Facing Fear: JOY WALKS ON FIRE!

One Saturday night my husband and I decided to attend an early celebration of the Spring Equinox, which would include fire walking!

I had seen this sort of thing done by Tony Robbins and was familiar with Deepak Chopra  who helped to popularize it. It was either this or celebrating St. Patrick’s Day Mexico style with Irish stew at Funky Finn’s, a local music venue for drinking and dancing.  Fire walking intrigued me. The event was promoted on FB showing 60 other crazy people thinking of doing the same thing on a Saturday night.

My husband and I showed up tentatively planning on listening to the coach, a hippy looking Baby Boomer with long white hair and a casual air.  There were only a few people at first nervously signing a list of attendees and being asked to donate for the evening’s expenses. So, for 300 pesos (about $17) we would tempt the fates and walk on hot coals of between 800 and 1700 degrees farenheit!!!!!!!!

More and more people showed up, both locals and Gringos, which was nice to see and we began. The coach has been doing this with his wife for many years.  (I wondered, does he have a resume that says certified fire walker?)

He spoke of losing your fears, having a relationship with the fire, changing one’s life, etc. A little cult-y sounding, but my interest was piqued. We were asked to write down on a piece of paper the things we wanted to get rid of in our lives on one side and the things we wanted to welcome into our lives on the other. My husband made suggestions!  I wrote down my own flaws (the few I have!) and what I hope to bring into my life after this altering experience.

We then were asked to come up one by one and throw the piece of paper into the burning fire.  Very symbolic to be sure.  As the sun was setting and darkness beginning to envelope the crowd, the fire was deemed ready.  The coals have to be almost ash, but glowing red for the walk to begin.

The coach explained the scientific reasons for why people don’t go up in flames or leave with 3rd degree burns.  There was no ambulance on site so I guess he knew what he was doing! He told the group that each person would come up, stand in front of the coals that had now been placed on a piece of turf, and make the split  decision to walk or not walk. Caminar or no caminar. I thought I was going to walk, but wasn’t 100%, nonetheless my husband was on board.  Being competitive and knowing I may not have this opportunity again  back up North, I was going to walk too!!

A bit scary, but after watching several people do it walking at a comfortable pace (not supposed to run screaming!) I was psyched.  It felt hot, but not unbearable and I stayed fixated on the fire.  Mind over matter at its utmost. With people cheering each person who completed the walk with hoots and hollers, I was on a high!  A fire high! I have a small blister on one foot, that the coach called “fire kisses”.  Many people who do this get them, so I am now officially in the fire walkers club. Oprah has nothing on me!

Today’s newsletter, called ‘I’ve Been Thinking”, by Maria Shriver, whom I read religiously every Sunday, just happened to focus on fear.  How apropos.  “Fear.  It’s one of the scariest and most complex emotions that we face as human beings.  It can paralyze us and stop us in our tracks.  Or, it can motivate us to keep fighting and keep pushing forward.”

Today’s Takeaway

. Maria said it best. We must push through fear.  It is the one emotion that plagues every human being.  The idea is to face it head on and prove to yourself that you can do anything!!

.Take advantage of opportunities that come your way. It could have been an ordinary Saturday night or a celebration of St. Patrick’s Day at Funky Finn’s.  This was so much more, a memory and an accomplishment I will remember forever.  Best part, my husband and I did it together!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

Roots…it’s who we are

Joy’s tribute to her father, Ben.

Not to be outdone by my quirky, but lovable mother, Ben was a character unto himself. How I grew up halfway sane (debatable by some) is a miracle! Ben was the Jewish mother that Muriel was not.  He hovered, obsessed, worried enough for two, and was always fast forwarding his age.  He wasn’t ashamed of the actual number, but actually relished in telling everyone how old he was, that he had worked since the time he was 16 and that he would be retiring at 65.

His life was very different from that of Muriel, coming from an Orthodox Jewish family that spoke only Yiddish in the house, immigrants who had come from either Austria or Poland. No one’s quite sure and one census said one country, another a different one.  Regardless, you get the picture.  An upper west side Jew from Riverside Drive he was not! He was, however very handsome and had a great physique having lifted barbells in the house every morning over his head.They must have weighed 200 lbs, or at least that’s the way I remembered them. Jack LaLane was very popular at this time and the concept of regular exercise was new and not practiced by everyone.

Ben’s father Morris worked for Jack, Muriel’s father as a piece goods cutter.  My grandfather on my mother’s side had a clothing company and actually made uniforms for New York’s police as well.  In his day he was a businessman who provided his family with a comfortable lifestyle.  Morris having a playboy son (not married until almost 40!) and Muriel not being married at almost 34 saw a potential match and so the two were introduced to each other.  According to Muriel, she didn’t like him very much and thought he was very cocky.  Nevertheless, they did in fact fall in love and marry in 1948, a marriage that would be one of the good ones.  Mutual respect for each other, a quiet togetherness, enjoyment of each other’s company.  

My grandmother wanted grandchildren so after suggesting to my mother that she was selfish for not wanting to have them, Muriel succumbed to the idea.  What 1950’s wife didn’t want children? Highly unusual indeed!

Ben was a worry wart from the moment I was born.  He was always tightening the caps on medicine bottles certain I would take an overdose out of curiosity and die. He wouldn’t let me pet dogs and the thought of having one was totally out of the question. He watched me like a hawk and in later life was the worrisome parent who stayed up to make sure I got home safely, while my mother went to sleep oblivious to the hour I might return home. As I said, he was the Jewish mother I didn’t have.

The anxiety I later had in life, about literally everything came from papa.  If there was the slightest possibility that something could go wrong, I thought of it. If someone was late, they were most definitely hit by a car on their way home.  If I saw a spot on my arm, it was most likely cancerous, and my happy exterior belied a person filled with neuroses and idiosyncrasies.  I was raised in a state of constant worrying.  We are who we are because we are by products of the people that are closest to us.

My father would have benefited greatly from the drugs they have today, that have helped people live more balanced lives. I loved him dearly and miss him very much.  With all his nuttiness and crazy thoughts, he was strong and smart and always there to lean on. The confident, albeit neurotic woman I became was largely due to the warm nurturing upbringing he gave me.

We could all do with a little Lexapro!

 

Today’s Takeaway—

. We are the first role models our children have. Our behavior affects them greatly.

. Now that we have drugs which improve the quality of people’s lives, accept them.  Be it depression or anxiety, no one needs to live with the constant stress and tension of life the way they used to.  The labelling of these often crippling disorders can be lessened.  

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox, Barclay and Joy

Got an EPH?

EPH-no it’s not an acronym for a PH balance shampoo!

EPH stands for Ever Present Husband.  Got one? 

My (Joy’s) husband retired several years before me, patiently waiting for me to join him in this next phase of life.  By the time I joined him in retirement, he was master of the home front.

He had always worked from the home and had taken the lead role in the chores that stay at home moms usually do — helping with homework, preparing meals, being the voice of reason when the kids fought with each other, taking the dog for walks.   

I commuted daily and often stayed late in the office; so ours was not the typical scenario for suburban New York during the 80’s and 90’s.  I was out of the house from early morning until evening.

So a career later and the fanfare of retirement gone —  I came face to face with my EPH.

I had heard of women complaining that they couldn’t be alone anymore, that this person that they shared a bed with was always there, omnipresent. When you go to work everyday and only share weekends with this EPH, you don’t appreciate your space and independence.  It’s just what you know as life.  

I began to notice that my husband doesn’t have a lot of hobbies —  no golf,  no tennis,  no gym rat is he.  My EPH is an intellectual type who can linger on his laptop all day working on projects, broadening his knowledge base for the sake of learning.

I on the other hand have always been a transactional person, someone who needs to see the payback before I put the time into it.  Black and white, so to speak.  That’s why I was a good trader and a natural born salesperson.  You buy a stock, you sell it, you book a profit.  You have a sales quota, you achieve it, you earn a commission; you sell more than your quota and you earn a bigger commission!  It’s so simple to see the payback, the fruits of your labor.

Naturally, my EPH and I entered into this retirement chapter quite differently, me Type A, and he, well, a letter further down the alphabet.

So, what do you do with this EPH?  

The funny thing is that the EPH doesn’t know he’s an EPH. He doesn’t have anywhere that he needs to be and after all, it’s his house too.  Retirement tends to create a level playing field so, at some point whether you were a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, an entrepreneur, a doctor, lawyer, Indian Chief, you just become an EPH eventually!

Today’s takeaway  —

  • Continue to have your independence —  have lunch or dinner with friends, attend cultural activities, find and follow passions.

 

  • Find common activities that you can do with your EPH.  In our case, we have taken up hiking, getting those legs and arms moving; we’re talking  inclines, intermediate to advanced hikes that make you catch your breath and sweat. All good and something we can do together until we can’t!

 

I also really never thought about it, but was I now an EPW?  An Ever Present Wife?  Admittedly,  I have my own quirks, my annoying habits (albeit fewer than my EPH!) I have been selfish in only viewing life from my own looking glass.  ‘It takes two to tango’, my mother always said and she was wise beyond her 1950’s housewife years.  

I finally get it.  

This is an opportunity to see each other in a new light —  accepting our faults, but most importantly, reigniting that sparkle, that chemistry – with intentionality.

Go for it!  You have the time!

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox, Barclay and Joy