February Morning

Morning, quiet, dark, solitary has been my favorite time of day since I had kids.  

Sometimes it would be just me and my baby, nursing, quietly in a chair, my eyes focused on this miracle at my breast, so tiny and vulnerable and my heart would clinch tight and an immeasurable sadness would grip my heart.  Why, I’d think to myself, did I feel so sad?  Why didn’t I feel joy?

And I can only say because the moment was so damn full of love that, being who I am and how I entered this world, the same emotion touched a deep and unhealed void; some immeasurable loss and longing inescapably linked to great love.

As my children grew and my business took more of my time, I got up earlier and earlier.  

Sometimes it was because I needed to go to work early, other times it was because it was the only calm time in the day.  Mostly it was because it was quiet and solitary and I could hear myself think.  Sometimes it was just because my anxiety would not let me sleep.

Raising children is not an easy feat, and I must admit I failed them time and time again.  I was too young and too scared and simply too reactionary to be a great Mom, despite my love and intention for their wholeness. I was not whole myself.

I guess I can be grateful that two out of three of them have forgiven me and despite their childhood wounds, want to share my life and know me as I am today.

One does not, and because he was the first and it was so completely crazy, and he felt (and was) unprotected from his Father and my chaos, he has every right to be angry.

What breaks my heart is that he is so angry that he cannot feel his fear and move through it.  Some pain is just too early, and too deep.  The irony is that we share the same pain and are separated by it.

As I write this cold winter morning, before the sun is up and there is only dark silence, I am grateful for this time- the peace and the solitude.

It is now that I practice compassion for myself and for this day and for the people and situations that I will encounter.  It is here that I give thanks for all that is good in my life and all that I am learning and have to learn.  It is here that I remember that every breath is a gift and time is fleeting and today is the only day I have.

It’s humbling, this immense joy and I need to let myself open to receive it.

Breath in, Breath out, Breath out. Let go.

In Praise of the Learner

Perhaps the better title would be “in praise of the teacher” because who is the student without our teachers?

We can all name people that have impacted our lives in a profound and lasting way; people who’ve shown up in our lives, expected and unexpected to change the way we think about ourselves, our capabilities and our purpose.

I think about Stella Jacobi, my 6th grade teacher, a diminutive force of nature who inspired me to achieve more than I’d previously conceived; Laraine Sheehan Gordon, my high school English teacher whose exacting eye and commitment to excellence pushed me to understand the immense power of words; and Elaine Fischer, an 89-pound black haired whirl of energy who believed I could lead exercise classes despite the fact I totally bombed my audition.

I was terrified of Elaine, but her belief in me changed the course of my life.

There were other teachers, too- the ones we don’t immediately thank for their instruction- bad boyfriends and bosses and backstabbing acquaintances.  Perhaps their lessons are the most important because they wound the most. In retrospect, I’m the most grateful to the difficult people in my life because they challenged me to summon strength, resilience and compassion I didn’t know I possessed.

Having your heart broken also allows you to be more open; for healing and taking personal responsibility and being able to love again.

Being broken doesn’t mean being crippled- it does mean being vulnerable and it’s taken me a long time to see the courage in that.

If we are aware and open, our opportunities for learning abound daily.

A chance meeting at a networking event, the impetus to write a favorite author, accepting a random invitation to lunch, agreeing to hang upside down in a piece of fabric; life-changing opportunities are literally available in every moment of every day- if we are open to them. That’s where we must celebrate the learner.

Learning requires presence, curiosity, listening, and enthusiasm.  Apathy, indifference, and arrogance are the enemy of learning because we already know it all.

The best teacher I ever had was my Dad, Ehret Oscar Ramey. He was a gentleman, a doctor, a husband, and a man of Faith.

He was funny and kind and the worst joke-teller in the world. He taught me how a woman deserved to be treated, and ready to remind me should I temporarily forget.

He held me close when I was weak and loved me when I behaved like an ass.  He never scolded, never acted disappointed, never let me feel sorry for who I was. His love was unconditional- as bright, expansive and as natural as the morning sun.

My Father taught me a simple and important lesson: the power of our belief in another person’s worth and well-being. As humans, there is nothing more we crave and nothing more important we can share.

Thank you, Dad, for believing in me.  Thank you for teaching me to be open to life and ready to learn. I really miss you, but I feel you every day- in every sunrise, every laugh, every soft listening moment, you are with me.

Mother Issues

I wish I didn’t but I do.  I have issues; more than a couple.  

I’m a fifty-eight-year-old woman; I understand the nature of personal responsibility and don’t play the victim. There are simply facts that have influenced who I am and how I live in the world; one of the larger issues being my relationship with my Mother.

Ruth Wylodene Sturdivant Ramey had a big name and even larger presence.  

She weighed 89 pounds when she got married, a diminutive, complicated combination of waif and warrior.  My Mother played both princess and martyr; she, the consummate shapeshifter whose presence, though loved, was not to be trusted.  This planted within me as a child, a quiet bud of longing that took root until I too became a shapeshifter, never quite sure of my center.

It happens a lot. Despite our best efforts to defy, know better, and resist the pull of our past, many of us still end up becoming our parents.  I find this ironic and also hysterical.

I spent the larger part of my life disgusted and impatient with my Mother. I thought she was weak, manipulative, and narcissistic. I was embarrassed by her inability to manage her emotions, be consistent or take responsibility for her behavior.  She was everything I did not want to be, and that resistance to her left its mark.  I nursed a secret aversion for the feminine, a misogynis, afraid that being female also meant you were weak, indecisive, and irrational.  Predictably I cultivated the more “masculine” parts of myself.

I took charge, pursued success, and denied vulnerability.  I then systematically cut my losses when things didn’t work out for me.  I stuffed my emotions by overworking, overeating and overdrinking . I then took it to the other “extreme” and over exercised to try to right the ship.

And for a long time, it worked- sort of. There were jobs’ lost and relationship troubles and divorces, but through it all, I remained stubbornly hopeful and certain my life was on the right path.  My sons grew into men, my businesses expanded and I met a man who loved me, challenged me and made me laugh.  

I began to believe I might deserve this happy life and gave myself permission to enjoy it.

Last year was difficult, unexpected and distinctly unwelcome.  I thought I had done the work necessary to be a fully present, balanced and loving adult, but I was wrong.  The old shapeshifter resurfaced, adrift again, only this time it was worse, much worse because I’d believed myself to be so grounded, and faithful and true.

I didn’t see the hole, but I fell anyway, grasping for handholds that weren’t there.  From the bottom, I could see the light above but had neither the faith nor the motivation to muster the climb.

Time passed.  Things happened.  People helped me.

The other part of my “Mother” story is the fact that before Ruth Wylodene was my Mother, I had another one, the Mother that gave birth to me. This Mother was unmarried and could not keep me, despite the fact that she was already raising my brother.  This Mother planted the first seeds of fear and shame in me because even in the womb you can tell when you’re not wanted.

When I was in my early forties, living large and in charge as the manager of a local health club, I decided it was time to find that birth Mother.  Adoption records were sealed in the state of Missouri, so I had to hire a private investigator – Laura was her name- to help me find her.  She was an intermediary, designated to make contact so that my Mother and I could finally connect.

I sent my carefully crafted letter, with pictures of my three sons, my husband, adopted parents and siblings to my birth Mother.  I assured her I was happy in my own life but also had questions; questions only she could answer.  I already began bargaining with her saying that even if she could not meet me, could she please write and tell me my story.

I explained to her that when you’re adopted, it’s like having your portrait painted on glass- I needed her to give me the background to give context to my features.

The process moved slowly despite my anxious inquiries for updates.  I picked up the phone at work one day and was surprised to hear Laura’s voice on the line. I wasn’t expecting her to call me, so it took me awhile to process what she was saying.

“No more contact,” she repeated.  Your mother returned your letter with the words, ‘No more contact’ written on the outside.”

“No more contact?  So, is this is it?”

“I’m afraid so.  It’s her choice.”

I put down the phone and began to sob.  Crying was something I didn’t do back then, especially at my workplace, but I did that day.

I don’t know with whom I was angrier- her for rejecting me, or with myself for believing she wouldn’t.

I gathered my things and quietly left work.  I sat in my car for a long time until it was time to pick up my son Sean from school. He was eight years old.

When he got in the car, seeing my eyes and face swollen, he immediately asked, “Mom!  What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong sweetheart.  I’m just tired,” but it was obvious I’d been crying, and that meant something was definitely wrong.   We drove a few minutes in silence; I could feel him staring at me.

“Mom!  What’s wrong?  Are you sick?”

“No, I’m not sick.  I’m fine.  I just had a bad day.”

Always the sensitive soul, Sean, now near tears himself said, “Mom, you’re scaring me.  What’s wrong?”

I pulled the car off the road, exhaling as I explained what happened, “Something  happened today Sean and it has NOTHING to do with you and I am not sick.”  I told him how I’d been adopted and that for years I’d wondered who my parents were and why they would give me away.  I hadn’t told him or pursued it because I didn’t want to hurt Grandma and Grandpa. Finally, I’d hired someone to help me locate her, and they had.

“Today the lady called and said they’d found my birth Mother, but she’d sent my letter back and wrote on the envelope NO MORE CONTACT” at which point I burst into tears.

In that moment, I felt stupid and sorry I’d exposed my son to my pain.  He just looked at me for a few seconds, thinking. Then he said, “Well I’m sorry Mom but she must be a “B,” because who wouldn’t want to know YOU.”

His innocent compassion catapulted me back into the present.

What did it matter what she thought of me? I was his Mother and he loved me unconditionally. His honesty offered a profound spiritual lesson: focus on what is and let go of what is not.

This was the moment that mattered, sitting in the car on the side of the road with my eight-year-old, not some story about a stranger who, for whatever reason, chose not be in my life.

I wish I could say that I learned this important lesson that day, but it’s still something I remind myself to work on often.  The laws in Missouri have recently changed, making all adoption records public.  My friend, an attorney, is working to locate my birth records.  I am not looking for the same reasons I did then, but I am still looking for my birth Mother.

Longing, loss, and heartbreak have been recurring themes in my life. But so are loving big, laughing hard, taking risks and pushing my limits.

I’ve been told I need to learn to let go of control, accept help and be vulnerable- in short, embrace my feminine side. I wouldn’t disagree, but it still makes me smile. “Working” on this isn’t the answer- it’s much harder to simply accept, trust and let go.

I am not a Motherless Child.  I’ve had two of them: one gave me life and the other just made it a lot more interesting.

I’m not sure why I chose to believe their decisions were my fault; that somehow I was damaged, unloveable or wrong. I suspect it was simply because I was a kid who wanted to feel loved.

I like the poet Rumi’s words, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

That sounds true to my heart, and I’m just going with it.

The Power of Grace

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Sean took this when Gracie was younger.

I first saw you on the internet. You were my rebound baby- chosen on a whim as I mourned the loss of my sweet little rat terrier Belle, a victim of a hit and run. Belle was fierce and protective, exposing her tiny canines to dogs and humans alike, any creature that would dare intercede between the two of us.

I’d wanted to replace her and decided I would rescue you, a furry little white pig from a farm in Iowa, put up for adoption by a Jack Russel Terrier rescue. I saw your wiry face on the website and made arrangements to make the drive to retrieve you.

Imagine my surprise when the dog that awaited me was so wild and compulsive, she wanted nothing to do with me.

You vomited the entire ride home from Iowa. I tried to comfort you, to hold you, but you were having none of that.

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Our grand-daughter Madeline with Gracie & Jack

They told me you were about 3 or 4 years old then, but you would have never known- you had the energy and wild spring of a puppy, and my friends laughed at the marks on my kitchen wall where I’d keep track of your high jumps.

You weren’t interested in cuddling or learning, and I wondered aloud to my son at the time. “What the hell am I going to do with this animal?”

An old soul, only ten at the time, Sean replied, “you’re just going to love her like you did Belle.” Other sympathetic friends wondered if I should ‘take her back,’ but you can’t un-rescue a rescue dog and I took my son’s advice and let go to simply love you.

That was the first lesson you taught me.

I became unattached to what I wanted you to be and accepted you as you were. I prayed for Grace and named you that to remind me. I forgave you when you peed on the carpet and dragged rabbit entrails into the house. I defended you when you picked fights with dogs four times your size at the dog park. And I laughed as you skipped and ran like a manic squirrel around our backyard.

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You had to wear a clown collar as you got older as you licked yourself silly.

I learned that you needed lots of exercise and we ran together in the days when that was possible for both of us.

When you got tired, you would just stop running and refuse to go on until you were good and ready. No amount of coaching or shame could motivate you; my little 18-pound Jack Russell taught me the power of clarity and decision in self-determination. You were headstrong and beautifully rebellious, and it drove me nuts.

As we both grew up, you opened your heart to me, gradually accepting the love and touch of others.

You began to let me rub your wiry neck and exposed your belly for a good scratch. I took note those many years ago when you ran up to Herb, on his first visit to our home, and jumped into his arms. It was so unlike you that it amazed me; you knew instinctively what I would come to learn in the coming months, that Herb would come to love me and you, and take care of both of us as our most trusted friend.

Small dogs live longer, and I was lucky to share your world for over fifteen years. I always underestimated your age because until recently you seemed so young, but like all of us, age became evident in your slowing down. First, you lost your hearing, then your eye-sight and finally your ability to tolerate the extraneous. You preferred your own space in the heated garage, away from distraction and noise so you could rest and simply be. In recent months when friends came to visit and asked where you were, we’d open the door to your room which we jokingly called the “nursing home.”

gracieSo, of course, we all knew your time to go was coming, but today was not the day I wanted to say goodbye.

You lead me once again, dear friend, as you stopped eating and drinking, finally needing our help to stand.

Today you could not walk and your breath, labored and heavy, let us know it was time to let you go. So we wrapped you in a blanket and cried all the way to the vet, knowing that you were counting on us to have the courage to help you go, but hating the decision all the same.

As we sat waiting for the doctor, both of us crying, I turned to Herb and said, “I guess this isn’t such a good display of how I am going to be able to help you.” But of course, that’s not true. Letting go of loved ones is a bittersweet reminder of what it means to be human… the very act of loving another creature all the while knowing life’s impermanence is one of our greatest gifts and, on days like today, challenges.

So I held you as you slipped away today Grace.

I loved you and saw you and took care of you through your last breath. Thank you for teaching me patience, and acceptance, surrender, and yes, perhaps, even grace. You, my love, were such a treasure.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I miss you already.

The Case for Daddy’s Girls

I am a Daddy’s girl; always have been.

That’s because I got lucky; the Universe paired me with Ehret Oscar Ramey to be my counselor, teacher, mentor, protector, and friend.  Ehret Ramey was my adopted Father.

As a child, he had curly hair, and his lower income family moved a lot which made him vulnerable to teasing and bullying.  He learned to fight at an early age, which knowing him as I do, must have been hard because his inherent nature was so gentle. I suppose those fights helped define who he was and who he wasn’t because as my Father, he never chose a fight, but also never stepped away from defending what he believed was right.

And what he thought was right for me, usually was.

I wasn’t exactly an easy kid, and being the only daughter, I know he worried and was disappointed by a lot of my choices. But he never judged me or ignored me or made me feel less than or ashamed; he was always there when I finally came home with whatever I needed; a kiss to my forehead, a long hard embrace, words of love, or, no words at all.

My Dad was my champion and I always knew that.  That changes a person. 

I liked to run away when I was a kid to assert my Autonomy and Independence. One time I “ran away” to a Young Life Skating Party. When my Dad picked me up and discovered his 12-year-old was drunk, he took me to the hospital where he worked, cleaned me up in the Doctors lounge, and bought me a toothbrush.  He said I’d better brush my teeth, stay away from alcohol and not to inform my Mother of my escapades.  There were a few things we agreed not to tell Mom.

My parents were married for over 60 years, something I both admire and am amazed by.  My Father chose a difficult woman to love and I often wondered how in the world he could not only love her but completely adore her.

I thought my Mother was insane but he was unconcerned, and in retrospect, his example of loving another human has provided something like a wellspring for me: a spring that I dip in when I am feeling particularly empty myself.

My Dad was handsome.  My Dad was accomplished.  My Dad was a man of service and his word.  My Dad was a teacher, a physician, a friend, and caretaker to all.  He loved to sing and dance and tell horrible jokes,
(and I mean B A D jokes). But he would get so tickled telling his own stupid jokes that you finally had to give in and laugh along with him, dreading the punchline all the same.

He also liked to make things in his wood shop when he retired when he was still able to, before he had his stroke.

After the stroke, it was my turn to give back to my Father and I am here to tell you it was my great pleasure.  It wasn’t always easy, (I used to call him Dr Magoo when I was at the end of my rope); loving him so, it could also be heartbreaking.

Once when I took him to the movies, we were ordering a coke and he couldn’t get the words out, grasping the Coca-Cola display cup with a death grip and just be mumbling to me.  I knew what he was trying to say and gently tried to pry the cup out of his hands as the fountain jerk (and I do mean jerk), just stared at us.   I wanted to tell everyone, “You don’t know this man- you don’t know how brilliant and kind and loving he is!  How many lives he’s touched- how many lives he brought into this world…” but instead we went in and sat down and watched the movie which made my Dad laugh a lot, and that made me feel better, too.

As I said, my Dad was a gentle soul and as a parent always treated us kids with respect even when we were clearly over the line.  I can only remember two instances when my Dad lost it and both times it was because my older brother or I said something disrespectful to our Mother.

The slap I’d never seen coming stung much more than my face; the lowest place I could ever inhabit was the one called disappointing my Father.  I burst into tears as he pulled me to him.  That only made it worse.  You can see, I still remember.

So, today on Father’s Day, I celebrate my Father, E.O. Ramey, and all the other wonderful Fathers that I know.  

What a blessing to be a Daddy’s girl because that means you were taught how to be loved deeply and completely by a wonderful, caring man.

Thank you, Dad.  I miss you.  I sure do.

Happy Father’s Day Dad from Tina Sprinkle on Vimeo.

A Letter to my Mother on Mother’s Day

Three days before she was gone, I walked into her room to find her breathing labored, and her speech incoherent and alien.  My heart sank when she was unable to get the warm cookie I’d brought to her to her mouth- her hand simply would not allow the task.  I took it from her and told her we could eat it the next day, but of course, even then, I knew that wasn’t true.

As I got her laundry ready to take home I said cheerfully, “Mom, you look a little tired today.  I’m going to take your laundry home and I’ll be back first thing in the morning.  You’ll feel better then.”  And then, with sudden order and clarity, she reached for my hand and said, “be careful out there, there’s a lot of traffic.”   Those were the last words  I heard my Mom say, and of course, they could not have been more caring.

 

The fact that my mother was afraid of traffic, and weather, and insults real and imagined, did nothing to deter her from fighting against it all- she was defiant in her rebellion and took names after kicking butt, not before.   You didn’t apologize for doing the right thing after all, even if the right thing existed mainly in your own mind.

TinakidShe and I took a long road home and I’m embarrassed to say I lived most of my life in reaction to her.  I resented her for everything we did not have in common.

She weighed 89 lbs soaking wet and I was born so fat she wondered if I had a neck.

She was beautiful and dainty and as feminine as they come-  I was squat and bald for so long as a baby that she taped plastic flowers to my head to make sure folks knew I was a girl.

She was a southern belle who feigned weakness but ruled our home with an iron fist.  The fact that she covered it with a white glove didn’t fool me-  I hated her hypocrisy and made it my mission in life to prove her wrong.

I called her the Little General behind her back and mocked her to her face when I was an adolescent.  I loved my Father and couldn’t understand for the life of me why he would love a woman like her!

 

momanddadflippersWhen he died in 2008, he wouldn’t let go until we all promised to take care of Mom.  If there was one thing my Dad loved more than anything else in this world, it was his little Dene and he was none too excited about leaving her on this earth without him.  He’d spent 63 years loving, protecting, and providing for her… he couldn’t leave her unless we promised she’d be safe.  And that’s a promise you don’t make unless you can keep it.

My brothers live out of state, and though they were amazing about flying in and out and providing for her financially, the bulk of Mom’s care fell to me.

During that time we moved from her home to assisted living to nursing care to hospice.

We suffered broken shoulders, hips, glaucoma and one death defying visit to a psychiatrist when she became unusually paranoid and delusional.

We survived nursing home bureaucratic mishaps and roommates that were “having sex at all hours of the night” and “cutting the bottoms out” of her pockets to steal from her.  At one point my Mother was assured that I earned my living as a working girl and Herb was my pimp!

You get the picture.  I had to make a choice.  Stop fighting.  Start laughing and grow the fuck up.

 

I don’t think anyone was more surprised than I was that I loved my Mother so much.  I was completely unprepared for how deeply I wanted to be with her and take care of her and be strong for her.  This was not me.

mom and tina smilingAnd so, after she began to reclaim her innocence; when her world began to simply be days that looked an awful lot alike; when she wept because of her confusion, I was happy to be there – to learn that I could comfort her and give her peace.

We went to Applebee’s and art class and Sonic and JC Penney.

We went to the movies and the museum and to the park.

We got manicures and pedicures and even a facial!

We watched the fish in the aquarium and walked around Delmar, and I listened in the lounge as she told me all the tawdry gossip of staff and patients.

My Mother had a detailed imagination and once she got started on a yarn, you’d just better settle in and listen.  And so I learned to listen to her without having to be reasonable, and her stories made us both laugh…. and the more I laughed, the more she told them until it didn’t matter anymore- and soon we were two ladies laughing and cackling and being silly.

I wouldn’t trade a moment of the last few years of my Mom’s life because we finally got to have the kind of relationship I’d always wanted.  I knew she loved me and I knew I loved her.

When I was younger acting like a know it all, my Mom used to say to me, “don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.”    I didn’t get it then- I just thought she was a hayseed from Tennessee, but now I understand.  Life is a miracle that will surprise you every damn day if you let it.  And so, for you Mom, I’ll not count my chickens today.

 

Ruth Wylodene Sturdivant Ramey was Loved from Tina Sprinkle on Vimeo.

I love you Mom.  Thanks for being born.  And thanks for being my Mother.

Boredom and Buried Treasure on my SurgiBattical

The Power of Three.

Three years. Three Hips. Three Weeks. Three days.

In recovery, obviously still sedated

It’s been three weeks and three days since my third hip replacement, each of which I have had exactly three years apart.

Seems like a pattern here.  A pattern that needs to stop.

It’s not that I don’t like hospitals (I don’t like hospitals), or my doctors (two out of three ain’t bad), or pain (the myth about women having a higher pain tolerance is untrue); it’s about all the questions about why, why, why Tina- why YOU?

I guess it would be normal for people to think that my being reasonably young (for a hip replacement) and proactive and fit, that I would be able to avoid these constant revisions.

“Do you think you did too many step classes?” (spinning classes, aerobic classes, etc) “Did you cut your physical therapy too short?”  “Maybe you came back too soon?”  “Do you have osteoporosis?”  “What’s wrong with your bones?”

The implication seems to be (no matter how unintentionally), that I did something to create my situation. And I guess I did.  I was born… to parents who also had arthritis; a condition that most of us will develop to some degree as we age.   I just happened to be one of those who developed it early.

I don’t mean to sound testy.  I get it. No one wants to believe you have to have three hip replacements before your mid fifties to get it right.  But I did.  And it sucks.

 

The Good News.

When I posted this picture on FB everyone wondered if he was married! Let’s show some respect people- he’s a Doctor!

My physician, Dr. Scott Wingertner, (who may look like he’s twelve but is actually a brilliant surgeon), told me he’s very confident this will be my last revision. Yeah!!!

There was a problem after all with my bones: they were too hard! Hard enough that it was difficult to scrape down far enough into the bone bed to get a secure set of the cup- harder still to drill in the multiple screws that we trust will keep the damned thing in place this time. The irony of course is that my bones were not too soft to hold the cup in place, but too hard! Now that’s freaking hilarious!

The recovery too will be hard.  Hard because the incision was different.  Hard because I’m that much older and my poor muscles are confused having performed acrobats to accommodate the previous surgeries.  That means it’s going to take more time to recover.  That means I’m going to have to stay quiet, follow directions, take it slow and mind my manners- all traits that are not organically Tina. You see my dilemma.

 

Justin Trent, my beloved PT

Boredom and Buried Treasure

So it’s been three weeks and three days since my surgery.  It took two weeks to get out of bed, three weeks to toss the walker and three weeks and three days to feel like my brain is clear enough to write this blog.

It will be three months I am told, before I can return to work and a normal schedule. Are you kidding me?  Yeah, that’s exactly what I said. But it’s true.  So what am I to do?

I think a good place to start is being grateful.

If there’s one thing getting set on your ass will show you, it’s who your friends are. I’ve been blown away (and I mean blown away) by the amazing support of my friends, family and community. Daily cards, emails, texts, meals, flowers, gifts and wishes for healing have humbled me and brought me to tears.  If one of life’s big lessons is to learn to be vulnerable, trust and accept, then I am getting my Phd.

Any entrepreneur would be nervous about leaving their business in the hands of others, but my amazing 1901 staff and coaching community have shown me just how powerful a team can be when they share the same values and vision. They’ve not missed a beat in taking care of our clients, of one another, and me.

You might think learning life goes on without you would pop your balloon, but it’s given mine an unexpected rise instead. I might actually be able to use this time to focus on all those things I’ve been saying I want to do instead of chasing my tail worrying about what might be falling through the cracks. My gratitude to my staff is immense for this.  To this I can only say, thank you, thank you, and thank you.

 

Flowers ARE Medicine!

The Book

Many of you know, I’ve been talking about writing a book for sometime. Now, it seems, I have no excuse.  I have the time and I have the support to write it.  So, (and I know this public statement is going to cause me some major 2 am anxiety), I am going to begin writing more regularly and trust that the book takes shape.

So what is this book about? It’s about you. It’s about everything I’ve learned (and am still learning) from you all these years teaching health and fitness. It’s about your questions, your frustrations, your desires and your fear of failure. It’s about possibility and freedom and daring to live your best life every day.

That’s what the book is about!  Do I have the answer?  NO.  Do I have a solution.

YES, I do!  Many!  And the suggestions I will make are culled directly from the lessons learned by living and working and playing with you, my friends and family and clients.

About this time, you’re thinking, okay Tina, let’s step away from the hydrocodone.

But, it’s not the drugs.  (I am writing this sans pain medicine)  If I seem high, it’s because I’m so excited about sharing your stories. I’ve seen first hand the miracles that happen when ordinary people make the decision to create profound change in their lives, simply by shifting their beliefs- by accepting that they have the power to do so.

Mom and me circa 2013

John Irving wrote, “Good habits are worth being fanatical about.”  So pardon me if I sound a bit fanatical.  I’ve been at home for three weeks, eating good food lovingly prepared by my partner, my friends, my staff and my awesome community. I’ve had time to reflect on what’s most important to me, who’s most important to me, the casual treasures of every day life, and the poignancy and potential of random acts of kindness.

When I was a kid, complaining because I was restless and bored, my Mom used to say, “Only boring people are bored,” but never suggested what else I might do. I guess she was what you might call a ‘do it yourself parent’, a fact that I hadn’t fully appreciated perhaps, until now.

So Mom, I hear ya loud and clear. I ain’t bored and I sure as hell ain’t boring. I’ve found something to do.

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