Saturday, November 21, 2009


I wrote the word "Gratitude" on the board yesterday as a reminder to my students and to myself that if we hold that, and compassion, in our hearts, that is as good a place as any to start with managing all the rest of our tumultuous feelings.

This year has been a difficult one, in many ways. I heard the phrase "stroke survivor" applied to me for the first time and my neurologist enrolled me in a clinical trial for folks who had a stroke and recovered without long lasting effects. Last Friday she showed me the spot on my MRI that indicated the stroke. She pointed out that scar tissue had formed and so this event probably happened several years ago. As an athlete, this wasn't a label I thought I would be wearing at 45 but I am grateful. With the dx of stroke, the Mass General PFO closure committee, which meets every Wednesday, voted to approve the operation to close my PFO. This will decrease my chances of having another stroke in the future. I am grateful to have access to the best medical care in the world, and to have insurance that will (hopefully) cover this procedure.

As I have written about lately, I am grateful for my family and friends, all rock-solid at a time when I feel vulnerable and needy....two states with which I am neither familiar nor comfortable.

I am grateful for my church and my spiritual beliefs. The first noble truth in Buddhist belief is that life is suffering and the underlying given is that as unenlightened beings, we are out of balance. Most of us are unaware of this but at moments, you get to lean into the sharp points. These clarifying moments allow you to drop what is superficial and expand your soul, I think.

I am grateful for the role of creativity, poetry, and art in my life. I am just finishing a biography of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, married to Charles Lindbergh and survivor of the kidnapping and murder of her first born son. She wrote this:

I keep realizing all the time that suffering isn't enough for true learning, for true understanding, for true vision...I used to think 'one learns by suffering'...One doesn't, though. One learns thorough suffering and beauty. One alone won't do it. You've got to have both..You must remain open--vulnerable."

Finally, I am so very grateful for the people who take the time and energy and read my blog. This online community has allowed me the space to write things I can't say, and therefore has allowed me to stay open. Love to you all!

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