The subject line of the message was “Should you sell your engagement ring?” Continue reading
Category Archives: Just Life
This post was originally published on Jen Hall’s blog, “Dancing in the Rain,” on August 28, 2014. The terrorist attacks over the the last two years – Paris, San Bernadino, Orlando and Nice, to name just a few – had not occurred when this post was written, and thus they are not referenced.
I worry about the sensitive soul we are raising, the little boy who is scared of bugs and wants them gone, but who cries if I kill them. My heart is in my stomach most mornings as I scan the headlines. I am horrified by the recent election results in several European countries illustrating just how much of a political uptick in anti-Semitism there seems to be. The violence in the Middle East, the anti-Semitism that feels more visible daily, rattles me. Continue reading
At 16, my parents dragged me, along with my four-year-old sister, on a rainy and miserable family vacation to a television and telephone absent vacation rental in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.
My overriding memory of that week is sulking around the neighborhood dodging the mosquitoes, hoping the sky would clear so we could at least take a walk to the beach or do something – anything – outside. So intent was I on not being inside that I destroyed my virgin white Members Only jacket by spraying Avon’s Skin-So-Soft on it as the preferred bug repellent of the 80s. Continue reading
Sometimes you just need to stop over-thinking and trust your instincts.
A couple of weeks ago, I was driving with my son. Nearing home, I depressed the brake pedal and pulled the steering wheel toward the right as our car approached a turn.
Nothing happened. The car kept going. Shit, shit, shit.
Do teenagers have it right? Is sinking into your emotions, settling in among the swirling colored vortex surrounding you and whipping around you like a funnel cloud the way to make sense of things, the only real way to move safely through the angst and overwhelm of intense emotions?
I’m beginning to think so.
The universe seems to be speaking to me, and lately, in the precise moment I need something, it shows up.
A recent yoga class ended with an instructor anecdote about her son falling and hurting himself. Listening, my brain started to tingle as she recounted how she had scooped him up and soothed him, not by simply holding him and allowing him to feel, but by jumping into the silence with words. As she repeated the phrase and advised that perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to jump into the silence of feeling and fill it with words, I felt like a cartoon characters with an idea, the light bulb forming above my head.
My yoga and meditation practices have been expanding of late without much obvious emotional change (except my increased patience!), but a while ago I noticed an uncomfortable pressure in my right lower back, directly to the right of my sacrum. It felt like nothing so much as my pelvis needing to crack.
During this particular class, the sequences presented were heavy on twists and hip opening sequences, and as much as I wanted to cry uncle and rest in child’s pose, I fought to focus and breathe through the discomfort.
Then, in the midst of an opening twist sequence, I started to cry. No dainty, dignified tears for me. These tears flowed down my cheeks like salt rivers, dripping off my jawbone and soaking my neck and shirt before I’d even worked up much of a sweat. I wanted to hide, to hang my head and wipe away the wetness, but instead swallowed and kept going, breathing through the certainty that everyone could somehow hear my tears.
I kept crying throughout the class. It seemed as if every time I opened my mouth that day, I cried more. Talking it through with my sister, I realized that the uncomfortable pressure in my back had started two days prior upon awakening from a disturbing dream. I couldn’t remember the dream, just the fear I felt upon waking, my heart pounding as if I had just been chased. I had been trying to decipher what it meant, but I hadn’t allowed myself to settle into the emotions because they were frightening. I felt threatened.
Towards evening, the pressure began to lessen a bit. The light bulb switched on and I realized that by trying to deny the fear and sadness I felt after the dream, I had inadvertently caused all the negative energy to gather in a ball in my lower back. Only when I settled into moving meditation did my unconscious mind take over and allow the energy to ove through my body to release.
So I do think adolscents have this thing right: settling into your emotions, allowing them to swell around you and envelop you, really does seem to be the only way to get through them without being consumed by them. It seems to be the best way to release them so you can move on.
My back seems to think so, anyway.
Since I brought home my new kittens last weekend, more than a few people have asked about their names, Linus and Sabrina.
When I decided to get a male and a female kitten, I went on a hunt for a good “couple” identity in literature or popular culture. So many of those I tried out were wrong because the story ended tragically (Heloise and Abelard), so many were wrong because the names would overwhelm babies and be unacceptably shortened to nicknames unacceptable for the regal cats into which these babies will grow (Antony and Cleopatra), and others came up short as too pretentious (Paolo and Francesca).
Cue my dad.
Although he couldn’t remember the male character’s name, he suggested Sabrina as played by Audrey Hepburn (and Linus played by Humphrey Bogart). A fabulous film with a happy ending for its protagonists.
Hence, the kittens were named.
Welcome to the world, babies!
It’s a loaded word. The concept seems simple, but there is nothing easy about it. Even speaking the truth can be fraught with triggers and uncertainty.
What if I speak my truth and somebody doesn’t agree with me? What if speaking my truth makes somebody else angry, or makes them feel betrayed, hurt? What if it makes other people uncomfortable?
News flash… Continue reading
Recently I read an essay by Toni Hammer about the void that happens when you’re done having children. About halfway through the piece, I could feel a knot in my throat, tears rising behind my eyes. Why? Because I’ve been living in this void, unwilling, possibly unable, to admit it. Reading Ms. Hammer’s words brought me to my knees in recognition.
I grew up an only child until age 12, when my sister was born. The sizable gap between us ensured that we both experienced life more or less as only children with the undivided attention and devotion of our parents. I thought that was fine and that if I ever had a child, I only wanted one. Continue reading