August 8, 2020

Wasps Sting

It was Saturday. A typical hot, humid August day in Northern Virginia. My cleaning day. And I was up and at it early and in earnest.  Scrubbing, vacuuming, intermittently doing my laundry at the community laundry room across the way.  I probably should have had something to eat for lunch, or at least something to drink.  I was lightheaded by 3:00pm, but otherwise energized to get the job done!

Almost finished for the day and looking forward to a relaxing evening, I made one of the most portentous decisions of my young life. I chose to beat a rug right outside my door, completely unaware that tucked behind the electric meter affixed on the exterior wall was a lively hive of yellow jackets.


It is NOT an exaggeration to say that, within less than a second, the corner of my eye spied a swarm meld together instantly, in spectacular unison. As if they shared mental telepathy, they became one organism, with one mind, and one fierce intention. I marveled at this miracle of nature. It was a thing of beauty to behold. Before my next thought could emerge, the attack landed. Swift, intense, and merciless.

These wasps were PISSED.

My mind stopped functioning.  My autonomic system seized control. I recall running away from my door, hopping like I was on hot coals, and madly gesticulating to get these creatures off me.  I felt the prick, prick, prick of stinging nettles.  Too many to count, and in rapid succession. (I later learned that, unlike honeybees, one wasp can sting its victim multiple times and live another day to tell the tale).

Most horrifying was the entanglement in my hair as I desperately tried to oust these invaders. Two thoughts of gratitude flooded my brain as I fought vigorously: Thank God my hair is short, and Thank God my T-shirt is tucked in.

At some point I realized I was screaming.  While I flailed in the street, I recall seeing a woman standing in a frumpy house dress behind her screened front door, watching me. I must have looked like a crazy person having a full-blown mental breakdown or fit of some sort. An exotic freak show from which she could not wrest her eyes. She did not come out to offer help. She didn’t move a muscle. She just stood there, a motionless voyeur.

I don’t know how long the attack lasted. It may have been just a few minutes.  Time felt suspended.  But there did come a moment when I realized the stinging had stopped. My body relaxed.  My breathing calmed. And I realized I was okay. It was over. So, I sauntered back to my apartment, breezing past the electric meter with the agitated wasps still buzzing in agitation.  There was no fear in that moment.  I was fine!

Safely indoors, I assessed my situation. No question, bumps were popping up all over my body.  I felt lightheaded, probably from lack of food and the heat, but there wasn’t much pain.

I didn’t have a clue that this was the beginning of systemic shock. I did sense something was not quite right, though, and I knew I needed some help.  What to do?  Call Mom! Mother Earth herself always had good advice for home remedies and holistic treatments.

It just so happened that Mom had a visitor sitting with her in the kitchen when I called, which was a rare occurrence for my introverted mother, and a lucky break for me. I started explaining my dilemma to Mom and asked her for some advice on how to treat the stings.  She was low-key and practical and not the least bit alarmed.  She suggested I find some ammonia to dab on the bites to take out the swelling, the pain, and the itch.  Meanwhile, her visitor kept piping up in the background: “Tell her to call 911.  Tell her to call 911!!”  Mom guffawed and said mockingly, “Beryl thinks you should call 911.” We laughed, and I hung up.

I couldn’t find ammonia cleaner, and welts continued to blossom. I started feeling a bit shaky and panicky. Why NOT call 911?  Maybe they could suggest something to help.

I dialed and sheepishly said, “I’m sorry to call an emergency number, but I don’t know what to do.  I just got stung by some wasps and I need some advice on how to treat the bites.”  With a no-nonsense authoritative voice, the operator asked, “Where do you live?”  I said, “Oh, NO! You don’t need to send someone I just need some advice!”  Ignoring me, she replied with greater bossiness, “What is your address?”  It seemed like an overreach.  I protested, but ultimately relented and gave her my address.  We parted with these words ringing in my ears: “Leave your front door open.”

Moments later I heard sirens blaring but could not connect myself to the sound.  My attachment to reality was slipping.  I was more and more dizzy, faint, and my limbs were becoming overcooked spaghetti.  Two Angels of Mercy appeared in my doorway, but before they could enter the apartment, I collapsed on the floor and faded to black. (Literally “faded,” by the way. It felt like a shade curtain being drawn down my entire body, from head to toe, increasingly blocking out the light). It was oddly peaceful.

They must have administered a shot of adrenaline, because the next thing I knew I was lurching up the walkway toward the ambulance, one angel wing on each side of me, propping me up as I tried to feel my feet.

I was maneuvered onto a stretcher in the back of the vehicle, hooked up to an IV, and given pure oxygen.  The oxygen snapped me into full alertness, and I said, “Oooh, this is NICE.” (You don’t know what you’re missing if you’ve never had an oxygen rush!).  I then said to the angel tending me, “I am so sorry to bother you guys for this. I’m sure you have much more important emergencies to respond to today.”

I will never forget how she replied.  With a soft, sweet, very unbothered voice she patted my arm and said, “Honey, I think you need us right now.” Only later did I learn that I had been on my way to never, neverland, and without their timely intervention, I wouldn’t be here today writing these words.

The road to recovery from that event was a long one, with many byways and detours along the way. Suffice it to say, the experience was significant, and taught me something valuable.

Before this experience, I didn’t know that insect stings could kill a person.  Trying to comprehend that I almost lost my life at the age of 36, I did a lot of self-reflection. And I recalled with deep clarity the weeks leading up to the incident. I had been raging against God because I wanted to live as an artist but had to work a full-time job for money and health care.  I was angry and resentful. I cried and screamed and raged at The Universe for days.  “Why did you make me an artist, but not provide the lifestyle to support my creative spirit?”

It is my belief that, on that fateful day, Mother Nature perfectly reflected to me my poisonous anger in the most direct way She could. She was giving me a crash course in the dangerous toxicity of rage, an emotion we should indulge sparingly, or not at all.

Thanks, Mom!


August 6, 2020


I listened to a YouTube video yesterday.  The bestselling author of Untamed, Glennon Doyle, was describing her experience with depression and how she came to terms with it.  Her story was captivating and reminded me of my own arduous battle with depression many years ago.

We all know depression is widespread in our society.  But how the individual experiences this affliction is unique and completely personal.  My story is not hers.  My story is not yours.

But perhaps, if we listen to each other’s stories, we can recognize ourselves in them. We may glean some insights that aid us in our own struggle. And if not, at least we discover our shared humanity. Depression may be a personal experience, but the feelings it triggers: grief, despair, apathy, loneliness, terror, self-loathing, low self-esteem, mental and physical immobility, abject wretchedness, helplessness, and so on, are absolutely universal.

So. When did it begin?

My first glimpse of depression descended when I was a sophomore in college.

My childhood dream was to play piano and compose music, perhaps write movie themes one day. So, I chose to major in music. By the fourth semester, I could no longer ignore that practicing piano three hours a day, preparing for weekly lessons that made me sick with nausea (because of my deeply entrenched performance phobia), carrying a full academic load, and working ten hours a week to support myself was just too much. My nerves were frayed and starting to snap.  I knew I had to let go of one of the balls I was juggling to ease the pressure.  So, I gave up music. Which happened to be my identity, by the way. Oh well.

Tremendous relief came with that fateful decision. Tangible though it was, it also was, sadly, short-lived.

I don’t recall exactly when, maybe weeks later, I was struck by IT. Swiftly and wholesale. Literally a systemic shock. Like a lightening flash, my mind, body, and emotions were pierced with a fiery blast and utterly extorted by this Cloud of Darkness. It was a hostile takeover. I didn’t understand what was happening to me.  I had no words.  No preparation. But it was terrifying and completely out of my control. I felt pierced to the core of my being. I could not fight, ignore, overrule, or resist.

So, I succumbed.

Deep grief ensued. Uncontrollable tears.  Self-hatred. Feeling completely lost, alone, inadequate, unloved, and abandoned. I cried all the time.  I ate too much junk food and got pudgy. I drank too much and got myself into some “troubling circumstances,” if you know what I mean. I felt like a complete misfit freak and seriously contemplated quitting school. I was utterly miserable and could barely function.

Somehow, I made it through the rest of the term, passed my finals, and decided to try something different for summer break. Instead of going home and getting a job, I landed an opportunity to waitress at a Poconos resort. Lots of college kids around the northeast were congregating there to work for the summer and have some fun.  And it was a blast!  Lots of concerts, parties, late nights, adventure, and comradery.

Just as swiftly as IT had fallen upon me, my depression lifted.  I could barely remember its presence!  It really felt like it never happened at all. With the dark cloud dispelled by sunshine, it was easy for me to return to school in the fall, even after giving up on a career in music.  I believed IT must have been a one-time thing, a phase. I felt confident it would never happen again.  I was so relieved.

Maybe a part of my subconscious feared IT could return. Some anxiety probably still lurked beneath the surface, but I wasn’t experiencing any symptoms. I was free, happy, and fully functional. Life was great.

What I didn’t know then, and couldn’t have anticipated, was this first bout of depression was only a trailer for the scary movie still to come. I may have won the initial battle, but I surely had not won the war!

Round two returned with a vengeance a few years later.


August 4, 2020

In response to a writing prompt:  “I Remember When…”

I remember when there was a time in life I embraced risk taking, adventure, and living in the moment.

I was 25, working for the US government, living in Vienna, Austria.  Young and single, with sufficient financial resources to underwrite my whims, I took advantage of every opportunity to travel whenever I was not tethered to my day job.

One such adventure comes flooding back these many years later.

It had been a particularly grueling work week, and my boss and his family were going away for the weekend, so I had a few days to do whatever I wanted.  Hmm…. Where should I go? I felt like exploring someplace new but did not want to venture too far.

Time was ticking. A wacky idea popped into my brain. Why not toss some clothes into a backpack, head to the airport, and let The Universe pick a destination for me?  Within moments of this impulse, I was out the door.

At the airport, I found a check-in station and glanced up at the flight departure board as the woman behind the desk asked for my passport and ticket.  It was about 8:30 Friday morning and I noticed there was a flight to Zurich, Switzerland leaving at 9:10am.

Switzerland sounded perfect!

I explained to the check-in lady that I hadn’t purchased a ticket, yet, and asked her if it was too late to make that flight to Zurich. Apparently not. A few minutes later I was sitting comfortably in a puddle jumper awaiting takeoff.

The flight was pleasant and uneventful until we got closer to Zurich.  The pilot’s low-key voice came on the intercom and suggested it may get a little bumpy as we head into the mountain cross winds.  Just as his words floated in the air, the plane abruptly leapt and the coffee being handed to me by the stewardess flew out of the cup and splashed all over me.  The next 20 minutes were literally a roller coaster ride, but we finally landed safely on the tarmac. My shirt was covered in coffee stains, but I remained undaunted.

It was raining heavily upon arrival, and I knew the first thing I needed to do was find a place to stay, so I got into a taxi and asked the driver to take me to the center of town.  He dropped me off on Bahnhofstrasse, the main drag.  I was grateful for my umbrella, having learned long ago never to leave home without one.

I marveled at the eye candy in the expensive shops as I strolled down the street, then had some lunch.  This was one swanky town.  Banks towered over me, a loud reminder that Switzerland was Mecca for the wealthy to stash their wealth.

At the end of the street I found a hotel and wearily asked: “Ein zimmer, bitte?” I was in luck. A room was available. I trudged up the stairs, changed into dry clothes, plopped down on the bed, and flipped on the television.  Cindi Lauper was crooning “Time After Time.” Her quirky style and lilting melody captivated me. I had no idea she was a huge hit in the United States, having lost touch with American pop culture a long time ago. Lacking motivation to go back out in the rain, I lounged in the room for a while, and then went to a nearby pub for dinner. It was an early night.  Tomorrow would be better.

I was disheartened to waken to another day of steady rain. One peek out the window was all it took to confirm a scenic tour of the mountains wasn’t meant to be. There was nothing to do but make the best of it, so I ventured out to see what I could find.  After some window shopping and lunch, I noticed a nearby theater was offering a matinee showing of “Footloose.” I decided to buy a ticket. It wasn’t exactly the touristy thing to do, but I was always happy to have a taste of home, and at least I would escape from the rain for a few hours!

The movie was great fun, although it was a bit strange watching it with German subtitles. Just like Cindi Lauper’s song, I didn’t know this movie was making a big splash in America.

Walking back to the hotel after the movie, I noticed a poster of Elton John pasted on a nearby building. He was in town and was playing a concert that very evening.  Elton was one of my piano player heroes, so without a skip in my beat, I decided to go to his show.

I don’t recall how I found my way to the arena.  But I remember there were lockers available, so I was able to secure my backpack, which contained all my money and passport. It seemed like the smart thing to do; just in case I wasn’t as safe as I thought I was. It was oddly thrilling to be alone with throngs of people who didn’t speak English. It gave me this uncanny sense of freedom. And the concert was a delight.

Sunday morning, still groggy from the late night, I peered out the window and my bubble of hope was burst for good. Another deluge pelted the street.  By this time, I was worn out from the non-stop wetness, so I decided to sacrifice my last day touring Zurich and head home early.  It wasn’t the weekend I had hoped for, but it was an adventure, nonetheless.

This experience was just one of many I had throughout my youth. Today I ask myself: “What happened to that carefree, fearless, spontaneous girl? Where did she go?”


August 1, 2020

Graduation, May 1980

As the other graduates wept their copious tears, my only thoughts were profound relief that these four years were over, and irrepressible eagerness for My Future to begin.  College had been a bumpy ride for me, and I was yearning for a fresh start. As we all donned our caps and gowns and meandered to the ceremony, it dawned on me that already these entanglements were fading in my interior rearview mirror.

As the uninspiring commencement speaker droned on, and the Bachelor of Arts degree officially was conferred, I felt exhilarated, optimistic, and fearless. Throughout the day of celebration, no inner alarm blared any hint of warning that, despite my terrific liberal arts education, I lacked specific career training and was ill prepared for launch into The Real World.


Sure, the path forward was unclear, but it was easy to make the first crucial choice: where to seek my fortune. I decided to plant my seedling self in Washington, D.C., because this is the city where my older sister and brother had already surfed the waters and found their adult moorings. It meant my fledgling flight to Grown-up Land would have a relatively gentle landing. And I was eager to experience city living, too, after many years chafing from the straight jacket of rural Upstate New York.

Before I embarked on my new adventure, I had a brief sojourn at my parents’ home to spend a few weeks sewing a professional wardrobe I could wear for job interviews and office work, and to finalize my sparse resume. As soon as several skirts, blouses and one suit were stitched, and I had in hand a box of finely printed resumes, I packed up my things and my father drove me 400 miles south to my sister’s place in Georgetown, where she shared a townhouse with several other women.

The initial plan was for this to be a temporary lodging for me, until I secured a job and found a place to live on my own. What savings I had would enable me to eke by and contribute to the household expenses while I commenced the job search.

Thus, began my greatly anticipated Grown-Up Life.



July 31, 2020

Election 2016

November 8, 2016 was a beautiful, sunny, bright fall morning.  I eagerly greeted the day and headed to our local elementary school to vote before going to work.  I recall how joyful I felt walking to my car after casting my ballot. Democracy was thriving.  People were exercising their right to vote and declaring their will for the next leader of our great nation.  The candidates couldn’t have been more different from each other! The right choice was so obvious. To me, anyway.

The morning was calm and peaceful, and it seemed like all was right in the world and everything was in God’s hands. Finally, the campaign season nightmare was over. I felt like celebrating.

That evening, after my husband went to bed, I snuggled into my easy chair to watch the election results.  Time dragged on with no clear victory in sight. I had to go to sleep if I expected to be functional for work the next day. Despite some niggling anxiety, I felt optimistic and hopeful and drifted off to dreamland.

At 1:00am I was jerked awake. I don’t know what prompted it, but it was a startling jolt. I reached for my phone.  The Washington Post headline “Trump triumphs” assaulted my eyes.

I cannot describe adequately the impact of those two little words. In my sleepy stupor I kept questioning: Is this really happening? Can this really be true?  This MUST be a joke. I was shaken at the foundation of my being. Rocked into an altered state of panic, rage, disbelief, horror and abject fear.

I tried to go back to sleep, but it was impossible.  Every few moments, I kept looking at my phone, somehow thinking that by doing so, the outcome would be different.  That this terrible mistake would be rectified.

The next morning, I dragged myself to the office, feeling nauseous from lack of sleep and numb from the bitter pill I had just been force fed. I was in absolute, all-encompassing, full-blown grief. As if the person I loved most in the world had died a sudden, horrific death.

I couldn’t wrap my mind around it.  I couldn’t speak.  I choked back waves of convulsive, stinging tears as I arrived at the office and staggered through the hallway. The atmosphere of the building was thick and heavy.  It dawned on me: I was not the only person reeling from this stunning event.  There was a dark cloud snuffing out the oxygen in the air. It was hard to breathe.

I plopped down at my desk, mentally shocked and paralyzed. I willed myself to begin the robotic routine of turning on my computer and reading incoming emails, simultaneously wrestling my lifeless body for composure.

A few moments later, I was wrenched from this haze as a very likeable and friendly co-worker and the president of our organization wafted by my cubicle.  Their exuberant delight was a dissonance twanging the strings of my broken heart.  “We won!” she loudly declared, reveling in the moment.  The president jauntily winked and gleefully smiled directly at me, gloating, as they pranced by.

There was no humility or gentleness evident in that jubilant victory lap.  No recognition of the searing pain many of us were enduring.  Our company’s president seemed unwilling to tamp down his exhilaration, despite the effect he must have known it was having on many of us, his loyal flock.

Then I recalled the time, just a few weeks ago, when I was in his office discussing business. I tried to ignore the conservative radio talk show buzzing in the background while we worked. As we wrapped up, he felt duty-bound to tell me that I was one of the “elite,” but acted like I wasn’t.  At the time, I didn’t know what the term “elite” meant!  I thought he was teasing me, so I laughed it off.  Now, I recognize the derisive comment for what it was and what he meant.

As they drifted away I just kept thinking:  This cannot stand.  This WILL not stand.

But here we are, on the eve of Election 2020, and the nightmare is only more frightening. God Bless America!  Please.


July 30, 2020

Okay, my next writing exercise.

Describe the day of my birth.

Is this a genuine recollection, a self-created memory that comports with my inner narrative, or a composite of both? What my mother recounts, and what I remember (or think I remember)?  I don’t know for certain.  Maybe it doesn’t matter.

I THINK I remember the visceral feeling of being unloved and unwanted in the womb. I wonder now if I could have known, even then, that I may not have been conceived in love, but rather in the dutiful compliance of my overworked, powerless, depressed mother who was ever submissive to my father’s dominating personality. Even in utero, I intuited her psychic pain and unhappiness.

I recall having this foreboding of inchoate misery to come. Perhaps a lifetime of it. I balked. I know I did. I realized too late that I did not want to come into this life.  I wanted to “go back!”  But, of course, that wasn’t an option!

What closely tracks with my inner distress was my mother’s profound physical distress at the time.  While in active labor, between contractions, she found herself fighting with the doctor (an unknown stand-in for her regular obstetrician) because she did not want him to administer ether, the painkiller of choice in the late 50’s. It made her gravely ill. This interim doctor was impervious to her pleas and continued to try to force it on her.  But my mom is a tough gal, and ultimately, she prevailed.

So, I came out the “natural” way. Natural, before there was Lamaze training, without any support or preparation or pain mitigation. As I said, my mom is tough. She managed the birth unaided. But, it was a rough time for us both.

Mom laughs every time she recounts the story of my birth.  How I fought her every step of the way.  And when I finally arrived in the world, how I screamed bloody murder non-stop.  We both recall with amusement the statement I often made, with indignant exasperation, many, many times throughout my early childhood:  I DIDN’T ASK TO BE BORN!




July 29, 2020

I recently took an intensive writing workshop, and it has motivated me to learn the craft by practicing daily writing assignments.  I’d like to share one with you here.

This particular assignment was to select a recent incident in my life, write a brief story about it, explain what I learned from the experience, and suggest how the outcome might benefit the reader.

I am a newbie to the writing world, so I have decided to use this forum to try out my work.  I’m hoping this practice will keep me on the path of daily writing, and help me gain confidence in putting myself out there.

If so moved, please let me know if I did, or did not, achieve the task as presented!

The Story Begins:

I don’t know what prompted me to do it. I had contemplated it a few times, but in this moment, something compelled me to do it.  NOW.  I grabbed my phone and searched for her Facebook page.

There it was.  Loud and clear.  Unmistakable.  All my fears and suspicions confirmed.

The healing practitioner I have worked with regularly for the past five years, to whom I have paid thousands and thousands of dollars, was spouting vitriol.  “Democrats are pure evil” stung the most.  Then: “Democrats must feel glee that another small business has closed,” and oh, yeah, this one: “#Obamagate, the most corrupt administration in history, is coming to light.” It went on.

And on.

As I scrolled through the litany, a memory was triggered.

A few weeks ago, I had resumed my weekly healing sessions after two months of the COVID-19 Lockdown. Inexplicably, I felt awkward as I entered the office wearing a face mask. There was a swift flash of a condescending smirk that passed between my care provider and her partner as I walked in the door.  I now recall the embarrassment I felt, my quick removal of the mask, sheepishly explaining I wasn’t the least bit concerned about getting the virus. Just following protocol.  I felt shamed in that moment, but I suppressed it.

I continued scheduling my sessions.

As time went on, I could no longer ignore the inner discord emerging, and something unsettled rumbling in my belly.  These persistent physical sensations were the prompt to LOOK.  Discomfort was goading me. I needed to know. Know what, I wasn’t sure.  But I had to find out. My body trembled, my pulse raced, and my breathing became jagged as I read each successive post. I felt betrayed. I was certain she knew I was a democrat. I felt vulnerable.

My trust was broken.

After about 24 hours of contemplating what to do, I felt this fierce force gather within me, propelling me to act decisively. There was no way to unsee what I saw. So, I texted the practitioner and expressed my discomfort with her views, as respectfully as I could. I explained that it hurt, and reminded her that I, her long-time client, am a democrat.

Her response was not defensive at all! But, she stood her ground and claimed that it is her job to educate, and suggested, somewhat authoritatively, that one day I would understand.

When the “real” truth comes out.

I saw no way to comfortably continue our association, so I severed the tie, explaining her truth did not resonate with mine.  She graciously accepted my decision.

And then she blocked me from her Facebook page.

This experience rocked me off my center. I kept trying to reconcile the benefits of her healing gifts with the hostility of her world view. After years of overlooking what I suspected she might be thinking, in order to justify my partaking of her wonderful services, I could no longer ignore the cognitive dissonance. Now that I had corroboration of my suspicions, “ignorance is bliss” wasn’t cutting it.

As the days and weeks have passed, I now notice, unmistakably, that my body has relaxed completely. I feel grounded and centered.

What did I learn from this experience?  Honoring my truth, which I deeply questioned for some time, is always the right thing to do.

It is so important to listen to ourselves.  Our feelings, intuitions, inner knowing, physical sensations.  Even, perhaps especially, with someone who says the right things, has a gift for healing, and is a self-ascribed spiritual authority.

It is vital that we cultivate and listen to our God-given BS meter, and respond to its call when it blares, “Get out of this five alarm fire!”



July 5, 2020

I have been struggling so much to grapple with the divisiveness we face as a country.  Most people would agree that unleashed dark forces are running rampant, but we certainly don’t agree on what and who that “darkness” actually is!  Each side is so attached to its own viewpoint and is equally certain the other side is “wrong;”  misguided at best, if not downright villainous. It defies logic to think that this could actually be true.  We are all created in the image of God.  And God don’t make junk.  I trust most people are good, caring, kind, generous.  So what’s going on?  Are we falling prey to a created conflict that doesn’t really exist?

I recently read something interesting in a book called “A Course in Miracles”  (p. 448):

I am responsible for what I see.

I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve.

And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked.


We are each responsible for our own perceptions and judgments?  We are responsible for how we choose to feel about what we witness “out there?”  We are not victims of some dark power outside ourselves?  What happens to us is what we look for, expect, or fear?  And we receive the measure of what we look for, expect, or fear?

That’s a tough one, but I am going to try to work with this concept.  Maybe it will help me see more light and less darkness, more commonality and less divisiveness. If it’s true that what we focus on expands, it is surely a worthwhile experiment!  I, for one, am TIRED of the darkness!

Oh, happy day!


June 14, 2020

Surfing 2020

Hello!  After working on this piece for several months (on and off), it is now ready to share with you.  I finally landed on the title “Surfing 2020” after mulling over a number of ideas.  This title best reflects my intent for the work.  The various motifs reflect a variety of somewhat disparate experiences, yet they are all connected.  Some of the waves are gentle and slow, some are swift and thundering, and sometimes they crash into each other; much like the unpredictable nature of the ocean.  This feels like an appropriate theme for these times, as we ride the waves however they come, and strive to stay upright and stable amidst the noise, the chaos, the uncertainty, and the conflict that is rampant in our country and around the world.

The construction of this piece is unusual, and may not resonate for you.  But it is what came to me, and as always, I honor what comes without trying to force it into something it’s not.

I would love any feedback – positive or negative.

Happy Summer!


March 26, 2020

A quick update and an interesting insight about life in the age of COVID-19

My goodness, how does 3 months go by with no activity on this site!  My creative projects have been minimal these past few months.  I finally wrote down the music for Echoes, which was a challenge because the rhythm was so syncopated.  BUT, it is done. Yea.  I have started a new collage, but haven’t been motivated to complete it yet. So be it.

Most of my time this year has been spent on physical health, with daily yoga classes and long walks, and spiritual development – reading, contemplating, meditating, journaling, praying… All this, I’m sure, has enabled me to ride the COVID-19 wave with relative ease and only mild discomfort and inconvenience — so far.  I don’t know anyone who has the virus — so far.  I pray for my friends who are on the medical front lines in hospitals.  I pray for my friends who have compromised immune systems because of cancer.  All are okay for the moment. Thank God.

But, as we now are in our second official week of “social distancing,” and as the initial period of shock, adjustment, and acceptance of the new normal sets in, I am starting to feel the pinch.  The pinch of not being able to go to yoga classes or my group gatherings for shared meditation and fellowship.  Or to see my family, to spend time with friends, to enjoy nature, public spaces, and the usual entertainments.  To get my hair cut!  The routines have been rattled.  Even grocery shopping, something I always enjoyed because of the beautiful bounty, now brings me sadness, as I witness so many important items are either unavailable or under purchase limits. I palpably feel the anxiety of others in the air.  And I wonder, is the packaging tainted?  Did the people who touched this food have the virus?  Is it “safe?”

No parties, no celebrations, no weddings, no sports, no gatherings of any kind, not even funerals!  We can no longer be within 6 feet of another person without fearing they will do us harm, or worse, we will harm them!

This new reality is starting to blow my mind.

All the simple pleasures in life, that every human being has always enjoyed and been able to enjoy without conscious thought, and regardless of socioeconomic status, nationality, gender, religious affiliation, etc., are now being denied everyone.  I think it is safe to say that no generation in the history of humanity has ever experienced, collectively, such deprivation of human contact and the freedom to come and go as we like. We are literally in this new normal together.

My insight is this:  I am astounded by the power and privilege of human fellowship!  The opportunity to be connected with other people is actually the greatest gift of life, and until now, we have been free to enjoy this gift without measure.  I now awaken to the awesomeness of this simple but profound truth.  How did I not realize it before???

My question is this: Will we ever again take for granted the opportunity to be with our fellow human beings, enjoy each other’s company, and celebrate life together?

I am so grateful for my human connections. May I never take these simple pleasures for granted AGAIN!  Thanks to all of you for being part of my world. 💖🎁