My little red tether is my anchor in running with my friends. A beautiful guide dog has been my tether/anchor in mobility and independence for 17 years: 1. Pantera 2. Cricket, and now my beautiful 3. Georgina (Georgie). A life of family and friends is my joy and anchor in life.

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. CC Scott

Monday, July 12, 2010

Resilient Susan

Meet my friend,   Susan. We share a common eye condition- Retinitis Pigmentosa, but SO much more. I was thrilled last year when we were able to meet her and her beautiful, guide, Mirage while visiting in Portland. I love her and she demonstrates resilience. I continue to learn much from her and so grateful for our friendship. Read on and then check out her blog .

So I am pondering Resilience. I am in love with this poem by Jane Hirchfield, which will be my jumping off point.

More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam
returns over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous
tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side,
it turns in another. A blind intelligence, true.
But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,
mitochondria, figs—all this resinous, unretractable earth.

I don't intend to address that theory of evolution, but I love "the sinuous tenacity of the tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side, it turns in another." And I think this is how I have come to see resilience. We must learn to live in the moment, flow with Grace and keep moving.

Becoming blind challenges my sense of wholeness and self worth. I spent the first year simply not wanting to get out of bed, swollen with grief. I had resigned my driver's license and dental hygiene license in the same year, realizing I was endangering others by continuing to operate with limited vision. Every day there was nothing but nothing. I needed to reinvent myself in order to become happy without the meaningful work I had done for 35 years. Also I could no longer "run away" from myself by hopping in the car, to go and do things as a distraction.

I felt alone, isolated, ashamed (my prejudice) and worthless. At four each day I practiced yoga and sat silently to accept my life as it was. The grief persisted, but I could hold it compassionately. I noticed that I could choose to be happy, and dwell in gratitude for the many gifts I do possess; to water seeds of strength and courage and do what I do well. "Accentuate the positive!" and hold the loss equally dear. I've learned to balance self care with caring for others. I've learned to create community by being authentic and engaged in life as it flows. It did not serve any purpose to live in the past, or compare my life to any other life.

Resilience ... I needed to be present and say YES to life, not check out. To be a Blessing and dwell in Gratitude, my joy slowly returned.

I love being a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and artist. I love viewing with new eyes, the beauty of this world. I love sharing my insights with others losing hope or vision.

Share your story of Resilience ... email me at

1 comment:

Mimi and CC Cabana said...

What a great example of resilience. Thanks to Susan for sharing her challenges and her journey through them.