The Love that Grows from Being Broken

My dear sweet friend,

It’s been awhile.  I’ve been traveling and writing, and being in a state of constant bliss and gratitude.  I spent five glorious days with Odin, refreshing and refilling my Odin tank of pure love.  He’s at that age where he is just absorbing every possible movement and expression that he observes.  He has me laughing and crying all the time!  I closed the trip, spending time with my closest brother from another mother and his sweet family.  It was unbelievable as I experienced so much pure love and laughter, so healing for my soul.

In between my days with Odin, I was on a magical farm along the Hudson River in New York.  I stayed at a Bed and Breakfast with friends from college, sharing memories from our past, and stories from our changing selves and sometimes challenging lives.  It was wonderful and amazing.

Life is truly a journey about learning the meaning of love.  Watching my best friend, Diane, from college with her husband, his lover, and her new boyfriend, dance all at the same time, all on the same dance floor, while surrounded by all her friends, and children, her newly wed son and his new wife, and her family, it was just all about the magic of love and forgiveness.  It hasn’t been an easy journey learning that her husband is gay, but it’s one that has left her dancing, free from the burden of resentment or anger, experiencing the grace of compassion and understanding.

We never know the timing of the journey of learning love.  Each person’s journey is different.  I guess you could say that this journey of love begins the moment you exit your momma’s womb.  But the love that you learn from the most challenging of times – the time when your world is falling apart – is the part of the journey where you find the meaning of life.  For Diane and me, it began just a over a decade ago, our stories so different, and yet the same.

 

Experiencing Something New Reminds Me of the Awe and Wonder in Every Moment of Everyday

My dear sweet friend,

Will Rogers state park — 300 acres of bliss.  It is a hidden gem!  You must check it out.

I really didn’t know much about Will Rogers before this visit. What a guy! He was such an important person in US history with his sense of humor and diplomacy.  We could use someone like him now.  He had a weekly radio hour and a newspaper column that would run nationwide, where he’d share his perspective on politics for the most part, always with a sense of humor.  President Roosevelt would schedule his talk with the nation right after Will’s show since he knew he’d have an audience.

I love the idea of sitting around the radio with family and listening to a humorist’s perspective on the current state of affairs.  Something we could use today.

Will loved horses and had built a giant Polo field back in the 20’s. He lived in Beverly Hills and this now park in the Pacific Palisades was his weekend retreat – having grown up on a horse ranch in Texas there are horses everywhere!  Every Sunday there’s a polo match – with horses, not water….hehe.

My parents and I were in awe watching our first polo match.  More than anything, it was the sound that brought me to a new place and time. The clomp of their forceful hoofs on the hard ground and the announcer… wow.   I love experiencing something fresh and different! – a place of awe and wonder…so cool.

They have a bluegrass concert every third sunday of the month and my parents are excited about returning for the one in August.

Our bodies may Age, But inside it’s All about Love

Dear sweet friend,

My parents are officially in my brother’s house!  We’ve been moving all the boxes and furniture over the past month, but we physically moved them out of their apartment this past Sunday.  I’m exhausted!  It was nice to have family pitching in and to see how happy my father was in his new home.

Today we returned to the Village where I teach a meditation class.  My parents wanted to say ‘hi’ to their friends.  Everyone with their walkers and scooters slowly entered the room happy to see my parents, “We miss you!  Do you like your new place?”

As part of the class we’ve been moving through the alphabet, sharing about words that begin with a specific letter of the week.  This week was the letter “S”.

Betty, who is 96, started us off.  She leaned over to me and whispered, “SEX”.  Usually the person who comes up with a word, shares a story using that word to initiate a memory.  But today, Betty told the group she didn’t have a story, but that she wanted to hear what others had to say about “SEX”.  We all laughed.  My mom is the youngest in the group at 87.  Everyone else is well into their 90’s and here we were talking about “SEX”.  How awesome is that?

Gerry was the first to talk, ” I’m happy to report that there is definitely sex in old age.”

I must admit, I was very happy to hear that, and to see how comfortable everyone was in sharing their stories about sex.  They all reported that ‘in those days we got married quickly because we just couldn’t wait to have sex, and in ‘those days’ you didn’t have sex until you were married.’  We went around the circle sharing wedding anniversaries and honeymoons and how long it took for the first baby to arrive.  It was amazing how many firsts arrived close to 9 months after their wedding day!  and how we all giggled with the memories!

The truth is, these 90 some year old folks are just as precious as can be.  They’re just like me – our spirits frozen in time.  In many ways we’re just kids inside.

Flo closed the session, “I have a stranger living with me in my tiny apartment.  Every morning I look in the mirror and there she is.  I ask her ‘where did you come from?’

We all laughed, and every single one of them said, ‘It’s not easy getting old.”

The Uncertainty and Miracles of Life on my one Little Street

My dear sweet friend,

My apologies for not writing for weeks.  My site was having technical difficulties that we were finally able to resolve!

Did I tell you how much I’m enjoying my new neighborhood?  I live on a tiny dead end street where the people in the ten homes know each other well.  It’s what I used to imagine as the ideal old fashioned place where you could knock on your neighbor’s door and ask to borrow a cup sugar and there’s no hesitation nor expectation that anything would have to be returned or owed.

Angelica across the way gives me lemons from her prolific lemon tree and I give her green snacks that I bake when I have time. Matthew and I trade books that we know the other would appreciate.  My next door neighbor, Sandy, gives me clippings from her succulents and I give her sugarless, gluten free home-baked goodies to share with her husband who is battling congestive heart failure.

At the end of the cul de sac, I befriended Carlos and Ophelia.  Their daughter, Ophelita, grew up playing with the little girl, Brandi, who used to live in the house across from mine.  The two girls would ride bikes, play ball and push their baby dolls in carriages.  Brandi and Ophelita grew up and Brandi moved to Denver.  But Ophelita began to have problems with her kidney and had to be put on dialysis.

The week I was moving in, Pam, was in the process of moving to Denver to be closer to her 38 year old daughter, Brandi.  As I emptied boxes from my move, I would walk the boxes over to her house so she could re-use them to pack up for her trip to Denver.  We quickly became friends.  Sadly, a few weeks ago I learned that Brandi had suffered a brain aneurysm and was in a coma – they were having to make the difficult decision to pull the plug.

As Pam was making the sad decision to pull Brandi’s plug, she remembered Ophelita’s situation.  Within a day of her reaching out to Ophelita’s parents with news of Brandi’s healthy kidney, they had run all the blood tests and found that the two girls were a perfect match.  They flew the kidney to LA, and performed the surgery.  Ophelita now has Brandi’s working kidney.

I share this story with you, because it is the beautiful reminder of the preciousness of life, the ends and beginnings, the sadnesses and happinesses, the uncertainties and synchronicities.  As I sit hear knowing how happy Carlos and Ophelia are for their daughter who is now out of the hospital, no longer dependent on dialysis, I also know the sadness Pam and her husband must share with the loss of Brandi.

Everyday I think about these two sweet families living miles apart, sharing in the knowledge that they are truly connected now, and I feel the joy they must live every moment with the reminder that life is unpredictable, and at the same time sacred, divine and filled with blessings.

 

 

 

 

Identifying with my Spirit

My dear sweet friend,

Yesterday I ran into a lovely woman at my parent’s village who just couldn’t believe I was a grandma,

“How is that possible?  You look like you’re 18!”

I laughed and hugged her.  Milly is 94 years young, and must have very poor eyesight.  What I love about her is that her spirit connects with mine whenever we see each other.  61 years is my chronological age, but my spiritual age is that of a kid – I definitely like to experience the world the way Odin does.

Ten minutes later, my father and I ran into an acquaintance.  She looked at my dad and was just so happy to see how healthy he looked.  She looked at me, and asked,

“Are you his sister?”

My father’s chronological age is 90.

In less than 15 minutes I went from looking 18 to looking 90.  I laughed and hugged her.

“I’m his daughter.”

My father was glowing.

Each of us sees the world differently.  Yes, it’s true I have lots of white hair now.  These Wisdom Wires age me many years, but how people perceive me is none of my business.  Inside, my spirit is how I feel.

This morning’s quote on my tea bag was perfect,

“The difference between a weed and a flower is a judgement.”

 

Listening to the Miracles

My dear sweet friend,

I have so much to tell you.  As I listen to the universe, I become aware of the many lessons I am to learn.  When I focus on my problems, the world’s problems and how I wish I could solve it all,  I miss what is right before me, unfolding in the moment.

Yesterday I was at the chiropractor’s office waiting to receive my light therapy (which by the way is working!!! It’s only been 4 sessions of low light therapy and the pain in my thumb is nearly 100% gone!)  when the woman next to me started up a conversation about arthritis.

I had been diagnosed with early stages of arthritis, or often referred to as pre-arthritis. I had been asked if arthritis runs in the family.  Yes, my mom has severe arthritis in her hands, my father in his knees.  I was told by the medical doctor that this pre-arthritis was to be expected, as it runs in my family and it comes with age, and that I would have arthritis soon.

The more time I spend with old folks, I’ve noticed that nearly every one of them struggles with arthritis.  They all complain of being in pain, as if pain is what grows as a result of getting old.  But yesterday was different.

I was sitting next to a 91 year old woman who was telling me that she doesn’t have arthritis, that she is getting treatment for a fall.  She was very proud of the fact that she was arthritis free, and beamed as she shared with me her secret,

“It’s all in the stomach.  Keep your stomach clean, and you won’t get arthritis.”

Everyone in the room stopped what they were doing, and listened.  The lady on the other side of her, implored, “Tell me what I have to do.  What do you mean?”  This other woman had hands like my mom’s – fingers that were crooked, and nodules on the joints.

“I eat ladyfingers every morning,”  said the arthritis-free woman.

“You mean the ladyfinger cookies?

“Noooooo.  I don’t know what they are called in America.  People from my country, India, call them ladyfingers.”

She tried her best to describe the vegetable to us.  The whole room was guessing,

“Broccoli?”  “Leeks?”  “Lemongrass?”  “Fennel?”  “Scallions?”  “Zucchini?”  “Cucumbers?”

“No, no, no…”

I could see she was getting frustrated as she tried to describe the secret vegetable.  I pulled out my phone and asked siri, “what is the vegetable some people call ladyfingers?”

Photos of okra appeared on my screen, and the woman from India, smiled and laughed, “Yes, yes, that is it!!!”

It was time for my therapy and as I was stepping away, I thanked the woman for sharing her secret, and asked her name.

“Inez” she smiled.  The woman next to her laughed, “That’s my name too!”

And so it is.  The two Inez’s sat there holding hands, talking about okra.

 

Allowing the Curiosity to Listen

Dear Sweet Friend,

I’m sitting at the airport in Minneapolis, heading home after a quick trip to help a friend and visit with my roommate from college.  It was a whirlwind last minute trip – often those are the best.  Lots of sweet memories and moments of laughter and tears.

On my way to the airport, I had a wonderful conversation with Mohammed, my Lyft driver, a refugee from Somalia, eager to share with me that he was fasting for Ramadan.  I asked him why Minnesota.

“The people are nice here.”

He was a happy talker.  Four years ago he moved to Minnesota with his younger brother when things were getting too difficult in his country, and he wasn’t able to find a job. He had no money and didn’t know English, but he did have hope and determination.  They came from 110 degree weather and couldn’t understand the 20 degree air and white stuff on the ground. At first they thought the stuff was cotton, and soon came to learn all about snow and the bitter cold of Minnesota.

Mohammad landed a job the very next day at Target, where the manager was also from Somalia.  It was at this job that he began to save money, learn English, and to become acquainted with the American people and culture.  He worked six days a week and on his day off decided he wanted to volunteer at the fire station.  He joined the volunteer reserve team where he learned life saving skills and last year rescued an 81-year old woman who he saw fall while driving for Lyft.

I could see the tears in his eyes in the rear view mirror.  He was beaming with the memory as he shared with pride, “I saved her from dying.  I kept her from bleeding to death.”

Next year will be his fifth year in America and he’ll be able to apply for US citizenship.  Mohammad has three daughters, two of whom are adopted.  He sends money home to support them and pay for their education.  He plans to fly them to America, once he becomes a citizen.

As we pulled up to the airport, I thanked him for sharing his story.  He smiled and said,

“I feel blessed to be able to live and work in America.  I’ve always believed that if you give, God will give back.”