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Posts from the ‘Health’ Category

The Mettle Behind the Medal

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” – Woodrow Wilson

This is one of my favorite weekends – the Twin Cities Marathon weekend, a tradition. I ran my first marathon at 39 years old in 2004. My last two marathons were the Twin Cities Marathon in 2013 and 2014. Last year may have been my last marathon, but I’m not committing to not committing at this point. This year, I ran the Twin Cities 10 mile with Jeanne, Linda and Terry. Three strips of tape wrapped tight around my lame ankle makes running doable but at times questionable.

Every runner has a story, a battle, a challenge, but they show up just the same to finish the sentence, the paragraph, the chapter of their journey. I’ve never been fast, but stubborn and persistent fit pretty well. And fortunately, I surround myself with some of the same.

“For a gallant spirit there can never be defeat.” – Wallis Simpson

“For a gallant spirit there can never be defeat.” – Wallis Simpson

Today, there was a lot of mettle behind the medals. Jeanne, a breast cancer survivor, Mom, Grandma, Cousin, confidant, friend, co-worker, a bit of an ass-kicker and so much more than she knows. Walking joy and delight, she always brings life and the party to the party.

I met Linda through Jeanne in 2004 and the three of us have traveled the last 4-5 years to half marathons throughout the country – officially forming the “sole sisters.” Linda is a Mom, personal trainer, creative jewelry maker and good friend. She has a bone floating around her knee, nothing that a bit of tape can’t hold together.

I also met Terry through Jeanne and “the running group” in 2004. We gather to run and chat on Wednesdays, Saturdays and various running events throughout the year. Terry is 77 and is more fit than most 30 somethings I know. In addition to cancer years ago, he had an ankle replacement and yet he’s still running. He has an awesome sense of humor and always has a good story worth repeating.

These are the friends that I surround myself with so some of their courage and resilience rubs off on me. I have many medals from a variety of running events throughout the years. None are more valuable than what I’ve learned and witnessed by running the runs with friends who really show the mettle behind the medal.

Gestures

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” – Havelock Ellis

“Life has no blessing like a prudent friend.” – Euripides

“Life has no blessing like a prudent friend.” – Euripides

Simple gestures often communicate more clearly than a thousand words. A glance, a smile, a hug speak volumes.

Our four-legged furry family members have mastered the art of gestures since it’s their only way to communicate. And perhaps that’s why they bring deep joy to our lives. They show us how to live lightly through their silliness, their ability to forget our shortcomings and love us unconditionally, their capacity for udder delight and their awareness of the present moment and all that it has to offer.

So when I need a good reminder of how to be a good friend, to be grateful for all of my blessings, to be more humane, I most often consult with Molly and Lily.

“Let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.” – Khalil Gibran

“Let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.” – Khalil Gibran

Be kind, gentle, forgiving, mindful of others and walk lightly through today. Your positive gestures will lift others in ways that you may never know but is so desperately needed. Cast light, warm the world.

It’s Just the Battery

“The torment of precautions often exceeds the dangers to be avoided. It is sometimes better to abandon one’s self to destiny.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

My scooter, aptly named the Buddy, has been sitting in the garage collecting dust, not starting for the past three summers. Each summer I kept charging the battery and it wouldn’t start. Thinking there was a bigger problem, l let it sit to deal with it later. Later never came.

“I love the feeling of the fresh air on my face and the wind blowing through my hair.” – Evel Knievel

“I love the feeling of the fresh air on my face and the wind blowing through my hair.” – Evel Knievel

Realizing summer is winding down, I picked up a new battery this week to see if it could be as simple as that. When I tried to start it, nothing but it sounded different than before. I tried again and again but no spark. Not wanting to drain the new battery, I tried the manual kick start. Two, three, four…and seven was the lucky kick. Tentative, the engine sputtered. After a moment, I revved the engine and a puff of black smoke came out, clearing three years of idleness out of the engine.

More confident that it wouldn’t kill, I headed down the street, gradually picking up speed. After a few times around the block, I went full throttle, wind in my face, claiming victory with a few hoots and hollers. The Buddy rides again! As I pulled her back in the garage, I turned her off and then on again just to be sure. Fired right up.

Sometimes, many times, we make a bigger deal of things and hesitate to try and take action, even one step. We put it off until later and later never comes, only regret for not trying. Our mind is a powerful creation – it can hold us back or when we align it with our heart, it can propel us into endeavors we’d never dare. We risk disappointment and dive in with great abandon.

Most of the time, it’s something as simple as replacing the battery, nothing more. Start changing some batteries, dive in and enjoy life.

Return

“We must go beyond the constant clamor of ego, beyond the tools of logic and reason, to the still, calm place within us: the realm of the soul.” – Deepak Chopra

The unrest and uncertainty is not the yearning for more but for true and lasting meaning. Our soul invites us each day to start and finish in quiet reflection, to find joy and awe in the moments that make up our life. We mistake solitude for loneliness, fearful of what we may hear and what we may be called to do about it. Listen and do something about it.

Each day, I pray that I will choose:

Gratitude over regret;
Action over inaction;
Optimism over cynicism;
Civility over aggression;
Kindness over selfishness;
Hope over despair;
Laughter over drama;
Risk over complacency;
Light over shadow;
Love over apathy.

Return to yourself each day so you can enter the world with clarity, peace and purpose beyond yourself. Return.

“The mind ought sometimes to be diverted that it may return to better thinking.” – Phaedrus

“The mind ought sometimes to be diverted that it may return to better thinking.” – Phaedrus

Friend

“Our friends interpret the world and ourselves to us, if we take them tenderly and truly.” – Amos Bronson Alcott

Sharon and I have been planning our 50th birthday celebration New York trip for over a year. It had to be delayed a year when life and other commitments took precedence. I took a lot of pictures of our New York adventure last week and this is one of my favorites. I am not a fan of pictures of myself but I vowed to take a “selfie” of us each day to capture the trip and be reminded long after it passed.

“Let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.” – Khalil Gibran

“Let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.” – Khalil Gibran

We were at Carnegie Hall for a concert. When I checked it out to make sure my finger didn’t make its way into the picture, I saw the gal in back of us with a big smile – so we got a selfie plus. I turned around and asked her what she was doing in our selfie and we all had a big laugh about it. We saw a lot of girlfriends together on the trip.

I’ve known Sharon for over 30 years. We met at freshman orientation at the University of Minnesota. We went around the room for introductions and she said she was from a small town called Canton, South Dakota which probably wasn’t on the map and cracked up at her own joke. I thought – what a nerd. And from that day on that nerd and this nerd have been best friends.

During college, when she didn’t go home for Easter, she joined my family’s celebration and quickly became part of the family. My Dad helped her buy her first car. From calculus to Rocky’s pizza lunches to break ups to grocery shopping at midnight after a movie to her and Tim getting married and moving to New Jersey in August, 1989. I remember the moment after we packed the moving truck saying good bye and aching the loss. And then surprising her Thanksgiving that year and flying out to see her. That was the first time I went to New York when we ventured in on the train.

Even three decades later when we get together, it’s like time has not passed between the last time we saw each other. The conversation picks up as if only a moment’s silence in between.

Time passes quickly and time away with a friend or helping family through health issues are vivid reminders to focus, pay attention and invest ourselves in what’s really important.

Call an old friend, check in with a family member, make a new friend. We can’t predict what tomorrow will bring but we can be assured that change will be a main ingredient. Stay in the moment, create new moments and cherish each one as you are moving through them. Be a friend that will still connect 30 years later and laugh and love even deeper.

Good Therapy

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward

Whether on vacation or amidst everyday life, find your therapy – that which brings solace and guides you back to your center, focused on the present with a fullness of gratitude.

Five days in New York with my best friend from college was good therapy this week. While New York is fast-paced, loud, packed and chaotic, solace was found in conversation, culture and connection right in the middle of it all.

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” – William Shakespeare

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” – William Shakespeare

From a Broadway Show to Carnegie Hall to the 911 Memorial and Museum, we soaked in the sights, sounds and time together creating new memories. One of my favorite places in New York was the Highline Park – an old railroad line above the city that was converted into a beautiful 1.5 mile walking park 30 feet above street level. Flowers and benches dispersed between old tracks that used to carry commerce back in the day. Instead of discarding or destroying it, they transformed it into a place of transformation and beauty. Good therapy.

Yesterday after her vet appointment, I brought Lily over to visit Mom at transitional care where she’s healing from a hip replacement. When I got there, Mom was in physical therapy so I walked Lily over to say “hi.” The patients’ eyes lit up and Lily got herself right in the middle of the action. Like she does for me every day, Lily brought a little delight and broke up the day for a few sweet souls. The therapist told me today that they talked about Lily’s visit the rest of the day. Good therapy.

True joy and delight is not far off hidden in someday or when conditions are suddenly perfect or only on vacation. It is present for us each day when we are present and open. When you find it, share it with others so they can join in as well. Good therapy.

Fan Club

“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

A week ago, Mom was getting her hip replaced. It was scheduled but she had to go in a few days early due to severe pain – it was actually broken. She’s now recovering in transitional care and getting stronger every day. It hasn’t been the same without her. She’s what makes home, home.

There’s been a lot of in and out the past few weeks with family health issues. Molly and Lily know something is going on. They miss Mom like crazy and the feeling is mutual. Every time they see each other, their eyes light up and smiles extend from ear to ear. Home returns.

“Friendship needs no words - it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness.” – Dag Hammarskjold

“Friendship needs no words – it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness.” – Dag Hammarskjold

Yesterday, we went to visit and they were thrilled to see her. We sat outside in the sun just spending time being together. The world was right again. Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It amplifies the depth of fondness that’s already rooted and strong.

True friendship draws us out and invites our spirits to rise. It’s good to be home.

Restored

“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.” – Hippocrates

“Not in achievement, but in endurance, of the human soul, does it show its divine grandeur and its alliance with the infinite.” – Edwin Hubbel Chapin

“Not in achievement, but in endurance, of the human soul, does it show its divine grandeur and its alliance with the infinite.” – Edwin Hubbel Chapin

It looks like a resort but it’s actually Woodwinds Hospital in Woodbury, Minnesota. Mom’s hip replacement that’s been up and down, left and right finally happened yesterday. When her leg turned purple on Wednesday night, we got her to the hospital where the x-ray and CT scan indicated that the hip was broken. Who knows how long she’s been walking around in sheer pain with a broken hip. A new hip “installed” yesterday. The healing, the restoration begins.

On Thursday, a nurse came in and offered a hand massage to relax her. She spent 20 minutes rubbing oil on her hands and arms in gentle conversation. Healing. While piano music plays in the background, the windows feature a beautiful view of the trees, a walking path and labyrinth. Healing.

Nature, music, art, faith, patience and kindness all promote and propel healing. And we need not wait to land in the hospital to start and foster the healing within ourselves and with others aound us. For when we heal, we move further and deeper into our potential – that which we are called to unfold and share with the world.

Silence

“Silence is the beginning of peace. It is in the silence that we learn that there is more to life than life seems to offer. There is beauty and truth and vision wider than the present and deeper than the past that only silence can discover. Going into ourselves we see the whole world at war within us and begin to end the conflict. To understand ourselves, then, is to understand everyone else as well.” – Joan Chittister, Essential Writings

The allure of a sunset, the symphony of birds singing in the woods at sunrise draws us into silence that we long for and avert. We often opt for noise over silence for fear of what we may hear in the quiet. But the calling continues for we are calling ourselves.

May you find the blessing and peace of silence in each day, living to your fullest and giving the world the best you when silence subsides.

Unbound

“As you make choices to let go of attachments that no longer work for you, your options seem to grow and expand. But what you are really doing is increasing your perspective, as all possibilities were there all along.” – Don Miguel Ruiz, Jr., The Five Levels of Attachment

What seems to be loss becomes gain when we release our tight grip on what was so we can reach for what’s next. And what has been is part of the journey that has prepared us for today. So no regrets or what ifs, just forward motion to what’s waiting for us now that we are ready. It’s all a part of the whole journey, the growth, the pain, the process of becoming more authentic.

“The sky broke like an egg into full sunset and the water caught fire.” – Pamela Hansford Johnson

“The sky broke like an egg into full sunset and the water caught fire.” – Pamela Hansford Johnson

And as the sun sets on this chapter, our ego, fears, self-imposed limitations fade as we release them and ready for the depth of abundance in the next sunrise. In letting go of the attachments that now bind, we discover what’s of lasting value, hiding right in front of us.

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