Looking back and thinking forward

Month: July, 2008

Heart, soul, and mind

Two quotes I have read and heard recently, and have been thinking about lately:

1. From the bottom of your heart and the middle of your mind

A colleague emailed me recently inviting me to write a book for a series he is editing. He said that I could write about anything: from the bottom of my heart and the middle of my mind. It excites me to the core of my being. And terrifies, at the same time. 

2. There are still months and miles to go

Barack Obama said and says this about his candidacy. I relate to it and identify with it for every stage of my own life. It talks about patience and faith. It reminds me of the tall, solid, strong oak tree outside my window – of holding still through the fiercest storm. 

Evening ramblings

There is nothing I enjoy more than sitting with Ada as the evening falls and a cool breeze rises. Well, there are other things I enjoy, to be sure, but sitting silently at dusk with Ada listening to the final peeping of the cardinals gathering one or two last seeds at the feeder for the day, is … well … magic.

The family of wrens who took over a planter on our patio have moved on with their fledged young-lings and it is still and quiet. It has felt like empty nest syndrome all week since they flew away after weeks of hustle and bustle, chirping, warbling and “sh … sh …” warnings as the mama and papa wrens fed their babe-lings.

It is muggy all right. And hot. If I stop to listen I hear air conditioners all around whirring and grinding. I allow myself to be bathed in heat and Ada sighs stretching out a paw towards me.

Today I spent some time reading my blog posts from last summer. It feels like many years ago. So much of the stresses and concerns of this past year have gone, disappeared, blown away. Poof! It amazes me how tenaciously I held onto “stuff” and “baggage” for so long. Wasted time? No regrets. That was then and this is now.

Moosh, mooshini little angel girl,” I whisper to Ada as I stroke her fur from the tip of her head and all the way along her back. She turns her head slowly, tail swishing ever so slightly, and stares with a full gaze into my eyes.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Melting the ice

Moving on …

Just in from MoveOn

Hope in the healing


There have been many times in my life when hope has pulled me through. A general kind of feeling of faith that eventually everything will be all right. It usually rises with me early in the morning with the dawn’s gentle light. I awaken and feel hope stirring within even as the birds call out high up in the surrounding trees.

I have strong memories of hope stirring within. It was in early June 2006, when I had the privilege of hearing Obama speak. I remember the excitement and exhilaration as I realized help was on the way. I allowed myself to hope, to dream about a new day for the world. This morning I awoke to news of Barack Obama landing in Afghanistan. Hope soared again. How thrilling. Is this dream starting to materialize before my eyes? Yes, I know. He is our nominee. But now the great work can begin for real. 

Feeling the passion surge within, I walked out into the early morning and found my legs moving briskly through the neighborhood as people stirred around me, gathering newspapers lying in their driveways, or walking out sleepily with dogs pulling at the leash. 

Healing takes time. I know. I started the process within my psyche years ago and only recently am sensing the rewards of my hard work in how I breathe, move, think, and feel. Hope has been a loyal companion. 

And now, what I did not hardly dare to imagine back in June of 2006, is taking place in our country and in the world. Barack Obama is on his way. I wondered out loud, as I walked in the brilliant sunshine this morning, “How proud his mother would be if only she could see what I see!”

Keeping the faith is not easy. There are so many temptations along the way that discourage and alarm me. But, like the constant, tall oak tree that stands solidly outside my window, I have learned to hold still, hold on, and hold firm to hope. 

For, hope is in the healing of self, country and the world.

Between reality and virtuality

8. תמרי 24.5.08 132

Quote of the day:

I think some people really don’t want to read the thoughts of people they know well.


Recently a friend of mine talked about some discomfort she was feeling between getting to know me in reality, and reading my inner rumblings and ramblings on my blog. It got me to thinking about who I am when I am being me. 

It is so much much easier for me to express myself in writing than it is to talk about myself with friends or family. The difference for me is clear. Most of the time I am convinced that I take up too much time and space. Indeed, I am constantly afraid that I am a burden. For example, I often find myself saying to people things like, “Please don’t feel like you have to come if you are too busy.” Or, when I was in Israel a month ago I left a message on a friend’s voice-mail saying something like, “I am here and would love to see you if you feel like it or have the time.” It is as if I leave an opening for the other person to get out of having to spend time with me. Some people have misunderstood those types of things that I say. They feel as if the double message I extend to them means that I am not sure if I want to see or invite them over. In the latter instance, my friend was astute enough to hear the insecurity in my message, and ask me what I had meant.

When I write, however, people have the choice to read what I write, and/or reply to me. It is almost as if I am freed of the anxiety of being responsible for the burden that is me. Mostly, when people comment on my blog posts, reply to letters or emails, or react to my articles or books, I am often a little surprised that they cared enough to take the time, and make the effort. Indeed, I am always grateful. I do not take reciprocity, or gifts of other peoples’ time for granted. Indeed, any relating-to-me crumb thrown my way will be most valued by me. 

I have a friend who always tells me what he feels and thinks about my behavior and/or our relationship. It is not always easy to take because some of the things he says hurt me. Especially when they are true and hit home. However, I have come to appreciate him deeply. His honesty is true friendship. He is constant and true – always there. As he says, “I’m still on the other end of the line.” His friendship is unconditional. But mainly I appreciate him because he relates to me. 

It seems that silence confirms for me that I am, just as I feared, a burden, and not worthy of the other person’s time. 

Of course, through years of therapy, reflection and self-alteration, I am becoming stronger and more confident. I am definitely not as pathetic as I might sound in this description of how I understand myself. I think the writing Tamarika is different to the in-the-flesh Tamar. In the former, I have courage and insight. And with the latter, I am more vulnerable, afraid, confused, and complex. 

On the other hand, I am probably a combination of all of those all the time. 

One thing I do know about myself is that I love relating to others, even though my interactions are not always clear or positive. I love listening to and observing, really getting to know people. And I long to share all my frailties and strength, complexity and vulnerabilities, even though it terrifies me to the core and opens me up for awesome hurt and rejection. I struggle with that aspect of relationships more and more as I gain the courage to open myself up. For, now and again I am surely hurt and rejected, because inevitably there are those who are not comfortable with my level of intensity, or who have felt just as hurt or rejected by me. 

In point of fact, I do not know why people read my blog – whether they are friends, family members, or passers-by. In fact, I have no idea really how many people or how often they stop by. I used to care a lot, and there are times especially when I am feeling vulnerable or having an out-of-confidence moment, when I wish more people would read or comment. However, mostly I write because I want to express, nay, need to express myself, process a thought, idea or feeling.

And, if someone should stop by, take the time to read what I write, and make the effort to share a comment, I am often a little surprised, and always most grateful.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: On the road again

Cyber trotting

Quote of the Day:

What I’ve learned from my children:
1. You can be smarter than your teachers
2. Don’t always say what you’re thinking
3. Getting along with people involves time
4. The value of doing nothing: i.e. hanging out
5. There are no ‘second string’ friends — only friends

Middling Through – Ilene’s new blog

And speaking of “hanging out,” everyone has probably seen Matt Harding’s dancing with the world, right? I had to read about it in the New York Times this morning. Gee, I feel so out of it. Where have I been? 

In any event, it made me very happy this morning, and I guess I am #  4,631,384  to see it so far?

I enjoyed Matt’s “out takes” almost as much!

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Bringing it all back home



It seems that for about the past twenty five years, every seven years or so, I go on a strict diet and lose all the weight I need to lose. And then proceed to gain it all back over a seven year period. It is strange what I can find out about myself when I am walking briskly around the neighborhoods of Chestnut Hill. As I am striding along, a flash of recognition about this or that fact about myself comes sweeping through my brain and my eyes widen with amazement. Wow! That is what I feel when it happens. Wow! What a revelation. And I wonder at how I had not seen it all before. Sometimes I gasp out loud, or notice that I am smiling, by the way passers by greet me enthusiastically, or smile back at me. 

I adore those revelation moments. They arrive when I am commuting for an hour to work, doing my workout walk, washing dishes, in the shower, vacuuming the carpet, folding laundry,or staring out the window while traveling in a train. They hardly ever happen when I sit down purposefully to think about myself or try and write in a journal. Rather, I usually have to rush to my room and jot down the thoughts way after the fact. Naturally, I have a pen and paper available in my car when I am commuting because I suddenly have other ideas too, while I am driving. Some of them are useful and prove important for my books, papers, articles, or lectures. Once, I tried a small tape recorder in the car, but talking to myself embarrassed me, and so I returned to the pen and paper. Mind you, it is not easy jotting down important revelations while I am driving. The lines and words come out very squiggly and awkwardly, as you can imagine, and afterward I have to decipher what I wrote. So it becomes like a re-discovery of a revelation – a revelation twice over. 

Very often, after I have realized my realization it feels as if a veil has been lifted from my eyes and suddenly I can clearly see all the little details of the surrounding environment, and notice things I have not noticed before. It feels as if I have just woken out of a long foggy dream and breathing seems easier and deeper. I sigh a lot. Sighs of wonderment and relief. Sometimes I weep. Tears roll down my cheeks with regret about hurting someone I love, sadness at what I might have felt as a child, longing to have made different choices in the past, wishing I had known what I realized at that very moment so that I might have avoided past wounds, sorrow about wasted time, or relief at finally understanding what had been so confusing for me for so long. 

Indeed, it is a painful and exhilarating process. One that starts me on a journey of self-alteration, weaving me back and forth between old habits, and developing newer skills at making more fulfilling life choices. 

Having reached my seven year weight cycle, it is time to lose weight again. I wonder, out loud, if, this time, I will be able to end the cycle, and hold still with losing the weight permanently. For, I have also discovered that as I become lighter, healthier, happier, I start to feel sensual and sexy and, oh my! That immediately brings on the guilt. General, insidious, and repressive feelings of guilt about everything and anything. And, of course, guilt heralds in anxiety, and, even anger and resentment, which then cycle me into putting all the weight back on for yet another seven years.

For example, I have observed that lately when I am feeling happy and confident, I suddenly find myself ruminating about something a new friend of mine, who does not know me well, said to me a few months ago. Instead of telling me that a couple of my behaviors had disappointed her expectations and standards of our friendship, she wrote an e-mail to me in which she said, “… and we all know what difficulty you have in retaining friendships …” or words very close to that effect. At the time I was mortified. I wept for days and felt deeply hurt. For, I had been so grateful for her friendship and was trying to be a good friend in return. I felt punished like a child. From then on, I have tried to prove to myself what a good friend I really am, confusing my reality with her expectations. This morning life-partner told me that the only good thing that came out of that friendship, is that I can use it as a barometer for self loathing. Wow! I thought. Yes! Indeed, I only start to feel guilty about what a bad friend I am when I feel good about myself. 

Oh well, I think I will put on my sneakers and go out for my walk. Who knows, perhaps a new revelation will rise up to greet me. One that might actually save me from my Self.

I’m looking through you …


I’m looking through you, where did you go 
I thought I knew you, what did I know
You don’t look different, but you have changed 
I’m looking through you, you’re not the same 


Oh baby I’m changed
Ah I’m looking through you

Yeah I’m looking through you

A year ago at Mining Nuggets
: Departing as friends

The right track

Quote of the day:

Every vacation seems to end with laundry! My friend Donna

Well, what can I say? My life finally feels like it is on the right track. If I choose the path of regret I would be dismayed that it has taken until I am almost 60 to feel this way. On the other hand, when I understand my psychic and emotional development I choose compassion for Self and am ecstatic to finally find my footing.

It has taken an awful lot of grief to find this track. Bidding farewell to people, places, and most importantly the old me – habits of thought, paradigms of style, attitudes and choices. 

Charlie’s death seven years ago had a deep and long lasting effect on me. He was truly the only man friend I have ever had who I loved so well and who loved me so completely unconditionally and constantly, taking care of me even after he died. Lately I have been wondering if I just wanted to die all these years just to be with him again. My health scare this past year was almost like a confirmation for me, a continuation of the desire to be reunited with Charlie – as if my body and soul were saying, “Yes, this is the time, right now, Tamarika. Finally, you will be on your way …” 

And then, miraculously, it seemed, I was given a reprieve. Another chance. And, I think the grief period about my dearest friend is at last coming to an end.

Leaving Buffalo four years ago was traumatic indeed. After 17 years of building up a support system, and profession, it was terrifying to start anew. Indeed, it was during those years in Buffalo that I confronted my inner demons and psychic shadows more thoroughly than I had ever done before. With Bob-the-therapist’s guidance and compassion, I learned to rage and forgive, understand and accept a different version of my Self, leading the way for making peace with my past. I arrived in Philadelphia, lonely and afraid, angry and sad, enshrouded in grief deeper than I had ever known.


Indeed, Bob had brought me right to the edge of the wall – the barrier to my Self. I was bidding farewell to the old Tamarika of my youth, kicking and screaming within, holding on to her with all of my being, until I could no longer believe that version of me – the image, learned reality, perspective or Truth that had been me. Finally, it just made no sense any longer. Just like Neo in The Matrix, I felt as if I was stretching out my hand, stopping my, perceived, threatening bullets in mid-air. And as they seemingly fell to the ground, so it was that I began to shed all that anger and pain, choosing a new reality of Self.

And then, miraculously, it seemed, I was given a reprieve. Another chance. And, I think the grief period about the old Tamarika of my youth is at last coming to an end.

It is certainly not without regressions, back and forth, in and out of past shadows and fears, ancient wounds and psychic scars. But, somehow I feel as if I have crossed a line, made a large crack in the wall and have found a new track – a different path.

In the end, it really is all about grieving those necessary losses, isn’t it?

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: The walk