From Yogi Bhajan. For my dear ones on Valentine’s Day

Love has two polarities:conditional and unconditional. Conditional love has expectations with gives us pain and joy.  Unconditional love gives us ecstasy, self-fulfillment, self-respect, self-esteem and the knowledge of our higher selves.

th-2Valentine’s day is a day of love-true and simple. Unconditional love is the power of the day. Love creates our bountiful, beautiful and blissful tomorrows, and this is God in us. May we go from this year’s Valentine’s day to the next, with the grace to make our every action conscious, intelligent and positive, and may we keep a love in our hearts for all. For is we cannot see God in all we cannot see God at all.

Happy Valentine’s Day-Yogi Bhajan February 14, 1994

Your oasis is anywhere you are

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Oasis.”

Finding the Calm.


“Meditate Schmeditate”, my mother-in- law, Dora once said to her son, my husband, Mark as he headed off one summer day in Long Beach to find a quiet bench on the boardwalk to attend to his twice daily meditation practice. From that day on, every time Mark would go sit down to meditate he would say to me, “I am going to go “meditate-schmeditate” and we would both laugh about it.


Twenty minutes a day, twice a day for over thirty years. Rarely did Mark miss taking time out to do his Transcendental Meditation practice. When he was an educator in the New York City Public Schools, he rose 45 minutes early to meditate then showered, shaved, dressed, made his coffee and peanut butter sandwich (for the energy he needed in his high-stress –very- hectic- job as school principal) and then pack himself an apple, a few clementine oranges and some almonds. He would then get into his silver Volvo 240 to drive to East New York, Brooklyn.

In my eyes (and the eyes of many others I bet)  Mark was a true enlightened warrior.

Mark took his training for Transcendental Meditation in Manhattan in the early 1970’s. Once, when I asked him what meditation was for him, he said something like this, “It helps me to focus. Meditation rests my mind. It helps me to relieves stress. TM helps me to get things done.” I often noticed he seemed happy and more relaxed when he completed his daily meditations. I admire how he stuck with it day in and day out.

When I asked him if meditating meant he turned off his thoughts he said, “No, the opposite, what it does is that I just notice my thoughts and let them go while focusing on a mantra. “ A mantra is a syllable or sound to keep your mind from wandering over to list-making and looking ahead to the busy-ness of the day ahead

Meditation,  a practice thousands of years old available to each of us in endless permutations and possibilities, has become a bit of a buzzword.And I say, “none to soon”. Mark was onto something 40+ years ago.

In a recent interview at the 92nd Street Y, Ariana Huffington spoke about the many CEO’s who meditate including most famously the late Steve Jobs.

Studies using MRI’s have shown that the brains of Tibetan Buddhist monks who meditate daily and for long periods of time have shown brains with increased gamma wave activity, which help with many cognitive functions including increased compassion, improved memory creativity and test taking abilities. In short, Gamma brain waves are those that get you “into the zone “.

To my way of thinking that can only be a good thing, doesn’t your brain deserve a spa treatment?

There are health benefits. Science has shown that meditation can reduce stress, helps to lower cortisol, adrenaline production and in turn lower blood pressure.

In recent articles in the New York Times, The Path meditation center in Manhattan focuses on networking for fashion and tech millennials, through meditation. According to the article, many post-meditation deals have been made and jobs have been found. In Los Angeles, there are “Drybar” style meditation centers popping up.

This is an interesting development really just a twist on ashrams. From where I sit making new friends and business contacts at a place like The Path or Suzee Yalof’s place in LA  is a happy alternative to a loud bar or restaurant. People who meditate tend to enjoy being here now. There is a shared experience when meditating in a community. It’s a peaceful practice.

In  another article in the NY Times it was shown that meditation has the potential to help students to increase their scores on the big tests such as the SAT and ACT exams.

It seems that Mark was really onto something so many years ago. Meditation served him well throughout his life, working in some very complicated situations in the NYC school system. When Mark  was battling cancer, meditation he remained strong , calm and uncomplaining. Though sometimes he just lost it too.

Hey he was only human.

It was because of Mark that I began my 30 year journey to yoga and meditation. As someone who is high energy, active and has the need to move, I found that for me to meditate I had to do a little yoga to limber up and release excess energy and then I could sit and enjoy the stillness. I am grateful to Mark for starting me on my yogic path.

While for me, my favorite way to meditate is in a group with my fellow yoga practitioners, it is at home on my own that the practice really unfolds for me.

For those who want to give meditation a whirl there are many places to look. There are many different types of meditations to try on, where you can practice in your living room.

Do your best not to judge yourself. According to meditation teacher and American Buddhist teacher, Jack Kornfeld, it takes many lifetimes to master meditation so why not just enjoy it? There is no right way to do it.

It can be as simple as just following the breath for 5 minutes a day while sitting still. Do this: Just sit quietly, follow your breath and it will unfold. If your mind wanders to your to-do list, just come back to the breath. Five minutes a day will get you started. After 21 days of 5 minutes of focusing on the breath, it will become a habit, like brushing your teeth.

Meditation helps us to “take out the trash” in our minds to  get access to creativity and our best selves. What’s not to like?

The UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center is a good place to get some free training and introductions to meditation, and look for the link to Free Guided Meditations. Look on iTunes for both free and paid meditations. Or

One thing I know for sure, meditation is neither weird nor complicated.

There’s an APP for that.

Here are few apps to try some are free and some charge a fee: Breathe2Relax which is great for practice working with the breath, Buddhify 2 with lots of good information and various meditations that run from 5 to 20 minutes, Omvana has music, talks, guided meditations and much more. Search your APP store to see what’s available read reviews try a few different types of meditation.

Find your calming place, I am betting you will be glad you did.


Be audacious. Call your mom. Call your friends. Call the people you love.

Call your friends.  Call your family. Call your mom. Call your cousins. Call the people you love.

“What? Do what?” I hear you say while your mental red+telephonebrakes are screeching!

You read that right.

Call your friends.

I am working on a new idea.That thing in your hand that you are always looking at, (I hope not while you are making love though puleez!)

That is a PHONE as in iPhone. So why not use it?

I know totally radical. But I am going for radical and nothing less.

Am starting a “Call -your-friends-and-family movement”.

Use your phone as a telephone. Yes I know I am so weird, so last century.

Call me crazy.

Call me old fashioned but I am up to bringing back talking on phones to each other using our ears, hearts and voices.  Just not so loudly in an elevator that I know all the details of your root canal and please keep your voice down on a train or in a restaurant. And nope not in a yoga studio either. Nor movies or a play.

Please be considerate and speak softly.

And if you are driving use a Bluetooth or other headset or in-dash device.

The life you save could be mine. Thank you very much.

Now before you get all weird. A Text is a great thing for sharing information  I love being able to instantly let someone know I am running out the door see you soon.

It is not an activity for when you are driving.

Talking on the phone equals Connection. I don’t know about you but I get a lift  when I speak to family and friends and I hear their voices. There is no substitute for the sound of the human heart as expressed in emotion and connectivity through the spoken, shared word. If we really listen you can hear so much of what is being said and what is left unspoken. No amount of Emoji’s is a substitute for the spoken word.

The sound of who we are what the heart feels that is what one hears in voice to ear, ear to voice communications.  Is it possible we twenty-first-century beings are so overloaded that we are afraid of intimacy and of the time it takes, that we prefer a text to true heart-level conversation?

Here is a thought for this decade. What if the more we connect with others and truly get to know their heart, the more chance we have for living together peacefully. One person at a time.

So get radical.

Call a friend.  Check-in with your family. Face-time them. Call someone. Surprise them. Set up your voice-mail. Go out on a limb! Whatever works. Just find your groove and make a move. Take the time to say “hi”.

Have intimate giggling, crying, sharing enjoying, heart-centered conversation. Even just for 5 minutes. Snuggle up with that phone of yours and call someone you love.

One caveat here: you might have to send them a text to tell them what you are up to.

Or share this with your friends and let them know it’s my fault you are calling them.

Go give it a whirl.

That’s so fancy.

Xo love and light.

The clock is ticking.

The Clock is ticking.





100% 5.00 becomes 10.00, 50.00 > to 100.00.




I ride to honor and remember Mark.

I ask FOR DONATIONS (and I promise you no one likes to have to ask for them and I include myself there)

–however each Cycle for Survival season I ask again so that the money can be put to research to find treatments so that one day every person can be told,

“We have a treatment for you and it works.” And then I would not have to ask you anymore. that would be pretty cool. <go here to donate

LET’S CONQUeR ALL RARE CANCERS. Every dollar matters. Thank you for your generosity. <go here to donate
May your new year be happy, healthy and full of love.



PS peek around the website and see how the money is being used and the treatments and trials in progress. Join the Battle. xoxo

donate here. xo


Week 33 // Point of Return

I know just what she means. Losing my husband of 26 years-my love for 30-there are glimmers now of a different world for me. Not without him for he is always in my heart and by my side. Just in a new way as he once said, “I will be your spirit in the sky.” And so he is. Always and forever. Love this post.

12 Months of Creativity

Portrait_Week32 Click image to purchase

I wanted to talk a bit in this post about the idea of claiming yourself again on the journey of grief. It seems, as I am discovering, that there comes a time when you begin to truly be done with the heaviness of grief at its worst. After years of feeling and crying and aching and longing… years of shutting yourself out from the world and from life, years of clawing your way through the mud and fighting for your very life… I think there comes a time when a shift begins to happen. And you begin to return to yourself and to life.

As I was talking to my grief coach this week, I shared something that I’ve struggled with the past three or four months in relation to this project. I explained to him that for several months now – without entirely realizing it…

View original post 599 more words

Responding to Critical Feedback on Your Blog

Love this post from the daily post.

The Daily Post

In an ideal world, every post you publish on your blog would be received with immediate, authentic admiration. The comments would flood in: “So well written!” “Best thing I’ve read all year!” “Wait, is this David Sedaris’ secret blog?”

Not sure how to get feedback to begin with? Our weekly Community Pool posts are designed as a forum to seek out others’ advice, and you’ll always have a supportive cohort of bloggers to turn to in our Blogging U. courses. You might also consider giving a blogging event a try.

In the real world, the stuff we put out there is read by people with different temperaments and tastes, who might each react to the same words in a startlingly different manner. And some of them might not be 100% sure that what you wrote is great, well stated, or even factually correct — and they might tell you that

View original post 668 more words

Thank you to the New York Times! You do care.

A few months back I wrote that I was getting home delivery of the New York Times even though I did not want it. I also accused the New York Times of not hearing me.

I TAKE IT BACK. Once I sent my blog post via email in August to the publisher- the unwanted papers stopped.

Yay, I felt heard and cared about. In this age of text only conversations this is no small thing.

Thank you New York Times. A happy digital subscriber-one day I may want the actual paper again, till then, thanks for listening.



Nancy of Fancy Nancy’s Good Things

Customers (we really don’t ) Care

This is really for anyone who has wrestled with a “customer care” situation that made you want to tear your hair out.


After Mark died, there were so many activities and actions that needed my attention. It’s so odd, how difficult it is to unravel even the most organized life when that life ends, I was glad I was able to go on autopilot for while, he set me up pretty well for which I am thankful everyday. When Mark died just under two years ago I was in zombie-land

One task I took care of right away was convert our New York Times home delivery subscription to all digital. I did not want the actual papers because that involved a series of tasks above and beyond the reading of the paper.

Mark always read the paper: he picked it up from the curb and when he was done it, he tied it up and took the neatly stacked New York Times to the curb for recycling.

Even the seemingly simple things turned out to be fraught with complications due in part to the fog of loss in which I was shrouded.

For one, I could not figure out the garbage schedule. The way it is designed is confusing. Little circle to indicate one kind of pickup, highlighted squares for another and then asterisks regarding holidays and Mondays or something. I was quietly feeling quite deranged back then.

Reading anything at all was beyond me, I was just wrung out and stunned from Mark’s death, even though I knew it was coming it was like a house fell on me.

Mark liked to cut articles out from the Times and send to friends and family or leave them on the kitchen counter for me with a little drawing and note. My favorite thing was when he would read me an article and we would talk about it.

That was over now and it was time to make a change.

Thanks to the internets, it was easy to make the change to digital.

Checked off that box on the To DO list.

Or so I thought.

Some things are just out of our control though we, as humans, like to think we can control everything.

We can’t control a thing. Not the weather not the post office. We can control our attitudes and how we view what happens to us. That’s really it.

In a recent very moving gut -wrenching piece in the New York Times called “Afterlife”, the father finds himself holding onto the junk mail that comes addressed to his son who died at the young age of 21.

I could relate to the feeling, the wanting to keep the connection going even if it meant receiving unwanted junk mail.

Here is a challenge for you. If you are on a list try to get off, even If you are dead you can never end your relationship with insurance companies, AARP, catalog subscriptions, credit card offers, non-profits and political parties looking for donations, anyone you ever gave money to or whom you thought you might.

No. Not. Ever.

My favorite is the Viking River cruise offers to my mother and father in law. Most recently my mother-in-law, Dora who died two years ago at age 93, was offered a great deal on a brand new Mercedes Benz, trouble is she didn’t drive.

Then there are the: “Get this before it’s too late! It’s the deal of lifetime offers,” Um-er it’s too late guys. But this problem is part of a larger problem of digitizing and depersonalization of communications to the point that no one is listening to anyone.

It seems all our posting on Facebook and Twitter are then translated into marketing opportunities because of what we view, what we click and who we follow. Does anybody really know what time it is?

My email and phone call exchanges with The New York Times Customer Care department is a perfect example of how no one is really listening to anyone, anymore.

While customer service representatives are quite polite and eager and some actually help us immensely and I want to acknowledge them. Some are not charged with any real power they look at a computer screen and tell us how wrong we are in making our requests. Having been in marketing and gone to B-School I know one of the basic tenets of “delighting” customers is to put a good tag line and title on something and people will believe you care even if you may not or cannot.

For example at the New York Times, customer care is just a nice phrase for “not going to help you, because I am completely powerless to do so, but doing it ever so nicely and hopefully not misspelled.”

Here’s what happened to me with the New York Times and my digital subscription. I sent this information to The Haggler Column in The New York Times a few weeks ago hoping for help, but none has arrived just yet. Maybe he is on vacation right now, it is August in New York. Read: Empty city.

On May 1, 2014 I started receiving daily home delivery of the NY Times again even though I had cancelled home delivery about 18 month before, switching to digital only.

At first I thought it was a promotion because of the launch of Times Premiere and when I didn’t sign up for it the promo would end.

Then I thought the delivery person must have an extra paper and is giving one to me.

When the papers continued I then started my campaign to stop delivery of the actual physical newspaper and below the following email “dialogue” with the New York Times Customer Care department. (NYTCCD)

After much to-ing and fro-ing the NYTCC D response to me was that I cannot stop delivery of the paper because I am not Elaine Kottler, the account holder.

My guess is: there was an input error when Elaine Kottler became a subscriber and may live on the same named Road in another town, for sure she does not live on my street even thought the Customer care rep told me to go down the block and look for her. (Really?)

It has been suggested to me that I might not want to look a gift horse in the mouth i.e. a free daily paper which is the upside,  however the serious downside is I cannot stop or pause it when I go on vacation and don’t want the paper piling up on my lawn.

As a widow you tend to want less work and added activities. Especially if your guy was anything like my husband. Mark was one of those guys who did everything and it’s like losing both arms when you lose a guy like that you love and adore.

I don’t want to have to tie it up and bring it to the curb.

Of course the good news is that the New York Times is great for using to wash the windows of my car, and if I spill a quantity of water, the New York Times soaks it right up. I am sure there are a million and one uses, perhaps you have some ideas dear reader.

Since I get the paper  tend to pay more attention to what is going on in the world with it front and center every morning. Extra  bonus are the great plastic bags I use when I take Clinton on his morning walks they are a perfect size and tie up very easily.

Still I would like to have control over the account. Not being able to pause the paper when I go away for a few days really bugs me. I tried giving the paper to my neighbor every morning but he didn’t want it either and when I go away I want to avoid the paper pile up that says. “Burglars stop here, no one is home!”

This email exchange went to the Haggler again today


I made numerous calls and actually received more emails to a different address. I am sure you get the point.


I appreciate any help you may be able to give me in this.

My best regards,

Nancy Mindes (not Elaine Kottler)

My account number for MY account –





Elaine Kottler  account number YOU SENT ME  for this account is xxxxxx9





From: Customercare <>

Subject: Your New York Times Inquiry

Date: June 15, 2014 7:20:42 AM EDT


Reply-To: Customercare <>

You have your information wrong.

There is no Elaine Kottler here

There is a XXXX Road in Roslyn NY too

Your records are wrong , please fix error.

Sent from my iPhone

On Jun 11, 2014, at 3:36 PM, Customercare <> wrote:

Dear Nancy Mindes,

Thank you for contacting

In response to your inquiry, our records show that you have the same address as a Home Delivery subscriber. The Home Delivery account has Monday-Sunday service. This account is under Elaine Kottler. The account number for this account is XXXXXX95.

You can also visit our website at to receive information on your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please follow the instructions to register if you have not done so already.

If there is anything else we can do to help you, please e-mail us at or call us at 1-800-591-9233 from 6 a.m. to midnight Monday-Friday and 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday & Sunday (ET).

Your satisfaction is very important to us.


Christina Gorman
Online Customer Care
The New York Times

Dear Nancy Mindes,

Thank you for contacting us. In response to your inquiry, T

Thank you for contacting us. In response to your inquiry, we are unable to make any changes to the account for Elaine Kottler because you are not the account holder. If you have any other questions or concerns please contact us at the phone number below. We apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced. .

You can also visit our website at to receive information on your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please follow the instructions to register if you have not done so already.

If there is anything else we can do to help you, please e-mail us at or call us at 1-800-NYTIMES (1-800-698-4637) from 6 a.m. to midnight Monday-Friday and 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday & Sunday (ET).

Your satisfaction is very important to us and we thank you for your feedback.


William Hurt

Online Customer Care

The New York Times

> Subject: Re: Your New York Times Inquiry

Dear Kirsten Kirkland,

It’s official I asked my letter carrier if there is an Elaine Kottler (letter carrier being an employee of the US government) and she said no there is no one and never has been anyone named Elaine Kottler on Blankety Road in Rockville Centre, NY. You at the NYTimes Customer Care need to find the record for this person and get it worked out. I am assuming she is paying for the paper I have been receiving.

there it a Anytown Named Road in every town in USA. I looked in the Nassau County phone book, the actual book everyone else throws out and there was No Elaine Kottler.


Nancy Mindes

Dear Nancy Mindes,

Thank you for contacting us. In response to your inquiry, our records indicate there is a home delivery account going to the address 5 Anytown Road. The account is under a Kottler. If you have neighbors that have the same address or know someone, they have an active account. 

You can also visit our website at to receive information on your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please follow the instructions to register if you have not done so already.

If there is anything else we can do to help you, please e-mail us at or call us at 1-800-NYTIMES (1-800-698-4637) from 6 a.m. to midnight Monday-Friday and 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday & Sunday (ET).

Your satisfaction is very important to us and we thank you for your feedback.


Kirsten Kirkland
Online Customer Care
The New York Times

> Date Sent: 06/11/2014 14:51

> To:

> Cc:

> Subject: RE: Please tell the driver to stop!


Dear Customer Care,

I have called about this 4 times and sent an email to no avail.

This is now my eleventh try.

I am receiving the NYTimes daily and on weekends seemingly in an effort to get me to request home delivery again and I have asked your customer care representatives repeatedly that the driver STOP delivering to my address PLEASE.

Am a paid digital subscriber and very happy with that and do not want the paper on a daily basis-even for free.

Am not sure how to get the point across except to perhaps stand on the lawn at 5 a.m. and wait for the driver to come and then tell her to stop! Or perhaps put up a giant SIGN?


Please make sure I am not being charged for this unwanted service for the past month and please stop delivering the NY Times to my home.


Maybe if we would just look up from our computer screens, our smartphones and tablets for a moment and pay attention to what is being said, caring about what matters to the person in front of us, we would keep connections going and help each other when it matters. Meanwhile I am all set for the weekend. Thank you Elaine Kottler where ever you are.

After Loss Don’t Skip Steps


Judi, a psychic I have known for about 30 years, recently told me my Life Purpose was to share my experiences as a wife who became a widow.

At first this felt heavy. I thought, “In some cultures I would be relegated to wearing black clothes in perpetuity,” however being a native New Yorker the majority of my wardrobe is black so no big deal there. It’s the other part, the being the Widow, with a capital “W” that means being in mourning forever.

This being a widow thing is very tricky. It’s been less than two years and I still miss Mark, and I have had to work on myself, my broken heart everyday to get through this. I make a daily choice to be open, grateful and loving especially when I want to feel sorry for myself.

I lived half of my life with Mark. He will always be in my heart. Most times I want him to walk through the door. Often I feel like he is guiding me, some days more than others, I know his energy is there, it’s like a whisper like in the Kundalini yoga chant, SA TA NA MA.

In life Mark was subtle about things.  He did not make big noises he disliked showing off. Mark did things well and quietly on this side so he would not be loud and noisy on the other side.

Oddly, when I gave up the constant longing to have him come back, I could sense him much more. He would come to me in my dreams which until he died, I never remembered. Giving up the longing the wishing, the begging and bargaining to get him back took a lot of work on my part. The truth is I am unable to let go of Mark. He’s my guy, always and forever even though he told me to find another one. Perhaps one day I will but I have realized I cannot skip steps. I must find me all over again first. Who am I now without Mark? He was very specific. He said, “Be happy” The question for me now is what does that mean?

To say I am an expert at this would be untrue but if what I write here helps you that is a good thing. Mark died less than two years ago and it took me a while to scrape myself up off the floor. I have to keep going but the big question is how?

When Mark first died, I wanted to do the same because I wanted to be with him. But that passed. When I went to a bereavement group I discovered that the way I felt, others felt the same way. Being understood does help. It is important to take the time to grieve and go through the mourning. There are no shortcuts and it is okay to be sad for as long as you need to. It’s when it turns to complete depression and you become unable to function, that is a danger sign. Pay attention to how you are

A daily cry is cleansing. Yes, I do have a daily cry. Right after Mark died I couldn’t cry. I felt as if I was a block of frozen peas. I felt nothing except stunned.

People commented on how “calm” and “collected” I was. While I am not one for public displays of tears,  I couldn’t have cried if I wanted to, I was frozen solid.

In my bereavement group we looked at what are commonly known as “grief triggers” and to find ways to avoid them. For some people this may work but I think it is just kicking the can down the road.

My point of view is different. I come down on the side of running right at the grief. That by facing the intense sorrow I can go on for another moment, and then another and another. This is not an easy thing to do. What I discovered was the deeper I stepped into the places that hurt, my heart heals just a teeny  bit. I sought the tears. I sought the hurt and pain of missing Mark. I remember how lucky having been married to Mark. How blessed to be  in  a family that cares about me. How fortunate to have many loving friends. And to have my beautiful dog Clinton by my side, he makes me go out and take long walks.

Some people never get any of that. Still I wanted him back.

Another thing I learned in bereavement group was about his “stuff” Some of the women in the group said, “Get rid of his clothes right away they will remind you of him.”

I am pretty sure they were sorry later. My way of looking at his belongings was “please remind me of him,” and  I spent many hours sitting on the floor of his closet in tears.

While this may sound a bit dramatic, I felt a connection to him and to the memories that went along with each article of clothing. The grey chalk stripe suit from Barney’s reminded me of the day we went to Barney’s big warehouse sale. I could see his handsome face, his shiny black hair and how good he looked in that suit. On the shelf above my head, his perfectly polished black Frye dress boots, his well worn jeans with the ripped knee, the nearly threadbare Maverick denim jacket he used as a pillow on the cross-country trip he took in his tan Volkswagen square-back, his freshly washed hoodies that he wore to warm up after roller skating.

How could I let them go?

One day after a year had passed I donated some of his best suits, blazers, dress pants and shirts to a charity that helps men get interview ready. Mark’s suits were like new because he was very particular, bordering on fussy, about his clothes. Mark’s impeccably good-looking suits would help someone to possibly get the job they wanted and in some way Mark’s generosity and kindness would live on.

One item Mark’s soft, green terry cloth bathrobe that I bought him for his birthday so many years ago is a cherished possession. I wear it as my own, softened to just the right degree of cozy comfort, his spicy vanilla scent still lingers ever so slightly so that I can catch a gentle whiff of him.

When I was in the frozen food state, I thought, “Something has to be done about this, it just cannot be healthy to live this way” I was concerned I would get sick if I didn’t start to release the pain in some way. This widow thing was not easy.

I began watching movies. I couldn’t sleep anyway, I didn’t want to. Sleeping was too sad, without Mark.  I settled into my cozy couch with my soft, fleecy, blanket armed with a box of tissues and a glass of chardonnay. My best buddy Clinton my big sweet gentle, handsome,  brown rescue dog was at my feet. I flicked on the television. I started my search for just the right film to begin the big defrost. My gut told me that if I could start to cry, I would eventually be okay. Here are just a few that were good for a cry.

It started with “The Notebook” with Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, James Garner and Gena Rowlands. One night I turned to STARZ romance and I hit pay dirt: the ultimate tear-jerker, chick flick, heart-breaking love story. I could not believe my good fortune. Corny,yes. Trite, for sure but it helped. From there, I began my daily, nightly search for movies to help me mourn, to be as miserable and tearful as possible. The movies made me face what my life as it is now, sad, tearful feeling a little lost. They were also transporting.

Next up was “Hope Springs” with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. Mark and I had our struggles in our marriage and like the couple in the movie we overcame them.    When Tommy Lee Jones plays Al Green’s version of “Let’s Stay Together”, I fall to pieces, crying loudly.

Loved it! I downloaded the song from  iTunes so I could access that sadness again and let it rip when I need to. Music is on the grief trigger hit list so I made it my business to create a playlist that would get me started. I just had to make sure I wasn’t driving or I would have to pull over. Now, when I hear a song that helps me to get access to my grief I add it to my playlist. Movies and music: a perfect combination for getting through the sorrow and finding a way to little moments of happiness again.

“Love Actually” starring Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Laura Linney Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy Liam Neeson that has many moments in it for a good cry, especially the closing scene over-dubbed with the Beach Boys, “God Only Knows What I’d be Without You” The song went on my playlist.

Here’s what I have learned. Don’t skip steps. Get help with the grief and the mourning. If you think you can do it alone, you cannot. Find help, that really helps you.  I practice yoga, I meditate and often cry my way through to feeling okay again. When I meditate I can connect with Mark and let him know I am okay. And I am in a community of people I care about who knew Mark and know me.

I went to two rounds of a bereavement group, worked with a bereavement counselor on the phone and met with the same therapist that Mark and I went to when we hit some rough patches along the way. Seeing our shrink from years ago has been a real gift for me mostly because she knew him and I could talk about him once a week for 50 minutes non-stop if I needed to, how else was I going to move through this?

Mark was relatively young, handsome, vibrant, never sick and then diagnosed with a nasty cancer and now dead.

No amount of anything is preparation for that. But the sun will come out tomorrow. I might as well be ready for it.

Love and light to you. Nancy



Look for the quiet

Look for the quiet


It seems as if everyday I start out by saying, “I am going to write a blog post today. One blog post would be good. Five would be excellent. “ But I have shut myself up for some reason.   Time has come today  to let it go and get writing again. I think all that singing “Let it go, let it go!” May have helped. I now think I am Elsa with a new hot dress because, “the cold doesn’t bother me anyway.”


Once I get going I am a pretty fast writer, sometimes amusing or touching or something even complain-y.


It’s the getting started. I put a variety of mental and physical obstacles in my way and then on top of that I have so many distractions and reasons for not sitting my butt down onto my Balance Ball

Then by the time I  decided get to it I am too drained to do anything but play around with Facebook or post tweets from other blogs, and the New York Times online, that I then call “doing something” when I know it only sort-of is doing something.


Today is perfect. Sunday July 6, for a change, there are no leaf blowers-no lawnmowers-the endless noises that drive me back indoors –just yet.


Today I can sit on my screen porch with Clinton and write this. Is this the day I un-stick myself from whatever it was that was stopping me? I sure hope so because my blog could use a refresh and my memoir is gathering virtual dust waiting for me to get moving again.

And there is this: I am going to something called Wordcamp in August in Brooklyn and I would love to add some new posts to my personal blog so that I have something to talk about when I find someone to talk to about whatever it is I am going to learn.  After re-reading mine I couldn’t help but notice that the writing classes I have taken have helped some.  But in writing (as in life) practice make perfect practice and it’s time to up my game.  I was accepted to a Writing Yoga retreat when I submitted work I completed in my Advanced Memoir class. Only trouble is I haven’t gone near it in a while.

The memoir is about Mark and me and everytime I go to write something I end up like the Diane Keaton character in “Somethings Gotta Give” when she wrote her smash hit play – crying all over her laptop. Difference is her guy was still alive, mine is dead-she gets another chance. Mine with him are only in my dreams. But the thing is I gotta do it. Something’s gotta give for me too. I can only find the quiet in my life when I write down how it was with Mark and me. We had many adventures and sometimes life was like riding the Cyclone in Coney Island. But I would do it all again if I could. The only way I can is to write it all down.

So here I am on my porch. On a day when it is quiet. Warming myself back up to writing again.  My brother told me recently the only way you are a writer is if you write something without caring if someone reads it. At the time I couldn’t decide if that was helpful or not but it sure got me moving.

One thing we need more of in our busy, noisy message-ladednworld is bit of quiet space and places for reflection.

I am most grateful that is happening on my screen porch today.

This is my warm –up.


Enjoy your day. Love. N