Sunday, April 9, 2017

Retreat, Reframe, Reboot

(C)  Patrick Clark. Go Buy this lovely thing  here
A good friend of mine, who also syndicates this column in her magazine when I can be pressured to write, is fighting inflammatory breast cancer. 


She's doing it holistically. I've been doing my bit by making her homemade sourdough bread. It's such hit I think I might turn it into a business if I can ever get this law thing out of my system.

She's wondering what to do with the 60 odd years of show biz & family collections. When I visited her house, she was surrounded by dusty boxes that devoted nieces and nephews and children had brought in from their hiding places (and her house has a lot of them).

Starting in January, I've had my own weird health scare, involving eyesight and possible other complications. This got me thinking.

Just how do I let people know what I want done with my stuff? How do I cope with the possibility that I have an event that takes my sight, or and embolism that takes away my identity as a lawyer and rabble rouser?

Part of the answer comes in this brilliant post by Roberta Gately in the Sunday, April 9, Huffington Post.

She says this (which I plan to cross stitch and hang over my bed):

Moments to cherish are everywhere. The perfect rose in your garden may well not be the only perfect rose in your day. There are roses everywhere. Perhaps it’s the older lady in line at the supermarket, bent and frail and fumbling for change and a smile, or maybe it’s a soft breeze that ruffles your hair and reminds you that you are alive, or perhaps, a ray of sun that warms your cheek.
The beauty in our days is most notable in the subtle—the crack in the sidewalk that brings you back to your childhood games, the far-away friend who calls, the smile of a perfect stranger. If we can see the miracle in the ordinary, we can live a little better and leave a sweet foot-print in out wake.
 It's difficult to foster this attitude when dialogues with clients and friends go like this:
Me: "Hey sorry I'm not going to get to those program notes; I tore my retina and might and had a minor stroke, so I can't see very well. It should be better in six weeks."
Conference participant: "I need those next week and your the only one who can do them." 
Or, a friend: "Knowing about your problems doesn't help me with mine, you know."

What do I do? Life is too busy and full to just feel sorry for myself.


I need to learn what my limitations are, how I got into this mess, and what I can do to improve my perspective. I learned this from a friend who lost 90% of his vision after a shingles attack. He looks very cool in his patch while he awaits cornea replacement, and he continues to actively practice law. But it took him a while to learn how to read with one eye, and to manage his energy so he could deal with the headaches (personal note: they are fierce).


Is this a horrible blow? Is there something I can learn? How can I take this random experience and turn it into something good?


Get back out there. Find the beauty in the day. Even the Bronte sisters found beauty in the gloomy moors around Hawarth Parsonage. There are days when I don't have a grey film over my left eye. There are things I can do with a film over my left eye, so I'm not completely useless. Now, how do I get out there, and move forward?

Today, I'll be a little more mindful of the stress that led to the attack. I'll look beyond the melting snowbanks in New Hampshire and watch the turkeys try to impress the females. I'll think of my garden and canning, and maybe draw it out with some new pencils my blind friend sent me. 

I'll figure out how to extend my legal expertise to people who want it.

Baseball has started; The Pirates might win something this year. There are also buds on the apple trees. I'll have apples in the fall, barring a late frost!

Life is too full of possibilities to feel sorry or uncreative for too long.


  1. Dearest Tamar, Your post is heart felt and touching... well worth sharing with many that need touching... Thanjs for this keen insight.. Artived on time for me as I watch my mom loose her abilitues to care for others mainly through cooking delicous food yo die for.her enthusiasm falters sputters and turns to anger directed at me as her stamina is just not there. I chetish her recounting memories as the current day to day activities remind her of things in her past. Thanjs again.. soending time with my gandicapped son this Sunny Sinday afternoon jamin to a jazz cd!

  2. Tamar, Thank you for sharing this. I believe I was meant to see this, on this day. In recent days I have realized why I have been jumping around like a hyperactive kangaroo regarding a subject of a book. My wild healing journey is what I have been not wanting to 'write.' So in I go for this new perspective as I try to capture as beautifully as you did how the various complex traumas and mystical events prepared me for the work I do. Of course, healing was mandatory and true passion. Thank you for your openness and honesty regarding your recent months. I have been away from FB and hope it wasn't a post I missed because I have been distracted in life, work and family. BTW - I have an early catarac and I am taking nutrients for the eyes. The doc will see that they are gone which she poo poo'ed. In my mind -- there is always a way to heal something in some way... LOVE YOU!
    I missed you on your most recent trip to Pgh. Next time please let me know sooner!!!!!!!!!!! Love again!