I came to my office to do my writing this sunny Saturday morning. I was feeling a little cramped and frustrated, and then Stephanie went happily into her SheCave to do a recorded Yoga session, and I hopped on my bike and rode to my quiet little sanctuary here in the Little Bahamas neighborhood of Coconut Grove.
Yesterday I wrote in the morning of my plans for the day, and then noticed as they took an unexpected twist. Shortly after I finished my writing, I was making some hotel reservations for a trip that I plan to take in April, and I noticed that I was having a hard time reading the screen. I thought there was something wrong with the lighting, but then when I closed my eyes I saw the shards of glass visuals in my right visual field that are the precursor for a migraine for me.
This was the first migraine I have had since my stroke in January, and so needless to say I was a little freaked out. The doctor had given me a prescription to abort a migraine, and so I dissolved one of the tablets under my tongue. I also took an extra Verapamil, which is the calcium channel blocker that the neurologist prescribed to help prevent such a serious brain cramp. Fortunately, within about an hour, the migraine went away and my vision came back to “new normal.”
I was scared, but got through it. Next time will be easier. When I told Katie about it later in her gym, she admonished me that I should always keep the medicine with me. Such a parallel to my Mom after her heart attack. They want her to wear a defibrillator vest. She says if someone finds her on the floor they can put the vest on her, and it will wake her up. Stubbornness must run in the family.
I had a session with Alison Yanni, the Craniosacral therapist from Wisdom of the Body, that afternoon, and that helped me relax a lot. Afterwards, I went over to the investment property we own in unincorporated Miami-Dade county to pick up Stephanie. We are converting an old cinder block two bedroom house from the 1950s into a cute little short term rental unit. Stephanie was there with Dani and Gregg while the finishing touches are being completed. The unit is all ready for guests now, just in time.
I had a late workout session, which causes Stephanie a little bit of consternation because it interferes a little bit with our evening routine. But with the daylight savings time, I still get home well before dark, and she, I think, is appreciating that she has time to herself. She is writing a book now, and she needs an hour or so to write in the evenings. I made myself some rice to go with the delicious beans that she cooked, and then I put a couple bison patties on the grill. I ate my dinner happily in silence while she finished her writing, and then we watched some TV together before Bed. What a pleasant day, despite the unexpected turns.
Today I am really planning to rest as much as I can. I had hoped to see my son George today, but with my chest pain from the broken ribs, I really do not have the energy to be responsible for feeding other people. I was telling my Mom the other day that the visual impairment from my stroke makes everything 20% harder, and then the broken ribs make everything another 30% harder. I do need to take it easy. I think the migraine was a reminder of that.
So today started with a bang. We both woke up in a good mood, and walked the dogs into the Grove for Coffee at Le Pain Quotidien . Happily, today, I was able to put in my order on the phone application, and the coffees were ready in front of the busy Saturday morning crowd. We saw some familiar faces, with familiar dogs, on the way there and back. When we got home, we enjoyed a game of Acey-Deucey, our version of backgammon, which Stephanie won by the skin of her teeth.
She went afterwards to do Yoga. We had a bit of a disagreement over dinner plans, but nothing too disruptive. I think she felt I was trying to force sushi on her by suggesting she wanted it when she thought I was who wanted it. Not really. I just did not want to cook for guests, and I though sushi was her preference. Turns out neither she nor I want it, so it was easy to let go off.
I am planning also to go and visit my Mom for tea later today. It’s been a few days since I’ve seen her. Actually, I may not have seen her since the last little trip she took to the hospital when her hearth slowed down to 28 beats per minute. We have to keep that pumping for her. She’s 82 and I’m only 56, but with my little bitty bit of brain damage and my broken ribs, I think we run about the same speed.
It’s bucolic this existential life. I guess not literally pertaining to sheep in the pasture, but the simple enjoyment of weather and meals and family time and walking the dogs does feel simple and healthy. It’s really about the CORE life philosophy I have been working with recently.
We have so many projects and extended relationships that we are involved in, and it does sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. My role as a faithful Steward over many of these assets and projects can leave me feeling the weight of responsibility. After all, I need to manage everything so that projects can grow and flourish, but without outgrowing their roots and what we need to sustain them. It’s a constant management of growing the projects while at the same time growing the resources that are needed to support them. Little helps, like rentals from a small property, or the chocolate produced by the farm, or events we might hold at the agroforest in Hawaii all help these projects become self sustaining. It is our hope that they will continue after we leave.
So all of that can feel like a lot, and it can feel stressful to me. So I have been really looking at what is the CORE of happiness in this life. Basically, if we can be in our home and walk the dogs and play Acey Deucey and read and write and sing together, and be with family and take care of our health, that’s all we need to be happy and fulfilled. Everything else we do is external to our CORE life. While we love and care for all of our projects and all the people involved, it’s just a matter of humility to recognize they will all be just fine without us.
I asked Charlie about this down in Brazil. I had him prepare a financial report for the Cacao farm, and it was pretty clear how much support the farm requires from us every year. I asked him, Charlie, what happens after Stephanie and I pass away, and the farm belongs to you and Tata and your family, and there are no more wire transfers to keep things going down there? Well, he replied that would be a terrible tragedy and they would have to make all kinds of adjustments. I replied, that the day will come, and the idea is that when we pass, it will just be a little bump in the road. And so begins the journey to sustainability.
I want to leave this earth like the last leaf falling from a tree…essential to nothing. Just a leaf in the wind. Crinkled and brown with nothing left to give. A complete life lived well.
I am grateful.