Perfect However It Turns Out.

Do you remember the weather prognosis for Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving? The wintry mix along the coast, the wind, the cancelled flights and the travel warnings for I 95: to say nothing of the prediction that there would be a record number of drivers on the roads because of the drop in gas prices. Even in good weather the Thanksgiving traffic toward Hyannis, where I was headed with my youngest son and his family, is horrendous, so this weather prediction was daunting.

The thought of the six hour drive north and east on Wednesday toward ferries that might not even run and, if they did, would be madly rocking to and fro during the two hour crossing, began to make me more than somewhat nervous. To go or not to go: that was the question. I didn’t have the same determination to get to their house on the island as my son and his family did. I wanted to be there with them; I just didn’t want to get there.

 Letting go of the outcome of it all, my prayer about Thanksgiving became, “Let this Thanksgiving be perfect however it turns out.”

On Tuesday evening I had a conversation with my daughter, who said, “Come to our house” (in New Canaan) “and see the boys.”

On Wednesday morning I spoke with my daughter-in-law, who admitted that the whole Thanksgiving in Nantucket thing was very stressful even for them. “I can get pretty snippy about it,” she told me.

That did it. I opted out.

Instead, I spent Thanksgiving with the six-member, New Canaan contingent of my family. A treat to see the older boys, all of whom are working now so glimpses of them are rare. I cooked with my daughter and held my favorite grand dog in my lap. On the way home I counted myself blessed to have had such a wonderful fall back plan.

And the blessings didn’t stop.

A childhood friend of my oldest son, who lives in Wilton, CT, and whom I have known since she was born, has just begun to read this blog. She had read The Privilege Of Pies and therefore was aware of the pending Nantucket trip. Our families were good friends during my married life in Ohio and Peggy emailed to say that if, due to the terrible weather, I did not go to Nantucket, her mother and older sister were visiting her and they would all like to see me.

A chance to see her mother, my friend, Kay, who was my tennis and paddle tennis and bridge-playing pal of twenty years? And two of Kay's three daughters, whom I watched grow up and who were so much a part of my children’s lives? Yes!

We met on Friday for lunch. When I saw Kay, I couldn’t stop hugging her. She has been through some medical issues so she is a bit frail, but there is no change in her bright eyes and spirit. The girls--no longer girls, of course—are attractive, smart and interesting and, above all, as they always have been, they are loving. The four of us caught up; we laughed and we remembered.

“May this Thanksgiving be perfect however it turns out.” 

Isn't it amazing how often when one plan folds, something totally unexpected and wonderful takes it's place?

Written by Cecily Stranahan, our companion on this journey of reflection and self-discovery. Visit Cecily's Blog at

Who Would Have Thought?

Who Would Have Thought?

I have purchased an I Phone. A steep tech learning curve for me. So far I can do about four things on it: call, email and take pictures and send them. Does that count as four things? Could be that taking pictures and emailing them is only one thing, but I am grabbing credit wherever I can.


While using this tool, I have made a shocking discovery: something that astonishes me. It turns out that I have fat fingers. I cannot seem to hit only one letter at a time on that tiny keyboard. I am working on this. Watch this space.


A friend showed me one technique, which I totally love and even understand. If you click two times rapidly the screen shows you pictures of all the Apps that you have used recently and one by one, with the barest upward slide of a gentle finger you can make that App page disappear. Off each one goes, rising into cyber space not to be seen again unless you summon it forth. You know this already, right?


But I want to make a point here. And that is, that effortlessly sliding away that App that you are finished with is similar to Zen Buddhist practice. The practice goes like this: I’ve had that thought or done that particular thing and whoosh, I am letting it go. I do not cling to it; it is in the past. Now I am free, available in the present moment and open to whatever is next. Just like with the Apps on the I Phone, if old stuff and old thoughts hang around in my head, they will surely drain my battery.


Clear it. Release and refresh: all very Zen. A great life practice. Who would have thought the I Phone could be such a helpful  Zen teacher?




Check out Unleash Potential, offering personal growth groups in Fairfield on the first Thursday of the month. Caroline J. Temple and Lisa Jacoby are the compassionate leaders of Unleash Potential and my companions on this journey of reflection and self-discovery. Click here for more:

Written by Cecily Stranahan, our companion on this journey of reflection and self-discovery. Visit Cecily's Blog at 

On being a mother-in-law

I am about to become a mother-in-law to 2 wonderful “daughters,” and we all know the reputation of mothers-in-law! So, I am determined to do everything I can to be the best I can be – and I am old enough and hopefully wise enough to know that this means walking the walk of living in my Truth – “being” the elements of kindness, compassion and light, doing my best to keep my ego at bay, and tending to my own triggers so I can stay open, loving and supportive, stepping back to watch so I can carefully maintain healthy boundaries and refrain from advice-giving or over-involvement (even if it’s hard sometimes!!) You see, I always wanted a daughter. I fell prey to the beliefs that I would somehow lose a son when my sons grew up and found wives. I suppose this was my fear – that somehow I would be “excluded.” I can see how the wanting kept me suffering, and how, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Largely because of my attempts to practice the Buddhist way of non-attachment, acceptance, compassion and love, and to live in my Truth, I am finding abundance, expansion and greater richness than I could have imagined. This is an example of how life is so much fuller than the beliefs we have about it. I know it deep in my heart and soul.

This past weekend, on a brief visit to San Francisco, I had a chance to “walk the walk and talk the talk”, meeting my future daughter-in-law’s family, celebrating with D and A and their friends, and witnessing their joy, excitement and love through that lens. I listened, and watched and loved and gave and let go of control – and in return, I received in abundance. Let me tell you, it was pure joy. Love and presence stripped away any illusion of exclusion or loss. And if any of my baggage showed up, even for a moment, I found myself reaching for the feeling of joy again. The result? Pure magic. I was even asked to go gown shopping and was witness to the first vision of her as a bride – an image of pure loveliness that took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes.

So, by living in truth, love and compassion, I have already begun my new journey of being a mother-in-law, knowing it is up to ME to stay aware, awake and attuned, reaching consciously toward the image of the kind of mother-in-law I aspire to be, bringing the feeling into the here and now. It certainly feels like I’m beginning a new and wonderful journey, full of healing and promise! What I know to be True is that I am enjoying some of the happiest moments of my life with my grown sons and I am so very grateful.