Looking back and thinking forward

Month: September, 2010


I am giving myself a gift.

Well, actually a number of gifts.

Come to think of it, I have been giving myself gifts since I turned sixty.

Indeed, as I start to write this I realize that this has been going on for over a year. I guess at some point something must have clicked in my brain. I remember reading Gloria Steinem's Revolution from Within. She leaves a blank page for the reader to write down all the things physical or emotional that "you wish you had received in your childhood … and did not." On the next page she writes: "You have just written what you should do for yourself" (Pages 104 & 105). 

I think I must have taken this advice to heart. Although I read it sixteen years ago. Has it taken fourteen years for me to understand the concept?

Patience is a gift.

What's in a gift? A gift by any other name …

Recognition. Validation. Acknowledgement. Sharing in others joys – or sorrows. I look it up in the dictionary, and am reminded that it is also a special ability or talent that one has or develops. I wonder. Do I have a talent or capability for writing? I certainly know that I enjoy it. Well, let me try and clarify that. It is much more than enjoyment. Indeed, it is a need. It is self expression in its purest form for me. Words tumble and jumble in my brain constantly – except of course when I am meditating. Then I am able, for moments, to quieten the train of thought, guiding and prodding it through mantra, or focus on breathing, like the calm of a river as it flows out of its rapids. 

Sometimes, when I am making presentations, there are moments when the words are flowing out of me like a stream of consciousness. I have often been surprised to hear some of the things that come unexpectedly, spontaneously, out to greet me – us – the audience! 

Perhaps a gift is also a reward. I know that when I was on Weight Watchers, and would achieve a goal of losing five pounds or so, I would feel worthy enough to give myself a small gift of some kind. A bar of lavender soap, earrings, or a bunch of flowers. More importantly, I would give myself the gift of love. Because most of the time I spend demeaning myself with insults and derogatory comments about how fat and ugly, stupid and lazy I am. 

I do believe I am beginning to like my Self more, drowning out those inner ramblings of dark, disapproval, and replacing them with kinder, more loving thoughts. 

Lately it feels like I am giving my Self gifts of self actualization.

These have been a long time coming.

Returning to school and acquiring degrees, even writing books brought me to the brink of this time – surely.

But, right now I feel poised, as if positioned at the top of a high mountain, wind streaming through my hair, arms outstretched … preparing … 

Therapy reflections

Quote of the day:

We all walk the long road. Cannot stay … There's no need to say goodbye … all the friends and family, all the  memories going round, round, round … I have wished for so long … how I wished for you today … Eddie Vedder.

On the eve of therapy what can I say? I start to feel the excitement of my one precious hour of the week where I get to say what I feel, and it is acceptable and valid. And yet … when I arrive at the door, thoughts and feelings fly out the window and I am left sitting on the corner of the couch silent and shy – ashamed that I might be taking up too much time, thinking "Gee, surely he has something better to do than listen to my whining and complaining?" 

By the end of the session somehow I have mined a nugget, discovered something I was aware of somewhere in my psyche, but did not quite know how to put into words, and I stumble out to my car – air seems clearer than when I went in, sky bigger, brain whirling and swirling as I drive away.

And, all the while my perceptions and actions are being ever so slightly tweaked. I find that I approach problems, or I hear someone a little differently. Sometimes I even sense my brain shifting, hear my heart opening – making room for new options.

And then …

one week later …

it starts all over again …

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: The "turning sixty" compilation

New Year reflections


'Tis the season.

I hear Natalie Goldberg saying: "New Year reflections … 10 minutes … go!" and even though I have much to do this morning before heading out to work, my fingers find themselves tap, tap, tapping at the keys to help my brain bring forth its thoughts and feelings about this past year.

Looking back it has been quite a busy year indeed. Another book published, an article, many presentations later, I now find myself writing from a completely different office space in our beautiful new home. And autumn is on its way. One of my favorite seasons of the year – the shedding of the old to incubate the new.

I have found a new pace. I continue my yoga exercises and meditation and yet it feels like I am returning to them with a different perspective. It seems deeper somehow, more peaceful. My home feels just right. Like my home. I am no longer sedentary, wandering aimlessly in our old apartment from my little study back and forth back and forth. I sometimes even bound up and down the stairs of our three floor house (?) – or is it a mansion? My body and mind feel renewed with the different light and space of our home. Every corner the eye lands is yet another aesthetic delight. Even Ada seems more spunky, playful.

My memoir is incubating, bubbling within, longing to get out. Will this be the year I write it? Or do I still need just one more book before it? A book for parents this time. I want to let parents off the guilt-hook. I want to let me, as a parent, off the guilt-hook. That book is incubating and bubbling too. Maybe this will be the year I give myself the gift of a Natalie Goldberg treat/retreat?

It is almost a year since I took myself back into therapy. I, for one, am excited at the prospect of peeling off yet another layer, and another after that in my psychotherapy journey.

So, Happy New Year to all of us who celebrate this event at this particular time of the year. There is much to reflect on and much to look forward to. Especially the apples I will be dipping into honey tonight.

Surely that will help to sweeten the days and months to come?

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Thinking about fear