Lately, I've been feeling a bit scattered. A simple flight down to Florida to get eyes on my 86 year old Dad for a couple of weeks turned into an eye opening and rather challenging experience. Long story short, after a wonderful visit, Dad had a stroke. We were literally getting ready to head to the airport when it happened. The stroke landed him in the hospital for evaluation, treatment, physical therapy and resulting in admission to an inpatient rehab facility. My "quick" visit turned into a long ordeal for me and sent my family into a sort of crisis mode.
Adult children supporting aging parents know all about this crisis mode, as do health care providers who care for geriatric patients. A single event can quickly change the best laid plans and be challenging for all involved.
I own a lodging property and retreat center in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. Owning a historic B & B sounds so wonderful, and it is, but there is certainly a lot involved in maintaining a circa 1903 property and running it as a business. And one thing I know about being a solo entrepreneur ... if I'm not actively doing the work or coordinating the work, the work doesn't get done and the bills won't get paid.
Summer was fast approaching. Instead of getting the property ready for the season, I found myself in Florida, 1100 miles away with days consumed with hospital visits and endless hours spent coordinating care plans with nurses, doctors, social workers, physical therapists, occupational therapists and rehabilitation facilities. When I wasn't chasing down health care providers or dealing with paperwork, I was as taking care of whatever my Dad needed to get through the days he was trapped in bed and unable to do much of anything.
As the days ticked by, my anxiety level increased. Covid had caused me some major financial challenges and this was going to be the season that made or broke my lodging business. I needed to get back to New Hampshire and to my seemingly endless To Do List. I was doing it mostly alone with some help from a couple of friends who always seem to be there to help me when I need it the most, that is, when I asked for help. And, of course, asking for help has never been my strong point. Perhaps you can relate to that!
I'm the oldest, the only girl and the only health care professional in the family, so as my parents aged and health issues arose, I was naturally the one who hopped on a plane and managed the health care crisis. But this time, I really needed help. I reached out to my three brothers and told them that I needed to be back in New Hampshire to get my property ready for summer. Dad needed support once he was discharged from rehab and I simply couldn't stay. I was relieved when they jumped in and committed to stay with Dad for a couple of weeks when he came home.
I booked my flight home through Boston and my brother Keith and I passed in the air on his way to Tampa. He took over facilitating Dad's discharge from rehab to home the following day. My plan was to get right on my To Do List and get the property ready for prime season.
Dad's discharge went smoothly, however, literally 15 minutes after getting home, Dad had an episode that earned him another ambulance ride and emergency room visit and subsequent hospital admission. It was later determined that Dad's latest episode was cardiac in nature and it resulted in another round of admission, tests and ultimately, rehabilitation and followup appointments.
It took everything I had not to jump on a plane, relieve my brother and let everything back home go for another summer, which more than likely would have meant letting go of the property forever. Instead, I asked for help again. I asked my brothers to pitch in more time to cover Dad's new 6 to 8 week rehabilitation period so I could stay home, take care of business and monetize my summer and fall rental seasons.
They agreed and coordinated schedules. I can remember breathing a sigh of relief and feeling an immense wave of gratitude come over me. I could feel the stress flow out of my body as I looked over my list. The next morning I woke up with a plan to get right on my list. Instead, I decided to take a much needed day off. I got up, got dressed, put my coffee in a to go cup and drove to Cathedral Ledge to reconnect with the Mount Washington Valley. I had been away for a long time and needed to take in the mountain air, the views and soak up the lake and mountain vibe for awhile.
It was there on the top of that ledge, overlooking the spectacular view of the White Mountains, Echo Lake and the Valley, that I remembered the Rampage of Appreciation activity that my mentor told me about. In that moment, I committed to the practice for a 30 day Experiment.
Today, and every day for the past several weeks, I've started my day sitting on my private deck in the owners apartment of my property enjoying a cup of coffee with Sundae, my cat, purring at my feet. In this state, I begin my new morning ritual of. practicing uncommon appreciation. Instead of waking up, turning on the news or picking up my laptop right away, I make coffee in my favorite mug, head out onto the deck and sit in my favorite chair. I simply breathe, focus on gratitude and dig a little deeper.
I relish the first sip of coffee as I close my eyes and immerse myself in the feeling of the morning air on my skin and a slight breeze on my face. I listen to the sounds ... so many sounds ... birdsong, the buzz of circadas, the leaves rustling in the breeze, the sound of the rooster cock-a-doodle-dooing in the distance, the sound of Sundae purring next to me and the feeling of her fur when she stretches and rubs against my skin. I open my eyes and look out over my view. The farm field, Mount Chocorua, the brook, the garden that needs tending, the tall grass near the brook that needs mowing.
Stop. No adding things to your to do list right now! Simply breathe and focus on the practice.
I take a deep breath and feel the chair supporting me and the warmth of the shawl I have wrapped around my shoulders to keep me warm from the coolness of the morning air. I reflect on the chair, the wood and the oak tree that supplied the wood and the craftsman who built this wonderfully comfortable rocking chair. My attention moves to the pot of flowers next to me on the deck. The lovely colored pink blossoms that attracted the hummingbird who just flew in for a brief visit.
I go back to imagining the plants origin, perhaps from seed, perhaps from a cutting of another plant, being nurtured by someone who loves plants. I go deeper and imagine the greenhouse it might have been nurtured in and how it got to the garden shop where I bought it.
My attention shifts to the tree in the yard. It has grown quite a lot over the past few years. When it got struck by lightning awhile back, I thought it would die, but instead, it sent off a young shoot that is quite well established and provides wonderful shade for the hammock. This will allow me to trim the main part of the tree that is now overtaking the mountain view.
Oh, wait, that is too close to my To Do List. I remind myself to stay immersed in my Rampage of Appreciation for a little bit longer.
The grass is so green this morning. Actually there are at least 100 shades of green I can see from where I am sitting. Natural greens from the national forest that borders my property. The grasses and other green vegetation in the hay field and the bank of the brook I'm looking at. The green leaves and pine trees off in the distance. And the fertilized and manicured green, courtesy of the man that maintains my lawn and the other man that rigged up an irrigation system that uses the water from the brook which got replenished during last night's rain.
My attention goes back to my coffee cup and to Sundae who is still purring next to me. I'm grateful for coffee, the machine that makes it and the process that makes the pods that make it so easy for me to make that first cup of the day without having a big mess to clean up. My thoughts drift to a friend who despises the pods and the impact they have on the environment.
Wait. Stop. Back to gratitude and appreciation!
For me, I fully appreciate these pods that I use for my first cup of coffee each day and the simplicity they offer me so early in the morning. Later, when I am more awake and the work day begins, I'll switch over to the coffee pot. But not now. For now, I love the simplicity of this ritual with the pod that fills my cup and provides me with that wonderful first sip.
I take another sip and reach down to pet Sundae. Her purr gets louder and her fur is so soft since I the vet suggested that new food.
So, you see, this Rampage of Appreciation might never end. Or at least I can commit to doing it for 5 minutes a day. I am fortunate to have a thousand things I could be grateful for as I reflect on life from my deck. Or I could simply focus on the softness and the fur of my cat Sundae and be grateful for her food, my phone that was able to take a picture of the label to store so I would recognize it at the store, the store that stocks it, the plant and the workers who manufacture it, ship it, stock it on the shelf so I can buy it. The cashier who rings me up, her supervisor who hired her (she is so pleasant) and the kind man who helped me carry it to my car because the really big bag was on sale and it's best if I save wherever I can right now.
Tomorrow I will speak about what happens during and after my daily practice of the Rampage of Appreciation. I've been doing it for awhile and have noticed some interesting patterns. It's like this practice opens up a two way conversation with me and the Universe. Stay tuned. You may be amazed ...
To learn more about Trisha visit