Recently I ran into an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in a few years. She is in middle of a nasty divorce. “This is a nightmare!” she told me. They have kids, so both custody and finances are at the heart of the dispute.

My own divorce was final two years ago and in some ways it feels like a lifetime ago. Our divorce was also extremely unpleasant and I hope never to go through anything like that again in my life. I did a great deal of reading about divorce and one of the many books I read seemed to resonate the most: Crazy Time: Surviving Divorce and Building a New Life, by Abigail Trafford. She says that for many couples, certainly not all, but for so many of us, the first two years Read More →

Every morning (which has turned into my favorite time of the day) I wake up, make myself a cup of coffee and then meditate for thirty minutes.  It seems to give me a good outlook on the day.  I also have a few readings I like to do before going out into the world and the one this morning, from Melody Beattie’s “The Language of Letting Go” was particularly meaningful:
Feeling angry – and, sometimes, the act of blaming – is a natural and necessary part of accepting loss and change – of grieving.  We can allow ourselves and others to become angry as we move from denial toward acceptance.
As we come to terms with loss and change, we may blame ourselves, our Higher Power, or others.  The person may be connected to the loss, or he or she may be an innocent bystander.  We may hear ourselves say: ‘If only he would have done that….If I wouldn’t have done that….Why didn’t God do it differently?….’  We know that blame doesn’t help.  In recovery, the watchwords are self-responsibility and personal accountability, not blame.  Ultimately, surrender and self-responsibility are the only concepts that can move us forward, but to get there we may need to allow ourselves to feel angry and to occasionally indulge in some blaming.
It is helpful in dealing with others, to remember that they, too, may need to go through their angry stage to achieve acceptance.  To not allow others, or ourselves, to go through anger and blame may slow down the grief process.  
Trust ourselves and the grief processs.  We won’t stay angry forever.  But we may need to get mad for a while as we search over what could have been, to finally accept what is.
God, help me learn to accept my own and others’ anger as a normal part of achieving acceptance and peace.  Within that framework, help me strive for personal accountability.”

Is anybody else enraged that the government bailout has now netted Wall Street executives even larger bonuses and that someone in our government (like the President) needs to say, “Hello?  Pay us back, you’re not getting these bonuses!”

I am furious and I don’t understand why this entire country isn’t rising up and saying “Enough.”  Or: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”  

Are we so worried about our own problems that we can’t collectively think of ways to rise up and express our disgust and our outrage?  Are we in a coma?  I’m ready to go to Washington, or march on Wall Street, or help organize marches all over the entire country.  I’m going to write letters to our senators and to the White House.  I have no ending to this other than we need to wake the fuck up.  

I was just reading another blogger’s post just now about the Michael Brewer story.  I didn’t know about it, I guess I haven’t been keeping up with the news lately.  But it’s a horrible story about a fifteen year-old boy in Florida who got in trouble with a group of boys and was doused in rubbing alcohol and set on fire. He has burns over 80% of his body and when the leader of the group was arrested and questions, he laughed about the attack.

Whatever happened to GUILT?  That was one of the subjects of a talk I went to last night by Mike Eigen at the National Psychological Association of Psychoanalysis (NPAP) and it’s a very important question.  His book, “Flames of the Unconscious” talks about this and it relates to both of these stories.

It wasn’t exactly fun. It was rather difficult and as a friend of mine said yesterday, who has been through similiar rough times: “There’s no way to get through it except to go through it.”

Saturday night was the worst. I finally emailed my brilliant therapist, Michael Eigen and he wrote me this:

“You are feeling what you need to feel.

Nothing lasts forever.

Meanwhile, you are being asked to continue growing, perhaps in ways you can’t fathom or imagine.

You are not done meeting yourself or meeting others.

Now, one small step after another, or for a time, no step at all.”

That helped. Also, he encouraged me to feel my anger. That it was entirely appropriate. I think that when I feel very sad, it’s often repressed anger.

And then on Sunday, after running into a friend at Unity, I decided to go to the Mama Gena graduation for the latest mastery class. It was just what I needed. It lifted me up, reminded me to look for my pleasure every day, to know that I am not alone, that I am part of an amazing sisterhood of women everywhere, and to dance.

And my thoughts are with the citizens of Iran, who are going through such a difficult period in their history. And Iraq, and everywhere, there is so much suffering.

Where did the weekend go? Was I not on Sarah Palin/election alert? I think not actually. Seems that I let it go for the most part, other than tentatively making plans to go to Pennsylvania the weekend of October 25ish to register voters and twist their arms until they agree to vote for Obama.

I was acupunctured on Saturday morning and had the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a long time. I was told I need to detoxify, which is always a good idea. But how? Stop eating bad food and watching too much news coverage?

I went to see “Five Flights” a play by Adam Bock (really nice guy) at a small theater company run by Jake Lippman, one of my fellow monologue performers. She (yes, Jake is a she) both produced and starred in the show and was really fantastic. She has a full-time job in finance and her own company and we’ll be producing our show soon so I’m glad she’s in our group. Before the show I went out to dinner with my friend Karen (who’s also performing her monologue with us) at a restaurant called Market or maybe it’s Markt..anyway, we split a salad and then ordered a slice of their chocolate cake, which is more like a giant slab suitable for at least four people. We ate most of it and enjoyed every mouthful.

Yesterday, Steve and I did an open house at a lovely apartment in Park Slope, in a gorgeous townhouse on one of the most beautiful blocks in Brooklyn, a block and a half from Prospect Park. We sat on the stoop since it was such a gorgeous day and as people arrived, we took turns showing them the apartment, a two bedroom with an enormous outdoor deck. The asking price is $920,000. Over 25 people attended and it seemed that everyone loved it and everyone is terrified to do anything right now, given the state of our economy. I can’t blame them…although as a buyer, this is probably a good time to buy, especially if you’re planning on staying somewhere for at least five years.

This morning I finally finished “When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chodron. I loved the final chapter “The Path is the Goal.”

“If there’s any possibility for enlightenment, it’s right now, not at some future time. Now is the time.”

It reminds me that wherever I am, or Zoe or any of us are – whether it’s a difficult time or an easy time, it’s a time to learn and to grow. “It’s an insecure way to live. We often find ourselves in the middle of a dilemma – what should I do about the fact that someone is angry at me? What should I do about the fact that I am angry with somebody?” (Who is possibly voting for McCain?) “Basically the instruction is not to try to solve the problem but instead to use it as a question about how to let this very situation wake us up further rather than lull us into ignorance.” (Which is so easy to do.) “We can use a difficult situation to encourage ourselves to take a leap, to step out into the ambiguity.”

“That is why it can be said that whatever occurs can be regarded as the path and that all things, not just some things, are workable. This teaching is a fearless proclamation of what’s possible for ordinary people like you and me.”

So here we are today, on our path. The economy is a mess, the election is insane (loved Maureen Dowd’s column with the fictional conversation between Jed Bartlett and Obama), Bush is still President and if McCain wins I’m moving to Mexico. So far this morning I’ve walked the dogs, had a half a cup of coffee, read the headlines of the Times, browsed the Huffington Post, watched the opening of last weekend’s Saturday Night Live, meditated, finished the book, written this post, and it’s only 9:23 am. I’m going to do a little yoga and then I’m off to work and my Womens’ Group meeting.

Have a good one!

Whenever you’re standing in a line that isn’t moving, or you’re stuck in traffic, or your spouse or kid or a parent is driving you nuts, or someone at work is pissing you off, or you can’t remember where you left your keys, or you are on hold listening to a stupid song from the 70’s, or your computer crashed, or you accidentally forgot to pay a bill and you have a late charge, and then you bounced the check, or your pants are too tight, or you tripped on a hole in the sidewalk, or you want to throw something at the television, or you find out someone you like is voting for McCain — take three very slow, deep breaths.

It helps.

If that fails, eat chocolate.