Living (in our own little universe)

Amy Weisberg, M.E.

Individuals—We are all living in our own little universe enveloped by our thoughts, beliefs and circumstances. We burrow inward when we are overwhelmed or under stress and spend time repeatedly listening to the story in our own head. When we exist in our little universe, it is comfortable and feels safe. We do not have to step outside and take risks and we can let ourselves believe that we have a little control. The truth is, we are in control, we do make choices and those choices impact our lives. We choose our thoughts and we create our futures either consciously or subliminally, but we need input, fresh ideas and exposure to new opportunities or all that we will create is more of the same, which may not serve us.  

Spending time as individuals, in our own universe, however, can be a way to incubate creativity. Sometimes, the quiet of our mind, without the interruption of others’ voices, media input or the input and/or judgment of others, can allow our own ideas to rise to the surface. Stories emerge, music composed and paintings appear on canvas. It is times like these that are the rewards of the solitude and the persistence needed to create from the soul and we realize that we must provide this time for our children, to allow them to be able to listen to their own inner voices and to create.

Family—Many of us live in the universe of our family. Whether we have a small close-knit family or a very large extended family, we have certain traditions, times of year when we get together with our families and celebrate or support each other.  Families provide a consistency that carries over from year to year, such as the traditional Thanksgiving recipes, the silly mystery gifts given during the holidays and the warm shoulders we are used to crying on. We grow up with our siblings and cousins and they are our first friends, our first relationships apart from our parents. We learn to share, take turns, to play invented games and to tell secrets with these playmates, related and close in age. We look up to our older siblings and cousins and we serve as role models for those younger than us. We get together year after year and bask in the comfort of the familiar.

There are family squabbles and sometimes more serious feuds that can last over time. There are heartbreaking separations and things we cannot forgive, but underlying it all, are the bonds of family, that even when the relationships falter, remain hidden, unbroken. Our families are the foundation on which our own independent lives are built and when we look closely at the traditions we create in our own adult families, we notice that they are created from the threads of our original family quilt.

Community—We are also part of a slightly larger universe in our community.  We begin to reach out as children, or when we have children of our own, to the community support that exists in schools, sports teams, music classes and other enriching activities we seek out. We find community at the celebrations on the Fourth of July sitting under the brilliant explosions of color; as costumed children enjoy the scary silliness of Halloween; and as quiet holiday songs are traditionally sung. We get together to create haunted houses, clean up parks and recreation areas, have our voices heard through the election process and at Town Hall meetings. We look out for our neighbors and enjoy the protective feeling of others looking out for us, too.  We watch each other’s children, help elderly neighbors or simply join them in conversation, taking a break from the usual frantic pace of our lives. We take our children to library story times and go to community meetings at the library to nurture the feeling of belonging. Our community universe is an expansion of the nucleus of our individuality and immediate family. We realize that when we connect to our community, we are given a membership to a group able to provide support, to educate us and give our children a sense of belonging.

Country—We exist in the universe of our country feeling sometimes patriotic and protected, and other times isolated, fearful and desperate. Our country of origin can forever be “home” even if we have to leave it for reasons of self-preservation. We forever refer to the way things were back home, the way things were done, food cooked and society structured. We can have a new country to live in and it can become our home, but never replace “home.”  We can have allegiance to what our country was founded on, what it stands for and the feeling of pride we get when we see the flag raised, hear our national anthem played or watch a parade. We can feel dismay when we see our country ideologically divided, or torn apart by the fear residing in so many. We can dream that our country will return to what we remember from our simplistic childhoods, and the foggy memories of our youth, and we can commit to supporting the universe of our country, or begin anew in our adopted homeland.

Continents—We live in the much-expanded universe of the continent we live on and identify with. It is more than the time zone, the seasonal differences or location; it is the culture that permeates because of these conditions. We relate to holidays coming and the weather that is typical on our continent at these times of year: a snowy Christmas or a sunny one. One feels familiar, the other an anomaly. Where we are on the earth determines our perception of life, what is “normal,” what is unusual and we may travel to other continents, but we will still feel “normal” on our own.

Earth—Here we are on Earth, our small planet, which is a mere dot in the greater and mostly unknown universe. We look out at the greater universe from our place here and wonder about what is out there. We see the Milky Way and when we are away from cities, in a natural, dark location, get a glimpse of the enormity of the universe that we can’t always see in our populated locations. We realize the importance of taking care of our planet, the home of our humanity. We look up at the night sky from a perch on a granite dome, while floating on a ship on the dark sea, as we lie on the desert sands and become convinced that we are not seeing even a fraction of what there is to see, or to know and we must contend with our own thoughts, our beliefs and our circumstances.


Amy Weisberg

Amy Weisberg M.Ed., LAUSD Teacher of the Year 2019 and LACOE Teacher of the Year 2019- 2020—A mother with three grown daughters and a teacher with 40 years’ experience, consults with teachers and parents, as well as provides support for students. For more information:;

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.