Tag Archives: fear

Remembering Tuesday, September 11, 2001


I wrote this on my phone and then shared it on Facebook. 

I want to share it here as well. 

The skies were crazy for days on end. All hours with the F16 scrambles. Thunderous jet engines and their afterburners looming throughout the skies, flying low, shaking the quickly made houses which proliferate so much of Fairfax County.
I remember a candlelight vigil at the end of our street that evening. I remember the resilience of a nation, steeped in rage stemming from fear. Our collective naïveté was shattered that day. The vulnerability from the exposure was crushing.

Yet, the children. They still giggled and ran and hopped. That was more precious, protecting them in the midst of such unfathomable loss and woe.

I live in Northern Virginia. I was in carpool line when I first heard the news, dropping off my oldest son at preschool, hearing a haughty Dennis Owens on WGMS announce “some sort of aerial accident in New York City … Possibly a Cessna crashed into a skyscraper in midtown…” Then I drove home.

Learned more. Watched a second plane burst into flames upon impact into the second tower behind Katie Couric as she was broadcasting a continual feed of the events as they unfolded. Silence. Nothing but silence. Black smoke and orange-red clouds filling an otherwise perfect blue sky. The same cloudless sky above me, 250 miles south.

Then the Pentagon. 11 miles away.

I called my husband. Told him to collect our son. He did. We both hunkered down together, with our eight-month-old second baby. Trying to stay reasonable, rational.

Then I knew fear was sidling up beside me. Here to stay. That was what the terrorists wanted. Fear is their currency.

My older brother lived in and worked in Manhattan. He survived the 1993 attempt. He survived the 2001 attacks; but barely. He was on the approach to the chaos, a drive in him to somehow help, learn more, be present, when the first tower collapsed. A tidal wave of smoke, dust, papers, existence overtook him and other fellow travelers. Covered in dust from the atomization of humans and industrial debris, he crawled to safety (was never in the Towers, but had a meeting scheduled nearby, in his workplace) by entering a familiar building despite the wash of dust all over the town.

I’ll always remember that day. And when he was located around 1pm. Dusted with ash, virtually unrecognizable. In shock. He bumped into a college friend he hadn’t seen in years who was waiting out the madness in a pub with colleagues. His friend was outside the pub on his phone, trying to connect with his own wife. He saw my brother, powdered with immeasurable remains, and took him in and walked him home from Chelsea.

On the following Monday, my brother rode the subway and wore the same suit, he’d had it dry cleaned, in strength and courage to work. He rode the elevator up to his office. He was determined to not give in to fear.

There is much more to say; there always will be. The feelings are ineffable.

Honor those whose memories should never fade. I chafe at the phrase “Never Forget”; it’s so war-like. I prefer “Always Remember.”

… And life goes on. I hear the birds chirping outside. A breeze makes the leaf shadows dance on the floor beneath my feet. The tick of our cheap clock behind me. The air pushing through the vents in my house. The same house I retreated to that day. I feel the rise and fall of my chest with sound of my own breath, today, 14 years later. 


Thank you. 

I Really Hate the Fighting.


Sounds so strange doesn’t it? To feel so strongly about negativity so much that it creates “hate” in my heart.

I wear a kyanite pendant. It’s a beautiful teal-blue crystal that suspends from a thread of gold wire from a leather necklace. My niece gave it to me for Christmas last year. It rests on my chest, just at my sternum.

The kyanite is supposed to repel negativity. It’s supposed to help me speak my truth. It’s supposed to balance my 5th chakra, the throat chakra which is concerned with matters of veracity and voice. I have worn it since it was given to me. Almost six months now. I don’t know if it’s working because I still yell at soccer games and I still argue with my kids. I still have opinions and I still feel hungover after expressing them.

I don’t know what to do anymore. I feel a profound sense of unease about the world and I think it’s because everyone is fighting. Myself included, I guess.

I just want people to get along.

But see things my way.

Isn’t that funny?

But that’s not how life works.

Speaking of life and all its zigs and zags and the fact that change is the only constant… A yoga student gave me a bracelet about 2 weeks ago, it’s a lovely Alex + Ani wire bangle with a big charm and then these three little guys which also dangle. The entire bracelet is made of recycled metals and infused with positive energy. The charm on it is called “The Path of Life.”

Emblematic of life’s zenith and nadir moments, the PATH OF LIFE is representative of an infinite number of possibilities and expressions of love. Illustrating life’s twists, turns, and unexpected winds, wear the PATH OF LIFE Charm to proudly celebrate your own willingness to travel towards life’s fruitful moments.

She touched my heart when she gave me the gift. She is a beautiful soul and has so much to look forward to in her ongoing years and the fact that she’s entrusted me with her wellbeing has been the most humbling gift of all. I get that women my age-ish want to take better care of themselves and become more calm in this crazy world, but the fact that this kid keeps coming back… it’s so affirming.

She’s one of those pre turn-of-the-century babies. She is like a daughter or a niece to me. If I didn’t adore and love her so much I wouldn’t care as much as I do for her. I hear the bangle more than I see it and its elegant ampersands and infinity symbols remind me to chill. The charm scrapes across my keyboard as I type, or skitters across the counter as I clean, or dances across the placemats as I reach for the salt at my table, or clink-clinks as I put up my hair, go into downward dog and generally exist. Today when I was in the hot tub, I watched it swish like a fishtail as I glided my hand beneath the surface where it’s warm, noise is muted, the world is softer and floating is assured.

I think of her and her world — mine is 47, hers is so much newer, although she is an old soul and she is here to teach me. The charm on the bracelet couldn’t be more timely. It is reminding me to be willing to travel toward “fruitful moments.” In this context, fruitful means:

productiveconstructiveusefulof useworthwhilehelpfulbeneficialvaluablerewardingprofitableadvantageousgainfulsuccessfuleffectiveeffectualwell spentANTONYMS  futile.

“Well spent.” Yes. That’s a wonderful goal. So I will do my best. I also want to be more like Tom:

this isn't my art. i can't remember whose it is. but i can't claim it. i just want to be more like Tom.

this isn’t my art. i can’t remember whose it is. but i can’t claim it. i just want to be more like Tom.

The world is changing around us.

This student is more like Tom. She is pretty fearless. She has a very open mind about things, sometimes she is strident in her expression. I am open-minded also, but I have learned to be less strident — only recently though, and as long as I’m not on a soccer sideline. On soccer sidelines I’m more like Tom.

I think about that: “open mind.” Because I’m open minded, I’m almost obsessed these days with the concept of “two sides to a very thin coin” and that the “line between my opinion and your opinion” is very thin. Because somewhere, despite the openness, there has to be a limit or a finite end to the open-mindedness… right? Because that’s the mortal aspect of being open-minded, we can’t concern ourselves with everything because then we’ll be overwhelmed, but if we care about nothing, then we’re alone.

I am learning.

Thinness of the coin. Faintness. Vapor. Mirrors. Carl Jung reminds us (paraphrasing): What we don’t dig about others gives us an insight into ourselves… I used to think that meant I had to change. But I don’t think that’s what Jung is saying. He’s just saying, “pay attention” from which I derive: that person is your mirror. If you don’t like her shoes, what makes you so perfect?

I think of America. This gorgeous and screwed-up place. It looks so calm and beautiful from way out in space. We have mountains. We have shorelines. We have forests. We have rivers. We have deserts. We have open skies and crowded cities. We have so much — just in the way of geography, that surely the country, just within its natural boundaries, is big enough for us all.

Our collective birthday is coming up. We are very young, this nation, and we’ve really screwed up along the way, but we’ve also done some amazing things despite our relative age. This will be our 239th (I had to use the calculator) birthday.

We are a nation born of controversy and rebellion and fight.

Maybe this is just who we are –as a nation, as a collective national ego– and I’m the one who’s wrong.

All I know is that it doesn’t feel right to fight so much, and that if I were to live my life as intuitively conscious as possible, I would slow down, cool my jets and try to listen to what my body / energy / stress is telling me and stop trying to win.

So I’m creating a list of things I’m going to try to do consciously for the next year. And maybe just one of them I can do with consistency.

  • Find something admirable about someone I don’t like.
  • Be grateful for my health — I don’t mean just say, “thanks, lungs, you rock.” But to think about what my lungs do, and to let consciously them work and actively hear the sound of my own breath. Put my hand on my heart and feel it beat for ten whole beats. Place my hands on my eyes and thank them for working… ears for hearing…
  • Slow down around anxious people and just let them be.
  • Stop.
  • Listen.
  • Spend a half an hour outside each day, even if it’s raining or horrid out.
  • Make dinner from a cookbook once a week and don’t be chafed if the kids won’t eat it.
  • Appreciate my mother’s memory. The older I get and the more challenging my most important job (mom) gets, I really need to give her past some slack. She is gone from me now, but of late, I get a lot of her struggles. She may have done some irrational stuff, but she was a product of her environment too. I think of her a lot, and that’s impossible to control. She just pops in … like her crazy phone call timing — she would call at The Very Time I Couldn’t Possibly Be More Busy: 5:50-6:30 — and I need to let her pop in. I would love to hear her voice (in a non -terrifying and -creepy way).

I watched The Road again last night. I am going to read it again shortly (as soon as I finish my encore consumption of Atonement, which will be tonight). My husband wanted to see it — he never got to see the last 10 minutes, and I was only happy to oblige. The story is about catastrophe and survival and inhuman conflicts we simply don’t want to ever experience. 

I heard a stream of refrains in my head from the past month in America, “Leave me alone.” “This world is crazy.” “People need to shut up.” “People need to leave each other alone.” “Don’t touch the colors in my Crunchberries.” “Mind your own business.” “We are all doomed.” “Why is there so much anger?”

As I watched “The Road” I saw and felt the desolation depicted in every single frame of that film, and recalled it internally in each syllable of McCarthy’s mastery, “The child is my warrant and he is the word of God. And if he isn’t, then God never spoke” that I started to get a little nervous. 

I started to remember what it’s like to be driving on a road for several hours when no one else is there.

I started to remember what it felt like to be in a mall with no one else around.

I started to remember how it feels to get what you wish for.

I started to worry about anger and its cousin, fear. If left unattended, they can create wars. And  war, as depicted in Atonement, is a horrible thing that NO ONE in my generation, save for the brave service men and service women who have served in war, can possibly comprehend. We think the wreckage after terror attacks is bad… We have no clue. War is what anger, fear, intolerance, hate, greed and ignorance create. 

I have realized that I think America seems to have a case of “no one kicks my brother but me,” because when 9/11 happened, skin color, creed, lifestyle, gender, education, affinity for country music (snort), didn’t matter. We were banded together. It’s not that I want another tragedy, but I don’t like that it takes horror to get us to figure out what’s important. Peace is important. 
Sure, hate the fighting, it’s a waste of energy though. Instead, love the people. Let them sing —

My nation ’tis of thee…

Sweet land of Liberty

Of thee I sing

Land where my fathers died

Land of the pilgrims’ pride

From ev’ry mountainside

Let freedom ring!

I wanted to include further verses because I love the song, but I went to wikipedia for the rest of it and discovered verses added for George Washington’s birthday, and then one for abolition and then I just gave up, because … fighting.

I look at my headline (because it’s right there to keep me on track no matter how often I deviate).

like a mirror of a mirror...

like a mirror of a mirror…

And I’m okay with it. I really do hate the fighting. It gives me a queasy feeling in my stomach. It makes me feel parched and unsteady. It reminds me of how confused I would feel when discord would happen in my childhood and I just wanted it to stop.

And the fighting will go on, because people are afraid. And I guess I will fight too, because I don’t like the fighting. I fear what happens when people don’t fight for their rights. We have anything but democracy.

This is the greatest country in the world. I love everything about it. It’s not going to hell — I don’t believe in hell. Hell is already here: in the fighting. Hell is a manmade construct. Just like shame, and guilt, and control… it’s so much easier without the fighting.

Just everyone be cool.

Learn from your friends, and from the people you disagree with: they are your best teachers. Look beyond the headlines, even mine, to learn more. The best thing I can say about the sadness of the murders in Charleston is that I’ve learned so much more about U.S. history and the history of slavery, not just America’s. The maltreatment of other humans is really upsetting to me, and it’s still going on in human sex trafficking. I would like to think that if there’s one thing we can all get behind, its the effort to end exploitation, kidnapping, drugging, theft, and murders of children and adults around the world. But I am out of gas at the moment; that’s a fight for another day.  

I also recognize that I’ve been too focused on the dialogues of late and despite my discussions (authentic) that I’m cool with all the hyperbole, I am sensing now that I’ve personalized a lot of what I’ve read and heard and witnessed and that some of it really scares me — I am fearful of people and their irrationality about topics which really don’t affect them in a truly carbon-based, one-breath-at-a-time way. I don’t think I’m alone in this. It is extremely delicate ground when Americans feel their personal liberties are being trampled and it provokes more thinking and more imagining to me of that very thin two-sided coin and I think that’s why I’m writing so much these days; I am unsettled.

So I think I’m going into hiding for the next week and I’ll read a lot and watch videos about teaching yoga and how to be more centered in an off-kilter world, and I’ll send harmony out to the world because I think people are afraid of instability. We need to give ourselves permission to have off days, and to be unbalanced at times, because no one is 100% sure of anything unless they lived it, and even then there will be fearful people who refuse to believe it.

And speaking of balancing: above all, be OK with yourself when your opinion changes. That’s growth. That’s a good thing.

Love to all.

Thank you.

And Then There Were #Haters


I hope this is my last blog post / comment on the Caitlin (neé Bruce) Jenner situation.

Of course there are haters. We do not live in a utopian world: judgementalism and fear have done an excellent job of setting up a premise and creating a platform from which to spout vitriol and puke deep self-loathing and fears, cloaked in hate.

Think about it this way: if you felt good about yourself, felt secure about your prospects, felt happy or content with your life, and felt as though you’ve done everything you can to create a positive environment for yourself (so, ultimately, you’ve done away with all greed, envy, reactivity and shame; and now, you fart rainbows and butterflies) and others, then why would you hate on anyone who decides to do whatever that person wants to its own body?

You wouldn’t.

You’d say, “not for me, but more power to you.”

Not, “the world is a mess and what has happened to us?”

I’ve got news for you: people have been cross dressing, with intention and fear for their lives, for millennia. Has it ever hurt you, o hater, before? Has the cross dresser or transgender or whomever shown up at your senate confirmation hearing for installation as the most balanced, articulate, and rational hater on Earth and said,


Get over y’damnselves. Look in the mirror.

I will say it again: I care about the kids in this situation. I care about the kids in all situations where the adults have let fear and apathy and narcissism run themselves freakin’ rampant. Where those adults lose all control of themselves and their grounding. Where the adults lie, and hide, and obfuscate, and deny, and deflect, and project, and displace all their OWN self-shit on to their kids. Where the kids are left holding the bag for the adult who is really, truly, deeply, still a child deep, deep, deep inside. Bruce Jenner hid his truth from his children.

I’m not just talking about the transgender feelings, I’m talking about his PLANS to have surgeries. That tactical and strategic side to all of this. The dude was a freakin’ world-class athlete: he KNOWS all about strategy and execution. It’s like when my dad asks me to find out things for him: he’s an investigative journalist for crying’ out loud…

Bruce never told them. He planned it all along; logistics for this takes months to line up. Months, perhaps years of psychotherapy has to be experienced and assessed before one gets the medical clearance to begin looking into procedures. Bruce hid his truth and only when asked — the kids HAD TO ASK THE RIGHT WORDS IN THE RIGHT WAY — did he pout, look down, and while fiddling with his shirt, say in a very non-sportscaster voice, “mmmm, yeah.”

Much as like how a kid would admit to hitting a baseball into a neighbor’s window.

“But you should’ve seen the hit! It was aMAZing, Mom…”

Bruce has been acting on id impulse for a very long time. See me. Watch me. Listen to me. See me. SEEEEEEEEE MEEEEEEEEE!

Where the adult is acting ONLY ON ID, where the id is in control.

When the id is in control, it’s dessert all the time. Except for you. Just me. That’s my teddy bear. Get your own. Your teddy bear is ugly. I don’t want to watch that show, idiots like that show. I want to watch this. Now. No, now. NOW.

Ids are freakin’ tenacious and selfish motherfuckers. (Sorry.) And ids can rationalize anything. Count on it.

So in my estimation, we have ids running the media and ids hating on others.

The haters have to hate, lest they sit with themselves. It’s all about projection, peeps. They feel so alone.

What gets me the most in this, is the people out there who are FREAKING out and saying that Bruce has become a woman.


I don’t care if Bruce had his genitalia removed, enhanced, fucked with …  there is NOTHING that will turn Caitlin (neé Bruce) into a “woman.”

It’s too late for that. There is and never was a uterus. There are no ovaries. There are no eggs. There were no periods. There were no breast sprouts. There was no breast growth (and that pain! OY!). The hips didn’t widen and curve. There were no stretch marks. There were no girls at school who were shitty to him and slut-shaming and date-rape. There was no ambivalence about growing INTO a woman, no flood of questions about “WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING TO ME????” There were no pregnancy scares or losses. The hormones were never there natively. It’s simply not possible. And Caitlin’s body is 65 years old. So… menopause!! Bruce missed all the windows.

Maybe it’s semantics.

“Female…”? Same point as two paragraphs above.

But… guess what?

None of this matters! How much of what you do is because you are male or female? Really? In the entire existence of your day, do you drink your coffee in a manly way? What about when you scratch your butt or go for your car keys, do you feel especially gender-identified?

Hmmm, Chet. That wasn’t quite manly enough just now, when you pressed the key fob to unlock your Lincoln. It didn’t feel right to our focus group. Let’s try that again. From the doorway, as you step out into the sunlight. Think, ‘How would John Wayne do this?’

But, y’know keep that façade, that shit up, because, really, that’s what matters. It matters HOW you order your grande Americano.

Sally… ? It is Sally, right? Hon, we need to do this again. You didn’t flush the toilet femininely enough. It’s causing all sorts of confusion for us. We need you to go back in, pee, and when you flush, think, ‘How would Joan of Mad Men, not Arc, do this?’

It matters HOW you sit at the steering wheel or periscope because that defines your sexuality. It does. And people are watching. They are. Just now. Yup.

Female. Male. Woman. Man. Metrosexual. Lumber-sexual. Foxy. Hawt.

Gah. These are all “words” and “brands” and “identifiers” we all have created as a construct in order to assign place, and rank, and meaning to our lives. I happen to dig them. I am a word person. But I don’t use them as weapons.

That’s easy for you to say, Molly. Your kids are ____ and ____ and you’re all set.

Well, no. It’s not like that. And you can bet your ass that if one of them came home and said to me, “Mom, I want to be a woman…” I’d likely flip out. The fact is, though, that I would say to him what I said above: no ovaries, no female. It’s not happening, authentically, for you. You can play dress-up and do the façade thing all you want, but biologically and energetically, well, it’s going to be very challenging. Hell, I don’t know what being a woman is. This shit just happens. I don’t know if I’m “doing” it right.

I maintain my position in the first post I wrote about this: Caitlin is Caitlin. And what the hell does it change in your personal life? Nothing. Unless you’re Caitlin, or Caitlin’s (neé Bruce) children. And even to them, it’s their own versions of affect.

Thank God, we are all different versions of each other. I can’t experience what you’re experiencing and you can’t have mine — even if we experience the same thing at the same time, we PROCESS it differently. We might have the same shoe size, but the shoes will fit us differently. And no shoe is the same. I don’t care what you say: they’re not. There is a bubble in the sole of one whereas there is none in the other. A fiber on one is not the same on the other.


Take comfort in that. (Sorry, China.)

When this story broke, and I saw all the comments flying around, especially the flip and glib ones, I said to my oldest son, “Don’t look now, America, but you’re about to go existential on yourselves… Welcome to the rabbit hole, strap in…”

Haters ‘gonna hate. Let ’em. They need to be seen too. They feel left out. Just don’t give a toot.

Take a deep breath, and sigh it out.


Take another one, deeper this time… sigh it out.


And repeat a third time…. BIG SIGH.

Let that crap go. It’s not yours. None of this has anything to do with you.

The world is not ending over this. Maybe it’s just starting! Ha! Ever thought of that? There are so many other situations which desperately need our enthusiasm and energy: cancer, racism, terrorism, world hunger, bad haircuts….

You still have to pay your taxes and make dinner and do the dishes… life goes on. With or with out you, life goes on.

Yup. That’s all I’m going to say about that. 

Thank you.

30 Days of “A Year of Living Your Yoga” — Day 26: Excitement & Fear


Welcome to Day 26 of my blog series based on Judith Hansen-Lasater’s “A Year of Living Your Yoga.”

I will try to keep these posts to about 500 words.

Here is the quote:

August 29 — Excitement is the surface of fear. Notice today what excites you. Then look deeper and see what it is about that exciting thing that stimulates fear in you. Notice how your excitement is tied to your fear.


We used to have a principal at my kids’ elementary school who would regularly use the word “energize” -d, -s, -ing, to describe her various reactions to my open and fervent interest in my son’s welfare; or when I was PTA president, in the entire student body’s welfare. That was her passive-aggressive way of challenging you into an argument or stand-off. She was terrifically inept. The current, new principal seems at times equally uneasy around parents who happen to give a damn.

I’m not digressing, trust me.

So what would go on in me, emotionally at these exchanges, is excitement. I was not “energized”; I was excited. To me, “excitement” is a good thing, it shows enthusiasm and high energy; but I also use the word (although more sparingly) to describe an elevated energy level in a way that isn’t necessarily a good thing. I’m not quite sure I get what Lasater’s going after by connecting it all with fear though.

My mother would get terrifically excited, almost manic, about a movie, play, song, a visit, or a situation she cared deeply about. Her mood was usually positive and it included lots of clapping, multi-bangle jingling, scarf wafting, hooting, Andy Warhol-inspired-prescription-sunglasses tossing, and thigh banging. If a musical experience were being … experienced, then there was also equally impassioned but angered, “HHHHHUSH! QUIETTTTTT WILL YOU?! THIS IS JUST BRILLIANT!”-ing, head bobbing, “yessss!”-ing, and generally awkward body control to suppress in me (at least) any sort of feral instinct to get her to calm down. She reminded me of a Gilda Radner character or more appropriately Kristen Wiig’s hung-up stage actress:

Kristen Wiig's brilliant "Mindy Grayson" on SNL's Guess That Word! spoof. (c) NBC Universal

Kristen Wiig’s brilliant “Mindy Grayson” on SNL’s Guess That Word! spoof. (c) NBC Universal. I tend to wonder from time to time if SNL had a camera placed in my house as a child.

My father would lose his shit when he’d get excited. You don’t want to be anywhere near the man during a televised sports event. Gasps alert dogs blocks away, or he yells in a way which any unknowing or rational person would think means “Heart attack! I’m dying!” If his reaction were relative to good news, he’d laugh like a despotic hyena and bang his fist into any of the following (combined or solitary): table, chair, knee, ottoman, arm rest, desk, butcher block, steering wheel, phone book, wall, dashboard, hull, rudder arm, or countertop. If it weren’t good news, he’d impersonate Pete Townshend (without actually knowing who Pete Townshend was):

That of course would WAKE ME UP! and then excite me.

I was never really able to bring them, my parents, back to earth.

Often a witness to these emotional explosions, I would do my best to decipher the mood and … Smile? Laugh? Squeal? Hide?

So I think about my personal moments of excitement, including the negative ones, and I can say for the negative ones it’s certainly fear-based, that my world is about to turn upside down. But if I think about the positive moments, I suppose it’s fear-based too, eventually. Say, when a family member is in town and is going to stay with us… I am thrilled to see them, but then I get nervous about the linens, and accommodations and whether we will all get along OK and the rest.

I think, judging from the parents I had, my “excitement” is different from most. I don’t think it’s really the surface of fear; it’s more like the surface of insanity. Snort.

Thank you.