Of Triage and Harvest Moons

20130919-185714.jpgThings have been rough lately. Very rough. As a family we seem to be going through one of those periods in life when, if you aren’t mired in it, you marvel that in can be endured. Each of us is facing big things. Big life things. Things that, if they stood alone, would be crisis enough. When they come together, you either have to laugh or cry, because it hardly seems possible to keep putting one foot in front of the next.

I’ve done my share of crying. Alone at night. On the kitchen floor. In the bathroom when it has been the only escape. Most bouts of tears have been triggered by little things – nothing in the house for dinner type stuff. Stuff I would typically use as an excuse to go out. And I could have this time too. Except I know the stress needs an outlet, the tears must flow and carry their load and toxins away. And sometimes you just need the small things to get them started.

We have been triaging. We have been running from urgent matter to urgent matter, unable to slow it down or step back and prioritize. Like mice in a maze, we are on autopilot. We run around putting out fires, usually fairly quickly after the start, but not always. Medical tests, meetings, school issues, work projects, repeat.

The problem with triage is that maintenance never happens and important things get missed, laying the groundwork for the next crisis….

The good news is we are digging out. Sadly, I’ve had to drop some balls that really mattered to me, but nothing that will change my life. That’s what happens when you are in triage mode.

One of those balls was dropped last night. Last night was the first night of one of my favorite Jewish holidays – Sukkot – a harvest festival dating back to biblical days. In temporary shelters that allow you to see the stars though the roof covered with leaves, we eat, sleep and visit with friends. The holiday lasts a week, and I typically enjoy waking up with the sun and the birds (and ideally not the neighbor’s gardeners) a morning or two each year. But this year building and decorating our sukkah got triaged off the list. Schlepping the poles and tarps and decorations from the garage just wasn’t in the cards. It happens…


When I woke up this morning, after a late night helping a certain child stay motivated to finish a paper, I realized that I also missed the harvest moon. Grrrrr. I mean, I know that’s not exactly high on the priority list, but damn if I didn’t want to see it.

See, it’s more than just another moon. Back in June I had the deep honor of spending a week in Bolinas, California in Marin County (before you look for it on a map, grab a magnifying glass!) at Commonweal’s Cancer Help Program. CHP is something I’ll be writing about one of these days – but to be honest, I’m still processing. Suffice to say it was a life-changing, life-affirming, life-embracing, life-living week. On our last night together our group sat in the living room at Pacific House taking about going home. We also had a sentry on duty that evening, charged with the responsibility of letting us know when the Super Moon began to rise, and when it did we all left our meeting to view the moon together. And what a magnificent moon it was! Dabbling in the world of ritual, we all agreed that on each new moon we would stop to reconnect with our little group. Since leaving Commonweal I’ve been steadfast (BOTH times) about taking those moments for our group, about sending light and healing and love to the magnificent souls whose journey crossed mine that week, to pray for their wellness and wholeness. And last night I missed it…

It’s symbolic of the triaging around here, and I’m trying to take it lightly. When we focus all of our energy on the BIG things, which rightly, understandably demand attention, we miss out on the little things. But sometimes we confusing the big things and the little things.

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.                                    It’s the life in your years.”

– Abraham Lincoln

Good news! The “official” full moon was this morning at 7:13 AM. So last night was 12 hours early, I’m doing it 12 hours late. It’s ok – my Commonweal friends get it!


29 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DrAttai
    Sep 19, 2013 @ 21:04:53

    Lori – you were not able to participate in the ritual started at Commonweal because you’re not in a position to send out the light right now. But the light and love of others is shining down on you. You will send it out when you are able. Right now you just need to absorb the light of others and hopefully that will give you strength and peace. Sending much love, and light.


  2. BlondeAmbition
    Sep 19, 2013 @ 21:31:16

    I’m terribly sorry for all that your family is going through, Lori. As usual, your writing is powerful and makes us think. At least I do. One thing I’m struck by is how something so ordinary (not having food in the house) can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back during intense times. And as you rightly point out, there is a thin line that separates tears from laughter. I’m glad that CHP was so meaningful for you. Always remember that people might not remember a specific action, but they will never forget how you made them feel. In other words, you’re a treasure to all who know you, 365 days a year, new moon or not. That’s the impression you make on those who know you (even those you’ve not actually “met”). xox


    • Lori
      Sep 23, 2013 @ 11:15:24

      Thank you so much for your warmth! We are fighting our way back and once we do I SWEAR I’m making my way in your direction!! XOXOX


  3. Jackie
    Sep 19, 2013 @ 22:32:46

    beautiful to take in, just like the Harvest Moon.


  4. Summar Breeze
    Sep 20, 2013 @ 00:06:55

    It was wonderful to read a post of yours; it’s wonderful you have been able to blog even in the time of triaging. I must begin journaling again myself as I find it so therapeutic. Thanks for sharing about your traditions, and ending with such a lovely quote. Sending love.


  5. NotDownOrOut
    Sep 20, 2013 @ 11:55:17

    Lori, I read your post and was sad for you, but also touched by the idea that you are sending out light (and receiving it). So I’m sending a glow to warm your day. I hope things go better soon!


  6. The Accidental Amazon
    Sep 20, 2013 @ 16:56:35

    No words. Just hugs, appreciation, empathy & love. xoxo


  7. karen sutherland
    Sep 22, 2013 @ 20:39:28

    dear Lori,

    here’s a wish for you to help you find your way through all the difficulties and tears and frustration and sadness. may all you do for others, at home, in your community, in your advocacy, and with this blog come back to you one-thousand fold. I am sending this wish via the bright and shining light of HOPE, but you can also get it by way of moonlight. just turn your sweet face skywards next time it’s full and gorgeous, and FEEL it shining right through to your heart, healing and nourishing your soul.

    much love and light,

    Karen, XOXOXO


    • Lori
      Sep 23, 2013 @ 11:19:42

      Thank you so much, Karen! As I read your note the moon was still dimmly lit in the morning sky! XOXOX


      • Kwanele
        Sep 23, 2013 @ 15:47:39

        Lori – Thank you for this healing piece. Found it very helpful.

        “…I have done my share of crying. Alone at night…The tears must flow and carry their load and toxins away.” (So true!)

        Sukkot happened & you couldn’t build the physical sukkha because life is happening to you and yours. A different kind of harvest perhaps? You have commented on learning to *receive*.
        Know that your friends in the global village are holding you gently and asking for you to be sheltered by love and light.
        Go on, it is OK for a Jewish ima to feel the love and care too… (Smiles)
        I am learning to sit with my tears, whenever and wherever they chose to fall. Thanks for sharing your vurnerability and encouraging those of us in pain to own our own too.

        Love & light, Kwanele

      • Lori
        Sep 23, 2013 @ 15:51:55

        Thank you for your beautiful words of support and encouragement! We really are a remarkable global village, aren’t we?

        Much love, Lori

  8. Jody Schoger (@jodyms)
    Sep 23, 2013 @ 10:36:48

    Love. Because it’s all I can say and do right now. This is gorgeous.


  9. seaglassinthemidst
    Sep 23, 2013 @ 10:55:48


    Tears flowing here! Sometimes those “little” things are the only BIG splendors that set our hearts aglow. Thinking of you and your family … during this difficult time and though I know these words sound too cliché, I can’t help but know they’re true: this too shall pass. Meanwhile, always know your light is always shining so bright … that it helps guide the way for the rest of us who get stuck in the dark.



    • Lori
      Sep 23, 2013 @ 11:21:41

      Oh, Nicole – thank you. Sometimes I find others have a very hard time sitting with my tears; they want to fix it or solve it or make me laugh. I’m not adverse to laughter! but I’m also content to sit quietly and hold the box of Kleenex for you! XOXO


  10. Susan
    Sep 23, 2013 @ 14:07:05

    Lori I am so sorry that you are in this intense triage mode. At the same time I know that your energy and light is so powerful and as my tears flow knowing all of the fires you are being hit with in your triage mode, I know you are so special and there are so many people that truly care about you. I knew that it was a sign that the official full moon was still within the 12 hours late or early, and the energy created by your Commonwealth friends is with you. I hope that more calming times surround you and all I can do is wish that this New Year (even though it was a missed time for Sukkoth) will bring many days of joy to you. I send you sweet blessings of love and light. XOXOXO – Susan


    • Lori
      Sep 23, 2013 @ 14:33:36

      Thank you, Susan! Sometimes it’s all we can do to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I believe, though – or maybe just really, really hope – that I’m starting to slowly dig out. Xox


  11. Anonymous
    Sep 24, 2013 @ 21:03:21

    I’m so sorry to hear about you “tzouris.” Just want you to know that I pray for you. Don’t ever give up. We love you.


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  13. Nancy's Point
    Oct 02, 2013 @ 08:04:44

    Sending love and support and hoping you are able to feel and receive both. I’ll focus on your good news, the part that says you’re digging out. Hopefully this means things are settling down a bit. Thinking of you and your family, Lori. Hugs.


    • Lori
      Oct 05, 2013 @ 16:50:04

      I believe we really do receive all of those wonderful wishes and prayers, so thank you Nancy! Beginning today I am taking a leave of absence, and I am very optimistic that we can get back on track! XOX


  14. bethgainer
    Oct 05, 2013 @ 15:34:26

    Lori, I am catching up on my blog reading and came across this beautifully poignant piece. I’m so sorry for all of the crises that keep coming up. I wish I could give you a hug, but a virtual one will have to do. Our online community is here for you. (BTW, in the Chicago area, it’s often too cold to sleep in the Sukkot shelter. It’s hard enough to eat a meal in there!)


    • Lori
      Oct 05, 2013 @ 16:45:22

      Thank you Beth! Things are hopefully calming down at last. For the record, I used to sleep out every year growing up! The hard part, as I recall, was the wind at dinner time. It is admittedly nicer now, when it’s 70 degrees out as the sun rises.



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