8254174933_dd536912a2_bI try not to get bogged down in being sentimental.

I read this book years ago Conscious Femininity – Interviews with Marion Woodman and this passage stuck with me.

On how sentimentality robs us of our feeling:
Woodman: To me sentimentality is not genuine feeling. Sentimental people tend to ignore their own shadow, their own darkness. They cover up real suffering with self-pity, for example, and stultify their own growth. Or they may focus their energy on another person who is trying to deal with genuine feeling, perhaps genuine evil, and because they’re unable to face that in themselves they say, “Poor thing.” They take a condescending attitude toward people who are fighting for their lives trying to get to their integrity. Sentimental people refuse to suffer. Real anger or real grief are put into cotton wool that smothers any possibility of transformation because they cannot stand the fire, and real feeling is tempered in fire.  Real feeling moves into the conflict and hold the opposition until the new is born. Sentimentality fears the heat of passion. It takes a holier-than-thou attitude and pretends it knows no evil, feels sorry for anyone trapped in compulsive behavior. Nazis were sentimental. Children are not.

Today, I’m being sentimental about my life and feeling sad for myself and at the same time taking pause for where I’ve been, what I’ve learned and where I’m going.  In a way maybe it  is not actual sentimentality, but a remembering, an honoring of days gone by. Not wishing them different, not passing them off, but feeling them the way they come through to me.

Sometimes, okay most times, when I hear a Christmas song, it brings a lump to my throat or I see a family in front of a Thanksgiving table, it turns me to tears. I used to push that aside and not deal with it at all, thinking it was because of the wonder of the season, the magic, the miracle of it all, but it’s not.  It’s grief for what I missed. What I’ve lost – my mother, my father, my two brothers and all the other things – we all have things that make us sentimental.

So, while I’m feeling sad, I remind myself – I’m no “Poor thing.” I fought life for my integrity, my authenticity and I can be okay just grieving – what might take a thousand more days to grieve, but I know if I keep  letting it come in, come through – things will change. I’ve seen it. Instead of avoiding what’s going on, I ask – what am I avoidingAm I being sentimental or am I willing to really feel what’s going on? and then letting whatever that is in, without sentimentality, might change your life.

Marked or governed by feeling, sensibility, or emotional idealism
Dig into sentiment when you need to, DON’T forget to dig your way back out.
What are you avoiding? What’s asking you to suffer? What makes you sentimental?


I’m halfway to my goal.

I’m eight months in and only halfway.

I have 4 more months to post another 51 writing sessions.

Nothing like a deadline to get me going.

I’ve been aggravated lately, something seems to be off in my life and I can’t figure out the exact WHY or WHAT of it, but it’s there. A general down-ness, maybe it’s the end of summer and the beginning of fall and winter. The time to turn in, hibernate, not be so out and about. Maybe that’s what it is. Or maybe it’s something else, maybe I’m not where I want to be in life and then I say – AM I EVER?

In any case, I want to find a way to re_frame it.  Not that I want to avoid what’s going on, but to put a perspective on it that doesn’t suck. That’s the part of working through it for me. Recognizing that I’m in a funk and not fighting to get out of it but being more understanding of it.

That’s what it takes for me to figure things out. ACTION and non-ACTION. Both.

ACTION – think about why I am in the space I am. ACTION – believe I can change it. non-ACTION – don’t do anything until I’m clear, don’t be reactive, or rash. ACTION – settle into and think about how I’d like it to be. non-ACTION – let it unfold. It’s a challenge to stay with it. It’s a challenge to not ACT and yet be ACTING.

So today – I’m re-framing it. Rethinking what everything is about and eventually, I’m going to make a change. I’m not sure what it is, but it will come when it’s ready. Sometimes the change will come when someone else makes a decision and it impacts me, sometimes I have to decide.

I’ll keep deciding what feels right and what doesn’t, what should stay and what should go. Not making decisions right away, but to watch and think on it.

When it’s time – I will cut – as Marion Woodman says – with a sword of discretion. A sword unlike a knife produces an immediate cutting away. Cutting away that which doesn’t bring more to my life.

It takes courage to realize that something isn’t right and to work to change it. It may take all the strength I have to make that cut, but once I’ve cut, I can move on. I can be more alive.

It’s easier to have someone else decide sometimes, but when I choose, the cut is swift and then the door is closed.

What’s getting in the way of what I want? What’s getting in the way of writing? What’s getting in the way?  That’s what needs to be cut.

There is always light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel never really ends, I just go toward the next light.

What’s getting in the way of what you want?


More memoir soon – this is just more musing on life.

One writing coach I worked with read my work and said, a seven year old would not use the words you are using in this piece, Torment and Metallic are not words a seven year old would use. She obviously didn’t know me very well.  She could have asked – why are you using this word here?  Did you know that word at seven? Instead she told me not to use them.

What that did for me is lead me to explain why I use the words I do in my writing. So thank you writing coach for pointing this out to me.

I had NINE older brothers and sisters and they are all VERY smart and yes they used the word TORMENT and METALLIC, so at seven, I had a big vocabulary thanks to my brothers and sisters.  And my last statement of explanation from my seven-year-old self – I’M NOT A BABY!

I like to read and sometimes I choose a book that is daunting, one that I know I will not understand for the pure pleasure of being okay with not understanding.

I’ve always loved reading and as a child in Michigan, I would go to the library as often as I was allowed, which was pretty much whenever I wanted, because no one was really paying THAT much attention.  I was on first name basis with the librarian – Sandy Sherba.  I don’t think she really like me though, I was after all the little girl with the rotten teeth.

I tired of reading children’s books and had read most all the books in the children’s/young adult section anyway – it was a small town, and a small library.

I browsed the adult literature section of the library, Sandy Sherba would shoo me out of there saying, “These books are for grown ups.”  When I tried to check out Beowulf, she said “No, how about you read something in your age group.” I then tried to check out The Yearling, which in fact is a Young Adult book, but it was categorized in the adult section because of the content.  “Find something in your age group, you are not old enough to understand this.”

How she knew what I would understand, I do not know.  Because I couldn’t check out the books I wanted, I’d steal a book out of the adult section and go hide somewhere in the library and read and read and read. I read, Tolstoy, Faulkner, Woolf, Sexton, Shakespeare. Most anything I could get my hands on.  I developed a secret love of poetry and would read page after page after page. Reading made me feel alive. I didn’t understand most of what I read, but I am certain it influenced me in some way. I knew I would understand it someday.

I still do this to this day, I read a lot, and sometimes I choose a book from a topic that I’m interested in that I know will be a challenge for me – like James Hillman, or James Joyce – mind melting works.  The first time I read Marion Woodman, I thought to myself what in the hell is she even talking about here? Years/months later when I pick up the book again, I realize I gained something because when I begin to re-read, I understand it, or at least some of it.  I love how that works.

Maybe this too increased my vocabulary.

What about you? What do you read? Does what I’m saying make any sense?


Whenever beginning a new journey, feeling out of sorts, not sure of where I’m going, or that I’m not enough – I begin to stock up. In my mind, MORE = SAFETY. 

It is not only about food – toilet paper, paper towels, emotions – they all fall in the same category.

I know, rationally, that I don’t need things in large quantities to make me feel safe. But there’s a part of me that wants that – however unnecessary it might be. My psyche wants to feel safe and this is how it knows how.

I have learned to watch patiently as I go through what I must go through, but I also have the ability to coach myself and remind myself of what’s important to me and how different my life is at this point in time compared to how it used to be. What’s now is not what was then.

Coming from poverty, we didn’t always have enough – money, food, light, electricity, hot water, love – I understand that this is what I’m feeling when I feel out of sorts. Rationally, I know I’m going to be fine, I’ve always been fine. But my pure animal instincts* do not understand that I am going to be fine.  So in my case I stock up. I get ready for the other shoe to drop, for the lights to go out, or the barn to burn down.

I used to think if I had a house, money in the bank, and a decent car, I’d feel safe.  It was always the struggle to get them.  Then when I had those things – what? – nothing had changed. I still didn’t feel safe. I had to go deeper to find what I really needed and that was to know myself a bit better, to understand what I was doing when I was stocking up and how there might not be the same need now.

A life truly lived constantly burns away veils of illusion, burns away what is no longer relevant, reveals our essence, until, at last, we are strong enough to stand in our naked truth ~ Marion Woodman

By going deeper, asking myself what it really takes for me to feel safe, I’ve learned safety is something I carry with me, inside me.  I had to drop the illusion that more was making me safe.  I don’t need anything else to make me feel safe but me.
Me = Safe.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that if I need to stock up, I will. I’m not denying myself the right to feel safe, only questioning my own motives about what safety means. Old habits and the old stories we tell ourselves die hard.

Be easy on yourself when you need to, but there is something powerful in asking the question – What illusions are holding you back from truly living?

What makes you feel safe?  What old stories are you telling yourself?

*animal instincts reference from Peter Levine’s – Waking the Tiger