“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” ~Buddha

Today, I’ve taken two naps (equaling six hours) and I really should be taking my third right now. Thommy has already left for work where he will work until noon tomorrow; I have to leave at 5:15 am and will also be done at noon. I think this “Black Friday” thing has really gotten out of hand. Some stores, like Old Navy, are open for 24 hours straight. Most stores are opening between 3am and 6am. I feel like it used to be that opening at 6am was hardcore enough. Until just a few years ago it seemed like just a crazy adventure that crazy people went on, but that changed in 2008 when Jdimytai Damour, a Walmart employee was trampled to death by those in the mob looking for their share of a “limited supply” of something they surely could have done without. It seems there has been a progression in this culture of movement, one where we not only refuse to STOP every once and awhile but where we now seem reluctant to even pump the brakes a little.

Today as Thommy and I drove around a surprisingly busy Syracuse, I wondered aloud why everyone wasn’t at home eating. Why was Wegmans PACKED (even more than usual) and really… WHY was the liquor store open?? Growing up, one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving was working a closing shift at Price Chopper the night before and watching as all the stragglers, procrastinators and employees scurried to grab the most important of the last minute items. I loved making a list of all the places we would need to go, including the liquor store, because once the stores closed you were on your own until Friday. That made everything more exciting and forced a certain stillness on Thanksgiving Day which made hanging out with family and napping all that much more enjoyable; even if it wasn’t your first choice, you didn’t have too many other options.

That seems to be over. And I guess we’re a little guilty of it, too. It’s unfair to say that we chose to spend the holiday by ourselves; it certainly wasn’t an active choice, but it was the end result of a cumulation of choices – namely, working in retail and living 4 hours away from my parents and Memere. Plus, Thommy worked all morning so we really only had the afternoon to assemble some sort of Thanksgiving tradition. I think we were both too exhausted to come up with anything important, so… we drove around listening to music – looked for an open restaurant – ate barbecue chicken and salad at Ruby Tuesdays – watched football on the big screen – came home… and napped. We won’t make it a habit. Next year, we intend to spend it with loved ones, specifically in the physical realm, since today we emotionally and spiritually gave thanks for all our friends and family who love us and support us in so many ways.

Happy Thanksgiving to you! Here is why I’m grateful right now.

**Perspective. 1 year ago today I started the steroid treatments for the Multiple Sclerosis that was discovered 1 year ago from yesterday. It’s funny how far a year can actually take us, without ever really leaving us. I know I’ve told this story before but it is impossible for me to forget my shaking hand trying to call Thommy, while I lay on the floor, vomiting into the trash bucket, sweating, pushing Pumpkin away as he nervously meowed and pawed at my head.

I’ll never forget the sound in Thommy’s voice as he told his store manager what was happening and asked to leave. I remember the pleading, and the faint words in the background – “have her call an ambulance… meet her later at the hospital…” – then I remember the feeling of desperation. I remember asking for the phone so I could convince her, and then vomiting once again before speaking. It all seemed so pointless.

What is bigger in life than love and why should I have had to lay in that bed, on my right side, choosing dehydration in order to avoid needing to pee, because I wasn’t sure what would happen if I tried to move. I remember Thommy leaving at 6am with this pathetic look on his face and trying to say “just don’t move until I get back” with a straight face. The day before Thanksgiving is the last day for retailers to gear up before Black Friday. Who knew when he would be back.

I remember the fearful and mostly silent car ride out to the hospital and the familiar greetings at the ER. I remember gleefully welcoming the sharp cold of the IV, knowing the Valium would bring quick (albeit brief) relief. I remember accepting a third warm blanket from a very good looking tech who was waiting with me before my MRI. I wasn’t cold but at that point, on that day, it was impossible to refuse an extension of help or attention or warmth. I remember the Neurologist being paged at the medical center I worked for and filling Thommy in on what that meant. I remember the car ride home and the phone calls and the steeled impossibility of tears.

I remember eating only steroids on Thanksgiving and watching the very smallest portion of the Macy*s Day Parade – I was filled with disgust for the company and jealousy for those who could celebrate in a vertical position. I remember the frenetic pace of certain plays during the football game making the vertigo worse. No enjoyment of food or football. “What the hell was today if not for those things… I mean really, what is this?” … I remember thinking too much.

So yesterday I worked 9 hours and drove myself home, arriving later than Thommy who had stopped on his way through to pick up champagne for us to celebrate with. We drank it and I barely thought of Copaxone. We took naps today and will work for many hours tomorrow. And while I don’t agree with the message the retailers blast us with, nor the image we present of ourselves as people who eagerly participate in this type of greedy consumerism – I know this: I am able. Able to acknowledge and participate and work and function and stand up. I can pee whenever I feel like it. This, my friends, is a blessing.

**”May I Be Frank?” and new friends. A couple weekends ago, my new friend Mandy invited us to go to Saratoga to view the screening of this film, “May I Be Frank?” and eat lunch. We had met only briefly at the Jason Mraz concert in Utica back in September and have kept in touch since. She is a joyous wonder of a person and I feel so blessed to have been connected with her. She is just one of those people you want to be around all the time; they have the type of energy that we feed off of and are comforted by. Mandy is beautiful, radiant, talented and charitable. She has undergone difficult changes in her life and instead of being overwhelmed by them, she has acknowledged them as the helpful co-creators of the ‘new’ Mandy. Mandy loves great music and great food that work harmoniously together to support her. We share many of the same passions.

One of the things I’m particularly inspired by is how strong and competent she is. She has a very important, potentially high-stress job and when I saw her in action before, during and after the screening, I couldn’t help but beam with pride for the bold but peaceful confidence she models. I will use it in my mind has the image of what we are capable of when we live each day in compassion and gratitude.

This movie is so important; the message is simple and profound – change what you eat and how you think and you WILL change who you are. I don’t want to give too much away, but please give this website a look and if you are in the position, think about hosting a screening of your own in your community. Thanks to Mandy, Thommy and I were able to meet Frank and Conor (one of the film makers) after the movie. They were both amazing, bright people. Frank spoke with us for quite a long time and genuinely listened as I recounted all my own health issues and how important food was in my own transformation. He was inquisitive, receptive and affirming. THANK YOU ALL for the message. It was received.

Here is the link for the movie: http://mayibefrankmovie.com/

With Conor (film maker & musician)
With Conor (film maker & musician)
With Frank (the man, the movie, the inspiration)
With Frank (the man, the movie, the inspiration)
With Mandy (our friend)
With Mandy (our friend)
Drinking Green Juice ... because its good for us and we told Frank we would!
Drinking Green Juice ... because its good for us and we told Frank we would!

A Rundown of Gratitude:
Obviously, my parents, Memere, all family & friends who I hold in my heart on this day of thanks and always…

Thommy started his Reiki training with E.W. a couple weeks ago and the transformation has been enormous. A more complete story unfolding and coming to you shortly…

My good friend Jeannie has had some health concerns lately and I ask that you all lift her up in love and meditation and prayer. Last year, before we knew that my vertigo was really MS, she asked her prayer group to pray that I would wake up just one morning without feeling like I would fall off the earth. That was on a Tuesday. On Wednesday, I got about 15 minutes into a “normal” morning routine before I realized I was not dizzy. Not even a little bit. It lasted half the day and most likely saved my sanity. I can’t thank her for that enough but I can try to repay her by offering up some intentions of healing for her. She is truly one of the loveliest people I know and I am blessed by her presence in my life. Please offer her some comfort.

One of my absolute best friends is pregnant and another dear friend just gave birth to a healthy, happy, BEAUTIFUL baby girl. I am grateful to know some really amazing mothers. You girls do it the harder way, the right way, the FULL OF LOVE WAY and I thank you for your lessons.

Music is a gift I am always thankful for. If you love great music – the truly uplifting kind – please consider donating even the smallest amount to Conors’ band – The Makepeace Brothers. I just did. Literally – like two minutes ago. Go ahead and check it out:

http://www.indiegogo.com/makepeacebrothers?a=58401&i=addr

Also, if I don’t find a publisher for my book when it’s ready, I will utilize this site as a fundraiser. I’ve seen it work successfully in the past and it may be an integral part of my future!

LASTLY, I am about to register a new domain name for my website. I have a few ideas and was hoping you could vote for your favorite. There is a personal meaning/story behind each of them and I’ll share them with you once voting has ended. Thank you for your input and feedback – and THANK YOU for reading. Isn’t that the point of all this? I am filled with gratitude for YOU.

In light, with love –

Rhéa

The Road is Life
The Road is Life

One thought on “Happy Thursday: Thanksgiving Edition

  1. Hi Rhea,
    Great post as always! Life is truly amazing..every single bit of it. I have a friend who always says ” this too shall pass” and I think all the adversity in our lives happen in order to teach us something about ourselves we needed to learn. I like to think of them as stepping stones to become who we’re meant to be. I think it’ amazing what you have been able to accomplish in such a short time and I am grateful to have connected with you!

    In response to your website title, I like “The Road is Life” but I like ” The Road is Love” more. Just a thought.

    Peace and Love Always,

    Jen

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