Life Without Judgment

Wish I could ask Frank...

As of June 21, it has been one year since my brother died. One year since my final opportunity to talk to him, one year since he was last reachable by phone. His cell phone number is still listed in my contacts. I haven’t been able to bring myself to delete it yet. I’m avoiding the “should” word and waiting for a time when that action seems right to me. At the moment, I am not sure what to say about that day. I don’t like to refer to it as an “anniversary.” I know that the word technically means “the date on which an event took place in a previous year,” but for me, anniversary has a positive connotation. Perhaps this is because before I lost my brother, I only had positive things I wan

For Sheryl Sandberg: Rethinking the drive to optimize

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, lost her husband Dave Goldberg, CEO of SurveyMonkey, just over a month ago when he died at age 47. He was exercising at a resort while vacationing with Sandberg and their young children. Apparently he sustained blunt force trauma to the head as a result of a fall off a treadmill. Sandberg wrote a Facebook post recently about the end of the first thirty days of mourning (in Judaism, a specific mourning period referred to as shloshim) and the beginning of the rest of her life. Many friends sent me a link to this post, sensing it would resonate with me. I connect with how she lays out what is real for her now. She acknowledges the raw pain, her uncertainty tha

Make a "what's real now" list

I am reading a book entitled The Lake, which was written by a friend I’ve known since the sixth grade. The central character, Zach, had become catastrophically unmoored from reality during his pursuit of a doctorate in philosophy and is under the care of a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist recommends that Zach work to ground himself, to grasp reality again and to embrace it, by making lists. These lists are bare-bones – lists of things that Zach can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. He usually doesn’t even use verbs in his lists – just long chains of things, words and phrases, which he senses in the moment of list-making. I have begun to see the value in these lists. Being grounded in anyth

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