Here’s what’s uncomfortable for me about prayer; if I’m asking for something that means I don’t currently have it. It’s hard to need something and admit we are falling short in a specific department. If we’re talking about praying in terms of communicating with a higher power, I’m down. Love it, never doubted it. I’m not shy; if I can talk to a wall then certainly I can talk with Source. But as far as asking or pleading for something, well, that makes me feel like I’m in a very disempowered space. I know that’s just my perception that’s most likely based on old standards of perfection I was held to since childhood. The criticisms I’d get for not doing or being what was expected of me. Which morphed into adult judgement if I didn’t provide for everyone around me at all times. Therefore, admitting I’m not providing for myself is a bitter pill to swallow. Also, givers have a hard time asking for things. I’ve become so much better in that area. In fact I’d say it’s no longer an issue in most 3D ways. I’ve found that I feel I’m nurturing myself when I can ask others for things, whether it’s emotional support or help with carpool. People generally like to help, so an instant connection is established between the giver and the receiver. It feels nice. But when I’m praying for strength, wisdom, guidance, discipline, or clearing out old systems, I don’t like admitting I’m not handling that on my own. I feel weak, like I’m begging. And it makes me feel very uneasy to ask for wisdom and strength that I am lacking. My tendency to be hard on myself (sup, a lifetime of such conditioning) goes to that place of feeling deficient. Rationally I know that’s silly and false. Of course it’s ok, healthy, and expected to turn to Source. For anything at anytime. Who else is better equipped to hold our hand? But that deeply private level of vulnerability can be scary to talk about. There are only two options; asking for assistance or denying we need any. Clearly one is the better route and truthfully, discomfort is ok. We are so wired to run from anything that brings up uneasiness. Lately I’ve been praying (I hate that to me this equals pleading) for help in guiding certain energies I was pouring outward back to me. To reroute the same feelings just towards myself, where they belong. I feel it working as I imagine gusts of energy entering me, which fills me with tenderness and elation (love). I have also been redirecting that energy towards embracing the magic of uncertainty. Which is really the kicker for me right now. In a space of uncertainty anything is possible. Since there’s no need to be right, then there’s no room for wrong. One can’t exist without the other. It’s a necessity polarity. The key to embracing uncertainty fully is trust. So what this really is enforcing is just that. Which is the essence of prayer; we ask because we trust the recipient of our request with the preciousness of our deepest needs. And yes, while asking for help can feel uncomfortable, it’s a far lousier feeling to willingly remain stuck in heavy, limiting holding patterns. Ask or stuff the freedom of change down your throat where it’s sure to eat you up from the insides. Prayer has existed literally forever since we are designed to do it. It’s like refusing to breathe or eat, in that a part of you might die without it. The soul craves it. It’s both a relief and a release to unload our deepest pains onto a listening, non judgmental force. It’s a conversation we are forced to have with ourselves before we share it. It gives shape to our needs, hurts, and desires. Prayer comes in many forms. It is according to your design. It requires no book, just a truthful heart. So yeah, I’ve been asking for extra guidance and reinforcement lately. There’s a limiting energy I’ve been stuck in for too long. As always, talking to someone helps. May you receive support and guidance for whatever it is you may need help with at this moment. Please don’t ever think you’re going through life unheard. It only works if you believe it.
If you’ve been following my stories, or if you’re one of my three friends who know about my life but don’t have Instagram, then you are aware I DJ’d the WIN Summit recently in NYC. Let me start by saying this gig was exactly a year after my first big gig at the Surrey Hotel Rooftop. To the day. I am truly blown away by what has transpired in that year. Personally, professionally, musically, emotionally, and spiritually. My whole demeanor, attitude, and confidence level was completely different than last May. Before the Surrey gig I cried and threw a tantrum towards my instructor (who laughed in my face). This time around I was calm, excited, and ready to roll. This gig was more involved, in that I played at three different points throughout, each with a different mood and set list. I enjoyed this aspect very much. I love a vibe challenge as well as meeting the varying needs of the crowd. Music is obviously an important sensory experience, so I wanted to provide that on as deep a level as I could. It was fun watching some bumping and grooving in this corporate environment. It’s a kick for me when people let loose when they may not have expected that to happen.
At the private dinner the night before the main summit, each speaker went around the table, introduced themselves, and spoke about their company and how they’ve contributed to the topic of Women In Negotiation (WIN). I sat at the table in between spinning as well, and what I said was this. I honestly and plainly stated that I had nothing to add in terms of women negotiating in the workplace since I’ve never been in a typical workplace. My only exposure to an office has been watching “The Office”. I did not even graduate college (not my fault; bed rest while pregnant). So my hook was how several years ago I had to negotiate with myself. How I was at a clear crossroads in all areas of my life. I had to come to the conclusion, after years of desperately needing some sort of promotion, that I was indeed going to advocate for myself in life. Give myself that raise no one else thought I deserved. Learn new things so I could increase my value in my own mind. It was that or quit. I noted that no one at that table did not at one point go through rounds of self negotiation before they could then state their case to their superior. These women had spent years learning their worth before they could assert themselves professionally. They, on a deeper level, had to have believed they were worthy and deserving of being seen, heard, and recognized. I saw the heads nodding and the not so quiet “Amens!” Everyone likes a personal story. It makes the speaker more relatable and open. In the five minutes that I had the mic, I felt I could connect by going that route. It never fails me because it’s authentic. Listen, I can’t go toe to toe with a financial powerhouse from UBS in a numbers discussion. I can’t talk about leading a team of hundreds in Silicon Valley. I know an embarrassingly little amount about politics (does Veep count??). But I know what it means to fight for yourself from your heart, and what it means to wrestle with your head in order to get to where you need to be in life. I’ve learned painful lessons about self worth that came in layers of introspective honesty, patience, and compassion. Not to mention courage. I’ve learned to know what it means to manifest your new life, and to love the present while dreams of the future are seen so clearly they feel as if they’ve already happened. I’ve learned that the sky is the limit if your vibration is one of joy, truth and passion. I’ve learned to struggle through seemingly endless obstacles and roadblocks in order to achieve. I’ve learned to ignore the often wounding and hurtful remarks from those who don’t support you, because it hurts way worse to not honor yourself. I’ve learned that if your vision is pure, you will organically get to where you need to go. A big smile and some appropriate chutzpah doesn’t hurt.
The women I met at WIN were a new species that I was fortunate enough to observe. It was frankly the first time I’ve ever encountered female professionals and pioneers on such a mass scale. It was a treat to walk amongst them for a day and a half. I learned a lot, especially about how there are so many good sisters out there who genuinely want to lead and inspire, like I hope to do. And if I get to be the creative, musical fairy in glittery pants, then so be it. Oh right, that’s another way to get what you want; stand the F out🏻. Every human, regardless of gender, has the responsibility to negotiate for themselves in every way. This applies to love, friendship, leadership, and being compassionate. It all starts with knowing we are deeply worthy of all that life has to offer. We are the source of all things that have made it into our lives. Self negotiation should never really stop since self study should never stop. We know better, we do better🏻🏻. GET. ITTTTTTTTTT.
There’s a Hebrew prayer in Judaism that we are supposed to say upon waking up each morning. I’ve been saying it with my kids for years on the drive to school. We say it in Hebrew then our own loose translation of it, which is , ”Thank you, Hashem, for this beautiful day”. If it’s raining, sunny, or has other obvious defining characteristics we insert that adjective too. It’s a lovely tradition I started many years ago en route to preschool with my oldest. The ride to school is fast, but even if we could sneak in a line or two about how the rain is beautiful because it helps things grow, then I’d feel it was the right way to start the day. After all, what is prayer without proper intention, and there’s no better lens of gratitude than the pure mind of a child.
I’ve been thinking about this particular prayer lately; are we thankful that we didn’t die overnight or are we thankful to have another day to be alive? There’s a huge difference between both meanings. Most Jews I know are consumed with death. The fear level among the physically healthy is sadly staggering. Pretty much everyone I know assumes they’ll get cancer at some point, it’s just a matter of time. We buy cemetery plots by the bulk, as if shopping for a party at Costco. The family I was raised in loves obsessing about illness and death. No group of people jumps at the chance to participate in a hospital vigil more. They set up shop, bringing food, knitting, and whatever else needed to hunker down in a hospital hallway. It’s unfortunately part of the post Holocaust trickle down affect, where the threat of death literally lurked in every corner. Since most people I know are Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe, they remain traumatized by many facets of the war even decades later. It’s a combination of learned behavior and unintegrated pain and fear that has never been excised from these families. Different time, different knowledge, different emotional skill set, different priorities; I understand. However, the residual grim negativity and neuroses remains very much a thing. I too used to be obsessed with my own mortality. I lived in fear for the day when I or a loved one would be yanked from this life. That stopped once I began inner healing and grew to become in love not just with my own life, but with the gift of life in general. Obsessing about death is the mind’s way of preparing us for it, though of course that’s never possible. If we envision it then maybe the impact will be less shocking. We will see it coming. We will be on top of the terrible situation. It’s a pretty funny yet macabre scenario when someone dies in my neighborhood, and actual fights break out over which yenta will be the reigning queen of the shiva house. It’s unreal. A person just lost their life, the family is in the throes of grief, and certain women race to the finish line to gain control of the shiva meal schedule. They are addicted to the accolades so the self righteous impulsivity takes over. It’s essentially zero perspective and incredible self absorption, under the guise of help. But I digress. Well, not really. There’s always more than one way to look at things. Am I helping this grieving family for the right reasons and don’t need public recognition for it, or do I need some warped form of attention? Am I opening my eyes each morning in wonder and loving awareness of life, or am I relieved I outran the Angel of Death after I passed out watching Bravo? Like all things, prayer comes from a place of love or fear. It’s loving our wondrous eyes (our eyes!!) and being grateful to use them for another 24 hours, as opposed to being frightened they won’t work. And if we did survive the night, then what for? To just trudge through the same cycle as per usual, only to go to sleep with the same fears over and over until it’s really over? It’s not enough to be thankful to wake up. It must be that we understand the purpose of life. If we don’t the words kind of land nowhere. The point of prayer is to connect, and connection comes from a deep source within us before it can be felt outwards. God is smart; He knows you’re glad to be alive. I don’t think He gave us these prayers to test our manners like a school marm. I believe they were given to us to think about why we say them. What are words without meaning? Not much. What is a day without meaning, or an hour? Again, not much. It’s not being alive that counts. It’s what we do with that fact that matters. This isn’t a rah rah post about empowerment. Quite the opposite; it’s a post about the bliss that stems from humility. We have a job to do, and it’s not doing errands and making the meeting. It’s not even your professional human job. Yes, those things are important and essential for life. Our professions help us contribute to our families and to others, but we weren’t put here just to do them. I’ve heard Buddhist monks say that we must be tapped into the dharma as well as know our social security number. Both matter. One just matters more. So it’s not the inaction of not dying overnight that matters. We didn’t escape death. Those things aren’t up to us. It’s the action of honoring the joy of life, of doing and being good, of helping everyone and harming no one, and of relieving pain and suffering however we can. The intentions we have for praying will only really have the right ripple effect if we fully grasp the enormity of what we’re saying. God doesn’t need your words; He needs your presence. It’s why He put you here. I’m grateful you opened your eyes today. Thank you for seeing me and reading this. I see you too.
There’s a scene in Dirty Dancing, arguably the greatest movie of all time (I said arguably), in which Johnny cries out to Baby (real name Frances Hausman, but you knew that) that he’s so petrified of life and she’s not afraid of anything. Of course by “life” he meant he was too scared to stand up to that twerp Neil, who was infuriatingly insisting that the dance finale of the staff talent show be the pachanga. Baby tried to encourage him to fight for his vision and overcome his feelings of intimidation (you know this as well). Johnny burst forth with differentiating between him and her; he was poor, at the mercy of The Man, and afraid to lose his job. She was wealthy, privileged, didn’t have to fear being ejected from the Catskills, and was an inherently courageous girl “not afraid of anything”. “Me?? I’m afraid of EVERYTHING!”, she replied. It was an exchange of honesty that added new depth to their summer romance, as did changing in the car en route to the Sheldrake to perform the mambo. This all came to mind recently when a few women told me they look at me and see a women afraid of nothing. They were specifically talking about becoming a DJ, but also other major transitions I’ve made too. I was taken aback since prior to the DJ thing as well as those other major shifts, I felt like a young girl who was absolutely petrified of all of it. I was literally riddled with fear. I’m doing tons of shadow work that began years ago but majorly intensified this past summer. The realizations of things I need to look at keep coming in waves, some violent and some more subtle. But all contain the underlying common fear factor. I have been storing a large body of fear since childhood that I’m just now learning to manage. I am learning this with a book you all must order right now. I’m serious. It’s medicine in print. There isn’t a human on earth who shouldn’t read Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. Dana, I love you so much for telling me about this. Our culture teaches us to distract ourselves from anything unpleasant and to run from any negative feelings. The mind is on board with this since the function of the mind is to keep us safe. So it strategizes and we listen to protect ourselves from further pain. The mind might tell you to drink, pop a pill, work out, turn on the radio to drown out your thoughts, seek physical affection to soften the edge of hurt, turn on the TV, call a friend, or engage in an activity in which you excel. Some means of distraction are problematic and some are positive, but all are a means of avoiding pain in the moment. Friends, hugs, music, and going to the gym are great; just don’t use them to keep looking away from your deep reservoirs of icky stuff. The more we resist any form of hurt, the stronger the beast becomes. The more we try to stuff it down, the more we leave it alone to regenerate. This is why we can feel consumed and powerless when the wave of your personal pain body hits. It can be anger, sadness, frustration, self pity, fear etc. It hits without warning at unexpected or expected triggers. But here’s the thing, it’s hitting us to inform us that we need to direct our attention there. It’s not there to torture us. It’s there to lead us down the path to self healing. But first we must enter thorn covered gates of pain in order to open into the field of loveliness and warmth that resides within. There’s no way to skip the line. Sorry, Jews, I know how much you hate waiting on line. I’ll give you an example. The other day I was having a really good day. Then something happened and I was seized with terror. Bat to the knees, chest and head exploding terror. It was a very tough trigger and my entire system reacted as it always has. I was going to be in trouble. I was going to be punished. I felt hunted and victimized. I was in a state of genuine fright. Fear is the great anticipation of pain, and I was being faced with a situation that was guaranteed to be painful. I was in my car at the time. My hand instinctively reached to turn on the radio, since that’s what it’s always done. My brain sent the message to my body to distract me to protect me. But this other part of me said, no, I’m going to feel this now. I imagined my little self staring at this Fear Thing. It was ME seeing IT, not the other way around. It’s like confronting a bully that will always inevitably begin to skulk away after it realizes it has far less power than previously thought. I saw the fear, fully knowing it had come to visit me in that moment. I neither identified with it nor pushed it away. I didn’t ignore it or sweep it under the rug with its ancestors. I allowed it to be there and guess what? It passed through me quite quickly. My day resumed normally, productively, and fairly well. That moment of fear didn’t throw it off course. I kept my composure throughout by holding myself with clarity and awareness as to what was occurring. Such is the nature of the human condition. We are electromagnetic fields of constantly changing energy. We will be visited by thousands of joys and sorrows, all of which will leave only to return and leave again. The only constant is us and that inner spaciousness that is our design. We know it’s there because that’s what allows for thoughts and feelings to fill it temporarily. Only that which was once empty can be filled. It’s knowing how to hold onto true self love during these crazy fluctuations that creates a much better quality of life. There’s peace in knowing we aren’t out of control and at the mercy of external forces. Running away from anything reinforces the notion that we are too weak to handle what it is we are trying to escape. It’s not true though. Thoughts aren’t the truth. Ironically, the great strength in self care and self healing comes from accessing this incredible ability to direct tremendous compassion inward. We have such an easier time giving compassion to others. It’s much harder to give it to ourselves. It’s something no one else can do for us, which is what makes it such a magical power. Through whatever seemingly awful feeling that’s overtaking us at the moment, the gentle goal must be to hold ourselves with tender love and compassion as it passes through our person. Imagine yourself as a three year old who is afraid/angry/sad/ashamed and comforting that child with this protective love no matter what it’s going through. This is done while fully acknowledging and seeing whatever monster has come to visit. Just as it came, it will eventually leave. What will remain will be your ability to love yourself unconditionally through all circumstances. I’m really oversimplifying this, but this is the key to accessing the Buddha nature within you. You have it. You really have it. It’s seeing ourselves with a wise, clear, loving heart and not running from anything that eventually enables us to act well despite the fears and shames. This is a lifetime of practice but trust me, it’s the key to a better life. As we heal on an individual level we then start to heal those around us, which then begins to heal the greater collective. That’s what is meant by love and compassion originating from within, and what it means when we hear we can only love others as well as we love ourselves. I had no idea what that meant until I read this book and started listening to the loving wisdom of Jack Kornfield (podcasts and you tube). These daily tools have been life altering. The world is already a different place to me, and I loved it before. As I’m learning to manage my fear by holding myself with unconditional love, I think back to how I began to shift my life several years ago while being consumed with terror. I did it because I had another set of fears that were stronger than feeling inadequate, small, and intimidated. That was the fear of regret. The fear of regret outweighed the fear of throwing myself into the unknown of a new identity and new life. That’s what I told those women who see me as this brave woman taking her life by force. It’s not that I wasn’t scared. It’s that I was able to find that part of me that refused to go down without trying. Being brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you are but you go forth anyway. Thank you, Fear, I see you. You can sit next to me. You’re less scary when I give you permission to visit. But soon I’m going to get up and live my life according to my truth. Thank you for redirecting me to the inner teacher of love. I couldn’t have gotten to her without you.
Culture blah blah blah.... Restaurants blah blah blah... Theater blah blah blah... Nope, this ain’t that kind of I ️love New York post.
New York is representing something very specific at this stage in my life. It represents possibility. I’m always reading about many facets of the human condition, from the psychological to the spiritual and whatever I can find in between. Whatever the school of thought, there is constant mention about how people shrink themselves by locking their lives into these sad, tiny containers that can only hold so much. We build set perimeters around our existences and foolishly label them lives. There is almost no end to what human beings can accomplish. If someone can twist their body into a crazy yoga pose, so can you. If someone can scale a mountain, so can you. You might not want to, I sure as hell don’t, but you mostly likely posses the ability. We are created with these untapped, vast capabilities we often never discover by designing these incredibly lacking 3D human experiences. Think about it; at any given moment we could be whining about the same dumb thing we were five years ago, while there’s a doctor volunteering in some godforsaken country. Or an impoverished child sharing her food with another hungry youth. We have an endless stream of choices that shapes our days. I have a friend who has literally been complaining about the same topic for 17 years. Nothing has changed. Things don’t change unless we change first.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what New York symbolizes regarding divorce. We live near the greatest city in the world. No other place has burst forth with as much passion, innovation, creativity, music, fashion, craziness, and variety. Anything and everything can and does happen here. This is true of being divorced as well; it’s a major opportunity to completely change course. Anything that did not serve you in your last chapter can be reworked. Refreshed. Rejuvenated. In this sense it’s a gift. As I’m meeting more divorced people, men and women, it strikes me how even though all these people claim to have gotten divorced because their former situation wasn’t working for them, half of them lapse into the same unconscious choices they made before. The chance at greatness is being squandered by the lure of familiarity disguised as safety. They broke free and started to run, only to give up before they hit their stride. I shouldn’t care but I do (I guess I shouldn’t care about a lot of things but I can’t help it). It’s so frustrating. I’m thinking , “I know you want better so go get it!!” What it boils down to is an utter lack of self awareness and vision. It takes time to learn the new you and unlearn the old. Lots of time and introspection. Patience. Kindness. Self love. Just because you made the step to get divorced, it doesn’t mean you have a new life. You only have a new life if you work your ass off to create one. Signing a piece of paper doesn’t guarantee you a brand new start. Not if you’re going to stop yourself before you had a chance to believe that you can have what you claim to want. The spiritual teachers warn us not to shrink the magnificent essence of what it means to be alive with stupid bullshit. If we remain truly tapped into the splendor of loving awareness that we are at all times, we don’t get bent out of shape about most 3D concerns. Traffic becomes irrelevant. The friend who slighted you doesn’t become a topic of conversation. Your need to be right evaporates. If we are conscious and aware then we make choices that better jive with that belief. If we think we are small we keep playing small, case closed. Who we date, what we eat, who our friends are, what we read, how we spend our free time. All of it is a direct reflection of what we believe we are. Belief that you’re a limited person will keep you stuck in that stale storyline. A Tony Robbins type of motivational speaker will deliver a similar message. So will a Mark Groves kind of therapist. The common denominator is that WE MUST STOP PLAYING SMALL. IT IS HALF A LIFE. YOU ARE WAAAAAYYYYY MORE THAN THAT SO DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO UNDERSTAND THAT. Why do people become so moved staring at the vastness of the ocean, a field of wildflowers, or a clear, starry night sky? Because it reminds us of possibility. Greatness. Openness. Depths we cannot see. Distances we think we will never travel. Why is the heart connected to the element of air? Because our capacity to love has zero bounds. None. No limits. Our bodies are finite so it’s hard to comprehend that what’s inside it is without shape. I get that; it sounds so unfamiliar to those of us used to everything being in set formation. Schedules, thoughts, meals, words, songs, everything seems to have a beginning and an end. True, that all does. But we don’t, which is why we’re so superior and so blessed. It hit me yesterday why right now I’m having such a love affair with this city, in addition to the obvious cool factor. It’s not that. I don’t care about trends or any of that nonsense. It’s because New York represents freedom of spirit. And life without that is a form of death. Living here and not taking advantage of all this place offers equates not living life to the fullest within your heart. What a shame; to be so fortunate to have this incredible opportunity and let it float away because you were too small to want bigger. Wanting gets you nothing but unfulfilled dreams. Dreams, People!!! Dreams are so major, they exist to become reality. We want that, right? Stop wanting and start backing up your own claims by creating for yourself. Don’t stop until you go to bed smiling every night. I’m not talking about easy. I’m talking about big. Once you tap into the enormity of who you are the difficulties of life have such less power over you. You can get divorced ten times and make the same shrinking moves each time, landing you not much further than where you began. There are times for baby steps and times for leaps. But if you never leap you’ll never live in accordance with your inherent design, which is sheer splendor , power, and magnitude. What a waste of a pre war rent controlled apartment.
So my son’s bar mitzvah is around the corner. As of today we have a general idea of how we will be celebrating but nothing has been solidified. This is the opposite approach I had to my two daughters’ parties which had me turned into a total bat mitzvah Momzilla✡️. Not the crazy, bitchy, controlling kind. Just the kind who was way too excited because she had nothing else going on in her life and desperately needed a sense of purpose and creative outlet (run on sentence intended). My girls’ parties were magnificent affairs. Every detail was perfect and wrought with symbolism. The color schemes were carefully selected based on their personalities and the seasons in which the party took place. We had more menu tastings than Harry and Meghan ( I don’t buy that whole thing for a minute, btw. There’s no way Kate doesn’t despise her.) There were scripts mapping out the parties to the minute. The invitations had to be just so in order to set the mood of the party prior. As I’m writing this I feel a mixture of humorous self deprecation and embarrassment. Oh, I forgot the videos. If I do say so myself, my videos are kinda legendary amongst my peeps. But for my eldest daughter I cannot believe I made my guests sit through a FORTY FIVE MINUTE montage of her eating ice cream and taking a bath as a baby. I redeemed myself with the hilarious OTHER TWO VIDEOS though, and I still hear six years later that her “Call Me Maybe” Justin Bieber/ Selena Gomez video was the best they’ve ever seen🏻. For my second daughter, brace yourself, a choreographer was hired. I want to shoot myself rereading that. Bottom line, I had been craving a platform to finally get a chance to do my thing. I love decor. I love food and choosing menus. I love the details that make anything chic, fun, fabulous, and memorable. I love the perfect song choice. Aesthetics are a joyful endeavor for me. I’m very decisive and am lucky to work with a brilliant event planner. Andy is a dear friend and one of the funniest and most creative individuals out there. We have a blast together and are always on the same page. I once gave him a magazine article that reviewed a restaurant on the Lower East Side, and instructed him to, “make it look like this”. It was Dirty French btw. I wanted him to give the party the mood of the super chic, hot pink ceramic roosters that adorn the restaurant. He got me immediately. I’d never even been there, I just spotted the review in the New York Times magazine and tore out the page. He said to me two weeks ago at our first meeting for my son that he couldn’t believe how my approach is so vastly different from the first two. He basically told me I was an obsessed lunatic for the girls. I laughed and replied that I have a life now. I’m fulfilled creatively in so many areas and I’m endlessly grateful for that. All the sections of the blog that require creativity, innovation, originality, writing, and attention stretch me in ways I need. DJing feeds my soul. The excitement in putting the right songs together makes me giddy. I dance my butt off when I practice; dancing has always been a need as well. I go to a music school which puts me in a creative environment at least once a week, with people who live and breathe precision and beats. Through the blog I get to collaborate with other Creatives who speak the same language through different mediums. Finally having a means through which to routinely express my ideas has massively taken the edge off. It’s like oxygen deprivation for anyone to bottle up creativity. It erodes you as the frustration builds over the years. I had no place to put my voice, so you’re damn right the lining of the invitations mattered!!!! I look at that version of me, so well meaning and enthusiastic, and I want to hug her. She was so sweet in her extreme joy in being able to showcase her talents, albeit through her kids (an all too common mom move). My life is different today in that I have one. This upcoming party will be fantastic; that’s just how we roll here, we can’t help it. The video will be my best yet. The ideas we are discussing for food will be rad AF. The color scheme has been chosen and indeed reflects both the season and religious significance of my son’s name. The music better rock or else. The speeches will be witty, entertaining, and most importantly, short. But the attitude this time around is very “sure, whatever”. It feels good to stay on top of the situation and not be consumed by it. It’s important, just not everything. I have other focuses. The results will be the same but with much less effort. How interesting; the unnecessary self imposed pressure is such a metaphor. We can achieve the same results, if not better ones, by putting things in perspective and being in cruise control a little. Over exertion is a false sense of security and control. It’s too much. It’s not beneficial. As I’m learning to release the grip on so many other things in my life, it’s gratifying to be cool about this too. Life is already beautiful and perfect. We can only realize that when we slow down and stop to see it. Deena, this one’s for you: “And now... let’s party!” 🕺🏽🏼🕺🏽🏼
A piece of advice; when you know in your heart you have met your soul family, never ever let them go. These are the people that have traveled through time and space to find you. To heal you. To infuse your human bones with the absolute certainty that you are bursting with purpose, and that you need not feel like an alien anymore. Soul families speak to each other with no words. I’ve experienced this inexplicably deep understanding and recognition with each of the women I’m thinking of right now (and one man). This silent connection takes my breath away, the purity and sharp cleanliness of it. Three of the women I’m thinking of took one look at me and that was it, all before we ever exchanged words. One looked at me and the literal dam burst. I didn’t know her name but my tears informed me that names are just a surface detail sometimes. I was flooded with this overwhelming avalanche of being just so utterly known and felt. This doesn’t happen often, and I imagine to most people, never. Each of these humans came to me at very specific times and have enriched many dimensions of my life since then. Three of them I’ve met more recently. The other two I’ve known for a long time but didn’t know well until it was divinely timed that we enter each other’s lives in a more important way. To think that out of all the places on this massive planet we call home, all of us were put in the same radius of each other. Any one of us could have been anywhere but we were gently placed together for so many reasons. The spiritual community I’m a part of in my neighborhood is exceptional. It has given me an entirely new life, along with the creative community I’m now a part of too. A life I took to like a parched fish to fresh water. These are the women that see inside me. A few have told me it’s clear this isn’t my first rodeo. As in, I’ve lived past lives. I’ve always felt like a very old soul so this idea feels right to me. I don’t need tangible proof, I have proof on a different plane. The word “alienation” obviously comes from feeling like an alien. Before I knew such a word existed, I recall feeling like this as a kid. I’d stare out this huge window in my room onto this vast elevation of trees and feel confusingly adrift. What a relief it is to be exposed to vocabulary as an adult and be able to identify feelings you formerly lacked the ability to explain. This soul family has given me tremendous tools to heal, and I share all I’m learning with them too. What a beautiful thing it is to text a woman with a message of a spiritual teaching instead of nasty gossip. I’m no stranger to the latter, but I know which kind of text feels a whole lot kinder; to both myself and others. And how wonderful it is to have people to talk to about such things as visions, past lives, meditative practice, and truth, and not be looked at as a crazy hippie. They just get It because they think that way too. One member of this sisterhood is a very talented healer. She has x ray vision into the body and soul. I’ve had some astrology readings with her that have blown my mind. While I sat there quietly she mentioned things about me and my past that I’ve never told anyone. Literally no one. And she knew. She knew because we are connected on an unseen level. I feel so sad for people who believe we only exist in the sad, stale tedium of 3D. We are so much more than bored, stressed, agitated bodies waiting in line. I often write of the vastness and limitless nature of our souls. It’s when we claw our way out of 3D, whether we know it or not, that we encounter our soul family. We create an opening for them to finally find us and teach us what we were destined to learn. Soul family members hold no judgement. They just love, heal, and hold space for one another so that we can then go out and do that for others. I’ve written many times on this blog how strangers are always finding me and confiding in me. Last week I went out alone to watch a friend’s band perform. I sat by myself at a table watching this big group of friends hanging out at the venue. I love people watching so I was quite content just to be. Within minutes I was basically swarmed and enveloped by this group in such a nice way. This happens to me a lot so I wasn’t taken aback, and it’s just been a point of humorous amusement to me until recently. After immersing myself in intense inner healing, one member of my soul fam explained why. It’s too personal to share as I’m processing it all, but it made complete sense. I’ve been clearly picturing all we’ve discussed as if I’m watching a movie, which is really one of the objectives of meditation. To just observe as much as possible without getting sucked into the undercurrents of our story. One girl in the group at the club asked me my middle name. I told her it was a Jewish Hebrew name since I’m a super Jew. She said , “ I’m also a super Jew. My grandparents were holocaust survivors.” I said mine were too. She then said hers were Bielski Partisans, and I said so were mine. WHAT????? Do you have any idea what a small sub-sect of survivors are Bielski partisans? They were Polish resistance fighters who lived in the forest for years. The chances of me meeting a fellow granddaughter of this group of people, especially since survivors are rapidly dying, let alone in a live music club on Bleecker street in the Village of NYC, is as close to zero as possible. I was clearly meant to meet this girl. She stood hugging me and crying in the bathroom. There were certain events leading up to me being in that club that I can clearly chart. I was supposed to be somewhere else that night initially. Around this time I was going through another painful awakening, so I reached out to a couple members of my tribe. Each one offered me ways to soothe myself through this process, arming me with a clearer understanding of the bigger picture. When an interaction with someone feels medicinal, that’s probably a sign they’re a member of your soul family. You feel calm. A healing presence is a gift. Receive that gift and never take it for granted. The word “awareness” has been having a moment for awhile now. We can never have enough of it. We must be aware of it all; the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. It’s the awareness of the beautiful that makes this realistic experience so magical. These women are magic for me, and I am in awe of my connection to them. Think about the vibes you give off when you are truly in a state of awe and gratitude. You radiate good. You shine, even for just a moment until some jerk cuts you off in traffic. But the more moments we have like that, the power of them accumulates. You’ll find that you have more of those than annoying, infuriating ones. The spaces in between the lousy times grows. Awe multiplies when magic is shared. To quote Ram Dass again, we are all here to walk each other home. And I feel so guided that Source gave me these humans as walking partners. It just makes everything better. One thing I can tell you is that in order for your tribe to find you, you have to clear out a lot of old blockages, pain, and low vibrational stuff. We attract what we give off, that is Law. The lotus grows only from the mud. There is no prize before the intense training for the race. When you connect with who is meant for you, in the deepest sense, the work will be the best gift you have ever given yourself. Find yourself and you will find your people, I promise. They’re waiting for the real you to come say hello.
Starting today, I will monitor all my thoughts and check if they are coming from an empowered or disempowered place. I will cooperate with what Source is giving me at this exact moment. I choose that cooperation from an empowered place because I am in control of my life right now. I will not resist any circumstance or lesson because my ego feels things should be different. I am not a disempowered victim who is forced to eat whatever is served. I accept reality as is with Radical Acceptance, leaning into the discomfort and dissatisfaction I have in certain areas. I accept that I have no ability to fix the past or determine the future. I radically accept parts of myself, habits, and thought patterns with loving awareness. I will no longer berate myself for any of those things; I know now where they all originated from and that none of it was ever my fault. I will release my tendency to over analyze and dissect; those serve to make sense of certain situations that confused and hurt me. Analyzing everything was a survival skill I picked up as a child in order to attempt to understand my surroundings. That skill was honed well into adulthood. I have other skills now so I can put the old ones to rest. My life is different. Old stories and old versions of me don’t belong here anymore. I choose my new life out of empowerment. I am worthy of self forgiveness and self love. I love all the destructive thoughts and feelings I have throughout the day, because it is they who have taught me the opposite. With gentle, loving kindness towards myself I place all those thoughts and feelings into glass jars and stack them outside the cave in which I sit. This cave has only me, the real Me, and a candle that never flickers or extinguishes. I honor all mental and emotional activity while keeping them outside of my innermost sanctuary, my everlasting Self. I decide which thoughts can join me. I decide which feelings will serve me today in my quest to maintain a vibration of joy. I see my body with reverence; it is a vessel for love, life, healing, and nothing else. I was placed in it 41 years ago to only contribute good to this world. I regard all addictive holding patterns with loving awareness as well, for they too were developed as a means of emotional survival. They once helped me superficially. They are no longer of use to me. I am grateful for the muddy waters that have been stirred up once again from the bottom of my lake. I can only skim whatever fat arises to the surface. I cannot fix what isn’t revealed to me. The more I rest, the more I repair. The slower my motions, the more control I have. I will not lose my foundation. I will stay true to the integrity of whatever pose I’m in. I know that I can be reborn every day. There is no cap on how many new versions of us can arise; this is proof of our limitless nature. I will not shrink myself with formed thoughts of any kind, for What I really am is formless. I will flow with nature right now and give the moon whatever doesn’t belong with me anymore. Old attachments, reactivity, judgements, fears, habits, and ego based doubts are mine to release. A new season is upon us. The season of renewal. I give these away from a source of strength not weakness. I am already free. My mind tries to destroy that freedom by telling me all kinds of vicious theories and tales, but I am already free since birth. I will keep entering new doors of loving self awareness, self acceptance, self worth and finally, true self love. I will not fill gaps and spaces with external attention and validation. I will honor those gaps and learn what their silences have to further educate and enlighten me. I will respect my yin side and just rest, knowing that all the right things will make their way towards me in time. People, situations, and relationships will come at me magnetically if I am calm in a state of trust. This trust must extend to my deepest places as well. Trust of self is new when you’ve never been able to trust those external to you either. I will smile as I crack open harder, knowing full well how much stronger and cleaner this will make me. I am grateful for all lessons I have been deemed ready for. I am grateful for those who have plunged me into pain so I can learn how to resurface on my own. Any place within me that has been lacking, I will pour loving kindness into. I will direct the compassion I so easily give to others inward. It’s time. I will proceed with empowerment. I will repeat this until more versions of me shrivel up and are cast aside. The journey continues. It always continues...
Strength vs Flexibility. This is an interesting one, in that I need to start firmly differentiating between these traits. What do I mean? Well, I do know that there is a large dose of strength that’s required to be flexible in life. Only the weak and frightened cling to the controlled rigidity of unhealthy, outdated paradigms, maniacal eating habits, Nazi like schedules and regimens etc. There must be baseline seeds of courage to try new things, embrace new ideas, and welcome change. Inner strength and confidence is needed to know you won’t fall apart by not being able to predict and control the outcomes of life, be they minor or major. To stay safe isn’t very strong; that’s what keeps us in our shadows. Scary conversations, inviting new people into our carefully constructed lives, displaying vulnerability, and the big one; BEING WRONG. We avoid feeling uncomfortable by living life according to the familiar sensory experiences that we have always expected. At this stage in my life, a time where I’ve built up so much inner strength, I have indeed naturally adopted increased flexibility too. I feel strong therefore I can be adaptable, riding out the waves of life. I’m much less afraid to fall, knowing how resilient I’ve become. My mind is open and I’m embracing new ideas. I’m not judging the stories surrounding others nearly as much, and am understanding that anything is possible. That people make mistakes. That new chapters and belief systems are attainable to us all. That’s it’s admirable and brave to work on ourselves and steer the ship in a new direction. Strength and flexibility have become interchangeable badges of honor for me. But alas, they are not the same at all.
Recently I allowed (subconsciously) certain patterned situations into my life that cannot continue. I’m so trusting in what the Universe places in front of me, and so I’ve “gone with the flow” too readily, often without slowing down to calmly observe the facts. I’m flexible, right?? What I’ve learned is this; just because something or someone is placed in your path, this does not mean you have to pick it/them up. Maybe an opportunity has arrived as a test to see just how ready we are to level up. Do we rise above our instinct to be flexible and instead use caution and rationale? Do we focus on keeping an open heart while simultaneously maintaining healthy boundaries to protect ourselves? Do we learn that being flexible doesn’t mean we have to dive head first into any situation, simply because it’s new and it is “new” that we want? Do we realize that strength means saying no, and that perhaps another variation of weakness is the inability to keep ourselves untangled from other peoples’ issues? I’ve been writing a lot about adaptability, which is a trait governed by the water chakra. But I’m thinking I might be a bit unbalanced in that area. It needs some tending. By welcoming too much adaptability into my life lately, I haven’t been acting very strong; I’ve been too permeable and therefore, not very strong. There’s such a thing as being too flexible. That’s when it crosses a line into foolishness. Yes, true strength is required to say yes to life. But it’s also required to say no. No to bad ideas. No to stagnancy. No to old narratives and familiar bullshit. No to the old versions of ourselves that each of us keep bringing into new chapters. Strength is walking away without the pressure of having to keep molding and bending ourselves just because another asks us too, however sweetly. To be strong is to be self aware, and to make choices in the very best interest of self care. To know where we need to go. To forgive ourselves for being too permeable and for letting others slip past the gates. We are the security guards at the booth at the entrance to our lives; if we slack off then the riff raff sneaks in. Strength is being on guard while asking lots of questions before opening the gate. You wouldn’t let strangers into your home, so why in the interest of flexibility would we allow them into our lives? Yes, when we are strong we are equipped to embrace change. Firm roots yield beautiful, outstretched branches. A solid foundation won’t get knocked over by fierce winds. This is all true. But being strong also requires knowing how and when to choose to embrace change. Certain waves of life are coming for us no matter what. We will not want or ask for most of what life throws at us, but deal with it we must. However, there are other waves in which we do get to decide whether or not we are going to run into the surf. Strength is knowing when to stay put on the shore, enjoy your quiet time, feel the earth beneath you, and embrace stillness. To be strong is to be patient, while being flexible about our preconceived notions for how life is meant to be. I am both. I can be both. I will be both.
My DJ instructor and I were talking the other day about the high suicide rate amongst comedians. My Scratch lessons are usually three hours; the first hour is just for catching up. Esquire and I need a lot of yenta time. It’s usually a mix of my personal life (during which he laughs both at and with me), random facts and events, life philosophy, pop culture, and whatever other bizarre topics weave their way into our airspace. These discussions are just one of the ways I’m certain he was divinely placed on my life. I cannot flourish or learn unless I’m deeply connected to someone. It’s just my process. I’d never have been the student who comes to class, sticks only to the musical task at hand, then slips out back on to the streets of Manhattan. I was BFF with my trainer of ten years, BFF with my contractor, BFF with my OBGYN, and BFF with my BFF’s. It’s just how I’ve always rolled. There’s either a closeness or not. As an aside, I’m working on finding a balance in other areas of my life. There needs to be a middle ground sometimes, just not with my Sensei.
Anyway, we were contemplating the correlation between suicide and hilarity. This has always seemed like an obvious pairing to me, much like the suicide rate amongst musicians. I’ve never questioned that ratio either. Don’t misunderstand me; it’s horrible, tragic, and always leaves me feeling bereft when a true talent in the world vanishes. Someone who made us laugh will never do that again. Someone who made us dance and feel will never help us articulate our stuff stuff again. Not that anyone’s tragedy is ever about us. Of course not; it’s just that their special creative gift gave us something, even if it was several moments of feeling understood at a time we needed it desperately. This human gig is SO HARD. It is these intensely creative souls, especially the funny ones, who notice everything about the lunacy of the human condition. They miss nothing, zero in on the minutia and nuances of life, and spin it into a joke that our brains, bellies, and weak vaginal muscles react to. What is downright depressing or messed up is made lighter by highlighting the truth of it in a kick ass, dry delivery. Some of the best moments of my adult life have been spent jammed into a tiny, sticky table with strangers in the basement of a dirty New York City comedy club. Listening to these comedians dissect the overwhelming nuttiness of being alive. Whether it’s joking about a hot dog, divorce, a bizarre sexual experience, religion, or the batshit moments found in the mundane workplace, it all feels better once it’s brought to light on a dark stage. It is both a gift and a curse to notice things to such an extent. Bob Marley once said that his biggest blessing and biggest problem is that he notices everything. As a fellow human who notices a lot and picks up on surrounding energies constantly, I relate completely. It’s the details that make life so beautiful yet so painful, and the onslaught of information can indeed feel like an assault on the senses. The more you notice and see, the more the mind has to contend with. I imagine that for a deeply sensitive person who can’t escape all the swirling, often harsh facts of life, the only way out is well, out. Clearly anyone who takes their own life is grappling with some degree of mental illness, and that can’t be discounted. So when you’re a person whose purpose in life is to make everything funny, but you just can’t anymore, then what? When the laughs die down and the humor feels like denial...?
Those who create are those who feel on levels the average person most likely doesn’t have access to (yet or ever). Creatives just operate differently. Their language is their own. To not create is to die anyway. When the bleak, ice cold reality of life is too painful to tolerate, and all that you notice and internalize makes it too hard to function, indeed not having to function seems easier. It’s the same layered well of pain that causes these comedians to extract the razor sharp laughs from a situation. Laughing and crying in the extreme sense are both considered “hysterical”. People always say “If you don’t laugh you cry”. It’s because they are so closely related. Some of the funniest stuff in life is also the darkest. To notice those things and turn painful truths into entertainment is a true gift. My favorite guests on the Howard Stern show are the comics. Next are the singer songwriters, but I’m endlessly fascinated by the funny ones. Because humor is gospel to me, especially when it’s cutting and the blow of the observation comes down hard and fast. Most of the time it’s stuff that’s crossed our minds before; so not only are our musings validated and we feel in on the joke, but we get to laugh at ourselves too. Self deprecation is such a crucial tool to have. It’s so important not to take life too seriously. There must be a balance of heavy and light, as in all things. These comedians show us how to do that. Joan Rivers, the reigning queen of comedy, turned her beloved husband’s suicide into one of her most famous bits. She took her tears and made them laughs. It was her way of coping and going on, and she included her audience in her pain. Joan was a soldier who laughed her way through life into her 80’s, until some idiot doctor killed her during routine surgery. I swear I’ve fantasized about tracking him down and vindicating her. She wasn’t ready to die, just like so many of these comedians don’t feel equipped to live anymore. It’s too hard, too sad. It’s not funny anymore. And without the humor there’s no more oxygen. I loved Brody Stevens, the most recent comic to end his life. He was so great. This post is dedicated to him. I thank him for all the laughs he injected into my life, and mourn the jokes I’ll never get to hear. Laughter really is the best medicine, but as we know, not everything is curable.
About a year ago I started to think of gender differences as related to the elements. This was before I knew anything about the chakra system in conjunction with nature, a topic I’ve started to touch upon. I recall how this began. It was when during the earlier stages of my experience with meditation, I inexplicably kept feeling so watery. This was soothing to me. A sensation much like lying on a water bed, my innards were undulating with these aquatic feelings. It felt right at the time. My back was a mess of knots, so I scheduled a few Thai massage sessions with my friend Vikki. Vikki legit studied this healing technique in Thailand; homegirl knew her shizz. I told her about my recent liquidity, as well as about a personal struggle I was working through. She validated my thoughts and gave shape to them by explaining to me what the water element represents. It made tremendous sense, and the imagery revealed itself to me without my intentionally conjuring it up, since I had yet to understand its implications.
Since then I have come to identify women with water. Water is calming, cooling, refreshing, essential; we’d die of thirst without it, both physically and spiritually. Water is rebirth, renewal, hydrating, healing, soothing. Water grows and nurtures life, as we do. Water seeps deep into the cracks of dry solidity, sealing those parched, empty spaces with her magic. Nothing grows without her. Nothing is green, vibrant, or alive. If she decides not to come, everyone and everything suffers. All living things begin to wither. Life collapses. Tribal dances have been done since the dawn of time, begging her to bless the lands with her wet grace. Water is sneaky in how chameleon like she can be. She changes form according to the needs of those around her. She is willful and frightening (them bitches be crazy!) or eerily yet wisely still. She can destroy or quench. She can drown or lift life up, grabbing up hard matter out of the earth with her silky, liquid hands. She flows over and around massive boulders, pours herself with staggering force over land masses. She is a gently babbling brook, the contents of the drinking glass in your hand, the iceberg that destroyed the Titanic, and Niagra Falls. The largest creatures on earth call her home. She spreads her love over 71% of this planet. She rises from below and falls from the sky. She is everywhere you need her to be. Without her everything dies. Nothing can ever be beautiful.
Men are the earth. Strong, solid, shades of brown and tan. They are the foundations of life. Great structures are built on them. No matter how many stories high, the earth below doesn’t falter. In anger the earth ruptures. When a man is feeling off, great schisms and divides create separation . Nothing feels whole. The rumblings leading up to this are felt in our core. Experts attempt to measure and gauge the size and breadth of these schisms, but men are so much deeper than they appear. They’re not so easy to quantify. However, when a man is in a weakened state he can support nothing. Nothing strong is ever built on a shaky foundation. The stories he had the potential to carry are over. The roots of life are only empowered when enmeshed with male strength. We can dig deep into men, they want us to. Men are sand. A soft, grainy collective stretching to meet their women. It is in that space of merging where the magic of life happens. That wet, cool part of the beach that is everyone’s favorite part to walk upon. The place where we write silly words in the sand with our fingers, knowing but not minding at all the impermanence of these writings. Where the waves roll in to kiss the sand that waits patiently for her to come and go. The flatness of the land is complimented by the ever changing choreography of water. The land watches in solid fascination as it’s liquid counterpart moves about, doing her thing. Enchanted by her movement, as she is calmed by his steadiness. She needs him too. She can’t sprinkle her magic without a place to catch it. Nature is a partnership. Each element is a perfect instrument playing in an orchestra. There are wondrous solos as well as brilliant collaborations. No one can play alone all the time, though practice is usually solitary. It’s the contrast in nature that highlights the beauty and importance of each elemental component.
As for me, I feel like water more than ever. I’ll just have to keep flowing until a stretch of shore feels safe to me. Then I can roll calmly in towards a piece of solid ground that has been quite thirsty for some time now.
If he tells you it’s love at first sight, is it wildly romantic or too fast?
If he tells his daughter about you within the first week, is it an act of certainty or irresponsibility?
If he shows you off to all his friends (and his friend’s girlfriends), is it flattering or impulsive?
If he has dated a hundred women in a year, was it necessary research or an inability to commit to himself or others?
If he pursued you for three months then fizzles out in three weeks, was it just the thrill of the chase?
If he tells you you’re his angel, his goddess, and his girl, is it sweet or bullshit?
If he writes you incredibly romantic, old fashioned love letters, the kind that are yellowed over time and kept in a shoebox in a closet, tied in a ribbon, then can hardly text you, have you lost your luster or is he unbalanced emotionally?
If you wake up to lengthy “I miss you” texts sent in the middle of the night, is it sweet or obsessive?
If he tells you you’re his only focus and that your voice is the only one he wants to hear, then is suddenly unavailable via phone... Am I naive and too open hearted?
Am I trusting to the point where certain flapping red flags aren’t identified?
No and perhaps. Ya know, I believed and still believe every wonderful thing this guy said to me. I’m not stupid, and I am a feelings ninja. I know when someone is being sincere. I also know my worth and that damn right, I am a goddess that a guy would leave work for in the middle of the day to come hold me for an hour and a half. I am worth telling your friends about if you’re lucky enough to land me, though telling your kid is reckless. I am the one after a hundred others, that would finally draw out this side that had been bottled up in a long, bland, disconnected marriage. Or am I simply the hundred and first?
When he told me, “be gentle with my heart” I listened. I can’t ever not appreciate that level of vulnerability, especially from a man. He just wasn’t gentle with mine, which just makes him a selfish hypocrite. Is it assumed that a plea for emotional gentleness is reciprocal? Yes, right?? Or was I foolish for making such an assumption?
When he told me I’m no longer single and off the market, and started making plans for us for the summer (concerts! The Hamptons!), was it jumping the gun or was it the thought process of a man who knew as soon as he locked eyes with me that I was It?
I know that love and certainty at first sight exists. We hear those stories all the time. I know that he meant it when he told me that first seeing me was “as if the whole room went dark and there was a spotlight on you”. That his requests that I float to him over the Tapan Zee bridge midday were made with genuine urgency. It was real, it was just temporary. It’s very easy for us to see divinity and Source revealed in our lives when things go well. Gratitude comes easily to the joyful. It’s more important and necessary to hold onto appreciating experiences when they’re hard.
So here’s the deal; this guy did pursue me for several months, and that’s a nice feeling.
Lesson 1; being pursued feels good. It shows actual interest. He resurfaced at a time that another idiot had blown me off, and I had truly reached a place where I wanted a break from dating.
Lesson 2; space was cleared to allow this experience into my life, which means it was necessary for me to have it.
Lesson 3; I love the intensity of romantic words and actions. It felt real during the brief time it lasted, and I want to feel that again, only from a stable, consistent person. The pendulum swing that governed this guy’s actions and decisions had zero to do with me.
Lesson 4; knowing this was not my fault. Unlike in the past where I invited unworthy experiences into my life because my self worth and standards were considerably lower, that wasn’t the case here. I arrived at this junction in a very strong place, without the need for a man at all. I had finally, after two years of intensely introspective and spiritual work, reached a point where I was truly comfortable and proud to be single. I just wanted to focus on my own life. Trusting the plan I know the Universe has for me, allowed me to just be still with myself. To not need outside attention or validation. I can make my own plans and be my own date. It is when we let go of how we think things are meant to be that Source has yet another lesson to teach us. And those lessons are often sent in the form of other humans who are unreliable, so that we reinforce the need to rely on ourselves.
Lesson 5; there’s always a lesson.
Lesson 6; though this whole episode was completely confusing and extreme, not once did I fall apart. It was a bit of a struggle at times, bringing to light residual attachment and abandonment issues (it takes a looooong time to clear a pain body), but I never lost my balance. I meditated on my root chakra and imagined myself as an unbreakable oak. The wind can blow and branches can shake, but the trunk remains immovable. I meditated on my water chakra and chose stillness over the rising, evil, crashing mental waves that tried to drown me as my ego watched and laughed from dry land . I lowered my fire chakra and didn’t let the anger at having been treated unjustly burn my foundation to the ground. It is always a challenge in these situations to keep our heart chakra open and airy, and it’s hard for me right now, but I know it’s the only choice. To hold on to the hurt, the unfairness, and the mind fuck is to close down. And to close the heart is to destroy yourself and prevent the beauty of life from entering you once again.
Lesson 7; stay open always, even if you have to pry those gates apart with a will and force you didn’t know you had. Be sad, be confused, be agitated, be scared. Feel it all then send those feelings on their way. Don’t let them overstay their welcome. Let them wash over you then pass through you.
Lesson 8; admitting all of this isn’t weak, it’s necessary in order to process. Progress only arises from the ability to process.
Lesson 9; we don’t have to understand or make sense of anything, we just have to trust that each experience is leading us to where we are meant to be. An old one but a good one.
Lesson 10; don’t get so caught up in beautiful, romantic, adoring words and actions being thrown at you at lightning speed. Enjoy it, savor it, recognize the good feelings born from it, but stay centered. Balance must not only be maintained during hard times, but during good times as well. Don’t let the ego start frantically gobbling up compliments, only to never be satiated. Don’t lose your reality even as you’re being told you’re the woman of someone’s dreams.
Lesson 11; don’t kick yourself for investing time, emotion, and trust into something like this. It’s all part of the process of being single. Stuff like this is par for the course. Learn from it and grow. Take what you need from each experience then delete the contact.
Lesson 12; consistency is more attractive than hasty cries of love.
Lesson 13; don’t waste another minute thinking about some dude who has probably dated another 100 chicks in the time it took to write this post. He told me he no longer needed therapy. Um...
Hey, Fam. Touched down yesterday from another special trip to Israel, and I’d love to tell you all about it. Israel is such a small country, yet every time I go there it’s an entirely different trip. It’s in the middle of the desert but is incredibly advanced in so many fields; medically, agriculturally, government security, scientifically, the beauty and dermatology industries, just to name a few. Artistically and culturally, Israel is at the top of its game. It is churning out quality television, movies, and documentaries. The depths into which they delve into the human condition is astounding. Israel is a volatile and emotional country, and its actors portray human emotion on a staggeringly honest level. Fauda, Shtisel, and Beauty and the Baker are just some examples of the current Israeli TV craze. I remember going to the Israeli Film Festival in New York back in my college days.
Israel is still such a newborn of a country. Each time I go it’s incredible how much more developed it is. Beautiful hotels, restaurants, social initiatives, state of the art technology, nightlife, art, music and fashion are constantly evolving. It’s a fascinating dichotomy of history, biblical significance, and cutting edge modernity. The passion and sheer obsessive love for Israel, is unmatched by citizens of other nations. What keeps me aching to breathe in Israeli oxygen is how utterly alive the atmosphere is there. The air is electric. Life always hangs in the balance there; they live, love, fight, and play so fiercely because they can’t afford not to. They take nothing for granted. Whether or not they can afford it, they live life to the fullest. Travel is a given, even if that means a backpack and a youth hostel. Israelis don’t waste time in that sense. They soak up every precious moment. It’s this passion that pulls me in continuously. It’s also why it’s so hard to leave. I love America and I’m wild about New York, but it’s a very different existence.
This trip was particularly special since I went to visit my daughter who is in school there. It was wonderful to see Israel through her eyes, eat at her favorite restaurants, hang out with her friends, and even attend school with her. I showed her some places I knew, she showed me some places she knew, and we went lots of new places together. It was a joy for me to see how comfortable she is there and how well she’s acclimated to her new surroundings. It’s still a foreign country in the Middle East (or as Ali G calls it; Middle Earth). In Tel Aviv we stayed at a fabulous, chic hotel called the Drisco. It is in the German colony near the artsy Neve Zedek area, and was the only hotel there 150 years ago. It shut down after WW2, and reopened 7 months ago. Unassuming on a quiet street, it’s a quick walk to many nearby shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, and art galleries. Wandering around Israel is such a joy for me. While my teenage daughter slept late, I’d walk around for a couple hours, weaving in and out of unfamiliar streets. I feel connected to every Jew living in Israel. That might sound naively idealistic but I mean it. There’s a common bond we all share, regardless of political or religious viewpoints. Israel is the vegan capital of the world, and the food there is off the charts fresh and delicious. Tel Aviv has a fantastic yoga community and gay community. It’s an incredibly progressive and open minded city. I did some fabulous shopping there at Juliette and Arraketa, both very cutting edge in their designs. I love supporting Israeli designers. Another highlight was our walk from Tel Aviv to Old Yaffo/Jaffa. I do that walk every time I go. It’s along the stunning coastline, and it’s wonderful to see Jews and Arabs all just enjoying the same beautiful route. Families enjoying the sunny outdoors all look the same. Once we reached Yaffo we ate at a beautiful restaurant overlooking the sea. Then we went for massages at the Japanese Yoko Kitahara spa. Such a special, healing experience. I got a shiatsu and asked the masseuse to work on my heart space. Her face lit up when I requested that, instead of the expected neck or back issues she usually gets. The reaction in her eyes told me she was my sister who spoke my language. This allowed me to trust her and surrender to her completely. We hugged at the end and I felt so connected to her. In Israel you hug your masseuse🇮🇱. Dinner that night was on a bustling street in Yaffo, where Israeli rap music and hookah pipes created an organic, local atmosphere. The second half of the trip was spent in Jerusalem. I stayed at my favorite hotel in the world, the King David. I first entered it as an 8 year old. It felt like a majestic palace then, and it feels that way still. The fragrance in the lobby is something I have never inhaled elsewhere. It’s a magical place that seriously feels like home. The history in that hotel is unmatched. I had breakfast one day next to the famous Russian refusenik, Natan Sharansky. The King David is around the corner from where my daughter’s school is located, as well as a nice walk to the center of town. I remember all the routes from when I attended school there myself as a teenager. It’s amazing how that muscle memory kicks in after all those years. I take pride in remembering those things, as well as joy in the impression that they’ve obviously left. One day I went to school with my daughter. I loved it. We began the day with a lecture and video presentation, which is a joy for someone who hasn’t been in a classroom for 20 years. That day the school took us to visit different sects of Hasidic Jews in ultra orthodox neighborhoods.
There are so many sub-sects of extremely observant Jews. It was interesting to get an insight into what makes them define themselves the ways that they do. It did make me a bit sad though; how stringently divisive religion can be. Everyone is striving to reach the same destination, so why does it really matter how we get there? The more religious people are, the more rules, laws, and customs they have. One rabbi told us there’s a 500 page book on what kind of fish needs to be served on Shabbat and how it must be presented on the table. I’m sorry, I just can’t imagine a God that cares about that. I know everyone is just doing their best in however they believe it means to live a life of serving God, I just think that all the fear of transgressions and sins clogs the love aspect. I don’t want to be a god fearing person; I want to be a god loving person. Rules are always a fear based means of control. I respect any good person who wants to live peacefully and contribute to society, but having come from such religious schooling, I feel very grateful that I’ve reached the approach to spirituality that I currently hold. It’s all about freedom and connection to a higher power that I know loves and sustains me, no matter what I’m wearing or eating. One of the rabbis and his wife from a certain sect, the Karlin Stolin Hasidim from Kiev, were adorable. They were like an ultra orthodox Sonny and Cher. Not having been able to conceive for the first 18 years of their marriage, they moved from Brooklyn to the Ukraine to rebuild the once thriving Jewish community that had been destroyed during the Holocaust. What a selfless act of love and devotion to strengthening and restoring Judaism! They turned their pain into passion and perseverance. They are a true inspiration, and were incredibly welcoming to the school group. Their energy was infectious, unlike the first group which was definitely stricter and more intimidating. My best moments of that day were when my daughter and I were kicking a rock back and forth outside the Belz synagogue, which happens to be the largest in the world. It’s always the little things that feel the greatest:). It was also so cool to meet her friends, who are lovely, intelligent, funny young men and women. There’s always such pride in knowing your kids make solid social choices, and knowingly surround themselves with quality people. It speaks to their interior. Another highlight was eating at one of her favorite local spots, the Marakia, in Jerusalem (“marak” in Hebrew means soup). This little spot was so hole in the wall East Village, decorated entirely in random thrift shop finds. Each day they serve four kinds of soup. I swear that was the best onion soup I’ve ever had. Everything I saw through my daughter’s eyes was so delicious. I’ve been on my personal Israel craze for about five years now, and it feels good to have her relate to me on that level. It’s feels so good and aligned to share deep interests with our kids.
The last night she took me to the Shaon Horef cultural arts festival. It was fabulous! It was in Talpiyot, the suburb of Jerusalem where I went to school my year in Israel post high school. I haven’t been back there since then, and it was wonderful to see all the spots I remembered, plus all the new places that have been built. The muscle memory kicked in right away. I find that most very religiously observant Jews in the States mostly only stick with their kind. The boxes are all sadly over-defined, the lines overdrawn. Many religious people won’t mixed dance or engage in activities they feel appear immodest, so it doesn’t really happen in America where Jews of all levels of observance (or none) are united in enjoying one source of fun. This is not so in most of Israel, which is one of the most special parts about this country. What a joy it was to see religious, secular, huge knitted yalkmuka wearers with long payot (locks of hair around the ears), women with head coverings, and people wearing crazy costumes all dancing together. There were several DJ’s dressed as Hasidic men spinning Hebrew music, and a female DJ spinning techno and pop. Anything and everyone went. The unity and lack of religious lines was a beautiful sight. There were spray paint artists, go kart races, jump rope contests, light installations on buildings, and tons of artistic vendors. This took place on a random Monday night; this is typical of Israel where they don’t put off having a good time. Nothing like that ever happens in my neighborhood, certainly not for no apparent reason. Excellent call by my oldest child, suggesting this as the activity to cap off our trip. It was the perfect way to end a truly special few days. As hard as it is to leave Israel, I take comfort in knowing I can always return. It’s where I started to come alive five years ago. The imprint on my mind, heart, and soul left from that certain time in my life is as much a part of me as my breath. Shalom means hello, goodbye, and peace. Come in peace, and go in peace. And in between the coming and going, live, love, and be that way. ☮️✝️☪️🕉☯️🔯
Shalom from Tel Aviv as I write this, hence the Hebrew title of this post. “Yamin” means “right” as opposed to “left”. It’s used in the directional sense. This trip, like all my trips have done lately, has given me new keys to new doors. No matter how many plans we make, tickets we book, tours we plan, we never seem to arrive at our destination. That’s just how life is meant to work; we reach one crossroads only to keep choosing where else to go next. Even if one climbs to the top of a mountain, they will then choose to go back down, which route to take on the descent, which supplies they’ll need etc. We are never not faced with the concept of “onward”. There will always be some part of life demanding movement, current, and flow. There are so many aspects to my life I’m so in love with at the moment, but if I’m honest (and I am), I have so much further to go. There are still thoughts, reactive emotional patterns, fears, and doubts that belonged to the Old Me. I have recently been reading about how there are so many different versions of ourselves through the course of our lives. This is a fact. The four year old you is different from the fourteen year old you, and the forty year old you is light years away from those both. The eighty year old you would probably laugh at what the thirty year old you thought was problematic. None of these versions of you are ever wrong; they’re each a necessary stepping stone that make up new pathways to new doors. Of course, so many people stay away from new doors. They ignore the new directions being presented to them as alternative options. Afraid of change and therefore resistant, many convince themselves they are just fine as is, not understanding that you can love your life yet still find expansion. Wanting more doesn’t have to equal wanting radically different. Keys are meant to be used, and I was handed a key on this trip to Israel. I was presented with a situation that had the old me reacting in the only ways she knew how; anxiety, doubt, some shame, fear, mistrust, and disappointment. The mind of the old me went off the rails, and had a field day trying to infect the New Me with her old poison. The old me burst forth from her holding pen many times, but at this point the new version of me is stronger. She’s been working out and faithfully taking her vitamins. She knows herself better. She has amassed solid abilities of discernment. And I, being the keeper of all these versions that come to visit and always leave when they are no longer relevant, have the power to bang my gavel and sentence the old me to jail with no chance for parole. The I, my Self, is the one constant on my life. Each human on earth is designed as such. In prying the old and new versions of me apart from one another, I am able to tell myself, “No. that’s the old you. You aren’t her anymore. The new you reacts differently.” I recently vowed to myself that I won’t bring the old me into my new life. Ever again. Sure, she will always try to pop up and derail me, but her powers are rapidly weakening with each new key I turn. These keys are gifts, and are handed to us at the exact moment in time we are ready to receive them. If we waste them we are fools, and I didn’t come this far in life to waste anything. The challenge I faced was a chance for me to level up, control old thought patterns, and create space for new, healthy ones. It always works like this, and so the new me was able to hold onto the gratitude buried under the situation. I was able to choose right every time. The more I do this, the sooner it will become second nature, and create yet another version of myself. The new me is more accepting of discomfort and no longer tries to maneuver her way out of it, as she trained herself to do. The new me trusts the universe, which banishes fear. The new me has so much proof of divine love and guidance. The new me is more patient, more restrained, calmer. She’s vastly superior to her outdated counterpart, and so she is the stronger one in the ring. If we don’t view challenges as great opportunities, we won’t survive the human experience. We will go bonkers at every turn, and it’s a shitty way to live. We don’t grow when everything is comfortable and predictable, there’s no catalyst. And so once again, in the holiest of lands which feels like home every time I touch down there, I had the chance to choose my direction. I chose right. Yalla, Habibi, yamina!!!!
Let’s talk dating apps, shall we? I mean, how much inspirational stuff can I really keep spouting? So I’m on a few apps. Some exclusively Jewish, some not, though I am only interested in dating fellow members of the Tribe. I like the concept; I can peruse at my convenience, and can bounce from any conversation that I know is on the express lane to nowhere. There are a lot of quality people out there, and I see this as just another way to meet someone. I don’t hate on it or think only losers need to resort to this. It’s simply the way of the world right now. I primarily have the life and schedule of a stay at home mom, so it’s not like I’m sitting in Times Square with a sign on my head that says “single and ready to mingle”. Btw, I give all of you permission to call some sort of hotline if you ever see me actually do that one day. Let’s hope I don’t reach that point...
I like the profiles on these apps; if honest, they provide you with certain basic information that might be relevant. I’m pretty good at reading between the lines. I need to know if you have kids or if you want more (this baby factory is most likely closed). I need to know if you are gainfully employed, if you have hair, or if your photos seem current (major red flag if you’re relying on what is clearly a picture from your “glory days” in college. I can tell by the clothing. Here’s a tip; if your T shirt has California Raisins or says Coed Naked Something, chances are you look like shit right now. This is a crucial detail).
I need to know if we make sense geographically. I’m open to a long distance thing, but it’s really not practical (though I seem to be the belle of the ball amongst the South American and Middle Eastern single male demographic. Who knew???). I need to know if we can laugh our heads off at shared taste in film and comedy, and if we can party at a concert. I need to know if you sound like a snob. If you must be in bed by 10 pm, it ain’t gonna work. I like when guys write about their commitment to fitness, but I can tell when it feels too obsessive based on how many shirtless pictures they put up. I need to know if you are comfortable taking a photo that doesn’t involve sunglasses (you’re fooling no one. Well, you may be, just not this chick). I need to know if you feel your cover photo should include an image of you in a cowboy hat. Or if it includes your mother. Or your kids. The kid thing feels a little emotionally manipulative, not to mention a clear invasion of their privacy. It’s beautiful to be a proud dad. But do you really need total strangers with an agenda seeing your children immediately? Also, if you’re going to rely on your dog to get chicks, at least get in the photo. I’m not looking to adopt a puppy. I kid you not, but one guy actually wrote that his mother died when he was 13, which left him with major mommy issues lol. Um, pass! I’m not sure which part of that statement was most unappealing (yes I am; the lol).
I need to know if you are looking for a “partner in crime”. I don’t know when this became the dating vernacular, but it’s so stupid. I mean, if we are actually going to go on a crime spree, are we dumb enough to advertise it on the internet?? It’s just such a lame description of a relationship, though I have faith I could rock the Bonnie and Clyde look, and my beret collection could use some airtime.
At the risk of sounding superficial, I want to know about your height and your hairline. If you have no pics without hats, that’s not for me. Hey, you want to know what I look like too, Pal. I need to know that you get my random references to movies from the 80’s (I’ve been known to shout them out in a Turrets like fashion. I need you to not pretend to laugh, but to really get it.) I need to know if you can spell and use correct grammar. One app offers to fix your grammar for you, for an extra charge! I find this horrifying; if you write like a Neanderthal I’m entitled to this information. I am an articulate, eloquent woman who got a 710 on her verbal SAT. I can’t date you if you don’t know the difference between they’re, their, and there. Or to, too, and two (for the love of God, one is a number!).
I don’t need to see what you looked like last Halloween; it’s just embarrassing. I don’t need to see pics of you at the gym. Just be real, normal, witty, and honest (and who are we kidding, be hot). Make me laugh from your profile, and we are off to a good start. Share nuanced interests in pop culture that show me you appreciate details and the entertaining minutiae of life. Show me you’re multi dimensional and not a hamster on a wheel in need of a cook. Give me some idea that life with you might be a riot, as well as an oasis. Don’t try to be funny, just be naturally funny. Don’t not tell me your last name but insist on my phone number, once the conversation continues post profile (true story, a few times). Don’t lie to me about your profession (true story as well). Don’t not be traceable online. That’s just unsettling in these modern times, and I have children to protect, as well as myself. Most of us will not match up with each other, and that’s good; it aids the weeding process. I may very well not float your boat either, and that’s cool. Ultimately, I believe wholeheartedly in divine intervention, and that God sends us exactly who and what we need at the right time. If this man will fall on me and flatten me to the ground like we’re in a cartoon, then I’m down with that (great first meet story for the grandkids). I actually want to be knocked over, in the metaphorical sense of course. But if you come at me with some idiotic, uninspired come on line while wearing a cowboy hat, I might need to indeed meet you, so that I can punch you across the face and call it a day.
And, Babe, trust me on this one; if it looks as if you’ve had semi professional photos taken for this purpose, that’s a major OY. The Sears background makes me want to jump off a bridge, not get to know you.
I do find the outright creepy stuff to be super amusing. Legit, some of these profiles may as well say, “I like coffee, travel, wine tastings, chloroform, and duct tape”. Many thanks to the dudes who just let their criminally dubious freak flag fly; honestly is literally the best policy here. One guy, in his initial message, offered to give me a massage in the bowels of rural Pennsylvania. It was a real shame that I had a dental checkup that day; it sounded super appealing and not at all like the last day of my life!
Adding title of post to my list of potential band names. Side note; speaking of band names, I have not been able to get the word “Gwar” out of my head for about 25 years now. I blame Beavis, as well as Butthead. Please tell me you know what the hell I’m talking about (for the love of the 90’s!). Anyway, this post is about a macabre thought I had last week on my birthday. This is a thought that’s not new to me, though it was ironic to have it during a massage at a spa in Costa Rica. Call it in keeping with often my unusual approach to things (which I like ).
As I dozed off and my subconscious began to take over, I envisioned my funeral. I have been imagining my funeral for years. It used to be with fear at not knowing how it would go. I pictured myself floating above the room (usually a synagogue but that’s most likely subject to change), eagerly waiting all the nice things my nearest and dearest would say about me, only to be disappointed that their eulogies were subpar. Really???? I’m dead and that’s all you have to say???? Have I not made more of an impact/ why aren’t you more inconsolable/ if you died first rest assured I’d have honored you better so F you. Obviously the crazy egoic nature of my funeral scenario is fear based, which is why I no longer have those types of thoughts. I used to be terrified of dying full of regret, at not having left the proper impact I was born to create in the first place. To simplify, I was scared at the notion of having wasted this precious human life. I think one of the chief sources of fear of death is when we can’t accept how we’ve lived our lives. A fulfilled, complete heart goes more gentle into that good night. We can die in peace when we’ve lived in peace. Resisting life will lead to resistance of death as well. We struggle because we aren’t done here. We need more time. We don’t worry about impact if we’ve know we’ve somehow made one. If we’ve loved so fully and completely, we know we will leave that with whomever needs it.
Love isn’t seen, it’s felt. It stays when done beautifully and well. Those who love right have faith in its warm, lingering aroma. Scent rises, and so will our connection to our loved ones even as we are placed below ground. We will still be where we are meant to be. We know this to be true when fear is shoved aside. So the thoughts I now have about my funeral are of a different nature. They include, by the way, illness and hospital scenes in extreme detail. This I cannot help; I’m a writer with a frighteningly accurate memory. Those with such memories are said to have nutso imaginations. I read that recently and it was like, hey whassup! I watch these scenes in my head like a director directing a movie (plays are often annoying; they’re overacted and the actors spit. The only one allowed to spit in the vicinity of my deathbed will be me). Believe me, I’m not thrilled with all these future obsessions. I try so damn hard to be present, and that’s the antithesis of being in the Now. However, I no longer feel overwhelmed by panic, doubt, or frustration when under the spell of these visions, since I feel very much certain of my path in life. I need major improvement and there’s so much work to be done both inward and outward, but I’m doing it. I’m not wasting this gift of life. I have a pretty good idea of who will sob and what they’ll say through the weeping. And they’ll laugh too, because that’s what I want to leave behind; humor, unity, joy, and an appreciation for each other. I know who will speak at my funeral and who won’t. I know this because I’m going to give detailed instructions to four of my friends.
I have begun crafting said instructions about a year ago in my mind. They’ll graduate to paper soon. I know who may want to speak but who will not be allowed, per my instructions. The reasons for this vary on a case by case basis. For some , if they didn’t have good things to say about me while I was alive, then they won’t get the chance when I’m dead. For others, it’s because I’ve heard them speak in various capacities, and they’re shitty speakers who can’t drive home a message. No thanks. And for others still, it’s because they love me so fucking much but they hate to speak publicly, so I wouldn’t want to put them in that position on my account. I know how they feel now and I’ll know it as I float. After all, scent rises. Some who will speak will be obvious, correct choices. Some think they aren’t good at it, but I know they are, and so there are a couple who I know will regret it if they don’t. I will believe in them always. Friends support each other no matter what, and that “what” includes human death. I’ll be invisible but I’ll still be holding their hands. I’d like music at my funeral. Uplifting music, sung by a choir. Probably some sort of gospel situation. Those belters know how to transmit an enormous range of emotion, and I want it all felt in the bones of those at this event. Death sucks. It makes people cry. I’d like to focus on a life that kicked some ass and told some incredibly inappropriate, yet undeniably funny, jokes. A life that made others think, react, dance, smile, and connect.
The soundtrack to my funeral will take some consideration, but the first thought that pops into my head is “Will You Be There” by Michael Jackson. So cheesy, I know, but it gets me every time for this one lyric at the end about loneliness. I don’t want anyone to feel lonely at my funeral, and the humanity in that line will be unifying, because we all feel that way so much of the time. It’s a common bond in the form of a commercially recognizable song. Who needs some obscure tune that will leave my peeps scratching their heads? My DJ instructor laughed when I shared that with him. He said somewhat incredulously, “the Free Willy song???” I laughed in turn, because I’d forgotten about that. So basically, if you attend my funeral, you can expect a beautiful montage of my life mixed with shots of a killer whale bursting forth from the sea. Sounds about right; glam shots from the Blaga, but with hints of Pearl from Spongebob (jeez, Man, keep up with the references). Morbidity becomes a lot more tolerable when it’s honest. Being upfront takes away the darkness of the topics hiding in the cracks and corners of reality. Flashlights help us see. I’m not planning my funeral to control it. I just want to go out the way I was meant to enter, and I know exactly whom I can trust with this vision because they see me the best. What an honor it is, to usher someone out in the proper way. Just as giving birth is both an honor and a blessing, so is death in this way. What are we if not vehicles to love and care for one another at any stage, especially the hardest ones? How blessed am I to have a group of people with whom I can entrust so fully with myself? That’s what made me cry as I was getting that massage. I was overcome with gratitude for my circle. And is there any better feeling to have on a birthday than that. We live, we love, we die, and we love still. It’s an unbreakable pattern when the links in your chain are strong and glued together. Let my funeral feel like this post. Be sad, be unwilling to deal with reality, but smile at the end. Trust me, it’s the better alternative.
I woke up this morning to my 41st birthday. The first thing I saw was my son sleeping, the second was the volcano that my window in Costa Rica faces. I bathed the night before on my porch staring at said volcano. I love showering and bathing outside; it’s so freeing to feel the air on your skin. There’s something very vulnerable and natural cleansing yourself protected by nothing but the atmosphere (and a few strategically placed trees). I’m thinking back to writing my birthday post a year ago, from a beach in Cancun.
I’m often away this time of year since it’s when my kids have winter vacation. I did feel very grateful at 40 but in hindsight I was still quite clogged. It takes a long time, possibly a lifetime or never, to find out what blockages are present and need to be torn down to return home to yourself. It’s a journey that never stops, and I’m so much further along now than on my last birthday. I remember my anxiety levels were still somewhat high, I felt a bit lonely in being single, uneasy about the unknown, I wasn’t as patient with my kids, and I was really agitated waiting for a birthday text from someone in particular. It’s so disappointing when we imprison ourselves to triviality. Like out of all the vastness of how much there is to be grateful for, we let one dumb detail derail our mood. Truthfully, I’ve had tugs towards that today too, but I’m so much more fortified and equipped to not succumb. There’s a voice in my head telling me, “You are so much stronger now. Go with that”. I like instructions (sometimes) so I’m going to listen to that voice, the voice that’s been guiding me towards this day.
Even the nature of this vacation compared to last is different. Last year I had a travel agent book us in an all inclusive resort. It was pretty but kinda sucked. There wasn’t much to do, the ocean was legally off limits due to windy conditions, and the one time we ventured off site it was a bust. I was annoyed and didn’t do a great job at hiding that from my children, which in turn affected their moods too. It’s scary how as parents our offspring can smell our mood fluctuations. Human families are animalistic in that sense. In other senses as well, of course, but those other ways are often a choice in behavior, whereas the mood detection thing is built in to how we feel each other. It’s a daunting responsibility, to try to stay neutral so we don’t throw off our children, and as any parent knows it’s freaking hard. We fail often and it’s a lousy feeling for all present. We move on quicker than they do sometimes. We smile and think “onward” but the unrest can linger with them.
The trip last year was indicative of what I felt I could handle at that stage. It was the first time I was the only adult, and the first time dealing with luggage and passports. I think the all inclusive idea made me feel safe in how easy it was supposed to be. All I had to do was be there. Ironically though, I wasn’t that present. I had too much on my mind. My heart still had a heaviness. Since then, the trips I’ve taken with my gang have improved in direct correlation to my overall mental and emotional state. They’ve been increasingly more adventurous and interesting. Sometimes it’s an Air BNB, sometimes it’s a resort, sometimes it’s a hotel that’s just eh. I don’t feel we need the controlled environment of a lockdown fancy hotel situation anymore. As I’ve grown more flexible and adaptable, I’m striving to teach them that too. No more cookie cutter vacations. I want us all to truly experience where we are. That means day trips, spontaneity, eating street food, and lots of unfamiliar randomness. Needing things to be a certain way is indicative of a lack of happiness and appreciation; for life, for the ability to travel, and for newness. Sure, there are times I fall into that trap of expectation and annoyance, and it’s a constant practice to bring your awareness back to where it should be.
This was the first trip I’ve ever taken where I packed zero makeup. I don’t wear much in general, but I usually take the basics. It just didn’t matter right now if my eyes looked a little wider; they’re wider in the real sense. I didn’t need the illusion of highlighter on my cheeks, since they were aglow with sweat and excitement. I’m feeling less that I have to appear a certain way since I actually feel that way. I don’t look perfect because life isn’t perfect. I’d rather match up with real life than use tricks to cover things up. I like when my kids see a mother who can get dressed in five minutes. I like when they see me get dirty. It’s amazing what falls away from mattering when you’re enjoying life. So much of what we cling to are conditioned constructs of the mind. They become as unnecessary as mascara in a better frame of mind. I never imagined I’d be a single woman traveling with her kids internationally, and I’m so proud that I’m doing it. The braver I become, the more I can expose them to. Granted, I’m most likely not going to land in some foreign country, rent a car, and use a broken English navigation system to haul my children around. I have a friend that does that and I’m in awe of her. But I am a New York Jew after all, so a few fears will always factor in a little. I don’t need to be a martyr to the point of stupidity, and I do like my hand held just a drop, for now. The grip is loosening though, which frees up my hands to be open and receive.
I went to the resort spa with my daughter on my first day of being 41. I got a body wrap with organic coffee. It left my skin feeling like silk and all of me smelling like a vanilla, hazelnut latte. Coffee is believed to wake people up...
I have a beautiful bedroom that is my sanctuary. Part of what makes this room special to me is this huge window that looks out onto this majestic border of enormous trees that surround my property. These trees must hold tremendous history and have withstood countless seasons over time. They have survived hurricanes that easily wiped out their sisters and brothers. They make up the frame that is the watercolor of our home. I can luxuriously stare at them all day. Sometimes when I read outside within their protective aura, I can’t even concentrate on my book because the pull towards these trees is so powerful that I can’t look at anything but them. I swear they talk to me sometimes, and when they rustle in the breeze it’s some kind of message. I used to get very depressed when my beautiful trees became barren in the winter. I dreaded it. The view that was once so invigorating felt like death. Lush to bleak. Vibrant green to gray. Not so fun. In this way, my room felt a little less soothing, now that I had to stare at anorexic, sad branches that must have felt as desolate as I did. The winter months were something to endure as opposed to enjoy. The other day as I looked out of this window, it hit me that I am not only not saddened by the current state of the trees, but that I now find it beautiful. My mood is no longer affected by this sight. The emptiness now means that there’s space for something magnificent to come. The absence will lead to wonderful fullness, at the right time. Blank spaces are so giving in that regard; they naturally afford us the opportunity to fill them up however we like. Compare this to making a party. When you reserve an already decorated space you are working with the venue’s decor. Sure, you might save money on bringing in furniture and lighting, but most likely the carpet they have is industrial and ugly, and the lighting sucks. Decorating a blank space requires more work and execution, but you can make it look and feel exactly in accordance with your vision. You can mold it with no limitations. That last month of pregnancy feels so excruciating on the body, but the excitement of what’s to come is uncontainable. It’s the seemingly hard phase that always leads to the best one. Obviously my view of the trees now symbolizes promise to me instead of sadness because of my inner change. I arrived at that place organically, and it felt so nice to just realize it out of the blue. The situation brought on by the nature of winter is the same as it’s always been; it’s me that’s different. I’m seeing the same thing from an entirely new, easier angle. Bare branches? Great. The leaves will grow when they’re ready, as all things will.
There’s a scene in the movie “Shakespeare in Love” that has always stuck with me. I must have seen that film about 20 years ago when it came out in the theaters. Theaters were large buildings with rows of seats that movie goers would sit upright in while watching said movie from a giant screen. Those were good times...
The aforementioned scene that impacted my adolescent brain was as follows; Lady Gwyneth Paltrow, pre Goop, was being woken up by her handmaiden, whose verbal alarm clock said, “wake up, my Lady, it is a new day”. G Pal breathlessly opened her door, after realizing how in love she and young Shakespeare were, and proclaimed , “It is a new world!”. She had been living a stifled, restrictive life and was slated to marry an aristocrat she didn’t love. This new connective energy she felt instantly renewed her love and vigor for life. Everything was now new, lush, exciting, and fraught with possibility. I loved how that concise sentence said everything. How wonderful it is to feel truly in love with life, and how dreadful it is to not. Most people will go through life experiencing both feelings, whether they know it or not (or are willing to admit it). This is a good thing. Only in this duality can we cross over from the flat to the full, from the bleak to the joy. Night to dawn, wounding to healing.
I thought about this a lot on my recent trip to El Salvador. I went for the wedding of two friends from Scratch Academy, my DJ school, Kate and Raul. Raul’s family lives there. I had never gone to a destination wedding before, nor have I ever been to El Salvador. I had also never attended a non Jewish wedding or a baptism (they baptized their daughter after the wedding ceremony). I initially planned on going with a friend. I’ve traveled quite a bit on my own and it was starting to feel a bit lonely. That friend couldn’t make it so I asked several other peeps. Nothing worked out, which was strange since it was only a few days and pretty cheap. At a certain point it really felt like a message that I was supposed to go alone. I’m a pretty powerful manifester, and this just wasn’t working out. When things don’t work out there’s always a reason. Always. As soon as I made the mental shift from insisting on going with someone to not, I instantly felt a surge of excitement. If there was a message then I was going to receive it and roll with it. I had the time of my life. What’s great about a destination event is that everyone is there for the same happy purpose, so all these strangers become instantly united. It’s like the first day of camp (if you hated camp, this reference will not land properly ).
Traveling myself was the perfect combo in this situation because I was with this large group of lovely, fun people yet I had a lot of quiet, reflective time. I need that very much, that solitary recharge. I hate being “on” all the time, so after a fun day of a group activity, I was able to marinate in myself. It was deliciously contemplative. I’ve never been more connected to myself than I am now. This is after very deliberate, sometimes painful work that I do daily through several mediums (which I blog about). Being this whole made my time with Me so lovely. I didn’t feel lonely for a minute, even though mostly all the other guests were part of a couple. That would have been an agonizing focus of mine prior. This time I barely noticed it. It was a simple observation that I didn’t apply emotion to. That’s the goal of meditation and awareness btw; to observe with no emotion or judgement. It’s an incredible feeling to organically do that. It, like nothing else true, can be forced. Trying doesn’t allow for it, though we can’t get anywhere without effort, consistency, and determination. It’s a subtle yet important distinction. It felt like a new world indeed; a world in which I’m peacefully intact. The holes are filling. This doesn’t mean everything in life is perfect. It’s unrelated to that. What it means is that we are stable, adaptable, and full in a way that external circumstances don’t affect us as much. There are always reasons to crumble, we just don’t anymore. We are stronger and thereby able to withstand even the most painful, aggravating curveballs. Nothing outside gives us or takes away our peace. The lack is less internally, and so the outside world is so much more enjoyable and enriching.
El Salvador is a very poor country, but driving through the streets I barely noticed the crumbling buildings. I was focused on how brightly painted the cinder block homes were, peeling paint notwithstanding. I was drawn to the beautiful vegetation and flowers that juxtaposed with barbed wire. I loved the neon colored beach tubes strung up on the side of the dusty roads en route to the ocean. The young children selling fruit and trinkets made me smile, despite the fact that many of them didn’t wear shoes. The locals didn’t have much but they were warm and smiling. There was so much life being enjoyed amongst the poor conditions. It’s always how we choose to see things. Some people need very little to smile, while others have so much and it’s just never enough. I loved doing local activities and getting a real feel for where I was. I always hated traveling somewhere and mostly staying in the hotel. I don’t see the point to that at all. I’m fortunate to have a beautiful house; when I travel I don’t really care where I stay as long as I get an authentic experience. There’s nothing like seeing a new place with locals, and the Hidalgo clan was huge, warm, and so hospitable. I loved meeting all the family and friends who were so happy to be there. Destination affairs are great in that anyone in attendance really wanted to have been there. You don’t get any of the guests who are doing you a big freaking favor by gracing you with their attendance at your party. I once told Kate how grateful I am that Scratch gave me a whole new life. It brought so many of my needs into reality. She said, “Yo, Scratch gave me my family!” It’s where she met Raul, and now they’re married with the most beautiful baby girl. As I sat on the group bus driving through the streets, I was overcome with a deep sense of understanding that this was exactly where I belonged at that moment. On that bus, in that country, with those people for this reason. It’s breathtaking to feel so utterly in the right place at the right time. It makes you feel so encased in guidance. It allows for stillness because nothing needs to be done, fixed, or changed. I wouldn’t have had time to reflect like that had I been traveling with someone. None of this would ever have happened for me until fairly recently. The traveling, the newness, the eyes wide open feeling that is unlike any other sensation in existence, the new people who have so much to share, be it laughs or viewpoints. The relief at loving my solitude for the right reasons. How good it feels to share space with myself, and to smile all the time for no reason and for every reason. Wanderlust must become wanderlove. The people I know who travel the most can afford it the least. They make it work, because seeing new things and being in new places is one of the best parts of being alive as human beings. You don’t see cows and plants lining up at baggage claim. How lucky are we to be in these forms that give us such mobility? Travel all comes from incentive. It’s not about energy or money or time. When there’s a will there’s a way. It’s so much easier than we make it out to be. For years I made excuses about so many things and I hated that, but I didn’t know how to stop. I finally stopped making excuses about DJing, and it led me to El Salvador for the best reason in the world. It is very much a new year. It is very much a new world. Already infatuated with 2019.
I’ve been reading a lot about “unintegrated pain” that families carry around for generations. This concept makes so much sense as far as the whole “oh god, I’m turning into my mother” thing. We repeat our parents’ mistakes and often put our kids through the exact same things we hated as children. Things we vowed we’d never do or say. Behaviors we’d avoid at all costs. Not us, we were going to be better. We’d rise above. We’d love better, communicate healthier, and remain open and loving no matter what. Sigh...if only it were that clean.
I think the reason so many of us continue painful cycles in families isn’t due to genetics or habits. It’s largely because the pain and turmoil surrounding these choices we are subconsciously making are just never addressed. Family pain that collects over the years like your grandmother’s figurines, that no one wants but has no idea how to get rid of them. Women in particular have a very hard time being seen as anything but the loving, smiling, domestic, martyr archetype. The need to cling to the belief of who we are trumps the need to finally put an end to vicious, destructive behaviors that live under the surface of an immaculately set table. The latter requires getting our hands and hearts dirty. We will manically clean every corner of our kitchens, eradicating every spec of dust, because that’s visible. The dirt living under the June Cleaver veneer isn’t seen. And if we can’t actually see it, maybe it’s not really there and everything is just fine. Maybe we haven’t fucked up, maybe we didn’t somehow perpetuate decades worth of pain and poison, maybe we ourselves weren’t mistreated to such a startling degree. It’s definitely more convenient to keep existing in this imperfect pattern, rather than staring the beast in the eye and finally killing it. Often times the family member that knows they can’t continue like this is labeled the whistle blower. This job is thankless. No one wants anyone else to point out the destructive errors of their ways. In essence, the whistle blower will get her ass kicked.
She will be reviled, alienated, badmouthed, scapegoated, and blamed. She will have to learn to pick up a heavy shield and not drop it, since the machine gun rounds of searing character attacks may never cease. She is seen as a threat since she’s pointing out the truth, because she doesn’t know any other way. She may wind up alone and will learn to fill those now empty spaces with healthier connections to stable, kind humans. She will live by the notion of quality vs quantity. She will enjoy the peace of being by herself because often that is easier, and will have to very closely watch her tendency to isolate herself in the face of emotional danger, a survival skill she learned as a child. Her carrying that instinct into adulthood will be the very turning point that will continue family pain cycles or not. The choices she makes are heavily loaded. How she proceeds will shape the current generation, as well as the next. When she hears the beast approaching with stealth and malice, she can either ignore him and allow him to feed his own power, or she can spear him right in the heart. She can let him slither past to save herself in the moment, or she can beat him at his own game by greeting him and letting him know she’s aware of his presence. The beast in question is the massive pain bubble that’s been ballooning up over time, floating menacingly over generations over inherently good people. The bubble that’s begging to burst and release more pain and hurt than it can contain. Nothing on earth was created to contain such pain. Not people, not animals, not atmospheres, not energies. There is pain everywhere, it’s part of life. But it isn’t our birthright. There is pain that’s unique to individuals, to families, to relationships, to countries, to races, to the global collective. We share it with each other without realizing, like a contagious virus. It exists in so many forms, but we can un-swallow it. It shouldn’t be a given in our daily lives. We can stop the cycle and free ourselves, thereby sparing future generations of having to bear the same burden our ancestors did. It’s messy work, and anyone who revolts from an underground resistance position has to expect that they will be on the receiving end of a lot of hate. But anyone who feels they have a calling to put an end to years worth of struggle and hurt must do so. Anyone who doesn’t agree to go on living a certain way must understand that they feel this way for a reason. Perhaps they’re more perceptive and tapped into the bigger picture. Perhaps they are highly sensitive to numerous energy fields at once, and knows it shouldn’t be this way. Perhaps it’s a cosmic responsibility. Perhaps it’s a dubious honor. Perhaps it doesn’t matter, and that the work just needs to be done. If we don’t fix it we are continuing it, and if we continue it then we are just as guilty as those who came before us. The very first step is to understand it’s separate from us. We may have pain and carry it around, but it’s not fused with who we really are. We carry the pain body but it doesn’t define us. We mustn’t ignore it or run from it; that only feeds it and makes it stronger. It cackles when we look away. The first step in beating it is to almost befriend it. Look at it, learn everything about it, and start to see yourself as an entirely separate entity. So begins the extraction of the pain from your mind. Slowly back away from it by beginning to understand it can’t hurt you anymore. Whether it’s anger, fear, frustration, sadness etc, it’s a construct of the mind. Unless you’re in actual danger, you are really quite safe. Most likely, it’s your only thoughts hurting you.
Being aware that your pain is this thing you’ve been holding that you can put down, kickstarts a life saving shift. The separation begins, and you start to drift away from all that suffocated you for so long. By being intensely aware of your current circumstances, you can draw the conclusion that you’re not in danger. Even if someone is saying hurtful things to you, you can hear those words as just words. They might feel like daggers but they’re not actually so. There will be triggers everywhere forever. We can teach ourselves to not fall prey to them by examining the present. I am alive, I am not being physically attacked, I healthy, I am driving and listening to the radio, I’m at the gym. Literally taking detailed stock of where you are in this moment helps to slowly erase the past. It reminds you that you are protected from an imaginary future that you have made up. One of the ways I feel present is through my feet. Our feet are wondrous. They are filled with sensors that fuse us to Mama Earth. I love being barefoot in general, I always have. Granted I’m only without shoes at home, but my shoes aren’t a blockage. I am instantly soothed by paying close attention to my feet, shoeless or not, being rooted to the ground. This provides me with an instant shot of stability. I then travel up the rest of my body, examining all the sensory sensations that are happening in the moment. Our senses are our gateway to the present. What you are seeing and hearing now is the truth. What you are remembering or predicting is not. It’s like how we tell a kid who is frightened of a movie that it’s not real. It’s ok to be scared, but know that it’s a false reality. It’s little things like this that start to help us distance ourselves from threats, hurts, and anything else that feels destabilizing. And when we move further away, we naturally feel happier, more intact. More whole, calmer. Our own shifts are then calmer to those in our orbit. Vibration pays itself forward. This is how we slowly change course within families; we integrate pain by studying it, coming face to face with it, and then crossing the street. We invite others to cross over with us, only after being accountable for having gone down the wrong path first. There are apologies and humility in order. No correction occurs without owning the mistake. I’m sorry I was hurt, and I’m sorrier to those I have hurt. We all have a responsibility, as well as the tools, to heal years of lousy cycles. Each of us was born with the power and ability to set positive change into motion. Generationally speaking, it will be interesting to see if my grandchildren will remember me as a beacon of love and change, or if they’ll think I was batshit crazy🤷🏼♀️. Maybe it doesn’t matter, as long as they’re together and laughing, and that they draw strength and love from each other. Yeah...that’ll make everything worth it.