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Category: Living

My Precarious, Precious Parents

A few Fridays ago, my parents were scheduled to pick me up at Point Pleasant train station at 1 p.m. The idea was to go to the “fine” baby store nearby so my mother could pick out a gift for an upcoming baby shower. While I was in Secaucus train station to make a connection that would have me on the train for two hours, I saw on the board that there were delays. As it turned out, I wound up on an earlier train that would get in at about 12:30 p.m. I called my mother and informed...

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Giving Senior Citizens Space to Feel

We’re in a time when a woman will be partaking in a conversation and the next thing you know what will come spilling out in an almost even tone is that time when her doctor raped her. It happened to me this morning. “Nancy, it was five years before I realized what he did to me was wrong.” **** On the evenings when I prepare a topic, or prompt, for my senior citizens’ writing group the next morning, my greatest challenge is to try to gauge the mood or mindset of my students. By this I mean that there...

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Politics, Fragility and the Divine

The other day I was on the PATH train between Newport and Grove Street, roughly a five-minute ride for those not familiar. A young man came into the car, said he was from North Carolina and struggling to feed his family, so he’d decided to share the gift God gave him, his voice. He proceeded to sing a Christian song. Absorbed in my own thoughts en route to a teaching gig, I barely looked up, but his rendition was lovely. When he was done, he bowed his head and said in prayer, “Dear Lord, I know I’m not the...

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An Actor, an NFL Player and September Dreams

I was going to write this two days ago, but I was too busy devoting time to one of my “money” jobs. As the house manager for an acting and dance studio in Manhattan, I’m in the process of booking people for fall and winter classes, workshops, performances, and shoots. Happily deluged, one might say, since getting back from vacation. But here’s the real point: Yes, I work “money” jobs. You know, the kind that people were shaming former Cosby Show actor Geoffrey Owens for when he was “outed” recently at a local Trader Joe’s. Funny thing is, last...

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Lit Matches in the Dark

What is the meaning of life? That was all – a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years. The great revelation had never come … Instead there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark … –Virginia Woolf   I wrote and published an entire book whose overarching credo is about paying attention in our lives. Yep, I chronicled how I learned to do that and what a difference it made in my life. And yet, right now, in this moment on Earth, I feel like I am desperately seeking the matches in the dark that Woolf speaks of, sparks of joy or aha moments that lead me to the next one. And the next. The above quote is in David Schiller’s book called See Your Way to Mindfulness: Ideas and Inspirations to Open Your I. Clearly I plucked it off my shelf because I am on a spiritual quest for answers. I have never so badly wanted to know what was around the corner. What does our collective future hold? More fire? Wind? Rain? Violence? Rage? Division? What will we wake up to tomorrow? Breath. Intellectually I know I need to focus on that. One breath. Then the next. And yet each day it remains a challenge. I am distracted by the pain in the world. Doesn’t everyone feel it...

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