Healing in My Inbox

autumn flowers

I feel almost there.

Just a few leftover aches around the ankles. Just some minor fatigue.

What brings us to health? So many things. Eating well, sleeping, and laughing (in my case, I watched Mr. Bean every night for a few weeks straight.)

And you.

Your sweet sentiments, prayers, emails, flowers.

Yes, flowers. In my inbox. The ones you see here are from A Simple Country Girl. She had given me some advice on supplements (which I followed) and she was checking in to see how I was feeling.

And she sent me flowers. Big, big flowers. I scrolled down slowly, taking them in bit by bit. My breath caught when I reached the bottom of the picture and saw a few leaves fallen. It reminded me of how fragile we are, and how much love we need in our fragility.

Thank you all for granting me your bouquets of love.

Autumn Flowers photo by A Simple Country Girl. Used with permission.



Walking the Spiral Path

She gets uncomfortable at the thought of spiritual rules. I understand. It's not that life doesn't benefit from rules; it's just that rules can also become ends in themselves, eventually choking off life.

In regards to artists, Julia Cameron puts it this way, "We insist on a straight and narrow when the Artist's Way is a spiral path." Pushing it further she notes, "An artist cannot replicate a prior success indefinitely. Those who attempt to work too long with formulas, even their own formula, eventually leach themselves of their creative truths."

The result, says Cameron, is that we "sink to the bottom and die." Put another way, "A certain deep artistic weariness sets in. We must summon our enthusiasm... instead of reveling in each day's creative task."

I wonder if Cameron's observations about artists can be applied to spirituality. Is it possible that rules and formulas eventually leach us of vitality and interest? If so, I'd prefer to walk a spiral path.

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On Eating Vanilla Yogurt and Watching the Sun Set

I am not going to say I like being sick. Or even that I don't mind being sick. I hate being sick.

I hate the bruises on my ankles, and the way I am losing weight, and the pain. I hate that I can't stand on my own two feet for more than five minutes and that I sleep until 11 o'clock each day like an infant who has just come into the world.

A really good spiritual sport would say, "When I am weak, then He is strong." And that would be true of course. She might pretend that she could be sick just about forever, and that would be cool with her. But I would prefer to say, just now, that I hate being sick, and I am glad that all of this will supposedly be gone in six weeks' time.

This late morning when my daughter brought me my new "regular," yogurt with a generous dollop of strawberry jam, I noticed a difference. She must have used vanilla yogurt instead of plain. She must have used the yogurt my friend purchased (a different brand).

I ate the yogurt very slowly. It was delicious. Vanilla, in a way my own brand is not vanilla. It occurred to me that if I hadn't been sick my friend wouldn't have gone shopping for me. I wouldn't be tasting this yogurt. Maybe ever. It reminded me of the sunsets I've been seeing from my bedroom window. Usually at sunset time I am downstairs cooking or cleaning.

None of this makes me want to say I don't mind being sick. The world was made for peace and so was I, and when that peace is broken by pain, something deep within me cries, "No!"

But I will say that grace is a sneaky and resilient thing. It can find its way into our bowls and through our windows, bringing us a measure of peace to which we can say, "Yes."

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The Gift of Coming Home

vase of flowers

I am in my own bed.

Sometimes I forget what a beautiful thing that is.

On my bedside table are the flowers picked by my children and my "adopted daughter" (girl who I love because she is lovable... a neighbor's child who makes me laugh and who keeps my own children company). I could see from the bouquet's constitution that there had been a visit to my yard and two other neighbors' yards (one neighbor is in France, and I sincerely hope she will not mind the filching of a rose for my sake).

The rose especially fills my senses.

This is what I missed in the hospital. There, the smells were sickly, like the lingering scent of a room cleaned up after death. It clung to the sheets, so I tried to breathe through my mouth instead. I am overly sensitive to fragrances, so the smells were a special kind of unhappiness for me.

I am okay it seems. My legs hurt impossibly and I can't walk very well— a result of inflammation we never got answers about. My fever is gone and I can almost think again.

I realize I will probably never catch up with all the kind people who have left (and may still leave) comments on my blogs over the past week and a half. It's too much. I will have to let it go and hope that people understand.

While I was in a rented bed, I forgot to be afraid. I feel like that was some kind of mistake on my part. Instead, I lay listening to French music and dreaming of dancers. I talked on the phone to a few friends who made me laugh.

And I counted the hours until I could come home.

Bouquet near Hospital Bracelet photo, by L.L. Barkat.