Hanging Out At Home

Taped up on the wall by our front door is a drawing Aviva made about a year ago, with these words written by a teacher: “My favorite thing to do in the community is to hang out at home with Pearl.” I glance at this picture and take in these words countless times everyday. They make me smile, sometimes chuckle.

It’s like having a mirror by the door. Aviva’s favorite thing – when she was four anyway – was to hang out with her little sister. Introvert, extrovert – she’s a lot like her mama. She goes both ways, depending on her mood and what she needs and what time it is in her day, in her life. She is very social and loves her friends; just tonight she came down from her room and handed me a “letter” to put in tomorrow’s mail. It says, “AVIVA LOVES ELLA AND ELLA LOVES AVIVA.” She is also introspective, perhaps at her happiest when she’s with Pearl, me, and Greg.

You see, I don’t much feel like leaving the house lately. I do it anyway, mind you. I go drop kids off and I go pick them up, I go to work some of the time, I go meet a friend for breakfast, I go running through ankle-deep slush. I go visit Greg in his office. I go to the market, the bookstore, the vet, the pediatrician, the library, the gas station, the bus stop. I go sledding, swimming. If there’s a holiday party, I go to our neighborhood synagogue, the one we still haven’t joined. Go, go, go. Go, dog, go.

But I don’t feel like going. I only feel like staying. Stay, stay, stay – that’s not exactly a phrase we cut our teeth on. I feel like hanging out at home with Pearl. With Aviva. With Greg. Alone. I am so aware of my need to label this and define it and explain it and make it okay. It’s my period. It’s a sign. It’s something to overcome. It’s something to give in to. It means I’m lost. It means I’m depressed. It means I should be worried. It means it will always be like this.

I’ve been planning to attend a morning meeting tomorrow at the Coaching Center of Vermont. I have been to a handful of gatherings there, but am not myself a member. In fact, I’m sitting with uncertainty as to my coaching path; As I find myself settling more deeply into not striving, not manifesting, just being, I’m questioning whether I can or want to work with clients who want a coach to help them move forward – which is what I think of as the primary emphasis of coaching.

Today, I saw a friend. I had a client. I folded laundry and put away the folded laundry. I washed dishes and put away clean dishes. I had a big cry. I talked to a friend. I wondered if I’m depressed, or “just” hormonal, or just here now. Then I picked up Pearl, Greg, and Aviva. And on the way home, Greg observed that I was happy.

Maybe my favorite thing to do in the community is to hang out with my husband and kids.

Tonight I said to Greg, “Ugh. I’m just not sure I can go to this meeting tomorrow. It’s so not where I’m at right now.” He suggested that maybe I should say something came up. Maybe it’s not time for going out. Maybe it’s time for staying in. I considered that. Mostly, I just appreciated him for the permission. A phrase Bella quotes in her beautiful post today was exactly what I needed to hear: “A time to connect and a time to withdraw.”

The sun shines high above the cloud cover. When we lived in Tucson, I used to long for moody weather, rainy days that begged you to withdraw, to stay in, to hang out at home.

When Aviva was born and I asked Greg if he felt even a pang of disappointment at having a girl, he replied, “We got the child we needed.”

We get the children we need. We get the moods we need and the teachers we need, the goings and the comings, the meetings and the retreatings. I’m not sure where I am, but I’m hanging out at home. And in a way I can’t fully explain, I’m enjoying this experiment of just being in that place, that nowhere, that now here. My favorite thing to do in the community changes as I change, as the seasons change. For today, hanging out at home seems to be where it’s at.

10 thoughts on “Hanging Out At Home

  1. bella says:

    It sounds like you are being fully where you need to be, listening to yourself and trusting what you hear.
    I was interested in your reflection on coaching and helping people move forward, rather than just be. I don’t know much about coaching but it sounds like you are finding your way to do this work, an integrated approach.
    I too love my home, my husband and child and just hanging out, more than anything.
    May you feel wrapped in warmth and comfort.


  2. meg says:

    I love the settled nature of this post. Of recognizing what you need–of listening to your own voice. I think there are countless possibilities to where this is taking you–in your life and in your coaching, however you choose to define it.
    Wishing you warm soup, cozy blankets, good cries, warming teas and rest…sweet rest.
    love Meg


  3. Lisa says:


    I have been feeling the same pull for the past several months. To stay home. To settle in. To enjoy the comfort of my home. To watch the birds and squirrels. To take naps. To blog. To soak in a mustard bath. To be quiet and contemplative. To listen and observe.

    I finally had to give in to doing this without apology or explanation. It is, indeed, what my life/body/spirit is demanding right now.

    I’ve long been a proponent of shining my light to the world and have come, just recently, to realize that fire/light will die out if it isn’t tended. It must be protected, kept warm and dry, stoked, re-kindled etc. This is now my analogy for what I’m doing – and I sense what you’re feeling drawn to – at this time.

    We must nurture our lights so they can survive and shine brightly again in the world when they are needed most.

    Kudos to you for being present and honoring what your heart is asking for.



  4. Neptunes5thMoon says:

    Now here in Santa Barbara. Trying not to feel nowhere…

    On the plane last night, reading Anne Lamott’s new book “Grace (Eventually)”, I took note of a passage she wrote about a period when her son had a hard time sleeping in his own room. He slept with her for a while, then on the floor next to her bed, then down the hall, then with her again. Then eventually, in his own room on the floor, then in his own bed…

    She writes…

    “That’s me, trying to make any progress at all with family, in work, relationships, self-image: scootch, scootch, scootch; stall, catastrophic reversal; bog, bog, scootch.”

    I tried to take that in. It’s not always Go Go Go with capital “g’s”. Onward. Upward. Forward. It’s little by little. It’s forward, sideways, STOPPED, up and down.

    Scootch, scootch, scootch; stall, catastrophic reversal; bog, bog, scootch.


  5. Chloe says:

    Yes, I too like to label or analyze what’s happening with me, and I had a little chuckle when I read your possible explanations (they sounded very familiar). It can be exhausting. I also agree with you that we get what we need when we need it. Enjoy snuggling in and just being.


  6. Jena Strong says:

    Bella – integrated, yes.

    Meg – settled, yes.

    Lisa – stoked, yes. And what’s a mustard bath?

    neptunes5thmoon – Love this: Scootch, scootch, scootch; stall, catastrophic reversal; bog, bog, scootch. Can you be now here instead of trying not to be nowhere?

    Chloe – I love that chuckle of recognizing ourselves in each other. There should be a name for it.

    Love to everybody,

    xo Jena


  7. Karen says:

    Well here’s another view. You’re right that not you or anyone else can propel the future into appearing a certain way. That is illusion, even if many people buy into that illusion with the relish of uncovering a priceless Secret! The future appears by itself, right on schedule, and as a consequence of what has come before. But to coach someone into being comfortable where they are, without the false promise of contriving it into something better, to help people trust themselves and their lives as inherent motion and beneficial change, why THAT would be true coaching. That would be a calling and a gift.


  8. Jena Strong says:

    Karen –

    Yes, exactly this:

    “to coach someone into being comfortable where they are, without the false promise of contriving it into something better, to help people trust themselves and their lives as inherent motion and beneficial change, why THAT would be true coaching. That would be a calling and a gift.”

    Someone today asked me, “Who better?” That should be everyone’s line. Maybe a post brewing…

    Mika – go with it.

    xo Jena


  9. lahdeedah says:


    I love the acceptance and surrender in this. I feel like I’m always fighting for something or striving for something, and I like the idea of just being, just settling in, just having a nice warm chai while the rain pours down.





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