We flew out to Ann Arbor to visit our son. Watching the University of Michigan’s basketball team is exciting. Watching them warming up, I decided, is meditative.
Even with rap music in the background, I was mesmerized.
Surrounded by chocolate truffles, clutching a cup of Aztec-spiced hot cocoa, I spoke at Chocolate Lovers Club in Princeton, New Jersey:
What happens when I visit Orchard Beach in the Bronx, in the middle of winter?
Seagulls have taken over the parking lot.
They are excellent meditators. Even a passing car doesn’t distract them.
On a cloudy winter day, I drove up to Garrison, NY, for a chanting workshop with Krishna Das. His kindness, humor, and downright sexy voice turned a drab January day into a sunny vacation:
I’m spending some time on the road lately, speaking about Learning to Breathe. Here I am closer to home, talking to my friends and neighbors at our local library:
My friend Patty (center) introduced me to Geshe Denma (left) and Geshe Drudak (right.)
These humble, wise men encouraged me to continue traveling and speaking about my book. “I’m not a lama!” I protested. “I’m just a lady!” But when I complained about being tired, they taught me the basics of prostration, which energized me a bit.
“The whole world is slowing down,” Geshe Drudak explained, with Geshe Denma translating. “Oil prices are dropping, economies are slowing…It’s fine to slow down sometimes.”
But I’m going to hit the road again soon.
After meditating tonight, I realized how much I’m missing the connection I used to have with my mother. I doubt she would ever remember the stories she used to tell me, like how I called an artichoke dis’ n dat (since we dipped “dis,” the artichoke, into “dat,” the melted butter she’d make.) My mother was from California, and she ate exotic food like artichokes. Now she seems exotic to me, as she moves further and further into a world I cannot understand.
While searching for a photo, I was shocked to see how much my mother, 24 in this picture, looks like my son Jack, who’s 21. I’d never noticed that before. Apparently there is still much I can learn about my mother, who was a mystery to me all her life.
The day after I attended Oscar’s funeral, I took a walk along Long Island Sound and photographed three rafts floating through a misty fog. When I uploaded them onto my computer, I discovered an elegant egret in the lower righthand corner.
My husband’s 94 year old Uncle Oscar died. He was kind, sweet, wise, gentle and upbeat. I wish Peggy, Nancy, Adam, Bob, Sondra, and everyone who misses him love:
After Thanksgiving, I began to imagine what other holiday dinners I might put together in the future, with people long gone and still here. And then I wrote about them for Huffington Post: Guess Who’s Coming to Holiday Dinners?
My book tour took me to Buffalo, New York.
My train took me along the Hudson for three heavenly hours:
Meghan Davidson’s beautiful blog post on gratitude inspired me to take a walk around my neighborhood. When you move slowly, with your eyes open, you can actually see leaves drifting off trees, falling to the ground. It’s amazing what you can see when you stand still.
I had the pleasure of speaking at Tibet House in New York City, where I discovered the magical sand paintings of Joe Mangrum:
Whenever I’m in Rhode Island, I feel conflicted between my past and my present, my mother and my father, sadness and joy.
And every time I visit my father’s grave, I leave a stone behind, on his tombstone, so that he knows I’ve been there.
Racing up from Baltimore (where I spoke at the wonderful bookstore Breathe Books) I tried to catch my breath on my way to Rhode Island. One of my favorite places to meditate is on an Amtrak train:
The World Health Organization has designated today as World Mental Health Day. Bloggers are attaching a logo to their posts in order to help spotlight the lack of care that mental disorders often receive.
I’d like to thank all of the therapists who helped me to heal, either through my personal interaction with them, or the powerful techniques they’ve created to help people all around the world.
Please visit my resources page, where you will find the names of the men and women who helped me to heal from my panic disorder.
The response to my book has been wonderful. Millions of people saw me on The Today Show. My Amazon numbers went through the roof (or down to #13, depending on how you look at it – low numbers are good numbers on Amazon.)
When I set out on this journey from panic to peace, I felt alone. But I met many wise, generous healers and teachers. Countless friends, old and new, offered unconditional support. And now I am hearing from dozens of readers across the country, who’ve courageously shared their own stories with me.
I am not alone.
Particularly when I’m at “The Big House,” the football stadium at University of Michigan, where I sat with my family and watched football last Saturday, along with 110,100 other people. Meditating on being one in a million.
I am so grateful to everyone who has supported me in my journey from panic to peace. The response to Learning to Breathe has been humbling and a bit overwhelming.
So I took a break from blogging and tweeting. I went out to my front porch, to my hammock. And someone started a conversation with me:
Speaking live on national television for The Today Show was a true joy, thanks to my meditation practice and the help I received from my teachers and healers while I was learning to breathe over the last couple of years. I am grateful to everyone who helped me to heal.
I drove into the city to give a copy of my book to my friend Barbara. While I was putting money into the meter, a police officer began writing me a parking ticket. I raced back to my car and began questioning her. “Look at me,” she said firmly but politely. I looked into her eyes. Directly. She explained what I needed to do in order to get the ticket dismissed. I listened. I was present. And then I laughed. “This is perfect,” I said. “My new book just came out today. It’s about living in the moment, mindfully.” I gave Vanessa from NYPD a copy of Learning to Breathe. Life is good. Thanks to everyone, including Vanessa, who supported me, inspired me and taught me me to breathe.
Waiting for my book to be published, I try channeling this calm llama I saw from the side of a road on Martha’s Vineyard.
This is an anxious time. What can I do while I wait for my book to be published?
I can try and slow down my breathing, my walking and my talking. Here I am, taking it slow on Upper Broadway:
When I was invited to blog for the anxiety section of Psychology Today, I got anxious. And I decided that my posts there would be a letter to myself as a teenager:
Jack’s friend Andy gave us a tour of his hometown, Detroit. We’d heard stories of urban decay, abandoned homes, hopes and dreams. But what he showed us was the heart and soul of a beautiful city and its proud people. When we came across The Heidelberg Project, I was blown away. Originally conceived by one enterprising artist, Tyree Guyton, the two block area is bursting with colorful art assemblages created from everyday discarded objects. It is truly a meditation on creativity and community.