Looking back and thinking forward

Month: February, 2012

It’s the little things …

Quote of the day:

Right now, in this moment, there are so many things that are good, that are right in your world. Focus on those. Notice what changes. Geneen Roth

Morning routine:


Rise at 5:00. Walk sleepily in the dark up two flights of stairs to the third floor where my study awaits. Ada bounds up in front of me and starts to pound at the carpet in delight that I have come upstairs. I switch on the coffee machine, which I prepared the night before, turn on the little light above the refigerator. Next, I walk over to my desk and click awake the computer. Time to light a few candles and maybe some nag champa. Less sleepily now, I wander into the bathroom on the third floor, splash water on my face, and fill Ada's water bowl. When I return to my study, Ada is stitting upright on my desk. She squeaks in delight because she knows her treats are soon to arrive. I pour myself some coffee, always smelling the milk that I take out of the fridge because once, many months ago, the milk was off and crinkled up into little white blobs of sourness. Not a great way to start my day, as I recall. So, I smell the milk each morning as one of my awakening rituals. Finally, I arrive at my desk. By now Ada is trembling in delight and expectation as I open the top, right hand drawer to discover the packet of treats nestling there. Ada leans her head forward for a morning kiss and then she walks back to her pillow to await the seven little treats that I count out into the palm of my hand. While she gobbles them up, I stroke her head gently and say, "Good morning, my litttle angel."

Seven years ago at Tamarika: Don't take it personally

Bubble the blues away

Wish You Were Here

There is nothing like a hot bath to lift the spirits.

This morning I was feeling a little blue because of the grey, rainy day preventing my usual work-out walk in the neighborhood. I made myself a bowl of cereal, topped with a banana, strawberries, and sprinkled with a few blueberries and raspberries, all mooshed up with a cup of organic soy milk. Yum! However, that did not seem to curb the bluesy sensation, so I ran a hot, bubble bath in our huge spa-like bathroom. Powering up the jacuzzi spouts I plunged my body into the tub and covered myself up to my chin with warm, swirly, bubbly water. Lying there for fifteen minutes or so, I started to feel the blues melt away. Indeed, I became energized with all kinds of thoughts about what I wanted to do today. Before I knew it I was up and out, drying off, and back at my desk with work projects and plans for the weekend bursting out of my brain.

Seven years ago at Mining Nuggets: Emotional evolution

Turn, turn turn …

and a time to every purpose under heaven

Mild and sunny weather during what is usually quite a gloomy sort of month in the North East – February.

It is odd.

I sit at my desk at work and look out the window as the sun shines on the sidewalks, and wind blows the spiny leaves of winterized liriope at the edges. I decide to take in the fresh air and walk over for a coffee in the recreation center. As I return I look around at the leafless trees, and twigs that stretch up from the ground representing dormant rose bushes and other shrubs planted last fall.

It seems miraculous to me that even with the mild weather and sunshine all around the plants do not become confused with this strange north eastern non-winter we have been having. I suppose they follow the light more than the temperature. How do they know? I remind myself that in another month fresh, lime-green shoots and colorful blossoms will be springing up everywhere – on the trees, shrubs and bushes. 

I mean … I am confused with the weather this season. I feel as if spring is in the air. My heart feels open to embrace a re-birthing season. I breathe in the fresh air and find myself smiling as I walk about the campus or on my morning work-out walk around my neighborhood. I imagine my eyes are brighter than usual lately and I sense the excitement that comes with warmer weather and spring flowers.

So, I suppose it is not the season that makes me feel this way – after all, surrounding nature waits patiently to burst out into the sunshine.

Mine must be psychologically based. These feelings of exhilaration, and a sense of awakening – as if I have been sleeping for a very long time.

Lately, I have been listening to Olivia Newton John as I drive to and from work. Some good friends gave me one of her CD's: Grace and Gratitude.

Olivia sings, "Breathe it out, breathe it in, trust the light that shines within, let it burn till you learn to love yourself …"

In therapy I am learning more and more to appreciate who I am, and so Olivia's words speak directly to my heart. In this mildest of winters I have ever seen since coming to the United States twenty four years ago, unlike the dormant trees and shrubs out there, I find that I am impatient to burst out into the sunshine …

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Home again …


Sometimes I sit in front of the computer, open up the blog posting page and stare at the screen. I know I want to write, and feel a stirring within – a kind of turmoil in my stomach. There are things I want to say about my life, politics, memories, or relationships.

For example, how it feels to be a mother of a grown son, who has moved away and on with his life. Happy for him on the one hand, and, on the other, constantly negotiating with my sense of worthiness now that he no longer needs me. After all, as a single parent, I felt entirely responsible for his physical and emotional well-being for decades. And now, it seems that suddenly I can let down my guard and relax. Instead of feeling joy about it, I often feel empty and lonely. Until I realize that this is how it should be, and that my self-worth is not about being needed, but more about feeling fulfilled and productive in who I am and what I do. 

I stop and think about what I have just written, and still the stirring continues.

I have more to say …

Self preservation for me has always been about being silent and invisible, until I am no longer able to contain the discomfort and anxiety from repressed feelings. What a dilemma, for then my self-expression feels so volatile and dangerous to me, I have to quickly back down and go under again. I feel like a monkey swinging through the trees – between the branches of self preservation and danger. It is wired into the emotional templates of my brain since my earliest childhood. The challenge for me is to find a way to break the circuit. That creates further stirring within, because the image of becoming free of this dynamic is exhilarating, exciting, and empowering.

Now I see the monkey swinging joyously into a wall, which gently opens up a crevice, widely, welcomingly, allowing the little creature to plunge through to the other side and out into warm sunlight. Just like it feels sometimes on my morning walk, when I lift up my face to the wintry sun shining through the clouds to warm up my smiling face.

Validating the feelings

There are no right or wrong, or good or bad feelings.

I know this.

I have studied in depth about how young children develop emotionally.

And yet …

… I am learning that I monitor and judge the validity of my feelings to the extent that I numb them out in fear they are wrong, or even dangerous for my survival.

When I am in therapy, time and again I am amazed and grateful that my feelings are validated, and that I am encouraged to express them.

It has such an effect on me.

For days after therapy I wander around almost dazed in wonder that the world seems clearer and brighter, and I feel visible to me. 

What is even more amazing to me, though, is that I do not have to do anything about my feelings.

For example, if I experience anger, I do not have to act on it.

Just feel it – understand it – hold still with it.

I might want to act on my anger in some way later – even days or weeks later – in order to make a stand for me.

At that time, it will be measured, chosen, and good for me versus reactive, impulsive, and self-destructive or self-punitive.

Indeed, thanks to the patience and perseverance of an adept therapist, I am slowly beginning to shed my early childhood fear that somehow my feelings have the power to destroy others.