A Moment of Grace

Happy woman handshaking with a mechanic after a good serviceMany years ago, I walked into a retreat center in rural Missouri on road-shaky legs. I’d driven 9 hours from my home in Milwaukee through driving rain, and the last 3 hours led me deep into the rural Ozarks on snaking, hilly roads. I remember saying, “Where am I?” as I passed homes flying Confederate flags and a roadside revival meeting place. At last, I turned off the main paved road and crawled along for another mile on a graded gravel road, crossing two low concrete bridges that went through rather than over the creek, until I reached a hill top and the place I thought I was supposed to be… Read more

“We Can Do This the Easy Way or the Hard Way…”

This famous movie line sums up the choice I had before me when I realized I was going to need surgery.

It all started back in February when my husband and I made a snap decision to go see the Lake Superior ice caves on our way home from a cross country ski and snowshoe trip to the Porcupine Mountains (okay, really big hills) in northern Michigan. We’d spent three days in a fairyland of sparkling powder, skiing through Christmas-card scenes up and down the mountains. The caves were only an hour and a half away, and we could just make it by sunset.

We walked a mile along the frozen shore in the subzero winds as the sinking sun colored the ice from gold to rose to violet. In the first cave we reached, we stood in wonder, grinning and gaping at the fantastical forms above and around us. I took a step deeper into the cave, and I slipped. “Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!” I yelped, cradling my left arm. “Something’s really wrong.” Read more

I Have No Problems

My life changed in five minutes, playing catch with a child.

Opened lotus flower

Opened lotus flower

This summer, I met with Chris Holmes, the President of Penfield Children’s Center.  PCC serves children from birth to age three. As they state it, “Penfield Children’s Center is a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to help infants and young children with and without disabilities to reach their full potential through education, therapy services and family programs.”

This statement says what they do, yet you cannot fully understand who they are and what PCC is like from reading it. It’s like trying to describe the taste of salt to someone who has never had it. Before our meeting, Chris took me on a tour of the facility. Bright colors, natural lighting in every single room and hallway, soft corners and nurturing people – these are some of the elements that you find walking through the building. I was especially delighted by the office windows. Typically, office windows are in the door, or maybe in the wall along the hallway, at desk level. Windows here are 2 feet off the ground, so little ones can see what’s going on in there.

So you immediately see the combination of intelligent design, intelligent and warm people, and lots of thought given to adaptive spaces that meet the needs of all children, typically and non-typically developing alike. The biggest force at PCC, though, is the children. Laughing, crying, moving, sleeping, learning, playing, being goofy, waving hello, rushing up to hug Chris, the children brought the place to life.

And then I met Miguel and I was brought to life. Read more

Surrender

Have you ever had a major surgery, one that required a hospital stay and general anesthesia, one that opened up your body to hands and instruments?

I had laproscopic surgery on December 11, a partial hysterectomy to address increasingly incapacitating effects of large submucosal fibroids. Fibroids are benign growths that the majority of women develop in midlife. The location, placement and size of fibroids determine if they are undetectable and of no consequence, or if they create major problems such as pain, swelling, and extremely heavy bleeding, which mine did. After exhausting other treatment options that all stopped working, it was time for surgery. Read more

Gratitude for Gray Days?

During the post-meditation discussion with my sangha (a community that meditates and studies together) recently, we discussed thankfulness in light of the coming holiday. A person said that he’d been reading about how we could learn to be grateful for everything – not just the things that feel good, or go our way, or make us happy, but everything.

It got me thinking. Read more