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Karen Paul
Writing at the still point of the turning world.
Recent Activity
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I have just returned from a grief retreat at the famous Kripalu yoga center. I spent three days in the company of around 40 other people who were there to process their grief under the gentle and guiding hands of two facilitators and writers, whose skill and expertise in the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2019 at Dwelling in Possibility
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There is a giant patch of orange day lilies in my neighborhood. They begin their journey in the dark of winter, their green stems poking up around the time the first crocuses are fading, twisting and growing all through April and May until they finally explode in early June. Their... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2019 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Last week I had the honor of volunteering in two Washington, DC, schools. I accompanied a grief and trauma counselor from the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing – an extraordinary organization dedicated to providing support services for people grappling with all sorts of loss and trauma in their lives... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2019 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Ari Joshua Stern would have been 21 years old today, March 5. A lifetime. Majority. Adult. Instead, he died on March 10, 1998, five days after he was born, because of a doctor’s error and an ensuing tragedy. He died in my arms. It was the first time I was... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2019 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I’ve just spent an entire weekend alone. My youngest son had a weekend away at a friend’s house, my partner is at a work event all weekend and no friends popped up magically and suggested a date. I’m sure I could have packed my weekend with social activities, but when... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2019 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I woke up with pliés and jetés twirling in my head. No sugarplum fairies, but rather the most basic of dance steps. Because last night, I took a ballet class. My first class, when I was five years old, was in Miss Ruth’s ballet studio in Jackson Heights, Queens. I... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2019 at Dwelling in Possibility
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There was one oak tree that was stubborn this year. It held onto its leaves until after the final date of curbside leaf pickup. I finally had to hire my leaf guys to take care of my house before the tree was done releasing its bounty. Today, a beautiful 60... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2019 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I am an orphan. My father died earlier this year, after having suffered from COPD for many years but with a very quick, final end. My mother died 14 years ago, also a rapid demise, three weeks from diagnosis of lung cancer to her painful and untimely death just two... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I have always been a pretty organized and efficient person. Sure, things have slipped as I’ve gotten older, both a tribute to a busy life, parenting, and allowing myself some slack. But I have rarely missed an important deadline, whether self-imposed or outside pressure, to get something done. I pay... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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On the night before Thanksgiving, I tripped while walking the dog and fell. On my face. On our concrete driveway. As I was falling, I was terrified. I was foreseeing the future – brain injury, broken nose, injury to my eyes, broken bones. Not able to take care of myself... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I just spent two intensive days at a workshop with six writers. Our host, the wonderful Meghan Daum, is a pull-no-punches writer, whose essay, “Matricide”, is one of the hardest pieces you’ll ever read. And, as she told us this weekend, it was one of the hardest things she’s ever... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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These are the days that social media was made for – it is Election Day, 2018. There is not one of my close Facebook friends who is not talking about voting, about our future. Everyone around me has been working to the bone the past few days, canvassing, phone banking,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I had a strange experience over the Jewish holidays. I attended a service that was held in my synagogue, but it was not held by our congregation. It was another shul that doesn’t have its own home, using ours while we used a high school auditorium. I was interested in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Last night I attended a workshop on self-care entitled “Wisdom, Wellness and Spirituality.” It was a Jewish communal gathering, focused on giving women of all ages, denominations and levels of knowledge entry points in to the various spiritual practices available to find our center using Jewish traditions. While the audience... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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When I was 15, my parents, deep in the throes of the angry end of their marriage yet still not separated, allowed me to take a train from New York City to Boston to visit a family friend who was a student at Wellesley College. This was one of the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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(NB: this is written from the perspective of a straight widow, who was married to a man and is now partnered with a man, so it has a heteronormative bent. I do not know what it’s like to be a widow who was married to a woman, or, for that... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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The dogwoods are the first to announce it, the tips of their leaves now tinged with red. The crape myrtle are resigning their late-summer throne of just a couple of weeks ago, and the yellow petals of the black-eyed Susans are fraying. Change is in the air, as we wend... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Dear E, T, & N, Last week I was taking a long hike with someone I love in a beautiful outdoor sculpture park, when images started to flash before my eyes. As I meandered in the summer heat over the rolling green hills, peppered with soaring pieces of art, I... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I’ve just returned from a writing retreat, where I spent three days writing to many prompts. One of the prompts was to “write about something that happened, but that might not have happened, and the effect of that occurence.” I wrote about a car accident I had, where my youngest... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I am in the third week of being away from the responsibilities of work; I am beholden to no one but myself. I am traveling, talking, walking, writing, smiling, loving, missing, crying. I am feeling the freedom of life, of being able to choose where I am and who I... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I have spent the majority of my life being body conscious. From the time my legs started to sprout up underneath me, to the unmitigated pain of breast development in fifth grade (please please don’t bump into me), to the cat calls, whistles and boob stares of most of my... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I’ve been so busy thinking about how my children will react to their second Father’s Day without their dad that I forgot that this will be my first without mine. Now that I am an orphan, these Hallmark holidays irritate me even more than they did before. I really have... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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One of the things I always appreciated about my relationship with my husband was our independence. We loved each other, and we enjoyed doing many things together, but from the very beginning it was clear that we also had quite divergent interests. I could only pretend to go for a... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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It has now been two and a half weeks since my father died. It feels like a million years ago. My work life is unbearably busy and my work as a mother who needs to be present for her grieving children goes on. As does my own life and work... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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This will be the first blog I’ve written that my father won’t read. He won’t read it because he died today. I wish I had written it before he lost consciousness; as my husband knew, it’s kind of nice to know what nice things people are going to say about... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility