In the spirit of Thanksgiving I thought I'd try a new tradition: reading some of my blog posts from the year, and noting the lines, lessons, and quotes that fill me with a profound sense of gratitude:
"After being stuck in bed for most of the day, even to be able to take a walk outside and enjoy the sunshine seems like a gift."
"On a promising note, this was the first week I was able to run around the track again! I think it was the gimpiest one-armed run I've ever completed, but it is a great start to my recovery process." (Today, nearly a year after my bike accident surgery, I had the strength and courage to make it all the way up and down Mt. Diablo on my bike!)
"It is quite helpful to become intimate with something, in order to know it for what it is."
"On a different dating note, the guy I was interested in from my book club came to the Christmas party I went to on Saturday. While I love his sense of humor, I didn't feel a strong attraction to him. Like other dates that end like this, I am nearly always grateful to have met an interesting person."
"I'm so happy this week to realize that I have made one really nourishing friendship since moving back to San Francisco. My injury and not working has allowed me to spend more time doing social activities. As a result, my relationship with this person has really grown. It made me realize that if I want stronger more comfortable friendships, it really takes persistence and time, because people are so busy."
"Scot is a free-spirit who has always been strongly opposed to having anything in his life that ties him down, yet lately he's become our dog's 'geriatric nurse' - as Scot likes to put it."
"The most joyful moment of my week was definitely modern-jazz dance class. I just love moving to the music. It's also nice to stretch out my muscles. Dance class forces me to get out of my head and just have a good time."
"I talked on the phone with my sister, brother, and mom this week. We are planning a family gathering at our cabin in Alpine in August. I can't wait to see the wildflowers and the stars!!!"
"Tuesday night, I walked my way up to Grace Cathedral to see Eve Ensler. It's quite inspiring to see someone who always seems to find a way to be positive and grateful in any situation life throws at her."
"My epic discovery of the week was the divine smell of steam from white wine, chopped shallots, black pepper, parsley, bay leaf, fresh thyme, and 28 mussels boiling in a pot!"
"I also discovered a beautiful bike ride along the Panoramic Highway to the east peak of Mt Tamalpais! And then, when I got to the summit, I experienced the only thing hotter than the temperature: a very sexy man, who is on the SF Tri Team! Oh, how I love when the universe is in a generous mood."
1. "I needed people to come close and not be afraid of me. I desperately needed their kindness. I needed to be touched - stroke my arm, hold my hand, or gently wipe my face if I'm drooling. Just about everyone knows someone who has had a stroke. If their language center has been disrupted, the stroke survivor can probably not carry on a conversation with visitors. I know it can be very uncomfortable for a healthy person to try to communicate with someone who had a stroke, but I needed my visitors to bring their positive energy. I appreciated when people came in for just a few minutes, took my hands in theirs, and shared softly and slowly how they were doing, what they were thinking, and how they believed in my ability to recover." Jill Taylor, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientists Personal Journey
2. “People loved you and then they didn’t. As with trees I had missed the point. The men I, in theory, had loved and who, in theory, had loved me had all disappeared. After years of involvement, not one found his way to my loft during those long burning months. I received a two-line email from my first husband of fifteen years, and no word from another lover of equal duration…
I had failed at love or at least the story I had bought about love. As I rode my burning body down to the bottom of the world, I passed through the ghosts and glories or those love affairs- hideous moments and tender ones. Honestly, not much remained. And that’s what was so painful- to think that at fifty-six I had come to this: no lover, no mate, and no nurturing memories. Despair burned in me…
While this fire raged in me, some other alchemic dance that I could not even recognize was happening around me. It was MC cooking me soft-boiled eggs at 5:00am to calm my stomach, Amy who I hardly knew stopping by unexpectedly to rub my feet, Susan appearing in my hospital room, my son sleeping on my couch, Carole sending me weekly boxes of silky pajamas, Jennifer walking me through the dark nights of the infection…
This daily subtle, simple gathering of kindnesses, stretched out across the chemo days and months was, in fact, love. Love. Why hadn’t I known this was love?” In the Body of the World by Eve Ensler