How Are Your Emotions These Days?

“Internal pain always comes out. Always. And who pays the price? We do. Our children, our colleagues, our communities.” — Susan David

I’m fine, I said a thousand times growing up. I’m fine. I was taught to hold those feelings in, bury them, and put on a happy face. Well, I imploded later in life, and it affected me and my family. I wish I’d had a better handle on dealing with feelings, but the one thing I can do now is try to do better.

I’ve been reading Cassandra Speaks: When Women Are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes by Elizabeth Lesser. She helps explain why many of us, especially those of an age, struggle with speaking up in a clear, confident voice. Her anecdotes and research, though, tell a future of a new hero’s journey, a better path for all of us to exist in community.

This is what she says about her book: Part One explores the myths and stories that are in the DNA of our culture. Part Two looks at women and power and redefines what it means to be courageous, daring, and strong. And Part Three offers “A Toolbox for Inner Strength.” I offer introspective exercises to help us be both strong-willed and kind-hearted, to overcome the “imposter syndrome,” and to support each other as we navigate a collective rite of passage. And I include my own stories of failures and victories at work and at home, as a mother and a wife, as a leader in my organization. I do this because I know when one person digs deep and tells her most honest, vulnerable tales, it helps others claim their own stories and use them to grow into their most courageous and creative selves. And that is my greatest hope for Cassandra Speaks

While we are home during this pandemic, spend this time with your feelings. Let them play out. Wallow in them if you need to. But then deal with them. Change the ending to your story. As Susan says, “we own our emotions. They don’t own us.”

The Passing of Time

This blog, started in 2005, has always been a place for me to reflect upon my life, whatever I am dealing with or learning about. At 66, that reflection has softened and widened.

The first few years (which I lost when I moved my blog to wordpress) focused on learning to run. I went from someone who couldn’t run more than a minute to a 50 year old who ran five half-marathons. Those were proud moments. I also experienced an online community for the first time. Is it dramatic to say this changed my life? It did.

Phase two: I learned all I could about the internet, finishing a master’s in instructional technology.  I was an early adopter, and I often faced challenges and push back from my teachers as I tried to help others learn to use technology in the classroom. But I was a true believer, and I started a laptop program in my school, the second in the state. Once again, community helped me learn about wifi, cables, programs and apps, and how to best serve students. I still laugh when I think about downloading Manilla to our server to be able to have my first blog!

Why did I ever think I could be a poet? But I did. So the next few years I wrote about writing, publishing, and writing groups. Though I no longer write poetry, I renewed my love of words and still read and share verse often.

Upon retirement, I began letterpress printing, which brought together my love of words and quotes and a new passion for learning an old skill. Printing brought me back into community with caring folk, both young and old, who share their knowledge and love of letterpress.

These days, I am beginning to write about Alzheimer’s and the difficulties of caring for my mom, who is suffering. I write “suffering” because she is in the stage of knowing how much she has lost, yet still mentally “with us.” I try to balance what is best for her with what she wants— and it’s not an easy dance. Once again, I reach out, knowing there are others who have walked these steps.

For all the negatives of social media-and there are many-I am grateful for the community of friends and thankful for the support. As Mary Oliver says, “how miraculously kind some people can be.”


by Mary Oliver

Everyone should be born into this world happy
and loving everything.
But in truth it rarely works that way.
For myself, I have spent my life clamoring toward it.
Halleluiah, anyway I’m not where I started!

And have you too been trudging like that, sometimes
almost forgetting how wondrous the world is
and how miraculously kind some people can be?
And have you decided that probably nothing important
is ever easy?
Not, say, for the first sixty years.

Halleluiah, I’m sixty now, and even a little more,
and some days I feel I have wings.


Practicing Forgiveness

I am a feeler, an empath. “You’re too sensitive,” I’ve been told.

But over the past ten years, I’ve been practicing being more resilient, more forgiving of myself.  Writing helps, finding the parts of my story that don’t work for me any longer. Breathing deeply and whooshing it all away helps, too.

There is such a mystery as to why we act the way we do and make certain choices. Becoming more thoughtful about those choices– and realizing that we do, in fact, have a choice, has helped me feel less stressed.

Two new practices:

  • listening to a meditation podcast before I go to sleep each night
  • paying less attention to the news

When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future. Bernard Meltzer

Be kind to yourself….

Rumi’s Words Always Resonate

“But listen to me. For one moment quit being sad. Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you.” ~ Rumi

Traveling the Danube recently allowed me to put problems with Mom, world events, and stress behind me. What a gift to spend time in places like Prague, Vienna, and Regensburg with good friends.


One thing I’m learning about living with a mom with Alzheimer’s is I can’t let it consume me. I can’t control it. And if I don’t live my own life, too, I won’t be of help to her.

Three things I’m going to do more often that I learned on the trip:

  • stop at a local coffee shop and drink espresso mid-morning
  • wear clothes that make me happy
  • laugh with friends

I also realized I can’t eat anything I want. Whoa, is it easy to get off track while traveling. Pastry, wine, bread, bourbon, wine, strudel… you get the idea. A little goes a long way for me, and I need to protect my gut.

But what a lovely adventure. I will carry it with me for a long time.