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Putting Your Own Mask on First

septembre 10, 2018

With all the passengers finally seated with their seat belts securely fastened, the flight attendants secure the overhead bins. Having duly acknowledged the person seated next to you with an awkward smile resembling more a grimace, you then quickly transition to establishing the status quo for the remainder of the flight by pointedly ignoring them in favor of the inflight entertainment system. Delighted to discover that the movie you have been dying to watch is available for your viewing pleasure, you are already enjoying the opening scenes when all of a sudden you are interrupted by an important passenger announcement. You curse silently (hopefully) as you submit, albeit unwillingly, to the safety demonstration video during which you are familiarized with the safety features of the aircraft.

The actors change from time to time but the basic content remains the same: how to correctly buckle and unbuckle a seatbelt, seat backs and tables in the upright locked position during take-off and landing (according to my observations, this is the instruction that people have the most difficulty with), no smoking, electronic devices switched to airplane mode etcetera etcetera - you know the drill.

It is a credit to our species (I think) that we find the safety demonstration video - an overt acknowledgement of the possibility of a terrifying and certain death only thinly veiled by the smiling, calm faces on screen - so mundane. There is one part of the demonstration that never fails to fascinate me however and that is when “in the event of a change in cabin pressure” the mother (or grandmother for the character is inevitably a woman) smilingly secures her own oxygen mask before “assisting” others. 

So why is this footage that I have seen over and over again in several different languages so riveting?

There can be no doubt. It is directly due to the fact that it is one of the RARE circumstances under which I have EVER been instructed by anyone to consider myself first. 

This being said, I am INFINITELY grateful that I haven’t had to practice this “skill” as directed in the passenger announcement and I pray that I never will.

But what about under normal circumstances? When is your responsibility first and foremost to yourself? When should putting oneself before others, including family, be condoned or even encouraged? 

At the very latest, when it becomes dangerous not to. When you find your physical, mental and/or spiritual health being jeopardized by your focus on others. I know that this is easier said than done. It is hard to reverse the momentum of facilitating others. Not only do you have to face your own inertia and internal resistance, you will most likely have to face external resistance ranging from your teenager’s disappointment that you will no longer be making their lunch to outright judgment from complete strangers.

Ideally you will figure out how to put your own mask on first before you reach your limit. To improve your chances of success KEEP THINGS SIMPLE. Begin by setting aside a specific period of time when you already anticipate things being more difficult than usual. For example: if you are a woman, try keeping your schedule of commitments as light as possible during the week preceding your period. Skip the dishes that week (not to mention the grocery shopping and the cooking) by giving yourself and your family the gift of going to the restaurant more often than you normally would consider. It is more expensive but as my lovely husband would always say: it isn’t like eating at home is free. He was referring to the cost of groceries but there can be other “costs” as well.

Many of us already know the consequences of never putting our own masks on first. We also quickly realize that it requires a lot of energy (explaining to the teenager and ignoring the strangers) and this can be discouraging especially if you are already running on fumes.

There needs to be systemic change (legislation) but we can also encourage one another to put our own masks on first. For starters, be honest about your situation. Admitting to others that you are struggling makes you vulnerable and therefore takes courage. Putting yourself first requires even more courage since it is possible that you might “scare” some folks with your “audacity”. For the most part however, your actions will have the extremely positive effect of making people feel less isolated and alone (“I thought I was the only one who found things difficult!”) and may even inspire them to make some changes for themselves.

Change takes time however and we need to be reminded often. Next time you have the opportunity, remind someone of the possibility of putting their own mask on first as tirelessly and as patiently as the flight attendants who remind us all at one point or another to return our seat backs to the upright position for landing.



août 30, 2018

25 years and counting,
Of love.



Hard won.



Greater than expected.

Parents of the same children,
Never alone.


Enormous and varied.


Often exhausted.



Long-time and loyal.



Improves with age.


Forever adapting.

Ever elusive.

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Last Post

août 20, 2018

Every position full,
Every skill possessed.

Each room already occupied,
No vacancy at the inn.

Everything already thought,
Everything already said,
Everything already written,

A million different ways.

The last remaining occupation,
The next big thing,
The last post,

About which there is much excitement,
But in which is invested little or nothing,

Is Lover

Of each other.

Continuer la lecture...

(Not so) Radical Love

août 3, 2018

How many times have you prayed for love and then not been able to receive the answer to your prayers?

You might not even be aware of how many times because you probably didn’t even recognize it as an opportunity for love.

Because we have VERY limited notions of what love looks like.

And incredibly high expectations.

And just to clarify right away, I am talking about love the FEELING and NOT the act.

Love that makes your heart feel like it is going to burst out of your chest. Love that makes you ...

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Morning Vibes

juillet 7, 2018
This organism,
This creature,

Softly vibrates.

Before I open my eyes
I feel them


Effort and striving still asleep

These gentle emanations


My shape,
My future,
My destiny.

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Kids These Days

mai 27, 2018

Not only heard but also seen,

Kids these days bloom,

Into accidental activists who,

Voice and vision intact:

Accept their right to be,

Allow their right to feel,

Shine their light.

Hearts and minds expansive,

Trusting and receptive,

Often anxious and sometimes sad,

Kids these days are at risk of:

Being their best,

Bearing witness to the best in others,

Living fulfilled.

The luckiest among them,

Rarely deprived of love or understanding,

With every need met,

Kids these days choose to:

Be thankful,

Be generous,


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mai 9, 2018

As life would have it, shortly after deciding to explore this topic I found myself vacationing in a new city and anxious to pamper myself, booked a mani/pedi. Upon arriving and seating myself in one of the battalion of chairs I had the uneasy feeling that this was not the kind of place where the body is considered to be a hallowed vessel for spirit but more an object to be subjugated, or at the very least, commanded.

Survival instincts heightened, I quickly gleaned that when the pedicurist ...

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mai 2, 2018

Head on or sideswipe,

Fatal or figurative,

Paths are irrevocably altered.

Waves crash,

Whips lash,

Stars (and hearts) gravitate.

Heads butt,

Bodies slam,

Balls (and hearts) rebound.

A child forms and fashions herself,

By colliding with her enduring mother.

People and ideas,

Confrontation and resistance can temper.

A crucible of transformation,

Hopefully for the better.

Unless it is an assassination,

Or a hit and run.

Disbelief and incredulity are the first on the scene, Followed by confusion and sadness,


Continuer la lecture...

Sphere of Influence

avril 23, 2018

Power suits or designer boots,

Cap and gown or celebrity renown,

Guru or despot,

Gun touting zealot,

Perfect 10 or totally ken,

Status slave or sex knave,

Family name or hall of fame,

Elected office or company profits,

What is your sphere of Influence?

Thoughts and feelings,

Ways of seeing,

Hopes and dreams,

Worth achieving,

Voices found and voices heard,

Voices joined for the greater good,

What is your sphere of Influence?

And how to account for them all?

Continuer la lecture...

Good Art

avril 13, 2018

To connect

To inspire

To empower

To create

A moment of truth so fleeting yet so rich

In honesty

In experience

In presence

In Life.

Continuer la lecture...