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February 2009
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April 2009

Life is about living

Someone wrote her a long message - it was not a very happy one.  In fact, it questioned how she was living her life.  They told her about life, and about living.  Specifically, that life was about living.  She felt convinced that she understood that statement to the fullest.  What had she spent the last years doing?

She tasted pure buffalo mozzarella on the Amalfi Coast...
Buffalo
She sipped on espresso atop the in outdoor cafes in Ravello...
Cafe

She sampled chocolates and sweets while wandering Borough's Market...
Chocolate copy
She peered behind secret corridors in North Africa...
Tangiers
She felt the cool spray from the fountains at the Alhambra palace...
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She thought about everything for a few minutes, and dismissed the comments that had been told to her earlier.  Yes, she knew that her life was about living, in fact, she knew that better than most.  She did it to its fullest everyday, and had no intention of stopping.


The 10th Floor

She stood in the elevator today on her way to pick up a rx from her doctor.  The elevators were all too familiar to her as was the scent of the hand disinfectant dispensers that were located strategically all over the hospital.  Each floor has a different purpose, and a little sign inside and outside of the elevators reminds people where they need to be going.  Some floors for general practitioners, others house doctors that will sort out your bone and other ortho problems, optometry is on floor 4 or 5... and then there is the 10th floor.  As she rode the elevator up to collect the prescription, she remembered her visit on the 10th floor.  Almost 3 years ago she to make a trip to this floor.  Shortly after her stroke, she saw a lot of specialists and those on the 10th floor were no exception.  However, they did bring a shocking reality to her situation.  You see, the 10th floor was hematology and radiology.  She suffered a stroke, so she did not understand why she needed to be seen by anyone on this floor.  She quickly learned that she needed to talk to a hematologist before going on prescribed blood thinners.


It was not so much the appointment that shocked her, but the severity of what else was taking place around her as she waited for the appointment.  She needed to have her blood tested to see if it had made her sick. Perhaps it was indeed what caused the stroke, but until further tests took place, she had no way of knowing.  As she waited for 2 hours (no, she was not early, but the doctor was very, very late indeed...), she had a great deal of time to absorb everything around her.

Oh, the 10th floor also has the Windows of Hope shop.  She glanced into the window of the shop from time to time, but felt as if she was trying to gain access to something that she did not have an invitation to...  As the carts of cookies and juice were wheeled around, she started to feel sick.  Her life took on a new meaning, she started to realize it importance and beauty.  Guilt ran through her entire body as she looked into the eyes of the patients.  In a room to the right were the chairs with patients receiving their chemotherapy treatments.  She felt so out of place, and had seen too much - too much pain, too much suffering, and too much pretending, and not enough beauty.  She whispered a quiet "I'm sorry" to herself and anyone and everyone who could her hear.  And in her mind, she gave them all something beautiful.
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Behind the Doors

I have to say, there are lots of places I really want, no, let me change that NEED, to go and visit.  However, on an oh-so-magical-trip this summer to Morocco, I feel in love all over again.  The people, the food, and the mystery of a country that is nothing less than spectacular.  I found that some of the best secrets in Morocco were hidden, and you had to look around corners and doors to find them.  Door


That being said, some of the most amazing people were not hidden, and they can be found right here...

Lost & Found

OK...so her back, and the rest of her body finally decided to cooperate and come back together (she figured for that, she should say THANK YOU!). By then she realized that there was also the mind and the soul, and those pieces can break as well. They break for different reasons.  She felt the pieces inside breaking apart because she knew that she lost something that had been dear to her for a long, long time.  You see, it was something that started when she was quite young and made her laugh, dance, and sing.  When she was about 8 years old she lost it, only to find it more than 20 yrs later.  

You see it was not a thing but a person, a friend.  But time changes people, and perhaps that is what happened.  What was found, was in jeopardy of becoming lost again.  She did not know what to do.  She found herself thinking about friendship and what it meant to her.  It was something that was not based on conditions, or expectations, or jealousy.  But trust, love, and laughter.  She thought that she had all of those things.  She knew that she had those elements in her life, and valued them fiercely.  It was not about competition but about balance and forgiveness.  She knew of lots of things that had stood the test of time, and friendship was one of them.  Tiberius


Broken

My body feels broken.  Not in a spiritual or symbolic way, but in the literal sense.  It hurts to walk, sleep does not come easily, food does not have the same taste that it once did, and simple movements that I could do without thinking twice make me wince.  Lying on the concrete floor in my apartment on a yoga mat with my feet propped up on the ottoman brings instant relief to everything that feels broken (mostly my back), that is until I have to roll onto one side to get up from that position because my body starts to feel as stiff as the poured cement below.  Yes: broken, casse, fragmented little pieces.


My father wondered whether I was getting too old to be teaching fitness classes... "You are 35 after all..." Thanks a lot dad.  Actually, I am 36, but who's counting?  And too old?  Are you kidding me?  I mean I think that Jack Lalane is still going strong (juicer and all!) and I KNOW that Richard Simmons is going strong.  I mean if he can do it, then I most certainly can as well!  So even though there has been one back surgery, three knee operations, and open heart surgery, I will still keep at it... broken or not.  Perhaps it is vanity, or those endorphins that bring on a high greater than any drug could, but I cannot stop moving, teaching, or being myself.  Even if it means lying on a concrete floor from time to time...  Thank god I brought a towel to work so that I can lie down on my office floor if needed.  No ottoman, but I can always prop my feet up on that Herman Miller Chair!


Aeron_3(image from Herman Miller Seating)

Little Doors

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(photo by author)

I put a lot of my life behind a series of little doors after my stroke - work, personal life, love, friendship, etc. Some of those doors are closed -even locked- and I really never intend to open them again.  For example, I reexamined a lot of friendships and pieces of my life that I was not truly happy with.  In fact, I realized that my life would better without these pieces.  So I packed them up, and I put them away.  Yes, I know that they are still there, as are all parts of my life - past, present, and future - but I have no intention of opening those doors back up.


Life is about priorities, what is important and what is less important.  What must you have, and what (and who) you can do without.  Harsh?  Perhaps, but once I was able to come to this realization, and become comfortable enough to pick up elements of my life and place them behind the doors and close them (slam the doors in some cases, and close them ever so gently in others) the freer and happier I became.