Mansions and Inner Expansions

While going on one of my aforementioned jogs (see previous post), I came upon some beautiful, big houses. In the past when I have passed by mansions, I have felt awe. Awe at how talented and skillful the architect and builders of this project are, as well as awe of G-d’s wondrous creations, similar to that which I feel when visiting, for example, the Grand Canyon.

This time, however, I was hit by a different feeling. Each time I gazed at a beautiful, large mansion, I felt expansion in my heart. The mansion seemed to parallel the great potential that is inside of me. As I continue to hack away at several projects over the past few months, seeing these mansions affirmed within me that I have the capability to do what I have set out to achieve. It was a refreshing message of hope and opportunity. While the results may not be exactly as I foresee, I felt confident in the worthiness of my ventures.

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Uncharted Territory: In-Laws

Here I am, about to type about my in-laws on their very own computer. It feels wrong. They are kind enough to host us in their home, to feed us festive holiday meals, and how do I repay them? By surreptitiously journaling about them on their computer. Well, in all fairness, I did do a lot of dishes this week, set the table often, and assisted with salad preparations.

Anyway, let’s cut to the chase.

What is my experience this visit? It being the third long holiday visit here, the second one since we were married.

Well, it is a complicated one at that. The first couple of days is always the hardest, as the walls begin to close in, and my in-laws’ strict religious lifestyle sneaks up upon me to smother me. I deal with this by going on walks, and jogs, and more walks.

Then the holiday starts and we spend time with several friends of the family whom my in-laws graciously host for meals. And along with that, we run into friends of my husband, as well as their adorable and kind parents, and many enriching conversations are had.

The community is warm and my in-laws are active, gracious participants in it, so I can’t help but feel grateful to be here.

That sounds so lovely, Gila. So why are you writing about it? You know, the world isn’t interested in happy, peaceful things!

Yup, I got that memo, and don’t worry, I ain’t done.

I sat down to write to get things off my chest, so here we go:

I went through a more religious phase in my early-mid twenties, so having to re-live it and feel the pressure and judgment of all of that is a pain in the butt. And yes, many who live this way may not be full of judgment, but I tend toward judgment and this gets highly activated inside of me when having to abide by their more stringent rules.

Then of course, deeper and sharper than it all, is the pain I feel every time I think that my father won’t be around for, G-d willing, the grandchildren, but my father-in-law will be. Oh man, this really gets me into a tizzy. It’s painful enough not having him around as a father, and a potential awesome grandfather, and then add to that, someone else being there in that role. It quite frankly makes me want to puke.

And it doesn’t help that I feel misunderstood and underappreciated by my father-in-law, in contrast to the unconditional love and support of my father – who was my greatest cheerleader.

As for my mother-in-law, she is a lovely woman, a real saint. She is 5 years older than my father would be if he were still alive (he passed away 10 years ago). And I suppose, that it is a comfort to have someone in a similar generation as my father. However, that too is frustrating, since my father was a runner and a health and fitness enthusiast, and I always imagined he would still be super young and vibrant in his seventies, and watching the normal aging process of another makes me really miss him and all that he stood for.

Getting back to my father-in-law, I have to say, that he too is a very good person, and I likely would not get along with him even if he was all butterflies and bubble gum, because, like I said, I miss my father and I am angry that he is gone.

Relationships with parents can be difficult. In-laws are famous for causing grievances. Grieving over the loss of a parent is a life-long, mind-boggling process.

I am sure that each person has challenges in these realms.

I thank you for reading about mine. And in so doing, I hope it gave you some comfort and awareness that you are not alone. Hugs to us all!

Scrap The Roadmap 

The roadmap literally ended this afternoon when a subway malfunctioned and I had to switch to another train.Turns out that second train was malfunctioning as well. 

Which meant my next recourse was to cry.

I was running late for an appointment that required 48 hours cancellation. Add to that, I had tried to get there extra early so I could be on time to meet my cousins afterward. This whole thing backfired–like mad!

Things I’ve learned:

You’re never too old to cry.

The MTA sucks (ok, that is not new).

Things are not in my control. 

Here are some pics I took of my accidental tour of the Bronx. 
Still feeling defeated, I managed to smile. Hope began to surface as I gazed at the water’s surface.



Expanding Beyond the Career Box

One of the challenges of working as an adult compared with being an achievement-oriented student is that of having many talents and abilities that go unnoticed.

In school, if you are a good learner or a good thinker, your teachers often praise you for it and/or you get good grades. For me, getting this praise and good grades gave me a heightened sense of self. One could argue that having one’s ego inflated by academic achievements is psychologically not so healthy. Actually, one should argue that. For a healthy sense of self comes from an intrinsic feeling of self-worth and is not reliant on external factors.

To be sure, there is the other side of the coin where academic difficulties in school can negatively impact self-esteem; I agree with this wholeheartedly. But, as I said, even having academic success can impair one’s self-esteem if one overly identifies with it.

But alas, I digress. What I wanted to relate here is that today, for the first time in a very long time, I feel that my unique talents have been appreciated at my job. I stepped out of my career box and was appreciated for non-nutrition related contributions.

Yesterday I attended an important meeting at the clinic. Since not all staff were able to attend, I took notes for them. As I am apt to do, these notes were very detailed – I jotted down everything that was said during this hour-long meeting. This morning the clinic manager to whom I sent the notes lauded me for capturing all the details of the meeting. She even shared my notes with several other staff members. They were so grateful and she asked me to go to future meetings.

I am a whole person. And I think that working in a full-time job I often forget that. I dedicate my energies to fit my job description. But I am more than that. We are all more than that.