Day 73: Sushi

Tonight I had sushi for probably the fifth time within the past month. Now, two of those were Publix sushi, which isn't quite as indulgent as going out for sushi, but still. That's a lot of going out for me.

Sushi is one of those things that I love to indulge in. I love the freshness, the variety, the textures and flavors. Its always its own unique experience, especially with great company, conversation, and connection.

But sushi is also something that I've decided to enjoy it while I can, because I'm not so convinced that sushi as we know it will always be readily available or affordable.

In light of the

last post

, I would also say that all things in life need to be enjoyed while they can, decadent dining included.

Day 60: My TBI Clients

Years ago, I was hired by the VA hospital to come in twice a month to offer chair massage for family members in the poly-trauma unit. This meant mostly moms and wives of traumatic brain injury victims, who had left their lives from often across the country to be the main care-takers of their loved ones.  Talk about people that really need massage. There were  few who started to see me privately; several of them then asked if I could work on their son. This was how I began my experience with working with people suffering from a TBI.

It has now become one of my specialties. I have three clients I see regularly and cherish my time with them. These sessions have made me think outside the box of typical massage and learn how much communication can take place without words.  Though I can not "cure" them of their condition, or even guarantee that I can make them improve, it is obvious that they enjoy our sessions immensely. The mom of the client I saw today said once, "I think this is the only therapy that he really wants to come to."

These clients may not know it, but they teach me so much. Learning to connect with someone that can not talk, has severely limited mobility, and only sometimes is able to answer a yes or no question with gestures or facial expressions is possibly the most valuable lesson in human connection that I will ever get.

When I see them I have two main goals beyond relaxing them. The first is helping them to feel seen. Not just looking at the traumatized body in front of me, but the person within that. Though I am working with their body I left them know through words but mostly eye contact that I am acknowledging them as a person.  And it goes both ways, I know they see me too.

The second goal is to make them laugh. I'm no longer surprised by their ability to pick up subtle humor or remember a story I told them months ago. I know when they laugh I've connected with their spirit, and its in that moment they may forget their limitations or condition. Its in that moment that I do and all I see is a dear friend expressing joy.  

They've shown me that the way to deeply connect with another isn't through words or touch or anything that complicated. Looks and laughs, that's it.

Day 59: Sharing my Practice

Last night during my trying-to-be-more-consistent yoga practice, I had this moment of sudden wisdom. Occasionally, a thought comes into my head that feels too weighted to just be a thought. They are thoughts that can't be shook off or easily replaced by a new thought. They are thoughts that linger, steep, find their way into every bit of my body.  These are thoughts not to be ignored. These are more than thoughts, they are truth.

So last night, as I was moving from one pose to the next, it hit me: I chose to be spiritually alone. I don't think I really know the full truth of that statement, but there is something so right and almost comforting about this realization.

Without recounting the entirety of my spiritual life, I will state simply that I've felt alone through the journey. Maybe everyone does. Maybe that is the essence of the spiritual life. Maybe that is the fate of many of us living in a secular world without a secure and solid spiritual community around us. I don't know. But what I do know is that I've always felt out-of-place in some way. I've always longed for the spiritual community that I see others have, but I am unable to commit myself fully to any particular tradition. Usually, I say I am unaffiliated, which is a more neutral way of saying, "I'm spiritual, but just not religious."

In that flash that formed in my mind last night, I saw that so much of my life has been governed by this "


" and I felt in that moment that it was not by chance or because of some wrongness with the world, but because there was a sacred choice I made when I come into this life that I would find my own path. It is amazing the power in recognizing one's choices.

Immediately after having that thought, I felt so thankful for my choice. I feel like I am free to find the divine in my own way, make up my own rituals, my own rites of passage, my own practices. I feel free instead of stranded.


I write this post in the aftermath of our second

Tea + Meditation

event. In all this aloneness, in cultivating the space within me, in my own way, I've found the profound connections this can create. Because I don't have a distinct community, all are my community. Tonight, nine of us shared a pot of tea and a moment together. All in our own space, yet we all affected the space for us all. I found myself saying, "You have a place, and that place is important." Then I hear the grandmother voice of wisdom within me whisper to the curious child beside her, "That means you too."

If I wasn't holding this space for others, those words wouldn't have emerged. They think I am leading the meditation, but I am being led too.