About a month into my recovery, a friend who is an herbalist and practices traditional Chinese medicine told me: “Your shen had a fright and has yet to fully return. Taking baby steps to make things nice and cozy ‘in Lisa’ will entice your shen’s full return.”
She recommended herbs, meditation, looking at green things, being in nature. And my spirit did return.
Those practices are good all of the time – and making myself cozy for my own spirit was a gift for keeps.
Not only did I learn that I had more friends than I realized – The brain aneurysm and surgery gave me other gifts, too:
- I have greater empathy for people with brain injuries and PTSD, especially soldiers.
- I gained a deep appreciation for the intricacies of microsurgery in the brain.
- I met some nice people in my community, the volunteers who took me to the Fitness Center when I couldn’t drive.
- I sleep better, and longer.
- I don’t find it so hard to exercise.
Because I am more myself than ever, I reaffirmed some things I knew were important but had been ignoring:
- Routines are soothing and morning hours are sacred
- Don’t worry so much
- Listen to your body
- Take care of your brain and protect your head
- Alcohol is toxic
- If you really need something – ask for it loud and clear
- Don’t watch a lot of violence or dwell on negatives
- Some days are better than others.
Because I came so close to death, I really thought about the possibility of death-bed regrets. And because of that:
- I started writing a book because I’ve wanted to all my life
- I reconnected with and appreciated my friends
- I set aside time every day for art.
My pace is the biggest improvement. My mind is revved back up to its old speed, just about, but now when I try to do too much, I repeat the new rule:
- One thing at a time.
Today’s penny is a 2015 for the gifts I received but didn’t acknowledge then.