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.
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.
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.
Thursday, October 04, 2012
Not sure of the source, but the message is powerful.
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