Last night was the first night of Yom Kippur. Which includes the opening prayer of Kol Nidrei. Which I love. I just love this night. I love the music and the prayer and the reflection. I love the time we take within the service to pray alone. To meditate. To be inside ourselves while we are inside this community. This is my favorite of all the Jewish Holidays and the only night that I attend each year.
This year, for the sermon, the Rabbi spoke about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after they had eaten the forbidden fruit and were hiding from God. They were hiding and then this friggin’ badass Rabbi starts talking about the concept of duality.
And then she segues into Internal Family Systems and quotes Dick Schwartz, who founded this amazing methodology of self-integration and acceptance and presented to the world this idea that all the parts of us—our Internal Family—are good. That, to coin his phrase, there are “no bad parts.”
And I sat in this community center—with floor to ceiling windows looking out on lush green grass and this weird and massive sculpture that looked like boat sails, kind of—that doubled as a synagogue on this most holy of nights and I thought--
Of course I am here on this night in this space listening to this Rabbi as she quotes Dick Schwartz and talks about integration and all our parts and showing up fully as ourselves. As she talks about not hiding. Just as Adam and Eve did not hide. When God called out to them, they said Hineni—Here I am.
Here I am. La Shana Tova. A good year.
So first let’s talk about my dog. (Do you notice a pattern here?) I was taking some new headshot pics the other day, with this cool camera timer app on my phone called...drum roll...Camera Timer! And so I was taking these pics, where I get to sit and my camera clicks 30 times! 30! And while this was happening my amazing puppy who is just so cute and smart, I mean really, like so cute and smart, came bounding over and so we had to play and I got to capture these pics, too, as my camera was clicking and I was playing. And so I got these awesome photos of me with my so cute and smart dog. So here you have it, this is why these pics, that are accompanying my writing about my brain are puppy pics and have nothing to do with my brain.
So my brain.
So my brain does this thing. This auditory thing. Kind of like a photographic memory but with sound. I remember what I hear. As in, if you tell me something I know it. And can say it back to you. Often word for word though I have the attention span of a squirrel and so lose interest before I am done with that playback. So paraphrasing is more my speed. But still…
I did not know I had this brain thing. That this was special, unique, something out of the ordinary thing. I mean I knew I could remember things. Phone numbers, songs, my entire calendar, every word in a meeting. As long as I care. When I care. Then I can remember it all. Except names. What is up with that? I can’t remember your name. But I will remember, verbatim everything that you said to me. Oh, and I will remember what you wore. Anyway…
I started realizing this was something when I went to law school. I went to law school after my second baby was born. As in three weeks after my second baby was born. She came with me, with my sister. Who sat in the student lounge and would knock on the glass of the classroom door and beckon for me to come out and nurse this sweet baby when she was hungry. She meaning my baby, not my sister.
I never missed a class. In 5.5 years of law school—at New England School of Law which offered this incredible program to students who had kids and allowed us to match our classes with our childcare schedule and gave us 6 years to finish—I pretty much never missed a class.
I sat in the front—except the second half of my pregnancy with my third baby when my stomach was so big that I couldn’t fit under those fucked up desk/chair things where the desk part folds down and so I sat at a table in the back of the room that they brought in special for me—and I read the cases that I should have read the night before but I had babies at home. And a dog. And a husband.
And so I sat in the front (when I wasn’t pregnant) and read the cases with one part of my brain while the other part listened to what the professor was saying. And I remembered it all.
I don’t know how to take notes. Like, what is important to write down? How do people know how to do this? I think maybe I don’t know how because I don’t really have to. Because of how my brain works.
My notes are something like this. Professor N. wore a blue shirt and sat on the edge of his desk and talked about Public Policy in Secured Transactions. And then, reading the prompt while studying for an exam, the entire lecture would download into my head.
That’s how it works.
It’s a download.
I coach people for a living. I am moving fast here. I coach people. Executives specifically. General Managers and other Leadership Team members. And some others as well. In family businesses primarily.
I also do that Divorce Mediation thing I have mentioned before.
But this coaching... I was in a session the other day and the person I was meeting with asked me if I had a recording device running. I thought he was asking because maybe it was mucking up our Zoom connection. “Is there something up with our Zoom connection?” I asked.
He wanted to know how I sent my recaps and didn’t miss anything we talked about. Like anything.
I recap all my meetings for my clients. Divorce and coaching and couples work, too. I recap the meetings because (1) it helps my clients because, especially in the divorce and couples work, we are meeting at a time of deep emotional challenge and it is hard to remember (for them) and so I remember for them and send them the recap and (2) I can then reference this recap at our next meeting and the last meeting will download into my brain so I can show up in the best way this time.
So, this coaching client, he wanted to know how I send my recaps and don’t miss anything that we talk about. Like anything.
“It’s my brain,” I said.
Then, I proceeded to send my recap to him and forget the most important thing. Until I hit send. Once I hit send, that last bit downloaded. Sometimes my downloads have a delay. (It’s a signal to noise ratio problem. This is technology humor. I had to google it).
Remember when I wrote a book about my dog. My Nava A Bedtime Story book about my brilliant dog.
Well, I also wrote a book about my Cat. My 20+-year-old-oh-my-some-days-I-don’t-think-he’ll-make-it-another-moment-he’s-so-old-and-frail-and-can’t-hear-worth-a-dime-and-then-he-jumps-on-the-counter-and-eats-my-food cat.
So this book, this book was inspired to be created in the same way that my Nava book was inspired to be created. Because my Rose in Massachusetts grandson and I would Facetime and play the Where’s Phoenix game. We’d look for him everywhere. Is he on the chair? Outside? Eating his food or drinking water from his bowl?
We’d go hunting over Facetime together till we found him. We played this game for a while ALL THE TIME! We also played with a yellow school bus and a lot of little Lego people, a writing for another day.
Where’s Phoenix? is my new children’s book. Published through Phase Publishing, it is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
It is an awesome book. And I’m not just saying this because I wrote it. And took the photos. And created it in InDesign. Ok… I am saying it because of that. :-)
Please buy my book. Your kids and grandkids and friends and you…you will love it. It’s sweet. He’s sweet. My cat. Phoenix.
Here are the links...and I included the Nava book, too. Because you know...you need both!
Where's Phoenix at Amazon
Where's Phoenix at Barnes&Noble
Nava, A Bedtime Story at Amazon
Nava, A Bedtime Story at Barnes&Noble
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.