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My friend Shirley Melis observes, “It’s no so much what happens to you but what you do with it.” She’s written a best-selling memoir, Banged-Up Heart – Dancing with Love and Loss, about losing her husband, falling in love with a man who swept her off her feet, marrying him and then losing that husband to cancer. She survived those tragedies and found love a third time. Her positive attitude and resilience so inspired me, I recently added an accolade to her many five-star reviews on Amazon.

Today’s post is not about bereavement, but about losing and then regaining health and fitness. Rather than a banged-up heart, I acquired a banged-up back. Five months ago I fell and suffered a spinal compression fracture. It happened during a hike in New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Inattentiveness and treacherous footing.: I stumbled, slipped into a rocky mountain stream and landed on sharp boulders(https://tinyurl.com/yb2ruz3k).

Because of possible side-effects, I opted not to have surgery. The neurologist assured me that eventually the fractured vertebra would mend on its own. Thus began a slow, arduous healing process. Physical therapy, swimming, arnica and acupuncture were just a few of the measures I embraced. Amazingly, there was a silver lining to the cloud that now hovered over my life. Because I couldn’t hike three mornings a week, I had time to finish the novel I’d been putting off. The injury created a gift of time. I’m getting back to hiking, but in a modified way.

As an adoptee, I’ve learned that emotional adjustments are the way to succeed. At age five, I was taken from flimsy foster care arrangements to the warm, loving home of a college professor and his wife, my adoptive parents. On one hand, I felt completely abandoned. Ripped away from all I’d ever known, I had to pretend to be the “real” daughter. It’s taken a lifetime to realize that the problem (of being abandoned) was actually an opportunity. It’s taken years to shift from feeling victimized to being the heroine of my own life. The new attitude is fed by love of family and friends, nurtured by gratitude, and maintained by daily journaling.

When 2018 began, I chose one word as my new year’s resolution: LIGHT. On January 1, while cleaning the perpetually cluttered home office, I came across notes from an Oprah Winfrey/Deepak Chopra 21-day online workshop. The topic: “Getting Unstuck~Creating a Limitless Life.” Each one of the 21 days focused on a new intention. The following ten were the ones I embraced…

I am fulfilled when I can be who I want to be
I am never stuck when I live in the present
I embrace the newness of this day
I am in charge of my brain, not the other way around
Today I am creating a better version of myself
I am aware of being cared for and supported
My awareness opens the door to new possibilities.
My life is dynamic because I welcome change.
I deserve a life without limitations.
Every day unfolds the next step in my journey.

These are resolutions particularly appropriate not just for the “adoptee frame of mind,” but also for anybody who seeks to envision a personal encouraging light. It may be the light after losing a loved one, the light of healing, or simply the light of a new appreciation for being alive. Whatever your light may be, it’s worth seeking.


Join Elaine on alternate Mondays for reflections on adoption and life. Her newest novel Clara and the Hand of Ganesh, a sequel to All the Wrong Places, is a work-in-progress. Your comments are invited. If you would like to be a guest blogger on an adoption-related theme, email me at deardiaryreadings@me.com

After the fall, beginning the road to recovery