Pandemic Protocol…. Distancing When What We Seek is Connection

                  “Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.”  Christopher Reeves


I’m afraid.

This last week has put me on edge.  At times, almost over the edge.

I’m consuming hours of television broadcasts that make my fears and anxiety rise exponentially with each ‘breaking news’ story.

Can anyone stop this virus?  

Will we have answers soon?

Will our food run out?  

Is it safe to go to a grocery store…especially those of us over 60?

Who do we trust…with our very lives?  

Do we have the right leaders in place to guide us through this crisis?  

Is this a short-term concern….or weeks…or months?


Guessing I am not alone in asking these questions.

These crucial, critical, frightening questions.

We are, in unison, seeking accurate information as we simultaneously desire to detach from the horror gripping our planet.

We attempt to normalize things.

We dare to venture outdoors….take a walk, feel the sun on our face, breathe the outside air….but when passing others on the street, we hold our breath, we are cautious, maintaining distance.  At least 6 feet, we are told.

We wear colorful surgical gloves rushing through a store pushing our carts.

I spy someone wearing a mask…nose and mouth covered in thin fabric… wondering if he or she is sick….or are they attempting to protect themselves….from me.

We sit, isolated, in the confines of our apartments, houses, condos, villages, towns, cities, States….physically separate from one another….when what we deeply desire right now is companionship, community, contact.

We need connection in this imposed time of isolation.

Fortunately, we live in a time when relating can occur via electronic devices.

We Facetimed with our friends Leslie and Greg, and with our son Jeremy and his fiance, Danielle last night in West Palm Beach.  We shared our virus concerns, but also caught up on the positive news of each other’s lives, even laughed a little.  We did the same with our son John yesterday, returning home to Boston from a virus-shortened vacation in Key West….again, sharing in the moments he experienced while traveling with his friend, Jason….a sunset sail, a wine tasting….those special moments that for now are on hold.

Today,  John sent photos of a deserted, empty market….stunning pictures of sparsity in the land of milk and honey.  But tucked into and peeking from his purchases….a bouquet of flowers.


I share John’s idealism and optimism.

There are gifts to be gained, lessons to be learned.

I know it…I have seen and felt them.Unknown

We just returned from Florida.  The first stop on our way to St. John’s for a three-week vacation…that was not to be.  We returned home on a packed flight Sunday night to an empty refrigerator since our plan was for five consecutive weeks away….to a large box filled with paper towels, toilet paper, and Lysol spray greeting us as we walked through the door of our condo…courtesy of loving, sweet neighbors.

Friends are reaching out….more than usual….in texts, emails.  My friend, Paula and I, had a lovely, intimate conversation, face to face, on a site called

Facebook posts are sharing uplifting poems, or quotes that unite us or renew our warrior spirit.

The world may heal from this pandemic.

I understand from what I have read that the slow down in production has resulted in clean air over China; Venice supposedly has fish swimming again in its canals; the massive, polluting cruise ships are docked, saving our oceans for the time being.


Borders between states, countries, are flimsy at best.  Regardless of the language you speak, your gender, your ethnicity, your beliefs, your politics, the color of your skin….we are ONE facing this crisis.

And….my own personal gifts and lessons are evolving.

Forced to pause and slow down to a snail’s pace…I am awake, aware.  My senses are keen.  My emotions heightened.  My internal experiences sharpened.

I realize, even in this unusual situation, I do have some control.


I can turn off the television….I can listen to music.

Music is transforming for me….happily consumed by the sounds, words….I become one with the melody and the moment.  As I type this, Janis is singing “Bobby McGee” on my Sonos system.  “Dust in the Wind” came on next…apropos for our shared situation. I played air guitar to “The Sultans of Swing” about an hour ago….and looked at my husband, Dennis, with a deep sense of love and devotion as I sang along with John Legend,  to “All of Me”.  We danced together in our living room to Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight”.

Last night, we became absorbed in a movie….for over two hours….forgetting the strange enemy that lurks outside.

I have oodles of time to do what I love to do….write, read.  Dennis wants to teach me how to play chess.  I can finally address the 18,000 photos on my computer.  I am meditating again, without fighting the urge to step into a busy life.


I have moments when I ponder the possibility of a higher power orchestrating all this….compelling mankind to wake up!

Are we, perhaps, in a cosmic, spiritual learning curve….engaging our collective human spirit and soul as we reject the enormous importance we have placed on material things?  Will we lessen our quest for greed and tune into the seriousness of saving our planet?  Is it possible that we will maintain this slower, healthier pace once the chaos dissipates?

Is this that once in a lifetime opportunity to appreciate and embrace our differences and realize we are all in this thing called ‘life’…. together?

We are learning.

I am optimistic.

I have hope.






Stumbling and Shuffling (literally)…. into the Next Decade


Let’s begin with what is most important first:

I changed the subtitle of my blog, “Musing with Margaret: Approaching seventy with hair…and soul…on fire.”

I am no longer “approaching” seventy.

I  am seventy!  Wow!

Now approaching eighty!  Quite amazing to me.

As difficult as that number was to absorb, own and embrace….what trumped that realization is how I arrived at the milestone….not exactly with “hair and soul on fire”….it was more a limping, hopping, humbling experience.

I celebrated my birthday from a wheelchair, unable to walk on my own due to surgery on an ankle, fractured in two places, the result of a fainting experience connected to a preliminary diagnosis that is longer than my first/middle/last/and maiden name combined: Chronic Autoimmune Urticaria and Angioedema Syndrome.

The good news is the dozens of specialist appointments, tests, procedures, etc.,  researching the cause, resulted in a clean bill of health for the vital parts: my brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, stomach, etc., all in excellent condition.  The cardiologist exclaimed my two-week stint on a monitor revealed my heart was “boringly healthy”.


The not so pleasant result is this is a rare condition, connected to overproduction of mast cells (don’t feel bad, I didn’t know what a mast cell was either before this happened), incurable, but generally treatable with large doses of antihistamines and a low-histamine “food-deprived diet” (no chocolate, cheese, most fruits, tomatoes, avocadoes, alcohol…yes, goodbye cosmos…shellfish, and other various delicious things that I love).

Add to the mix…a radiology callback (I know all my women friends can relate to the concern that comes with ‘that’ phone call) because something was “seen” on a routine mammogram….plus an infected cyst on my back that required three-rounds of antibiotic….and surgery.images-3

If nothing else, my 70th birthday will be one of the more memorable.

On the positive side of this life-changing, frighteningly horrible diagnosis (the episodes associated with this disorder affect all bodily functions, come on suddenly, drop my blood pressure to the floor, are painful and overwhelming and have a component of anaphylaxis shock….I now have an EpiPen snuggling up to my lipstick in my bag)…have been the gifts:  the insights, the acknowledgments, the awareness, the gratefulness, the quite humbling life-learnings.

So…what have I learned?

….That navigating life with a disability is not for the faint-hearted.  Luckily we live in a condo that does not require stairs for access.  We utilize an elevator to our fourth-floor space, with a one-floor design.  But….whenever I traveled outside my safe space, our home, there was a constant concern when needing to enter a new building in a wheelchair:  Will it be ‘handicapped-accessible’?  Will there be an accessible restroom?

There was a consistent worry when approaching a sidewalk or a building lacking a ramp about how I would maneuver over that short, four or five-inch barrier, unable to put any weight on my right foot for eight weeks!

And, from that chair, when in public, I was often ignored or became the focus of curiosity with an odd look from strangers.  I experienced in social situations an alienation…relegated to where there was room for a chair, often at a distance or at a lower height than everyone else.  It was often a lonely, isolating experience.

Through my own experience and learning process, I have developed the utmost empathy and appreciation for those who lack the option to recover from a temporary disability… those who must experience life continually from a wheelchair or crutches.

I have learned:


….That family and friends who offer their help and assistance are truly angels on earth.  This is no exaggeration.  Whether coming to visit individually, in pairs, at times in groups with as many as five or six….cooking, cleaning, running errands, fluffing my pillow, bringing medical equipment and supplies/dinners/flowers/books/gifts, visiting for hours/days/weeks, some taking flights to be by my side, driving me to medical appointments, carting my wheelchair or crutches or walker, massaging my ankle, changing bandages, assisting me in the shower; calling, texting or sending cards.

Angels. All friggin’ angels.Unknown

I learned:

…..That I take my health for granted; that I take my ability to easily navigate the world also for granted;  that life requires a constant adaptation to change, transition, loss;  that you don’t have to manage and carry your anxiety and fears alone;  that letting go of control brings calm and relief;  that holding gratitude for what you have, counting your blessings and remaining positive will increase your chances for the best outcome;  that having a life partner and sons and daughter-in-law that love and cherish you will get you through anything;  that life, even when facing a challenge, is amazingly PRECIOUS…

….and the persons you share life with…those that show up, demonstrate support, provide care for you and express their love for you….are the most cherished gifts you will ever receive.


Slow Down….You Move Too Fast…..

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Yes….I do.

I move way too fast.  Constantly.

I hear an exasperated sigh…and realize it is mine.  I clench my teeth, or tighten my belly…hold my shoulders tense and rigid, mumble four-letter words under my breath.  I rush.  I drop.  I spill.  I forget why I walked into a room.  And ultimately, become annoyed with myself.

I am in a perpetual state of movement….self-imposed.  There is always someone to see, something to organize, something to clean, an event to attend, a call to make, an errand to run…..always something.

Can you relate?

I rarely slow down. But, occasionally, I purposefully focus on changing my busy-ness.  I have success for a while, perhaps a month or two, but am lulled unknowingly into moving again at a rapid pace.

But this week….I got back on track.

I slowed down.  On a lake.  With family.  And with friends.


I woke every morning but one, around 5:00 am to witness the sun rise.  The daily, magical gift of first-light did not disappoint.


Before the sun made its debut, the lake water was at rest, serene, smooth as a pane of glass, still as a potted plant, seemingly frozen, undisturbed.  The calming, soundless moments were pleasurably interrupted most mornings by loons….the woeful cry to one another from opposite ends of Great Pond, their trill and human-like yodel, added an interesting, albeit eerie, aspect to the daybreak.

The minutes prior to sunrise were magical and surreal.

I entered an other-worldly dimension, noting a light fog coating the perimeter of the lake, snaking its way through pines and oaks, dividing the base from the tops of trees in a ghostly, smoke-like swath of moisture.  Mystical color, lightly pastel in shades of bronze, orange and yellow, or violet, pink and blue hues…became vivid…intensifying as dawn approached and the portal opened.


Suddenly….the tip of a brilliant orange orb appeared like a liquid mass, peeked above the trees lining the shore, hastily inching its way upward, becoming a perfect sphere.  A ray of light, radiating from a flaming globe, stretched slowly across the surface of the water,  as tho waking from a deep sleep.  The lake began to yawn, trees whispered with the slightest hint of breeze, and nature began to stir.  Schools of small baitfish frantically leaped out of the water like tiny frogs;  several clusters of gray-brown ducks swam by our dock, their webbed feet paddling quickly, just barely visible beneath the water’s surface, dipping their beaks gently into the lake, sipping the morning’s coolness.  An osprey, peeping enthusiastically, flapped its wings urgently, then swiftly dove into the gently moving waters, emerging with a breakfast of fresh fish.  An eagle soared overhead.  The loons continued to communicate in soft, short calls. Dragonflies, some electric-blue in color or with translucent, veined wings, landed softly on my forearm and shoulder.  As the sun rose higher into the sky, the lake rippled with a pleasing, rhythmic sound, and in gentle splashes, greeted the rocks lining the shore.



Such a treat….a symphony of delectable “good mornings.”  

So many delights to harvest when I slow down to savor the moment.


I slowed my pace even further.  Every day at dawn, I meditated, for twenty minutes….eyes closed, sun warming my face, puffs of morning air glancing my cheeks, the sounds of wakefulness surrounding me.



I walked in the woods, reminded gleefully of the country surroundings of my childhood.


I finished reading a book and started another.  I journaled.

And…I stayed in the moment.

I practiced balance…time alone…time with others.  Always present.

My son, Jeremy and his fiance’, Danielle, flew to join us from their new home in West Palm Beach.  John, our oldest, drove up from Boston.  We started the week in Camden excitedly checking out the venues and planning next year’s wedding.

The five of us were joined at the lake house during the week by friends of decades, some of just a few years, as young as 30, some in their 40’s…and others our age.  We went out to local restaurants for dinner, swam in the lake, sat by the campfire, made s’mores…and had a pot-luck supper, celebrating two birthdays with two cakes!



Conversations were filled with laughter or occasional low-toned seriousness as we caught up on each other’s lives.

The atmosphere a constant one of playfulness and connection.


Throughout the week, I remained relaxed, engaged, aware and able to consciously breathe in the gratefulness.

Back home, although situated in the epicenter of the city of Portland…my plan is to remain centered….to meditate as often as I can, continue to make reading a priority, note when I am clenching, tightening and over-doing…. and of course….plan a return to my lakefront sanctuary.

Anyone want to join me?



“We are born of love;  love is our Mother”   …..Rumi


We are diverse.

We are young, old, married, single.  We are widowed….and we are divorced.

We are lesbian….bi-sexual….transgender….and straight.


We are stay-at-home, work-outside-the-home, work-in-the-home…Moms.

Ageless and timeless, energized and buoyant.

And….anxious, depressed, overwhelmed and angry.  Overworked…and at times under appreciated.

We are defiant.  We are fierce.  We are protective.

We are tough.

Also…. fragile, broken, damaged, confused….misunderstood, aggressive, outspoken….and silent.

We are faithful….and unfaithful.

We are concerned, afraid, worried and sad.

We’ve been lost.  We’ve been found.

We are warriors!

We are mothers…..and at any time in our lives we have been many or all of these ….multiple times….and will be again.


We have given birth, we have adopted, we have step-parented.

We have mothered the children of our friends….of our sisters…..the children of our children….and each other.

We have loved mothering; we have struggled with mothering.  We had mothers who mothered well, and mothers who did not.

We planned to become mothers;  we became mothers before we were ready.


We gave birth to children of a different race than our own….a different sexual orientation…. differently abled. images-1We marched for their freedom, we fought for their rights.

IMG_5911IMG_5918 2

We are feminine.

We are the nurturers…..the feelers…..the empaths.

We bring sensitivity, caring, compassion and tolerance to the world.


We are adaptable, powerful, yet imperfect.

We…..are….courageous….and sometimes cowards.

We have roles.  Important roles.  Many roles.

We are teachers, mentors, nurses, cheerleaders, listeners, comforters, healers…often the breadwinners.

We are mothers.

The soul of the family system.  The center.  The heart.


This is Mother’s Day weekend.

Some of us will celebrate with our own Moms.  Some, like me, will remember, with sentimental sadness, the Moms who have passed on.

Some will spend the day with their children, and some have children too far away.  Some, like me, will experience both.

Mother’s Day is a time when I think of all the women in my life who are mothers.

They fit all of the descriptions above….single Moms, divorced Moms, married Moms, widowed Moms,  Moms of biracial children, disabled children, gay kids, Stepmoms, Moms of children they have adopted, Moms who are lesbians, Moms who have tragically lost their children to death, Moms who are estranged from their children, Moms who are raising their grandchildren and Moms who have become grandmothers.

We are all different, yet very much the same.

As I write this,  I have images of many of you and the children you have raised and are raising.  I am in awe of you, appreciating, as I do for myself, the indescribable joy of mothering and the omnipresent worry that comes with the territory.

It is the role I cherish most and the greatest blessing of my life.



John and Jeremy are my world.20080612_0231




To all of you who have mentored me as a Mom, have led by example, have shared with me every delicious…..and difficult….facet of mothering your kiddos….and have been a ‘mother’ to me when I have needed one….I thank you.

And I honor you.

Happy Mother’s Day!




Pause:  to stop, cease, interrupt action, take a breath, respite, hiatus, interlude,  create breathing space, wait, hesitate……


I am not good at this.  I want to be.  But I am not.

Sometimes I am robotic.  Stuck in routine.


Most days I wake up, work out, shower, have breakfast, perhaps some coffee….and then I am off and running….seeing clients, doing errands, cleaning, cooking, keeping appointments for hair, nails, skin or with an eye doctor, perhaps a PCP or dentist visit.  On a good day, I might meet a friend for lunch or a late day glass of wine or dinner.


But to pause….to actually, consciously make space for those things I tell myself I want to do, promise myself I will do?  Those things I often neglect ….those things I push to the side….like meditating, reading, writing, journaling, even napping.  I tend to minimize their importance…. or allow the old tapes to play in my head…”work before play”, “there is way too much to be done”.


I grew up in a pristine environment.  As the saying goes, you could eat off my Mom’s floors.  She was the cook and housekeeper and later in life also worked outside our home.  My memory is of her gardening, canning the vegetables she grew, baking bread and pastries from scratch, cleaning our home until it gleamed, ironing my Dad’s work shirts to perfection and cooking nearly every meal.  She rarely sat down….and neither do I.

As I start to seriously slow my work life, the option to ‘pause’ becomes more viable.  I look around and note that some of my women friends are actually devouring books and painting beautiful images on canvases or practicing yoga and meditation on a regular basis.  They have incorporated ‘pause’ into their lives.  And through their example, and my desire to change, more recently, so have I.




I vacationed the month of March on the island of St. John. Many warm days and precious moments were spent interacting with family and friends on boats, beaches and over sumptuous meals in funky island restaurants….but I also took the time to journal, to meditate, read and walk.

I watched fascinating cloud formations swim by overhead while lying on a chaise by the pool.  I talked with iguanas that hung from palm branches or sunned themselves on our entry stairs.  Several times, I engaged tiny tree frogs that sat motionless on the sun-baked tile outside our living room door and many mornings spoke to tiny yellow birds that graced the outdoor railing searching for crumbs from our dinner the night before on the deck.

I literally took time to “smell the roses” in the form of luscious red bougainvillea or delicate white and pink hibiscus blooms.

IMG_2331            Unknown-3Unknown-3IMG_2447IMG_0485

I paused with nature to peer at deer in the brush, watched pelicans dive voraciously for their morning meal and observed dozens of hermit crabs traipsing around among the luscious greenery with someone else’s former home on their backs.  I paused to connect with gracious, gentle people traumatized by the hurricanes that devastated their island, listened to their stories and held one who cried in my arms.

More recently, we visited New York City for a few days, a place that challenges any sort of pausing.  Yet, instead of being consumed by the frenetic, indifferent, over-stimulating vibe of the city, I slowed myself down enough to admire the calming art deco and fiercely vibrant contemporary architecture and sat quietly among the exquisite flowering trees of Central Park.  I slowed enough to enjoy a leisurely lunch in the open doorway of a small French restaurant in the Village, as soft breezes touched my face.


I also noted several times when the world paused in the last few weeks.

One afternoon I stopped, as many did, to watch Tiger Woods make comeback history in the game of golf and in personal redemption.  On the same day, I saw a young, brilliant, energetic and kind mayor from a small city speak.  I paused, hanging on each word like I once did listening to the oration of Robert and John Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Barack Obama.  I watched with admiration this first “out” gay man announce his candidacy for President of the United States.


As I practice this new concept of ceasing, delaying, taking a breath…I am aware of an internal evolution.  My instinct has been to minimize the importance of slowing down, of pausing, when in fact the opposite proves true.  When I make relaxation and conscious awareness a priority, I notice how my body, mind and spirit regenerate.  I feel refreshed and renewed.  I take time to reassess life, to balance, to experience gratitude.  I notice.  I breathe.  I am in the moment….present.


The challenge, like staying on a diet or sticking to an exercise routine, will be to remain focused and consistent.  To notice when I am sighing or holding my breath.  To look up, not down.  To schedule time for what is fulfilling, enjoyable or relaxing into my calendar.  To make doing nothing as important and mandatory as checking off items on my to-do list or focusing on my career, returning emails or completing tasks.

I am committed to making a change.

My greatest challenge going forward?

To REMEMBER…. to just….pause.


















Where the Hell is the Brake?….

It is January.

The first month of the year….2019.

This year I will be 70 years old.


I am in great company….so many of my friends and family will celebrate this milestone year with me.  Darel and Diane….and even my famous cousin, Steve Perry,  turned 70 today.  Jan was 70 just a few days ago.  Katrine, DeDe, Marsha, Penny, Pam, Sheila, Patty, JoAnn and so many other of us baby boomers will mark this seventh decade of life over the next twelve months.

I admit, I am relieved to not be alone.

I was texting my friend, Adriana, five years younger, that this one feels like a fairly profound birthday…..

“I’ll be curious to see if you have the same reaction when you ‘catch up’ to me.”

I went on to say….

“My 60’s have been fabulous!  That is….aside from the basic, but for some odd reason unanticipated side effects of aging….the deepening lines on my face, newly acquired aches that interrupt my sleep, skin growths and lumps and bumps I can’t quite accurately describe that appear out of nowhere, knees that no longer want to bend, and eyes that squint at the computer screen

….and then there is the unexpected and deliriously welcomed evolution of self-assuredness, the discovery of comfort in my own skin, the blissful clarity about what’s important and what can be let go of….and the immense gratitude and gratefulness for life itself…. the humble thankfulness that I have been given, so far, almost seventy years to exist on this planet.

At this age and stage of life, I am conscious of remaining present….being in the moment.  I catch myself when I stray…..either reminiscing on a regret or forging ahead with a worry.”

I am going to be seventy this year, there is no time for bullshit!

So with adoring eyes, I note the beauty and wonder of nature, finding awe in a moon that rises from the ocean near our home like a colossal, muted-white disc of Swiss cheese….or a sun that sets with orange/yellow brilliance painting its retreating path in purples, corals, striking pinks and subtle grays.


The mating call of a cardinal, the delicate color of the dragon fly that lights on my forearm,  the distant haunting cry of a loon….all delight me….in ways they never have before.

Dragonfly favoritre

Cardinal Red on White

Friendships with women, always cherished, have now become essential and imperative.  I hold tremendous gratitude for their amazing authenticity and ability to be “raggedy” released with age from the need or desire for perfection or status.  We laugh in unison at the changes we continually discover in our bodies….the new found wrinkle in our neck, at our struggle to remember even the simplest fact…. and the hearty laughter that now has the effect of wetting our panties!

The decades develop in us a sage wisdom that expands and deepens as we mark each birthday.  We make friends with the truth and are unafraid to speak our mind.  Noticing an undeveloped aspect of ourselves, we may be moved to make improvement or perhaps just not give a shit….we tend to be more open and less judgmental, to truly not sweat the small stuff and embrace relationships that feed us….. and perhaps even make the difficult decision to let those go that do not.

And even in light of the gifts, so many glorious gifts, seventy, at least from this vantage point, feels, when I allow the thought, a little ominous.

I am struck with the brevity of life and the potential shorter road ahead with a steady increase in physical decline, the ultimate loss of persons I love, and the awareness of my own mortality.  As my friend Leslie and I have said….we don’t want to go out first (and miss the rest of the party)…. or last (and miss all of our friends)…. so we are hoping to bow out somewhere in the middle.

I am, however, open to being pleasantly surprised….hoping that I will embrace this next decade much as I have all those in the past.

I hear from almost every one of my friends born in 1949….we have been blessed!  We are the generation that asserted itself for equal rights….that spoke up and spoke out on issues of importance….that basked in the best of rock’n’roll….that experienced freedoms for women that our Moms could only dream of.  But as that date in November looms ahead on the horizon, I do find myself more contemplative about the mystery of life itself….and the ending none of us can escape.

When I prevail with ‘staying present’, these thoughts are fleeting and move through me quickly.

I focus instead on life.

Dennis and I will stop working this year and spend even more time with friends and family…traveling, relaxing, exploring sides of ourselves that have waited for the freedom to be found…Jeremy and Danielle have a wedding planned….we love where we live and we love how we live.


So….I may not have much say about when….but dying, at least for now, will have to wait.

I have a birthday to celebrate!

Who Knew? Unearthing Our Creative Juices in Mid-Life…..


When I was a young girl, my Mom’s need to keep a spotless home conflicted with my desire to express my creativity.  Being creative sometimes requires making a mess.  Making a mess was not allowed in my childhood home.

Chebeague Sunrise
Chebeague Sunrise

I do remember, tho, aside from using my creative imagination to ‘marry myself’ in a corner of our living room….playing the roles of bride, groom and preacher…..I also spent time in childhood writing poetry.  After my Mom passed, in a bureau drawer I found the construction paper covered book with rhyming words carefully printed on white-lined sheets.  Deeply touching that my Mom held on to my primitive early attempts at self-expression.

Artist sitting in rocks

P1050273I loved writing poetry, and….I loved to sing.

My first grade teacher liked my voice and asked me to sing for Miss Sassoon’s class in the room adjacent to ours.  I remember being rewarded with a new pencil and a children’s book…a big deal at age six.

The advantage of asserting your creative side as a young person?   No apprehension, no fear.


Aside from my Mom putting a bit of a crimp in my budding creative style, as years passed, I acquired a self-imposed reluctance to put myself out there in any artistic way.  I honestly believed I didn’t have a creative bone in my body.  I envied those who could paint, draw, sculpt or play a musical instrument.  P1060837

As a young Mom, I was surrounded by women who were ‘crafty’….could make all kinds of things from nothing.  I tried sewing and was a failure.  Attended ceramics lessons that I hated.  Took a rug braiding class and braided something that my husband refers to as a ‘placemat‘.  My definition of “creative” was limited to what I believed I was supposed to do…and was not yet open to the endless possibilities of creativity.


Somewhere along the way, I lost confidence in and minimized my own innate talents.  Luckily, I rediscovered and began acknowledging that side of myself again in the last few decades…beginning with the design of a home we built in Harpswell, Maine.   I spent hours learning about and pouring over blueprints, working to bring the beauty of nature inside; venturing into interior design and trusting my instincts on fabric, color, flooring, cabinetry.  All of this was a kick-start toward an expanding imaginative expression.

Once our home was completed…and I could step back and observe the end result…I felt more assured in my ability to make beauty, create art.

Sunset at Cane Garden Bay
Sunset at Cane Garden Bay

I had always loved taking pictures.  Dozens of albums brimming with family, friends and travel photos filling drawers, closet shelves and cabinets….rarely seeing the light of day.  Encouraged by a friend, I took a leap of faith and actually had one framed….and after a while….ventured to find a place for it on a wall.


About fifteen or so years ago,  I began to frame and sell many more of my photos.  Some  hang on the walls of non-profits….and in homes all over the country….several even adorn an office in Sweden!  Others I gave as gifts to friends and family members.

Allowing myself to experiment more with photography, in the last few years I have transformed photos of rocks on Monhegan Island in Maine to large, frameless, canvas works of art.


I liked them enough to hang them in my own home.



It is amazing to me that these simple island stones found in nature contain such brilliant color, patterned texture and shape.  Even more surprising is that art and creativity can be found in the simplest of forms….if you keep your heart and mind open to possibility.

Since building our Harpswell home, we have moved twice….both times to condos….affording me additional opportunities to create and design.

Our last move just two years ago was to a basically one-room, 1,250 square foot loft, which required not only tremendous amounts of downsizing, but a focused exercise in functional design.  With little storage or closet space, I added built-ins that called for contemporary flair….and practical use.  The composition needed to “fit” the space with interest and purpose.  A large piece in the den area serves to hide a printer, files, bedding for guests, office supplies….and displays pieces of art.  I lost sleep for weeks waking with new and different configurations in my head.

Sailboat in Fog

DSC02690Now that we are settled into the loft….with work slowed languidly to a trickle as I downsize my career as well….a sense of panic arose about how to sustain a purposeful, stimulating life.

Through a conversation over lunch with a dear friend who, like me, enjoys writing….I was introduced to a relatively simple way to express thoughts and feelings on-line.  I had followed and enjoyed her blog for over a year, and thought to myself, why not?

In June,  I started writing this blog.  The easy part is navigating the site….the difficulty is in finding the right words to express what I am wanting to convey….and in being satisfied enough with the results to hit the “publish” button.  Being an introvert….the quiet, deep introspection is welcomed.  I spend hours in what I can best describe as a “zone” of inner delight with words and images.

I am certain I am finding the same joy I did as that little six year-old who spent hours singing to phonograph records and writing poems.


Tomorrow I will be sixty-nine years old.

Even typing the number creates some level of astonishment in me.

The Barn

My mind, my heart and my soul hover somewhere around thirty….but rising from a chair with an exclaimed sigh, bending more haltingly from the waist and ascending ever so gently, noticing my pace on the elliptical seeming in slow motion compared to the young women on either side of me….all reminders that, in fact, I am smack in the middle of those golden years.



But….GOLDEN years they are!

Condo living means someone else shovels snow, rakes leaves and does repairs;  children are now adults who are able to fend for themselves;  work, if it exists at all, is minimal;  responsibilities lessen, opportunities open.

A whole new and wonderful world of freedom awaits.

There is time.  Lots of time.

Time for yourself.

Precious time…..

To do….to just be…..

or to find your inner artist…..

and create.







WOMEN…Have We Evolved…Enough?

                   “Everything the power of the World does is done in a circle”

                                                                   Black Elk


One late summer afternoon in 1977, my husband arrived home from work, said he had met that morning with an interesting woman who mentioned in conversation that she was forming a women’s group.

She asked him if he thought I might be interested in joining.

I was twenty-four, relatively new to Maine, with a ten-year old son, a newborn and a part-time secretarial position at a college where my husband was Dean of Students.

A bit intrigued, but puzzled,  I replied….

“What’s a women’s group”?


The following week….with reluctance, some trepidation, but a high degree of curiosity….I knocked on the door of an elegant home on a quiet street in Waterville, Maine, belonging to the woman organizing the new group.  The sun streamed in through the statuesque windows of this charming house and onto the floor and female faces of women I had never encountered before, sitting in a circle, busy with excited chatter and intermittent laughter.

I met Judi for the first time that afternoon.  She sat cross-legged, perched on the edge of a shaggy pile rug….wearing a red and black plaid flannel shirt, denim jeans, sporting a mini-afro of thick, dark curl and a warm, confident smile.

“Hey there, I’m Judi,” she said in my direction.

I smiled back at her, and not knowing or recognizing anyone else, decided the empty space beside this friendly woman was calling my name.

The leader began to talk, quieting the sounds of the room.  She was poised, and spoke softly in an almost hypnotic cadence.  With direct eye-contact, pausing to gaze upon each individual, she welcomed us and shared the concept of a ‘women’s consciousness raising group’.  

The potential group members introduced themselves.  Many were college educated, including three female Colby professors.  A number of the women possessed high-level positions in organizations or had businesses of their own.


I left that afternoon unsure of whether or not I would join.  I felt so out of my comfort zone…and my league.  With only a high school education and a ‘Mrs.’ degree, I questioned if my lowly credentials were anywhere near good enough for entry to this sophisticated circle.

As happens to me on rare, but what later prove to be vitally important occasions….a small inner-voice of knowing lifts me up and carries me through my hesitation and fear. Thus, the decision was made to join this women’s consciousness raising group.

No doubt….it was one of the most important decisions of my life.


One of the professors, a chic Jewish woman….dynamic extrovert with a Brooklyn accent….introduced to us a structured group outline originating from the New York City Women’s Collective, an organization that developed out of the feminist movement, which was only beginning to evolve from its infancy.

The group design required strict confidentiality.

Our pledge….“what is said in this room, stays in this room” ….was vital to sharing openly, authentically and at a deep level of vulnerability.   The importance of regular attendance and participation was emphasized.  The outline catalogued fifty or more topic questions listed in chronological order from childhood to adulthood;  one question to be discussed each time we met.  Group members would, in turn, address the topic, speaking as long as desired and without interruption.  Topics were directed toward life cycle experiences and issues common to women….and the mandate was basically…. ‘tell your story.’

The purpose of the group was to provide a circle of support in which to share and disclose, often for the first time, personal joys…and perils…of being female.  The premise was that by speaking from our head/heart/soul, we might reclaim the powerful feminine energy within ourselves, and within the circle, resulting in an embodiment of living our truth and highest purpose.

The circle experience ‘magically’ produces a sense of power, energy and solidarity that is fostered when women and their feminine essence convene.

Quoting renowned writer and Jungian analyst, Jean Shinoda Bolen:

“Women meeting in circles with a spiritual center are in a sacred space, practicing and developing compassion when they listen, and are deepening themselves.  The more circles there are, the easier others can form.  At the same time, each circle adds to collective human consciousness.”  


Questions in our group covered numerous themes, such as:  “What was it like when you experienced your first period?”, “What was your first sexual encounter like?”, “Were you ever sexually assaulted, abused or touched inappropriately?”, “What about your body do you like, not like?”, “Have you ever had an abortion and how were you impacted by that experience ?”, “Who was your role model or mentor and how did that person influence, enhance or change your life?”,  “What was your role in your family of origin?”, “What are your hopes, your dreams…and what deters you from realizing each of them?”

To provide an additional layer of safety and comfort to members, you were always personally responsible for how much you wanted to share, or whether or not you wished to speak to a particular subject at all.

As trust grew and members disclosed more freely, we ventured from surface sharing into deeper layers of exposure, establishing compelling emotional bonds and an almost mystical, divine connection.  In the process of disclosing our personal selves, the circle became a place of unconditional acceptance and understanding….each member receiving unbridled acknowledgement, encouragement and support when needed.

Some disclosures were dark and painful….often never having before seen the light of day.  Childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence, abortion, trauma, shame, depression, anxiety…spoken about out loud, often for the first time.


In this sacred circle, we inspired one another to lean into discomfort, take the plunge and often make what would become life-altering decisions, for example….whether or not to have children, traveling to exotic vacation destinations with female friends, experimenting with sex toys, or affirming ourselves as we created partnership and an even playing field with our male partners regarding home care, child care and life responsibilities.

This behavior….acknowledging and asserting our needs and desires as females….and claiming a sense of independence and equality in our partnerships….were almost unheard of prior to the 1970’s.

We entered the circle as girls, we left as women.


Our group experienced a few adjustments in membership as the college professors moved on to new locations and left the State.

As a result, we added members….and the seven females in this newly formed group connected in a profound way creating an even higher network of commitment, deciding to meet more frequently, eventually on a weekly basis, for almost seven years.

In our new circle, we engaged in exercises and conversations that provided us opportunity to develop comfort with our bodies, our sexuality and sensuality….and consulted with the Boston Women’s Health Collective, a non-profit responsible for the book, “Our Bodies, Ourselves”.…a groundbreaking manual addressing sexuality and reproductive health, that drastically changed and influenced the women’s health movement around the world.

We stretched our purpose….and planned and conducted a circle evening with a local men’s group; wrote a collective letter to the editor of our local newspaper about exploitation of women in regard to an ad designed for a Waterville cocktail lounge;  one of our artist members led us through a group art project creating a singular piece of work in which we all participated;  we began keeping a diary of our meeting content and our collective programs and projects; a few of us went on to develop The Everywoman’s Center….providing a drop-in center, a library of feminist literature, a newsletter of articles of import to women,  and a monthly dinner meeting that hosted guest speakers.

As the group evolved, our individual lives expanded as well.

One member left for Boston to seek a doctorate at Harvard;  another utilized the group’s reassurance to begin a nursing program;  two of us were inspired to pursue college degrees.  I eventually got my Master’s and started my own psychotherapy practice.

We cherished one another.

We were each other’s coach and cheerleader.  We all grew from our circle experience.

There is no doubt that my membership in this group….the stability, knowledge and inspiration it provided….gave me the confidence to take one step after another toward enlightenment and previously unimaginable goals.

“Circles” can be life changing.

“Peer-led, spirit-centered “circles” have helped women successfully face the challenge of our times,” as noted in “Calling the Circle”, a guide to developing a group circle practice, “where women sit together, pass a talking piece from person to person, speak clearly, listen compassionately, and make well-grounded decisions.”


Women have been creating circles of grounding and sharing since the beginning of time.  As noted in the 2015 ‘Sacred Earth Journeys’ blog, “women have gathered in sacred circles throughout history….around a fire in prehistoric times, in hushed monasteries of the Middle Ages, in consciousness-raising groups in 1970’s living rooms or in online groups in the digital age, women have long congregated to laugh, share, heal, grieve and spiritually collect in community.  In such gatherings, women can experience a deep authenticity within themselves – a truth or ‘realness’ that is often lacking as we tend to our day-to-day lives and its multitude of roles and responsibilities”.

images-7We were no longer our mother’s daughters, though we ached for our mom’s whose choices were sadly, profoundly limited.  Without modern discoveries like birth control, or access to personal credit, or job opportunities outside of the narrow range afforded them….their potential to thrive as powerful, equal beings to their male counterparts was almost obsolete.  Few of our mom’s worked outside the home and if they did, generally it was in low-pay, inferior jobs with little if any opportunity for advancement.

We, their daughters, hoped for… and worked towards…a better life….one embracing change and choice.

Quoting Bolen again, “when women come together and make a commitment to each other to be in a circle with a spiritual center, they are creating a vessel of healing and transformation for themselves and a vehicle for change in the world”.

There may be no better time for women than now to assert that change.

Given the escalating hostile climate in our country regarding women….we currently have a mixed-bag of feminine potential and effectiveness.  The unprecedented, powerful, “Me Too Movement” and the worldwide 2017 Women’s March protest advocating for legislation and policies regarding human rights, immigration and healthcare….are occurring in parallel to the name-calling and verbal assault on the character and abilities of women that is emanating from the White House….and the deplorable mocking of a truth-telling Professor at a hearing for an unqualified Supreme Court Justice.

I have also noted on a micro-level what appears to be steps backward for women in their 20’s and 30’s as I observe the co-dependent behaviors and subservient attitudes present in many of my heterosexual, young, female clients.  What emerges is a pattern of denying “self”…placing the needs and wants of their partners before their own, expecting little in terms of mutually satisfying experiences, locked in relationships of accommodation and ‘other’ care, often relinquishing decision-making to the men in their lives….even foregoing their own sexual needs focused instead on pleasing their boyfriends and husbands.


These same young women….and women like them….watched the Kavanaugh hearing…..a torturous spectacle of denying women’s memories, women’s voices, women’s value, women’s rights.

I wonder…was the women’s movement all for naught?


But……perhaps there is hope….

We….women in our 60’s and 70’s….have developed a sage wisdom that we can employ to serve as muse to young women.

At our stage of life, we are experienced ‘badass goddesses’….women who have been baptized by fire to reach levels of self-confidence, self-respect, independence and self-reliance not experienced by previous generations of women.

We have been successful at partnering with our significant others in all aspects of life.  We experience mutual understanding and respect. We negotiate needs. We are co-equals, co-creating a healthy, conscious, productive co-existence.

As a result, we have the capacity to fully embrace and enjoy the lives we desire….and deserve….to have.

Even now, at sixty-eight, I am a member of a women’s group….have been for over six years.  We meet one day a month…start with a communal breakfast, meditation, share in a sacred circle space….and then relax together over lunch.  I bask in the divine knowledge and wisdom of five other women….all therapists….in one of the most welcoming, authentic, loving, supportive, playful, fierce, ego-less, feedback-filled spaces of my life.


The women lingering on deck…. in the generation behind us….are in need of our encouragement….our knowledge…our guidance….our wisdom.

This is a rallying cry to my wise crone sisters, to seek creative ways to impart your precious knowing to younger females that matter to us.  Develop open-ended conversations, be curious, share your experiences growing up female, cite what has helped you to become the woman you were meant to be…..

…..perhaps suggest and reintroduce the concept of creating empowering sacred circles. 

“There is nothing so wise as a circle” ….Rainer Maria Rilke

We have much to share,  fellow goddesses….young girls and women are thirsty for our knowledge….

…..time to pass the baton….




Believe….Unite….and Vote

There are many brave, courageous, heroic heroines…..and ‘she-roes’…. in my life.


After recently posting a blog describing my personal experience of having been sexually assaulted as a girl and again as a teen, the response from female friends has been overwhelmingly affirming, heartfelt….as well as stunning and profoundly sad.

Within a day or two, nineteen women connected by phone, text, email, in person, and by posting on my blog site….the majority sharing with me their own personal experience of  sexual abuse, incest, sexual assault and rape….as children, while in their teens and as adults.

Some disclosing for the first time.

Each story vivid.  Compelling.  Laced with agony filled memories.


The post was read by all of my family ‘guys‘, who  quickly responded with loving, supportive comments on my Facebook page.

I received an immediate call from my oldest son, expressing his anger at the thought of anyone  inappropriately touching his Mom or causing her to experience fear or shame. 

The primary hesitation I had in sharing my story was the potential impact it might have on my sons….on these thoughtfully conscious allies who have a history of not only respect and high regard for women, but who are unabashedly vocal and outspoken in their support.

But as a Mom, I have that innate desire to protect them from ‘everything’….especially from angst and concern relating to me….or their Dad. 

My reason for hesitating reflected in his first few words….”I am so sorry that happened to you, Mom.”……soft, sweet and consoling, while also pricking that deep-seated shame and embarrassment.  images-6

As our dialogue continued via a Boston to Portland Facetime conversation…. a discussion which included his Dad sitting beside me on the couch….we ventured into a combined curiosity of questions on a cultural and societal level: 

What are the detrimental messages of privilege…. in the form of power and control….being received by young boys/men regarding young girls/women? 

How are boys/men bestowed a sense of entitlement over access to female bodies? 

Have we developed and provided a common language of ‘consent’ for both sexes, and if not, how might we impart a respectful template of discourse to take the guessing out of potential sexual encounters? 

How do we move forward shaping a culture of mutual respect and equality for men and women?images-2

Much has happened in the week since our family discussion.

I watched a credible, respected, educated, anguished woman share her pained story of sexual assault….with the world watching.  I ached for her, imagining myself sitting in her seat, facing a wall of men, many of whom had already discredited her publicly before she spoke a word.

I felt nauseated throughout her testimony.  My stomach tight and in knots. I had to remind myself to breathe.

She, like me, is a sexual assault survivor, so I admit my bias in her favor….absolutely believing her testimony as she related a precise depiction of the actual assault.  Her ‘foggy’ recollection and inability to recall day, perhaps even month…..and the loss of before and after details, made total sense to me.

I do not remember what happened before or after the first sexual abuse at age 11.  I have no idea exactly when it happened….was it spring? summer?…. or at what point I walked back home after the assault, who I might have walked with, what happened the next hours, days.  But….every moment of the assault is 100% imbedded in my brain…..I see him, I see me....what happened before and after, or even when exactly it happened….no longer reside clearly in my mind.  They were not the important details my brain held on to.  My mind held on to what mattered.

Last Thursday, I watched an equally well-educated, much respected man respond to accusations.

Admittedly, my pre-conceived notion was this candidate has not been supportive of the rights of women, the LGBTQ community or any marginalized group;  he has been noted as someone in favor of expanding presidential authority; so for these and many other reasons,  I was not in favor of his nomination.  Regardless,  I was open to giving Brett Kavanaugh the benefit of the doubt, and possibly my support of his appointment, based on his testimony.

He deserved to be heard.

Brett Kavanaugh was not on trial.  This process was the equivalent of a job interview.  We, the citizens of the United States, would be his employer for the rest of his life and assessing his ability to do a job, an assignment for a lifetime, someone who will be instrumental in decision-making impacting all aspects of our lives….required our minds be open, our time and attention riveted.

I watched.  I listened.

I was not impressed.

I have been the recipient of male anger…it can be frightening, especially to women.  Brett Kavanaugh was a man in a rage.

I had moments when I held concern that he would lapse into a break with reality….appearing incoherent, at times literally lost in a teen flashback….relating details as though they were happening in the moment.

This is not the demeanor or temperament of a Justice.

I observed a man of privilege and entitlement concluding he was justifiably owed a Supreme Court seat.

More disturbing than the fabrications he told during his testimony… (i.e., portraying himself as someone who worked hard to gain admission to Yale, when in fact he, like other students whose family members attended the University, would have received preferential treatment;  characterizing himself as someone who spent his high school and college years only playing sports, studying or attending church, was in direct conflict with what many have described as an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and most likely a problem drinker; and purposely providing the Judiciary Committee contrasting definitions of sexually deviant behavior appearing in his high school yearbook) …are the partisan beliefs he conveyed during his statement and his insinuating a Democratic conspiracy against him…which raised serious questions of his ability to be bi-partisan and open in his decision-making on laws impacting every citizen of the United States.

His demeanor, his aggression, his verbal accosting of a female Senator, his misleading answers to questions at times falsifying information….are not, in my opinion, the characteristics required or desired of a Supreme Court Judge.images-2

But my opinion will not matter much….my believing Professor Ford will not make a difference.

Brett Kavanaugh will be bestowed the position of Supreme Court Judge.  I am certain.  This is not a vote based on truth, it is one immersed in politics.

And…..I fear women will revert back to not reporting….and men will be emboldened to assault.

I am convinced in this current atmosphere that appears to prefer male aggression and dominance to equality and fairness; to admire leadership in the form of lies, bullying, name-calling and put-downs; that tolerates intolerance;  that allows for attacking, discrediting and marginalizing women….going forward, Professor Ford and women like me….and you.…will not be respected, honored, believed or heard.

Our daughters, nieces….the next generation of our female family and friend communities….when attempting to speak their truth….are at risk of being marginalized, ridiculed, threatened and labeled…demonstrated by the appalling laughter and applause at a Mississippi rally yesterday, as the President of the United States mocked Professor Ford to the chant of “lock her up”.

We are in danger of being thrust into reverse, losing many of our hard-fought rights…..



.unless we march…en masse…to the voting booth on November 6th.

We can change the course of history, while proclaiming WE WILL NOT GO BACK!



The Truth….and Nothing But the Truth….

I was less than twelve years old.


It was a game of hide-and-go-seek with about fifteen other “kids” who lived in my neighborhood,  a rural suburb west of Worcester, Massachusetts.  The setting was a densely wooded backyard of a family of nine, including seven children I considered friends.  As the one who was chosen to be “it” closed their eyes and counted slowly to fifty at the designated “home base”…..the other players scrambled to conceal ourselves, searching for the best place to burrow, hoping not to be found.

I had located a great spot.  I was sure I was safely hidden.  I couldn’t hear or see the others from my vantage point and patiently waited crouched down in the bushes for my opportunity to rush back to the starting place without being caught.  As I listened intently for the counting in the distance, suddenly someone grabbed me from behind, covered my mouth with their hand, wrestled me to the ground and while pressing their groin against me began to rub their other hand quickly and vigorously all over my body.  As the faint sound of counting stopped followed by the shout of “ready or not, here I come”….he laughed, released me with a shove and ran to touch the “home base”.

I never told anyone.

I was stunned, embarrassed.

I was ashamed.

I couldn’t imagine how I would explain what had happened to my parents.  I am not sure I even had the words.

I was fearful.

He was my best friend’s brother, close to sixteen years old.  He was a big guy.  A bit noxious at times. Would he retaliate?  Would it be even worse the next time?  Would he be punished?   If he were reprimanded or worse, would I feel badly and responsible?

I started to doubt myself.   I wondered if he was just being playful and I was overreacting?  Was there something I did wrong….did I deserve this?  If I say anything, will I be believed, made fun of, rejected by my world.…the friends on my little street?

The moments remain vividly locked in my memory.  If I close my eyes, I can still feel his  unwanted hands touching my chest, my groin area, his thrusting into my backside.  It was my first introduction to male dominance, entitlement, power and privilege….to knowing at some primitive level that I was not an equal….to experiencing my body as something shameful and not completely mine.

Even at eleven years old….I knew it was a violation, but in that confused and disoriented state….I was reluctant to tell.

I never played the hiding game again.


Fast forward.

I was a nineteen year-old young adult woman working in the Athletic Department of Holy Cross College with two other women who became cherished friends.  We were similar in age with one another and with the student population.  We had great working relationships with the coaches, the players, and other staff in the office, dated some of the student athletes, were close friends with many of them, and our social lives with all of the above were intertwined.

A kindly, playful older man, “Connie” was the janitor in our facility.  He would pop in the office multiple times a day, bring us coffee, hang out, share in the college gossip and was generously available to be of assistance to the three of us…from jumping a car battery to carrying heavy boxes…always friendly and helpful.  He was harmless, a grandfather type with an Irish brogue, a good guy….it was not unusual for him to put his arms around our shoulders and give us a “bear” hug.

And then there was the afternoon his hug became a clear groping and grabbing.  He held onto my breast and for several seconds didn’t let go.


I never looked at him the same way again.  I never trusted him again.

And I never told anyone.

I couldn’t bear having this man, my friend of several years, the man who I relied on like a relative, possibly fired from his job, I told myself, because of me.  He had a wife, grandchildren.

Again, the confusing self-talk.  Did I behave with him in some way that gave him the wrong impression?  Maybe I was mistaken and in his exuberance to hug his hand slipped?  That same disorientation and disbelief I had as a little girl.

On the other side of my bewilderment, I wondered why someone I trusted, someone who was my friend, would do this to me?   So my rationalization was…it must be me.

I minimized it, justified it, sucked it up….and never forgot.

That same year, one of the football players, someone I knew well, exposed himself to me.   I was in the dorm with friends.  We were planning to attend a party on the bottom floor of the building.

He and I were both sober.  He asked me if I would be willing to type a term paper for him, I said I would, and I followed him to his dorm room to pick it up.

Again….the same confusion.

And silence.

According to the Child Sexual Assessment Center in Houston, Texas….“the prevalence of child sexual abuse is not known because so many victims do not disclose or report their abuse.  Adult retrospective studies show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are sexually abused before the age of 18 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006).  This means that there are 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the U.S.  The primary reason that the public is not sufficiently aware of child sexual abuse as a problem is that 73% of child victims do not tell anyone about the abuse for at least a year, 45% of victims do not tell anyone for at least five years.  Some never disclose. (Smith et al, 2000; Broman-Fulks et al, 2007).”


For the past few days, I have been aware of the internal visceral reactions I am having to the Brett Kavanaugh nomination and to the female professor who has come forward to accuse him of attempted rape when she was a fifteen year-old freshman and he was seventeen years old.  All my old fears and sha materializing on the television screen.

Professor Ford, the accuser, has become the target of ridicule by the son of the President of the United States….his crayon scribbled, cartoon-like writing mocking the alleged victim of Kavanaugh’s sexual assault.  She has been accused of having a personal vendetta against the Supreme Court nominee;  pro-Trump websites according to CNN are “publishing stories to sow doubt about Ford’s credibility;” she’s been described in print as an “unhinged liberal professor” a “far-left accuser”;  the conservative leaning Wall Street Journal argued that “Ford’s claims should not warrant a hearing nor a delay in the Kavanaugh confirmation”, calling it a political ploy.  Her accusations are being referred to as “fake news” by some conservative activists.

Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who sits on the Hearing committee, has said that Professor Ford is “mistaken” and that “even if the accusation is true, Kavanaugh is a good man and Senators should judge him on who he is now”.

All of this pushback, even though a licensed psychotherapist and a polygraph test support her story.

This is exactly why women remain silent.

This is precisely why I did.  This is why many women do.

Women know there is a high potential and probability they will be re-victimized.


I am old enough to remember Anita Hill grilled by a lineup of white, male, pin-striped Senators.  She was not believed.  Clarence Thomas became a Supreme Court Justice despite the accusations of sexual harassment, corroborated by others.

What’s different this time?

This time the accusation is attempted rape.

There are four, fierce, formidable female Senators sitting on this Senate Judiciary Committee who will be questioning Mr. Kavanaugh and Professor Ford.

And…the “Me, Too” movement has created a more supportive and protective backdrop for women to be heard, believed, validated…for many women, providing the first crucial and important steps toward healing.

Brava, Professor Christine Blassey Ford….for your courage, your willingness to put your reputation, your family, yourself on the line in order to present a clearer depiction of the character of this man who wants to be a Supreme Court Judge.

Your voice is our collective voices.

As Symone Sauders, a former national press secretary for Bernie Sanders and victim of rape said in an interview today, “there is no incentive for Professor Ford to come forward, except to tell the truth.”

I believe Professor Ford.  Period.