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Posts Tagged ‘spirit’

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Well, it’s been a long time.  Not sure why I’m not consistent with posting but I do know that ever since we were hit by the tornado in January 2013 my life has been reeling.  I learned the difference between replacement value insurance and depreciated value insurance that year.  Unfortunately we had depreciated value insurance and with a house that is 30 years old and 2 crushed vehicles over 10 years old, we ended up paying almost $40,000 out of pocket to get everything replaced and fixed.  And we still have huge tree pieces all over our land but we’ll at least have enough firewood to last for, I don’t know, forever

Last May I had several vivid, weird dreams and then one of those unexplainable events happened that I’ve learned to not try to figure out but instead be extra observant and ride through.  On this particular day I was leaving after getting home from work to go play tennis.  I had been playing tennis a lot for months, almost always with men who hit the ball hard and who wanted to play for hours, which I loved.  I’m very competitive and hitting the ball hard and pushing myself physically was a great stress reliever.  Our family had even planned our previous winter’s Christmas trip around me getting to go to a world-class tennis center at Hilton Head.

As I turned out of my driveway that day, I noticed a bright red car that was unusually small and unidentifiable, almost the size of a smart car but wasn’t… I still don’t know what kind of car it was.  It stood out to me because it was such an unusually bright red color and the driver reminded me of my son for some reason.  As I continued down the road, I started noticing that every other vehicle I met was a red vehicle and most of them were the same unusually candy-apple red color as the first car I noticed. After going a couple of miles, I could feel the hair on the back of my neck standing up. This continued uninterrupted the entire way to the tennis courts, a total of about 5 miles. I was dumbfounded but didn’t have much time to ponder what it might mean. I mentioned it to my tennis opponent, he laughed (nervously) and made some joke about it and we proceeded to hit balls for a couple of hours.

Leaving the tennis courts, I started thinking about the “red car” thing that had happened and wondered if it would continue. The first car I met was white. Right after, approaching a very tight curve, a rusty red truck came into view, obviously going too fast and fully over the middle line and barreling directly into my path. I could see that 3 men were in the truck, all looking disheveled and wild, and the driver was leaning against the steering wheel, appearing completely out of control. I held my breath, knowing that it would be impossible for the truck to correct itself and with an embankment on my side of the road, no where for me to veer off the road to avoid impact. The next second, I was around the curve and the truck was behind me. My body seemed to float weightlessly as I continued down the road in a surreal haze, my heart beating wildly in my chest. The next three cars I met were not red. I could feel my mind start to unwind in relief. It was over. I had no idea what any of what had just happened meant, but my senses were definitely heightened and I was completely alive and alert.

A couple of weeks later, my son graduated from high school and four days later I woke up at 3 in the morning with an attack of ocular shingles. Who knew that shingles could be in your ocular nerve and is the leading cause of infectious blindness? Even being in health care for 30 years, I’d never heard of it. The pain was agonizing and both my husband and I were in shock from me suddenly having something that was considered an ocular emergency. By the time it was over, I ended up having a full-blown flu/mono-like illness that had me out of work for weeks and left me weak and nauseated for months after.

I used my sick and recovery time for rest, reflection and attempting to bring balance back into my life. What I knew needed to come back into focus was my spiritual life. The prior year had been swallowed in work, getting through the activities of my son’s senior year and my own graduate MBA program schoolwork. With an intention to recommit to my spiritual practice, I reached out to a friend of mine at work who I knew woke up early every day to do devotions and asked her if I could text her for a while in the mornings so that I’d have someone I could be accountable to and hopefully would be less likely to quit. Getting up early is not my thing… I’m a night owl but I knew that this would be the most predictable time of my day so I started small, just waking 30 minutes earlier than usual so it wouldn’t be such a drastic change but enough time to be meaningful. It worked… months later I was still getting up, sending my friend a text (“doing it”) and meditating or listening to inspiring teachers (especially Pema Chodron who is amazing). And my friend was always on the ready to reel me back in line if I neglected to text her while on vacation or when I had an especially crazy week with work or school.

Which brings me to New Years and resolutions. Reflecting on what I’ve learned about myself, feeling good about my commitment to my spiritual growth, I realized when I woke this morning that I need to pay particular attention to ways that I numb myself and resolved to make an effort to be in my feelings instead of using things (wine, food, work, facebook, watching movies) to quiet or escape whatever I might be feeling. As soon as I decided to do this, I felt a wave of sadness, like someone had taken away my comfort blanket or teddy bear. Right behind it was a sense of deep-seated loneliness and fear of being in pain. I told my husband about my resolution anyway, starting with not drinking wine every night and voiced my concern that I would substitute my nightly wine with food instead. I can say that I don’t look forward to being so acutely awake and unmuffled but the wise part of me knows this is important, that this is what all humanity struggles with and I’m just curious enough and courageous enough to actually see this through.

So here goes… 2015 is the year of taking the wooly blanket off my senses and fully experiencing what each moment brings. And, I almost forgot, I would like to start writing more again because I know it is healing for me. So here’s to a year of more frequent writing and posting. What is your 2015 New Year’s resolution??

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An Army Angel

Today, a Monday morning, as I approached the hospital cafeteria coffee machine, a tall, clean-cut young man was bent over the counter, pouring creamer into a couple cups of coffee.  You could tell he was an attentive, considerate kind of person in the way he attempted to move in the right direction to allow me access to the coffee as I approached him from behind.  Looking at me directly, his greeting was warm. I inquired whether he was here because he had someone in the hospital.  “Yes, ma’am, my mother is here.” “Are we treating her okay and is she doing better?” “Oh yes, everyone has been great.  She’s probably going home this morning.”  He had a humble, grateful presence about him that made him seem much more mature than the barely over 20 years that he probably was. “Has she been here all weekend?” I asked as I poured my coffee. “She’s actually been here since last Tuesday,” he said and I noticed now that his kind, gentle face showed signs of weariness.  The softness of his face stood in contrast to his strong, physically fit, man-body.  “I had to take a medical leave of absence to be here with her.  Those chair-beds get old after a week.”  “You’re in the military?”  “Yes ma’am.  I’m in the army.  Fort Benning.”  I was astounded and deeply touched.  “You’ve been here all week with your mother?”  “Yes ma’am, I came up here Tuesday to be with her.”  I could feel tears start up in my eyes at the tenderness, the wonder of a “military guy” loving his mother so much that he would be with her night and day at the hospital.  That he would ask for time off from his commander, that he would curl his tall frame into an uncomfortable chair for a week of sleepless nights, that he was so unassuming and yet spoke so appreciatively about the staff’s care of his mother.  I thanked him for his service to our country, for the sacrifices he undoubtedly makes.”  Blushing, he said, “I thank YOU for supporting what we do.”  Saying our “see you laters.” we parted our ways.  My heart was full and yielding.  A son’s devoted love for his mother, unashamed and pure in intent.  The world felt soft and full and hopeful.  I had been touched by a goodness that was bigger than one fine, young man; I had witnessed God’s heart alive and tangible.  Monday morning, coffee and an army angel.  The week can commence!

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