Blog Break



I wasn’t planning on taking a break from my blog, but that’s what happened. I’m glad I took this break. I’ve needed a breather in general for a while, and the blog was just a part of what I needed to put aside. I enjoy writing, but I noticed something as the weeks went by without penning a word. I noticed that I felt relieved at times, and frustrated at other times. Same circumstances, different responses.


As the weeks went by I started criticizing myself. I was hard on myself for not writing even as other obligations loomed large. I’d think,  “If I don’t write on a regular basis it’s predictive of not publishing later.” I questioned myself. “Could my attention on family and professional training simply be an excuse?” Of course it can. Or, more likely, it’s the choice I’m making at this time.


We all make choices. And each choice excludes another. To spend more time with family I give up writing. To choose a concert this summer I give up going out this weekend. To work more I give up a cleaner home. To write this I give up some sleep. We make choices large and small every day.   Tonight I chose to write this short piece. And tomorrow? We’ll I guess I’ll see what choices I make and how they translate.


One imperative option is to take a break from self-criticism. Whether I have a blog post or I skip it, I am doing the best I can, as we all are.





Walking on


If I’m not aware what I’m feeling, I become acutely aware when I start walking the city. Walking through beautiful Central Park on my way to a morning appointment a runner came towards me. As far as I was concerned she was going against the clearly marked directions on the pavement. I held my ground, and when I kept walking towards her, righteously indignant about following the markers, she barely moved to get around me, whispering, “Fuck you.” I wasn’t sure I heard her right. But she was a fast runner and she was well past me when I started to think of replies. My first thought, was, “Have a nice day.” Like I said, I was feeling righteous, and I thought my fake kindness served my feelings well. Sometimes I can just stew over a simple incident like that. But it was a beautiful morning, and I had gotten a rare early start.


Then I was crossing 72nd Street, it was my light, but a cyclist tore down the road. He waved at me, indicating that he’d go around me, and I smiled back. A lovely New York moment. I forgot my self-righteousness after that. I find it amazing that a mis-matched moment can embroil me, but an act of kindness lifts me to a better place.


This happens a lot as I walk or jog public areas. Sometimes someone takes up the whole sidewalk. He or she unconsciously walks in the middle so no one can get by. More often than not, I get irate, as if it’s my private sidewalk and I take it personally, silently cursing them out.

I went for a short jog this afternoon, but school was letting out, and, again, I got angry at the parents and caregivers who straddled the sidewalk.  Funny how I love to walk, yet I can get worked up over minor inconveniences. Perhaps my walks give me a chance to move through my emotional repertoire. An inner drama played out on the streets of New York.


Getting it Right

There is a myth that if we just did things better or differently we could avoid some unpleasantness. That certainly has been my credo for a long time. My self-criticism has known no bounds. I was sure that my unhappiness was a matter of me lacking something essential. And, once I was able to gain that something special, I would know eternal happiness. In my mind this included having more money, a fit body, harmonious relationships, and constant inner peace.

I thought I just needed to be more positive. Or, I should be more disciplined, or less critical. Maybe that’s true, but going on a mind loop of what I need to change hasn’t actually helped me. So, rather than perpetuate this thinking, I’m trying accepting my negativity. And, when I say accepting,  I am not saying I am proud of it, nor do I really want to flaunt it. But I can say that it’s part of how I think and if it’s part of me, it’s worth accepting.

I work so hard to be a better person. I’m tired of working so hard, especially when that work brings me back to my starting point. And, now that I’ve returned to my imperfect self, I think I’ll stay here for awhile and see how it feels. Perfection is a great concept, but it’s not really part of my everyday reality. I’m taking a break. Secretly, I’m hoping embracing imperfection is the answer to getting it right. I guess that’s part of the endless loop. And, so it goes….


MTA Kindness

Last Sunday evening I was on the crosstown bus coming home from a meeting. I left early to have dinner with the family. I wondered if Emma would be coming home on the same bus. And, alas, three stops later she got on, exhausted from a full day of rehearsal. She nabbed a seat behind me, and I turned to chat.

“You wouldn’t believe my day,” she said.

“Tell me about it,” I respond.

“We had to learn a new routine, and my legs felt like Jello. I could barely move. I cried because I was hurting all over. And, you know what they did? You know what they did?” She repeats. They told me to do it again! Can you believe it.”

“That must have been so hard.” I said as if I was just at a meeting of therapists, which I was.  

“YEAH, it was hard. I could barely do it. I had to force myself. I just want some dinner and go to bed,” she said in a small voice.

“Shall we get off and get sushi?” This was as much for me as it was for her.

“I’ll call Daddy and tell him to meet me at the restaurant. “

“Oh, mommy, that’ll be great.”

I know she was tired since she rarely calls me mommy anymore. After all she is a 15-year-old.

So we quickly got off the bus and crossed the street to our favorite neighborhood sushi joint, Green Bay. We just sat down when I realized I didn’t have my light backpack, the kind made of nylon and string. I ball it up in my pocketbook just in case I need an extra bag.   It had a dress and a pair of reading glasses I had purchased before the meeting. In addition it had a professional paper my friend wrote. I had comments written on the half I had read.

As soon as I noticed it was missing, I asked Emma to order for us and I ran to the end of the bus line, certain I could make it to enter the bus before it returned to its route. However there were too many buses parked, and while I asked the three buses to search for the bag, my bus turned the corner and it was gone.

I walked back to the restaurant defeated from losing the bag. I was grateful it wasn’t my pocketbook. Everything could be replaced. Even so, when we got home I started making phone calls until I reached the depot. I called three times that night and three times the next day, each time I was told, “Call again, you never know.”

Then on Tuesday I received a cryptic email. “Did you lose a bag?” was the subject line from an email I didn’t recognize. My first thought was that it was SPAM and I was going to corrupt my iMac. Then, I thought, why that question? I can be so suspicious. So, I returned the email. It was from the wife of a mechanic at the MTA. I emailed back with the contents of the bag. She told me that her husband was servicing the bus and found the bag. We arranged for me to meet him at the depot and pick it up.

I debated how much to tip him since I got the dress and glasses on sale, so I didn’t spend a lot. On the other hand, he and his wife went out of their way to find me. Thank goodness I recycle the paper I use. I printed my friends article on the other side of comments I received from my writing class. Because of that, luckily one of the sheets had my email address on it.  His wife worked to find my contact information.  So, it was more about thanking them than it was the value of the contents. Lucy and I walked to the depot, I called the mechanic from my phone when we were out front. And, he came down and handed me the bag. He had to get permission to come down. He refused to take the money. And, before I could insist, he went back to work. On the sidewalk, was a driver waiting for a passenger who had left his phone on the bus. He said, this happens all the time and they do their best to return passengers’ property.

I never caught the mechanic’s name. But I am amazed that he wanted to do a kindness because he thought it was the right thing. And, it’s great that bus drivers and MTA works have a culture of helping others. We are quick to complain, but there is a secret conspiracy of kindness, and I’m happy to say I am a recent victim.