Sunday, October 25th, 2009
“Sally, do you know what to expect from this class?” the scantily clad instructor asked me in front of the other twenty students.
‘Yes. It’s going to be very hot.”
I was standing in the middle of my latest brilliant idea. Since I am traveling a good deal in the next two months, taking my traditional coursework in graduate school was not an option. So rather than bowing out this quarter, my program director at JFKU and I created an independent study course about leadership. That would have been enough, except I wouldn’t qualify for financial aid unless I took one more unit.
That’s where my brilliant idea came in.
Rather than design another cerebral course, I decided to create somatic balance. After all, I am enrolled in Integral Psychology. I must treat and respect the whole person. So I decided to study and enroll in Bikram Yoga. (more…)
Thursday, October 15th, 2009
I sit here at the counter of a Starbucks on the Upper West Side, watching Manhattan roll by in the rain. Through the picture window is a constant flow of taxis, cars, pedestrians, strollers, nannies, and the occasional leashed dog. Most of the umbrellas are black. I just saw a synthetic tan toupe go by. Everyone looks so serious. I wonder if they would smile more if they carried colorful umbrellas.
I’m in familiar territory. Michael and I lived 20 blocks south of here as newlyweds and later, as new parents. This area of Broadway and Columbus marks my well-worn path, when I slipped Harrison into the stroller and walked to the local Duane Reade on Broadway, often followed by Citarella, (more…)
Monday, October 12th, 2009
“You know, you have to do your housecleaning chores before you can play.”
Harrison, Olivia, my niece Stephanie, and I were enjoying a Saturday morning pancake breakfast at the dining room table. We love it when Stephanie spends the weekend with us. At 25 years old, Stephanie, who lives in Daly City, brings a special effervescence to our household. She somehow manages to be both an adult and a playful child. One moment she and I are sitting on the sofa, talking about spirituality and philosophy, and an hour later I spot her climbing out of a steep incline of bushes, pulling twigs out of her hair, holding high a red rubber ball. (more…)
Wednesday, October 7th, 2009
I am back from my Chicago trip. It was one of those experiences where I was so many places at once – in my head, anyhow. Eckhart Tolle would not have been impressed.
There were many triggers to my past, starting with the air. The atmosphere in the Midwest is different from the air in California – particularly the crisp, autumn air that welcomed me every day in Chicago. One step outside the door and I was transported to the mounds of fall leaves my siblings and I used to take a half-hour to pile high, only to destroy them with jumps, stomps, and raucous throws.
Staying with my friends, Adam and Joyce, and their 18-month old brought me back to my days as a young mother, nurturing toddlers. The sentimental side of me idealized the loveliness of living life with a little one, their little hands grasping mine, (more…)
Friday, October 2nd, 2009
If there is one thing I wish I could tell my children about my book tours it is this: I really, really, really dislike traveling without them. Really. But I can’t let them know just how difficult it is for me to leave, or I would put them in the role of parent, and they would be forced to make me feel better about my travel.
It already happened once. Harrison heard me murmuring about not wanting to travel for this trip to Chicago, which is centered on a 2-hour interview on WGN. I also wasn’t sure about a ten day NYC-Boston trip a week later.
“Why are you walking around, scratching your head?” Harrison asked, seated at the dining room table creating animation forms. (more…)
Thursday, October 1st, 2009
I had the privilege of being a guest speaker at a local book group two days ago. My friend Eileen, who sought me out years ago when a mutual friend told her I wanted to feel more connected to a Jewish community, hosted the event. This wasn’t just any book group. It was a gathering of nine women who have been meeting for a decade, discussing books written on Jewish topics.
Second to writing The New Jew, the most gratifying part of being published is discussions with readers. Tuesday’s book group was no exception. Each of these women was a member of the Jewish Federation of the East Bay. They were committed to Jewish causes, to furthering their understanding of Jewish issues, and were clearly loyal to each other. I marveled at how I somehow was made to feel included in their banter and familiarity. It reminded me of the qualities of the Jewish culture that drew me in nearly twenty years ago — inclusiveness, intellect and humor among them.
“Before we begin talking about the book,” Susan said in her irresistible Texan drawl, “we want to know what has happened between your conversion and now.” Everyone nodded. I wondered if they heard my gulp. (more…)