Category Archives: My Story

Thank you Ms. Freeman wherever you are

My teacher in fifth and sixth grade was Ms. Phyllis Freeman.

I think she was the first person to teach me to use Ms. She created a new grade for me, A-WD – “A With Distinction” because I’d gotten too many A++s. Whenever we asked if we could borrow her tape to fix our papers in class, she’d give us the tape, and then she’d come back to us ten minutes later to ask us for the tape back, because we’d asked to “borrow” it. She taught us modal verbs using the phrase, “I can, I may, I will, I shall, I must love my teacher.

I loved my teacher.

And I think she loved me.

Then when I was in sixth grade, and my life imploded, she somehow figured out, and she went out of her way to protect me and to actively love me more.

I don’t remember how or when I began to call her “Mom” (not around any of the other kids, of course), but I did. I don’t know if she knew, or how she might have known, that my mother had left us, but she stepped in to be my mom. She gave me extra hugs and affection, perhaps trying to fill my void and my need for hugs and affection.

When I spoke loving of the Unification Church, she never corrected me or chastised me. When the other kids made fun of me or questioned me after I praised Rev. Moon while presenting a New York Times article about his speech at Madison Square Garden, she quieted them or redirected the conversation.

And when I wrote a passionate essay about the beauty and joy of a weekend workshop at the Church’s estate in Barrytown, New York, her written comment on my essay was “The Unification Church is very lucky to have a loving member like you belong to it!”

How she was able to remove what must have been her disapproval of the Church and of my mother’s (and my) involvement from her interactions with me, I’m not sure. How she was able to treat me with love and kindness when she must have wanted to wrest me from the situation, the surroundings, and the people whom were taking over my mind. She had known me (and my mother) during fifth grade and must have watched in horror when I returned to sixth grade, having found the Messiah during the summer, a changed person with changed beliefs.

And yet all she did was love me. And protect me. And teach me not to “borrow” tape. I wish I could find her to thank her personally.

Thank you Ms. Freeman wherever you are.

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

New Year’s generally means very little to me. Maybe because I have an ongoing practice of starting each day anew, and each moment during the day anew when necessary. I stop. I notice. I appreciate. I let in. I stop again. I start over.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I laugh (and groan) when the gym is crowded and celebrate come mid-January or early-February when it empties out again. I don’t resolve to eat better or exercise more or stop a bad habit. I try to live those ways each and every day. And I try – very hard at times – to cut myself a break and give myself slack when I don’t.

All that being said, it feels like a new beginning today and an opportunity to build in even more self-care and mindful practices to make this year – and my life – more of what I want.

For the past year, I’ve kept a “good year box.” A list, every day, of the little things I notice and appreciate. When I look back at my 2017 list, I can see what a great year I had. What a compilation of good days. I promise myself I’ll keep a “good year box” this year.

For the past year, I’ve made a much more concerted effort to meditate every day. Every day. I haven’t missed many, and I’ve noticed a calmness in my being that wasn’t fully there before. I like that calmness, and I promise myself I’ll keep at meditation this year.

For the past year, I’ve done even more conscious breathing and even more acknowledging of my tension and anxiety and allowing it to flow through me and away. I’ve leaned into the suck when I’ve had sucky times, and I’ve done my best to be easy with myself – and with those around me. I’ve turned to others for support and love and encouragement, and reached into myself to give as much support and love and encouragement as I can. I promise myself that I’ll consciously be – and be with myself and others as life flows on this year.

For the past year, I’ve called out (to myself) the moments of joy and ease. The snuggles that fill my spirit and the beauty that lifts my soul. I promise myself that I’ll continue to call out and relish. That I’ll pay attention and direct my attention this year.

I know these practices are a constant, and I know I have a tendency to judge myself for not practicing them “enough.” But today feels like a great opportunity to breathe, reset, enjoy, savor, bask, release, notice, appreciate, love, list, meditate, and sit. All great verbs. All great practices. All great ways of being, that I promise myself I’ll allow (and instill) in my life more and more each day.

Happy New Year!

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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I want to remember this moment forever

I want to memorize this feeling, even as I allow it to flow through me, and I stay present in the next moment. And the next.

I want to carve it on my heart and mind, so that I can pull it up when I want (or need) it most.

I’m sitting here with both my kids. Enjoying them. Basking in them. And potentially annoying them. But I don’t care (about the annoying part).

“Deal with it,” I say to them, as I hug or kiss them one more time. “Deal with it.”

“It sucks to have me love you this much,” I acknowledge to them. “And to have me delight in you so much.”

They can deal with it, because I’m not stopping.

I’m not stopping – or even pausing – the love that soars through me as I look at and listen to my kids. The delight I feel in learning more about who they are and who they are becoming. The joy that floods my senses and clouds my vision…in a good way.

My parents may have loved (or may love) me this much, but I didn’t know it if they did. I didn’t feel it in how they attempted to show it.

My kids might not appreciate my over-focus on and over-affection for them. They may find me annoying (they clearly do at times). But they know I love them, and to me, that is way, way cool.

My kids know they matter to me – more than most things if not all things. They know they can tell me anything (and I’ll most likely respond in a completely wrong way at first, but still). They know they can ask me anything. And ask me for anything. And I love knowing that they know all this.

And the joy I feel as I sit with the two of them, the wholeness that envelops me as I look down the hall and see both of their bedroom doors closed (because they’re both here and asleep), the completeness that soothes me as I watch them talk – or wrestle – in the other room – all of these emotions are all I want in life.

I want to remember these moments forever, even as I move on to each next moment. I want to remember these moments forever.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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