Sunday, December 31, 2006

New year, new light

Dear Jan,

We have lived a year full of danger and challenge together and we choose to believe that we are better now than last year. We know more about the paradoxical nature of life: we have been soaked in pain, near death, doubt, speechlessness, and dark valleys, yet, it has been there that we have experienced first hand, selfless love, iridescent light, endless grace, strong support, tender comfort, unshakable faith, and most paradoxically, the presence of God in a way we haven't experienced before.

You have seen death face to face. You were technically death for ten days had it not been for a respirator machine that kept you going, yet, in the very edge of life, we were confronted with our most basic beliefs, with our most fundamental hopes; our most basic relationships were tested. And now we know that the beauty of life resides in the vast array of relationships we have, most importantly, in the type of relationship we have with God and with ourselves. We know that pain, loss, sadness, anger and even death are very much an integral part of life. That without them we would not understand joy or peace, or love, or the essential lightness of being alive.

At times, we have been weak, without any strength left to continue or any hope to look up and see the light, and yet, it was in the recognition of our weakness that we found strength in God. When we couldn't hope or take the next step, others did the believing and the walking. When we did not have the strength to reach out, the Master reached out himself and touched us in a thousand ways. We learned that this strength is born inside of us when we have internalized our faith in him and let it bond with each cell of our selves, letting the Creator live in us and through us. We learned that the strength to live life fully comes from both, the inside and the outside, that the myth of superman or superwoman are just that: a myth. We found out an endless source of strength and hope in our community. We learned that we are only as strong as our links with them and our link with God.

You lost your capacity to speak, to sing, to write, to read. You lost your most fundamental tools to be a teacher. It took you six months to be able to read at second grade level, four months to be able to walk like a toddler, eight months to be able to ride in the subway by yourself. Nevertheless, it was in this time without words when family and commmunity wrote and spoke with words of granite the language of love. Now, almost eleven months after your aneurysm, you are gaining up on the aphasia, your vocabulary is larger, your energy is higher, your memory is improving, dozens, maybe hundreds of people have reached out and touched our lives in such a way that the temporary losses you have pale compared to the lessons of practical love you have received.

We could see the ending year as a half empty glass and cry over the lost opportunities, lost income, lost time, lost conversations; but we choose to see it as a glass that is being filled, we choose to be glad for the lessons learned, the love poured, the light shared, the help received. This is how we want to name life, to speak out its goodness, to be happy with the circumstances that instead of becoming prisons, can serve us as a step to see higher and farther.

We know that the Master was every step of the way with us through this year, and that we can count with his presence during the next year as well, we know this from experience. We choose to finish the year knowing rather than doubting, hoping rather than despairing, thanking rather than badmouthing. We choose to look forward to getting more light, more love, more joy so we can share all of them more with a world that is getting too dark.


A note from Jan:

During 2006, I confirmed that the most important thing for me is to be in relationship with God, to walk with him hand in hand. God comes to us and gives himself to us. We give our lives helping others but still the most important thing in my life is God himself. He has helped me get through all the challenges I had to face. For this I am thankful. I love you all.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Christmas note

Christmas is the time we celebrate the light. Life has become dark because of our collective selfishness. The Creator saw the darkness up close and decided to help us bring the light back again. One day, he decided to come in the form of a little boy and live with us, eat with us, feel cold and hungry and sad like us. Because of the birth of this little boy named Jesus, the light can be lit again in everyone's hearts. We have decided to lit the light and let it shine. It is this light that guided Jan from death's dark edge in a comma back to life. It is this light that keeps Jan's hopes high. In this light I find strength to believe in Jan's healing day by day.

It doesn't matter if you believe in this light the same way we do. Light is light. This Christmas we invite you to join us in the celebration of all that his light represents, believe with us that goodness, peace, joy and love can shine in everyone's hearts if we would give it a chance, believe that we can love one another. Then we would have a world full of light and love.

Thank you for all you do for us and all you are to us.

Many blessings this Christmas

Fede and Jan
Christmas 2006


Dear Jan:

Last week was a mix of welcomed changes and some of the old stuff. You began the alternative treatment and almost at the same time you began experiencing some pain. We were told this is supposed to be part of the healing process, those connecting neuropaths in your body are reacting as they come together.

Yesterday morning, you picked up the phone and went on to have a perfect conversation with no hesitation or words missing. It was no more than 4 or 5 minutes, but at the end of the call you came to where I was shaving, looked at me wide-eyed and said: "what did just happen?", you knew that something was different, that you had talked just as you did a year ago.

When you tried to explain you feelings about this, you began hesitating again and the aphasia showed its face again. For a few minutes you had a wonderful awakening of your speech function, and it felt so good that you could not stop laughing for a while.

Later that day we told the doctor what had happened and he shared in the enthusiasm. He said, he was expecting these awakenings to start happening but not this soon. So he was pleased.

But as the light has to share the day with the darkness, your day ended in a bit of pain and extreme fatigue. It is as if your energy bucket would just last you for a few hours and then, suddenly your body just shuts down. Before the aneurysm, you lived fast; what you have to face today is a universe apart, but you have been patient and continue walking by faith. For you it is not a matter of if, but of when you will be able to go through a day just like before: full of energy and joy.

Just like the eagle you are, one day you will soar again. Today, your brief awakening calls for a celebration.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Jan on Friday - looking good!

Hi all. It's brother Steve here. Jan and Fede were over for a very pleasant visit on Friday. Here's how Jan looked. Fantastic, right?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Wish list

Dear Jan:

By now most of your students have already prepared their wish list for Christmas. They have edited it many times and included their most special hopes and toys. For more than 20 years you have been a teacher and love this season. Anyone who has visited your home during this season surely remembers the hundreds of decorations platered on the walls, windows, doors, ceilings and any ohter place where you could hang something to express your desire to celebrate.

Everyone has a wish list even if it is secret. This year, what is in your wish list? When I asked you the question, your answer was simply: I don't have a wish list for this year. But I know some of your wishes even if there is no list:

-to get your speech back (be healed from aphasia)
-to get your strength back (be healed from chronic fatigue)
-to get your right side fully reconnected (be healed from right neglect)
-and when you are well, to get clarity about your next mission impossible


Friday, December 08, 2006


Dear Jan:

This season invites everyone to meditate in what this year has brought to our lives, all of it, the good, the bad and the neutral; to count your blessings and be thankful. Some songs say it is a season to be jolly; for some the season if full of sad or painful memories, in particular those who have lost someone dear; for others, this is just another season of shopping to calm their own guilt, or buy influence or affection.

What did this year brought for you?

  • You had a massive brain haemorrhage in early February
  • As a result, for months you lost functioning of the right half of your body, your ability to speak, to read and to write; you spent four months in hospital; you continue to be an out-patient in a rehab hospital
  • You suffer from right neglect, fatigue syndrome, you are under a medication with nasty side effects, your short term memory comes and goes, you have aphasia \
  • You lost six months of teaching, you experience generalized pain and most of the time are freezing even when the thermostat is set to 25 CÂș,

How can you be jolly or thankful under these circumstances? It would seem that of all people, you are fully justified to complain against life. Nonetheless, in the mate paint of everyday life, I see your thankful heart clearly. Like a femenine version of Job you quietly say: God gives and God takes away, blessed be His name.

Where do you draw the strength to keep things in perspective and know the big picture? It comes from this deep sense of identity that you draw from your faith. You know who you are. You know that you are not what your mind tells you, but what God tells you. And for that you can be thankful. Thankfulness and joy are connected somehow, and you not only know the connection but fully live it! It is a strong statement of the values from which you live, two of which are: that you are not your circumstances, and that God knows what this is all about.

I asked you a few weeks ago what did you see in your life during the past few months? your response revealed crystal clear what you believe. You said:

“I see God allowing this for me to learn more trust in Him, more freedom from the obvious, more reliance on my partner, that my happiness in not based on my circumstances, that all this works for the best in a mysterious way”

I totally agree. I don’t experience suffering in my body, however, walking along your path has been on occasion very painful, and yet, somehow in the darkest moments, when I feel that I am at the end of my rope, there is light! , there is that ray of hope that brings us always into the open and remind us that we are more than this pain, that we are better for the suffering experienced, that maybe we are a bit more human for it, more understanding of those who suffer. So, we cough out the pain and rejoice.

Yeah! Let’s rejoice and laugh even when tears are rolling down our eyes. Our life is good with everything and everyone in it! Thanks be to God.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More love


Thanks again for the endless love from the Runnymede church community. Last Sunday we got another cheque for $2500 for Jan's rehab and Orest just delivered tonight another $300 from two loving individuals more. We are left speechless, so we tell all of you with our hearts a million thanks! May the Lord bless us in the future so we can also bless others the way you have blessed us.


Jan is getting ready to start the next phase of her rehab. She will be going to the new therapies twice a week starting this week. She is really exicted about this.

She is also feeling a lot better after the doctor agreed to reduce her medication to 50% after warning her of the risks. But Jan is no stranger to taking risks and she would not shy away of risks if the result is an improved quality of life. Please pray that the new dosage is sufficient to keep her from having more seizures and that eventually she may be free from this medication.

Fede and Jan

All things occur perfectly

I found this note in Phil and Lori's website very inspiring and I wanted to share it with all of our friends. Phil and Lori are very special people in Jan's life. See also the note on Jan in their newsletter. Follow the link below.

All Things Occur Perfectly

Like all people, Lori and I have many faith-based positions – mindsets for which there is no proof as to their validity, at least not at the time I adopted them.

None is more strongly held by Lori and me than the mindset that all things occur perfectly. Both of us say it often to ourselves and in courses. Recently a graduate wrote and asked what it means to us.

At the foundation of this belief are a number of other faith-based positions.

• I have choice. I have choice about how I spend myself and how I think and feel about my life.
• I am the source of my results. They are the product of my net intention – the combination of my conscious and unconscious intention.
• I am served by every one of my results, whether I know it or not. That is to say, I have a lot of intention of which I am not consciously aware; intention that has to do with, for example, my physical and emotional safety and wellbeing.

If I do not practice these ideas, there is little chance I will experience the perfection of life, and no chance that I will experience the perfection of life as it occurs.Sometimes I pretend I don't have choice. Usually it is when I am unwilling to pay the prices that I make up are attached to my options. When this happens, I don't think about how perfectly life is unfolding, I just slog along thinking others are in control of my life. Ugh!

Sometimes I produce results that I don’t like. I pretend that I am not the source of them, primarily because I am not aware of my net intention that produced them and I do not understand how they serve me. When this happens, I don't think about how perfectly life unfolds, I just slog along blaming and find fault with others about my life. Ugh, again!

Later, sometimes much later, I end up thinking; “I now understand how that was perfect, given where I am in life now.” I experience the idea that all roads lead to where I stand.

The trick is to connect with the perfection of what I am attracting in the moment of the attraction.

This is a faith-based position. It is a matter of choice. The more I choose it and operate from this position, the truer it becomes.

Most people do not adopt it at all. They spend a lot of time in resistance to their results (the truth about the way things are in their lives), feeling victimized, angry and self-critical. About their results and their lives, they think, "This sucks."

Of course, it is my resistance, victimization, anger and self-criticism that feed and perpetuate the results that I do not like. These are the thoughts and emotions that mask the perfection of all things as they occur.

So there is no misunderstanding, Lori and I do not believe that operating from this position justifies consciously acting in ways that violate our values, giving less than our best, treating people unkindly or abdicating ownership for doing what we believe adds the most value.

We encourage you to live up to your greatness, with more commitment, courage, character and faith than you ever imagined, while remaining compassionate with yourself and others.

We believe that, although you may not fully appreciate what a gift you and your current situation are NOW, someday you will be clearer. Be excited about NOW and the opportunity to create a world with even more possibility for you and your people will become apparent to you.

by Phil and Lori
Extraordinary Learning 21st leadership now