Saturday, September 24, 2011

I didn't go on vacation

Never Done: I didn't go on vacation

I was supposed to leave for vacation after work today but something else came up instead. In a word, but without actually using too many words, instead of vacation mode, I've landed in medical mode -- and spent the day doing my best to make the best of it. Squeezing together on a little bed, side by side by laptop, Josh composing and me giving dramaturgical feedback on a performance I recently saw. Josh looking up at the acoustic ceiling tile and pretending it looks like birch bark. Me breaking out the macarons and Scrabble. (Josh is winning.)

Talk about Patience: Do not aggravate a situation with wasted grief. Am I disappointed that I am not currently at the Durrant's farm on East Bare Hill Road, and then on my way to Maine? You bet I am. Am I dwelling on it? I am actually not, and the extent to which I am not dwelling on it truly feels like a testament to a year of Mussar practice.

As the year draws to a close, and I am in a mode of assessing my life, and my responsibilities, and my relationships, I am also assessing my relationship to my Mussar practice. While I don't think I practice it as deeply as I hope to, I have been steady for an entire year in this writing practice -- the public, ethical examination of at least one activity I have never done before -- and it's been transformative. Having a public conversation in and of itself has been transformative -- not just for me, but for some of you who have written to tell me the ways this has changed you. One good friend has started learning something new every day, and another is inspired to start her own blog about retirement, aging, and activism.

Would you take the time to comment about the ways this blog and my practice have transformed you? It would be a great gift to me, especially during this week of reflection and changed plans.


  1. This is the very first blog I have ever followed religiously. So, I guess I've been transformed!

  2. One shift is that I've been willing to be a mostly virtual friend, learning most about you and getting to know you best through these words and both the images that you create in my mind's eye and the images the images that I create of you in my mind's eye.

    Sometimes I imagine you and then I catch myself realizing that I already know you as a physical, embodied person. But still, you provoke the imagination.

    Reading about your Mussar year has brought me joy and sadness and renewed courage and commitment and...laughter. This transforms me in small almost not visible ways, day by day, moment by moment...making me just a little bit more me for the long haul.

    what a gift! blessings for the new year, Jenny, may she be sweet and savory, and may whatever ails you today reveal itself with purpose tomorrow.

    and may we see more of each other in...'72?

    (lauriepea, by the way, just in case m o o n marked, the business name, is outta left-field.)

  3. Jenny,it is not just your blog, but YOU, the total Jenny, who has changed me. Common loves and geography brought us together initially, but it was later progeny and adversity that brought us closer. And I think our blogs -- our commitment to ethical examination and challenging ourselves in major ways -- have also helped cement a friendship. Cement isn't the right word. But this is not about writing well right now! Nor should it be about me.

    It is about YOU and the universal mind and spirit that live in you, as well as the beautiful personality that makes you who you are.

    You have changed me by reminding me daily of who you are, and entertaining me with stories and teaching me many lessons (and reminding me that I am not alone).

    I love you, Jenny. Please give a hug to Josh for me. So glad he's going to be okay.

    And I look forward to what's next for you. Somehow I have a feeling that this blog will continue. It certainly should, even if it changes somewhat.

  4. Jenny, you and your Mussar practice have inspired me to deeper thought throughout the year, have provoked long conversations between me and my loved ones, and I have changed some of my behaviors because of your own behaviors. Most recently I have looked into the Mussar Institute, then into what I would need to do (as an agnostic non-Jew) to follow a Mussar practice of my own. I'm still trying to decide whether to take the first step, or to try to delve deeper into my so-called Buddhist practice. I don't want novelty to be my guide. So I'm giving it deep thought.
    I hope you will continue blogging, as your Mussar year ends and your life continues. I love you, Jenny.

  5. I only found your blog a short time ago and have commented here and there. It was actually my boss/friend, Laurie, who sent me the link because she thought your writing was similar to mine and that we have had some similar experiences.

    Laurie and I feel as if we've become some sort of internet kindred spirits with you, only perhaps you didn't know it. (You do now though.) Just last week I mentioned that you live in Brooklyn and we decided that we should make some sort of attempt to meet you, since we're sure we would be great friends "in the real world." (This is not stalker-like at all, right?)

    On a more serious note, life truly is a journey and you have written about how you're living yours, and in such a wonderful way. I have been trying to live mine to the fullest, with a take no prisoners, have not regrets attitude, and I can relate to and appreciate so much of what you've written.

    It's a brave act to put yourself out there. To live your life in such a public way. wonderful to know that you have influenced others in such a positive manner. As your Mussar Year comes to a close, perhaps it's time to start thinking about the title for your next blog.....

    Be well,