The days following my accident I don’t remember too much.
As I lay in the ICU bed, the only things I remember are this:
A sense that I had fallen as far as one can go, but something prevented me from falling even further. It was a net. Something that held me at a molecular level.
A few times, I encountered an inky blackness. I knew that if I went into it, I wouldn’t suffer anymore. But EVERY TIME this happened, someone in my family came and held my hand. I had to stay here.
It’s love that keeps us alive, quite literally.
When I had my spinal cord injury, people showed up for me —
in the form of keeping me company, holding my hands, cooking me food they had grown themselves, playing guitar, and through encouraging letters from people I knew in real life, and people I never met but knew about me from our Instagram community.
The only reason I survived was that people showed up for me.
I was super fortunate to be surrounded by so much love. My relationships gave me a reason to stick around.
My heart aches for people who don’t have anyone to come to their rescue when they need it.
This society that we are part of has made it very possible to not have to rely on other people, but that’s just an illusion. When the sh*t hits the fan, that’s when you need strong bonds with the people who surround you. That’s when you realize that love isn’t just a “nice feeling.” It’s crucial to our survival.
Daily though, good relationships are crucial to our thriving.
I have found that phone calls, heartfelt letters, and doing a project with someone (such as deciding to train for a half marathon at the same time or paint a mural together) are things that help me feel more connected with the people in my life.
Tiny and Snail started as a project, about a year before my accident happened to get to know my sister better, and have an excuse to talk to her every day.
I credit Tiny and Snail as a major reason that I survived — the fact that Grace and the community that we had formed around Tiny and Snail were counting on me – gave me the strength to push through.
Recently I was reminded of all this because of this amazing episode of Feel Better, Live More (embedded below). I can’t stop thinking about this episode.
It’s so good. I hope you listen to it today. (Just start with 5 minutes of it!)
The people in your life need you, and you need them. The people who show up in the dark abyss to squeeze our hands and be the net that keeps us from falling further are the ones we connect with in small, regular ways.
Who can you connect with this week? Who can you add to your circle?
Opportunities abound to connect. Start small: write a card, share this newsletter, ask someone to listen to a podcast you love and discuss it together.
Wishing you a beautiful week ahead,
P.S. I think my favorite thing I learned about in this episode is at 19:04 – about why the women in Okinawa, Japan live longer than anyone else in the world – because they have strong female friendships. After hearing this I felt motivated to call and connect with my best friends. It made me appreciate those friendships even more.
I'd love to know what your favorite part is, or what this episode made you think about in your own life. Comment below!