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Kindness, Inspirational, Uplifting, Educational, Spiritual, Consciousness
Mindfulness, Awareness, Love, Connection, Magical, Blessings, Bullying, Giving

Read a few pages. - Enjoy!

 

Caring For Someone You Love: With Kindness, Love and Respect

 

One of the hardest phone calls I have ever received took place on a beautiful spring day on April 12, 2015 at 1:24 p.m. I had carefully timed my much needed pedicure to be completed by 2:30, which was the time of my daily phone call with my dad who lived in Northern California. I gratefully arrived at my neighborhood nail salon at 12:15 and carefully turned my cell phone to mute, so I would be forced to "unplug," for the hour and relax. There was a sign above the chair saying "not responsible for cell phone damage," which made me chuckle as I had seen a customer’s distress at the phone dropping in the foot bath and could well relate having done similarly in the past!

 It was a sunny day and I was feeling so grateful to have my tired feet tended to.

As I left the nail salon at 1:30, I turned on my cell phone and saw that I had eight missed calls from my dad's number! I drove my car around the corner and parked under a tree where there was less shop traffic. I knew immediately that something foreboding was looming and I called his cell crouched in a tight protective ball on the curb. A young man’s voice answered my dad's phone and I trembled so badly that I literally felt the earth shaking beneath my freshly painted pink toe nails.

 The young man said that he had found my dad seated upright on a curb, injured and confused. He called 9-1-1 and Dad was en route to Stanford Hospital some 30 minutes north in Palo Alto, California via ambulance.

 I could hardly breathe, let alone fully begin to process what he was saying. I thanked him profusely for helping my dad and we hung up. In hindsight, I wished I had taken his name and number to properly acknowledge his great care of my dad,

 I remembered my 20 plus years of Yogic practice and teachings and told myself literally out loud to breathe deeply. The immensity of the emotions that were running rampant through my body at this point needed my breath to settle down before attempting to drive home.

 I began the ten to twelve minute drive home and kept all the windows open, as I still felt a mix between terror to nausea fill my overwhelmed senses. I again self-soothed myself by saying out loud to breathe deeply, and I finally arrived at home.

 I truly believe that Angels assisted that short drive as I entered my house shaking uncontrollably with my thoughts racing what to do next. I sat down and called my brother to say Dad had fallen to please call me. I then raced upstairs, two stairs at a time, and took a small suitcase and heaved it on my bed.

 There was little rhyme or reason in my packing as all I knew was I needed to get to my dad as fast as possible which was 1,000 miles and a 1-hour plane trip away. I literally tossed in yoga pants, T-shirts, underwear and a toothbrush.

 I then called my husband, Peter, who worked an hour away, sobbing and asking him to book me on the very next flight out of John Wayne airport to San Jose, California.

 I also forced myself to sit down, at this point with my head between my knees to stave off the pangs of nausea besieging my body. I ate my son’s saltine crackers which was what I told him to do on the rare occasion that he was nauseous.

 I called my 16-year-old son, Riley, and told him to please come straight home and that I needed a ride to the airport. We had an understanding that if I ever said to come straight home it was an emergency, versus my asking him to clean his room or eat a meal.

 I paced on the street corner waiting for him to arrive. My twin brother, Jamie, called and I said I was heading straight to the airport when an unknown number popped up and I quickly got off the phone with him. The call was from a Stanford emergency room neurosurgeon, I froze. He wanted my verbal consent to do a craniotomy to drain the blood surgically from my Dad's brain! I said absolutely not until my brother and I saw our dad and discussed all other options, as I would arrive in 2-3 hours.

 My son, Riley, and his (then) girlfriend, Amy, appeared. Amy held my hand for the entire twelve minute car ride, which really was loving and helpful for my jittery nerves. My son asked if I needed him to come into the airport with me and offered to park the car.

 Due to my peaking anxieties, I said no as I knew I would be okay and more focused if on my own. When I arrived at the Southwest check-in kiosk, I was still shaking so badly that I couldn't get my credit card in the machine. A true angel of a being, handled my check in and as I explained my situation she told me that she could get me on an earlier flight.

 In all my decades of flying, I don't ever recall being escorted to a private "search," area. I explained to the lady that my dad was in a medical emergency, which is why I had booked two flights and thrown my belongings into a suitcase.

 As this expressionless young woman checked my items over and over again, a very nice gentleman appeared by my side and said, "Everything will be okay," I joked with him that I was normally a meticulous packer as we both stared at the heap that was my clothes.

 I was finally released after 20 minutes and I barely made my 4:10 boarding! I collapsed into my middle seat between two men who would turn out to be my saving GRACE for the flight. Normally when I flew anywhere, I always choose a window seat as I am fortunate to sleep well on airplanes. I also arrive at airports, like my dad, hours early to get a snack, use the restroom, and read a magazine.

 The man on my left, a very large framed man, told me that I could lean on him, if I needed to once the flight took off. I thanked him and settled in as best I could, although I was hardly relaxed! The man on my right was immaculate in his attire and I commented on how cheerful his socks were. I told both passengers that I was so very scared to see my dad and what had transpired only hours ago. 

 Mark on my right called the stewardess and asked for the Wi-Fi code. I watched as he pulled out his lap top and wondered how he could type so quickly. He asked me my name, email, Dad's name, birth date and such. In normal circumstances, I would have paused, yet he seemed determined, He told me he had connections at Stanford and that he wanted to help me and my dad. He shared that six months prior, he had gone through a similar process with his parent and knew both how overwhelming it was and, more importantly, what to do. He sent numerous emails on my dad's behalf to neurosurgeons and hospital staff. If anything, it calmed me down as I had to remain focused to answer his many questions.

 Mark told me that my brother and I being my dad's advocates, would give him the best possible chance, just as his advocacy had recently helped his parent.

 As the flight landed, which seemed like days not the actual 62 minutes, both passengers walked alongside me as we exited the corridor. I thanked and hugged them both.

 I took a minute to gather my wits and straighten my wrinkled jacket and rumpled hair.

 As I looked up, I was met by my twin brother, Jamie, whose arms I flew into and sobbed. He took charge of getting us a taxi to the hospital. As we sat in the taxi, my brother said I needed to prepare myself for the worst scenario as Dad had injured his head and brain. Perhaps, I thought he was also telling himself that too.

 He had brought with him, my dad's living will that stated clearly and legally what his medical wishes were. We arrived at the huge hospital that spanned many blocks as well as miles. My brother asked the visitors desk lady which room our dad was now in. He was in ICU (intensive care unit) and the five to seven minutes it took to locate him seemed like the walk of doom.

 As we entered the ICU ward, the nurses told my brother they were still stabilizing our father and only one person could enter shortly. My brother felt he should see Dad first and then get me, which was a very good decision. As I sat perched against the wall outside his room, I again felt shaky and nauseous from the fear that overtook me.

 My brother appeared and said Dad was restrained or, in other words, had his hands tied down for his safety. Brain trauma patients were initially confused and therefore tried to get up as well as remove their tubes and such. I followed my twin brother into the room, not at all emotionally prepared to see my dad as he appeared. I gently approached his left side and sat in a chair that the nurse brought in. I spoke softly to Dad, reassuring him that he would be okay and that Jamie and I were with him.

 His eyes were more or less swollen shut and the massive sub dermal bleeding (under his skin) gave him the appearance of a man badly beaten up by a prized fighter.

 My brother spoke to Dad and asked him to squeeze his left hand if he understood him, which he did.

 All I said over and over again was that we loved him so much and not to worry.

 Dad then opened his right eye a small crack and looked my way. Within one hour, neurosurgeons, doctors, nurses and medical students (interns) flanked Dad's sides.

 My brother and I immediately wanted to address his brain bleed or sub dermal hematoma. It turns out, I had made the correct "gut instinct," call in saying no to the brain surgery via phone call. My brother who is very composed and commanding despite his 5'7" frame, insisted they do the CAT scan while we were there. The CAT scan confirmed that indeed there was no medical necessity for brain surgery!!!

 Seeing our fiercely independent dad tied down like an animal was crushing as well as heartbreaking, and yet we understood it was for his well-being. Each time Dad flailed with his restrained arms, we reassured him that tomorrow he was going to get them removed.

 We most certainly understood their place in the initial hours of his injury! As we left the ICU around 11 p.m. we called an Uber driver from the App my son downloaded as neither one of us were in a position to drive under this stress level. We arrived at a nearby hotel that my sister-in-law, Amber, had arranged last minute, as apparently most hotels were sold out as this was a highly populated area or "hub,” for business people known as "Silicon Valley."

 We both literally collapsed in our beds with pure emotional exhaustion dictating sleep extremely, grateful for the pillow and safe landing pad.

________

 

Kindness on a budget

Hair

 

For those who know me, I am a simple woman who prefers ponytails and free flying hair. Since my Mom is taking my husband and I on a wonderful trip, I make an effort to get my hair properly colored and blow-dried. It takes a lot for me to commit to 90 minutes of “beauty regime” and the expense. I quickly remember it is Easter Sunday and with twelve minutes till my appointment, I jog to Ralphs - a few stores over and look for a tulip plant. I recall my hair stylist telling me she likes pinks and purples and purchase a deep purple pretty tulip plant and run to be on time.

As I approach my usual chair, she says “For me?” and I say, “Yes, Happy Easter!” She hugs me like a child hugs his parent upon receiving Easter candies. We sit, talk and laugh, and at the end of my 90 minute appointment I am grateful for how nice my hair looks and feels. I have no affinity for hair so I super appreciate her skill. As I am paying I notice how tired she looks, yet so kind. I hugged her again and tell her “Everything will be okay.” Life as a single parent and full time worker isn’t easy and she is a very good person and skilled hairstylist.

 

Total Cost: $8.17

Total Time: 90 minutes

Total Value: Priceless. The plant and my words uplifted her spirits and made her feel appreciated.


Strawberries

 

It is nearing 10 AM and I am aware I need shorts and shirts for my Maui trip next week and head down University and Jeffrey for Kohl’s. As I am in traffic, I see the large open field and 15 or so workers bent over picking what looks like vegetables. Tears fill my eyes and I detour from my original plan to Kohl’s to the nearest store - CVS Pharmacy. I purchase water and assorted cookies and head back to bring the much needed drinks to the migrant workers.

As I approach I see there is the ending of a bike race for “The Cure” with police cars at the exit. I park behind the police vehicle and ask the two officers if I can spend five minutes dropping water off to the field workers. They say “Yes” and ask why: I say “It is hot and I really care.” They tell me to take my time and I lift the 12 water bottles and bags of cookies through the long and narrow field. I quickly realize I wish to personally hand waters out and start walking down the discarded strawberry aisle. My new brightly colored neon Nikes squish with each step and I mindfully am careful not to twist my ankle as I am ankle deep in mud and strawberries. After several trips to get more water the workers approach me to collect it so they can pass it out. I look into their tanned skin and heads wrapped in scarves or baseball caps and could see their hard work and sacrifice! Perhaps, for their families, nonetheless, does not matter to me their reason! I see their goodness and tears fill my eyes.

 

Total Cost: $7.99

Total Time: 25 minutes

Total Value: Immeasurable. When we are blessed to see another fellow human being in some form of duress, in this case, the hot afternoon sun glaring down on them, we must do our very best in some way to help them. My hope and prayer is that these hard working people were refreshed and revived for some time.


Airplanes

 

I had a strong intuition that something about today’s flight would be challenging. In fact, I was telling my twin brother about it, to which his response was that it would be fine. We got through LAX security very quickly, which was a relief as it was Spring break for many schools in Southern California. My Mom and Peter were in the gift shop, and I sat quietly meditating in the waiting area. I always prayed and meditated daily and said a prayer for safe travels that covered both myself and those aboard the aircraft when flying. As I scanned the room it seemed like a quiet group of families with young kids and some newlyweds.

Once we were in our assigned seats, I was aware how cramped and hot it felt. It was 82° outside, yet in the plane it felt much warmer in the mid-day sun. Fairly quickly the passengers got to their seats and most closed their windows to keep it cooler. Parents buckled their young children in and the stewardesses went over the safety instructions. Soon I could hear several people telling the stewardesses they were hot and feeing in need of water. One father said his son felt ill.

After 45 minutes of waiting on the runway the pilot explained they soon would resolve the issue which was redistributing the weight of the baggage. I immediately could feel we would be going nowhere quickly, and my Mom, who has travelled to 26 countries, agreed. The plane was extremely hot and airless. I heard the younger stewardess saying it would cool down as soon as we took off. One hour into our delay, I sure wished I were in a short sleeve T-shirt and shorts. I dressed nicely as I wanted to feel like I was embarking on an adventure, and I always wore my black yoga pants and tees. I got cold water for my Mom and husband and quickly scanned the plane.

As hot as I was, I knew I would do best helping. As I stood in the aisle a woman asked me if I could show her child how to properly latch the bathroom door. She was already antsy and in the aisle, so I said I would do so. After guiding the 6-7 year old to her Mom, I went to the rear galley. I told the head stewardess I would be of help to her and in fact in any emergency, I was in seat 28C. I saw her quickly filling cups with ice water and to speed the process up, tossing empty bottles in the corner galley. I asked her for a garbage bag and as our eyes locked, I said she could count on me. The young boy and his Dad appeared, and I recommended Sprite or Coke to ease his nausea. After over two hours on the airless plane, the pilot announced how sorry he was and we were ready for take-off after two passengers on stand-by had to depart the craft for weight restrictions.

 

Total Cost: 0

Total Time: 2 hours

Total Value:  Priceless. Helping ease the comfort of my fellow passengers on the plane was of great value to me and hopefully eased their discomfort.


Ohana

 

Being in Maui with Peter as my Mom’s guests is a treat. The air is warm and balmy, everyone who walks by you says “Aloha” with a smile. Soon you begin to feel like there is a laid back vibe that far extends the resort and into the Hawaiian’s lives. My Mom is a recent widow of seven months and would come to Maui with my Stepfather Cary for fifteen years. It is not that Cary was a beach person or sun worshiper but more my Mom’s love of the land and its kind-hearted people.

On this night, my Mom made reservations to take her dear friend Greg and his family out for dinner. We were not sure if they would show up as we had all been unaware it was Easter. At 5:45 PM Greg and his boys aged 9 and 12 appeared at the restaurant. My Mom was clearly “Ohana” family and they happily and warmly embraced and began talking. Greg’s wife was with her parents for Easter. The restaurant was booming with families and had spectacular views. Greg remarked they had not been to the beach in a year. I well understand him as it was easy to get busy and become muted by your own landscape.

As I excused myself for the ladies room, I saw a husband and a wife semi-blocking the path. He sat on the cement wall with his wife in a cumbersome looking wheelchair. At first, as I glanced her way, I felt such a high level of sadness, my chest hurt. I walked past and came back a few minutes later. I knelt down and said I had worn my small wood beaded bracelet while I meditated and prayed and if it was okay I would give it to her. She said yes, and I put it on her left wrist. I told her it would hopefully bring her peace and restored health, as that was my wish for her. I quickly left and wondered how many people walked past wheelchair bound people – was it out of fear, grief or just a way of blocking out their “story” of what happened? In any case, I was grateful I had stopped and perhaps shown her kindness and caring.

 

Total Cost: $5

Total Time: 2 minutes

Total Value: Priceless. Seeing another person’s face brighten is a true gift to be the recipient of.