Even Better Broken

Posted on Jan 21, 2019 in Uncategorized

I chipped my favorite coffee mug a while back. It really upset me since it had been a gift from a favorite friend 35 years ago. Since the cup was black I found a permanent Sharpie and used it to color the exposed bisque. Viola. I could barely see the chip!

However, the chip was located right where my lower lip hit the cup when drinking – so the permanent black ink was soon rubbed off and the flaw again stared at me every morning. Being right-handed I couldn’t reverse the cup and not see it. And I couldn’t bear throwing it away. I simply had to live with it.

With time I reacquainted myself with my cup – and now I drink out of it with pleasure. This all happened with delayed introspection. I just stumbled through the process and FINALLY realized, it was perfectly ok for my cup to be imperfect. In fact, I now view my chipped cup as charming, and I love it even more.

With my experience in mind, I enjoyed reading Omid Safi’s “The Pause” column about: mending what is broken with gold. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Illuminating the Beauty in Our Broken Places

By Omid Safi

I have a favorite coffee mug that I use every morning for making my own cup of coffee. The ritual pleases me. My own coffee, ground and brewed fresh. The aroma of the coffee that fills my home. My fingers wrapped around the cup. Soft music playing. It’s a lovely way to start my morning.

Recently my beloved cup got a chip in it. I don’t remember where the chip came from, but I look at it each time I go to drink from the cup. Thinking about the chipped cup makes me think a lot about cracks. Cracked spaces. Cracked hearts.

Read More

Thank God It’s Not Me

Posted on Jan 6, 2019 in General Grief

On Being this week features Pauline Boss, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of Loss, Trauma, and Resilience: Therapeutic Work with Ambiguous LossLoving Someone Who Has Dementia, and Ambiguous Loss.

You can read the transcript or listen to Krista Tippett and Pauline on the podcast. I urge you to do one or the other. It will help you better understand yourself, and when isn’t that a good thing?

>Read Transcript

On Being: The Myth of Closure

There is no such thing as closure. In fact, Pauline Boss says, the idea of closure leads us astray. It’s a myth we need to put aside, like the idea we’ve accepted that grief has five linear stages and we come out the other side done with it. She coined the term “ambiguous loss,” creating a new field in family therapy and psychology. She has wisdom for the complicated griefs and losses in all of our lives and for how we best approach the losses of others.

Read More

Our New Culture of Humiliation

Posted on Nov 25, 2018 in Self-Improvement, Transition

“Shame can’t survive empathy” 

– Brene Brown


If you haven’t listened to Monica Lewinsky’s TED talk, please do. And then consider talking to your kids and grandkids about shame – and how to better handle their digital world.

Watch TED video by clicking image below:







Read More

How Do I Control My Online Life After I Die?

Posted on Nov 18, 2018 in Facing One's Own Death, Self-Improvement, Uncategorized

You may not care what happens to your online presence after you die, but think again.

I subscribe to Leo Notenboom’s blog “Ask Leo.” Leo is a true geek who writes about computer issues – and 99% of the time his columns are “over my head.” However, I continue to read just in case I might understand.

This week’s article “What Happens When I Die?” is for all of us—geeks and non-geeks. It gives TalkingBittersweet readers a good roadmap for how to end a person’s online data and pictures.

Whoa! That last sentence sounds so final, doesn’t it? I did for me as I typed it. It shows me how digitally connected I am. Did you have the same reaction?

What Happens When I Die?

Making technology both convenient and secure is a problem we deal with daily. We make trade-offs and use techniques that we hope strike an appropriate balance.

A more difficult dilemma that we rarely think about, however, is death. If something were to happen to you, would the people you leave behind be able to access the information they need? What happens to your encrypted data, online accounts, social media, online finances, pictures, and digital-whatever-else if for some reason you’re not around or able to access it?

I hear regularly from people frantically trying to access important, sentimental, or critical data that a recently deceased or incapacitated friend or family member has locked up tightly.

It’s not particularly pleasant to think about, but with all the security measures we put into place to keep bad people out, it’s worth having a plan for letting the good people in.

Read More

Most of us are part of the problem we complain about. – David Brooks

Posted on Nov 11, 2018 in Suicide, Uncategorized

Courtesy of Peakpx

You might argue that our President’s rhetoric doesn’t contribute to the increase in violence so, for now, let’s agree to disagree. You can still relate to David Brook’s New York Times column below.

If we can’t ban the guns people use to murder, can we step in before they reach for that gun? Why don’t lay people, especially men, get trained to become part of the solution?

What if you called your local school district, religious organization, or your County Social Services Department and asked?

Read More

We Are Not Who You Think

Posted on Oct 7, 2018 in General Grief

Aksel Holland, age 17, died on April 10, 2018. Everyone who knew Aksel talks about how warm, loving, and intelligent he was.

His poem sets the bar for all of us.

How it really is

It’s not tragic
It’s not your disease to pity
It’s not something for you to feel lucky
that you don’t have to deal with

It’s an illness. disgusting
It takes people and changes them
Ugly shadows of what they could have been
had their mind not revolted

You sing praises for those who can function
Those who shower, work, talk
And condemn the ones who need help the most
“Look at that crazy homeless man”

If I yell at the air, you draw back
If she bleeds from her arms you recoil. gross.
If he can’t get out of bed, he’s lazy
Illness is only valid when it’s ‘normal’

The only tragedy you are allowed to mourn
the only moment not reserved for us
is the loss of a soul, a life
that couldn’t stay above the current

Do not look at me with pity
do not look at me with disdain
I am just as human, just as real
as you, and I need your help

I am not the storm
We are not who you think
We are fighters, warriors against everything
that you refuse to see


Read More

Life as an Orchestra

Posted on Sep 2, 2018 in Book Testimonials, Self-Improvement

Hello Again –

Here to wish you a pleasant Sunday, and pass along a passage from Rahel Remen’s book, My Grandfather’s Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging. I read the book years ago and recommend it to anyone who feels a bit lost in the current world muddle.

“A colleague told me that he thinks of his life as an orchestra. Reclaiming his integrity reminds him of that moment before the concert when the concertmaster asks the oboist to sound an A. ‘At first there is chaos and noise as all parts of the orchestra try to align themselves with that note. But as each instrument moves closer and closer to it, the noise diminishes and when they all finally sound it together, there is a moment of rest, of homecoming.’

‘That is how it feels to me,’ he told me. ‘I am always tuning my orchestra. Somewhere deep inside there is a sound that is mine alone, and I struggle daily to hear it and tune my life to it. Sometimes there are people and situations that help me to hear my note more clearly; other times, people and situations make it harder for me to hear. A lot depends on my commitment to listening and my intention to stay coherent with this note. It is only when my life is tuned to my note that I can play life’s mysterious and holy music without tainting it with my own discordance, my own bitterness, resentment, agenda, and fears.’

Deep inside, our integrity sings to us whether we are listening or not. It is a note that only we can hear.”

Read More