I’m five years old today… well, maybe not actually five but it’s the fifth anniversary of “that” day that would change my world and a lot of other people’s too… it’s been a helluva journey and as I look back, I am grateful for being given the gift of life and the ability to celebrate the “little” things every day and loving the many amazing spirits that have become entangled in my life whether it be from my beloved family to theatre friends, motorcycle travelers, co-workers, or medical teams… you all have inspired me to work it through and move forward when it seemed too hard to do… gave me strength and hope and love and for that, each one of you will forever be etched upon my heart and soul and be a part of me forever, on this plane and beyond.
Today is also the 5-year anniversary of the deaths of two icons – Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett. My friends and family said that when all three of us showed up at the “transition center”, they said it was too much to handle and sent me back! And I’m so glad I got to come back for so many reasons… I got to see my beloved daughter graduate from high school and grow into a beautiful young woman and find her niche in the world when she became a certified neuromuscular therapist, work that she loves… I watched as my friends pulled closer together and increased their connection with each other as the rallied beside me… I got to travel to many places with beloved friends, both on and off the bike – the Southwest, Baja, Canada, SoCal, UK/France, and recently New York with my sister and niece/nephew… I am feeling very grateful today for life and every moment that I get to be here.
I hope today you all take a moment to feel the sun on your face or share a hug with someone you love or do something nice for yourself or someone else… to feel alive and appreciate how amazing life is… one moment at a time… right now.
When I was in the burn unit, my dear friend Val, organized a motorcycle ride that was deemed “Celebration of Life Ride” in my honor. It was an amazing day full of spirit and love and friendship… remembering those who left before us, embracing the ones that are still here, and supporting those who were fighting the good fight, including me. I wouldn’t be here without all of those people and my medical angels and my wonderful family.
We’ve continued the tradition and will be holding another “Celebration of Life” ride on June 15, 2014. A dear friend that I have yet to meet in person, David Eagle, decided he would organize a similar ride in his neck of the woods (Australia) to coincide with ours here in CA. I was deeply touched by this gesture of solidarity of spirit and have invited anyone and everyone around the globe to do something similar on that day – doesn’t have to be on a motorcycle. But on June 15, 2014, do something special to celebrate life and the gifts we have been given.
David posted a link to his blog where he has a page with my story. It includes something I wrote on my one-year anniversary of the accident. It reminded me once again how far I’ve come and how completely blessed I am to be surrounded by such loving spirits. I hope maybe the words will touch you today and give you strength for any challenges you may be facing. Anything is possible, my friends!
One of the best material possessions that I’ve acquired is a Nikon DLSR camera and taking it out on the road with me on my varied trips. I’ve always loved taking photographs but this new camera allowed me to take it to the next level. Sharing the things I see along the way via photography brings me great joy especially when it inspires others for whatever reason. The world is such an amazing place and I try to see things from a different vantage point and capture a moment in time.
Many of my photos have had the honor of being featured in motorcycle calendars but the shots had to have a motorcycle in them to qualify. When I started looking at my imagery, I realized that probably about two-thirds of my photos didn’t have any bikes in them but they definitely showed the landscapes, textures, and colors of the places we went.
So I decided to pull a few of my favorites and put them into a Photostory with some music* and share it with you. My hope is that it will lift your heart and maybe guide you to see the world a little differently, to look at things from a different viewpoint, to open your mind and spirit to the amazing things that are in your world… right there in front of you if you take a moment to see them. Enjoy!
*Music by OneEskimo
My legs are a mosaic of grafting art due to about 75% of them being covered in skin grafts. But I have always kept them hidden from public view for the most part. Pants, long skirts, boots… because I was afraid that people would see them and be afraid or turn away from them and me. I feared opening myself up to someone, baring my all, and having them say, no thanks.
A week or so ago, I was at a monthly womens’ circle meeting talking about the strength of vulnerability. I shared my fear of being rejected because of my scars. These lovely ladies helped lead me to the understanding that if I don’t accept all of me, scars and all, why should anyone else? It was time to not fear who I was and embrace and accept all of me completely… to love all the parts of me that make me… me!
And so, last Sunday, for the first time in 4-1/2 years, I wore a short dress and sandals and went out into the world with my scars exposed. It was a little unnerving at first but as the day went by, I stopped worrying about what anyone else might think because what was important was what I thought about me. And I liked being free, just being open and honest with myself and the world around me. And you know what? No one screamed and ran away… no one said, OMG what are you doing?!? In fact, most people didn’t even notice! LOL
So while you are giving thanks this week for everyone and everything else in your life, take a moment to be grateful for you and who you are, scars and all whether visible or not… they are part of what makes you who you are and the person that is loved by those in your life. Embrace your self, accept your self, and love your self… completely and unconditionally… your presence is a present!
After 2-1/2 months in the burn unit and multiple grafting surgeries on my legs, I spent a month in spinal rehab to start physical therapy toward walking again. One day in particular, I was having a rough time fighting the negativity I felt toward my legs. I would look at them and think how ugly and horrific they were… who would ever want to look at these things??
So I called a dear friend of mine, Mary, who always is able to draw things out that are within myself that I just lose track of or didn’t even know were there. I was in tears saying how much I hated my legs… they were weak and horribly scarred and didn’t work the way I wanted them to. Our conversation went something like this:
M: Ok, so your legs are the weakest part of your body… what is the strongest part?
T: My heart.
M: What color is your heart?
M: So what does your blue heart say when it looks at your legs?
T: Oh, you poor babies… everything you’ve been through and you’re still hanging in there with me!
And I loved them at that moment… I found compassion for myself and my body. And later that day I took the first steps that I feared if I would not ever be able to do.
It’s funny how we can find compassion and give it in spades to others but be so stingy with it for ourselves. Today, take a moment to share COMPASSION with yourself… we are all perfect in our imperfection so love you for who you are, warts and all, and cut yourself some slack when you get down on yourself for not being enough, not doing enough, not feeling enough… you are more than enough… celebrate YOU!
Recent postings for things people are thankful for made me flash back to when I got out of the hospital after my accident. There was one simple, yet very important “little” thing that I was so very grateful for…
I could wipe my own butt.
When you’ve been flat on your back in a hospital bed for 4 months, unable to do the simplest of body functions on your own, the ability to get up, walk to the bathroom, do your business, and wipe your own butt is huge. May sound silly but there it is.
We get so caught up in the “big” things that we forget to appreciate the very simplest of things in our lives that we take for granted – walking, talking, laughing, hugging, breathing, and, yes, wiping our own butts.
So if you get stuck for a “BIG” thing to be grateful for, take a moment and really take stock of some of the “little” things in your life that you take for granted whether it’s a favorite pair of shoes… or the way the light shines through the trees at dusk… or feeling the cold morning air on your face… it doesn’t have be big to be “BIG”… know what I mean?
Live for today for it is truly all that we have. Savor each moment as much as you can. Take a moment in each day to feel gratitude – for anything no matter how small. Love the people in your life every day. Feel gratitude for being alive and being able to wipe your own butt.