Sunday, October 14, 2012

Stumbling blocks, or building blocks?

Twice in one hour I have read (in two totally different venues) about choosing a positive attitude. They are wise words. That choice is probably one of Hashem's challenges to us on this earth. We pray, and sometimes the answer is "no". But to wake up each day and decide to have a positive attitude, well, I think that comes from adversity. Only when we are adversely challenged do we even *have* the choice; in adversity comes the decision of how to look at it.

That certainly is *my* challenge. Lots of times I want to write a blog entry, but I am sick of myself being sucked into the adversity, time after time. It's like sometimes I think I am actually passively letting it win ("it" meaning the adversity itself). So now I am going to write about some wonderful things from my trip to NY a few weeks ago. (a month ago?)

First of all, my mother is healing. I know this and see it so clearly, even though, to her, she isn't healing because she still cannot walk. She hasn't taken a step on earth in about nine months. Four of those months she was in and out of consciousness.

Even though she cannot walk, and finds it challenging to read, cannot write, she is healing. Her brain is healing. And honestly, even if she never takes another step (although I believe with all my heart that she will), seeing her brain heal- even over the ten days I was there- right before my eyes- is the most miraculous thing I have ever seen. She still has a way to go cognitively, but her heart is full, and she is oddly serene. I wrote about it while I was there, too, in the post called "Where the Anger melts...."

We both- mother and daughter- got the gift of having a jagged edge filed evenly after a life-changing medical trauma. It is hard to explain, but I have seen it lots since I got sick five years ago. People who have to go through life-altering medical traumas can become softer people; like some brain chemistry got re-balanced (like a car which drives better after a wheel alignment), allowing for the formation of different synapses which are more "in tune" with goodness. I have seen it in myself (although you, the readers, may not see it because I complain a lot and talk about all the bad stuff on this blog), and I see it in my mother. I spoke to someone today who told me about a lecture she heard by a stroke survivor who spoke of this phenomenon, also.

While in New York, I spent Yom Kippur with my brother Peter in his Manhattan apartment. He took me to a very spiritual place to pray, on that, the holiest day of the Jewish year. While there, I met a woman named Tali. I mentioned her in a previous blog entry as well. Turns out that she had more of an impact on me than I thought at the time...

I am beginning to see a few pieces of a puzzle fit together. I have strong answers for my curious drive to go see my parents at that time. I just could not wait, it had to be then, and I knew I needed to go. I thought to myself at the time, "I hope this isn't my subconscious getting me there because one of my parent's is dying." I was secretly frightened of this drive I had to go there because that was the only rationale I could muster up.

Now I realize that it another piece to make Sarah whole again.
First of all, being able to express and receive clear, unpolluted love with my mother was a piece of the puzzle that needed to grow bigger in order to fit properly. I spent a lifetime angry and sad thinking that that would never happen. Who knew?

Another piece of the puzzle is coming together these days, the recovery days after a big trip and lots of holidays. That is the piece which may, after all, lead me to being able to choose a positive attitude. That is where my opening statement of this piece comes in, and where the special woman I met in Manhattan- Tali- comes in.

Tali, as I said in the Yom Kippur blog entry, suffered a broken back some years ago. She was in terrible pain, and also used the Fentanyl patches for pain control, like I do. I was so amazed that she was able to get off the patches and life a relatively pain free life. I asked her how that happened.... how do you get off these medicines and go on?

She told me: Yoga and Energy body work. Yoga is four times a week for her, and if she misses one, she has more pain. She spoke passionately. Her eyes are bright, and she has the kind of enthusiasm for life that we all naturally seek out.

When I left Manhattan, I had privately promised myself that I was going to pursue those two venues. I told her I would, and I knew I meant it. (many good-hearted people have many good-hearted suggestions which I thank them for and walk away, never privately promising myself to follow their advice. It comes with the territory when you have health problems).

I have put out feelers for yoga instructors in my area. I got some promising leads. My husband came upon a "groupon" for a discount rate for a yoga class in my area (he's good at finding discounted rates for things, isn't he. :) Love ya, hon). Point is, I am pursuing it. I'll let you know how it is going now that my secret commitment is out.

About the energy work, that is a little more nebulous, but when Tali said it, I immediately had an image of a friend of mine in Jerusalem who is also a doula, and does cranial-sacral therapy, polarity, and other funky body energy work. And she is a very, very special person. I knew she'd be the one I'd call when I made my promise to myself. She and I have known each other through the doula world for 8 years or so, maybe more.  She has followed all my blogs, and often responds with loving, kind words. Her offer to work with me has always been "out there" in the atmosphere. So, I got in touch with her, and hope to see her this coming week in Jerusalem. Yes, I'll keep you posted on that, also.

Can I avoid more surgeries this way? I don't know. Even if not, though, so much of life is about attitude, if I can adjust that, maybe the surgeries will heal better, and stay that way. (I say 'stay that way' in light of the fact that the surgery I had done last February feels like it reverted back to how it was before- coming out of the hip socket, while increasingly more painful).

I know I am on a path. And it is all the right path, you know? Even when you switch paths, the one you switched from was also right. Then.

(this next bit is taken from a letter I recently wrote to my medical coach, Shulamit)
Sometimes I wonder how I can get over all the stuff I have to get over in order to follow my path. At what point does it become clear that the stumbling blocks are the path?

I still would like to get to starting my book. I still don't understand what is in the way, other than raising a family and dealing with my health issues. Maybe that's just it... my path *is* raising my family and taking care of myself. Considering I didn't do that stuff so well before I got sick, seems like we hit the nail on the head, you know?
And I will also write my book. 

Everything at the right time. 
I have a spark... and I am using it to light my path.


  1. Wonderful positive post! May you be blessed on your path and may you continue to inspire others!

  2. It's good to hear you sounding positive about what you will do to help yourself heal. Finding things/people/events to be grateful for is a big step. Keep the good stuff coming. Definitely building blocks.

  3. good are lucky you have projects you wish to accomplish-they keep us focused.

  4. Hold those thoughts - such great positive vibes - now that it is "acharei hachagim" may you also find the right conduit to more inner peace

  5. I just caught up with your blog, it was good to hear about you feeling positive and I loved hearing about the woman you met in New York--it sounded like you found someone who has more of a personal understanding of what you have struggled with, and I am sure that helps to find someone to connect with like that. Please give my best to your parents and I am hope your mom's healing is progressing. I enjoyed reading your memories of growing up and your comment about the poncho made me laugh as I have one hanging in my closet at home too!

  6. I was just thinking of you yesterday because I read this article in the paper, thought you would find it of interest:
    Bethesda teen who contracted flesh-eating disease has been a ‘fighter’

  7. By lighting your own path, you light other people's path as well!

    I love you Sarah Lee!

  8. You're on an amazing path. Best of luck with the yoga.