Inscribed in the Book of Life (using your own ink)

It is that time of year again for Jews who believe that during the time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), G-d inscribes people’s names either into the book of life, the book of death, or a third “neither here nor there” book on Rosh Hashanah. During the ten “terrible” days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, people have a chance to change their fate if they repent enough. As tradition goes, the books are sealed on Yom Kippur, and so people’s fates are sealed. What do they say gets you into the Book of Life? Charity, repentance and prayer.

I think a lot about repentance. There are many people I let down or could do better with each year. But I’ve come to the realization recently that there is one person to whom I need to apologize to this year (and maybe every year), and that’s me. We always put ourselves last when we should be first.

Let’s remember one key point here: Life is more about rewriting your story rather than writing it. In other words, if you don’t like what’s been written on your page, tear it out or erase it and start over. You are not stuck. You can rewrite your page, your story, your day, your week or your year.

The Jews are on to something. We should be thankful that G-d puts us in the Book of Life each year. But also, we should be grateful that we received another year.

On this Yom Kippur, I have decided to focus on me. I’m continually rewriting my own story and you should too. I’m going to make space to enjoy “additional” experiences, spend time with friends and family and slow down this fast-paced ride a bit to hear the leaves rustle in the trees (although I totally enjoy my fast-paced life!).

No question—we are here to make contributions—to leave a positive footprint and do for others. But we must first be in love with, and have time for, our own footprint!

So, to my family and friends, on this holiday no matter what you believe or in whom (or even if you don’t believe), I pray that you are inscribed in the Book of Life—but, using your own ink. 🙂



My work in process

Many of you may know that I once took a meditation class. It was billed as a relaxing, no judgment, peaceful opportunity. I was so excited to “learn” how to meditate. I got to the first class early and introduced myself to everyone because I figured they would all become my best friends! I quit four weeks later – completely stressed out about trying to meditate. Who quits a meditation class? Why couldn’t I fake it?

Over the years I continued to try. I went through a period where every time I tried to meditate, the dog would start licking her private parts so loudly that I could not concentrate. I gave up.

On Sunday I was talking someone and we got on the topic of meditation. I told her I needed to find a way to destress. She told me that she started meditating after her husband died. She said that she cried each time she tried to get quiet. It went on for months. Then, one day, she prayed for strength and for him to be with her for just five minutes. That was the start of a beautiful relationship with her meditations—which she says can be anything that feels good (within the bounds of the law, of course!).

So I tried that the next morning. I prayed for love, strength and protection for the people I love. I prayed for them to find joy in the little things in life and for them to find love in their hearts. Oh, and I prayed for myself too!

Know what the dog did? Well the first day she threw up a sock one minute into my meditation (I thought it was her intestine-WTF!). Day two she just sat at my feet staring at me the whole time. So freaking annoying. I think she farted too.

Then on day three, she came to my feet, curled up in a ball, took a deep breath and went to sleep. I was so mesmerized that I missed my timer. All I ended up doing was taking a few minutes to listen to my breath resonate in my body—felt amazing.

I guess this is a lesson to me that if someone in the depths of despair can find a way to meditate, I can too. And, it can be anything I want it to be. Each day I only last a few minutes. It’s really a prayer session with me trying to bring cleansing energy into my body and trying to send it to others.

Find a few minutes each day, even if it’s when you’re making your morning coffee, to hear your own breath. There is grace in that simple moment.

(and hopefully your dog will be reasonable at the same time). 🙂



Coffee, tears and laughter

I met someone for coffee recently. We’d not seen each other for a long time. We spent the short hour or so catching up and talking about the changes, joys and trials in our lives.

The back story is that I’d not seen this person for many years. That was partly my doing. I put up some pretty strict boundaries. It was the right thing to do at the time. And, it was right for me to hold it for as long as I did. But, for some reason, my gut told me it was time to get coffee and just examine that boundary.

It was an enjoyable hour and I received some wisdom—which was completely unexpected. When I got into my car I heard myself say out loud, “Check.” I said it not in a bad way, but just in a clearing cobwebs sort of way. A taking down of a boundary so I could gently close the door rather than the slam of the door when I first put the boundary up. Am I making any freaking sense here?

When we put up boundaries, we do it to shift the power. Often to take back our power. We do it when people are not respectful toward us and do not deserve to be in our life space. Sometimes, we must keep some form of a boundary up forever. Sometimes the boundaries change. Sometimes, I wonder if the boundary itself begins to hold so much power that it prevents us from moving forward. I think that’s what I’m trying to get at here; maybe what was once healthy (the boundary) becomes unnecessary because we have changed. In other words, it takes up more life space than is necessary.

I’m in the middle of a life shift. I’ve begun writing. I am going to move from my home of 23 years. My relationship with my kids is changing, in a really awesome and freeing way. And I generally feel change is in my airspace. The process can be bumpy and painful at times, but that’s life, right? I wonder if maybe to get to that next place, we need to clear out the unnecessary energy, people and situations and other holds on our lives, so we can open up door number one, two or even three?

Yesterday, I was waiting for an appointment and I saw a deck of cards. I pulled a card and flipped it over. It read, “The Universe Has Your Back.” Ahhhh. Yes, it had my back on this one.

As you move through your life and make decisions that you may or may not be sure about, know that that the “universe” has your back. Or, at the very least, your loved ones do. 🙂

For those of moving into a new holiday period, I wish you peace and time for contemplation. For my other wonderful friends and readers of this blog, yes, the universe has your back, and so do I.



Death on a road

When I was walking Lily on Friday, we were on a road that is fairly busy. Cars go by rather quickly. As we stopped (she stopped!) to sniff yet another blade of grass, we heard a loud smack!

I looked up to see a flock of geese fly above us. I remember thinking that I hoped they didn’t poop on us. And then I realized that the smack was a goose. One of them had been killed. It was instantly dead in the road and the car that hit it just kept going.

A lone goose seemed to know what was happening and didn’t fly away. It stayed behind. Just standing there on the curb. Maybe it was their partner. It stood there like it wanted the dead goose to wake up so they could fly away together. It seemed distressed and wanted to go over and check on its mate but the cars just kept going and it could not go over to it. It was heartbreaking.

I dropped to the ground and sobbed. I mean lost it. Poor Lily had no idea what was happening but she knew something was wrong and just sat next to me. All I could say in my mind to the one left there was “I’m sorry. I am so, so sorry.”

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t love or even like these geese. But this was not just a goose. It was life and death. I could not move myself from that spot. It felt like the world had stopped.

It took what seemed like an eternity for the lone goose to fly away – the opposite direction from the rest. I cried the whole way home.

During the Queen’s funeral (I’m up early anyway) there was a moment of silence. I wondered if the world would be silent—to stop and pray or think or remember.

But the world didn’t stop. I could hear the birds outside my window. The crickets kept going. The cars. It was the same as when that goose died. The world stopped for its partner (and me) but everything else kept going.

I guess that’s what life and death is all about. There is a constant marching of time even when it sometimes stops for others.

My take way that day and today is to be grateful. Thank You. Thank you for yet another day. Thank you for those of you I will speak with today and for those of you I won’t speak with but will think about. I will pray for the angry and lost people in my space. And, I will send healing energy to those who need healing.

Life keeps going and while we have the opportunity to be here, and maybe we’ll just remember it for a moment today, let’s make sure we don’t take it for granted.


When you look in the mirror …

When you look in the mirror, you see each individual flaw. Those flaws are the things we fear and we worry about when the light shines too brightly. But even though every scar is illuminated in the mirror, we should just take a minute to pause, to breathe and see the beauty in the whole of these things that have marked us.

I wonder if our external mirror reflects our internal mirror. And does the way we judge ourselves, color how we judge others?

There is beauty in the scars that have marked us. Whether seen or unseen. We really are the only ones who notice them and, as such, we are free to cast them away and to fix our gaze on the wholeness of who we are rather than our parts.

But of course, that is not easy. The world is full of “mirrors.” So, be patient with yourself. Remember, seeing the parts of you as a whole, is simply you getting to know who you are … even if you just start with one moment, today.



Waiting …

I know someone who is waiting for a health-related test result. Seems like something I would worry about, because, of course, I’m a Jewish/Italian worrier. But this person is really working on remaining present—A tough but important job.

This made me think about how far forward we often look. Excited for our kid’s wedding? We count the days. Looking forward to vacation? It’s all we can think about until we get on the plane and collapse. I do this on my dog walks. We walk fast because I want Lily to get her exercise, but I also want to get “started” on my day (as if my walk is not starting my day—clearly another post).

Racing, pushing, trying to force things forward doesn’t work. Hurrying will not speed up the process, or the journey, or the result. In fact, when we race ahead of ourselves, we often find that we have to go back, to return to the parts we skipped over and go through it all over again.

For sure there are times when we need to press on. We need to get answers. But that just keeps us tense and out of step. If we really want to speed up a process, we need to fully immerse ourselves in the moment and then focus our energy, our presence, our emotions, our thoughts and our hearts. So, I guess the lesson is that when we push forward the an immersed way, it really ends up requiring us to be present in the moment.

How often do we hold our breath and worry about the next thing? I have learned that time will move at the time it’s meant to move. Sometimes fast and sometimes agonizingly slow. For those (read: me) driven by, g-d knows what, it can be really hard to slow down and take in the minutes and moments. We can push forward but we should not let time be the thing that goes unanswered.

I feel like I’m entering the dessert phase of life! What do I want to put into this phase? It’s easy to feel anxious wondering and waiting for what will happen next. But if we trust our inner wisdom to organically show herself and reveal direction … to sit patiently … we will move right past the worrying and experience every beautiful minute of the “waiting.”

Enjoy the day my lovely friends.


Just pivot (you idiot!)

When we find something that brings us joy, we have a tendency to do the same thing over and over again in order to get that same feeling. But often, whatever it is we’re doing, becomes more routine than joyful.

There’s a story of a woman who walked into a church one evening at a quiet time and sat down. She was feeling very low and she felt this immediate sense of peace and comfort as she sat there. She thought it was the church that gave her those feelings. So, she kept going … every single night. At some point, going to church became so routine that she lost the joy. So, she went back to wearing the same clothes and the same shoes as she had that first night. That same feeling did not come back. Then she tried eating the same food as the first day and walking the same way into the church … well you get the picture. The same exact feelings didn’t come back. Why? Because those feelings were really inside her, not the church, and she was looking outward, not inward.

Why do we think we can’t pivot and feel the same great feelings? Is that my Italian superstition?

For two months now, I have been doing morning sun salutations. At first, it brought me a sense of peace (it still does at times). I did a certain number and each one was for a particular reason. Then one day I realized I was not feeling the same peace in doing them. I was lamenting this to a good friend who looked at me as if she couldn’t believe I was complaining and said “Just pivot. Do something different.” I didn’t know what to say. Wouldn’t I be a failure if I pivoted. So many of my friends, including her, meditated religiously each day. Why couldn’t I do these stupid freaking sun salutations and have one life routine like everyone else I know? 🙂

Then one morning I got up and made my coffee first, before my sun salutations. It was a slow start to my morning, and it was glorious! Then another day I skipped my sun salutations, made my coffee and watched Lily sleep. That was amazing too! I had pivoted and it was totally fine (in fact, better than fine!). Just letting myself off the “hook” was far from the failure I feared, and I still had that same feeling of peace.

Transitions are universal, inevitable and important. As we get old(er), we’re constantly evolving. And while change can, at times, feel messy and uncomfortable, it’s through these metamorphoses that we learn new things. My greatest lessons have (and continue to come) when I pivot. Even when pivoting brings some initial pain or fear.

So, my loving friends, find a little different path today. And know that peace and comfort will find you there too.


Things are working out.

That was the title of my meditation today and it’s fitting. As I intentionally close one chapter and open new one, I’ve been thinking about the faith I have in where I am right now. Steve Jobs once said, “You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Right now, at this moment, things are working out for all of us. We try to control, shape, and form. We try to manage and keep everything together. We worry. But things are working out. Even if they seem painful at times. Things are working out.

How many times do you worry about something happening (or not) and then when you finally get there you realize that it worked out as it should. Why are we so tied to knowing what’s coming and whether it will work out? Why can’t we assume it will?

If you google “things will work out as planned” there are way more hits about what to do when something is not working out. The internet reflects our algorithm of searches … so are we all searching about things not working out?

Granted, things may not always work out the way we originally thought or envisioned, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work out. Often, they’re far better than originally expected.

Let’s stop beating ourselves up and hurting on the inside because we think that we’ve not done enough. I believe that no matter what we do, we have given it our all. We have made our best efforts. We can’t go crazy worrying about how to do it better. Trust and allow yourself to give things up to faith or the universe.

Let’s believe in our lives. Frankly, let’s reclaim our lives. Let’s stop worrying about whether it will work out and instead have faith that it will.

Even when things seem imperfect, painful or just plain scary, let’s remind ourselves that we’re ok and that things are working out just as they should.



They scared the sh** out of my dog.

I recently went for a walk with a friend. She has two big dogs (maybe Huskies?) and at some point midway through the walk, they wanted to play with Lily but somehow they scared the s*** out of her. I mean scared her to the point that I literally had to drag her, because by the time this happened we were a good 1/2 mile from the car.

All the while, when we were walking, my friend’s dogs were pulling her and yanking and wanting to “visit” with Lily and the entire scene seemed so chaotic! But my friend, was so calm. She was not apologetic (and she didn’t need to be!). She just kept on walking and smiling and talking. I would have apologized a million times—but why? These were just dogs being dogs!

It was the most calming, chaotic experience I’ve had in a long time!

It made me think about how we, as westerners, (read: me) say “I’m sorry” way too much. I know for sure that I over-apologize, and often for things that aren’t my fault. I once said sorry to a trash can after walking into it. I mean really, Jessica?

I think we say sorry so often as a way to ease our mind because we’re often worried about other people’s opinions of us. The word now slips out of my mouth for every perceived slight I think I may have caused. But I’m coming to realize that so many apologies affects our view of ourselves.

As we were walking and talking about life, we both recognized that in different situations we are being held responsible for s*** that’s not our fault. In those situations (and for many of us) my initial reaction is to say “I’m sorry.” But maybe the better way to respond is to say “Thanks for telling me,” or “Good catch” or “Time to do better.” These words are more empowering and take the away pressure we put on ourselves for things we can’t control.

While we can and should apologize for past mistakes (and who defines mistakes as opposed to “best we could do at the time”?)—the past is the past. It cannot be changed and we each own our own process for moving forward and letting go. Either we choose to point fingers or we take a look at whether the narrative is really serving any good in our lives.

I think this new year I’m going to focus on my own opinion of myself, rather than how others perceive me. Consciously and immediately forgiving ourselves over everyday and past mistakes is a way to improve our state of mind and takes back control over our lives, which of course we all deserve to have. So today, instead of saying “I’m sorry” say, “I really do appreciate the feedback. It’s duly noted and I can do better.”

Enjoy your day everyone!


Her skirt was inside out (and backwards, I think).

I was out for a run on Saturday and when I got close to a corner, I noticed a woman sitting there with a sign “I need help and Money.” As I got closer, I saw she had a skirt on with tall socks and her skirt was clearly not on “correctly.”

I stopped at the corner (because, I’m always looking for an excuse to stop) and asked if I could help her. She told me that she needed money. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I didn’t have any money with me. What I did have was a bottle of water, which I had not yet used. I offered it to her.

She asked why I was running and where was I going. Great questions! I told her I was just going to run around the area and I was running to relieve stress. She looked at me for a second and then asked me the most important question of my life: What was I stressed about?

I felt like crying.

How could I possibly compare any stress in my life to hers? What kind of narrative have I been telling myself all these running years. I have so much in my life, what the F*** am I stressed about?

She told me that she never gets stressed out. She said that she needs money and sometimes needs food but she isn’t ever stressed out (she also said she’s not sure what stressed out really is so she didn’t think she had it – so sweet!)

I thanked her for the advice. She looked at me as if she had no idea why I had just thanked her. She thanked me for the water. And, I walked (not ran) away.

Life perspective. I needed it.