Feeling Alone In A Season Of Joy

Posted by Harriet on


The official holiday season is upon us.  A time to be joyful and happy.   But for oh so many it’s not quite that glowing a time.  In fact, it’s the opposite.   And because the hoopla is so high and dazzled with such excitement, the low tide of those feeling anything but, is expansive, magnified and intensified.

The idea of gathering together in relationships and family connections, digs that hole even deeper into the heart and soul of those sailing alone.  And those who are seemingly externally connected may also feel that pit of despair, hopelessness and emptiness to the core, oftentimes unbeknownst to their loved ones.   Feelings of loss are hollowing during a time of expected rejoicing.

And so for all those suffering through this “should be” happy season, your pain and loneliness stands atop of the mountain with open arms to a world larger than your sight.  It is understood, it is acknowledged, it is felt, even if by only a few.

But here’s the key: it needs to be understood, acknowledged and felt by you, the one who stands alone in pain.

  • Befriend your pain; let yourself feel it.  It won’t shatter you.  Accept that it is a part of you right now and let that be O.K.   Sit with it and talk with it like you would to a friend.  Be your own friend, comforting and soothing, not dismissive or judgmental.    Otherwise, the more you resist it, the bigger it gets.
  • Step outside yourself and go do for others. 

The 3 Rs of Self-Care

Posted by Harriet on

IMG_2724Going through your regular daily chores of living or dealing specifically with a rough, challenging situation(s) requires you to keep yourself replenished so that you can carry on well, cope and give to those in your care.  In other words, minimize running on empty, burning out and falling apart.

Just as we must have water and feed our bodies so we don’t weaken and get sick, we must nurture our bodies, mind and soul so we can maintain our strength in managing our life well.

I know what you’re going to say: I barely have time to breathe, let alone take any time for myself.  Now there truly is a few minutes a day that you can make and an hour here and there a week.  And it’s not about having the time, it’s about making it.

Ellen DeGeneres in her very funny way says we all suffer from TBD – too busy disorder.  This in and itself causes stress.  And then the problem becomes lack of recovery time.  We must have some recoup time.

We can’t wait for those big time opportunities like vacations for a week during the year or a couple of weekends per year.  We need to have micro time periods, those small bits of time each day/week to replenish.  These small amounts can positively affect the quality of our days and our managing abilities. Small changes in how we spend our time can bring about big change in our level of well-being. They are restorative and fill our buckets.

The Dash of Life – Between Our Birth and Death Date

Posted by Harriet on

mban1920l-300x290Unless you’re looking at a tombstone, you’re probably not going to notice or certainly not think about the little line between the person’s birth date and death date.  And even when you see it, you may not really think about and reflect on what that line means.

It means everything!   In between those two dates is life – the life of a person.  That little line says it all.  How did you live? What was your life like?


A stone dedication, known as the unveiling, was done for my mom today.  This occurs within the first year of passing.  It’s been eight months since my mom died.  I wanted to do it before the cold set in.  It was a most meaningful and intimate ceremony at the graveside.  My mom’s rabbi spoke so gently and beautifully, reflecting on the prayers for the dead and specifically on my mother.  As I listened and looked at the new footstone with the ivy planted around it just in time for today’s unveiling, I took note of that little dash between her two dates.  I thought if I had to sum up her dash in a few words it would be, giving to others.  That was the overriding theme of my mom’s life.  In Hebrew the word is ‘mitzvahs’ – good deeds.  This was my mother- always in the service of others, both professionally and personally.

97 years is a lot of living.  And she lived it actively engaged in a very meaningful life. 

Powerful Questions To Guide You Along Your Path

Posted by Harriet on

QuestionsInTheSand 006Ah, the power of the question to get us thinking, really thinking; to reach a layer of ourselves that perhaps we haven’t yet examined or even thought about.  This is one way we can peel away the layers and continue to get to know our real selves – what matters to us, how we want to carve out our lives, what we value, how we want to live; in what direction to point that compass and to then make changes as we go along- as we step onto pebbles, rocks, brush up against poison ivy, get scraped by thorns, sink into mud- constantly recalibrating that we’re staying on our true path.

In synagogue over the recent {Jewish} holidays I picked up a great little booklet put out by UJA-Federation of New York (United Jewish Appeal) entitled, The Big Questions, Living With Purpose in 5776 (the new Jewish year).

I hope some of these questions will get you really thinking and bring you closer to living your best and most authentic life, true to who you are and how you choose to live.  Take your time in answering them.  You may answer one way today and another way in a month from now.  You’ll start to see patterns and themes come up in your words and ideas.  Here goes:  (I’m also throwing in some of my own questions.)


What one thing can you do today to make a change for the better?

If you could sum up your life in a hashtag, what would it be?

Life Lessons by Eleanor Roosevelt

Posted by Harriet on

IMG_2386I was like a tourist yesterday going to a landmark I had never been to right in my own backyard; well it was a two hour drive.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s home in Hyde Park, New York.   I’m not a museum person but I am a memoir person and love learning about people and how they lived; especially someone like President Roosevelt who despite being paralyzed from the waist down due to polio, went on to live a life most people could only dream of.  Talk about transcending adversity and not giving in to limitations!

The other thoroughly intriguing person is Eleanor Roosevelt, as she too lived through tremendous challenges; hers being childhood losses (both her parents died when she was a child) and despite being very timid, fearful and insecure, went on to become an outspoken and fiercely passionate woman who lived a most meaningful, purposeful and authentic life.  Talk about personal growth and pushing through fear and ones comfort zone!

I feel compelled to share with you some of her amazing quotes that are truly statements by which to live a rich and rewarding life:


No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”

A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”

One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.”

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.”

“Do one thing everyday that scares you.”

“The way to begin is to begin.”

“It is not more vacation we need – it is more vocation.”

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”   (I was so excited to just find out that this quote, which I’ve been quoting for years and never knew who said it, is by ER.  

{Com}Passion – A Necessary Combination

Posted by Harriet on

IMG_6232My rabbi gave a beautiful sermon this past Saturday in synagogue.  He spoke of passion and compassion as being closely tied together; that just by adding ‘com’ to the word passion, you’ve created the greatest virtue of all.  Both words call upon us to feel deeply.

I never thought of these words as being connected.  Upon looking up the origin of passion, I found that it comes from the Latin word, suffer.  Makes perfect sense –since passion means to feel strongly about something, compassion is to feel strongly about the suffering of others.

Without passion, nothing happens; without compassion, the wrong things happen.”  Jan Eliasson


Questions to ponder:

What do you care deeply about?

What moves you?

What excites you?

What saddens you?

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

If you could turn a wrong into a right, what would it be?

What injustice would you fight for?

How do you respond to other people’s misfortunes/problems?


Watch this beautiful video of a passionately compassionate human being.


This makes me want to do so much more.  How about you?  Any answers to any of the above questions?  I’m glad you stopped by.  


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