Looking back and thinking forward

Month: May, 2010

Me as me

Revelation of the day: (discovered on my morning walk)

It occurs to me that I go to therapy as if it was supervision for me as a therapist

Not as if it was therapy for me as me

Indeed, I go through life observing, listening, trying to understand the other person's point of view, and feeling numb and detached most of the time – as if I was practicing being a therapist for humankind! 

These are not intimate interactions. 

This is the way I keep myself safe. 
This is how I delude myself into thinking I am in control, 
or keep from letting my guard down.
This way I keep me away from being an authentic me.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Being me

Laugh out loud

Found this at Savtadotty on Facebook this morning. A perfect birthday treat! Enjoy everyone!

Nurturing my brain

Quote of the day:

  • Try to include walnuts and blueberries in your daily diet.
  • Consider
    increasing your daily intake of caffeine.
  • Avoid the principal
    factors shown to be associated with a decline in brain
    information-processing ability: insufficient physical and mental
    activity, a decreased number of friends, too much empty spare time,
    infrequent opportunities to converse, and excessive alcohol use.
  • Increase
    your capacity for sustained attention and concentration.  To do this,
    resist the pressures to multitask.
  • Increase your hand and finger
  • Develop an appreciation for art.
  • Engage in
    reminiscence exercises.
  • Develop a magnificent obsession…take
    up something that interests you but is far removed from your background,
    education, or life experience.
  • Every day find an hour to
    improve through practice a specific aspect of your performance in an
    activity that interests you.
  • Use music to elevate your mood.

Just in from CCIE!

How on earth did they guess that today I whizzed passed the 60-year-old mark?

I think today I will give myself the gift of a few of the suggested points above. Definitely blueberries and walnuts; certainly some caffeine; lots of physical activity; always some reminiscence activities (those are ongoing!); music, music, music; and, well, yes, I think I will resist the pressures to multitask.

About writing memoir

Quote of the day:

Scratch. Write about a time you itched.
It could be physical or metaphorical. Go. Ten minutes
. (Page 50)

Students come and go. Eventually we will
all die. I fear I will have forgotten to die. I’ll be standing in front of the
class after everyone I know has long passed. “Class, please get out your pens.”
Please help me. If all of you write right now, maybe I can let go and die too.
My job will be complete
(Page 69)

What are you going to do? Walk around with
masking tape over your mouth? You have to speak. That’s why you put the pen in
your hand to begin with: in order to not blank out or turn your back. You have
to be willing to go into the hot, steamy center, to go to the mat for sorrow,
grief, concern, in order to shed light on what has been in shadow.

You might also be holding that pen to
discover things that you did not know how to say. And you don’t always know,
you can’t be sure what someone’s response will be. You can’t write in
anticipation or worry. But, yes, people will not always applaud you
. (Page 33)

Snip-bits from: Natalie Goldberg
(2007). Old Friend From Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir

Thanks to ainelivia's
during my recent travels I have been reading about memoir writing. And, as a result, Goldberg has me thinking that the time has come for me to acknowledge my love of writing – to own it – and, perhaps, even, attend one of her writing retreats.


Could this be a commitment?

Yet another …

Quote of the day:

Listen, Mom,” I said. “I have to apologize. I think I was too hard on you in my memoir.”

“You think?” she repeated. The tone was sarcastic, but she was smiling. Her eyes confirmed she was kidding.

“Writers embellish,” she said. She tossed a manicured hand upward, as if to fling my apology away. “That’s what I told the crowd here. She had to have conflict, drama. What kind of an author would my daughter be, I told them, if it was blah. No fights.” Elaine Soloway

One day, maybe, I will be able to write like this. A person can dream.

Yes indeed, I feel it getting closer and closer … my memoir.

I have the title already …

I have the need all ready …

Now I need … the nerve …

Live the questions

Quote of the day:

I beg you… to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. Rainer Maria Rilke [From CCIE]

Feeling the feelings. 

Already missing our humble abode, little rented apartment nestled amongst the Wissahickon woods. The large old oak that stands solid and firm against all odds outside out living room window – home to birds, squirrels, raccoons – how I will miss this great old tree. For it has given me great comfort through many a lonely moment when we first moved here almost six years ago.

Excited about moving into the new house next month. So excited. Something new and beautiful. A new commitment, a new stage in my relationship with life partner. A new era. Excited, deserving, anxious. Different feelings converging one on top of the other … tumbling and swirling back and forth between them.

As I write this, I glance over at Ada curled up near me, and think about her reaction to the move. Little gentle soul. I wish I could let her know what is coming. I feel great love for my little furry friend. My dear, dear friend, who has accompanied me through many a sad and lonely hour these past six years. Unconditionally loving me throughout. How grateful I am for her.

Feeling the feelings …


Third day of the music-meme-thing, and I have decided to combine numbers 26 and 27 – and with them, perhaps, … 

… calling it a day … so here goes …

A song you can play on an instrument, and a song you wish you could play:

I probably would say that I have three musical instruments that I play: guitar (very, very poorly), piano (not too badly, but not that well), and my voice (I used to be a pretty good folky singer – back in the day). There are three songs that I still enjoy playing on my instruments (understanding, of course, that all three include my voice – that is to say, me singing):

The first:

With the poorly-played guitar I love to strum increasingly more and more dramatically to a version of John Baez's old folk song John Riley:

The second, I adore playing on the piano and singing along. 

An old song, called Innocent Times, written by Eric Clapton, from his album No Reason to Cry, originally recorded and sung by Marcy Levy. I love to warble away at this one, hammering at the piano keys all the while:

I was a child born so free;
It seems that time has put age on me.
And when I grow old, will I once again find
All of those sweet, innocent times?

I was a child born without fear;
It seems that time has placed me here.
With no freedom to laugh, there's more reason to cry.
I really miss those innocent times.

I used to feel joy in my soul,
But now my sorrow has taken control.
As I look around I pray, Lord be kind;
Just one more taste of those innocent times.

As I look around I pray, Lord be kind;
Just one more taste of those innocent times,
Just one more taste of those innocent times

The third song I love to sing, especially when life partner accompanies me on the guitar (and he surely plays a mean tune on his guitar!), is an old Kate Wolf ballad that I heard for the first time about 23 years ago. 

I fell in love with this song because the lyrics seemed to speak straight to my heart. And, they have remained there to this day – the lyrics in my heart, I mean. 

Here is a version sung by Nanci Griffin and Emmy Lou Harris from the album, Other Voices Other Rooms:

The song I wish I could play alone is Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time:

As it happens, though, my son sometimes accompanies me on the piano as I sing this particular song. He plays so professionally, gently, and very much respecting my rhythm and style, that I have a hard time controlling my emotions as I sing, often choking up and shedding a few tears of joy while he continues to play – until I can gain control of myself and join in again.

These are the moments I enjoy the most – being accompanied by life partner or my son. Sometimes they play together – Tom on the guitar, Gilad on the piano – and I sing my heart out. 

Strangely, though, usually after a night of singing – especially one I have enjoyed very much, my voice becomes hoarse the next day. I always understood that to be a reminder to myself that too much pleasure is forbidden me. These days, I m starting to realize it is not so much that the pleasure is forbidden – it is the emotion – which, lately, I am determining is dangerous to feel. For, I experience a range of very intense emotions when I sing or play. Hm … this might even be considered an "aha!" moment … right here as I write this post.

Indeed, I must admit that I have always longed to be a professional singer. Perhaps one day I might write a post about all this.

Meme-ing it further

Continuing the Meme, in no particular order, today is Day 2 although I choose to …

… Forward, to Day 30,

My favorite song at this time last year:

[Yael Naim]

Indeed, at this time last year, for a few months, I listened to this song almost every day. My dear, good friend, Jack Berkley, has been sending me compilation CDs as a New Year gift, these past two years. Yael Naim's "Paris" was on one of the songs on his CD for last year. I had never heard her before, and was thrilled to discover an Israeli singer on his CD since I had lived in Israel for 19 years prior to coming to the States. 

More importantly, though, this song was exceptionally timely for me at this time last year, because I just happened to be in the process of planning a trip to Paris for my sixtieth birthday (one week away today – last year) – when the CD arrived! 

And so, as I would listen to this song I would become excited and joyous about the trip ahead. 

Musical memes

Hurray! Thanks to Andy at older, but no wiser, I discovered a meme-a-day for 30 days. This could be fun – or not. I will try the first one, and see how it goes.

Day One: My favorite song

I have to say that my favorite song probably changes according to my mood, time of day, immediate life experiences, and so on. Currently, it is the Book of Love sung by Peter Gabriel. Lately, as I commute an hour each way to and from work, I have been listening to this song on my favorite radio station, WXPN. I had first heard it played in the movie, Shall We Dance, some years ago …

 … and had forgotten about it until recently. I especially love the part in the movie, when Susan Sarandon's character meets up with the private detective she has hired in a bar, and they talk about marriage:

Why is it that people get married? Because we need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet. What does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things. All of it all the time, every day. You’re saying, “Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed – because I will be your witness.”

For some reason, lately,I cannot get enough of the song. I downloaded it into my IPhone and listen to it while I am doing housework, going for my walk, in the car … everywhere. I love the humor, subtleties, Peter Gabriel's voice, the content. It is poignant. It moves me to tears – deeply.

I am not quite sure if I will be able to continue with all the other days of this meme … we'll see where the muse takes me.

Here is the complete list (if anyone else is interested):

day 01 – your favorite song
day 02 – your least favorite song
day 03 – a song that makes you happy
day 04 – a song that makes you sad
day 05 – a song that reminds you of someone
day 06 – a song that reminds of you of somewhere
day 07 – a song that reminds you of a certain event
day 08 – a song that you know all the words to
day 09 – a song that you can dance to
day 10 – a song that makes you fall asleep
day 11 – a song from your favorite band
day 12 – a song from a band you hate
day 13 – a song that is a guilty pleasure
day 14 – a song that no one would expect you to love
day 15 – a song that describes you
day 16 – a song that you used to love but now hate
day 17 – a song that you hear often on the radio
day 18 – a song that you wish you heard on the radio
day 19 – a song from your favorite album
day 20 – a song that you listen to when you’re angry
day 21 – a song that you listen to when you’re happy
day 22 – a song that you listen to when you’re sad
day 23 – a song that you want to play at your wedding
day 24 – a song that you want to play at your funeral
day 25 – a song that makes you laugh
day 26 – a song that you can play on an instrument
day 27 – a song that you wish you could play
day 28 – a song that makes you feel guilty
day 29 – a song from your childhood
day 30 – your favorite song at this time last year


Photo 7  

Quote of the day:

One must have one's delusions to live. If you look at life too honestly and too clearly life does become unbearable because it is a pretty grim enterprise … I do feel that it is a grim, painful, nightmarish, meaningless experience and that the only way that you can be happy is if you tell yourself some lies and deceive yourself. Woody Allen