I was sitting next to two men recently in a coffeehouse and one of them was complaining (whining) about his divorce.

“I hate my life. My ex is killing me in the divorce, I can’t find a job, I feel like sh*t all the time, my kids don’t call, I’m so depressed, my life sucks. I miss my old life. We traveled all over the world. My life was so much better and now it’s awful, I hate it.”

I was curious about what his friend would say and leaned in closer, without appearing too obvious. I thought he might say, “Yeah, your ex is a bitch and you really got screwed. Poor you.”

But he didn’t. Read More →

This morning I was taking a walk and suddenly the words “No More Tears: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” hit me and I thought of Donna Summer and the song she sang with Barbra Streisand back in 1979. I was thinking about how I’ve been writing some really depressing blog posts about loss and living in the “I don’t know” and all that crap. Which actually isn’t crap at all, it’s really important, but after a while it gets self-indulgent. And boring.

I want to dance to “No More Tears: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” and not sit around moping. I want to dance and be joyous because — well, because I’m alive. Read More →

Another Huff Post piece:

There are certain moments in your life that you remember forever.

This is one of mine: I’m pregnant and it’s 1987. Dirty Dancing has just opened. I see it alone, during the day, at the Paris Theater in Manhattan. I’m unemployed, nauseous and my hormones are all over the place. From the moment I see Patrick Swayze teaching Jennifer Grey to dance, practicing the lift with Grey in the water, to the scene at the end of the movie when she flies off the stage into his arms, it practically gives me an orgasm. I dance out of the theater, I feel so alive, so ecstatic, the combination of Swayze’s dancing, and beauty, and my hormones are almost too much to contain. I’m sure I saw it at least three more times before I gave birth to my daughter, Zoe. And probably a hundred times since.

Ten years earlier, in 1977, I was living in Los Angeles, working in television, and it was one of those LA winters when it never stopped raining. Ever. I was just about ready to kill myself. I’m from New York, where we have actual seasons and real weather that changes. So I went to see the movie everyone was talking about, totally depressed, and as soon as the music started to play and Travolta was seen strutting down that Brooklyn street, holding that can of paint, I was mesmerized. I fell in love, with John, with Brooklyn, with dancing, with the music. I bought the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. I danced in my living room. One weekend, I went to the mall in Century City and the choreographer who’d supposedly taught Travolta to dance for the film was there giving a demonstration. He picked me out of the crowd to dance with! It was my big moment! I danced and I could follow and it was thrilling! I was no longer even remotely depressed.

As the Don Henley song says: “All she wants to do is dance.”

I started dancing when I was 5. First tap, then ballet, I was enthusiastic, but never fantastic. I loved Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies, and I adored Gene Kelly. I studied jazz, modern, African dance, I was up for anything. I loved going to dances, concerts, any opportunity to dance and I was there. After college, I moved out to LA and focused on work and found other physical outlets, first running and then yoga. I loved the endorphin high running gave me, and I loved the discipline of yoga. I missed dancing, but somehow it got lost.

When I got married and had Zoe, we danced together when she was little. But then real life took over, raising a teenager, working, being a member of the sandwich generation, dealing with my parents’ illnesses — there was no thought of dancing, there was just survival, the couch, and television and books to escape into.

In 2009, after 23 years of marriage, my husband and I split up, my mother died and I went into a deep hole. It was a time of intense grief and I just had to work my way out of it, slowly.

And then, in the summer of 2010, I was invited to dance in a flash mob in Washington Square Park. I love flash mobs! As I learned the dance (we danced to Nina Simone’s song “Feeling Good”), I began to feel… good. Really good. Alive. I enjoyed learning the dance, being part of something, connecting to the music. We danced in Washington Square Park in honor of Gay Pride Day, and we staged a mock lesbian wedding at the end of the dance. We were a motley crew, not one of those big professional flash mobs, but we all had fun.

A month later, in August, I met a man on Match.com who, among other things, taught tango. He was going to go to a milonga (tango dance) on the pier one Sunday afternoon, so we met for coffee nearby, before the dance. I was curious, so I went along to the milonga and watched as he danced with a few of his students. I was wearing my sneakers, and was hardly dressed for the tango, but he insisted on showing me the basic steps.

After we danced, he said to me, “You picked the steps up immediately. You are a dancer.”
Wow! “I am a dancer.” That was all I needed to hear! I raced out the next day and bought practice dance shoes. I showed them to my neighbor who said, “Those are kind of ugly.” I was thrown off — I thought they were great, but maybe it was the dancing itself I was thinking of. Even so, I stuffed them in the closet and forgot about dancing. It felt like too much effort. Then November came and I thought, “What can I do this winter to keep myself from having the winter blues?”

A little voice said, “dance.” So I called Dance Manhattan, a dance studio that has been around for 20 years, and I found out about beginning classes. They suggested I try swing dancing first. I took one class in November and then kept dancing in December, taking two classes, then three, all winter, all spring, all summer and I am now completely hooked on dancing. The music alone is joyous and upbeat, and I’ve met so many people who are as obsessed with dancing as I am. I have a new community, new friends, and my passion for dance has absolutely changed my life. It’s opened my chakras, my feelings, made me love men again, and given me ridiculous amounts of pleasure.
You can’t buy joy. You just have to feel it. You may have work that gives you great pleasure, but feeling it in your body — whether it’s dancing, playing a musical instrument, running, biking, hiking, rock climbing, whatever it is (obviously sex is great, too). I believe that dancing saved me from antidepressants, got me out of the hole and literally changed my life. Even if all you do is put on music in your living room and take a dance break, I promise you, you’ll feel better.

Lately, I’ve also started doing a new form of movement called Qoya, which combines yoga and dance. My fabulous Qoya teacher read this beautiful poem by Rumi to us at the end of our last class:

Dance when you’re broken open.
Dance when you’ve torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance when you’re perfectly free.
Struck, the dancer hears a tambourine inside her,
like a wave that crests into foam at the very top,
Maybe you don’t hear that tambourine,
or the tree leaves clapping time.
Close the ears on your head,
that listen mostly to lies and cynical jokes.
There are other things to see, and hear.
Music. Dance.
A brilliant city inside your soul!

One year ago, I signed my divorce papers and it was the beginning of a new life and an entirely new chapter.

In November of 2011 I found dance.  I’d started dancing (as I wrote here) in a couple of flash mobs, but then I decided to sign up for dance classes and ever since then my life has changed in many profound ways.  First of all I found something really joyous that I love to do.  I’ve met many people who love it too and many really great men.  Men to dance with – not necessarily the love of my life, but men I really enjoy.

My morning practice of reading, writing and meditating has changed a bit.  I’ve been chanting in the morning, which is very peaceful.

In August, my daughter Zoe moved back to New York after three years of living in San Francisco.

She arrived the first week in August, which is when my first piece appeared on the Huffington Post.

I’ve now had five pieces published and yesterday Zoe and I did a Huff Post Live on adult children moving home with their parents.  She did find a great apartment with a roommate and they are happily living in their own place now.


If you’re new to this blog and you or anyone you know anyone who’s going through a difficult time, go back three years to April 2009 and start reading.  There is a great deal of information about how to get through loss and grief a day at a time. 

And the present feels very exciting!  So stay tuned.  I never expected any of this, so it will be interesting to see what unfolds next.  If you’ve had any interesting surprises lately, I’d love to hear about them. 

 My latest HuffPost:

I had it all. I had the American dream. I lived in a beautiful loft in the heart of SoHo (okay, I know some of you want the house and the picket fence, I wanted a loft in New York City).
And I had the baby, the most wonderful daughter. And two dogs. I had everything I’d ever dreamed of and I was deeply, deeply grateful.
I had the wedding, with a beautiful dress from Paris with lace, made in the 1920’s — very much my style. I had a honeymoon at a lovely resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
We moved to New York City a few months after we got married to pursue our dreams. I was 34, not that young, but old enough to know what I was looking for. It had taken hundreds of dates, blind dates, fix-ups — there was no internet dating in those days. I’d lived with other men. It had taken hard work, but I was determined to find the love of my life and have it all. My career was in television writing and I was about to break into films. I could hear the biological clock ticking and I desperately wanted to have a baby. I had dated men in my business and I finally found someone who was an artist — intelligent, talented, articulate — and he made a living. He was a bit lonely and depressed, but I was going to rescue him and make him happy with a family and a home and everything that would answer all of his prayers — and mine — and we would live happily ever after.
And we did, for a time. It was great.
It lasted until about a week after the wedding. And then, subtly, I sensed a shift. He had been attentive and available before, and within a few months after the wedding, I felt the door close. It wasn’t obvious, but in the first year of our marriage I wrote an essay that was never published called “The Myths of Marriage.” And the funny part was, I had taken a course years before about dating and marriage and one of the main points was that we present ourselves one way when we are trying to “get” someone and then once we “have” them; we let our guard down and we show who we really are.
I knew that and yet, I acted like I really enjoyed cooking though I hated cooking. And he acted like he really enjoyed spending weekends with me, when he really wanted to work seven days a week. But we made a commitment and we worked at it and we became a family.
There are few things in life more rewarding than finding someone you love, who loves you, who knows you and over the years, through all the difficult life experiences, is your ally and your friend and your sounding board and your lover. Those kind of relationships are hard to find.
But after 23 years of marriage, we got divorced. I deserved more and he deserved to be who he was (turns out he didn’t really want to be rescued). And my beautiful lace dress from Paris? I had rented it from a costume house in Hollywood. Maybe even then I knew that you can’t hold on to some things forever, no matter how beautiful they seem at one time in your life.
Here is my suggestion: Be you. Don’t try to be anyone else.
Also, live your life with pleasure and do what you love and what is important to you. Work hard, play hard, don’t be waiting for someone to complete you. Complete yourself.
A great marriage is really a dream for most. It takes honesty — knowing and presenting who you really are. It isn’t for everyone; it takes effort and a great deal of compromise and patience. It is not the Nobel Prize of life. It is no longer even the American dream, or any dream. Perhaps you saw Eric Klinenberg’s piece in The New York Times about living alone in which he reports, “More people live alone now than at any other time in history… In Manhattan and in Washington, nearly one in two households are occupied by a single person… In Paris, the city of lovers, more than half of all households contain single people.” Even in Paris — my beloved city of lights — even they had a light bulb moment: living alone, or at least unmarried, need not be stigmatized or pathetic or necessarily lonely.
I don’t know if I will ever get married again. Divorce was one of the worst experiences of my life, which led me to one of the best and most productive periods of my life. I am not waiting to meet the next man to love; I am busy, working hard, grateful for my life, dating, dancing, enjoying my daughter, my friends and a rent-stabilized loft in SoHo, which I share with a good friend. Not a man. With men, I dance. And right now, that’s working really well for me.
Dreams are for when you are asleep. Life is what happens when you are awake. It’s never what you expect. Enjoy it.

I decided that I wanted to change the focus of this blog to something a bit more joyous…dancing.  I remain committed to meditation, but in the past six months I’ve found so much pleasure in dancing and I want to share that. 
We are having a wedding shower for a friend of ours tomorrow night and we’re supposed to share something positive about love and marriage and quite honestly, at this point in my life, I couldn’t think of a thing.  The one quote about the institution that came to my mind was Woody Allen’s:  “Marriage is the death of hope.”
Then I started to think about dancing and how it played a part in my relationship with my ex-husband.  When we first got together, we spent many happy evenings dancing in his living room in Venice, California.  I think if we had kept that up, even in the midst of all the dramas we were living through over the next 24 years, our lives might have been different. But unfortunately, we didn’t… and now I am dancing with other partners and hopefully someday with a steady partner.  (Although I’ll never give up dancing with other men too, it’s fun!
I think dancing is one of the true pleasures of life.  It’s something we do when we’re really young (I’m stealing that idea from Nigel, one of the judges of my guilty pleasure, “So You Think You Can Dance.”) 
Dancing in the light…that’s the message I feel like sharing. Dancing for the pleasure of being in the body and feeling the music. 

One of the reasons I haven’t written in awhile is that I have been on jury duty for the past three weeks.  We started on January 31st, in the same courthouse I went to numerous times for my divorce…that alone was challenging.  We sat in a room for four days, thirty of us, waiting for the lawyers to decide on the members of the jury.  It’s a civil case and they needed only 6 jurors and 2 alternates.  I’ve heard that the case is pretty much decided by the make-up of the jury.

We listened to the evidence for two weeks and just started deliberating this past Friday afternoon.  All I can say is all hell broke loose in the jury room.  And that’s all I can say.

This has been a very intense and fascinating experience AND I’m so ready to be finished.

An update will come when it’s all over.  All I can say is thank God I have swing dancing.  I live for my classes and workshops.  It’s given me so much pleasure and so much fun.  I’m thinking about learning the tango next! 


Last night, at 1:30 am, Lucy, my 16 year-old beagle had to go out for a walk.  This rarely happens, but  it means something is wrong and I will probably have to take Lucy back to the vet.

The other day, on my way to work, something told me to go to the vet to buy Lucy some of her special dog food.  I didn’t really feel like going that morning, but my feet seemed to take me there.  I walked into the animal hospital and there was one person sitting in the waiting area, a very dear friend of mine.  She was there to put her cat, Dash, down.  They were putting in the catheter.  I haven’t seen my friend in almost a year, other than on Facebook, even though we live across the street from each other.  Our kids were friends since they were 3 years-old.  We have been through many life events together, loss of parents, divorces, all kinds of changes.  We were together at the gym when the first plane flew into the World Trade Center.  Our families marched together with candles after 9.11. 

I stayed until Dash was euthanized and we walked back to SoHo together, talking about loss and life.  It was beshert, as they say in Hebrew, or Yiddish, or whatever language it is.  It was meant to be.

We dance with what is in life – make the best of sometimes really difficult situations.  For me, literally dancing, putting on music and letting myself dance, has been a lifesaver.  A life changer.  It changes our outlook on life when we move our bodies.  My life changed dramatically when I started dancing again.

Some days, I don’t feel like dancing.  Most days, in fact.  But running on the treadmill with music accomplishes the same thing for me.  My body and my mind shift gears. Yoga does this for me too, I think I’ll put on some music and dance and then do a little yoga.  I’m tired and worried about Lucy, but I think it will help if I can let myself dance with what is…my sixteen year-old dog is not feeling well and that makes me sad.  But it’s just life.  Dash was 18 years-old.  She had a good, long life.  She was loved.

It’s so up and down these days. But today turned out to be fine, a good day. And tonight I went dancing at Lincoln Center’s outdoor dance festival, I think it’s called Midsummer Night’s Swing. There was a band from Kenya with kind of an African/Salsa beat and it was fun dancing under the stars and I actually enjoyed it. I went with two of my wonderful friends, Karen and Sharon (we all did Mama Gena’s together) and my other dear friend Annie from Vancouver, Washington, the most most fantastic photographer in the Portland area (the entire state) posted “Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps” from Strictly Ballroom on her blog, so I thought it would be fun to post it here.

After we danced, we went across the street to Fiorello’s where we shared great food and wine (I had two glasses!) our waiter and I just got home. (oh, that was a typo.) It feels like Spain, where you eat late and stay out late and there are so many people out on the street, at restaurants, talking and having fun. I loved it. And the amazing thing is that Lincoln Center has been doing this outdoor dance festival in the month of July for at least five years, maybe more, maybe ten. And I have wanted to go every summer and I never did.

Tonight I went, I danced, and i had fun. And I will return.

And now, for Strictly Ballroom:

This past weekend, from Friday night through all day Saturday and all day Sunday, I participated in a workshop called “The Creative Dynamic.” The workshop was given at the TAI Group (formerly The Actors’ Institute) and has been around in different forms for approximately twenty years.

It began as a workshop for actors, teaching them how to connect more effectively with audiences and it became extremely popular as actors told friends who had all different kinds of jobs. I think I talked about this before – anyway, there were ten participants and a number of TAI trainers also in the room. There were a few actors and musicians, a business affairs person, a Yoga teacher, a corporate trainer who does similar trainings herself but came to TAI to experience their techniques. She was blown away. She was also seven months pregnant and I think she was happy to be there and not at home with her two year-old. There was also a college president. So, it was a mixed group with varied experience performing in front of audiences.

We all brought in something to “perform” – a song, a poem (the college president spoke in both Aztec and English), several speeches (FDR, Harvey Milk and a Tony Kushner speech), a monologue by Neil LaBute from “Fat Pig.” I brought in the first five minutes of my monologue. Each person performed and then the leader, Gifford Booth, came up with some way to change the dynamic of the performance and to have the performer connect more intimately with the audience. I can’t really explain it – I can just tell you that it worked every time. And then everyone in the audience wrote down thoughts about the performances (most of them extremely positive) which we all took home. I’m going to have my comments laminated and wear them around my neck every day of my life, since I don’t seem to have much self-confidence of my own.

During the weekend, we also did acting exercises and danced. We danced in a group and one of the leaders would call out our name to lead. When it was my turn to lead, I did something so energetic that I hurt my back. Serves me right.

Anyway – the inner child in me had a joyous, fantastic and challenging time this weekend and I have to say that I pretty much loved every minute of it.

So, there will be no complaining out of me tonight. (Except it’s still cold out. I couldn’t resist. Sorry!)

Post Navigation