The other day, Keara and I were working around the house, doing some baking, cleaning and sweeping and I asked her if I could put on some music. If it doesn’t need to be quiet, I like to have a soundtrack to my life. When I am doing my serious house cleaning, I crank up Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall and sing along to “PYT,” while I wash the windows, and scrub the floor. If we’re out by the pool, then our neighbors are sure to hear Jack Johnson, or Donavon Frankenreiter blaring. Doing dishes after dinner calls for something more pensive, like Norah Jones, while road trips bring out the country music fan in me, old school stuff like Willie Nelson and Eddie Rabbit.

So Keara acquiesced to my musical request as long as I didn’t put on “that guy,” she said with an eye roll.

“What guy?” I asked innocently. And really, I was innocent. I didn’t know which one of my male singer-songwriters she was objecting to.

With the patience you use with a toddler, she looked me in the eye and said, “You know Mom, the ‘orange sky’ guy.”

Oh, “that guy.” I shrugged casually and said, “Sure honey, no problem,” while I rapidly deleted “that guy’s” name from my Itunes search field and carefully chose another band instead.

“That guy” she was referring to was Alexi Murdoch and my daughter has a serious aversion to him. It’s not that she doesn’t appreciate his music, or his low, melodic voice. For a teenager, she has a surprisingly diverse and advanced taste in music. It might be her 5+ years of piano lessons, but I’d also like to think it has something to do with our refusal to ever purchase Kidz Bop albums, or allow boy bands in our home. But despite her appreciation for his talent, she can’t stand listening to Alexei Murdoch. We burned her out on him last year. If she has to hear “Orange Sky,” or “Wait for Me” one more time, she thinks her head might explode.

I turned on The Black Eyes Peas for Keara that morning, instead of “that guy,” but I slowly drifted out of the room, and let Alexi’s music play freely in my own head. It filled my heart and mind and brought back a flood of emotions, both good and bad from last year, when I played him almost without ceasing. Every morning when the kids woke up, I would have his album Time Without Consequence going in the background. Most days when Tim got home from work, I would put on one of my favorite tracks and we would slow dance in the entryway. It was my way, our way really, of centering ourselves on what was truly important, as we transitioned in and out of the painful realities of our days.

Last year, our business was struggling to make ends meet. We were trying hard to find solutions to problems that felt very far beyond our reach, and we had to rely heavily on business contacts, friends, and family for guidance. But mostly, we had to rely on each other and together we relied on Alexi. His music seemed to speak to us, to articulate what we were going through, and to remind us of what we needed and what we needed to be doing. So each time we listened to “Orange Sky,” as we held hands, heart to heart on our entryway dance floor, or looked at one another across the dinner table with tears in our eyes, we heard, “Here is what I know now, goes like this… In your love, my salvation lies…oh you know I am so weary and you know my heart’s been broken…When I am alone, when I’ve thrown off the weight of this crazy stone, when I’ve lost all care for the things I own, that’s when I miss you, you who are my home and here is what I know now: in your love, my salvation lies, in your love, in your love, in your love.”  We remembered that love, the stuff that exists between us and within our family, would be our salvation, no matter what else happened out there, beyond the walls of our home.

I heard a story once about Roberta Flack and the song she made famous in the 1970s called, “Killing Me Softly.” Maybe you remember it. The story goes that she went to hear Christopher Cross sing in a nightclub and that as she listened to him, she had this surreal feeling that he had been inside her heart and mind. “He sang as if he knew me in all my dark despair” and that his song was “telling my whole life with his words, killing me softly with his song.”

Alexi Murdoch is my Christopher Cross. Without him, and that album, Tim and I may not have been able to articulate what we needed from each other. And we all know that if you can’t name something, then you have little chance of ever finding it. How can you look for something that you don’t even know exists?  So sometimes we were clinging to love for our salvation, and other times, we would listen to “Wait for Me,” and ask the question, “So if I stumble and if I fall and if I slip now and lose it all and if I can’t be all that I could be, will you wait for me? Please wait for me….” Alexi expressed our deepest longings and fears, as we faced some of our lowest points in our twenty years together, but he also gave us the words and the melody to find peace and hope in those moments as well.

So as I came out of my reverie last week, to the sound of “Boom, Boom Pow” in background, I thought of Keara and her distaste for Time Without Consequence. I can’t really blame her for it. I am sure it is more than just being tired of the songs. The music must carry a subconscious weight for her as well. But instead of finding solace in the profound truths in the songs like we did, she simply witnessed the emotional response, which probably looked a lot like grief. No matter how much we tried to protect the kids from what was going on, as the oldest, she probably understood more than we thought. Alexi Murdoch will probably always mean heartbreak to her, while he will always be “killing me softly.” Whenever I hear those songs, until the day I die, they will always speak of the greatest truths I know.

That love waits for us to become who we are meant to be, no matter how long it takes.

That in love our best hope for salvation is found.

That with love, I am home.

Thank you Alexi.

And as a mother, I hope that someday Keara finds a soundtrack for her own truths as well.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Alexi Murdoch’s work, I’ve included two links to youtube, where you can listen to “Orange Sky” and “Wait.”  My snippets of lyrics don’t do justice to the poetry of the songwriter.

 

Have you ever gotten a name completely wrong, and no matter how many times you hear it said the right way, you can’t help but say it the wrong way? When my kids were small, I was thrilled by these little misnomers. I would encourage them in their mispronunciations, knowing that too soon, the correct words would come. Some family favorites still include bezras, the black and white striped animals found on the African plains, and Jophus, the husband of Mary, and the father of Baby Jesus. My least favorite example is my own father’s insistence on calling my daughter Kara, (rhymes with hair-a) instead of the correct Keara (rhymes with deer-a) for the first several years of her life. I went with simpler names for child #2 and #3.

My son recently introduced me to a show that he and his friends watch (and I am going to do everything in my power to get the name right this first time) called Destroy, Build, Destroy. No matter how many times he corrects me, I keep referring to it as Build, Destroy, Build. I am sure it’s because I am a mother, but it goes against my intuition to end a show with a Destroy instead of a Build. Why would you do that? And also, how can you destroy something before you’ve built it? It just doesn’t make sense to me. And here’s the kicker in my opinion. The winning team gets to destroy the machine, built with great care and effort by the losing team. Let me repeat that: The winner is the destroyer. That, ladies and gentlemen, is why we don’t allow 12-year-old males to vote. That is Lord of the Flies for the millennial generation.  Left to their own devices, or given a chance to create their own TV show, “kill or be killed” is their mentality.

And as I watch our current election races heat up, I am saddened by how little we’ve grown up, or asked our candidates to do so. At least on the TV show, each team is given a chance to build something before their opponents are allowed to destroy it. In our political climate, no candidate is allowed to create a healthy idea, image, or campaign before it is attacked and brought low. I don’t know what a healthier, feasible alternative would look like, but I get so tired of watching the 12-year-old, male mentality of politics that I mostly tune out, or turn it off, just like I do with Destroy Build Destroy. I want to stay engaged. I want to do better, but I just can’t get past the feeling that I am watching bad, reality TV and that the winner, no matter who it is, can’t help but be a destroyer. It’s the way we’ve created the game.

My husband, Tim, and I recently saw a preview for a movie called J Edgar. Leo DiCaprio stars as J Edgar Hoover, as a young man until his final days. I don’t know that we will see the film, although I am sure it would be educational. I know nothing about Hoover, his life, or the rise of the FBI. In the trailer, DiCaprio, as Hoover, uses a familiar line while trying to recruit a new man for his team. He says, “The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.” Of course, the implication is that this particular good man needs to come work for Hoover in order to stop the evil within our nation. I am sure that the movie will play with that theme on many levels during its two hours of allotted time. What is evil? How do we define it? Can you use evil for the sake of good, without becoming evil yourself? None of these are new thoughts of course, but they might play out in a new way, with Clint Eastwood directing and DiCaprio as the star.

Hearing that line in the darkened theater got me thinking about how often I’ve heard it, in political speeches and rallies, in history classes and ethics seminars. Each time, it’s been in the context of the universal, the “out there” of things. It’s a poetic call to action in the world. We can’t simply become complacent and look away. If we do, evil will flourish. Obviously and simply said.

But as I heard it this time, I heard it differently. I heard it about my own life, my own self. What if the only thing necessary for evil to flourish in me, is for me to simply do nothing about it? I know that sounds harsh, and I don’t consider myself particularly evil, but it is something worth thinking about. Like most things, I think you can put evil on a sliding scale. I looked it up in the Oxford Dictionaries Online and found that evil can run the gamut from “profound immorality and wickedness” to “something which is harmful or undesirable.” While I may not be aware of the former lurking deep within, I am certainly culpable of the latter. Let me quote one of my favorite poets, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, here.

Evil, (my emphasis) “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

I love thee in my desire to overindulge in rich food, red wines, and salty margaritas. I love thee in my ability to gossip, even if it is only with my husband, instead of everyone I meet. I love thee in my tendency to rail at my children when they drive me crazy. I love thee in my profound distaste for overly pious, or righteous people of any religion, as I judge them just as thoroughly as they judge me. I love thee in my vanity, my ego, and my selfishness. Evil, I love thee in every way that you encourage me to simply be, instead of striving to be better.

And I think that is where the line rings true in the universal and the personal. It is so much easier to just be and not think about the ways I fall short, to just shrug my shoulders and say, “Oh well. That’s just the way I am and I’m not so bad after all.” It doesn’t matter if I am letting evil go out there, or in here. I have to act against the temptation to just be every day, or every week, or at least every month. Certainly more than once a year, right? Because if I don’t, those evils are going to flourish.

Flourish isn’t just surviving, creeping along, centimeters a year. Flourish is robust, healthy, magnificent growth. It’s what gardeners hope for, a farmer’s dream.  The last thing I want is to let those evils I “love” to actually flourish in my mind, body and soul. There would be little room left for the good to grow.

So I keep looking for ways to keep those evils in check. None of them are fail proof, but they offer me some tools to keep the weeds at bay. I meditate; I contemplate; I pray. I read good books. I write. I try to talk to my husband about something significant every day. I count to 10. I take a deep breath. I count to 10 again. It’s a start.

meditation

Without a doubt, the most important part of my day is the early morning. I set my alarm to wake me up well before anyone else, usually while it is still dark out. Thanks to the timer, I have a freshly brewed pot of coffee waiting for me. I get cozy on the couch, the easy chair, or if it’s summertime, on a chaise lounge in the back yard. And once I am settled, I close my eyes, breathe deeply and begin to pray. I might meditate on the words of a master, on yesterday’s highs and lows, or on this day’s hopes and fears. I try to gather wisdom from the universe about who I am, my place and purpose in this world. All this happens on a good day.

A not-so-good-day might begin with any one of these.

I forget to make the coffee. I oversleep and only have a few minutes to pray, before the school lunches have to be made. I have two glasses of wine the night before, instead of one, and wake up with a headache and cottonmouth. I neglect to put on a bathrobe when I get out of bed and spend my time shivering in a fetal position, completely unable to concentrate on any cosmic thoughts at all. Sometimes, my peaceful morning ritual is a comedy of errors.

One recent morning, I tiptoed downstairs and my youngest child greeted me in the hallway, sleepy-eyed and crabby. This particular phenomenon happens with some regularity and when it does, it is not likely that my morning ritual will proceed as I want it to. Sometimes I can successfully distract her with an early morning television show, or a bowl of cereal and a request to please let mom have her little bit of morning quiet time. But then, she is occupying the only unoccupied room in the house, besides the bathrooms. Meditating with a hot cup of coffee on the closed lid of a toilet is not an ideal situation, but that may just be me.

Most of the time, she wants to curl up in my lap and ‘pray with me,’ which sounds so much sweeter than it is. That girl can’t sit still for a minute, and her capacity for silence is even less impressive. So when I found her standing at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for me, I tried to suppress my internal groan. I offered her the usual distractions, which she quickly declined and instead curled up next to me on the couch. We spilled my coffee on our laps; we changed positions six times and we exchanged more words in those 60 seconds than I usually speak in the first two hours I am awake on any given day. I finally got frustrated and stalked back upstairs, leaving her sitting forlornly on the couch. I sat on the edge of my bed and whined to myself about missing my peace, quiet and meditation. However, after that kind of performance, I knew that the only thing the universe was going to tell me was to get back downstairs, apologize to my daughter and love on her. So, I went, albeit grudgingly and sheepishly at the same time, if that’s possible.

Molly feels things deeply, but she doesn’t hold a grudge, so I was immediately forgiven and within seconds, I felt little tears on my chest as she told me why she was up early. She’d had a bad dream and some things had happened yesterday that she didn’t like, so she didn’t want to go to school today. Although I heard a jumbled, early-morning version of what happened, the bottom line is that she doesn’t like it when she comes up short in any area, academics, sports, or clubs. She is constantly comparing herself to her peers, and wanting to make sure that she measures up. This is not a burden we’ve put on her. It’s a burden we’ve been trying to take off her since she started elementary school.

So I held her close to my heart for a moment and then I pushed her away and asked her to look in my eyes. I told her that she only has to be the best Molly she can be on any given day – not the best anything else – not the best anybody else. She doesn’t even have to be the best she has ever been. She simply has to be her best for this day.

As I said those words to her, still carrying the guilt of my bad behavior 5 minutes before, I thought, “What a mantra for all of us. I only have to be the best me I can be this day.”  It doesn’t matter if I am being a mom, or wife, daughter, or friend, employee, or employer. Whatever the world asks of me each day – that is all I can do. When I hold this mantra in my mind, I can pause when I see myself being less than my best, and try to adjust, just like I did after I stomped upstairs and abandoned my sad, little girl.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes my best is really pretty stinky. But still, if that’s the best I can do this day, really stink it up, then so be it. Occasionally, I hope I can pause to see the way I am behaving, and ask myself, “Is that really the best you’ve got?” The more often I do it, the more I see the truth that I choose how I react to my circumstances and that if I don’t choose rightly the first time, I can always go back and make amends. And truth be told, I spend a lot of time making amends. I may not always apologize, but there are always opportunities to repair what has been damaged, and heal what has been hurt when I have not been my best self.

And after I got my kids to school that day and the house was empty, there was plenty of time to recover the peace and quiet that had been lost to my early morning companion and I knew that nothing of value had been lost. The universe had spoken to me after all.

That's Good! That's Bad!

When my friend Laura first started teaching kindergarten, she had something called a “Listening Center” in her classroom with tape recorders, headphones and a selection of picture books with audiocassettes. Seeing those recorders lined up brought me back to my childhood days and the time I spent at the Huntington Beach Public Library. I would lounge on a bean bag with headphones on, in the library’s “Listening Center,” while my mom browsed the Adult Fiction, two floors away. Those were blissful moments for this nerdy little girl.

A few years later, when my own children were ready for picture books, I gleefully marched them into the public library, right up to my favorite childhood section, the picture books on tape, rack upon rack of auditory gold.

Although it has been many years since my children checked out a book on tape, there is one story I remember listening to with great fondness. It had a bright yellow cover, with a boy being lifted into the air by a big red balloon. The title was simply That’s Good! That’s Bad! by Margaret Cuyler. It was the story of a little boy floating and dropping, landing and hopping, all over a jungle, filled with wild animals. I remember the cadence of the readers’ voices as they chanted the refrain from the book’s title. The children on the CD would all cheer, “Oh, that’s good,” but the adult reader would quickly correct them, “No, that’s bad.” On the next page, the roles were reversed and what seemed bad would, in fact, turn out to be good.  Listening to the book was a pleasure, but the real joy came from my kids’ anticipatory giggles as they waited for the other shoe to drop, for what they thought was so clearly good, to be shown to be so obviously bad, and vice versa.

After listening to that book countless times over the years, you’d think I would have remembered the universal theme:

You can’t really judge if something’s good, or bad, until you turn the page. 

But gosh, that’s a hard truth to hold on to. Life is very much like that story book. Something happens that raises our spirits, and we silently cheer, Oh, that’s good! but it is quickly followed by the realization, No, that’s bad! Of course, the reverse holds true just as often, if not more so. We never really know if something is good, or bad, until much, much later, and even then, we can’t really be sure, because the story’s not over yet.

Of course, I’ve always been on this roller coaster of judgment, but it has really picked up speed since the Fall of 2008. My husband and I own a small retail business and the last three years have not been easy. Our lives and livelihood have been built around that business. Apart from his family, the ‘shop,’ as we lovingly call it, is his pride and joy. Since the start of the Great Recession, we’ve hit a lot of peaks and valleys. We’ve reinvented the way he works, the way I work, the way the business works, but it still seems like we are often groaning, Oh, that’s bad. However, we keep reminding ourselves, No, that’s good, because, unlike a lot of mom-and-pop stores, our doors are still open and we are still paying the bills, or at least most of them.

It works that way in my personal life as well. I go through my days, attaching too much significance to each and every thing that comes my way. I find myself thinking, “Oh, that’s good,” just to have something occur to me a moment later that has me convinced, “No, that’s bad.” It’s an emotional ping-pong game, and I am always the loser. Whether it is phone calls, emails, invitations, conversations, red lights, green lights, doctor visits, or burned dinners, I wish I were not so hasty to judge whether it is good news, or bad news. I wish I could remember that in life, there is always another page. The story isn’t over yet.

At the end of the children’s book, the boy is dropped back into his parents’ loving arms, where they greet him with a huge kiss and a sigh of relief. The children on the CD, confident that this is the end of the story, shout with all their might, “Oh, that’s good!” But the author surprises them with another twist. You have to turn the page, risking another fall, when she emphatically says, “No, that’s GREAT!”

The last page on the recession and it’s affect on my family and our way of life is still a ways off. My personal last page may come tomorrow, or it may be far away. I don’t have the answer to that. But what I do know is that I can end each day’s story by dropping into the arms of my loving family, holding them close and saying goodnight with a huge kiss. When I leave their bedrooms, teeth brushed and blankets tucked, I give a sigh of relief, knowing, that for now, “Oh, that’s good,” very, very good, indeed.

Afterword: If you are over 40, don’t have children, or think yourself above learning a lesson from a children’s picture book, here is a famous zen koan that imparts the same wisdom. It’s a great story, but not nearly as much fun.

There was an old farmer who worked hard on his little farm. There was never any money left over, but the farmer did have one sturdy, fine horse that helped the man and his young adult son with the farm labor.

One morning the farmer woke to find that the horse had broken out of the pen, and ran away. The neighbors came over, shaking their heads. They told the farmer that he had very bad luck. The farmer replied, “Good luck, bad luck. Who knows?”

The next morning when the farmer woke, he found that his sturdy, fine horse had returned, bringing with him a small herd of wild horses. The neighbors came over, nodding their heads. They told the farmer that he had very good luck. The farmer replied, “Good luck, bad luck. Who knows?”

Early the next morning, the farmer’s son was out breaking the new horses. The young man was tossed off a wild horse, and his leg broke. It was a bad injury, and the son would not be able to work for months. The neighbors came over, shaking their heads. They told the farmer he had very bad luck. The farmer replied, “Good luck, bad luck. Who know?”

The next morning, the army came through the village conscripting all young men to go and fight. His son could not go.

Good luck, bad luck? Who knows?

I sat down this morning to write an apology email to my husband. I had been a little cranky last night and I still hadn’t shaken the vestiges of my bad attitude by this morning. Apologizing is a habit that Tim and I have cultivated over the 18 long (and happy) years that we’ve been married. When one of us gets a little chippy with the other, or takes a cheap shot, we try to make amends as soon as we are capable of getting a hold of ourselves and putting our best (or at least better) foot forward.

The invention of email has really smoothed the process along for two reasons.

Number 1: We don’t actually have to make the apology verbally.

How many times have you attempted to say sorry, only to have your bad behavior spelled out for you all over again, along with a complete list of all the ways your poor choices affected and offended the person to whom you were apologizing? Verbal apologies can lead to bigger fights if we start defending ourselves, and/or our (mis)behavior again. Email apologies allow my husband and I to adequately express our remorse, our understanding of the ways our choices negatively affected the person we love, and our promise to do better. These email apologies work best when there is also a promise of a physical reconciliation later that day, preferably after the kids go to bed.

Number 2: Email apologies sent during the workday stop the cycle of anger and frustration before we bring it back home.

If I can bring myself to apologize (and mean it, of course) before we begin our commute home, I know our evening is going to go better. I know that he will walk in the door and say, “Thanks for the email,” or greet me with a hug and a kiss to show that we are ‘okay.’ We might still need to talk about our disagreement, but it takes the edge off our nightly routine. When we have failed to at least throw out an opening salvo of reconciliation, then the minute we walk through that door, there is tension. It might manifest itself in a hundred small ways, before we finally get to hash it out upstairs after the dishes and homework are done. The evening meal, the highlight of most of my days, is ruined for me and there is no doubt that the kids notice the lack of joy and casual, easy banter that is normally a hallmark of our table.

So what does all this have to do with Eckhart Tolle’s The Good Earth and Jeff Kinney’s The Diary of a Wimpy Kid? That’s a good question, so here you go…

In The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, there is something known as the dreaded “Cheese Touch.” The “Cheese Touch” originated from a disgusting piece of dairy that had gotten left on the blacktop for far too long. At one point, someone had touched the piece of cheese and thereby became contaminated with it. No one, and I mean no one, was allowed to touch, or be touched by that person; otherwise, that person would become the new carrier of the “Cheese Touch.” The “Cheese Touch” created a social pariah, someone who was damaged and outcast, and yet at the same time, actively and ingeniously seeking ways to ‘share the gift’ if you know what I mean.  Once you touched someone else, the “Cheese Touch” was no longer yours. In short, the “Cheese Touch” was a really complex and damaging game of tag, which was apparently played skillfully and passionately at Jeff Kinney’s middle school.

I watched an emotional version of the “Cheese Touch” take place in my home a few months ago. My eldest daughter Keara was trying to get ready to go somewhere and she was taking a long time with her clothing, which is obviously not unusual for a 14 year old girl. As her mom, (and I will admit to being maniacally prompt), I got angry at her for taking so long. I started with the “Cheese Touch” that day: anger and frustration isolating me from my community. I scolded Keara for taking so long, being so picky and making us late. The “Cheese Touch” was passed. Now Keara’s younger sister Molly tried to get in the bathroom they share to brush her own hair. Keara slammed the door in Molly’s face and her hand in the process and the “Cheese Touch” was successfully launched onto its next victim. After calming Molly down with an ice pack, I went to work things out with Keara. In the meantime, Finn went to see if Molly wanted to skateboard with him while they waited for us to be ready. In her pain, she snapped at him and told him to get off her skateboard, even if she wasn’t riding it. Another successful transmission! When we got in the car, I asked everyone to take a deep breath, so we could try to leave the house in peace. I looked around to see how we were doing. I was calm; Keara was calm; Molly was calm, but Finn was sitting next to me, slumped in his chair, with a scowl on his face.  When I asked him why he was in a bad mood, he said he had no idea. He just felt terrible, like kicking something. That was the “Aha” moment for me.

In real life, instead of fiction, the “Cheese Touch” has very little to do with a piece of stinky cheese and everything to do with the way it makes you feel. In the course of 15 minutes, I had let my anger fly and watched it travel through 3 other people I love, ending its journey in the still-sweet soul of my 12 year old boy.

I looked at him sadly and said, “Sorry you got it, buddy.”

“Got what mom?”

“The Cheese Touch.”

Since that time, the “Cheese Touch” has become a sort of verbal shorthand for the times when we have taken our anger out on someone else, someone who really didn’t deserve it. And that is where Eckhart Tolle comes in.

I was introduced to Tolle’s idea of the pain-body several years ago when I read a copy of The New Earth. I will keep the explanation short and simple, which Tolle, God bless him, can’t seem to do. The bottom line is that when you are in pain, you carry it around with you, in your body, or perhaps like an extra body part. Your pain is so big, heavy and unwieldy that it cripples you when you try to function normally. Nobody likes carrying around that pain-body, so we do what we can to get rid of it.  I know it sounds strange, but we actually go around sharing our pain-body with other people. We parcel it out through anger, frustration, and sometimes, even violence. We might go around telling other people about the ways we’ve been wronged, or wounded. When our pain-body is inflamed, we transmit our pain to other people in order to ease the burden on ourselves.

Sound familiar? I think it does to most adults who are honest with themselves, and while I can’t adequately explain Tolle’s theory of the pain-body to my kids, they certainly all get the concept of the “Cheese Touch.” They’ve all had it and they’ve all passed it on and really, the two philosophies aren’t that different.

So when I sat down to write that email apology to my husband, I realized that my nastiness over which side of the sink we keep the toothpaste on wasn’t really what I needed to apologize for. That was simply me, trying to give him the “Cheese Touch.” It didn’t really work, because he didn’t feel that badly about it, and I didn’t really feel any better.

This morning, I realize that my pain-body is inflamed. I have been feeling frustrated lately, a little “ineffective” in my roles as wife, mother, writer, speaker, housekeeper and cook. Little things are falling through the cracks, as I neglect too many things on my “To Do” lists. Last night, it made perfect sense to me that if he would simply leave the tube of Crest on my side of the sink, everything, and I do mean everything, would be so much better. In the light of day, I realize that it may not solve anything really significant after all.

So, this is my apology , honey. I’m sorry. I am going to try to hold on to my own pain-body for a little while. I am going to do my best not to touch anyone else with this stinky little piece of cheese, moldering on the playground of my heart.