Thinking of my Dad on the New Year: writing from the book- In the World Soul Tree

Thinking of my Dad on the New Year: writing from the book- In the World Soul Tree

Coffee and Cookies with My Dad
My Father’s birthday is today and he is not here to have lunch with me. My obsession with restaurants is to recreate conversations with him. I look on a lake and think he would like to be with me at 82. He always made me feel like he loved my company. He is living in my being somewhere, everywhere. “Whatever we lose is somewhere” Science says the soul stays alive in images and memories and music. If that is so, every time I sing he is here. Vibrating out in to the universe. Being in his presence was home. He did not say much, but when he talked he was calm and wise and affirming of who I was in the world and when he played the piano every evening when I would sing the American song book, it was my truth to share this music, be a musician and heal with lyric as he healed me. When I am in the presence of my patients or friends or loved ones who do not have the Dad I had, I wish to share how grateful I am for his time on earth. I share with my people, my clients, patients, loved ones, how they must look to other men in the world for this paternal healing, for there are wonderful Fathers and men out there…Wise friends to be had, to heal what they did not receive. In my future book, Search for The World Family Tree, I mention we are graced by finding our core family to be what we desire and seek this magic of masculine and feminine, paternal and maternal energy in other places, people and beings, if it was not ours to begin with.
My Dad was referred to as a king by many…from doorman, friend to strangers, he was silently gallant and graceful like King Arthur, and he too knew the loss of Camelot. I have a fake sister, she started as a housekeeper for my parents, from Jamaica, who he took under his wing in support of her talents, which today are many. He paid for her nursing school, had a car service take her to classes and she is a successful woman, soul sister and colleague of mine today. She was my age. After I left for college she came to my house and my parents showed her love and support. She had him walk her down the isle and considers him her true Father for saving her life. He changed every life he touched in some way. The energy, the awe of his kindness is what I miss…
Coffee was sipped as I starred at him with teaspoons of his coffee slowly turning my milk taupe and delicious. My coffee addiction comes from the attempt to replicate our mornings through life. I look at a photo of him with my 4 year old daughter doing the same thing at breakfast with her. She remembers too. He was not perfect. He taught her how to spit and steal mops from Home Depot.
I know that my efforts to be a present and a loving Mom, to create ease and a safe place to fall comes from my education by him. Anything with him was a learning in kindness, grace, humor, love of a life, lived like a beautiful song.

Destiny

 

We are all pregnant with possibility. We are each a seed destined to become and manifest the dream. We all began from the same mitochondrial Eve in East Africa as our DNA proves. She was thought to be the common mother of all humans as my friend Andrew Beath writes in his Trilogy, The New Creation Story.  If it is possible that our shared mother came from East Africa, then I hope she was from Ghana, for there I have met the sweetest humans in my life. Something in the water. Something leads me all the time, in my personal destiny, to meet people and have friends from Ghana.  I wish with the disconnection of understanding and terror in the world we could understand that love is all there is, and the human connection has nothing to do with race or religion.   We come from the same tree. Most people spend very little time being what they are destined to become.  Their time is spent on survival or following assumptions.  What would happen if we listened to our soul often enough to do the thing we were destined to do, to be where we were destined to be, and with the people we were destined to be with, to make our spirit soar ?

We need the time to listen to the little soul self. The day needs to begin with Sadhana, ritual, meditation, to set the tone to remember the  gift.. The word re-member is about putting your parts back together. Putting us back together to the person, the soul, we were born be.

I celebrate my daughter, a recent graduation from high school, someone who has had to fight and know her soul early in life with physical limitations, that could of stopped her. She is meant to do magic in this world. The dreams she is about to create are well deserved and designed by something greater then her, to manifest.  I too have put aside part of what feeds me. I have focused on others, on her, while following my dharma.  It has been diminished at times by the distractions of life. The greatest part of me is coming, and my greatest role, as Mother, is changing. The creativity is flowing.  We are both free to know ourselves. Though we deeply love each other,  I can’t wait for her to be free. I cant wait to be open again,  to give birth to more.  I gave birth to her and she is a dream come to realization.

I will not put my destiny in the power of anyone else, but my own soul. I am telling her this, and I am trying to listen to what I have lived myself, to return to deep listening and soul singing.

We each need to soar in our own directions, my infinte love for her is grappled to my soul and hers forever.  I feel the new beginning for both of us to be our destiny,  to focus on the future, to expand awareness, to unite with the universe and the atoms we share with other beings of all kinds on this earth.. It could feel like a sad time as I mourn the loss of being a mommy daily, and the need to hold her wellness in my mind. She has been my greatest joy and fun.  I feel I am returning to what I have never stopped doing, but without distraction..  The rebirth of myself and my daughter is a wonderful thing.. We are two butterflies that will be flying back to each other. My favorite memory is a day in October on the beach in Madison Connecticut, thousands of Monarch butterflies dancing around us.. She was four. Just my girl and my dog on the beach. We will still have these days.   We are much like the caterpillar who thought that it was the end of the world, and became a butterfly. As creative beings, my child and I will live life as a prayer for ourselves, for each other, in two places most of the time, honoring our soul’s destiny to love ourself and each other.

Learning About Love

Learning About Love

Leesa Sklover-Filgate, Ph.D. is a regular contributor to Fairfield HamletHub. In this installment, she speaks on “Learning About Love”…On a perfect planet, we would teach our young about the heart and the gifts of our spiritual heart. If we taught our children how to deal with those we love and to understand the opposite sex early on, there would be far less drama and mystery about each other. So many of us spend our adult lives trying to understand, to grasp the essence of relationships.For me, love and understanding men have been the great mysteries of my life. I am at a point where I am educating women and men about each other in my counseling and coaching programs. Two projects I am involved in are about understanding the opposite sex and same sex in an optimal way. It is important to know and keep love in the heart as we move to committed relationships. One of my programs, titled called “If You Really Knew Me”, takes place on November 1 and 2 at Sacred Heart University, from 7-9 pm (Schine Auditorium).

We will act out the various scenarios of understanding men in a clearer light for the benefit of both men and women. The idea is to finally express the inexpressable through intimacy, fun and truth, in a way that only a theatre setting can convey.The Best of Love is a five- and 10-session relationship program for those in a committed relationship or about to enter into partnership or marriage. Those with whom I work in the wedding catering world suggest that many of the couples with whom they work could use the experience to make their day and their lifetime one of ease and truth. Less focus on the distractions of flowers and honeymoon, more on friendship and love. A love plan guides heterosexual and same sex couples through deep self-knowing and love education that is often overlooked. Preparing ourselves for all we need to know about trust, connection and communication is the key.

The areas of trust, communication and connection are known as the three-legged stool — without one of the legs, the relationship cannot last. We often enter into commitment without the education we need and want. My program is for the success of love. It allows for every anxiety and mystery to be looked at with grace and reverence, for the most important thing we want in the world: the ability to love and be truly loved.Soulful love is what brings us joy. We long for knowing the true presence of another and to know how to maintain and honor it. We each long for the the heart of all hearts to be ours. I remember being fascinated about trying to understand boys and then, years later, men. As a women, I could love and honor my girlfriends and reach a deep intimacy with them — most are still my friends today. I can say the same for the boys that were in my life early on, for many of my closest friends were of the opposite sex. Something changed. Once in a relationship, I was always wanting greater understanding, and after many beautiful loves in my life, I realized it was the breaking of my heart many times and breaking of other’s hearts many times, that brought me to the truth of genuine love in the relationship I am in now.”

A human being is the only animal to step in the same hole twice”. It would have been nice to have some guidance along the way. Truthful guidance early on may have saved some journeying and tears. However, that would not have landed me here.It has always been clear to me that men and women do see things very differently and we have needed a better education of each other. There are now many programs for men and women to better understand how far they have come separately and together. But any two beings of any sex experience the same dynamics of confusion. Learning about others is the way to oneness. Perhaps going back to the concept of men and women understanding each other would be the start of creating peace in the world, where so many women are still treated with disrespect and cruelty and men are misunderstood. We are all connected by the oneness of the life force of the planet. We are meant to honor and live as one race of beings.

First, truly knowing who we are going to live with forever is a good start. We have to learn to honor the mystery of the events that led them to our arms and how to honestly honor that separate being, the family and the world from which they come. Archytypal field theory suggests that we know a lot of what we need to know by the first patterns in our initial meetings. How important it would be to be able to read the field and read the world of our relationship as best we can. The essential longing we all have is to know someone completely. This process requires a truthful process of self-growth and awareness, as we plan a wedding or an experience of living together..The religion of our time is love. All the Mystical traditions and great religions focus on love being the answer. Every person wants to be loved and seen for who they truly are. What a gift it is to want to go on a journey of study about the person you are committing to for a lifetime.

“All you need is love”, said the Beatles. All the great mystics, healers, teachers are reexpressing the simple things we always needed to learn: how to love well. Why do we not educate our young at an early age to understand the hearts of others? We do somewhat, but not with any depth.Knowing about relationships at a young age would be the best education to have. Why is it that we wait until there is a problem to fix: our soul, our marriage, our heart? I wish there had been someone to advise me on relationships with the opposite sex when I was a teenager. My father did his best to suggest that boys were different. It took me a long time to believe him. If only we could explain both sexes to each other and avoid the stereotypes and pressure that prevent the true intimacy and understanding we crave. We have been carrying on with outworn conceptions of each other and ways to proceed in love that do not really heal relationships.

Imagine if we can just start with each other, with understanding women and men, Adam and Eve, Yin and Yang and then proceeding on with groups, and all the beings of the planet. We could understand each other in the most magnificent way and see the unity of the world.”If you really knew me” is the cry of many who wish to be seen and loved. Thich Nhat Hanh said, “The words we all most long to hear are ‘Darling I am here for you’”. Once you know real love, feel safe in knowing that love, you want to stay right there where you belong.

The Vision for SEE ME AS I AM

The Vision for SEE ME AS I AM

A Project for Girls and Women is to express their truest self through song, words and image. We will spread worldwide the message of inner peace, strength and courage for women to be themselves. We hope to encourage the healing of relationships between women and men. We want women and men everywhere to share their stories and voice, through media and the internet. We are support World Pulse, as an organization that gives women a voice, by providing them with the technology to express themselves.

I think that we all need to sing. As a psychotherapist, music therapist and singer songwriter, it is my belief that all people deserve to play and sing as a necessary experience for health and happiness. In places where fear reins and women can not feel free to learn and experience peace, I want them to learn through programs provided by myself and others in the the SEE ME AS I AM project that helps us all sing the same song and learn from each others questions and answers.. Write to Drleesa.seemeasiam@gmail.com to receive the musical tracks and the questions to be a part of this action oriented creative experience for women and the men who love them.

Whale Love

Whale Love

As a little girl, I would often sing the Leslie Bricusse lyrics from the musical Dr Doolittle: “I do not understand the human race. It has so little love for creatures with a different face. Treating animals like people is no madness or disgrace. I do not understand the human race.”

The musical’s “Rex Harrison” was my inspiration. He made me believe I could talk to and think like animals. The film showed him as he found the giant, pink sea snail with the assistance of the dolphins. I wanted to have them help me, too. It seemed possible to speak to them non-locally, telepathically, from a place of love within a heart-centered reality.

That heart-centered reality exists and is based on Pearsall’s energy cardiology, which suggests that the heart is the conductor of communication and hums with the cells of the being with whom we are engaged. Today, as a researcher and advocate for cetaceans in the wild, the living cells in my heart commune with the heartsong and cellular connections of the moving cetaceans.

I have been blessed with the amazing gift to see images and hear the feelings of other moving beings. I am told I am a bridge, which represents inner worlds that may not meet. I was a receptor even as a child. In my twenties, my ability was validated through a telepathy experiment I was in on “Nightline.” It proved I could see images, at a distance. My validated ability brought with it new confidence, and I was able to sense the feelings of animals with greater ease.

The cetaceans use sound and touch for expressing themselves socially. Through these senses, they can express tenderness and anger. Housed within their giant brains is a capacity for intelligence and emotion that equals or surpasses our own. The use of ecolocation, communication at a distance, clearly indicates their intuitive ability to trust a much larger world environment than the microcosm in which man involves himself. When I connect with and commune with the cetaceans of the world, I try not to put my humanness on to them. Mirroring what they present is how I honor and love them.

The animals of the Palaeolithic period carried the wisdom and the secrets of life. The wisdom of animal medicine considers them the “secret keepers.” I find this is true when I am in their company over a period of days. Together, we experience time on their terms and commune with one another in an altered reality.

In many of the societies where animals are honored and communed with as moving beings, the humans experience major psychological trauma when they have to kill their fellow creatures for food (a subsistence practice separate from the whaling trauma occurring in Japan and Norway.)

Myths were created to help man come to terms with the murder of their soul friends. Dolphin Medicine is what Native Americans and aboriginal-mystical cultures refer to as the qualities of the dolphin that is part human.

Throughout mythology, the trans-species link between man and dolphin has been expressed. The merpeople of Mu, off the Hawaiian islands, were forced to transform into part dolphin in order to save themselves. This dual body has become the mermaid symbol. The Minoans see dolphins as having a direct genealogical link to humans. The Cretans saw the dolphin as God. No wonder we feel a hypnotic, altered state in their presence – we have believed in our connection for millennia!

And, it isn’t just a myth – we can communicate with cetaceans. They hear us. My friend, President of Cetacean Society International Bill Rossiter, shared a story with me of the time when a sperm whale called “Physty” responded to the Bach my friend was playing. When Bill asked Physty, “How do you feel? What do you want?” the whale responded by moving to the net that led out to the open ocean. This is just one example of a number of stories.

I wrote a play 25 years ago called, “When Parallels Touch,” in which I shared how human relationships from two very different worlds/cultures share common emotional experiences. Human-nonhuman relationships are meant to honor the dolphin from the dolphin’s point of view and to represent the whale from the whale’s perceptual world. I am aligned with the animals’ psychological and emotional comparability. The reality and non-linear reality of my experiences with these beings created in me a life-long love affair that arose the moment I first met one. My imprints of their messages remain in me forever.

One experience, one look can steal your heart. I remember saying, “I am in love” when I saw the beluga I worked with in Canada with a group that protected lone cetaceans. That whale came back to us daily in search of company. He would swim to the side of the boat, tilt his head, and look at us eye to eye. It was the peak of interspecies love! I felt the same ecstatic connection as when I love another human.

That whale still haunts me. Many things came from my heartstrings humming for those days out there with him, in the fog. Looking for him, seeing him follow our boat until he could not keep up, realizing the heart-wrenching reality that I would not be back the next day. He would be out there in the sea alone for a long time, forever, alone in the blue. I felt the heartstrings left behind.

At night, I sometimes dream about him. In my dreams, he is alone in the harbor with only the bell buoy to comfort him. It breaks my heart to have had to leave him. The sound is what he connected to as his mother, as his family. The only way I could manage was to write about my experience in the fictional novella, “Belugaman.”

Though I have grown and worked in integrative medicine, psychology, music performance, music business, music therapy, academia, and ecopsychology, my longing to be Dr. Doolittle has never left me. In my opinion, the best way to realize my dream is through music. By becoming a music-therapist/singer I have been given a new language to express my ability intuitively in human healing and in the cetacean world. I call what I do transsinging because out loud or inside my mind, I send a vibroacoustic message in the same way a bioelectromagnetic field is emitted and used in energy healing.

The cetacean is a superior being largely beyond our grasp. I honor that being’s inner psychic world, and this sense of honor allows me great insight into the nature of reality. It is what I encourage in my work with humans: the ability to listen in silence to an inner psychic world. I feel that this trans-humanimal bond is best expressed in sound, intuitive reception, and bi-unicommunication.

Once, I was in Hawaii singing to, hearing, and swimming with an approaching pod when it occurred to me that this was how they were meant to be experienced. In partnership with Jim Nollman, I made music that honored the cetaceans and sang with them on their terms. I learned that what they present can only be mirrored; I cannot begin the song.

Studies show that depressed individuals who have had contact or seen an image of a dolphin feel better. But, it is not their purpose to make us happy. There must be ways to learn from their essence, without imparting our needs on them. I must listen to the inner music within them and not push my song or agenda on them. I must mirror them where they are.

I am guilty of my past experiences: swimming on the backs of dolphins two at a time in Mexico, holding on to a fin in Florida, touching soft, blubbery skin. As a child, I would pet them in lagoons. Once, I touched a Beluga tongue at an aquarium. While I cannot deny the thrill these experiences gave me, once I could hear them, I realized they held a great sadness. This realization made me feel the need to free them.

Years later, I found myself doing just that, in combination with environmentalists and scientists as research director of the International Cetacean Society. Unconditional love of these free and wild beings means that we must leave them alone and watch from a little further away most of the time.

Although they may be difficult to comprehend, there are endless stories of attempts from both sides to bridge the divide between the cetaceans and us. The San Francisco Chronicle reported a story of men who rescued a drowning humpback trapped in crab traps. They risked themselves to free the whale. Afterward, the whale swam about them in joy, nudged each person in thanks, and watched every move of the man who cut the cord.

My moments of whale love have led me to give back. Perhaps the more we know, the more we can rethink our ethical landscape and love and understand them from their perspective. It is hard to know what they feel. I continue the attempt as a way to give back what they have given me.

The field of trans-species psychology, developed by G.A. Bradshaw, creates the cognitive and emotional model of behavior for all animals, including humans. She links the inner world of humans and animals together in a place of equality. I bow to the whales and dolphins I have known in the wild and in captivity. They are their own divine species with unique thought forms, senses, and feelings. Yet, despite their uniqueness, many of their feelings are the same as ours.

In response to my experience with these beings and the experiences of others, I have conceived the “1 Whale – 1 Child Project” with an educator, a film and learning experience for children to teach them about lone cetaceans. Ideally, the project will serve as a means to transbond and share mythic stories of lone cetaceans throughout the world. Humans could then align their personal mythology with passion and a goal of living without harm to the cetacean by avoiding any real-time contact with the whales and dolphins in captivity.

I am challenged by skeptics who ask me, “What’s the point? How can a whale love?” I say, “With that magnificent brain and beautiful heart, how could they not?” Seeing the perspective of whales and dolphins as best I can is my life’s work. We need to understand that the trans-species perception is not just our own – loving with the other’s eye is the true meaning of unconditional love.

Dr. Leesa Sklover: “Certainty and The Moon”

Dr. Leesa Sklover: “Certainty and The Moon”

Dr. Leesa Sklover is a new contributor to Fairfield HamletHub. This week, Dr. Sklover, who wears many hats including yoga teacher, relationship counselor and singer, reflects on the incredible moon that graced us with its presence this past week, as related to loved ones.

What can we be certain of today? I have been focusing on the meaning and symbol of the moon not because I wanted to necessarily, but many synchronicities in the last few days have made me conscious of its reliability in my life. I know the meaning of the moon symbol through Native American thinking as protector and guardian of the Earth. As I walked my dog tonight, I felt that the moon was my guardian. I walked a few blocks to the beach as its presence got closer and closer. It was huge. I had just written to my beau, who was getting on a plane from Germany, the words that Frank Sinatra sang, “Fly me to the moon and let me sing forever more….” because I noticed the moon’s beauty out the window and asked my beau to look out on his journey at the same moon we all share.

“I see the moon and the moon sees me and the moon sees somebody I long to see. God bless the moon and God bless me and God bless the somebody I long to see.” These lyrics got me thinking of all the people I love in many places on Earth. If we could look at the moon at the same time it would be our symbol of connection. My daughter and I have an imaginary planet and, as a child, she would say, “I will meet you on a wish by heart at night in our dreams.” When she was at camp or far away, we would suggest looking at the moon at the same time before bed. We can do this with the moon, for we all share its presence wherever we are.

I sing, “I see the moon and the moon sees me” as I walk in rhythm with my dog to the beach. I can’t help but hear that song in my head. On the beach I saw the magical sky of the giant full moon shining on the water reflecting a road to me. To my right, a bonfire of folks, to my left a carnival in the distance.. All these people at some point were seeing the moon as I was in that moment and my dog faced in that direction as well, seeming to take it in.

In the yoga classes I teach, we call it “the moon cycle” for women who need to do different poses if it is that time of the month. The moon influences the water within us and the water all over the planet. A California healer I trained with many lifetimes ago, Uta, would call it a “moon wobble” when the moon was responsible for certain odd happenings to us and the Earth. We often blame a full moon for making funny things happen and use its cycles to explain the unexplainable. For example, my high school beau sent me the Water Boys song Whole of the Moon — “I was the crescent and you were the whole of the moon” as if that would explain his behavior. Twenty years later, he sent it to me again and it made more sense. The image and song remain with me.

When I awaken this morning I am thinking about the beauty I experienced the night before and wonder if a woman I call my LA Mom, who is very ill, saw that moon from her bed as I prayed for her, and somehow though I can not get to her today, I can share that with her. We can all share the simple things that are right in front of all of us. Maybe not at the same time, but in the same day. I realize the symbol is all around me. The first thing I see when I wake up is a sign above my dresser that says, “Dance by the light of the moon.” To the left of that is a painting of a man in a canoe with a huge full moon and next to that a full moon over a cabin in paradis. One of the songs I’ve written includes the words, “Used to you like the moon”.

We become too familiar with the things and people that are always there and do not look in gratitude and reverence often enough. The moon these last few days has caused me to appreciate the certainty of its presence in a world where too much changes and leaves.”God Bless the Moon and God Bless Me”.

Dr. Leesa Sklover: A Magical Sweet Sixteen, Blessing of My Daughter

Dr. Leesa Sklover: A Magical Sweet Sixteen, Blessing of My Daughter

Fairfield-based Dr. Leesa Sklover is a regular contributor to Fairfield HamletHub and is featured in an article titled “The New Healthy” in the July/August issue of Fairfield Magazine. In this installment, Dr. Sklover reflects on her daughter’s recent Sweet Sixteen celebration and the relatioship she has with her daughter.

The beach party for my daughter’s Sweet Sixteen was this past weekend. Fifty kids from her old school, her new school and camp were in attendance, all on our cabin house porch and a walk to the beach for the rest. It was simple and perfect for her. I am amazed that this tall beauty — my child and sacred companion — is on her way out the door and into the world… that someone like her, came out of midget me and that I have to look up at her when I am telling her to get off her cell phone.

We are trying hard to make the individuation process easy. “Go, Stay, Go, Stay” seems to be the mantra. But truth be told, we like each other’s company a lot, maybe more than we should. We love hanging with each other. She is so easy to be with, always was. She shouldn’t be my friend, but she is one of my favorite people.

I think c-section babies are calm. They take the express. Being her Mom has been my favorite happening and I have loved many. Every year for five years, she has gone to an international camp in Maine, Camp North Star. And I have appreciated our forced separation. She has proven to me that she does just fine without me and, though that saddens me on some level, it thrills me on another. I think kids need to go to camp or away before college or they have trouble separating. She barely writes. She loves me non-locally. She leaves soon. We need it. Wherever she is I feel her. We finish each other’s sentences like twins. I dreamed of a child just like her and I cannot believe she is someone who came from me. There is truth to what you vibrate (say, imagine or create). We always had ways of staying connected. I made a shell for her at camp filled with notes to take out each day. We don’t need too much conversation, because she knows what I know.

My Dad and I were like that. He took me to look at schools, and we drove to look at Dartmouth and barely talked all the way up to New Hampshire. He was my touchstone and he was so easy to be around. I have wanted to be that person for her. We are going out west to look at schools this summer and I hope she remembers it as a good thing. As a therapist, I know how important it is to send her on her way and ready her for the real world, but like the witch mother in the musical Into The Woods, I am aware of what is out there in the wood, and I want to protect her myself but thrive without me at the same time.

My connection with her as a single Mom, doing all the real parenting on my own, has gotten even closer, whether she liked it or not. She has always been such a pleasure to be around. So easy to be with, no one funnier in the world. Chelsea Lateley cannot light a candle to her wit. She is someone I always have wanted to do things with from when she was a baby to a curly haired angel to a tween and on. Our Maine, Chilmark, getaways, traveling and world comrade.

I have marked a way in the world for her, and she is free to go from there. We moved here so she could go to a great private school nearby. We left the woods and came to the sea in time for a hurricaine. She has lost so much — her home, her family structure, her grandparents and then most of her cherished belongings. I had a charmed childhood and I wish I could give her what I had. But in the losses, she has a wisdom and strength that I will never have, for my trust and naivete from a sheltered childhood continues to mess me up. She is blessed with my resilience and a creative spirit and wisdom to see the truth and the beauty in all things. When she came to the world, my friends called her The Buddha Baby because she was born with an inner wisdom and ease. The stress of life has taken some of that from her and my aim has been to restore it. It is a dance these days between the idea of getting into a car and driving off to California and treating the times as moment to moment blessings. She wants to be grown up and a child at the same time. I remember that feeling. I hated turning 18. I remember it well, but I loved what came next.

When she was inside me and after, I worked at Canyon Ranch Spa. I would end my day in the pool doing a walking meditation to the chant “Emma Rae, Emma Rae one fine day you’ll be here”. And then when she came out on that great June day it was “Emma Rae, Emma Rae, we’re so glad you are here”. This chant was what we sang at each bday. I am so amazed by time. I can still feel my c-section scar. How can she be so wise and know so much? Somewhere in my youth and childhood, I must have done something good. Nothing comes from nothing ( Rogers and Hammerstein). I did a lot good and I wish I could do so much more. She is wise and worldly and yet a true individual who does not follow. She is very straight because I brainwashed her about cigarettes and drugs from a very early age and terrified her well. She has been around so many ideas that there is little she has not heard from me. We went from a large loving family to the loss of so many and so much. How do we make it all ok for our children when they have to learn so much for themselves? Monday we go to a college advisor, who already is giving me an anxiety attack and I have not met her yet. This woman tells me that we are “already behind” in the great college competition that begins now. Emma just finished her sophomore year. Resumes and a three-hour interview that my brother is insisting on. We are going because we are curious, but I feel very strongly in “the only thing you can be sure of with a college degree is you have a college degree” and the best thing about college is learning about being with yourself in the world and making choices for yourself.

Learning comes in so many forms in this individuation process, that includes going away to college, and it goes on for a long time. I hope wherever she ends up at school, she loves what she is learning and is somewhere with water and trees she can sit under and study with teachers who inspire her to dream. If it is not ivy league, or prestigious, I am fine and if she does not go to Northwestern like I did, then I will save a lot of money.

On the day she was born my mother gave me a sign, that is in my living room. It says “Magic Happens”. My daughter is magic. It is not because she is mine, but because everyone who meets her tells me so. Magic happens when you dream and imagine having a child, like I have.