In October, 2004, my mother nearly died. All her organs were failing and it seemed unlikely that she would last more than a few days in the hospital where she had been for several weeks. I remembered a friend of mine was a volunteer at a wonderful hospice, Jacob Perlow Hospice at Beth Israel Hospital, and I called my friend to ask how to get my mother admitted for hospice care. It seemed crazy to think about moving her at that point, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that normal hospital procedures were torturing her. If my mother was to die, I wanted her to die in peace.

The doctor who came to the hospital to examine her called me afterward and said, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone more in need of hospice care. She is going to be transferred immediately.” Read More →

One night, a few years ago, I went to a party for a professional organization I am a member of. Most people there were getting pretty drunk, feeling the effects of the lousy economy. I saw an old friend of mine, someone I hadn’t seen in many years. He flirted with me and told me, “I’m married and I’m miserable. I hate my wife and I hate my life.” I was a bit shocked at his honesty, but I had to admit I wasn’t particularly happy either. He also told me that he’d had a crush on me when we were young — would I have dated him back then? I lied and said, “Oh, yes. I would have dated you.” Truthfully, I wasn’t particularly interested in him way back then. But now, he had evolved into a mature, attractive man, with a lovely sense of humor, and I was interested. In fact, I went home and had my first erotic dream in a long time — and it was about him. Read More →

Lately, it seems as if I have heard of a number of friends and acquaintances who are dealing with some difficult situations.  I think that the economy and the struggles that so many people are having financially, is often at the root of it, but it also goes much deeper.  It is a struggle with aging parents, illness, young people searching for jobs, opportunities.  A very difficult election.  

I am at another crossroads and I’m not sure where it is leading, but if I’ve learned one thing in the past few years of studying Buddhism and spirituality it is to stay in this very moment.  It’s one of the hardest lessons, since we human beings are always looking towards the future and worrying about what is coming, rather than appreciating and staying in the present. 

I went to help out a friend this morning who is about to give birth and is in a difficult situation with her new husband.  I can only imagine how hard it is for her to stay in this moment, when in six weeks she will be giving birth to her baby and life will get even more challenging.

One of the greatest gifts we can give each other is to show up – so that was what I did.  I listened and helped her unpack and just sat with her.  And now I am sitting with my own anxieties, as I have many days over the last few years.

I love what I have been learning lately from August Gold, a spiritual teacher.  She says:  “Life is a conversation.  We need to stop asking ‘why is this happening to me’ and start asking ‘why is this happening for me?'” 

In reading about the Kaballah it says:  “This challenge is an indication that there is a great amount of Light to be revealed here!  I may not understand how yet, but I can make the effort to see why this opportunity has been given to me.  I can choose, instead of reacting or worry, to continue the development of my soul.  I can choose to not allow negativity in, and as I do this more and more, I will grow my certainty in the Light.

Negativity has power over us only when we allow it to.

So my choice now is to put on my shoes and go for a walk and get out of my head and my apartment.  And stay in this very moment, which is a rainy autumn afternoon, and be grateful for all the blessings in my life.  Starting with the fact that my daughter lives in Brooklyn and last year on this day I was visiting her in San Francisco. 

Enough sitting, it’s time to move my feet. 

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.