On Being 54: Dinosaurs, Ponies and Jewish Mothers

Rose is in her second year at Evergreen State College. After having wandered two years in the wilderness of Reed College and Seattle Community Colleges, she has re-discovered the joy of learning. rose and me fullEvergreen not only suits her academically, she has been living 1 minute away from her supportive first cousin, Annie Cantrel; and one and a half hours away from her supportive, yet demanding father. She is taking courses which will allow her to go to Nursing school.  Nursing fits her love for all things medical and her enjoyment at helping people.  She is also taking courses which will allow her to go to Law School.  Law School fits her love for precision and for being right. We just spent fourth of July hiking on Mt. Rainier. Mt Rainier and Rose MediumShe made me laugh so hard I nearly peed on myself when she described an image of herself channeling Chris Pratt in Jurassic World holding off the Velociraptors, but instead holding off her frogs from the time she was frog-keeper at Reed College.  Wait for it….Click **here** !   I love that we find the same things funny, enjoy our gluten free gourmet outings, and of course our skiing.

Christopher is on gap year. That’s the one year break  kids do these days between High School and College in order to be more neurologically mature than their college freshman competitors.  I think they also do it to have a good time. CD Cake FullAnd he is.  He is spending 6 months living in NYC making music, photos and film. His creative energy is amazing !  I have never seen him happier.

CD Glasses FullHe shares my genetic love for the energy, perfectionism and opportunity of New York City. After NYC, he will travel to South Africa for to help teach autistic children followed by a return home in November to complete college applications. We have outsourced Jewish-Mother-Christopher-Management to a college and a gap year consultant. I have warned him that should he come to Seattle to do his college applications, he will be under the tiny yet strong forelimbs of the Indominus Rex Father who is a genetic chimera of Jewish Mother and Velociraptor.

Check out his most recent song, “Longing” by clicking play button above.


I took a class at my church entitled “What would Jesus do?” We learned about the story of “Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the Well.”  Jesus had been doing a lot of work. He stops at a well and sends his disciples on to buy food. What would Jesus do when he’s tired and things aren’t working out? He takes a rest, returns to Source (metaphorically the well). He opens himself up inspiration.

I was tired and things weren’t working out.  I had honed my skills to articulate my highest good. I had followed the instructions of my spiritual teachers to write down my “good,” without limits and with a lot of detail.  It’s not enough to want a pony. I wanted an Arabian Stallion.  He would respect me and my expert riding skills.  After our rides, I would walk out the door of my ranch, located a the top of a High Rise in San Francisco, to great food, great theatres and perfect weather.

I wanted to move to San Francisco. I wanted to cut back or quit doing Anesthesiology all together. I wanted to expand my creative work of group facilitation, writing and performing into a full time gig, while making more money than I make now.

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(Click here to see my Stanford Center for Immersive Learning Annual Symposium Keynote Address on “Using Theatre Techniques to Communicate Better in Healthcare.”)

What was I doing in reality? I was living in Seattle, working full time as an anesthesiologist.

Apparently, my inner Jewish Velociraptor was stronger than my inner Jewish Jesus.   I wasn’t ready to sit down at the well. I went out and found a life coach. She was older than me, spoke 7 different languages, owned 5 companies, had written 3 books and was in Acting School. My kind of person. Then I received her contract. Yikes ! I could have bought an Arabian Stallion, and made a down payment on our San Francisco condo for 12 sessions with her. Enter cognitive dissonance. “That must mean she’s really good !” Then, in a moment of high self-esteem and  self-love, I asked her to consider reducing her price. She met me half way. I was elated and in another moment of high self-esteem and self-love,  I sent her a link to my film short, “On the Nature of Hotness.” . She wanted to talk me that day!  I knew it. She loved my film. She had connections and would help me get a distributor. I was going to finally make some money on it and get my Stallion.  I gave her call.  Uh oh… She didn’t love it…She was deeply offended and questioned my motivations for sending it. Thus ended the first route to my San Francisco High Rise Arabian Stallion.

I still wasn’t ready to sit down at the well. I found another perfect life coach. He was my age. He was familiar with embodiment energy work and Tantra. I had met him before and respected him. His rates were reasonable. We started sessions. I filled out forms. I journaled. I visioned. But in each phone session, I came away angry instead of excited. In a moment of high self-esteem and self-love, I mentioned that I had been really enjoying Salsa lessons. He challenged me to explain what Salsa had to do with my career goals. Thus ended the second route to my San Francisco High Rise Arabian Stallion.

I still wasn’t ready to sit down at the well. I found my third and final 2014 life coach. He was my age. He had an earlier career in theatre, had written a book, and was now facilitating groups in areas related to my interests. I had met him before and respected him. His rates were reasonable. Then we tried to book an appointment. He was only available for two hours every other Wednesday morning. Didn’t he realize that I HAVE A JOB ?!  In a moment of high self-esteem and self-love, I relinquished multiple full days of  income on those Wednesdays.  I had to do this a month and a half in advance as is required by my work scheduling procedures.  I told him that it was all arranged.  Then he told me that due to his travel schedule, he couldn’t commit to appointment times more than a week or two in advance. Thus ended the third route to my San Francisco High Rise Arabian Stallion.

Then Fajar and I took a three week trip to Asia. We were going to Bali, Thailand, Kiyoto all which had some of the most sacred and beautiful Temples in the world.

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Places with “wells” where I could sit, pray and receive from Source without having to write checks or be challenged about Salsa classes.

When I got home, I knew I should  go part-time in Anesthesiology. I sent in my request and it was granted.

The Well-Sitting continues, though with some Jewish Velociraptor tendencies.  I find myself re-tapping into my joyful obsession with the unique perfectionism of healthcare. I really love doing high stakes high quality work with others who are likewise obsessed with perfection.  My creative life is re-opening with a new level of acting classes this summer, collaboration on a concept article for a medical journal, and being accepted to the UW certification program of non-fiction writing.  I am feeling refreshed and I can smell my stallion nearby.

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