Hope and Resurrection

Hallelujah. I am feeling hopeful today.  I went to yoga on the bluff overlooking the ocean. It was so inspiring. We moved and stretched our bodies, a soft breeze blowing over our faces while Dharma, my yoga teacher, told us a spiritual story from the Bhagavad Gita. Then I went to get my Easter haircut at a hip, unisex barbershop named Floyd’s.

After getting renewed with my new hair, I went to a powerful female drum circle led by my friend Marie. Drumming on a djembe from Africa was so good for my rhythm and my hands. We danced to an African tribal rhythm and beat our wooden drums under the backyard trees with the sunlight dappling through the leaves. When I left my friends, I went into my kitchen, made the dough by hand, using milk and egg for my traditional bunny bread. Kneading the dough felt so good for both my hands and my soul.

It is amazing what old-fashioned traditional art forms do for the spirit, body, and soul. I feel alive today. I feel creative today. I feel like I have been around the world today in  creative, religious, ritual celebrations of the beauty and joy of springtime. I feel my dendrites growing so nicely in springtime, like daffodils. On this Saturday before Easter, I feel hope in my soul. I feel like I have been resurrected, renewed, and transformed.

Creativity, rituals from many cultures, and the tactile use of my hands make me feel in sync with the world. What is it that makes you feel in sync with the world?

 

Posted in brain injury, healing, Inspiration, mindfulness, Spirituality, Stroke Survivors, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Old Friends and Comfort

There is nothing like having an old friend come over, particularly when you only see them sporadically. My old friend, Randall used to live in L.A. We knew each other when we were only 29. We have lived through many fun times together. And scary times too, like the Northridge earthquake in the 90’s, when I lost my house.

We have sung the blues together more than once, like when his father died of Alzheimer’s, and I lost someone I thought was destined to be my soul mate. We have celebrated life together too many times to count. I could always count on Randall  to make me laugh no matter what we were going through. So many memories came back to me today.

Memories are a funny thing. Do these memories lie like a dormant bear in the heart or in the brain? Whenever I am triggered by something specific like remembering the color of drapes in the living room with the grand piano in it. For years, I forgot giving Randall that as a gift when I was forced to lose the beautiful Studio City house that the earthquake hit.

It is good for me to be reminded of the gifts that come from friendship. The good that we do, does come back many times over.  Someone who has known your history, who has grown with you, who laughs with you. Old friends can be a wonderful, comforting gift, reminding us of who we once were and what we once dreamed.  It is good to remind each other of how we always rise from every loss and that we can have a new dream at any time.

Think about your own personal history, your losses and your gains. It is so good to be reminded of who you really are and the strength inside of you. Thank God for old friends.

In honor of my friend, Randall, perhaps we could call or make a plan to visit an old friend today.

 

Posted in brain injury, healing, Inspiration, mindfulness, Spirituality, Stroke Survivors, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Found Poem

When I led a writer’s group called 7 pens, I would encourage my group in different styles of writing, to assist them in finding their authentic voice. I brought in writing from different cultures. Sometimes we would write from someone’s memoir, like Dave Issay, sometimes it would be a great fiction writer like Pat Conroy or Paulo Coelho, and sometimes it was a great poetry writer, like Nikki Giovanni or Maya Angelou.

The only rule that we ever used, the writing had to be based on the writer’s unique experience of life.  We created a lot of pieces and then we found venues to perform them in.  We stayed together for 7 years.  Though we were all from vastly different life experiences, we all bonded, based on our writing.

Two people got married. It was a great time in each of our lives. Occasionally, I would invite them to listen to whatever I was reading from and pick out the words that moved or inspired them. This style of poetry writing is known as Found Poems.

Today I was inspired by the speaker and the music at church, I let my ears pick up evocative words that caught my attention and made my ears perk up. Today I created a Found Poem.

Come Heal

With your connection to your spiritual family

We are unique symbols of soul’s energy

We believe that we are more than we know ourselves to be

We are giving, awakening,

Conscious, growing beings,

Children of a most creative God

We are all artists. Whether we define ourselves as artists or not.  What is it that is creative in your life? Can you find a way to make your creativity more visible?

Posted in brain injury, healing, Inspiration, mindfulness, Spirituality, Stroke Survivors, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking a Different Route

“My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Forrest Gump

Are you tired of taking the same old route through life? Do you feel like spreading your wings a bit? It is early morning and I have a rare, unplanned day. Like most of us, I tend to be a creature of habit. Oh, to be like Forrest Gump and to follow a feather on the wind and see where it leads.

The smallest change begins with a simple decision. On this day, I have decided to take a different route through life, to test out some new chocolates or follow a beautiful white feather on the wind. While I was writing, a friend, Terri called. She told me that she had a great idea for my life.

My friend urged me to get a beautiful blue notebook and to write down all of the things that I knew about and could teach. She reminded me that the notebook must be beautiful because you don’t want to start out your new life in the same old way.

I knew immediately that this call was heaven sent from God. I began to be so excited about all of my new life’s possibilities. My friend reminded me that I had an excellent structure for teaching.  I had forgotten all about my elegant, simple structure when I had my stroke. The truth is, I had forgotten my self-confidence as well.  I remembered how capable I always was and I said to myself ‘I can be capable again.’

What is it that we would do if we knew couldn’t fail? If we knew that the world is like a box of chocolates? All it takes is a hint of confidence to remind us of who we are, and who we are capable of becoming.

Posted in brain injury, healing, Inspiration, mindfulness, Spirituality, Stroke Survivors, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Symbols of Victory and Creativity

A friend gave me a hand-painted angel today. She painted it with red hair, like mine, and a cerulean-colored blue gown, symbolizing my love for water. What I love about her is that she has slightly uplifted arms, stretched out to represent hope and the endless world of possibilities.  On the angel’s face is an expression of deep caring, especially for those of us who are working out many lessons here on earth.

I set the angel on my black HP printer so she looks at me while I am writing or working. If that bisque angel could talk, this is what I imagine she would whisper to me, “Never, ever give up on your creative dreams. Keep running the race until you are victorious.”

Whenever I am feeling stuck in my life or temporarily disappointed with the way that things have turned out; I will envision her lifting me up to new creative heights. To paraphrase a quote,  ‘Angels are God’s thoughts passing to human beings’. In other words, higher more creative thoughts. That quote always comforts me.

I believe those Higher Thoughts are from God.  I always have had them, but now they seem less filtered, more likely to come out. In my reading on brain research, neurologists now say, creative thoughts are a part of the Executive Brain.  Having had a brain injury, I intuitively know this to be true.

So I will keep the angel near me as a talisman to lift me up and inspire me. What is it that lifts you up and inspires you on the days when you feel stuck or disappointed in life?  Imagine an angel whispering to you, ‘think higher and never give up.’

Posted in brain injury, healing, Inspiration, mindfulness, Spirituality, Stroke Survivors, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hope and Balance

Have you ever released a load of pent-up stress and pain by crying the night before and then felt so hopeful the morning after? I am sure that at some point in all our lives, we have all felt so forlorn and then released that sadness and felt infinitely better in the morning.

We, as human beings are allowed the full range of emotions–to laugh, to cry, to love, to grieve, especially if we feel like our bodies betrayed us. I had always taken such good care of my body, by eating healthy foods, exercising, being fit, having a positive attitude. And yet, I had a stroke, a.k.a a fire or a heart attack in my brain. It burned neurons and dendrites, too many to count. It took a long time for me to become fully aware of the damage the electrical fire in my brain did.

So, I cry occasionally for what I have lost. Crying is new for me.  When I had the world by the tail, or thought I did, it was easy to be happy. Now, however, I am trying to let the feelings come, whatever they are, knowing that by my God-given nature, I will come back into balance again.

If we allow ourselves to be open and not shut down, our emotions will come back into balance again. If we stuff them way down deep inside, they will come out, in unexpected ways, like toxic relationships, unhealthy living, or inappropriate anger.

As humans, we always want to return to love and hope. They feel so much better. Now, today I feel lighter and filled with hope.  I believe that most of us want to be peaceful, hopeful, and positive. So many opportunities come to those who feel hopeful.

I believe God wants all of us to be happy, hopeful, and balanced. That way we can pass them on, and as we do, the world rises up, just a little bit more.

 

 

 

Posted in brain injury, healing, Inspiration, mindfulness, Spirituality, Stroke Survivors, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Extraordinary Life

I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity. –Michelle Obama

The Ocean of Life is lavish with abundance. Golden opportunities are everywhere for me.— Louise Hay
I went out today to explore volunteer opportunities. My first stop was the Marine Institute. They take young kids out in the summertime to research and learn about oceanography.
I would like to go out on the boat that goes out into the blue Pacific Ocean.  Though I know next to nothing about sea life or oceanography, I am eager to learn. Perhaps I can learn about the mystery that lies deep in the ocean from someone who has been around marine animals and oceans all their life. It would be fun to learn firsthand about octopi who have a brain in every tentacle, so they feel everything with their neurons.
My next stop was to investigate volunteering in a community garden.  I would love to learn from a master gardener about how to grow gorgeous, heirloom tomatoes, so juicy and sweet that they run down your chin when you bite into them when they are fresh off the vine. I would love to dig in the rich, cool earth with a shovel again so that I had a shovel full of wiggling worms like I did when I was a kid.
I am looking for a learning experience that lifts life from the ordinary into the extraordinary, just the way we felt about nature when we were kids. Life is literally an ocean of opportunity if only we will get out of our same old daily routines and stretch beyond our comfort zones into something new.
What is it that you would like to learn? Try something new today.
Posted in brain injury, healing, Inspiration, mindfulness, Spirituality, Stroke Survivors, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment