Tag Archives: peace

“We’re all just walking each other home”



“We’re all just walking each other home.” —Ram Dass

Dear Readers,

It’s been a really rough year. We’re still standing-ish.

Most everyone I know (and many more that I don’t), have had a difficult 2017. I won’t list  the  thousands of horrors brought to our country and the world by the current administration. Some of these things, like racism, have never left us. This country was built on genocide and the suffering of millions. But this year, we took a giant step backwards. I’ve been stunned and outraged by the cruelty continuously inflicted on people, wildlife, and the planet. I’ve taken action and hidden under blankets. I highly recommend both: Action as you’re able, and hiding under blankets. Otherwise you’ll burn out. It’s a long struggle. Always has been. Take good care of yourselves. Reading, music, gather around the animals near you. Ours are cats inside, birds outside. Hold onto anything that makes you laugh.

Some memorable things from this past year:

Mudbound —a true masterpiece. Get Out was amazing. The Big Sick was really good, as was Wind River, and the documentary The Center Will Not Hold about Joan Didion. The Handmaid’s Tale (re-read and watched) felt way too close to home. I loved This Is Us on TV and the book Dying by Cory Taylor.

We had some health stuff in our family circle. A dear friend of mine lost her brother. Several people fought cancer and are here. A friend died. She loved her family, her garden, and life. None of it is fair.

I got to see one of my oldest, dearest friends (since age 12) who I hadn’t seen in about 10 years. She was visiting from Israel with her family at the end of summer and had only a few days in NYC. It still sustains me these many months later that we got to hug and sit  and eat and walk and laugh and cry together for 6 magical hours. We stood in the middle of stores, in Times Square, in the busiest  loudest of places, and we talked about our lives and everything fell away.  I’m so grateful for her and our friendship over miles and years.  It helps so much to have real friends. This past year I was able to reconnect with several and I feel lucky.

Today in 1999, my husband proposed to me. 18 years in a flash. Thank goodness we’re  still here together. Too many people don’t get a chance to grow old with the person they love.

In the past few days, the sad news about the death of justice warrior, Erica Garner, may she rest in power; she lost her life at a tragically young age, leaving behind a brokenhearted family and community.

We must all fight on for each other’s humanity. Please keep doing the work to resist and dismantle racism, Anti Semitism, Islamophobia,  and all forms of hate which has been unleashed and directed so viciously at already oppressed and at -risk people and communities including immigrants, LGBTQ, People of Color, Native, Indigenous, and First Nations people, the homeless, women, children, seniors, people with disabilities, people living in poverty, and anyone in your corner who needs support and safety.


The things I grab onto for hope are the many people I know who are relentless and tireless in the many battles that our country and world face. I’m uplifted by my friends and strangers doing good work all over the planet (past and present).

The writers, artists, musicians, comedians, poets, filmmakers, screenwriters, actors, songwriters, scientists, photographers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, all the activists, peace workers, bird watchers, journalists, environmentalists, dancers, children, gardeners, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and neighbors who persist and bring light, love, truth and beauty here.

I despair as much as the next person. We’re in precarious, insane times. Everything is at stake.  Our hugs are healing. We go one day at a time. My son said this:




I wish you well, and with hopes that you and yours have shelter, food, health, kindness, and love in your life. That your days and nights have enough laughs and magic to keep you going, enough medicine, enough of whatever you need to get by.

Wishing you a bright 2018!

Love & Peace,




Love, light & peace for all—Happy, Merry Everything!

Dear Readers,

My deepest thanks to you for reading The Way It Is blog.


Also sending out a warm welcome to the most recent followers/subscribers.

I hope that for any of you who celebrated Chanukah –
that it was bright and fun!

Chanukah lights 2014 by EH.


And for all celebrating on this Christmas Eve,
I wish you a Merry and brilliant Christmas
and a Happy, healthy New Year!

Love, light, and peace for all.


Holiday card copyright Elana Halberstadt /Planet Elana Art Studio, 2014.
“All cats on the bed” (holiday card) copyright Elana Halberstadt /Planet Elana Art Studio, 2014.



Ringo Good Cat Angel with Fur

Dear Readers,

Ringo has been gone now a little over 26 hours. I just cleaned out her litter box and completely broke down crying. The house is empty without her.

One of the first pics of Ringo, May 1999.
One of the first pics of Ringo, May 1999 at 5 weeks old.

Our announcement about Ringo to friends and family,
written yesterday 10/1/2014:

January 2006 at age 7, photo by Ari Halberstadt
January 2006 at age 7, photo by Ari Halberstadt

Ringo Halberstadt Turits Good Cat

Born, exact date unknown, March 1999
Joined Andy & Elana on May 2, 1999
Died Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Our Dear Sweet Angel Cat, Ringo left this planet at around 10:30 am this morning. 
She was 15 years and 7 months old.

Ringo was born in Hoboken, NJ and rescued by Eileen “Honey” O’Leary. We were truly blessed to have luck put us right there to pass by a friend, who called us over and said, “Guys, you’ve got to come see these kittens!” Andy and I found her there when she was approximately five weeks old. We brought her home and she became an essential part of our family. We have loved Ringo every day since and she has loved us.

Ringo died peacefully and with us holding her paws and touching her beautiful fur. 
The last things she saw were our faces and hands. The last words she heard were 
“We love you. You are a good cat. Thank you, Ringo.”

We talked about arriving at the Rainbow Bridge. We envisioned for her an open field with wildflowers, bugs and butterflies to catch, and a sunny spot of sun for her to be in always.

Grace and Peace to Our Beloved, Ringo, our Love Angel Cat of Destiny and Healing Paws. We miss you dearly, terribly, and we are heartbroken. But we’re also immensely relieved that you are free of pain. Your infinite, kind spirit and soul are already working in mysterious ways to help us through.

Yesterday Max said: “Ringo’s work here is done. She has achieved all her life goals. So now, she can rest.”

This afternoon, after we told him the news, he looked up to the sky and waved, “Hi Ringo.” And then he said, “She will meet up with all the other cats. There’s a cloud where all the cats and animals you knew are playing together. No more pain and running free like when she was a kitten.”

All Goodness and Love.

The last pic I took of Ringo at 12:27am on Oct. 1, 2014, her last night's sleep at home on the purple couch.
The last pic I took of Ringo at 12:27am on Oct. 1, 2014, age 15 years and 7months  for her last night’s sleep at home on the purple couch. (The black spot on her left hind leg is where the extra sweetness went in when she was made.) 

Wishes for Love & Peace

Dear Readers,

Wishing all the best to you and yours!


Merry Christmas to all who are celebrating!

Original art by Stephanie Stouffer from a World Wildlife Fund greeting card.
Original art by Stephanie Stouffer from a World Wildlife Fund greeting card.
Original Art by Eva Melhuish Otter House Licensing, Inc. from a National Wildlife Federation greeting card.
Original Art by Eva Melhuish Otter House Licensing, Inc. from a National Wildlife Federation greeting card.
2011 by Sarah Adams/Image by Design from a Humane Society greeting card
2011 by Sarah Adams/Image by Design, from a Humane Society greeting card

Love & peace,


It never stops hurting and love is everything

Dear Readers,


My 9-11 tears came last night. Today, I won’t watch TV or look at footage or read  about it much. I think of everyone who lost someone on 9/11/2001,
especially my friend who lost her cousin, Michael at age 27 years old.
His name is engraved  on the 9/11 memorial at Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange, NJ.
I went there a few weeks ago on a beautiful evening at the end of summer, my 13th wedding anniversary.

The view  includes the new tower that is almost complete. It doesn’t seem real. I thought of my friend and that day, and everything. Everything. I touched his name. It changes nothing. But it connects me to her in my heart. It connects me to remembering what is impossible to forget. It hurts. It makes me feel insignificant, small, the way I feel when I stand under giant trees, aware of how fleeting life is, how I am dependent on others. Holding my son’s hand or kissing his cheek is perfect but when he reaches for my hand,  or kisses me, it expands my heart.

My husband’s hand holding mine is what keeps me standing up as we look for the names we know,  just breathing and looking at the lights, remembering. We’ve been together 18 years. My life was altered for the good because of him. That’s a fact of my life that can never be taken by anything or anyone, and it’s with and because of that love that I have everything.

What a miracle, how love grows from sparks and laughs and chance encounters. How sadness over loss can’t be quantified or measured or wrapped up or closed. How it hurts and I stand there and I allow it to hurt. And then I must turn my head away and walk towards the trees. I shake my head over the names and the ages and the randomness of it all, the deliberate act, the spectacle, and  I try to shake off the hurt. I breathe in gratitude for what I have. I have everything. Everything.

I think of falling down  as I look over and away and down, and my heart skips a beat because I’m afraid of heights. I’ve  been there at the top and it was so incredibly high.  I imagine what it was like to choose to jump and fly down instead of burning or gasping for air. What thoughts went through the minds of people who leapt?   Did they know peace in those moments? Would that even be possible?  Because I want to believe that peace comes and fear is erased and love wins. Or is it in this moment today that I must find that?

I think of witnesses who watched people fly down and those who had to pick up the pieces, and my heart  breaks over it all, for people I didn’t know, for people  suffering in fear, and I ask myself what have I done to make the world a better place? I ask— who am I? What can I do?  Have I loved my family today? Can I be more patient? Will I choose to be kind? Will it matter if I do or don’t do anything? Over what do I have control? When do I let go? I am afraid. Is it OK to say that out loud? I am afraid and I know I have everything and I don’t want to ever lose what I have which is everything.

And so I align my day to that LOVE. What do I need to do for my family today? What do I do for a friend? For a cause? What do I do for me that is about love so my tiny smallness, the crazy world, the terrible sadness, the never-ending violence, has a place to go, while life goes on in my corner. Trying to find the words and put them in context and be clear and feel it and go on. Letting go of the fear as it washes over me. How to make it not about me but not lose myself?

I think  of  those that survived. I think of bravery and courage and  love.

Here are two previous pieces: an excerpt from a poem and this. 

I search for ways
to go through this day that overwhelms and brings tears
and is simply, still, impossible to fully grasp.

It is an unusually hot day. It’s  not like the  crisp, cool day of  12 years ago, and repeated annually, with planes flying and life circling around and trying to accept what happened and always in the end, just being entirely overwhelmed by sadness and allowing it in but also needing to not let it swallow me up.

It’s  back to school week in my town and my son has gone three days in a row and I have pride for him, because it isn’t easy to start something new. He’s conquering fears. I’m  grateful. I can’t wait until I can go wait for his bus and come home together. I’ll offer him  ice cream and I know his face will light up. It will light up and my heart will be calm because he’ll  be with me and we’ll  enjoy ice cream together and that will be the happiest moment of this day. This evening, my husband will come home from work, and as he walks through the door, another happiest moment will happen. And when we all finally go to sleep, and Ringo snuggles on the bed, too, I’ll  be happy because I have everything, and I’ll  be grateful for that always.

I hold on to  the people and things that matter to me and wish for comfort
for others who have lost their everything.

I hope for peace in our world.

I fall to my knees.

Always, always,

Love and peace,


Love to Boston

Dear Readers,


My heart is in Boston, MA. My heart is home. In Jerusalem. In NYC. Here.

My heart

has another (smaller) heart who walks with me and holds my hand.

My heart has a heart who shares the road with me.

My heart has a cat, with a heart (even smaller), even bigger.

One, my husband. One, my son. One, my cat.

My heart fills with love for Boston,

filled with love for my family,

all families, all children.

My family is OK, is OK, is OK. Others are not, not OK.

My heart hurts for all the people who have suffered and are suffering.

My heart is holding on to my hearts and is grateful for my hearts

and holding hands and taking one step at a time,

forward into adventure, without fear, with fear, with my 6 year old wise

boy beside me, to whom I owe almost everything, for whom I do everything.

Including getting up out of bed and not hiding under covers.

Including living our life.

Including the ache and heartbreak.

Including seeing the trees are flowering today

Also birds sing.

Light and love and peace,