Saturday, October 31, 2009

I Am Alive

I am alive.  That's a theme I return to over and over.  It started less than a year ago, this wanting to KNOW I was alive.  A trip to Hawaii in April was the first visible manifestation of this need for proof that I was, in fact, alive. Fun somehow entered my consciousness bigtime and I saw examples all around me of life with and without fun.  A month or so later, my long anticipated first trip to New York City made me KNOW I was alive,  My eyes were wide open and everything was unbelievable.  People watching was incredible, walking in the places I have read about for years, fantastic -- in short, I resonated with the energy that is NYC and I knew I was alive.  A few weeks later, I traveled once again to Washington DC with 40 8th graders and four fantastic adult chaperones.  Like NYC, Washington DC feeds my desire for excitement and adventure - people watching, stepping in world known places, laughing and singing and getting such a kick out of other people -- ALIVE!  I spent a week alone in the lovely and lonely Ft Bragg.  I had a simple and clean room on the beach and was given unheard of summer weather for FB - sunny, warm, Hawaii style weather.  I had time to feel myself alone and alive,  Actually, it was the first time in more than 25 years that I had the chance to be alive alone. A few weeks after that, I got to visit Boston!  Wow!  What an experience!  Famous places, interesting people, fantastic hostess, good time, ALIVE times. Throughout the summer, I took long and fast bike rides.  Intense moments of exhausting climbs uphill followed by soaring flights downhill -ipod music filling my head,  incredibly alive. I drank wine with friends and laughed, loved, hurt, cried, played out philosophic points, and lived the days.   In late August, I found out for sure that I was alive when that fast bike was moving relatively slowly through Sebtown traffic and I was slammed by a truck.  In the moments, hours, weeks, and yes, months that followed I knew I was physically and emotionally alive. That proof I needed had been provided for me and the test came in that bike accident.  The first serious medical issue of my life, the accident was an intense experience, the whole thing.   ALIVE in every bone, broken or not.  ALIVE in every relationship and in every experience.   Released from old patterns and open in every moment.  Discovering that physical life is too short for the serious and  negative.  Too short to be lived without love and laugher, speed and stillness. I know I am alive now.  How can I not forget?

Friday, October 30, 2009


Alexander, the 24 year old son, is home for the weekend.  Odd reason:  he wants to take the GRE next week and he needed a place for focused study and review so he comes back to the 'rents house for a few days.  As he sat across from us in the living room this afternoon, I was flooded with memories of Alexander the little boy.  As a baby he smiled all the time.  There was only one time in his first year when he cried and we could not figure out what the issue was and , even that time, he stopped his howling in less than an hour.  As an exuberant yet calm toddler, he remained sunny and engaging.  His first day of kindergarten, he was excited. He just walked right in to Room 1, sat right down, and got down to the business of school - all happy and sure of himself.  Elementary school brought some rough patches, middle school was, from where we sat, a success and high school was, again from our perspective, a period of growth and engagement for Alex.  Off to college he went - full of confidence, happy about his choice and jazzed to be stepping out on his own.  His college path was not direct - six years of traveling a bit of a maze but we were privileged to watch a compassionate, thoughtful, fun, healthy man emerge from that puzzle.  And now that man is thinking about pursuing a life of balance - intellectual, physical, family, fun - wrapped in a bit more education.  How interesting to watch him unfold!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Missing Me

Back to gifts.... so I am tired and hurting much of the time yet I am grateful for this condition-- what???  Does that make sense?  If you would have asked me this three months ago, I would have emphatically said "NO way!"  but yes way, actually.   Explain.
So that truck hit me and, in that moment, things changed for me.  Initially, it was all about pain and anger and what the heck am I going to do about work and obligations?  But two months later, I have realized that I am not indispensable at work -- life goes on with or without me - and limited mobility requires that I redefine myself.  No longer the biker, kickboxer, walker, weight lifter, go go go person (at least temporarily), I have remembered the observer, the artist, the writer, the reader, the thinker, the lover,  the philosopher.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it is heavenly to lay on the couch, watch out the front window,and  let the blues, greens and golds of fall be my blanket.  With ear phones plugged in and the music of Jack Johnson or Mark Knopfler sinking into my bones, I rest and recovery happens.
But the gift is in the memory, I hope.  I want to remember what it was like to just be.  I want to remember what it was like to not be on the treadmill.  I found a side of me that I have missed and she doesn't want to be lost again.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thank You For Accidents

Accidents - yeah - happen.  Frankly, stuff happens, yes?
It never ceases to amaze me how accidents or just plain stuff can actually become incredible gifts.  In the first days/weeks/maybe even months following an accident or some "stuff", it seems like this is going to be a terrible thing.  That bike accident in August - HUGE pain, bad timing (first week of school), greatly limited mobility, did I mention big pain? For two or three weeks I was angry at myself and at the universe for putting this in my path.  No good could come out of this.  Whoa!  Was I ever wrong about that!  For one thing, people enveloped me in love and concern.  I didn't realize how much I mattered.  What a gift that was!  On the same wavelength, I rediscovered what an incredible man Michael is.  Although we have been married for over 26 years (or maybe because we have been married so long) , he became the quintessential caregiver, anticipating every need or desire I might have.  He took everything off his calendar so he could be available to help me, to drive me to numerous appointments, to pick up prescriptions, to deal with insurance matters, to hold my hand and tell me that he loved me no matter what. Again, what  a gift that was!
Oddly enough, not being able to get up and exercise daily has been a gift!  I have learned how much I value exercise but I have also discovered a willingness to explore other options.  For 35 years I have gotten up early (often as early as 4:30) in order to compulsively exercise.  Now I am excited about some other avenues, some other options.  I want to be able to spend more morning time with Michael and I want to include him in my exercise time.  I used to be so damn independent, inflexible, and rigorous in that routine.  I want that to change.
In the big picture, I believe I have changed for the positive as a consequence of this accident.  I take things less seriously, I say I love you more, I indulge myself more in resting and sleep, I want to reach out more to people, I have learned concrete ways of helping someone who has experienced an accident or bout of poor health.
And, so, to the universe, I say thank you for accidents!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Accidents Happen

It was the end of a hard week's work.  Friday afternoon 4:00 - sunny and blue sky pleasant....a 45 minute bike ride in the country west of town would be the perfect punctuation for the long sentence.  Shorts, tank top, and, yes, flip flops and helmet ...Sam the Bike and I headed down Healdsburg Ave to catch High School Road but then that green truck decided to make a right turn into the Safeway parking lot --- SSTTTOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP - wow!  seriously THUMP - emphasis on the UMP part - and again UMP -- two thoughts:  1) that is the sound of your body hitting the truck and 2)  Damn!  there goes your bike  --  $1,200 -- cha ching!  I hit the ground hard - WAY hard and could do nothing but remain curled up and deep throating OOOOOOOWWWWWWWW  OOOOOOOWWWWWWWW.  I was operating so in the moment and from someplace deep at the core.  No attention to anything but the intense and deep pain - vaguely aware of voices, vaguely aware that I was not seriously broken because I could think, I knew where I was, I knew what was happening.  Feeling the hard ground under me, hearing voices meant to soothe, feeling grateful for strangers. wrapped in to the core pain.
Accidents happen.

Monday, October 26, 2009

One Day At a Time.....

.......So that's what they always say and I am finally learning - or, at least, I am getting closer to learning.
One day at a time means don't bother getting stressed about tomorrow or next month or next year.  Be here now.
One day at a time means breathe and see the moment.  Appreciate the sunshine or the rain.  Feel the warm or the wet on your face.
One day at a time means that everything changes.  Don't get stuck in the moment because it won't last more than the instant that it is.  Embrace change because, really, you have no other choice.  Yes, you could fight it but guess what?  You can't win.  Out of your control.  So embrace it and let change protect you.  It comes in handy sometimes.
One day at a time means look for little things - don't count on the big moments or the major revelations.  Revelations are in the moment and take only an instant.  They can, however,  impact you for weeks, or months to follow (if you allow them to).