“The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don’t have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it.” ~ Chris Pine
For those of you who follow my blog, perhaps you noticed that I haven’t written anything since April. Since the fall of 2013 it has sometimes been a struggle for me to find the inspiration to write. I feel like I’ve been on the outside of creative things happening around me, which has made me feel down and often filled with self doubt. An exploration of meditation helped me a little with this but it didn’t alter my point of view. Then in April, a dear friend of mine had a stroke that turned her life upside down in an instant. The past few months I have watched her work very hard to relearn basic skills that we take for granted – sitting up, speaking and making coffee – until we find ourselves unable to do them. By comparison, not knowing what to write seems so small, especially when you see someone facing such a tremendous challenge take such profound pleasure in little things, like the taste of tea with sugar, the sound of rain, an orchid blossoming.
Seeing what my friend has been going through, and helping her, has been a real eye opener. It has heightened my gratitude, for what I am able to do (whether I choose to or not) and reminded me of the joy and inner peace that comes with being a source of support for others. As part of the process of her rehabilitation, my friend hand dyed a scarf for me, for my birthday. With everything else this woman was facing, and with the use of only one hand, she made it a priority to make me a gift. I was so very moved to receive this because I understood what it took for her to make it. My friend’s situation did not stop her from wanting to engage in an art experience, to express her creativity, and to take pleasure in making something for someone. Here was proof that being creative can make inspiration bloom even in difficult circumstances. It can brighten our darkest days.
Since April, I have at times felt like the Grinch, in that moment when his heart grew to three times its normal size. I have been learning to look at my friend’s situation, and my own, through new eyes, to consider the impact of my actions and creations on others. To some extent, my friend has given my heart back to me. She has reminded me that creativity comes from a place of giving – something beautiful, something thought-provoking, something made with great love. I am at this moment giving my friend the use of my hands, to knit a baby gift for someone. Interestingly, this gift has an owl motif. Owls, as we know, possess keen night vision. This may be symbolic, since I have been trying to see my way out of my own dark place, and trying to help my friend see the rays of light in hers. But I believe she does already. As she often says, “Every day brings bubbles of happiness.” Hopefully these beautiful bubbles that bring such joy will become part of our daily reality, and they will last.
This blog post is dedicated to Janet Hyer. She is brave, strong and an inspiration.