Love Keeps Us Alive – And Helps Us Thrive

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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! 

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Incredible post, Leah, and while I haven’t listened to it all yet, the podcast is amazing too. For the last ten or more years, much of my writing has been exploring what I call the four essential connections: with God, with Self, with Others, and with Nature. Of course your post and this podcast are about our connection with others and I agree it is essential to our well-being and happiness. Through studying connection, I came to realize that pen and paper are, together, one of greatest connection tools at our disposal, and your beautiful cards make that tool even easier to deploy.

I just finished reading Kristin Hannah’s book The Four Winds. It was hard to read because of the vivid descriptions of rural life in Texas during the Dust Bowl and the awful experience of those who tried to escape by going West with almost nothing left to their name. They got by on grit, perseverance, hope, and, of course, love. One of the lines in the book went something like this: “When everything else is gone, love remains.” I believe that to be true.

Elizabeth Cottrell

I loved this post and I am enjoying the podcast. I actually subscribe to this one, but do not listen to each one, and had certainly missed this. It is so powerful. Thank you for all the work you do.


So happy you created Tiny & Snail. Your cards bring so much happiness and light to everyone. Thank you, xxx❤️


This summer one of my single friends went through some medical stuff and my wife and I showed up to help her through. A few weeks ago I had a situation, and the friend showed up for me.
We talked about how important community was for us as social animals. It’s really all that matters.

Dave W

This is one of my favorite posts you’ve written so far. I’m actively listening to the podcast you mentioned. Human connection is so critical to our well being. I’ve been realizing this more and more over the past year or so. One of my goals this year is to call people more. I decided that before the new year, but I’ve been stalling. I’ve only called my Opa to wish him a happy 92nd birthday. This year began with the death of a close friend, and I’ve kind of gone into my own world. I hesitate to pick up the phone and reach out to others. I forget how to spontaneously call people like I did decades ago. I think it’s because I hear so often from friends that they’re introverts and don’t like talking on the phone, even though I know they’d be happy to hear from me. I wonder if we call ourselves introverts sometimes to pretend like we don’t need human connection, or to pretend that we don’t miss talking to our friends and family.


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