By Edie Weinstein
My fingers are tip, tap, typing the words that flow through my busy-buzzy brain. Bleary-eyed after a tumultuously dream-filled night. Rapid-paced scenarios with Nazis kidnapping and threatening people I love. Going into hiding, eventually we triumphed, but I awoke, heart racing, dripping with sweat from exertion. I wouldn’t be surprised if I were running in my sleep.
This has been a common experience lately. I am clearly a tree-hugging, crunchy granola hippie. I call myself a peace-monger/activist/pacifist who shows up, stands up and speaks out in the face of injustice. Just like in my dreamscape, it gets exhausting physically, mentally and emotionally.
I wear many hats; among them- journalist, interfaith minister, speaker and psychotherapist. In each of my roles I hold an expectation of being at my best, spontaneously available, providing a safe haven and comfort for those I serve. Since childhood, I have felt that was my responsibility. It was modeled for me by loving parents who took care of their family, friends and community. My mom was ‘the rock’ who stood solid for everyone. On occasion, I would remind her that rocks crumble. Would that I had taken my own good advice.
For decades I would spin ceaselessly, multi-tasking, like the man on the Ed Sullivan Show who would spin plates, fearing what would happen if I dropped any of them, yet adding more to the routine. Throughout my adulthood, I don’t recall a time when I had only one job, always overlapping streams of income. Part of it was fear of not being able to support myself, part inherited workaholism. My father was the model for more than just a solid work ethic. He worked, “crazy hours,” per my mom’s description, to support us. She worked as well, but his was an obsession. Having grown up in a working-class family in South Philadelphia, who, to his embarrassment, received welfare, he swore he would never be in that position again.
I too worked those insane hours, sometimes 12-14 hours a day with 5-6 hours of sleep for years. I still made time for family and friends and fitness, as had my dad.
On June 12, 2014, the proverbial chickens came home to roost, as on the way home from the gym, at age 55, I had a heart attack. After a stent was inserted., major lifestyle changes were in order. Cut back on work hours. Change my diet. Med regimen. Cardiac rehab. Naps. Slowing my pace. I resisted many of those mightily, as fear bared its teeth and claws, threatening to gobble me up. What kept me going was the love, support and supervision of family and friends who made me take time off of work, insisting that I could no longer connive myself. One friend, who I have known since we were 14, lovingly chastised me by saying, “You call yourself a woman of integrity, but you have been lying to yourself all along. Every time you tell yourself you will slow down, and you don’t, your body stops believing you.” Reluctantly, I admitted she was spot on. “Healer, heal thyself,” became my mantra.
In the interceding six years, having just celebrated my 6th cardiaversary, I have changed jobs, paced myself, done deeper dives into my recovery from workaholism, which I have come to accept is an addiction, that had held me in its grip for as long as I can remember. I have become more transparent and willing to peel off the layers to reveal the real. I have set boundaries and maintained them.
What’s real for me in the moment, is that I wake up with anxiety as a companion each day, more so since the pandemic ravaged the world. I am not pre-disposed to anxiety or depression. I now have a front row seat to what many of my clients experience chronically. Even with my mad therapeutic skills, the emotions feel tidal wave threatening. I live alone, so quarantining solo was a challenge at first. Thank goodness for technology that affords me the ability to work from home, offering telehealth sessions for my clients and to keep me in touch with loved ones. Zoom calls have become familiar means of communication. I believe that the phrase, “Unmute yourself,” will appear in the dictionary this year.
I am also a consummate hugger who offers free hugs events as the founder of Hugmobsters Armed With Love. Since 2014, I have hugged thousands of people in the U.S., Canada and Ireland. It is part of my passion and purpose, and it came to a screeching halt a few months ago. What was once a nurturing necessity has become a hazard. Humans have skin hunger that is as important to meet as food hunger. Many of us are starving for human contact. Until we can safely hug again, I encourage people to do self-massage, snuggle with stuffed animals, cuddle with critters (if they live with animals who are willing), hug trees and themselves. It staves off loneliness for me. I have started hugging back to back with a few friends, while we are wearing masks.
I have a practice I do daily that has been helping me to get through these ultra-challenging times. I lie in bed and take a few deep breaths with one hand on my heart and one on my belly; offering calmness and ease. I acknowledge what I have survived, including the deaths of my husband, both parents and a dear friend over the past 20 years, as well as several personal health crises. They included shingles, kidney stones, pneumonia and E Coli. I offer prayers for the world and ask that I be a force for positive change and healing. I express gratitude for the blessings in my life. Before I drift on into dreamland, I engage in the same routine, saying familiar prayers and visualize healing for the planet.
There are times when I feel as if I am flailing and floundering in the waves and have periods of peace when I am floating. I am learning to let my faith be bigger than my fears.
REV. EDIE WEINSTEIN, MSW, LSW
Love Ambassador, Opti-Mystic & Bliss Mistress
Edie delights in inviting people to live rich, full, juicy lives. She is an internationally recognized, sought after, colorfully creative journalist, interviewer, author and editor, a dynamic and inspiring speaker, licensed social worker and interfaith minister, BLISS coach, event producer, certified Laughter Yoga Leader, certified Cuddle Party facilitator, and Cosmic Concierge. Edie is the founder of Hug Mobsters Armed with Love, which offers FREE HUGS events world- wide on a planned and spontaneous basis. For more than three years, she was the host of the Vivid Life Radio show called It’s All About Relationships.
She speaks on the subjects of wellness, relationships, trauma recovery, addiction, mental health, spirituality, sexuality, loss and grief.
Edie is the author of The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary and co-author of Embraced By the Divine: The Emerging Woman’s Gateway to Power, Passion and Purpose. She has also contributed to several anthologies and personal growth books, including Taming the Anger Dragon: From Pissed Off to Peaceful.
Over the past 30 years, she has had the honor of interviewing His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Louise Hay, Judith Orloff, Debbie Ford, Arielle Ford, don Miguel Ruiz, Wayne Dyer, Bernie Siegel, Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Marianne Williamson, Grover Washington, Jr., Dan Millman, Ram Dass, Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine, Dennis Weaver, Mariel Hemingway, Ben & Jerry and SARK.
In the last four decades, she has worked with those who have been diagnosed with life-altering conditions, including mental health issues, cardiac disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility, end-stage conditions, eating disorders, addiction, traumatic brain injury, stroke, depression, and anxiety. She focuses on her clients’ resilience and assists them in developing a solid toolkit of coping skills. As both a clinician and a patient, she is aware of what it is like to be on the other side of the treatment relationship and can be of service to the patient, their caregivers, as well as the treatment team. Edie can address the issues that arise such as body image, trauma, sexuality, relationship changes, vulnerability, change in physical or cognitive ability, aging, end of life issues, and communicating needs.
If you want to:
- Embrace life fully
- Release patterns that have kept you from moving forward
- Re-write the narrative to create the life of your dreams and desires
- Enhance your relationships
- Become an Opti-Mystic who sees the world through the eyes of possibility
“Contact me today to see how I can meet the needs of your organization, publication or the person who looks back at you when you gaze in the mirror.”