CELIAMINER   168,041
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Learning from Near-death Choices

Saturday, December 01, 2012

I try to meditate each day with varying degrees of success. Today, instead of using my normal guided meditation, I decided to watch inspirational videos at TED.com. The collection today was titled "What We Can Learn from Near-death Choices," and featured five speakers, three of whom I listened to and took notes in between the tears and the laughter. Here are their lessons.

Ric Elias relates his brush with death as a passenger on US Airways Flight 1549 (Miracle on the Hudson). His most important lesson: Life can change in an instant, so get rid of negative energy, and don't waste time doing things that don't matter with people who do.

Candy Chang creates public art that people interact with (such as asking a question and inviting people to answer on a chalk board or post-it notes). When she asked, "Before I die, I want to ____," answers ranged from whimsical to heart-wrenching, and the concept has spread around the world, letting people have a voice through art.

The most inspirational to me was former Australian Olympian Janine Shepherd, who suffered a crippling cycling accident (struck by a speeding truck) that ended her Olympic career. The accident was so horrific with multiple broken bones (including broken neck and crushed back), massive blood loss, body ripped open and filled with gravel, that it's amazing she is alive and coherent, let alone that she can walk. Yet she is and she does (with limitations).

Her talk reflects on the impact of a broken body on one's dreams: the depression at the loss of everything previously valued and worked for; the uncertainty at how to move forward; the discovery of new dreams; the unbinding of creativity. She relates how, after she returned home from months in the hospital spinal ward, she looked at a passing plane, and, in a flash of inspiration, decided that if she couldn't walk, she would fly and made a booking for a lesson. Unable to walk at the time and in a body cast, she had to get someone to drive her to the airport. With humor, she describes how the instructors "drew straws" to see who had to go up with her. Then...they were in the air! She was unable to use the rudders, so the instructor took them up, passed hand control to her, and she was flying! The experience unleashed within her a dream, and she poured all her talent at planning into how to make the dream reality and all her pent-up determination into walking again. Within 18 months of that first flying experience, she was walking, and she earned her private pilot license, her instrument rating, her twin-engine rating, her commercial license, her flight instructor rating, and, unstoppable, her aerobatic instructor rating.

Her conclusion: The body may be limited, but the spirit is not, so shed the physical and embrace the virtues of the heart.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KANOE10 12/9/2012 7:23AM

    Great blog ! We need to appreciate our precious moments in life.


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HFAYE81 12/4/2012 11:54AM

    Amazing!!! I love TED talks. Another inspirational story is one I read in Runners World a few years ago. A firefighter named Matt Long nearly died when he was struck by a bus and dragged while on his bike...he came back and finished a marathon. Here's a link http://www.runnersworld.com/runners

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CATMAGNET 12/4/2012 11:28AM

    Definitely an inspirational blog! Thank you for posting this!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 12/4/2012 10:09AM

    What an inspirational blog. Thanks for sharing this. It's so easy to dwell on the small stuff and forget what's really important.

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SOPHIEDO13 12/1/2012 4:46PM

    I think the one about the cyclist is the most heart wrenching and inspirational TY for your Blog emoticon

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UUCEEJAY 12/1/2012 4:24PM

    What a great inspirational blog. I love TED! I will have to watch this one. emoticon

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X5X52000 12/1/2012 2:40PM

    emoticon BLOG! TY for sharing!

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TORTISE110 12/1/2012 12:28PM

    What a lovely way to spend some time...wow! The few times I have walked to death's door with people I love I have been so inspired and honored to be present. I learned so much about how I would like to die. One of my favorite stories is my father in law who was dying, but lucid, at 97. My husband said to him, "Dad, I think this might be it." And Dad said, "If it is, Rich, it's been a great ride." He was a man of great religious faith but I was so touched by how he acknowledged that life here was important to him and he had enjoyed it.

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BETHGILLIGAN 12/1/2012 12:03PM

    Celia--thank you for this blog. Something for me to think about today!

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PINKNFITCARLA 12/1/2012 11:27AM

    Wonderful blog Celia! It certainly makes one think.

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2WHEELEDSHARON 12/1/2012 11:22AM

    What a gift this blog is, Celia:) We have a "Before I die, I want to..." chalkboard in the shelter and one of my favorite things somebody wrote is "Be thankful for everyone I meet."
I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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The "R" Word

Friday, November 09, 2012

Day two of visiting the Portland (OR)/Vancouver (WA) area, where we would like to retire. My feeling right now is this: Do I really have to go back to DC? Can't I just stay here?

Yesterday, we landed around noon and hit the ground...walking. Specifically, we walked the 10K volksmarch around Vancouver, and it was like coming home, since we walked many of the same trails over 10 years of participating in the Discovery Walks. Finishing around mid-afternoon, we were disappointed to find most of the restaurants we had hoped to visit while in Vancouver closed until dinner, so we headed to McMenamin's on the Columbia River for good beer and food. When we got back to the hotel, we walked across to the mall and tried Brewtopia. We were a little apprehensive since reviews were not good, but we lucked out getting there ahead of any crowds. The people were nice, and even though the bartender seemed a little unsure of himself, he learned quickly when we told him specifics about the beers we ordered.

Today, we explored Camas, WA, a few miles upriver from Vancouver. We had considered Camas as a potential place to settle, but the Georgia-Pacific paper mill changed our minds...yes, it smells like a paper mill. We did enjoy our hikes in Camas, though. The first was a challenging 10K walk around Round Lake, challenging due to slick rocks and rough terrain. After a filling lunch at the local restaurant, we walked an 11K trail along Lacamas Lake, nice and flat. We then headed back to the hotel for a soak in the warm jacuzzi, then cleaned up for dinner at Grant House, one of the historic houses on Officers Row near Fort Vancouver. It's one of our favorite places in Vancouver, and we make it a point to eat there each time we come.

Tomorrow we head north to the Seattle area and more good walks.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DIBANANA 11/25/2012 2:19PM

  Celia it looks like you really enjoyed this trip. I'm sure I would choose Oregon over DC as well. I like the big cities in small doses. It sounds like the perfect match for you and your love of walking!

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UUCEEJAY 11/18/2012 5:26AM

    Vancouver is one of my favorite spots! What a great place to hike and to retire. emoticon

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CARRAND 11/10/2012 6:59PM

    Sounds like a lovely area! You'll be retired before you know it.

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PINKNFITCARLA 11/10/2012 12:51PM

    It sounds like a lovely time Celia! Glad you're enjoying yourselves.

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POINDEXTRA 11/10/2012 12:17PM

    DH and love the Pacific NW as well, and would also like to retire out there. Glad you're enjoying your trip.

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KANOE10 11/10/2012 9:58AM

    I love both Portland and Seattle. The Northwest is a great place to live. Enjoy your trip.

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HELEN_BRU 11/10/2012 9:18AM

    Sounds like a fun trip! I know what you mean about those paper mills. . .yuck!

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2WHEELEDSHARON 11/10/2012 8:42AM

    Wait! What?! You're here?! Is there a chance I could meet you somewhere? If you're too crunched for time, no worries, but if there's a chance, I'll take it!

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GINGERHAWK 11/10/2012 8:18AM

    Glad you're enjoying your trip. For my husband's 40th birthday we spent a little over a week traveling around Oregon and really loved it. The mountains and the coast were both spectacular!

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BETHGILLIGAN 11/10/2012 8:10AM

    It sounds wonderful!! Hope you find the perfect "settling" place!

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SOXYINMO 11/10/2012 7:30AM

    Ooooooooooooooooh, sounds lovely!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 11/10/2012 7:18AM

    Sounds just lovely! That 'R' word will be here before you know it.

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SOPHIEDO13 11/10/2012 12:36AM

    I'm glad you are having a wonderful time !! Wish I was there LOL. The walks sound wonderful, weather must be nice. Glad you're Sparking while visiting Washington State. emoticon

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Trying the One-Word Answer Challenge

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Not as easy as you might think! Copy and Paste into your own blog, change the answers to suit you. It's really hard to only use one word answers.

Where is your cell phone?


Your hair?

Your mother?

Your father?

Your favorite thing?

Your dream last night?

Favorite drink?

What room are you in?

Your hobby?

Your fear?

Where do you want to be in 6 years?

Where were you last night?

Something that you aren't?


Wish list item?

Last thing you did?

What are you wearing?

Your pets?


Your life?

Your mood?

Missing someone?


Your car?

Something you're not wearing?

Your favorite store?

Your favorite color?

When is the last time you cried?

Where do you go over and over?

Five people who email me regularly?

Favorite place to eat?

Favorite place I'd like to be right now?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KANOE10 10/25/2012 5:17PM

    Nice blog. Not easy to do one word answers!!

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2WHEELEDSHARON 10/23/2012 11:18PM

    Great job! I don't knoww how I'd answer a fewof those in one word!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 10/23/2012 9:02PM

    Interesting, I'll have to try this.

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GRATEFUL_BEING 10/23/2012 4:37PM

  It was a little difficult!

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ANJAYS-JOURNEY 10/23/2012 4:06PM

    this is so much fun, we are all learning a little more about each other, nice to met the real you!!

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BESTMEICANBE51 10/23/2012 3:13PM

    Nice to know you better.

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X5X52000 10/23/2012 2:51PM


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GINGERHAWK 10/23/2012 2:18PM

    Thanks for sharing. I'll post as my blog to keep the momentum going. emoticon

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BECKYLIZ 10/23/2012 2:10PM

    Very revealing and interesting emoticon emoticon emoticon
emoticon For sharing yourself.

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Maintaining but still losing

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I'm not saying that like it's a bad thing, because today my scale read 140.0, down 80 whole pounds from my start at 220! And 5 pounds below the weight at which I declared victory and started maintaining. I did hear that little voice inside me saying 140...140...140. So that's where I am today. Will I stay here? Not sure, but it's a good feeling to put up that "Lost 80 pounds" icon for awhile.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BECKYLIZ 10/23/2012 2:08PM

    So happy for you that you are at or below goal weight. You are such an inspiration. emoticon emoticon

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ENUFF81020 10/19/2012 10:57PM

    Hi there--I changed my goal after I got to it. Part of my reason was because I am also shorter now than I used to be, but part of my reason was that I knew I could have a lower BMI and still be in the healthy range. Take care of yourself and do what you need to feel your best!!

Take care,

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2WHEELEDSHARON 10/16/2012 10:45PM

    Amazing work, Celia! Very well done! I'm very impressed.

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HELEN_BRU 10/15/2012 3:15PM

    I'll bet it was! You are doing so great!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BLUEBIRDSFLY 10/15/2012 1:49PM

    I believe your body will know where it wants to settle. I think we all have a bit of distorted body image syndrome but I do trust in the wisdom of the body. I also think the last time I saw you that you were lovely. However, this is strictly a very personal decision.
Congratulations at being so successful at maintaining your weight, Celia. You are a wonderful inspiration to us all. emoticon

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BETHGILLIGAN 10/13/2012 7:53PM

    Wow!! 80 pounds is a great accomplishment!!! Good for you!!!

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KARMSTRON 10/13/2012 7:15PM

    Yeah for you!!!!

When I first lost my weight, I went to 130 and found that I felt small and weak at that weight. I found that 138 was perfect for me. Now I just need to get there again. You will find the right weight for you!

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GRATEFUL_BEING 10/13/2012 6:20PM


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BESTMEICANBE51 10/13/2012 3:50PM

    OH YEAH !


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CHERYLL1949 10/13/2012 2:35PM

    emoticon emoticon

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NANDA82 10/13/2012 2:17PM

    That's an amazing accomplishment! emoticon

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CARRAND 10/13/2012 1:37PM

    Wow, that's great. I got to 150 and unfortunately have crept up to 160. You are an inspiration.

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SOPHIEDO13 10/13/2012 1:33PM

    emoticon You are an inspiration....Please post on your habits that helped you lose 80 lbs I would like to know.... emoticon emoticon

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CHRISKENANDKIDS 10/13/2012 11:22AM

    I'm so proud of you! I really want to get down to 145 but I've been at 155-160 for 15 months so I'm losing hope for that a little bit. Anyway, congratulations!

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PINKNFITCARLA 10/13/2012 11:16AM

    So, So proud of you Celia! emoticon emoticon

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JOYFUL78 10/13/2012 10:36AM

    i am so proud of you!

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BECKYLIZ 10/13/2012 10:12AM

    Congratulations on your weight loss journey, you rock! emoticon emoticon
You are an inspiration

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KANOE10 10/13/2012 10:01AM

    great job on losing 80 pounds!!!

I weighed 242..so I know how happy you feel. emoticon

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_LINDA 10/13/2012 9:30AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
That is a fantastic loss and great maintaining!! Your body will decide its happy weight when you are consistently doing all the right things. Who knows where it will go!
Enjoy your weekend!

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SLIMMERJESSE 10/13/2012 8:29AM

    WOW, congrats!

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WELLNESSME09 10/13/2012 8:24AM

    You did it ! Good for you! emoticon

Congratulations on your amazing success. emoticon

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POINDEXTRA 10/13/2012 8:06AM

    Congratulations! It's hard to imagine that you ever were 220. Don't worry - your body will figure out where it wants to stay, and sometimes that's lower than we think!

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GINGERHAWK 10/13/2012 8:04AM

    WOW - an 80 pound loss is amazing. You should be so proud of yourself. emoticon

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What does the scale mean?

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Not sure of the source, but the message is powerful.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BECKYLIZ 10/13/2012 10:14AM

    So very beautiful and profound! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BLUEBIRDSFLY 10/6/2012 3:52PM

    I have parted ways with my scale awhile ago. I didn't like the fact that I could gain or lose depending where it was placed in my apartment. More importantly I did not want it to have the power to determine how I felt about myself on a given day. So now I know how I am doing according to how my clothing fit and the non-elicited comments from my friends. I have accepted that losing my weight is going to take some time and it is just one of many things in my day that define who I am and what is important to me.
Thanks for the posting this blog, Celia. I am certain it resonates with many of us here at Spark. emoticon

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CRYSTALJEM 10/5/2012 9:58AM

    That is so true! And something we all tend to forget too often when we start on a weight loss journey. Important reminder for us all, thank you. CJ

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JERSEYDEBBIE23 10/5/2012 6:55AM

    This is so true emoticon

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PINKNFITCARLA 10/4/2012 10:22PM

    So very true! I am not weighing for one month. Giving myself time to just work on being consistent and not worrying about the little ups and downs.

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NEWTINK 10/4/2012 9:49PM

    this is awesome ... emoticon

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BESTMEICANBE51 10/4/2012 9:31PM

    LOVE IT !! Thanks for reminding us what is so easily forgotten.

emoticon emoticon

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GRATEFUL_BEING 10/4/2012 8:59PM

  Thanks for the reminder friend ♥

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ELIZRN 10/4/2012 8:49PM

  Scale weight is just that....& it doesn't give one the full truth that is needed to get & stay healthy. In fact, it can be a hindrance. One needs to know the lean body mass, body fat percentage & the scale weight as it all relates to height & exercise level. Not having this information nearly caused my death a few decades ago. Now, I know better.....& I'm still alive.

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SOPHIEDO13 10/4/2012 8:41PM

    Thanks for the blog, but today I don't feel any better getting off my scale
I tiped it 4 lbs. Yuck...I did just get done eating dinner so maybe tomorrow
morning I will only be up 2 lbs, but just more work I have got to do. Thanks
though It is just a number emoticon

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KARMSTRON 10/4/2012 8:26PM

    So true - and worth the reminder!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 10/4/2012 8:14PM

    Yes, we're more than a number on a scale and more than the shape of our body parts.

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BETHGILLIGAN 10/4/2012 7:22PM

    Love this!!! Thank you!

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