Tuesday, July 7, 2009

completing the circles of kindness and compassion

Do you ever wonder about gossip? I certainly have talked about family and friends in ways that I regret. It always seemed that there was some justification for it. They were mean to me , or they ignored me or I was bored. I remember talking to a good friend and I felt really misunderstood. I wanted someone to listen to me about a difficult decision that I needed to make and we just ended up being angry at each other. I could not say what I wanted and neither could she. Somehow we ended up blaming each other. Then the circle grows from two people to several. Because at this point, I complain to another friend that the previous conversation did not go well and we are off and running with gossip.
What if, instead of talking to someone else, we went back to the original person and actually asked for what we wanted.ie, I want you to listen or I need some help.
Then perhaps the two people can have a really meaningful conversation and be done with it. Gossip will disappear if we could do this more often. I feel like we have infinite opportunities to complete the circles and offer kindness and compassion in our relationships with others. ie. the Barrister at Starbucks who did not hear your order clearly, the grocery store cashier who rang up an incorrect product price and the list goes on and on.......

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Red Tent

Good morning,
Have you ever wanted to participate in a Red Tent activity? I mean the kind where a group of women of all ages live together for a few days. After reading the Red Tent by Anita Diamante, I have yearned to be connected with other women and share the best of who we can be. I know in biblical times, women would hang out in the tent when they were going through their menstrual cycle and were not allowed to be with the rest of the community. During that time of seclusion, stories were shared, nourishing food was eaten, dreams were told and daily duties of life were put on hold for awhile. This practice was probably resented because it was mandatory and probably odorous. But in view of our current busy lives, it seems that we have gone too far the other way.
So I was so pleased to participate in a spiritual retreat with 13 other wonderful women this past weekend. We spent three days sharing our lives in very intimate ways. The purpose of the retreat was to use native American and other healing traditions to facilitate the communication between our intuitive knowing and nature.We drew on the ancient traditions of: dream circles , space clearing and healing, animal spirits and shamanic journeying.
What I loved about the experience was:
That we are all connected and on a very special soul's journey right now. And it is really helpful to stop verbalizing sarcasm and negativity as a way to move into happiness and connection to others.

That we all have a special reason that we are alive right now and it is easier to remember this in safe and sacred group connections.

That the different generations of women need each other as we move through the life cycle. We need each other's wisdom.

That different religions, cultures, languages, and ways of life offer us opportunities for richer connections.

That rituals and interconnecting the religious and spiritual traditions are very powerful and healing.

I thank all of us for showing up, telling the truth, crying, laughing and celebrating the Red tent tradition even though we were housed on the grounds of a former Catholic Seminary.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Guilty or not guilty?

good morning,
I woke up this morning and I began thinking about guilt. In my mind, guilt is feeling like I should do something, I don't want to and I do it any way. I grew up in a family of cultural Jews. There was more emphasis on the cultural than on the religious aspects of Judaism. In our family, education and thinking well were very important. Of course,also whether you were male or female having a career which had meaning and value was critical. . We were taught to give back to the community through volunteering. However, we were also taught that even though you don't like doing things or conversely you like doing things that differed from the cultural norm, don't do them!! As a kid, I remember questioning so many things and understanding much more than my few years warranted. This was squashed in favor of thinking about what the "neighbors" would think. Wherever we lived we had many neighbors, and I don't think that they ever talked about what we should be doing.

I remember in the 70's reading books about families that adopted chimpanzees and had them live in their homes. In one of the books, the adults tried to get the chimp to eat what was on her plate by saying there are chimps starving in Africa. Guess what, it did not work. I am sure that the chimp understand the command , it just did not understand guilt.

I also remember when my youngest daughter was born( which was 21 years ago) and we understood really quickly that she did not understand the term guilt. She would do things because she wanted to do them and not because she was supposed to. I remember using a lot of guilt in my parenting because it was what I knew. However, it did not work with her the way it did with others. I was baffled about guilt. Then I started hearing the term Indigo children and the absence of guilt in their beings. I started teaching parenting classes since I needed really to understand how to parent to children with no guilt.

I would try to talk to other parents about it but it was hard to even talk about it. So we are really supposed to want to do things we do. Having no guilt, isn't that the definition of a sociopath or psycho path. NO NO NO.

I am finally starting to get what it means. Our life's work is to tell our truth. I don't know what your truth is so how can someone else know what it is for me. During these years, I have learned to cover my discomfort by using anger and coldness when I did not want to do something that I should do. I did not know why I was doing what I did except that I couldn't do it any other way. I would end relationships with friends and family and really be distant. I really get it know. I was unable to tell the truth and things went badly. Using verbal communication is so very limiting and we often cannot say what we mean. The English language is very insensitive as well and relies more on the mental world and not the kinesthetic way. My goal is to stay present, talk about my feelings, do what I feel good doing and above all do no harm.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pixie and a state of Bliss

I am so pleased with the photograph of Pixie and myself that my husband Nat Clymer took on a cold wintry day in February. I had just begun blogging and he suggested personalizing the blog with a photograph. Truthfully, I have a very hard time having photos taken of me because I tense up and generally don't feel very relaxed in the process. So yet again my husband Nat is asked to take the perfect picture of me and Pixie. I am very sure that I put much too much pressure on him and myself during these photo sessions.
However it was Pixie to the rescue. I did my usual fake smiling trying not to let too many teeth show in my smile or too many wrinkles around my eyes. Pixie wanted none of it. She does not like having her photo taken and really does it because she loves me . However if given the chance, she will face the camera with her back to you. So you get the picture, she and I are struggling in our separate ways. It is not working out too well and I am forcing her to be close so that we can get this over with.
Then I realized that I am being so unfair and controlling and why would I want to make Pixie do what she does not want to do. I stopped using my arms to guide her and I just planted a kiss on her head. Wow what a difference. She stopped resisting me, I stopped resisting the camera and Nat and an amazing photo was born.
We both entered the moment and a state of bliss. Thank you Pixie and Nat.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

deep water

We are all on an arduous journey right now, feeling both very alone and connected. I have felt like I have been tossed and pulled upside down by the extreme emotional state that I have been in all entire week. I am exhausted by all of the information that is coming in through both expected and unexpected ways. My biggest challenge is to be vulnerable and to keep my heart open. I want to shut out all the changes and go back into my preferred stance of cave like serenity. I don't know if it is so for others, but I have always liked to stay just a little bit apart from everyone else. I have valued the separations as a time to resource and create. It has many wonderful outcomes, including writing this blog, my water color paintings, meditation, reading wonderful and charming books. However, this has also served to isolate me. It has served to keep me and other adults from really feeling what is going on.

If you know the story of the frog. If you keep a frog in warm water and slowly turn up the heat, the frog will stay in the boiling water and die. If you put a frog in very hot water, he will immediately jump out. We are like the frog. We have been in the dirty water for so very long that we don't have the common sense to jump out.Now, We are jumping and going crazy. We are jumping from economic fears, from serious illnesses and deaths, toxic discoveries in our environment, huge climactic events, dramatic deceptions etc. Perhaps, we ought to understand that these changes are assisting us in making the shifts that are needed. We are all connected. WE ALL NEED EACH OTHER all of the time. We are linked together energetically. No one will heal unless we all heal, no one group will recover economically unless all groups do, no place on earth will reclaim its beauty unless the planet becomes beautiful again.

It is certainly time to jump our of our isolation/ contemplation, and make some changes. We are being charged by the "we generation" ( our children and grandchildren) to assist them in making a difference while we still can. There is a great video that expresses much of what they are feeling.

Please watch this video and let me know what you think about their request! I am humbled and remember feeling the optimism and the hopefulness as a hippie. I remember seeing the world as thought it were filled with radiant colors and endless possibilities. I would love to bring the feeling back.

PS I cannot seem to add the link. If you are interested please contact me and I will send it to you by email. Thanks for reading my blog. I really appreciate that you take the time to read it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Asking for what you want!

How many times do we think that we ask for something and we have never said it out loud. I feel like I ask for what I need all of the time and yet somehow never get what I want. I am aware enough to know that I keep ending up in the land of insanity. The definition of insanity that works for me is "if you keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

What stops us from asking? The fears that no one really cares. That people will give us what they want to give us and not what we really want. We really don't know what we want and it is better not to know. No one understands us anyway. I don't know how to say it clearly! Who cares. My Zebra Monster ( please refer to the zebra monster and the authentic self blog, on 2/2/09) is really active today isn't it.

So we all yearn to have someone understand us without having to ask for it out loud. Who wouldn't want a massage, be fed peeled red grapes and being told I adore you without having to ask for it? However, I have never had a massage or peeled grapes that I haven't ask for and perhaps it is better that way.

What i really want is someone to just sit, make eye contact once in awhile, listen,and ask me how they can be of service. I really don't want someone to jump in and assume that they know what I want. I may not even know it until I articulate out loud to a caring listener. So I probably need to reflect upon whether I do this with others. I often do but not always. I probably do it more when I am working then when I am not. After all, this is part of my job description as a psychotherapist.

If you remember the series, In Treatment on HBO, which aired last year. The therapist, Brendan Byrne, is falling apart one minute and then acts as if he is completely fine as he opens the door for another client. In a perfect world, he could say I feel miserable right now , could you listen to me for awhile and then maybe I will listen to you. Actually, because it was on television, he actually does do that often . Perhaps I need to try it and see what happens!

Friday, February 6, 2009


Blogging is a huge challenge for me. Really, more accurately technology is a hard language to understand. Perhaps it is my age, perhaps lack of patience but whatever it is I get so upset when I can't get something right. After the first ten times, I want to scream and just give it up. I get so frustrated that the colors, texts and the font sizes are all different and I have not figured out how to edit them . I am truly trying to aim for a coherent view but I can't do it yet . I will not stop doing the blogging but perhaps in time I can manage the technology a bit more easily.

I often just give up with technology and say who cares anyway. However I do feel that blogging gives me a valuable way to express myself so that my unique and unusual ponderings don't keep going round and round in my head. It also gives you some insight into what is going on in my head. All of us walk around with our heads filled with so much really important stuff that blogging gives a voice to. I guess that I could say that the muses made me do it this way!