LIFE AS A TAPESTRY

Have you ever seen a Medieval tapestry?

The type used to keep drafts out by hanging on the walls?

At this stage in the game due to age, wear and tear, the tapestry may be a bit threadbare here and there, faded wherever the sun of days long gone lit on it, but the beauty of it – the magnificence – remains.

I have a passion for Medieval art, btw.

As for life as a tapestry…

In my bio I write My life is a tapestry.  That’s how I look at it.  There are imperfections in the threads and sometimes light shining on it may reveal something different than what people might have thought but it’s colorful and unique and – the material woven in such a way as that there is strength.

I recently had a conversation in which I used this metaphor to help a teen see the silver thread in the grey section he’d recently weaved…

Not long into the summer he took a spill that left him with an arm broken in two places. For a long time he couldn’t drive and he lost his job which required the use of both.

After expressing my condolences I explained that this was part of the tapestry of his life and that when he’s a dad?  His kids are going to listen with eyes like saucers to the story that their dad fell while riding a skateboard and broke his arm!

“You dad?  You were on a skateboard?!”

A ghost of a smile came and went and it was obvious he hadn’t considered it like that.

We all should.

The Forest for the Trees

I’ll be the first in line of those who have failed to see the bigger picture because when you’re in a cesspit it’s hard to see the silver thread but…it’s there.

The Pandemic and Kids

I have lost count of the times I’ve considered what heroes the kids of the world are.  Everyone’s so busy talking about teachers and YES they are pandemic heroes but they are adults!  They have resources available to them to help them through, not the least of which is life experience.

Something kids don’t necessarily have and it becomes more difficult the further back in childhood you go.

I think back to what my life was like at that point in time – age-wise – to those I was most familiar with

Teens

For one thing I’d just had my first class in computers on an Apple IIe.

I like to tell my kids I grew up when the abacus was the computer though I did do punch card computing while working at Oakland Hills Country Club.

I considered how the school administration put everything online so kids could get the best experience possible given what they had to work with.

Then considered how my mother and I -poor as church mice at that point in time – could not afford cable, let alone a modem [aka the Internet].

Recognizing such needs the local school offered free Wi-Fi so students could sit in the family car and connect for free.

Which makes parents and older siblings driving to the schools so the kids could do so heroes too.

I don’t think my community would have had the resources to do the like

For a variety of reasons

which led to thinking about…

The seniors whose lives had just gone off the rails.

  • What would happen to college applications?
  • What happened if they were vying for a scholarship in sports or the arts?

Time and again I watched kids step up to the plate filming themselves and sending the video to colleges that couldn’t have them come and audition because of shutdowns. 

And watched the owners of studios offer their spaces upon appointment so they could do so.

I heard stories of teens setting up studios in their homes to try and keep up the dancing or other activity

And parents giving up their home offices to be turned into those studios.

Which circles to…

Who are you and what have you done with my parents?

It wasn’t only kids that were kept at home.  Parents who were used to being away from their kids for hours while they worked were suddenly sharing a home 24/7 with them.

In one case the dad was a homicide detective who still went to work and thus slept odd hours.  His kids were both talented dancers – one going for a scholarship to Juliard.  When was he supposed to practice that wouldn’t wake his dad if the hours were continually changing? They made it work.

I heard stories of parents shoving desks into the front entryway and other nooks and crannies as they tried to accomodate but those kids had to accomodate the parents as much as the parents were doing for them.

Imagine living in a small flat in Europe or Japan or Australia or a small apartment or condo in the US?  Those kids weren’t any happier at being in a squirrel hutch previously used primarily for sleeping any more than their parents were.

It only becomes a squirrel hutch when circumstances mean the walls close in.

These are the events that are the threads of the tapestry.  

And yet…

The same event may have spawned the thread but the tapestry of youth is not the tapestry of adulthood and in this, youth have a distinct advantage.

Adults are generally used to stability so when the silver thread appears they view it with horror.

Whereas kids are more likely to say “Oh, another one?”

Kids only start viewing these threads with horror after seeing the adults in their lives do so.

Heard plenty of stories of adults paving the way as best they could along with stories of how some adults weren’t handling it which put more of a burden on the inexperienced to take up the slack and run with it.

The tapestry

Because of the pandemic and the contuing fallout from it, kids in our world are getting a brilliant opportunity to see how well – or not – the world handled the global adversity.

At the end of the day the silver is there.  It’s the place of honor it gets in the tapestry that makes the difference…

Look for the silver in your tapestry

Admire and value the beauty

Be well

VISUALIZATION HEALTH AND HEALING

 

Today is a special day.  It was 43 years ago I had the brain bleed that would change everything and while a lot of trauma and loss came from that day my mom made an effort to turn it around.

Take the focus off the sad.

Celebrate Life!

Beginning the very first year and every year since we celebrate this day because I’m here. I survived and proved a lot of medical professionals wrong by making a full recovery and going on to live a normal life.

Funny, none of the nonmedical folks were pessimistic. They were all very encouraging.

Celebrate life!

There were some very special anniversaries, including the five year which my mom, brother, and I toasted with champagne!

Ten year was special too as I had multiple celebrations, some with friends, some with family.

After my mom remarried my stepfather made a point of calling me on this day to congratulate me.

They often sent flowers, too.

Throughout the years I’ve included those in my sphere in celebrating this day.

Sometimes it was small, other times a party. Sometimes friends, sometimes coworkers as we went to the Novi Hilton behind our office for a drink to celebrate life.

Tonight I’m thinking of a nicer dinner – maybe a dessert.  As for including others in the celebration…

This is for readers and visitors…

Celebrate life and all its wonders!

As the title suggests, visualization can play a big role in health and healing.

It did and does for me!

It may be that visualizing as a part of healing came naturally to me because even before having the brain surgery I was big on imagery.

I had a vivid imagination.

Still do, thus, fiction writing.

I regularly put this imagination to good use in play and school.

I won my first fiction writing award in first grade.  I had to illustrate the story which I did in crayon.

I also learned to use visualization in sports, which helped in my acceptance to the US Olympic gymnast team the spring of 1979.

I was to report to training camp two weeks after the brain bleed. Talk about life reroute!

In sharing this here on this day I’m empowering readers by either reminding them of something they know or educating them on something they don’t and that is that visualization can and does play a huge role in health and healing.

To illustrate…

pun intended

After I got my sight back I asked my dad to lift me up so I could look out the window.

I’d been blind for weeks.  My sight came back slowly and in the beginning it was only in black and white.  

It was the end of August and more than anything I wished I was out riding my bike or roller skating as I had been the day before the brain bleed.

Thinking as I was skating how much my life was about to change – because the training camp I was going to was run by gold-medal winning Romanian gymnast coaches.**

I remember looking first at the clear blue sky then at the enormous hospital lawn.

Green and beautiful.

It was the lawn that ignited the imagery that turned my healing in a new more powerful direction.

Some people make fun of Midwesterners and their lawns but I can say with absolute certainty that seeing that large green lawn on that perfect summer day changed my life for the better.

After asking my dad if I was too heavy – I wanted to stare at the lawn some more – I allowed all the feelings the lawn represented to fill me.

I thought of how I’d only seen such a large expanse of grass like that at a park which made me think of running around on that lawn, playing jarts or croquet, and all sorts of other fun things.

I declared I was going to walk again and more – ride my bike again.

I could see myself riding a bike on the sidewalk next to that grass.

Months later I was sitting in the car in the parking lot of St. Mary’s of Redford and once again visualization catapulted me forward along the path of healing.

And got me out of a serious downward spiral of despair.

A misguided therapist had asked what I was going to be for Halloween – a billiard ball?

Because hair shaved for the surgery was only a little over an inch long.

To understand why I was so devastated by the remark.

Prior to the surgery my hair was down to my waist.

Dejected, I was staring into the distance when I caught sight of the shadow of my head on the car door.  My ears were sticking out, which made the comment hit home – and I started to cry.

My mom was returning the wheelchair to the hospital lobby because it had only been 2 months. Yes I could walk, but distances wore me out which often caused me to trip and fall.

As I was staring at the shadow a gentle voice spoke to me and I was filled with warmth.

As if I’d been wrapped in a warm blanket.

“See it.”

My mind immediately focused on the shadow and I imagined what it would look like if my hair was long.

I could see it!

Rather than stopping there I allowed my mind to wander at will to a time in the future when I would be normal again.

Well, that wasn’t going to happen but at that point I still hadn’t grasped the enormity of what had happened. 

By the time my mom got behind the wheel I was excited because I knew it was all going to be okay.

  • I would walk normally again

No dragging my left leg behind me because my knee hadn’t yet remembered what to do

  • My hair would grow long again

Though I did cut it short in high school – once…

  • I would become the writer I’d wanted to be since I was 3

Before gymnastics, math, and science took center stage.

That image got me through a lot of tough times and because I held it firmly in my mind during every physical and occupational therapy session, worked magic

  • 9 months later I walked 26 miles to raise money  for Muscular Dystrophy
  • A little over a year after that I skated 56 milles to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Association

Whenever I’ve been faced with a health challenge I’ve included visualization as part of the healing process.

It works!

** Both my parents – separately – commented years later about that day.

Watching as I was skating – twirling then jumping up into the splits and touching the toes of my skates before coming back down to the sidewalk – and considering how much life was about to change.

August 6th: A day that changed a lot of lives!