Thanks Giving & Thanks Getting, Week 30 in the Time of Transition

We’re about to ascend upon Thanksgiving and the winter holidays.  I’m grateful for a quiet dinner with Larry and a restful weekend.  I’ve been looking forward to this coming weekend since rest is usually ad hoc, and I am often trying to locate windows of opportunity to relax.  

There’s a lot written on the power of gratitude.  It’s the cornerstone of positive psychology and Western mindfulness practices.  My life has changed significantly by incorporating a daily gratitude practice.  When I was younger I felt like a victim.  I looked at hard circumstances as a reflection of my inability to manifest a better life.  It was a form of self-criticism that could be relentless.  Though I enjoyed fun times, my focus was on what I hoped to have or what I didn’t have.  Mostly it was a deprivation mindset.  And, if something good came my way but it didn’t meet my expectations, I would be crest fallen.  Needless to say this was so frustrating for those close to me. 

Now, I’ve probably moved too far in the other direction.  I acknowledge the good in my life.  However, sometimes I omit how hard it’s been.  That can feel inauthentic.  

I admit, these have been a hard couple of years.  And, within the difficulties have been beautiful walks throughout the city.  The pandemic taught me the importance of rest.  We moved.  I now have a daily view of the sun rising.  Larry and I are communicating better, thus enjoying each other more.  Our trans son, Alex, who began the medical transition a year ago, though it was many years in the making, is finding his way in the world. His transition is ongoing.  I have amazing friends.  And, I started this blog at the start of the pandemic.  I am grateful.  

It’s more of a stretch to be grateful for health concerns, expanding mental health needs in the city and in the world. I’m not grateful for growing inflation, though I do appreciate my ability to edit shopping lists by asking myself, “Do I really need this?”  What a mixed bag we’re in.  Nonetheless, if we focus on the small victories.  If we have the courage to find the good among those who are angry and dissatisfied, we can move forward rather than being held back.  Rather than imposing forced gratitude on those around us, let’s share our thanks for what they contribute to us.  Give thanks while letting other get thanks.  

Self-Care Tips:

  • Simply say thank you the next time you’re complimented.  Stay with the gratitude the person or people shared while enjoying the exchange.  
  • Find small moments that bring deep satisfaction.  It can be a private moment, or it can be shared.  Either way, take it in.  Breathe.  
  • Write a Thank You note to yourself.  What has made you proud?  Can you be grateful for trying?  See if you can appreciate the positive you bring to your life.  

Don’t Get Caught With Tattered Underwear, Week 29 in the Time of Transition

I was doing my laundry last week.  While hanging my underwear on the hand dryer, I noticed the rips that must have happened over time, the time spent quietly during the pandemic.   Everything was so comfortable, so I never stopped to examine them.  And comfort has been key.  Though comfort still matters, I’ll take my underwear without rips. 


While I was choosing my new briefs, which I was thrilled to find on sale, I was thinking of the last time tattered undies played a role in my life.  It was 25 years ago.  I was walking to work, crossing the street when a cab turned the corner without looking.  He hit me and lifted me onto his bumper until he stopped suddenly, and I slid down onto the cold street.  

An ambulance came and checked on me.  I didn’t know I was in shock, but I wouldn’t let them take me to the hospital.  I insisted I’d go to my doctor’s office.  I went, but only after I returned home to call work.  This was before everyone had cell phones.  After I made that call, I searched through my undergarment drawer to find at least one pair that was worthy of a doctor’s visit.  I was not putting on an examining gown with torn granny panties.  Since that time, I’ve made it a point to have accident-ready underwear.  I see it as a preventative measure. 


The truth is I learned a lot more than to avoid torn clothing.  The accident, and the months following really taught me to take care of myself in a more conscious way.  The first steps were to heal from the accident.  Thanks to good physical therapists, medical massage therapists, an acupuncturist, medical specialists, and my psychotherapist, I got through the pain to other side.  I was lucky.  Not only did I have good insurance, I had good care.  

There was so much more to learn.  Being prepared for the unexpected was not part of my toolbox.   Through the years I’ve learned patience.  I learned how to pivot when needed.  Being flexible, even if I inwardly resist change, has been invaluable.  It took the pandemic to teach me to slow down.  Slowing down helps when the world turns upside down. It even helps as the world, step by step, turns back around, with an unfamiliar view.  

For now, getting new underwear is a fresh start in this changing world.  

Self-Care Tips:

  • Slow Down.  It seems like there’s always something to get done because there usually is.  But slowing down gives us a perspective that we don’t get when we’re speeding ahead.  
  • Ask yourself what act of kindness will help you prepare for the unexpected.  Change is a given.  Having patience and kindness for ourselves when we face the unknown brings a bit of peace when we may be inclined to stress.  
  • If you’re able, indulge in a new pair of underwear.  And, throw out one that is no longer comfortable for you.  

Time for a Marathon, Week 28 in the Time of Transition

Time is a funny thing.  If we sleep late this morning we wake up at our regular time due to daylight savings time.  The fall back of the time change here in New York City is particularly fortuitous for the NYC Marathon runners, in the event they could sleep at all. 

Today I’ll be cheering from the side lines.  I am always moved by the determination and grit that it takes to run a marathon.  I am deeply inspired by each marathoner.  The early runners are great athletes who race to win.  The Achilles Club athletes, some accompanied with guides, always move me, often to tears, because they transcend physical and mental barriers to get through the 26.2 miles to the finish line.  And the other runners, joggers and walkers who complete the 30,000 total NYC marathoners this year trained to be able to move through the five boroughs of our city. 

Image from NYRR via Getty Images online

A shout out to my friends Julie, Jeannette, and Debbie, who I will be tracking to cheer them on at East 87thStreet, close to my office.  They all trained for two years since the only options last year were solo, virtual runs.  This year they’ll all start from the line up at the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in Staten Island.  Their first step carrying them through all that follow.  

I am proud to have run the NYC marathon six years ago.  I was not a runner.  I learned to run slowly to manage physical limitations, including shortness of breath.  It was hard to find a trainer for this type of running since most marathon trainers focused on minimizing running times while emphasizing form.  So, without formal training I found the best way I could do it, slow and steady.  All those cheering from the sidelines gave me the stamina to keep going.  I am eternally grateful to my friends, family, and the strangers whose enthusiasm provided me energy.  

Whether we can make it out to the marathon course to cheer the runners on, or whether we encourage those in our lives to follow their dreams, we may never know the full power of our support.  Again and again, we hear of those who have had major accomplishments thank parents, teachers, mentors, and friends for the support they received from them.  Let us all take the time, in much of the USA we now have that extra hour, to support someone in reaching his, her or their dreams.  And, whether you’re running a marathon or reaching for your marathon equivalent, have the courage to ask for support.  It will move you forward in countless ways. 

Self-care Tips:

  • Run around the block.  Run slowly.  Notice if this run feels different than the other ways you move.  
  • Take one step to start something new today.  Observe what it takes to take that first step.  You may be pushing yourself.  Take note if this step feels productive.  Do you feel you accomplished something?  Do you feel hopeless that you can keep moving in the direction of completing it?  And do your feelings tell you something about it that is useful?  
  • Find the people or circumstances that inspire you.  Pursue ways that you can regularly feel inspired.  It awakens something deep in us.