Mama and me on a girls' trip to Williamsburg, VA


I see your wool coat
reminding me of young you
fresh and beautiful.


I opened a book.
There was a card from Mama.
For You. Love, Mama.


Her sentiments live.
She speaks through her written words
supporting me now. 


I feel like crying.
I live in beauty and good
yet dark pulls at me.

April 18, 2015

The polish expression “Not my circus, not my monkeys” has finally made it to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where I live and work. I have a client who has been telling me about their use of it in her home. This week another client brought me a copy of the expression off of the internet.

The reason these clients are showing me this expression is because this is very much what Disentangle, When You’ve Lost Your Self in Someone Else is all about! They know that we talk about and work on boundaries often. We work on letting go of things and people not in our control. We work on learning to develop and manage our own circus.

I am glad that this old expression has made it to our popular culture. I am glad people are noticing that sometimes we are trying to manage someone else’s monkeys, that we are in the arena of a circus that is not ours to be in. And behind the fondness for this expression I believe is the realization of the craziness that can come from chasing someone else’s monkeys.

This is what can happen when we lose our self in someone else, when we are over-functioning in someone else’s life and under-functioning in our own. These are the ways I describe codependent behaviors. I still find that people are reluctant to look at their codependent behaviors. They steer away from the codependent word; they have reasons to justify their involvement in the lives of others. So I am very happy that a colloquial expression helps people to identify the importance of noticing if they are dealing with someone else’s circus and monkeys, and I am glad we can all laugh at this image.

Disentangle, When You’ve Lost Your Self in Someone Else offers four areas of skill development to help with learning to work with the monkeys in your own circus and to really practice “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”

Welcome to my new BlogSpot!

Thank you, Grace (, for making this possible for me and all who visit.

This photo was recently taken by me on my front porch here at our old clapboard home on the James River. It is time to plant, time to plant lots of new things, including thoughts and words. 

And that's what has happened for me since mid-February. I have fallen into haiku. Yes, that's how I am expressing it. Many of my thoughts and feelings are in that form which I am now calling In the Wake of Grief: Haiku of Mind, Mood, and Mindfulness. No, I am not making an official book out of this writing, but it is quite a little volume that I will be sharing some with you here.  I believe that many of the haiku reflect, hopefully, mental health and recovery which I work with and write about.

Both my dear Mother and Daisy, the border collie, died last September, 2014. In the months that preceded their deaths,  I was beyond busy, torn by where to be and with who, low in sleep, and really on auto-pilot. I must have started to wake this past February as these words and feelings began to come to me. I welcome them. I trust them. They are part of my grief process. And I want to share some of them with you, hoping they may offer their own form of mediation and meaning for you.

Mixed with these haiku will be my comments, essays, and thoughts.

I thank you for taking the time to spend time with me.


She was in my dream,
running, bouncing, full of life,
still very alive.


Thinking of the road
to my piano lessons,
I thank you extra.


It's time to let go. 
The mullein's tall, dead remains
are begging for rest.