My Stroke of Luck….or not?

Ten years ago today, I quit my job (as CFO of a billion dollar per year agency), left my emotionally abusive (second) husband, and enrolled in massage school. Everyone thought I was crazy. Hell, I thought I was crazy! But something spoke to me and told me it was what I needed to do. When I started to freak out, I quieted my worries with meditation, and told myself everything was going to be alright.

Three  years later, it was time to put massage on the shelf and go “back to a real job.” I felt a little like a failure, and very sad about leaving a calling that I found very inspiring. But, I had burned through a lot of my savings, as I had not changed my lifestyle to match my new paycheck, and I just knew this was what I needed to do. I still did the occasional massage—just enough to keep my skills sharp and my appreciation of it intact.

Fast forward another five years, and there I was, Budget Director of the same agency, and swimming in stress that threatened to drown me every day. My health was suffering (again), and I knew I needed to figure out how to get away from it. I had a generous pension, but needed six more years of work to get a reduced retirement. I set a deadline to develop a plan to take a reduced position with my employer, and figure out how to make ends meet. Then one day, against my intuition, I decided that I didn’t want to figure out how to change my lifestyle in order to reduce my responsibilities. I told myself that it was only six year, and I could gut it out.

My esteemed teacher, Katrina, once told me that the Universe speaks to us in two ways. First, it whispers, giving us intuition, gut feelings, even visions. But if we don’t listen, the Universe yells. And then it gives us physical signs such as illness, or catastrophic health problems.

Days later, on March 1, 2013, I had a stroke. The Universe had yelled at me, loudly and clearly. And there was no ignoring it. Strokes have various long-term outcomes. Most of us think of the person with one side of their face sagging, or who can’t say what they want to say, or lift one arm, or walk. The stroke that the Universe gave me was very targeted. It left me with no physical limitations; after recovery, I could still run and do yoga. But it damaged a portion of my visual cortex and left me with partial blindness and cognitive issues that make driving impossible, reading (especially numbers) and comparing things very difficult. As my cognitive therapist said, I would always be “slow, inaccurate, and easily tired by any visual tasks.”

This made doing my job completely impossible. My stroke was perfectly timed so that the very day I was able to go on disability according to my pension plan, I became eligible for a disability retirement.

There’s no way to see this (pun intended) except that it must be divine intervention. As I recovered from my stroke and learned how to cope with my new life, this idea of divinity brought me comfort, and allowed me to know that I would find my way.

Recently, I had been thinking that I needed a little more money than my pension provided, and it would be nice to do massage again, professionally. As I was checking out from getting a massage, I mentioned that I was a massage therapist, and the manager asked, “Are you looking for a job?” I said I had been thinking about perhaps looking for a job, and she asked, “Do you have time to interview right now?” Well, the Universe doesn’t have to yell at me twice! I’m now gainfully employed as a massage therapist. Now, how did that happen?

Listen to the Universe when she whispers, my friends!

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