We’re now halfway through winter and after a rough start, I find that I am feeling quite content.  Maybe part of the reason is having work that I enjoy, making sure I exercise and dance, and finding I can bounce back from feeling blue.  Realizing that it’s easier to go with the feeling and let it move through me, rather than fight it.  Because it does pass and the less I fight it, the faster is seems to go.

I wanted to share three quotes that I’m sure I’ve written about before, but really resonate with me and I hope they do with you:

“It is not the critic that counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,

because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…..

Theodore Roosevelt

“If you want to avoid criticism: do nothing; say nothing; be nothing.”

Aristotle

“My teacher Trungpa Rinpoche encouraged us to lead our lives as an experiment, a suggestion that has been very important to me.  When we approach life as an experiment we are willing to approach it this way and that way because, either way, we have nothing to lose.

This immense flexibility is something I learned from watching Trungpa Rinpoche.  His enthusiasm enabled him to accomplish and amazing amount in his life.  When some things didn’t work out, Rinpoche’s attitude was ‘it’s no big deal.’  If it’s time for something to flourish, it will; if it’s not time, it won’t. 

The trick is not getting caught in hope and fear.  We can put our whole heart into whatever we do; but if we freeze our attitude for or against, we’re setting ourselves up for stress.  Instead, we could just go forward with curiosity, wondering where this experiment will lead.”

Pema Chodron “No Time to Lose”

I’ve also been re-reading “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.  I can’t believe how much I’m learning, particularly about relationships.  Even just saying that there are only 6 more weeks till spring is the antithesis of Tolle’s book.  There is only now!  Enjoy it! 

I have nothing much to say today except that we haven’t seen the sun in what? Five days? If I lived in Seattle I would slit my wrists. December, January, February, I hate them all. Okay, December isn’t so bad because I like all the Christmas decorations, but right now it does seem as if the news is just constantly crazy and terrible (a governor SELLING a Senate seat?) Unemployment keeps going up, government bailouts to the tune of billions and billions. Even our broker said the word “depression.”

The morning is the worst time for me. Today was no exception. And my ipod broke two nights ago and I feel lost without it, so I’m heading over to Tech Serve to get it fixed.

I went to the Writers’ Guild Christmas party Tuesday night and it was also fairly gloomy. Last year it was at the Friar’s Club, which is a fantastic place. It was so crowded and everyone needed to party, because we were on strike. This year, I showed up in a teal sequined top (sooooo unlike me) and I felt like a Christmas tree compared to everyone there. And truthfully, I wanted to leave after ten minutes. But then a woman named Chi Chi, who was wearing a red sweater with a large sparkly pin and a lovely black beret said to me, “You look so hot in that fabulous top!!” And I realized I did look pretty good and rather than fading into the background, I put myself out there…which was extremely uncomfortable but also interesting. Chi Chi was there with a lovely young writer who had won three Emmys for writing for Chris Rock (she told us that, not him) and we had a fun conversation.

So at your next holiday party, I recommend showing up dressed like part of the decorations. It may brighten everyone’s spirits.

Monday morning, for the past three years I’ve been dreading Mondays. I’ve also been fearing depression, especially as we come close to winter.

I guess you would call that not being in the moment. This morning I re-read another chapter in “When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chodron and read this paragraph: “The essence of life is that it’s challenging. Sometimes it’s sweet, and sometimes it’s bitter. Sometimes your body tenses, and sometimes it relaxes or opens. Sometimes you have a headache, and sometimes you feel 100 percent healthy. From an awakened perspective, trying to tie up all the loose ends and finally get it together is death, because it involves rejecting a lot of your basic experience. There is something aggressive about this approach to life, trying to flatten out all the rough spots and imperfections into a nice smooth ride…. To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. …. To live is to be willing to die over and over again.”

I was walking the dogs in the park this morning and now all the leaves are off the trees. It felt like a kind of death, when I looked around. I generally hate this time of year, but for some reason I am enjoying it, even though last night it was windy and cold and I didn’t have enough layers on. Listening to my ipod while I race home from the subway at night helps me to move quickly and not mind the cold so much. What did we do before such inventions?

Anyway, I wish for you a day with a few bumps.

Oh – one more thing. I’m rehearsing for a song we are singing at our final Mama Gena weekend, which is this coming weekend. My group (eight of us) are singing “Mamma Mia” but with new lyrics “Mama Gena.” It should be really fun. We’re all wearing blond wigs and I’ll try to post a photo of our group in our costumes. (Although we’re not exactly sure what they will be – lots of sequins I think.) Learning the lyrics has been challenging. I’m generally either walking with the ipod, singing to myself (or out loud if I’m in a park) or on the subway singing softly. Zoe’s tired of hearing me, so I try to limit how often I sing at home. Singing and dancing are two activities that bring me great pleasure. I recommend them. Take a dance break today!

Fear of Winter…I can feel it looming, especially this year, given the state of the country and the world.

Less daylight, five or so months of cold weather, snow, rain, darkness, it hits me every fall and although I love this season, I always feel anxious about how I am going to handle another winter. It’s not so bad that I’m thinking of moving to Florida or anything and it may sound silly, but having suffered from depression a few times in my life, the winter’s always tough. I know I’m not alone. The mornings are difficult for me. I wake up and don’t want to get out of bed. And in the middle of the night, I lie in bed and worry…and obsess. Once I get going, I do my meditation, reading and some exercise, I usually feel better.

I think that the most important thing is to remember to breathe and to be in the moment.
By the way, I wanted to put up a new photo, but the one that’s up is too big! If anyone knows how to make it smaller, please let me know. Thanks!