Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Balancing Act

Recently I heard a presentation on Ayerveda, a system of Hindu traditional medicine native to the Indian subcontinent, given by a local osteopath. I learned that this approach states that  health is the balanced and dynamic integration between our environment, body, mind, and spirit, while imbalance equals disease. There are three doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. After the lecture, I wanted to learn which dosha type I was, so took the quiz on Deepak Chopra's website. 

I've been out of balance recently, as I fret about not selling my house before the first snow comes to northeast Washington. While I've been sorting, tossing, cleaning and otherwise preparing for an eventual move, I've neglected my creative urges...I've four or five stories I want to get written, but I've been distracted with minor ailments...cuts, bruises, and now a horrid cold. Some days I want to stay under the covers and snooze.

My son pointed out that inanimate objects, such as cars and houses, seem to rebel if they feel unwanted or unloved. So mine have...the tractor mowers both moved from "in need of repair" to "hopelessly disabled." The weed whacker blew out entirely. There's an airlock in the plumbing system reminding me to call my handyman again. Only the weeds in my yard seem to be full of life, procreating with vigor.

Additionally, on June 5 I marked the fifth anniversary of my widowhood. One of my stepsons was here, helping me prepare for the sale of the house he helped my husband select 10 years ago, and we toasted his dad's memory. Even in his final days Ken used to wake up, look around the house and gardens and announce, "I love it here." He felt he'd come home when we moved here. Complying with his wishes, Ken's ashes were buried in the garden.

But I know it's time for me to move on, both literally and figuratively. I long to return to my California where I can be consoled by my beloved Pacific breezes. Though I've had some lookers at the house, I've been disappointed that nobody yet has made an offer. Perhaps it's the uncertainty of whether I'll be enduring another winter here that has me so uneasy. 

While India and its mysticism was on my mind, and I've been considering how to get my doshas back in balance, or at least rebuild my apparently distraught immune system, yesterday I received a message...from Mombai, India.

 While Ken lived out his final days, we learned that Chicken Soup for the Soul had bought two of my stories for its Tough Times, Tough People, "A is for Apple," and "The Legacy." Ken gave me a list of the people he wanted me to mail my contributor's copies, too...which I did, since the books arrived the day he died.

Here's my message from India, where Ayurveda has been enjoying a major resurgence, as it has throughout the world.

Hi Terri,

I am Harshada from Mumbai, India. I am writing to you because I have just read your story ' The Legacy' in Chicken Soup for the Soul - Tough Times, Tough People. Of all the other stories, your story has straight hit home for two reasons.

First reason is that one of my beloved family member too is suffering from renal failure. My mom has been diagnosed with stage - 5 chronic kidney disease and has been advised life long dialysis. Having lost my father three years back and being the only child of my parents, I am now responsible for taking care of my mother and being her strength through these trying times. Honestly speaking I dont always suceed in it. My own anxiousness about our futures take over me and I become a mess. But most of the times I try to be her strength. Therefore I completely relate to the fear and anxiety one feels about losing a loved one in such circumstances.

Second reason is one sentence that appears in the story..." I watch to see if his chest moves with his breath. When he snores, I'm relieved". My father passed away in his sleep and for months after his death I feared same would happen to my mother. Those fears eventually subsided. However, now her illness has again fueled the same fears causing me to frequently get up in the night to check if she is breathing. So the above mentioned line naturally brought tears to my eyes.

All through this book one thing I have come across again and again is that "If God gives us the pain and suffering, He also gives us the strength to endure the pain" and I am sure He wont give me more than I can handle. Both of us are growing emotionally and spiritually stronger in these tough times.
I would like to thank you for sharing your story with us. It feels good to know that I and mom are not the only ones going through this. There were many before us and there will be many after us. I will try my best to support Mom through her illness and give her as many happier moments as I can.

I hope, like you I too will be able to share my story some day and it will give somebody strength and endurance.

Looking forward to hearing from you....some more wise words or advice perhaps...
I wish good health to you and your family. Thanks Again. With Regards, Harshada

Here is my response:

Dear Harshada,

I'm so glad you were able to get Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times, Tough People in India, and that my story reached you and gave you some comfort. It's letters like yours that remind me why so many of us submit our life's stories to inspirational anthologies such as this series. Thank you for reminding me that real people worldwide gain strength from knowing they are not alone in life's journey.

I've written many stories about our life together, but this was one of Ken's favorite stories. He knew in his final days that I had two stories selected for this particular book, and he dictated to me a list of his friends and family members that he wanted to receive my contributor's copies when they arrived. I had the manila envelopes all addressed...and the Chicken Soup books with this story and "A is For Apple" arrived the very afternoon of the day he passed.

A woman right here in my own remote rural area of Washington State phoned me the day after Christmas later in 2009 to tell me that her son gave her a copy of the book for Christmas, and she loved the "Apple" story because it reminded her of her grandmother's apple pies...the lady was nearing 90, and said she was so happy that somebody near our town was writing stories that helped people remember the good times in their earlier lives.

Now your letter has arrived and cheered me, Harshada. My late husband's son was here with me this past week to commemorate his father on the fifth anniversary of his passing, June 5, 2009. Yes, it does seem that Ken left a legacy. His beautiful portrait painted by a local artist friend still hangs in our bedroom. I have my house up for sale now, and yesterday a young couple was looking at the upstairs bedrooms, and the woman asked who the cheerful looking man was in Ken's portrait. Ken remained in good spirits, even knowing the end was near, because, he said, he'd lead a full and contented life.

Please do consider sharing your story with Chicken Soup for the Soul. The guidelines for writers are on the website here, and right now the publisher is seeking stories for a book ABOUT moms. This might be your chance to tell your story.

Warmest wishes from America,

Terri Elders

This timely reminder helps me figure out  my priorities...and the major one is regaining my health. If I don't meet all of my deadlines, no publications will fail. If I don't sell the house this summer, eventually somebody will fall in love with it, just as Ken did. If winter comes, then spring won't be far behind. These may be tough times, but I'm a tough person, and I'll get balanced soon.