Saturday, October 13, 2018

My Canadian Adventure

     In September, I enjoyed a lovely 9-day adventure in Canada. We traveled to Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto and Niagara Falls. The country is beautiful and the people are friendly. I decided that the Canadians are way smarter than we are in many ways, health care being one, dedicated bicycle lanes being another.
     A common question is "what was your favorite thing on the trip?" While I enjoyed the unique flavor of all four cities and happily added a Toronto Blue Jays game to my MLB-stadium bucket-list quest, my favorite thing was a completely unexpected musical event. At the aforementioned baseball game, at national anthem time, an adorable red-haired boy took the microphone and sang both the Canadian and U.S. anthems a cappella perfectly. No sign whatsoever of being nervous! In front of thousands of people! I'm guessing his age to be in the range of 10-12 years. It was goose-bumping astounding, one of a small handful of truly profound musical performances I have witnessed in my life.
     This was another reminder for me to stay open to wonder, for we never know when or how we will encounter it.
     Lovin' life,
             Leta

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Pain in the Ass and Elsewhere

     I am having my left hip joint replaced on November 13. As weird as it may seem, I can hardly wait.
(See my July 13 post for initial discussion of this long-term hip issue.)
     I met with a potential surgeon on Aug. 30 and everything is a "go." I like him, he will perform the anterior procedure (yielding a quicker recovery than the posterior version), and there was no question as to whether the replacement is necessary. Alas, with the surgery date scheduled, and having an end to pain in sight, I feel like my butt muscles (hence the pain in the ass) are hurting more than ever. I continue to use over-the-counter pain medications sparingly. I am regularly in the conundrum of "I don't want to move" vs. "I have to keep moving." No one activity seems to make the ache worse. It's just that some days and nights are worse than others.
     This leads me, during these six weeks prior to surgery, to ask myself, "What do I really want?"
     First and foremost, I want to go into the surgery with my body in a maximum state of healing ability. That involves several things. I have to keep moving, which really isn't a problem for me as I am very consistent at regular exercise (swimming, golfing, yoga, walking, MELTing). I don't have many travel plans or events in the next six weeks, so being home enables me to have more control over my diet, and I am committed to eating well on an ongoing basis. I may lose some weight, I may not, I'm not too concerned about that. I will enjoy it if it happens!
     Next I want peace of mind. This isn't just about not being scared going into surgery.  I want to be free of the self-criticism for allowing myself to get to the point of needing surgery in the first place. It's an easy, negative trap for me to fall into. However, when I ask myself if I would have done anything in life differently to try to avoid this, the answer is "no." I am spectacularly healthy overall, and life has been and continues to be good. It's simply time to fix the issue and move on. I am so thankful that it can be fixed!
     To support peace of mind going into the surgery, I'm using the methodology described in the book, "Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster," by Peggy Huddleston. It uses meditation, relaxation techniques and affirmations before, during and after surgery to inspire the mind-body connection to heal comfortably and quickly. It includes information on many studies that have shown these techniques to speed healing and reduce the length of hospital stays.
     Another thing that I want relative to this experience will be some help from friends. There are a few days after surgery wherein my husband needs to be out of town. Also, the surgeon told me that I would be on a walker for 7-10 days, and I'm NOT going out in public with a walker, so I will need friend visits to keep me from going stir-crazy at home during that time. I'll be OK with a cane (doctor said another 7-10 days after the walker), but for some reason, the walker just screams "old lady" and that's not me. The key thing relative to friends is that I have to ask for help, something that is not necessarily on my "easy to do" list. Fortunately, I'm confident that folks will step up gladly to support me.
     I ran across this lovely prayer by Ernest Holmes which I shall take with me on surgery day:
There is peace at the center of my being...in this peace that holds me so gently, I find strength and protection from all fear or anxiety. It is the peace of God in which I feel the love of a Holy Presence. I am so conscious of this love, this protection, that every sense of fear slips away from me as mist fades in the morning light. I see good in everything, God personified in all people, Life manifest in every event. Spirit is not separate from persons or events; I see that It unites everything with Itself, vitalizing all with the energy of Its own being, surrounding everything with peace and quiet and calm. I am one with this deep, abiding peace. I know that all is well.
     Closer to surgery time, I will also be contacting some friends and family members to hold me in prayer the day of surgery and during initial recovery. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer to support and heal. 
     To be continued,
          Leta


Monday, September 10, 2018

Pitchfork in Hands

     I have found that it is amazing what some folks will say to a person who has a pitchfork in her hands. One incident I could have blown off, but now it has happened twice. So with some ironic humor, I share these incidents here.
     In both cases, the pitchfork was for loading mulch into a cart to be spread around our garden. It's a dirty, sweaty job, but ultimately, it saves a lot of weeding.
     The first incident occurred when my older son was probably in the 12-14 years old range. I was in hot, sweaty, forking mode when my son stopped, looked at me, and said, "Boy, Mom, you sure have a lot of gray hair." With an exceedingly threatening "mom look," my reply was, "I have a pitchfork in my hands, and I know how to use it!" He high-tailed it outta there.
     Fast forward to last week, and the huge pile of mulch left in our front yard after having massive tree trimming done around our house. I'll refer to the offender this time as Fence, because it was the neighbor directly behind our house who doesn't take care of the place, and whose fence has been falling on our property literally for years. Her backyard is full of numerous noxious weeds that have invaded our garden and cause me considerable weeding effort. I feel much angst toward this person.
     Fence was visiting our next-door neighbor, saw me working on the mulch pile, and yelled, "Looking good, Leta!" My first thought was, "I have a pitchfork in my hands, and I know how to use it!" Fortunately my husband was nearby, saw the look on my face, and winked at me to diffuse my inclinations.
     Be very cautious when speaking to someone with a pitchfork in their hands!
             Leta

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Biomimicry--New to Me--Hope, Inspiration, Creativity

      Here's some news that is exciting and worth watching:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf4oW8OtaPY&feature=youtu.be

     It's a 21-minute video about finding solutions in the way nature does things. It gives me great hope for our collective future. I love the creativity being demonstrated in so many ways that we don't even know about, because we are so blasted with fear-based, negative news. Please hold the vision of a more planet-friendly humanity with me.
               Leta

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

My Freedoms AND Yours

Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself.
         --Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of our (already, always has been) great U.S.

     Many years ago, I had a conversation with a family member discussing freedom of speech. Let's just say that philosophically, the two of us are worlds apart. We did, however, agree that freedom of speech is a bedrock of freedom, critically important. That was until I said something to which he reacted very emotionally and pronounced "blasphemous." He said, "You should not be allowed to say such a thing." Let me end this description of our conversation by saying that we simply agreed to disagree, and we have stayed clear of such discussions ever since. 
     Please re-read the quote above. The conservative right end of our current cultural, religious and political spectrum seems determined to have the wealth, power, resources and freedoms for themselves, and prevent others whom they deem unworthy from sharing in the bounty. That goes against all our great country was founded upon, and clearly, the Founding Fathers knew from personal experience that that approach would not work.
     Our great country has fought wars and invests gadzillions of dollars in the military to maintain the rights that Thomas Paine referenced. It is standing up for the rights of every single human being that has made the U.S. great from day one. I am so grateful for the fearlessness of our Founding Fathers!
     Loving our freedoms,
            Leta


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Return to Joy

(See previous post, "Grieving")
      Slowly, the grief I have been feeling is mellowing. In a session with my spiritual coach, it became evident to me that I have been focusing on frightening things that could happen, but most likely won't. So many fears were overwhelming. My coach's gentle guidance brought me back to paying attention to the present moment, wherein, for the most part, things are fairly great.
     I generally make the conscious effort to live from a place of joy, and I am working my way back there with increasingly more energy each day. This morning, three fun moments reminded me to be present. The first was in a daily reading, the phrase that this is "another day in paradise." I agree! I have no cynicism relative to that phrase. Just being alive is paradise. On top of that, I swam over 3/4 mile, and taught a yoga class, all before noon. I'm grateful for all I can do.
     The second moment was seeing a Garmin (location technology) truck with the catchphrase, "Taking you to your next adventure." If I look at each next thing I get to do as an adventure, rather than a "have to," life is much more enjoyable.
     And in a third moment of playfulness, I noticed this on my drive to yoga this morning: on the power lines high above the highway, there were hundreds of birds in one section between poles. The three-wire set was almost full of birds. The next section was empty, then the next section had one single bird. "Ah, that's the introvert bird," I thought. Being an introvert myself, I appreciate that one bird's stand to be alone on that wire. It gave me a present-moment smile.
     Given the fear-based mentality so prevalent in our society right now, it is no small challenge to stay focused on the present joy-full moment. I believe a really famous person said, multiple times, "Fear not." I'm working on it.
     Breathe,
         Leta


Sunday, August 5, 2018

Grieving

     Blessed are those who mourn: for they will be comforted.  (from the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:4)
     Over the past few weeks, a number of losses have impressed upon my psyche, including one very large one and a bunch of lesser ones, a pile that has finally built to overwhelming. Note that overwhelming for me means that I am crying a lot. For privacy's sake, I'm not going into details. No one close to me has died, though it feels that way at the moment.
     I have been through deep grief before, as both of my parents have transitioned. However, that was quite a while ago, so I forgot what deep grief feels like. Besides the crying, I don't feel like doing anything, combined with extreme boredom. I have to force myself to do even small tasks. I want to escape, literally by traveling, or by eating, or by shopping, anything to make this hurt pass. Some of it most likely will pass, but some of it will remain as an undercurrent in life, such as grief over aging, my own and others.
     I try to talk myself out of it. "Things could be worse." "Get over it." "Don't be so lazy." "Other folks have it much worse than I do." That's not working. I know I simply have to feel the feelings and keep on trudging along. Remind myself that all these tears are soul-cleansing. And this, too, shall pass.
      Looking forward to the comfort,
                Leta

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