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Showing posts from July, 2015

All the Silly Love Songs.

Asher asked this morning, "Mama, why are all songs about love?"

I said, "Well, Baby, that's one of the things that people think about A LOT."

In this new situation I find myself in, I've seen a lot of people looking for someone to heal them, to put them back together, to be their other half.

I've felt the urge in myself, too. The scripts and myths about love and companionship and devotion and The One and happy ever after are pretty strong.

Ken, my therapist, and I have had several versions of this conversation over the last two and a half years:

Me: "I have a longing for caretaking."
Me: "I have a longing for companionship."
Me: "I have a longing to be seen and known."
Me: "I have a longing for kindness, and tenderness, and forgiveness."

He'd say, "That's wonderful! I have wonderful news for you! Do you want to hear it?"
I'd say, "Sure. But I don't believe there is anyone who will ever do thos…

Sharing.

Sometimes I feel that posting all of this process is public navel gazing, embarrassing, dramatic and selfish. A lot of people have commented publicly and I thank all of you and are humbled by your support, and your generosity, as regards my truly raw, unedited and decidedly uncrafted words. I write, I edit once for typos and I post. I don't overthink it, because that's not what it's about.

The interesting thing about sharing my story is this: for all the public comments, five times as many people, mostly women, but not all, have messaged me privately to offer encouragement, support, and their own stories, sometimes. Most say a version of the same thing: "I feel the same way, or a different way that is equally problematic, and I struggle too."

My point here is that I think, I am convinced, I know my feelings aren't unusual. They aren't problematic, they aren't even special.

But talking about them is.

The myth of normal, the illusion of perfection, and the …

Body Listening.

Like most women in this country, I've been at war with my body for most of my life, and I'm trying to make peace with it. It's hard work, and feels oddly like "giving up", whatever that means. Giving up what, I ask myself? Shame? Insufficiency? Striving?

Two and a half years ago I made my way to my current therapist, Ken, who uses a somatic modality of therapy (for the uninitiated, that's "relating to the body") - I do a lot of learning to check in, query, and listen to what my body is telling me - and use that as a basis to move forward.

I have spent a good deal of my life living by my wits and up in my head, which I've become to feel is rather unreliable. I understand how I got that way - between a childhood raised in Christian Science (where no body information was reliable or true, AT ALL, and theologically, even death is an illusion) and then an extended tour in elite academics (where the currency of success is all cognitive), the script that…

Comfortable Shoes.

I'm learning to wear comfortable shoes.  I have a bunch of lovely heels, but DAMN, they hurt. They look good on the outside but they feel terrible.  There's a lesson here.

A couple years ago I spent some time in Boston at the beginning of my midlife crisis spiritual awakening. It was, in fact, the second time I had run away from home to tape myself together, and that time, I went back to Cambridge and holed up in the Charles Hotel for a week. When I was there, I hadn't eaten for 10 days, was running obsessively, and hadn't slept more than three hours a row for 18 months. I was not well. Nevertheless, the afternoon I got in, I ran five miles, walked a mile up Mass Ave. to the Baron Baptiste Power Yoga Studio and proceeded to hurt myself striving during a 90 minute hot yoga practice that left me splayed, drenched in sweat, and exhausted.

The next morning I woke up after sleeping 6 hours in a row, (which was an improvement, really, after most of a bottle of wine and a vegg…

Learning to Rest

One of the things that makes me happiest about this summer is that my children have finally started to sleep in. Cooper will sleep until 10am sometimes and Baby Wynn got out of bed, sleepy faced and happy, this morning at 7:30am.

I think they sleep in because I sleep in. And because they know there is nothing going on at my house that they're going to miss. We spend a lot of unstructured time together, puttering around the house, watching television and drawing, cooking some food and doing a chore here and there. There are frequently no plans, and their temperaments are starting to get used to that pace, and I think it's good for them to be that way. Bored and indolent, even.

One of the greatest gifts I hope to give my children is the ability to rest, to pause, to stop and take some time, because in those moments, we really get a sense of what we are yearning to do or to be.

We can hear our own hearts in the quiet.

But as you know, it is an uphill battle: we overschedule, overpl…

Shame

Shame, my old friend (or frenemy).  I could find a seat for her at the most crowded table.

I feel vulnerable posting any of this, because again, it's not done to admit you have shame or weakness or pain. Somehow this makes me a "person with problems", not just a "person".

In my quiet moments, the clearer ones, I keep returning to the idea that I'm pretty sure these feelings are universal, and if anything, my wrestling with them is an indication of my wellness, not my sickness. Admitting openly that I was self destructive feels dramatic, and yet, I look around me and I see a lot of suicidal people, but they're just doing it slowly, or using methods that may not be socially approved, exactly, but they're easier to turn a blind eye to: work, eating, not eating, substances, shopping, sex, exercise, busyness and lack of self-care. Some of these even masquerade as virtues.

So, I've been feeling a lot of shame about the divorce and it sounds a little li…

Attention.

I've been thinking a lot today about attention, approval and gaze: I've noticed when what feels like soul hunger arises, my gut instinct is to go casting about to see who's paying attention. Hungry heart? Check to see if any texts have come in. Feeling anxious? Turn to Facebook to see who's liked anything I wrote.

Again, anything but sitting with the forever empty, that timelessness, the solitude of the never-coming.

It's a very hard habit to break, but I'm trying. When the hunger arises, and I feel the reflexive turning outward for attention and companionship, I've been trying to turn inward. Attending to myself, and letting my own witness be enough. Instead of looking outward for approval and company, looking straight into the mirror.

It's surprisingly effective. For anyone interested in trying it, here's the process:

When I start to feel uncomfortable, I tune into the clutching feeling in my center, under my breastbone, through to my spine. I breathe…

Storms.

We had our first big lightning storm of the summer last night.

I've always both loved and feared the night storm. One of the things I said moved me to this transition was a sense that I wanted to be held at night when it stormed, and years had gone by when that had not been possible. I counted the number of years I could have left and the number of storms per year, and the number of times that I could have that experience was too low to let more time go by and not have it be an option.
Last night the first storm I weathered as a single person in almost two decades, and as the lightning hit the tree outside with a massive crack, and the power went out, and my heart pounded, I thought: I'm still alone. 
The thought arose that I wanted to be held, to reach out to someone, anyone, but I had to learn to comfort myself.
I pulled the blanket tight around my body and listened through the rain for the windchimes on my porch. 
I was OK. It was the first storm I've weathered as a single p…

Wishing you an Empty and Useless Summer

The forever empty was back today, the cosmic soul-hunger, probably brought on by going out to a dinner party last night; I'm becoming more aware of my introversion and how much socializing, however delightful, takes out of me. I find the performance aspect exhausting, as Eliot's Prufrock warned, "There will be time, there will be time, To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;"

I woke up certain that I had offended someone, said something inappropriate, eaten too much, talked too loud, and generally made myself unwelcome. Of course, I know none of that is true, but it's an old script and needs silencing. I immediately started planning what I could do to fix what I had broken. Working my way back into my own good graces, as it were, getting the ducks in a row and keeping it all going.

As day progressed I started feeling more and more tired. The magnitude of my fatigue hit me mid-morning in my therapist's office. I couldn't sit upright in a chair, so…

Weeds in The Garden

I usually love the early morning time, anticipating my children's return. It's the sweetest time of day. But, I woke up this morning with a hunger in my belly, that sense of dread that visits me sometimes in the early morning; the sense that I have missed something, I MUST get moving, else the world will certainly fall to bits. The feeling that I have to DO SOMETHING to merit my continued existence, to prove my worth, to justify the space I take up on the planet.

It's related to the "forever empty" that Louis C.K. went on a rant on Conan about (that guy is a straight-up Buddhist, whether he knows it or not) and the "never not broken" that the Goddess Akhilandeshvari personifies. I feel it really strongly in the mornings, when it's quiet.

I'm working, maybe one day, toward getting comfortable with it. I believe that it doesn't ever go away, that it isn't untrue or incorrect in any way, that it's not a fundamental misperception.  I thin…

One Year.

Those who know me well know the past year has been a process of action, of movement, a decisive period of change.  A lot of new growth.  A lot of pain and fear too, but that's another blog.

Micah, my wonderful bodyworker and the resident sage of Continuum Healing (www.continuumhealing.com) said just last week, "you didn't have an evolution, woman, you had a revolution."

In the shamanic cycle of Inspiration - Action - Completion - Rest, I've reached the final phase of this revolution, this go-round.

One thing I've come to understand about myself is that I've rarely taken time to rest. I've been in constant motion since I was in my early teens, always beholden to my to-do list, relentlessly moving forward, mostly to outrun the things I was sure were chasing me. I convinced myself I was holding the world together with duct tape and effort, doomed to the high-wire act, to working without a net. And that has taken a calculable toll, made me tired and resentfu…