Tag Archives: memoir

Trying to Make Room for Discomfort #Yoga

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I teach a restorative yoga class every week. I recently read an article in Yoga Journal which claimed that a restorative class is an “advanced” class. I found that classification to be rather confusing and certainly counterproductive for anyone who would like to take a restorative class, because in all reality, a restorative class is the least physically demanding class one can take. 

But when we think about yoga, which isn’t really just about the physical (it’s really SO not about the physical, it’s just that we westerners tend to think everything is about the body when it’s more about the spirit), describing restorative as “advanced” has legs. Restorative yoga IS advanced IN that it requests of you that you let it happen. My dermatologist asked  me a couple weeks ago while he was stitching me up after removing a basal cancer cell from my chest, “Will yoga work for me?” And I said, “If you let it.” He laughed nervously. I raised an eyebrow and said, “Now you’re on the mat and you didn’t even know it.” 

And that’s the truth. Things will work, in the manner in which they are supposed to, when we let them. 

While I was reading the article, I was reacting: “this is such a turn off… this article needs to start a different way….” and I still believe that because those of us who teach or rather, endeavor to inspire yoga in students / other people, is that we don’t want anyone to feel as though they don’t belong. Especially in a restorative class, but like so much in life, many of us also tend to bite off more than we can chew. Such as it is with people who might attend a restorative yoga class and think it’s all about letting go… which is the only thing I used to believe: that all yoga is about letting go… making peace… but what if that doesn’t work anymore? What if (as I wrote a couple weeks ago) letting go (or writing with love) is just not possible sometimes? What if we try and try to find the lesson, to learn from or let go of that which irks us?  And it just doesn’t come or it feels forced, contrived and fake? 

The answer, then, according to this article, is to make room for what bothers us. In the purest tradition of Rumi, be the “Guest House”: we need to make room. Set a table, be inclusive, open the door laughing, invite and have tea with what bothers us: learn from the energy which keeps us in balance. If something is pulling us one way, surely something is pulling us another way to keep us upright. Make room for the thing that bugs us the most. That’s where the teacher is… 

Just be careful, though, to not confuse the identity of the teacher. Try not to assign a value judgment (good or bad) to either side. Sometimes the very thing that bothers you and that you make room for, is the very thing you THINK you need to let go of….   

For example: I don’t like to quit. I find quitting to be something that weak-willed people do. So for me, which is the greater discomfort: staying in a toxic situation or walking away from a toxic situation because I don’t like to quit? To me, quitting is like letting go. So for this conversation, making room would mean that I stay. At what point does a character attribute (perserverance) become a flaw (stubborn)? It’s a fine line. 

I recently walked away from a situation in which I found the toxic energy to be familiar. Not just familiar to other things I’d experienced in my long-ago past, but even identical to situations with the exact same players. When I framed it in this context: that I needed to make room for what chafes me, I began to feel very confused. With what, exactly, am I having tea? For what am I making room? And of what, exactly, was I “letting go”? Was I letting go of my anger and outrage? Was I letting go of a desire to be treated professionally (just because I have a different set of standards)? When does my own prideliction for truth and fairness become a feckless pursuit? Was I refusing to have tea with the concept of quitting? 

Does my staying on, having tea with, and opening the door laughing mean I have to compromise my mental health? Even when, as Rumi says, my ‘house’ (spirit) will be violently swept clear of my ‘furniture’ (habits, ideas, fears, ego)? When does “be cool, man” become “give up, man”? Rumi says to treat each guest honorably for they are sent as a guide from beyond…. OK. But what’s the lesson? To what am I being guided? 

I get it. Sometimes we have to sit next to the mouth breather on the bus or at the movie or at the game or on the committee. Sometimes WE ARE that mouth breather too, but when does making room for that mouth breather become fruitless? Who’s “to blame” when the mouth breather’s breath becomes toxic? Is it us? Are we too sensitive? Are we to blame because we decide to not say anything because we don’t want to offend the offender? At some point, making room for the mouth breather, at least in my life, meant that I offered some gum or a glass of mint tea. Or even coming right out with it and saying as others nodded in agreement, “Dude, your breath is RANK.” When that tea or gum was continually rejected, I decided I need to leave the room. I decided I was going to sweep my house clear of its furniture. I was taking my ball and going home because, honestly, I have only one life.   


I find that when my body starts to react, then that’s when I need to do some investigating. That when my family is affected, or more appropriately, the way I treat my family, then I need to do some investigating. I agree absolutely that we all need to make room for discomfort because life is full of disappointments and frustrations and “surprises” and that if we don’t get our shit together and figure out who’s being the baby here, then we are really part of the problem, if not The Problem. 

Making room for discomfort has legs. To a point. To me, there’s yet another fine line between being amenable to discomfort and being a freaking masochist. 

So despite making room for and waiting for the mouth breather to drink the tea, I paid the check and walked away to spare the others at the tea room. I quit. I promised myself last year I wouldn’t let my tea get cold. That I wouldn’t go through it again in front of myself or in front of them. I chose my discomfort: I chose to stop doing something I cared about a lot to spare myself from continued discomfort and toxic breath. I sacrificed myself now while I am still useful and happy so I didn’t have to sacrifice myself later as a bloody stump. My head is high, but my heart is sad. I walked away earlier than I’d have liked to. I have learned that I have a limit, and that’s just going to have to be ok. 

The lesson here is to not walk away because you can’t take the heat. The lesson here is to stay and make room for what bugs you, to learn from it, and to let it toughen you because life is hard. Continually feeling mistreated because you don’t like the way things roll out though, makes you the problem. I didn’t want to be the problem anymore. Even though my standards were in line with others’ at some point you have to decide which battles to fight. Make room, for sure, but don’t give up your seat. Walk away when your bus gets to your stop. Walk away after you finish your tea. 
Thank you. 

          

Sometimes It’s Just Not Possible

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I was speaking the other day to my husband about my writing, about how I’m feeling stalled and repressed and my son happened to be within earshot. I said, “I’m trying to come at real stories and topics from a place of peace so I can share them with love rather than continuing a pathetic narrative of how life has done me wrong or how old habits and patterns of codependency float back to the surface and I end up feeling sorry for myself or victimized. I hate feeling victimized; I hate that narrative.” 

Funny. I said “hate” more than I said “love” just now. D’ja see that?  

My husband always has something balanced to say, and I didn’t really count on my son chiming in, but he did. He basically said that sometimes there are people out there who are so unhealthy and so entrenched in their patterns that they don’t act with love or with peace and so even through I’m trying to learn a lesson from it, to find the wisdom in it, sometimes it’s just not possible — other than to distill it through my own wishful thinking filter, which is really hard to do sometimes — to come up with any reasonable or balanced justification for the way people treat other people. Sometimes, he summarized, people are just full of hate and fear. 

“Sometimes, Mom, people are just really messed up and it’s not for you to sugar coat their behavior; that only rationalizes it. And more importantly, that’s not who you are. You’re not a sugar-coaster, Mom. You’re not a sledgehammer [anymore, I added], but you’re no spinmaster when it’s just too plain and obvious…”

He’s right and I know that I haven’t been writing with my intention of it coming from a place of peace because that would be inorganic. How can I try to find the love in an experience when love is absent and fear is the engine that created it? 

I was just talking to a dear friend from college. She and I share similar stories of our lives. She was talking about how she needs to say “no” more often; about how it’s ok to opt out and not do things for other people, especially if your heart isn’t in it. We talked about how sometimes we have to / end up doing things we’re not especially proud of or invested in because we happened to be there at the right time and while most of those experiences were inocuous in their own right, over time in the aggregate, they add up to a lot of “regret pebbles” that we end up carrying around. They encumber us and they unconsciously set us up for more similar experiences and repeated behaviors. 

I listened to her describe some of these experiences. I was patient and when it was right, I chimed in and she laughed in her usual way because she knew I was coming at this from the opposite corner. Not that I’ve figured it all out, but that I do believe that reframing (optimism is my ambition) helps us out. A lot. When we don’t know what to do. 

“Instead of coming at this from an aspect of saying ‘no,’ Bipsy, can you reframe it to include yourself instead of excluding others? Can you come at it from a place of ‘yes to myself’ instead of ‘no to you’?” We both laughed harder because we knew what I was proposing was basically inverting the entire paradigm of how we’ve been conditioned all our lives — because when we say “no” the whole world falls apart; people die; people suffer — to be hyper-vigilant, mistrustful, self-deprecating, and sarcastic… all these behaviors to cover the pain of being raised in a state of chaos by adults who really weren’t the best at “adulting.” 

We, as codependents, tend to have an issue / conflict with saying “no” to people because we want to be liked. But we see now that saying no is essential to our survival as healthy people with healthy boundaries. “Oddly, we were conditioned to say ‘yes’ to people who almost always communicated ‘no…'” I said and we both laughed again. Sort of. And then sighed at the same time. We were almost 3,000 miles apart at the time, but we were in the same space. 

I have no problem saying “no” to someone when my children or my husband or dear relations are at stake. Sometimes, however, it’s those same people I’m protecting that sometimes need to hear “no” from me. Or “yes” to something else. Compromises are the sweet elixir of the recovering codependent. We put that elixir on our ice cream. We indulge in it as liquid courage during difficult conversations. One of the best types of comments I’ve learned from my father to say to someone or about something that we just can’t see ourselves doing is to say, “That sounds like a good idea” — because it does, it’s a good idea to someone, but that’s it.    

I saw a person I used to know several months ago at an event of mutual interest. Our friendship break-off was sudden and horrid. We both chose our children over the other. That’s fine with me. I never will forget this person’s friendship and meaning in my life when we were fast and furious friends, but that time is over and that ship has sailed winded by an unforgivable act of betrayal. I decided at this months-ago event to just bite the bullet and say hello. Chances were very high that we would encounter each other at least half a dozen times in hallways or at the water fountain. We caught up in a superficial way and I dialed in and told her that it was nice to see her and catch up and that I will always hold her and our experiences dear in my heart. She said she missed me and that the ball was in my court about resuming our relationship. 

That was when I had to go with my gut. As much as I meant all the things I said to her in that moment, I didn’t have to say them. I felt like saying them because it’s what I was trained to do: take a shitty situation and make it better. I sipped from the elixir and I shouldn’t have. When I remembered why she and I were in this state of non-relationship it became clear again as to what happened and why. So I simply said, “Yeah. This is where we are. I loved you, but I don’t see it changing ever. My kids need to feel safe.” And that was that.   

It’s never to late to start to say no. 

I feel strong as a parent when I say no or choose us / me. Saying ‘yes’ to health and intelligent living doesn’t have to look like ‘no.’ It doesn’t have to feel exclusive. Because it’s not. You’ve weighed the options and decided to follow a certain decision. 

Take drinking, for instance. I don’t drink at all like I used to. Rarely do I have more than one glass of wine and if I happen to have two, that’s it. Socially, I will have a beer or a wine or a G&T and generally that’s it. This is at home, too. I’m not stupid: I’m genetically fucked. I’m primed to be a world-class alcoholic and if the way I feel — lighter, warmer but not hot, relaxed & easy like a Sunday morning, smooth in the muscles, sign here and everything will be taken care of to your liking, I’ll take another with a straw this time — less than 2 minutes after drinking a beer or a halfway into a glass of wine are not an indication that I’m playing with fire, nothing is.   

So I drink less. Or not at all. I try to stay present. I don’t let people pour for me without my awareness anymore. I don’t like waking up and feeling like shit. I don’t like not being able to fall asleep because it’s too hot it’s too dry it’s too hard it’s too soft it’s too much. Nothing –to me– is worth that feeling anymore. Will I slip up? Will I have three glasses of X? Yes, rarely but yes, and man, I tend to feel like a newborn the next morning. You’ve seen newborns, straight from the womb?

So instead of saying “no” to my friends or the booze, I say yes to a restful sleep. I say yes to remembering the evening. I say yes to acting responsible. I say yes to not terrifying my children. I say yes to my peace of mind. Should I falter, I have been very good though about no longer emotionally beating the shit out of myself. What’s done is done. You can’t nursing a bell, says Dr. Phil. I realize that beating myself up for something I can’t undo is a complete waste of time and mental bandwidth. 

But beating ourselves up sure keeps us in the spotlight, don’t it? So stop. For everyone’s peace of mind: stop flaggelating yourself. It’s embarrassing. It’s cyclical. 

I’m losing my train here. The point of this was to share that it’s hard to write or approach things from a place of love when you’ve been hurt. I try to paint a lot of stuff with rose tint but I think that’s more codependency at play. 

I saw a Mary Oliver quote the other day and it took my breath away. It was in a post at a blog I follow, “Adventures in Overthinking” titled Crescent Moons and Critical Morons.  


What is it that we plan to do with this one wild and precious life? 

I am going to be kinder to myself and write things the way they present themselves to me and I’m going to be ok with not always arriving at a conclusion that makes it all ok. Because sometimes it’s not. Sometimes when you’re treated like crap by people who are supposed to be your family, the anger is too much and it all feels waaaaaaaaay too familiar. As though you’re on a treadmill of your childhood’s worst possible moments because these are more people who have told you to count on them, despite all the flake flags you’ve ignored for years. 

So you try to talk to them about conditions, the situation, but you’re frequently interrupted by your host’s constant narrative of victimization and drama; the imprisonment of the golden handcuffs. They say they “hear” you and that they are your soft place to fall, yet instead after driving 460 miles they make you or your child sleep on the hard floor for three nights in a row. You cycle in your head about how they strung you along for months preceding the event, constantly changing the agenda  — and they connect with you about their time in Hawaii when their baggage was lost and they had to sit on the beach outside their condo for hours waiting for it to arrive. 

You try to discuss their reactivity, how the cellular reception is wonky and that you waited almost three hours for them to show up but yet they expected you to read their minds and you hear back from them that they bought all this expensive organic and healthy and non-GMO and locally produced food that’s gonna go to waste because you never showed up (because you were never instructed to). You try with love to listen sympathetically to their monologue about “bad” friends and betrayal by lovers in favor of those friends yet you remember watching them all open two bottles of Veuve Cliquot at 9am outside the window of your room. 

You then try to walk around the challenges of how they put drug-addled near-strangers ahead of you because they’re afraid of losing their love interest with the healthy investment portfolio (oh yeah, it’s getting real right now) and how they somehow managed to accuse you -hissingly- to third parties of taking their children to dinner, as if it’s a war crime. And how on your final night of “we can’t take it anymore” they somehow thought it ok to place their hand in the face of North America’s Kindest Man, my husband, when he tried to smooth things over — because that’s what he does, he’s The Smoother — and then drive away in a Neiman-Marcus grade huff of self-righteous indignation and fury, leaving their children -again- for you to shuttle back to Hotel California. But woe upon you, family relation: when you lose the endurance of The Smoother, may God have mercy on you. Because that’s when I get involved. 

I got involved because I’m done. Because as I mentioned in my post about our cat being stolen, that when I step in, you can almost count on it going nuclear and being totally FUBAR. I was ready because I was not going to do this again.  

This person made my husband swear and say, “That’s it. If it weren’t 11:45 at night and we had somewhere to go, we’d be #)C%!>@ leaving right now.” I unleashed the shitstorm of reality that people like me (tired of sipping the elixir of codependency and expecting different results) unleash. The results of unleashing that shitstorm can never be predicted because when you start your conversation, no matter how challenging, no matter how uncomfortable the details of how it all went pear-shaped (because very little of it had to do with me, it was a lot of projecting, looping and recycling of weird childhood feelings this person has NOT resolved), it’s very possible that you’ll be left standing amidst a cloud of gravel dust and disbelief in a driveway watching the driver of a European station wagon haul ass to Mommy. 

The Mommy who enrages them. The Mommy who doesn’t “get” them. The Mommy up the road.   

Those are just the highlights. 

But I won’t bore you with this story despite your pleas. I’ll incorporate it into my memoir or a “fiction” instead. 

Suffice it to say that this summer we opted to surround ourselves with people we love and people who love us and we hightailed it to North Carolina for an absolutely beautiful experience. While I was there I had two dreams about my mother. In one of them this relation and the father of this relation appeared at an event I was apparently hosting and serving a well-known (to my family) classic meal. I was approached and admonished by this father whose boisterous persona when alive was just as unfettered in my dream. He shouted at me in the dream the same strange, tribal id-chant he used shout when things got out of control to him. He was red-faced and utterly furious with me for behaving the way I did toward his child, reprimanding me for and accusing me of picking a fight…. I remember seeing my mother in the dream and she made fists and her jaw became set and she stared at him from behind with squinted, wild eyes. She was maybe 70. I said in the dream, “[TRIBAL CHANT] BACK TO YOU, MORTIMER! And what the hell are you doing here? You’re DEAD! You don’t belong in this dream!” And my mother (who is also dead) stood up and shook her fist and her signature bangles and said, ‘Great! Get ‘im, Maaal!” He bellowed at me, “This is not how you treat family!” And I bellowed back, fearless, “If you knew the whole story, you’d be on a different team, I promise you that, Morty.” My eyes darting between him and my mother, “We were NOT treated like family … or [hissing on my own now] maybe WE WERE…” and he and my mother both vaporized. They knew when to bolt.    

I’ve been told that it’s gossipy, uncouth and coarse to write about impolite things. But what if what you write about is people who treat people horribly? Doesn’t the story deserve venting? Doesn’t the fault lie more with the precipitating jerk than it does the person who decides to share the crappy behavior and end the delusion? What about when the person who recites the martyr narrative about the luggage in Hawaii and the expensive baby-dandelion-fed veal burgers is really the Veuve Cliquot-sipping despot? An inverse narcissist? Don’t roll your eyes.   

I can’t not write because I’m afraid of upsetting people. I read recently in Mother Land by Paul Theroux (awesome thick tome which reminds me of my mother and of the aforementioned relation): “At the end of his memoir, Family History, John Lanchester comments, ‘Once my mother wasn’t able to read my books, I finally began writing them.'” Theroux also continues to write about Miller, Wharton, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Lawrence, and others about how they dealt with their families’ and friends sentiments of their writing. It is empowering and it brings me back to Mary Oliver… what are we going to do with this wild and precious one life? 

I think the first thing we do is stop saying “no” and say “yes” instead. Yes to things that quicken our pulse. Yes to things that scare us. Yes to things we’ve not done before. Yes. 

This is it! This is the moment we’ve been waiting for! If you’re not there yet but you want to be, we can do it together. We just have to keep at least one hand on the steering wheel while we wave at the moon. 

Thank you.

This Story Needs Telling. Our Stolen Cat We See Daily.

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Many years ago when I first started this blog, I did so with the intention of it being a series of epistles to my sons, a chronicle of randomness throughout our lives together which would ultimately impart a moral or character-building lesson. I see now that I have sort of destroyed that intention — from the cheap seats, this platform could be considered to have morphed into an all-about-me show, but really, if you dial in, you will see that it’s still got some good lessons and stories for the boys to go over well after I’m mushroom food — but it all just happened. Much like this story I’m about to tell. (I’ll go into the mushroom thing later.)

This is our neighbor’s cat, now.

We used to call him “Gandalf.” I’m not sure what the neighbors call him, but now we refer to him as “Stolen.”

Gandalf came to us in 2004, after our loss of Skipper to the rescue league (I think I told that story on this blog) because he was basically dropped at our doorstep when all I planned on doing was helping his senior owner learn about the breed his children dumped on him after his wife died and his kids thought he could use some company, not the hip replacement Skipper induced.

Gandalf and his sister, Beezer (aptly named from “BC” for “black cat” and the phrase “bee-cee” morphed into “Beecee Beecer…” and then of course, “Beezer” but that doesn’t matter because on her vet file, she’s referred to as “Bitsy”) were picked up from a local source (pet store — I know, I’ll never do that again) in a moment of weakness. They were born on Boxing Day 2003. My husband knew all my life that all I wanted was a male gray barn cat and when Gandalf was a kitten he showed great promise. My sister-in-law had also recently acquired two sibling cats and she said it was better to have two cats than to have one cat (hmm, they have only their black cat too now), so I told my husband to do it, get both. He did. 

Of course they were adorable. Of course they were cuddly and purred. They had blue eyes when they were babies; we knew they would not likely stay blue. They were goofy and we indulged them with all the love and attention they could withstand. It was delightful to watch them grow up.

They are cats. We learned when they were about 10 months old that we were staff. Did the love affair end? Not at all. We still appeal to their aloofness and tried to get them to interact with us, but they made it clear from their early months, that they were to be revered and observed and not really … “owned.” We tried collars. We tried bells on collars. We tried walking them on a leash (BWAHAHAHAAAAA! Such folly!) We never abandoned them and we always followed their lead. They were the cats. We invited them into our lives.

When they were about 15 months old, after they had been sterilized, they made it quite clear (have you heard a cat incessantly yowl?) that they preferred an indoor-outdoor lifestyle. Gandalf more so than Beezer. He liked to roam. We loved him so much we had a chip installed in him when he was recovered at a vet’s after he roamed more than 2 miles from home one three-day weekend when we were home; we hadn’t seen him for more than a week. I’d like to thank the Sullivans for posting “found cat” signs along the path to school on the same weekend we were posting our “lost cat” signs. Closer in, he would follow us along the curb line when we would walk Maggie, our first Golden. He would follow us to school in the morning when I would drop off Connor, my oldest, to kindergarten. It was a thing we did every day: all the neighborhood children who walked to school would marvel at and try to pet our elusive yet devoted silly gray cat who stalked us along the ferns and wild lilies to the educave where I reluctantly deposited my five-year-old for his daily infusion of state-designed education. Sometimes “G” or “Gandy” (as we called him) would stay behind, looking quizzically at me as if to suggest: “That’s it? You’re leaving?! What about the one in there? What the hell?” And he would literally walk around the school and wait outside the window looking in. One morning, he found Connor’s classroom and I got a phone call.

“Mrs. Field, we believe your cat is at the school looking in the windows. Could you please get him? He’s lovely. He’s also a major distraction.”

By the time I plopped the kids in the stroller and dashed up there, to try to coax him home (I was not about to deal with a kitty kennel and a double stroller) G was vapor. He probably knew I was coming. Cats know things.

We were a team. Over the years, we began to understand each other. Gandalf simply wanted tactical support during untenable weather, a reliable food source, and a place to shit. We wanted a cat and this is how we operated. “What about Beezer?” you ask? She’s still here. She’s a curious little girl, a bit timid but she warms up to you eventually. No food required, just a gradual and earned trust. She doesn’t fancy being held. But she will endure it to escape the dogs to and from her adventures outdoors. She’s a fantastic hunter and she shows us her devotion to us with a dead mole, small snake or baby something on the doorstep every couple of weeks.

Now that I’ve updated you on our history, I will bring you up to speed (with some backstory) on the current situation.

Our neighbors, in their late 60s and early 70s, have lived on this street since its inception. They are what are referred to as “original owners.” We’ve lived here since 2000, so we’ve known them for some time. Overall, it’s been an avuncular and materteral relationship. We’ve assisted each other with lifestyle requests (lawn care after medical procedures, tool borrowing, etc.) when needed. It’s been high level with some deeper niches here and there. Our houses face each other. It’s how things can be on a “pipestem” or “private driveway” culture.

They have had their own cat, an orange male tabby, “OJ,” who was beautiful and would stare at G and Beezer with both envy and disgust. Then they had “Cricket,” the dog belonging to the frail in-law father who moved in after his wife died and his house was sold. Somewhere along the history in the last six years, OJ died, the father-in-law died, and Cricket died. It was all very sad and hard on the couple, but this is life, is it not?

“Why don’t you get another cat?” I would ask… “You loved your OJ… he was low maintenance and when you travel, cats are pretty cool with a long weekend and very easy to look after…”

“Naaaaah. Too much work. Too much hassle. My heart would break when we would lose it. I don’t want to get attached. I don’t want the expense. I don’t want to deal with another pet. Too much work. I want freedom,” would be the standard answer(s).

These conversations would often occur after they would joke about how G would sneak into their house when the garage – house door was ajar.

“He’s so faaaayast…” the wife would say between hearty laughs in her scratchy Great Lakes accent. “I cayaan’t catch him!”

I would look askance, nod in gentle acknowledgment …  my gut telling me something was “off” as we say in the woo-woo world.  Gandalf was lots of things. FAST is not one of them. He’s like the slow, lumbering, pimp-rolling cat who OWNS this street. He has nothing to rush about. He doesn’t give a crap about your car coming up the street. He watches YOU steer out of the way. I’m convinced he was part dog. We used to call him “KittyDog” as a joke, but now we call him “Stolen.”

“Well, just don’t let him develop a habit. Call me and I’ll come get him. Or just toss him out. We don’t want to confuse him.” I would say. Keeping the conversation going.

“Oh absolutely! I can deal without the cat hair! Ha! I’ll toss him!” she would say, unconvincingly.

Over the years, we started to see less and less of Gandalf at home. Our home. His home.

It got to be a problem. My kids were concerned. I would email the street: “Has anyone see Gandalf? Please let us know, the boys are very sad…” Everyone would reply “Nope. Haven’t seen him. Will let you know if we do. Will keep an eye out…” except one. Crickets. (Ha!)

One day soon after that missive, I saw G slink outside the front door of my neighbors’ house. Like he was performing the cross-campus walk of shame. Except he was simply crossing 30 feet of macadam. He was leaving the house of you know, the people who didn’t want a pet. That having a pet was too much work. That they didn’t want to get attached. That they didn’t need the expense. The hassle. They just wanted to borrow him for comfort … ?

He sauntered to my door: “mew.” I’d let him in.

This pattern continued a few more months and then I said to my husband: this has to get real, now.

Here I go again: growing up in a world where enabling, deceit and duplicity and shame and hiding truth was a way of life, I had determined when I was a young woman that even if it meant I was going to be a caustic raving troubadour of truth, that I was NOT going to live in a world where people simply didn’t own their shit.  

My husband, knowing for certain that he’d married a real liability about stuff like this and that I’d reached my limit of neighborly kindliness and looking-the-other-way -ness about it, knew he had two options: he could handle it and things would likely go nice and diplomatic or I could handle it and it was going to be like a freaking social nuclear holocaust on their asses.

He handled it. He went over to their house and had a doorstep chat about it. He had all his facts. He presented the situation and they admitted to it and hung their cat-thieving heads in shame and said they’d stop doing it.

Enter… the summer. Gandalf comes and goes. He’s happy. He’s losing weight. He’s fine.

Enter… the fall. Same. He’s never been a fan of indoor living and he wasn’t thrilled when Charlie took up residence here, but he’s a cat. He flew under the radar. He came and went as he pleased. At midnight he would howl and we would let him out. In the morning, he’d be at the doorstep mewing all, “breakfast?” And we’d let him in.

Enter… the winter … and G was having sleepovers again. His absence was the harbinger of the resumption of their dysfunctional behavior. I remember disTINCTly the time I saw with my own bespectaled eyes, their readmittance of MY CAT into their home. It was a standard February day here in Northern Virginia: 45˚ and sunny. G padded around the house, rubbed his furry gray head into my shin and “rowled” hello. He followed me to the front door and mewed that he wanted to go out, so I let him. He sat on our brick stoop for a while (much like in the photo above) and then he got up, stretched in at least 15 different ways and began his daily constitutional, walking around outside, performing a census of the bayberry thorns with his back in the neighbor’s yard and slinking beneath their junipers stopping from time to time to daintily sniff something.

I was just watching him do his kitty thing in the bright sunshine. The morning sun’s reflection on the glass storm door across the asphalt caught my eye as my female neighbor OPENED THAT DOOR, LOOKED FROM SIDE TO SIDE LIKE SHE WAS IN A 1930’s GANSTGER FLICK AND “TSK TSK TSK’D” MY CAT INTO HER FUCKING HOUSE. Gandalf looked up from his sniffing and trotted through her doorway.

I lost my mind. I counted to 10 in kitty years. I took a few breaths. I did all the shit I tell my yoga students and all the freaked out little kids to do when they’re upset and none of it worked. It was like I was staring at a hall of mirrors of “FUCK MEOW YOU” written all over them.

I often refer to moments in my life with scenes from movies, to bring people into my state of mind. There’s a great scene in “Raising Arizona” when Holly Hunter’s character, Ed (who was a police officer), discovers Nick Cage (Hi) has reverted to armed robbery (“it ain’t armed robbery if the gun’s not loaded,” he would say earlier in his defense during his parole hearings) and has a panty on his head. Why? He was absconding with a bulk case of Huggies diapers for the baby he and Ed, now his wife, have just kidnapped because she was infertile. (This is a comedy, so stay with me.) Ed, in full police chase driving mode, drives to pick up Hi and as she sees him with the gun raised to the pimple-faced teenage store clerk, and she puts the car in park, gets out of the car, stands up, points at Hi and screams, “YOUSONOFABITCH!” at least twice. That’s how I felt. I felt kinship with her character, Ed, because she had been deceived. Instead of shouting what she did, I pointed and shouted, “YOUFUCKINGBITCH!” at least twice as I watched that harlot let my cat in her house without a damned care in the world and how small it made me feel.

If you’ve never seen Raising Arizona, you need to; here’s a great summary which still doesn’t do the film justice: https://youtu.be/wQYY7TSnPXQ

I realize this is not about the cat. This is not about Gandalf being “disloyal” and all the other human attachments we assign to animals. I read National Geographic. I’ve known for YEARS that cats are whores. Especially the indoor-outdoor type. I wasn’t concerned about G’s well-being because he was a badass. He OWNED this ‘hood. It wasn’t about his weight or his health or the fact that every time he’d been away for several days we’d know where he was because he smelled like their we’re-no-longer-smokers but our-house-smells-like-cheap-candles-to-cover-up-the-stench house. Whenever G came home from an overnight he smelled like the cheap cologne from a brothel washroom (or what I’d imagine that space would smell like). Every time, we would sniff him and say, “He’s been tricking.”

Because I know this isn’t about the cat but rather human weakness, fear and cowardice, I’ve basically tried to let it go. I’ve looked the other way. I’ve gone Jesus about it and turned the other cheek. I have zoomed out: these are sad people with nothing really going on. I’m not being coarse when I say they barely leave their house. The husband is a workaholic and has had two heart attacks. He’s on a pacemaker now. The wife is probably enduring some form of insulin resistance or compromised health or depression and their marriage is likely a silent one. If G hanging out with them brings pleasure to their lives and their sad existence, then he’s doing the work of angels and nuns. I’m good with it. What I’m NOT good with, no shock here if you’ve read anything I’ve written, is THE LYING and the GAME PLAYING, the silence.

It continued for years. I would play Jesus. I would let it go. I would notice my beautiful gray barn cat getting fatter and fatter. To keep the peace on this tiny cul de sac, I would keep my piece.

“He doesn’t come home and when he is here he doesn’t eat. He barely talks to me. He hisses at the dogs. He smells like Old Spice or Brut. His body is changing… I think he’s having an affair!” Same with cats. Save for the lipstick on the collar.

Four years later, this May, shit hit the fan. I am guessing literally, over at the House of Stolen Cat. Gandalf hasn’t been lodging with us for at least a year. He comes in to eat and nap then leaves before long. Apparently family living isn’t for him, plus our kibble likely sucks in comparison to what was in the Fancy Feast tins I’ve seen in their trash. No, I didn’t go snooping although now I wish I had.

My husband and I are watching a murder show around 10pm. This is what we do when we are exhausted and bored and want to compare our lives to the sadness on exploitative television.

His phone lights up with a text from the man who will now be known as “Mr. Cat Thief.”

MCT: We think the cat is sick. It has been coughing a lot tonight.

Dan [after much laughter from us before replying and chatting about ‘the cat‘]: What cat?

MCT:  Gandalf.

Dan: Well, you would know better than I. You have allowed him to live with you for at least a year. We take him to XYZ vet.

Pause…

MCT: We would like to take him to the vet. We would pay of course. But he has a chip. They might balk at us for bringing him in without your consent.

Pause… we are laughing. We can’t believe this is happening. I’m all “‘but he has a chip…’ — that’s because HE’S NOT YOURS, YOU EFFERS!”

Finally, Gandalf is giving them what they deserve: the hassle, the vet bills, the companionship, the attachment, the heartache — the true surreptitious ownership (despite EVERYTHING they said they didn’t want) of MY GRAY BARN CAT — because we haven’t had him overnight in our house for more than a year and he’s become obese and flatulent at their hand and their cowardice. Dan and I debate this conversation. We are bitter. Well, I am bitter. I’m half bitter, actually: I’m THRILLED that they’re having to reach out to us about OUR cat that THEY stole from us and I’m pissed that they are effing cowards and assholes.

Dan? Dan’s dancing a jig, finally free of the cat who literally was a giant nagging eating and shitting machine — an asshole to us. Finally relieved of tending to his shitbox. I can see in Dan’s head, the cartoonish “for sale” sign attached to Gandalf’s kitty house. We talk some more. A little at odds over how to handle this. I want to say, “FUCK YOU! YOU STOLE OUR CAT!” when we both know that won’t solve anything. “That’s not why they’re texting, sweetie,” Dan reminds me. This is how we work.

Dan: Go ahead and take him [forever] to the vet. We will authorize the transfer and ownership of Gandalf to you.

MCT: Ok.

Here’s the actual thread with crappy editing:


Dan is freaking on fire. He’s laughing so hard and he’s so happy. He can’t believe his luck.


I’m laughing with Dan sincerely while at the same time I’m also enraged that no one — not even my beloved — has called them out explicitly for stealing our cat from us after our requests to not let him in, to not develop habits with him, to remember he doesn’t live with them despite his insistence that he thinks he does. Curiosity does not equal dominion.

Do I miss Gandalf? Yeah, a little and a lot sometimes. He’s a beauty and he used to live here. I resent the hell out of this situation because I chose to be nice, that I chose to be all Jesus and turn-the-other-cheekish about this. I really do.

And then it comes back to me, my lessons from all those years on the couch: It’s hard to be soft.

So they took him to the vet. The next weekday morning, I answered the call on our house line and it was the receptionist at XYZ vet telling me that MrsCT was presenting Gandalf. Asking if I was ok with their bringing him in for attention and observation? I was pissed. They actually went through with it… probably thinking as well that they were better cat owners than we. That if we really loved him… I don’t know. But I allowed the transfer of the chip and ownership to them. Now they are confronted with their outcome. We all are. It could be easily said that if I really wanted my cat that I would MARCH THE HELL OVER TO THEIR HOUSE AND DEMAND!!!! THEY RELEASE HIM AND NEVER DO IT AGAIN!!!

But that’s really silly. I am not a fanatic. I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to live like this.

I’m also not a hypocrite. As depicted in the photo in the beginning, taken this morning, Gandalf clearly still comes “home” to us, but we don’t let him in. We don’t want to further confuse him and frankly, we don’t own him anymore. We’ve handed over all rights to M/MCT. He rubs against my leg, but he doesn’t come in. He sits on our stoop, infuriating Charlie and is sociable to Beezer who hisses at him whenever she gets the chance. (This is not new behavior for her, she’s one of those kitties who absolutely has to let herself be known so she can operate freely in her zone.)

The thing is though, that we would’ve absolutely had a real conversation about them adopting Gandy if they wanted to. We spoke privately about it. We saw what was happening — they would feed him, he’d get fatter and we’d have to deal with their indulgence but they openly said they didn’t want a pet; they just wanted our cat but not own him-own him.

It sucked. The only way to have dealt with it was to deal with it. For several months before this went down, Dan and I would talk to each other about how something had to change; that they had to stop doing what they were doing or that we were going to have to upgrade their status. But Gandalf took care of it all on his own.

So how did the following weekend’s Memorial Day Pipestem Cookout go, you ask? It went fine. MrsCT was sociable and acted as though nothing had happened. She seems willing to speak about unpleasant things when they have to do with her husband who takes her nowhere. Ever. I cooley smiled and then ignored her and drank my Bud Light Limes under the shade of my crepe myrtle with my bestie. MrCT was as cold as my beer. He likely knew that I was seething under my red white and blue frock, and I didn’t care. To me, Maya Angelou (God rest her), was loud and clear: “When someone shows you who they are the first time, believe them.” That first time was when in their weakness and heartache they stole Gandalf six years ago. I knew it would happen again. I choose to be real. I won’t speak to them at all anymore unless they start the conversation and of course like Dutiful Recovering Catholics, we won’t talk about it, even though I know it would be best. I honestly don’t think they can handle the conversation.

So what’s the moral lesson here? What’s the platitude if I can’t think of anything substantial…? I think it’s that we all screw up, but that it’s not OK to say “I just screwed up.” That we have to go deeper, we have to do more. We can’t just roll over people and expect them to be ok. We have to do the right thing. We have to own our screw ups and own the pain we cause others. We have to admit our weaknesses for other peoples’ things (if you’re the M/MCTs) and come to terms with how our choices shape the lives of the people around us. Not to mention the shape of their cat.

Thank you.

Laundry Can Wait … What’s Taking Up Space In Your Life?

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I just returned from seven days at the shore. Outer Banks, North Carolina, to be exact and it has been a while since I’ve taken a trip with just my tribe. Last summer’s trip to my hometown of Buffalo, NY, and summer childhood playground of Bay Beach, Lake Erie, Canada was a bit of a shitstorm (the weather was great, truly, but another atmospheric energy vacuum disturbance was at play) and the fact that this is the first time I’m mentioning it should tell you how taboo the content is. Nonetheless, despite my body’s awareness of the angle of the sun and the lift of the heat and inner knowing that I’m not usually below the Mason-Dixon Line this time of year, I packed up my stuff with my team here and we went south to the OBX. 

Okracoke Island, looking north.

From Okracoke looking west.

Okracoke Island, N.C. Superior in all ways. Looking South.

We got a 4×4 vehicle beach pass. I HIGHLY recommend it; this is our approach to “Shelly Beach” near Hatteras light house.

My view from our rental hovel. Full moon rising.

The drive in, once you clear Nags Head. Totally natural.


It was glorious. It was some of the most primitive and expansive beaches I’ve ever seen. It rivaled the Pacific Coast in its big sky, boundlessness. I never felt so small and yet so alive at the same time. They say that there are more stars in the sky than there are grains of sand ALL OVER our Earth. I’m good with that now. It used to intimidate me because I would think, “Why bother?” But now, the obligation to be a person of purpose — no matter what that is: trash picker, photographer, pasta cooker, laundry folder… is too great. The odds that we are here because God, the fates, the universe deemed it, are too fine. We must live well. It’s our duty. Just do it with love.  

The weather was sublime, the people were kind and patient and everyone was on vacation — even seemingly so the people who were working. The owner at Uncle Eddy’s mini golf and custard, a Texan at heart, was all North Carolina sunshine and fleecy clouds. His young co-worker, a bespectacled ginger with an odd personality who took it upon herself to tell me about the houses she had just cleaned the day before, “One has six bathrooms, two of those with a bidet, and eight bedrooms. It’s real nice, it’s got granite counters and stainless steel kitchen and a hot tub and a pool. Hardwoods in the foyay and marble floors in the kitchen (ouch, sounds like it should be the other way around and in Manhattan). Each bathtub is a jacuzzi (back when those were in vogue I guess) and the carpet is real nice. Chandeliers and giant windows… I don’t do windows…” Of course not. 

As we were in our hovel, compared to the place she mentioned, I marveled at the austerity of the place and how important that austerity is to truly let the mind and the spirit relax and retune. There were maybe no cookbooks anywhere and maybe a handful of family portraits. The “artwork” (mostly cheap prints from shops on NC-12, the main road in and out of OBX) depicting dolphins (thus denoted with the caption “D O L P H I N S” beneath) and wind-tamed dunes on the walls had all succumbed to the UV rays that blast through the glass facing the shore and had taken on that cream-pink-blue tone, where the image starts to fade / bleed into the empty space, a sure sign of the deterioration of the paper upon which they were printed. What was funny to me in retrospect is the placement of some of the images: they were also on scant mountable surface area of the very walls that faced the sea. Call me a jerk, but if the choice is between watching the rolling tide of the Atlantic, witnessing real  d o l p h i n s  actually do that thing they do when they swim, and watch the occasional flock of pelicans fly amidst the wind drift just above the water, versus glancing at artwork (shit or Renoir), I’ll choose the sea. So about that austerity thing: discern. If you’re going to decorate scantily, just do it well. 

The house had a washer and dryer. I told my children and myself: don’t bring more than you really need: 3 of everything, nothing fancy. I ignored my own instruction and overpacked (not terribly). However I wore everything I packed. And I did. Except one t-shirt and one pair of shorts. I did bring three swimsuits. I wore two. Of the two I wore, I wore only one once. I own this. So I lied. I didn’t wear everything I packed. I know you might think this is not a big deal, but for some reason, it bugs the crap out of me. Ethics. Do what you say. Say what you do. The inner “disturbance in the force” of my own mind because I know I have too much shit in my life to begin with.  And to top it off, I bought things while I was there. Two t-shirts and a pair of sunglasses. And a hat. And a Turkish towel; the real kind, not the fluffy kind. My husband bought me a hammerhead shark plushie, much to my squealing delight.

We packed enough sunscreen though and that was super important because my middle son, Thing 2, decided he didn’t need sunscreen — he wanted to correct his farmer’s tan, so without my knowledge he went all day on Sunday without SPF. That was an unwise choice, and he paid for that for days, but he was pretty good-humored about it. My youngest son, Thing 3, simply didn’t put any on — there wasn’t a plan. He rather fancies his alabaster, blue-hued skin tone and because he is the third of our three children, we simply forgot about him. Not true, but essentially it’s become somewhat of a pattern here. We used to call him “the merry wanderer” (because he’d just take off) until he burst into tears because he thought we were calling him a girl, “Mary Wanderer.” When I explained the distinction, that  “merry” meant “happy” like how we say “Merry Christmas” which only made things worse and began a whole new trip down the idiomatic rabbit hole and I gave up. So we only call him “the merry wanderer” behind his back now. As a joke now, whenever I’m unsure of where he is before we leave anywhere, I pretend I’m Katherine O’Hara in “Home Alone” and freak / shout, “KEVIN!” like she did from her first-class seat to Paris while Kevin (McCauley Caulkin) was back home in Lake Forest going through his brother’s stuff and eating ice cream pizzas for breakfast. Anyway, true to form, he had no sunscreen on for about 2 hours and that did him in for a couple days. On our penultimate day, weary of his excuses to not be outside, I bought him a board shirt for $35 and he wore it for 90 minutes until he complained so much about where we were (the sound side of the island, now referred to affectionately as “Shit Hole Bay” for many reasons, primarily amongst them that the water is probably 90˚ and foamy). My eldest, bolstered by his own experience with sunburn and his equally fair-skinned girlfriend’s presence on the trek, was pretty good about his skincare and only got burned where his skin rubbed against the boogie board and where his shoulders would’ve taken a beating from the waves. So, pretty much everywhere.

Yes, we invited our son’s girfriend. Yes, that sounds like a big step. They are their own pod; I make no inferences. She cheerfully and naively consented to subject herself to our randomness for two 6-hour-long car rides. Her parents were also going to be away for the same period we were and I didn’t want her to be alone. She’s a really great girl: super bright, energetic, optimistic, real, game, human, female (so important for me — surrounded by nothing by males in canid or human form), patient and so kind to our youngest — like the type of kindness you read about — and she had her own room directly across from ours. She was an asset and we loved having her there.  

We also forgot things: butter, salt. The boys didn’t pack their own shampoo. I’m really glad they didn’t remove the toothbrush, tooth paste and dental floss kits from the car when they last visited the dentist, as they came in handy. 

We also brought a bunch of stuff we know to NEVER bring again. There’s a reason this area is the birthplace of modern aviation: the wind. So that means for us, people who really just want lie on the beach and maybe paddleboard to not bother there because the winds are so constant and so beautiful that you will get pushed so far away from where you started that a sail really is not just a cool-looking accessory. We also realized that it’s folly to bring any of the following beach games: 

  • Ladder toss game
  • Frisbee
  • Track ball
  • Kadima
  • Spike ball or slam ball
  • Badminton 
  • Beach ball 
  • Feathers

Things to bring next time: 

  • Kites
  • Flying suits
  • Capes
  • Anti-gravity gear
  • Jet packs
  • Vitamix (I missed my blender)

Despite their natural spartan appearance, the beaches at night were abundant with ghost crabs. I used to like them. I recall walking along other Atlantic coastlines and seeing maybe half a dozen in an hour’s time. Not here. It was like the invasion of the laterally locomotive diaphanous exoskeletal amphibious arachnids. In less than 30 minutes I avoided stepping on or freaked out from seeing about 30 of them of all varying densities and intensities. Most of them did their crab thing: run sideways from the beams of my uranium-powered flashlight saying “fuck off, landlubber!” But it was a bit much after a while. I actually started to get anxious about it and I knew then that that was not why I was on vacation. So I begged my husband of limited night vision to take me back to our home, which he did, and I plopped on the teal courduroy sofa and watched a documentary about heroin addiction. I kid you not.  

Over the days, I watched my assembly of tchotchkes grow and while I didn’t put on a hair shirt, so to speak, I remember the a plan in my head to unload my life and my psyche of things which no longer bring me pleasure and to rid myself of the things which hold me down. Things that are attached to people who’ve hurt me or who represent unresolvable times in my life. Things I bought while with those people feeling the pressure to buy them because the person selected it for me even though I didn’t really have the guts to say “no, that’s not me. That’s actually you thinking you know me,” or even worse: my buying the item because I wanted to curry the favor of the person I was with because that person liked it more than I did. It’s all very meta. So I am pleased that I bought delightful, made well and intentional things from small local shops. Am I rationalizing? Of course I like to think I’m not.     

The abundance of these shoreline mega shops, “Sunsations” and “Wings” and “Wings Super Store” and “Kitty Hawk Kites” (how many kites does one need?)  along NC-12, was disconcerting to me. It made me think of how much shit we all have and that’s because we believe the commercials, the narratives that say, “you need this” and “you’re worth it.” Some things I did need that I recently bought: the linen clothes from J.Jill (uh, vanity size much? Yes) because I am tired of burning up in the heat while trying to protect my skin (I just had my 4th basal cell carcinoma removed from my body two weeks ago) and an AMAZING SPF 50+ sun/swim shirt from prAna which I believed saved my skin while at the beach. My surgical dermatologist, a funny man, said “I’ll see you again. And be skin smart but don’t freak out: if you lived in a cave from here on out, you’d be coming back for more surgeries. This is all delayed from many years before…”  

Great. 

The austerity of the beach (house) was refreshing. It didn’t really occur to me how sparse the place was until I arrived home and opened my own door. “But this is where we LIVE,” my husband reminded me. “I like it here.” And I get that, and I love it too. But… we have too much stuff  and he agrees. We don’t need the behind-the-bike tag along trolley for toddlers anymore… unless we turn into our neighbors and have our grandchildren live with us while our child goes to medical school. True story. We also have neighbors who’ve stolen our cat. No joke.  

The conflict for me is committing the time to unload the stuff from our lives. It’s not even an issue of finding meaning in the unloading, because I know it would not be time wasted, it’s that I want to be living. So I need to reframe that. I think it’s the only way to do it. If we punt things from our lives just because they are there, it doesn’t help the process; we are just doing the opposite in reverse: we are mindlessly ridding after mindlessly acquiring. I don’t want to do that anymore. I inevitably forget I’ve done it and spend time looking for the thing I unloaded… It’s crazy making.

Sure we can make deals with ourselves here on out to live intentionally and intelligently, but that solves only half the problem. And I have: I’ve made a pact with myself that I’m only buying things that add value to my life now. It’s not that I’m going to deprive myself of things, but I want to include things: moments, people, items, music, sensations that have MEANING. I believe this is a part of not only a higher consciousness, but also of getting older (I’ll be 50 in a couple months) and also an awareness of the smarter economy: sharing, recycling and repurposing.  

Just before we left for the trip my husband and I visited the municipal dump to unload an old TV (which had basically died — we kill things here, we don’t just replace them because we don’t like them anymore), our dead wooden deck table and other wood-based things. I was both exhilarated and dumbfounded that we live here in a country where people can responsibly bring their unwanted / defunct things to be … dealt with. I’m not sure what happens to those old washing machines and door frames when they are deposited at the dump, but I do feel like we are doing something right. I don’t know. 

So it’s not just that the beach house that was not filled with too much too much, it’s that the beaches were so not-crowded by both people and crap. It was lovely to look at things and not feel overwhelmed by them. Seth Godin once wrote in a blog post: “While enough is often enough, too much becomes nothing.” I don’t want to have so much that I don’t know what I have anymore, that it becomes nothing. 

I am noticing as I write this that I have a new (latent?) “issue”: stuff and its accumulation. I believe it’s because of my mother. I’m not blaming her, but I can tell you I’d be clearer about this issue — meaning my sense of guilt over it —  if she hadn’t spent her life surrounding herself, and thus my father who is getting on, with an accumulation of so much unused stuff shit that it’s both unusable and untenable at the moment. I know I’m going to have to deal with it and I also don’t want to do this to my own kids. It’s shitty to leave your shit on your children’s hands because you don’t possess the self-control to manage it. My parents have left a significant issue unresolved and I realize right now that I’m feeling its specter, looming, because I fear I will have to deal with it and I fervently reject it.   

So the unfolded laundry had to wait today. I decided to write about my trip because I wanted to share what’s on my mind. This post has been cathartic: it has enabled me to pinpoint and unload a heavy burden of unnecessary guilt while coming to an awareness about a pretty major situation that needs to be attended to which does NOT belong on my shoulders. I want to thank you for helping me get there. I know now that I am only responsible for and responsible to the things I do.

What’s taking up space in your head? What’s a burden that you’re carrying that you don’t even know you are? What’s going on…? We can’t carry other people’s shit for them because we have our own we need to excrete. 

“Moving toward an inwardly simple life is not about deprivation or denying ourselves the things we want. It’s about getting rid of the things that no longer contribute to the fullness of our lives. It’s about creating balance between our inner and outer lives.” – Elaine St. James

Thank you.