed, tired mood despite the gorgeous weather and all I accomplished yesterday.  So I came home and threw the ball for the dogs for 45 minutes.  By the time they were too tired to bring it back, I was laughing out loud at how happy I'd made them.  I remembered how great it felt to be right in that moment, to laugh with joy.

Oh yeah, it's definitely worth it, this journey.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


It was stormy and windy last night and when I came down this morning, our umbrella was by the side of the house and our patio table had blown over, dumping all of its contents on the stone pavers. The delicate pots of impatiens I had planted were broken, the luminarias were strewn about, a small blue vase that my daughters used to gather fallen buds from the trees had shattered.

I felt...sick. Honestly, it looked like some horrible act of destruction had been wreaked on my little patio.

I sat with my coffee and felt so sad.

Resigned, I put on my sneakers and I went out to address the carnage.

I righted the table and chased the umbrella.  I picked up the chairs and stepped back.  Really, the mess wasn't so bad.  I picked up the luminarias and then found that the only really damage was the two Italian ceramic pots that held impatiens.

(Warning: Big Metaphor for Life Ahead:)  Isn't it amazing that what seemed like an insurmountable, depressing tragedy turned out to be only a small bit of damage under scrutiny?  And that by taking each piece of the mess and examining what needed to be done to each piece, the work needed to reclaim my patio was actually not so overwhelming?

Today, I'm going to concentrate on taking baby steps in reclaiming the joy of my life.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


It's a rainy and humid day here and I couldn't be more excited.

Instead of letting the gray invade my very soul today, I am concentrating on what all of this gentle rain is doing for my garden. On my way to drive my daughters to their schools, I imagined the grateful conversations of the flowers and grass.  (This is VASTLY different from hearing voices in one's head.  No.  Really.  I don't actually think the shrubbery talks--I was just imagining what it would say if it COULD. See, not crazy.)  (Much.)

Isn't it amazing how one's mindset determines so much of the day's outcome?  On days like today, nothing can keep me down.  On other days that may look exactly the same as today, I find it hard to get out of bed and every single raindrop is an annoyance.  I think the trick may be figuring out how to get to this mindset ON PURPOSE.

Monday, May 17, 2010


This morning when I went into Jane's (9) room to wake her for school, she said, "Noooooooo...I can't. I'm rootbound."

Which made me laugh and kiss her whole head.

And then I started thinking, "You know, I know just what she means."

I've been rootbound for a long time myself.  It's hard to move and it's especially hard if you're bound to a spot that's comfortable.

Today, I am going to breakfast with a group of other moms.  (I know!  Me!) I'm going to work hard on just staying in the moment and not feeling like I have to "perform" in order for people to like me. I'm going to let myself feel some pride in doing something out of the norm, something that requires courage for someone as introverted as I am.

I'm going to work on developing a set of traveling roots.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


We've had house guests this weekend.

The best sort of house guests--old friends coming for some male bonding time with my husband.  It was the first time they'd been to our house in New York.

Somehow, seeing the house through their eyes made me even more appreciative of the home we've made here.  It's just spectacular weather here, too, which adds to the expansive feeling of contentment.

I'm going to try to hold on to that feeling for as long as possible and capture it for those days when my contentment is hard to find.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Last night, I went over to have drinks and appetizers with some new friends.

I had the best time.

The. Best. Time.

Then I came home and it's just freaking amazing how the old tapes started running through my head.  You know, how I'm not good company and so shy that I can't speak half the time.  And dangerously lonely. And I just talked and talked too much.  I said all the wrong things and divulged too much of myself and stayed too long.

This time, though, I'm not letting those tapes get away with it.  Today, every time I start beating myself up over imaginary offenses, I'm going to stop, take a deep breath, and bring myself back to the present and what I really know. That I AM good company and that I wasn't the only one having a good time last night. That even if I made mistakes and talked too much and did all of those other things, in the end, it's not a moral failing worth the kind of abuse I am heaping on myself.  Today I am going to keep reminding myself that sometimes a good time is just a good time and doesn't need to be dissected and analyzed and rehashed endlessly.

And I'm going to try to not roll my eyes at myself.

Friday, May 14, 2010


There is this fabulous live web camera trained on a hummingbird in California named Phoebe.

I got interested in her back in February because she had laid two eggs and it seemed like the world was waiting for them to hatch.  One egg proved nonviable and the other chick died trying to hatch.

So Phoebe laid two more eggs.

Those eggs were stolen by a crow.

So Phoebe laid two more eggs.

Those eggs hatched this week.

I almost couldn't bear to watch.  My heart was just broken after the first eggs I saw and I was worried the whole event would send me right over the edge and into depression.

But Phoebe, see, she never gave up.  She didn't let her past sorrows get in the way of being fully present and trying again.  The past can't hurt Phoebe. The past is past.

And now the world is richer by two little hummingbirds.

Today, I'm going to remember that the past is in the past, and the only way it can hurt me is if I let it. I'm going to just keep moving forward.

(Photo of Phoebe from her Facebook page.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010


The rain has stopped.  The sun is coming out and it's like the whole world turned green over night.

And then I got hit by a mighty migraine.

Sorry no thoughtful post this morning.  I AM feeling much better now, though!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Yesterday, I drove to Queens and back to get the results of the MRI of my foot.  The results showed no probable cause of my pain.  The doctor had some theories but nothing really supported by the information of the MRI in combination with the X-rays.

I must say that I consider this a setback, even though it really just means we have to start over looking for answers.  I mean, I am in pain and the fact that we don't know what causes it doesn't make it go away!

Today I am going to let myself feel discouraged if I need to, but I'm not going to wallow in it.  I'm going to go on about my day and not let the non-news rob me of the joys I find in it. I'm going to check in with myself a lot today to make sure I don't let this disappointment translate into self-incrimination.  In fact, I'm going to remind myself that this whole foot odyssey is not due to some large moral failing on my part.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


 Not the barker.  Much.

Yesterday, someone left an anonymous note in my mailbox complaining about my dog barking.

In the past, I would have internalized this as a great failure on my part and also, my feeling would have been hurt that someone was mean to me.  As I've begun to get in touch with my feelings and reactions through mindful living, I am learning to stare right back at these feelings and take them apart.  For example, the fact that my dog barks is not my FAULT.  He is my responsibility but lord knows, we are trying hard to get him to stop barking.

Also, there is something very funny and pathetic that the retiree who left the note in my mailbox had to resort to a snarky anonymous letter.  This, too, is not my fault and honestly, there is nothing these people can do to me, even if they don't like me.  Their disapproval can't hurt me in any way.

Today, I'll focus on keeping my sense of humor and kindness.  I won't let the writers of anonymous notes/mean people have any control over the joy of my day.

Monday, May 10, 2010


It was a wonderful Mother's Day weekend --a great combination of family time and productive action.  And laughter --oh my goodness.  Laughter really fills my cup back up.  I am so blessed.

Today, I am going to count my blessings mindfully, and laugh whenever possible.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


 Today will be full of necessary chores and errands that were delayed for various reasons this past week. 

It will be a struggle to stay mindfully in the present and not give in to the temptation to bolt, which I am only just beginning to understand*. There are many ways to leave a boring or unsatisfying situation.  As a writer who spends a lot of time in her head creating, I always thought this was a good thing.  Actually, I am beginning to realize that it is an escape mechanism that keeps me out of touch with my own feelings and desires and away from experiencing my life fully. 

Instead of retreating into my dream world, today I will find the fun in the mundane.  I will concentrate on my interactions with my loved ones and the efficiency with which I dispatch things on my to-do list.  I will feel the anxiety associated with having many demands on my time and I will feel how it dissipates with each chore completed.

(*This is part of what I am learning through the book Women Food and God by Geneen Roth which I just can't recommend enough.)

Friday, May 7, 2010


Yesterday was not my best day.

I didn't succeed in living mindfully, in treating my body as worthy of my care, nor in letting go of past mistakes. My inner turmoil spilled out, spoiling a perfectly good day.

Today I'm going to embrace the concept of renewal and rebirth that is inherent in each new day.  What a blessing to have a chance every morning* to begin again!  I'm so grateful for the sunshine and another chance to sow some happiness.

How will we make today better than yesterday?

(*My daughter Ana once said, "I LIKE mornings --I just wish they started later.")

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Today I was supposed to go back to Queens (ack!) to hear the results of the MRI on my foot.

My older daughter woke up ill, though, and the appointment had to be rescheduled.

I'm okay with that, because I'm not hugely worked up over the results. I know if it was a stress fracture, the doctor would have called with that news.

(Yes, I was hoping for a stress fracture.  I know, I know.)

I'm actually not that worried about the results in general because I had sort of an epiphany yesterday: my disability does not define me.

I've been letting it rule my life, this vision of myself as a person of mobility issues, my vision of myself as defective. 

And the truth is that I am who I always was, walking or not. 

I can't tell you what a huge breakthrough this is for me. I'm not defined by what I can no longer do.

Today, as I go about my day, I'm going to take special note of all the things I CAN do, all the ways I can love my family and friends, all the things that make me a unique and special person that have absolutely nothing to do with my inability to run. 

Today, will you judge yourself by your limitations or by your potential?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


It's an odd thing that as I've begun to listen for my own inner voice, that I've started to...well...CARE about myself again.  I care enough to try to minimize my stress.  I find that I am setting boundaries for what I do with my time, instead of just reacting to the demands of other people.

Another unexpected thing that has come out of this is that I suddenly am taking a little better care of myself.  Like, I care that I haven't made time to have my teeth cleaned in two years, that I need to see a dermatologist about a suspicious spot on my arm.  I want my hair cut and have actually been thinking I might do something more than just the trim I normally get so I can stuff the whole unruly mass into a pony tail.  I'm using a little eye-cream at night.  I'm taking the time to cut up fruit for myself --FOR MYSELF ONLY --for breakfast.  In the past, I just never would have done this.  Take the time to prepare a meal just for me?  Unheard of.

Instead of thinking of myself as an after-thought, --or worse, as someone to punish for falling short of my own ideals-- I am finding some kindness for myself.

This is heady stuff for a woman who has put herself as far out of her mind as possible.

What kindness will you find for yourself today?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I spent a sleepless night, worrying about things over which I have no control and even less ability to change at 3:00AM.

Today I will focus on taking some time just for me, to rest and restore.

And I will consciously meet the worrying voice in my head with the refrain, "I will not obsess over things I cannot change."

Sometimes I think the hardest thing is to embrace in life is the idea of uncertainty as a constant.

Monday, May 3, 2010


On Monday mornings, I try to get up a half-an-hour before my family.  Today it was actually an hour so I unloaded the dishwasher and made the coffee and even showered to try to wake myself up.

It's raining and gray and foggy outside.

I folded a load of clothes and put the next load in the dryer.  There, in the bottom of the washing machine, was a handful of loose change--fourteen cents.

I wonder what other unexpected little gifts this day will bring?

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Yesterday I spent a great deal of time pulling up the weeds that grow between the pavers on my patio.  It turns out that if the cracks aren't filled in with sand, they fill up with weeds (and the occasional errant pansy.)  I think this is a metaphor for what happens when you don't fill yourself up with positive self-talk.  Suddenly, weeds start taking root in your psyche.

Holy cow, it's a lot of work to get them out.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Today is Saturday, my favorite day of the week. And it's heartbreakingly gorgeous weather outside.

Today I will stay fully present with my family.  I will say "yes" whenever I can to my children and when they ask me to play with them, I will joyfully agree.  All tasks and errands will have to be fit in around our primary mission of having fun.

By engaging fully, I will make memories that will sustain me through the coming week when schedules and errands seem to scream importance. By laughing and tickling and digging in the dirt, I will fill my cup up.