years ago i was lying across the cold vinyl of the physician's exam table, the crisp crepe paper roll beneath me sticking to my nervous palms. the doctor came in, he took my blood pressure first, then he took my wrist in his hand, placing his fingers over my radial artery to take my pulse. he looked perplexed, he took it again. then again. in all, he took it five times, finally stepping back, he said with incredulity, "these numbers indicate that you shouldn't be alive."
but i was, and i am. and i'm so very glad to be here.
over the years, before my diagnosis, i grew accustomed to the bewildered looks of nurses and physicians who couldn't seem to register that a girl as sick as me was still functioning in society. so during one of my umpteenth doctor's visits, when a p.a. took my stats, scratched her head, then got down on her knees mumbling, "hmph, the machine must be broken. these numbers aren’t right. let me check the chords," i knew i was going to have to explain that i was a very sick girl, and that my numbers weren't healthy numbers, and the doctors had yet to discover the source of my illness. the machine wasn’t broken, but i certainly felt broken. this was before my two operations. this was before my plant-based journey began. this was before i learned of the power of plants to heal + nourish our bodies, minds + souls.
i believe life will always present challenges, and it's up to us to rise up to meet them. during these times, strength, wisdom + courage bubble to the surface. for me, my faith was an integral part of my healing. eventually i lost the ability to walk sans pain, and i didn't have the stamina to continue as a full time educator, so i turned to freelance writing + editing. and my writing took me down the path of sustainability.
on this path i've met so many sustainability superstars + cruelty-free crusaders: tenacious, talented women + men working to change the world one day at a time. because small steps lead to big change.
so if you ask me if i had to do it all over again, would i live this same life twice? the answer would be unequivocally YES.
as i stood on this majestic mountain, not just walking again, but hiking again with my best friend by my side, i was reminded that i met her because life bent me in a different direction. and i can't imagine my life without her + so many others i've met on this adventure. it turns out i was heading exactly where i needed to be. and often i feel i've arrived bouncing into my own personal graceland.
this week, i'll unfurl the green heart series in which i showcase a blogger + eco hero that is passionate about sustainable living + healthy eating, all of whom i was lucky enough to meet along this journey to health + wellness.
i'm eternally grateful for life's trials + triumphs. today, fourteen simple pleasures that fill me with joy + gratitude:
1/ health: the power of plants to nurture + heal never ceases to amaze me
2/ movies: watching movies on a plane is my fave; it's always better on a plane
3/ water: clean air in my lungs + running water
4/ sky: a clear, saturated + spotless sky above
5/ baths: a long, warm soak with natural salts + oils
6/ nature: a single bloom pushing its way through concrete always moves me
7/ whistling: one of my favorite sounds, besides laughter, from family, friends or strangers
8/ life: the feel + smell of my pup when he sleeps next to me at night, even though he's a bed bully
9/ energy: the tremble of the ground beneath my feet as i wait for trains on platforms. i was at a train depot when i broke my foot this summer. there was no one around me, just a woman in the distance. i was thinking about how to get up two flights of stairs when she turned, walked the entire length of the platform + asked if she could help me. i wasn't sure how she knew i needed help. she didn't see me fall. i wasn't limping. i love when people are attentive, perceptive + sensitive to others' energy.
10/ travel: meeting new people + learning their stories + soaking up their wisdom
11/ communication: when my mom uses emojis in her texts
12/ satchels: i absolutely love to find out what people carry in their bags
13/ botanicals: as an anti-materialist, i don't buy often, but boy do i love handmade soaps + oils
14/ green hearts: all the lovelies i've met whom i'll be presenting here on this blog. so many fierce + kind hearts will be bouncing into your lives soon via eco voyage
"health is the greatest of human blessings." hippocrates