I have been pensive lately for many reasons. The first is that I am still in relatively new life renewal mode. Two months ago, I was lying in a hospital bed with all manner of accutrement attached to my arms; beeping and chirping away. A pin hole was poked into my right wrist, allowing for the insertion of a stent that was placed in a collapsed artery. I can still see it and it is fading, but not my resolve to see this as a do-over. My schedule has changed dramatically as I am now working from home full time, living a cherished dream as a writer. I have what I would have thought of as the luxury to take care of myself in ways I never had before. Even though I am busy, I am not frenzied. Even though I have deadlines to meet, I can come up for air. Often over the years, I have felt as if I was holding my breath just to get through a day jam packed with activity. My friends would tell me that they would feel exhausted just hearing me chant the litany of my daily to do list.
When before I would have said yes to nearly every request made of me, more often I am feeling my way into it and saying no, if I am truly unwilling to say yes. I was laughingly telling my cousin Jody yesterday that I was looking for things to say no to, just to practice it. Ironically, the more I say no to what I choose not to do, the more life affirms me. Doors keep opening easily that had seemed bolted before. How grace filled things can be when I am in surrender mode.
A friend had asked a question on her Facebook page about the best thing that had happened in our lives in 2014. Immediately and ironically, I said that the heart attack was it. If not for its occurrence, I would still be running a gazillion miles an hour, sleeping little, working too much, too hard, scrambling for success, immersed in my workaholic ways. Clear and simple, I am a workaholic who needs to be mindful of the effects of that addiction as surely as an alcoholic needs to steer clear of the bottle. The truth is I can’t refrain from working, but it needs to be at a sane and reasonable pace. As a result of the cardiac condition, I have shifted gears in my writing; coming from the heart in all areas. I have used my gifts to share information to caution others to learn from my experience. From that vantage point, I have been able to touch lives that I might never have otherwise.
I also have been considering the mystery of whether anything is random or it is all carefully mapped out, or perhaps a combination of the two. Had I made a soul contract to lose my beloved grandmother at age 4, to be diagnosed with asthma soon after, so that at 11 I would join a swim team which would become a favorite activity for many years, which would lead me to coaching and then deciding to enter into the field of therapy since I liked serving in a teaching/counseling mode? That in turn brought me to Glassboro State College where I also worked in a crisis intervention center where I met many who are still in my life to this day (3 with whom I got to spend precious time a few weeks ago). Fast forward and my spiritual practices and interests had me going to hear a presentation by Ram Dass and during the intermission, I was introduced to a man who I would marry, with whom I would co-create a magazine called Visions, which would launch my journalism career. When he died, I would become an interfaith minister and free lance journalist who is now typing these words. Along the way, I have crossed paths with thousands of people in the various and sundry personal and professional roles I play.
This week I received an envelope in the mail marked ‘hand cancel’. It came from my friend Vicki. When I eagerly opened it, I saw this gold cardiac muscle shaped heart and it informed me that it was my heart of gold. I felt loved and it reinforced the belief that I sometimes feel challenged to accept, that I do have a heart of gold that guides me to touch and be touched by the people in my life.