ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: The Writer, His Wife, and their Afterlife

Eckhart Tolle, in his book The New Earth, cautions us not to confuse our life with our life’s situations, situation being his word for problem.

All we have is the now, he says. Learn from the past, don’t worry about the future, and experience the now. And, he says, we can only experience the now if we’re in an aware, expansive state. And to be aware and expansive — even in conversation — we must inhale and fill our bodies with space, making room for what we will take in.

In other words, Ernestina, breathe. And not from my chest. Shallow breathing is the kind of breathing I do when I’m scared. Breathe deeply, Ernestina. Make your belly round with it. Allow the lungs to expand.

Joshua will be here in ten days, and never before have I been able to relax with him. I turn tense. I never know what to say. He’s my son, yet I don’t know how to talk to him. We haven’t seen each other for almost a year. I feel as if I turned him over to Ernie when he was a little boy and never really saw him again.

I’m Joshua’s mama. I will learn how to be his mama. I will learn how to be a friend. I will learn how to breathe. Tension will leave my body. I will expand. I will relax. I will experience the now.

Sounds as if I’m trying to hypnotize myself, doesn’t it?



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My writer husband’s favorite nickname for me was Ernestina, so in this 3-book memoir, he is Ernie. This is his story, our story, and my story. I invite you in.