Several years ago when I was facilitating a circle at a drop-in program for the mental health community, I asked “What’s not wrong?” It was a question on which participants could reflect as we passed the talking piece which was a smooth stone I still use in writing circles.

The phrase comes from Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh in his book Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life (Bantam, 1991). Instead of saying “what’s wrong?” we would be much happier, Thich Nhat Hanh says, “if we tried to stay in touch with the healthy, joyful seeds inside of us and around us.”

primulusThe sun has been shining strongly in the afternoons so much so that Sarah put up the umbrella on the deck. There are green shoots in the garden that will soon be tulips. Primulus are blooming in the big pot in the garden. The forsythia is becoming more yellow every day along the edge of the driveway. I saw my first robin out there today.

My family doctor told me the report was good from the musculoskeletal pathologist at Vancouver General as the tumour was removed from my shin and the area around it. I said: “May I have a copy of that?” Dr. Moonsamy handed it to me and although I can’t understand all the medical terminology, the good news stands out: “All resection margins are negative.”

We didn’t have to make the trek to Vancouver this week to see the plastic surgeon. A home care physiotherapist came to see me and gave me exercises to continue doing throughout the day to get me walking on two feet again.

I have friends who love me from afar even though we’re not necessarily in touch. There are those who check in regularly. And I have a companion who tends to all the details of our household, cats, and me with passion and practicality.

forsythiaYesterday Sarah and I went out for lunch in a non-medical environment! I’m doing what I love: musing, reading, writing, sitting in a circle each week with other writers. Each day reveals another small sign of healing.

I kept this excerpt of a Jane Hirschfield poem for a long time. Now I know why, not for the battle aspect but for the “proud flesh”. It’s from “For What Binds Us.”

…see how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
more strong
than the simple, untested surface before.
There’s a name for it on horses,
when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh,
as all flesh
is proud of its wounds, wears them
as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest –