Death and Twinkle Lights: the gift of mindfulness and starting where you are


let death be your inspiration to live wholeheartedly

I would rather be thinking about all the whos in whoville and hanging twinkle lights…but I’m not. I’m worried about dying. Maybe because my kids have been with their dad since Thanksgiving and I have more brain space than usual. I have no one to hang twinkle lights for. A perfectly juicy, rich, smelly place to be. I’m pretty sure this imminent death is a metaphorical one. I hope so anyway. This tightness in my chest is the mom part of me holding on for dear life (imagine a fist gripping a rope being pulled in the opposite direction, only it’s not tug of war. Well sometimes it is.). Mostly it’s a pulling away. A healthy, wonderful, perfectly appropriate pulling away where I’m left holding the rope. The rope’s not going anywhere. I just don’t need to hold on to it anymore. I can do something else with my hands now. And I am. And it still hurts.

I miss waking up (often in the middle of the night) with legs flung across my body, feet jammed in my ribs, because my then 5-year old son could just not lie straight when he slept. I miss snuggling in a chair reading Dr. Seuss for the hundredth time (by heart while running my to-do list in my head). I would give my right arm for a chance to snuggle him up at night when he wet the bed, instead of reacting with exhausted frustration. To go back to that cold night in a Los Angeles parking lot transformed into a magical forest, the first time he chose our Christmas tree and his dad tied it to the roof of our car. The joyful and the traumatic. I miss the annoying moments as much as the joyful ones. It was all good.

It’s all good.

The good kind of hurt (feels kind of the same as the bad kind of hurt—like something I want to avoid) even when I know going through is healing, liberating, life-affirming. I’m sure you’ve heard, “the only way out is through.” I stood under that sign at an intuitive painting workshop last weekend, thinking, “Yeah, whatever. I already know that.”

There is a second death simultaneously treating me to a plethora of new and unusual body sensations (most of which freak me out and make me think I might be dying. Of cancer. Probably. Maybe a heart attack. Those are pretty fatal in women). I’ve done my best to dance my way through perimenopause with a sense of humor. It’s been a 10-year adventure and now that ride is coming to an end. Shit. You’d think 10 years is long enough to prepare yourself for something. And while I am thrilled to meet the part of me who is emerging (she seriously kicks ass), I am sad to say goodbye to the part of me who has been through the last 50 years. Fifty fucking years. She has been through some shit! Joy and trauma. I’m choosing not to replay all of my personal trauma here, for your entertainment pleasure. There is enough of that kind of entertainment in the world already and it doesn’t appear to be helping anyone. Suffice to say some stuff is up for me right now, and it’s calling to be healed. I’ve come to see this roller coaster of hormones simply as my soul calling:

Hey, sister, look over here.

I’m not ready to say goodnight to myself as a sexual being. The vibrant, alive energy that goes with feeling super sexy. Super turned on. This is embarrassing to say out loud, but I suspect I may not alone here and I don’t want you to feel alone. That’s how ego tricks us into keeping quiet. At this moment in my life, the thought of having sex is right up there with going to the dentist. And while this kinda sucks for my partner, it’s heartbreaking for me, to feel disconnected from this part of myself.

simple pleasures are a path to sustainable well-being

So this is where I am. Thinking about death, wondering how to heal and let go of old trauma and bummed out about sex. There is something funny about this combination. I would not be surprised to find they are all tied together. I’m exploring energy healing, which is an interesting path, but I don’t want to go there from a place of needing to fix what’s wrong. First I need to sit with this part of me. This worrier. The one who is afraid of death. The one who is letting go of the old to embrace the new. Hold her hand and say yes. Yes. Hell yes. 50 fucking years! Two beautiful, amazing sons. Yes. This is a big deal. There will be no lying down. No glossing over. No minimizing this experience. No, the bad ass who is emerging will have none of that. This is the new place from which living a sexy, vibrant, turned on, awake life begins. I will hang twinkle lights for me.


By the way, this is not what I wanted to write about this week. It’s not where I want to be. I was thinking about holiday boundaries or a year in review: bringing mindfulness to the new year. It’s timely. It’s what everyone else is writing about. It’s what I thought folks would want to read about. Instead I chose to honor what is. To start where I am.

What if I told you: you are in exactly the right place, doing exactly the right thing. Right here. Right now. This is the perfect moment. You have been brought to this moment through a cosmic combination of karma and choice (yes, even not choosing is choosing. Ignorance may be bliss, but it is also a kind of choice.) So here you are. Actually here I am, choosing to embrace this moment as it is. The part of me who’s a worrier (which is kind of close to a warrior), but who’s afraid of dying.

I wish the same for you: Start where you are. You are beautiful. You are enough.

And in case you were wanting those other kinds of stories, they’ve been wonderfully written by other people. Here are two:

For those needing a reminder that it’s ok to have boundaries this holiday season, my sweetie shared this Facebook post with me that really resonated. It’s by artist, writer, musician, Ciscandra Nostalghia.

For those thinking about the end of another year, one of my fav life and business gurus, Marie Forleo shares her process here.

With deep love and appreciation for our shared humanness,


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