July 2019

Dear Friends,

Happy July! Love and light to you!

Great news! We are having another Happiness Retreat the end of January.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I am writing you this letter early because Sharon, who publishes my newsletter on the website, is going on a family vacation on Cape Cod.

In these past few weeks I’ve received a flow of loving energy from you, my readers, and friends, since I wrote about my mishap in my June newsletter. I’m deeply touched by your heartfelt concern about my healing. I’m most grateful to each of you for your wisdom and kind words to me when I became so vulnerable and dependent on the helping tender care of others. Some of you wrote me for the first time; others sent me letters conveying love and prayers letting me know you are thinking of me. The art of letter writing is not lost. You have proven to me how much kindness and genuine connection you and I can have when we open our hearts and take the top off our pen and let the ink flow.

As you know, my book, Men in My Life is a love story in which I am writing letters to the six men who I’ve had the most meaningful connection with over the course of my adult life. Some of you remember my book, Gift of a Letter with fondness, and I’m feeling confident this surge in your writing me letters could lead to the publisher reissuing that book in the future. Letter writing is my favorite form of written communication. I sense you share my deep belief that a kind letter sent to someone you genuinely care about is a gift you give yourself. I received a letter with tea bags tucked inside the envelop, suggesting we are together sharing an intimate conversation, sipping tea, physically near each other, being close emotionally. There is something astonishingly powerful in a letter’s ability to convey emotional connections and closeness no matter how distant in time and space the reality. I certainly experienced this when writing letters to Aristotle, while bringing him alive, and our exchanging one-on-one discussions were often interrupted by my friendly red male cardinal singing his heart out, coming closer and closer to the open windows of my writing room.

Writing letters to an ancient Greek philosopher who is one of the most brilliant thinkers throughout recorded history cuts through the obvious inequality. A sincere letter showing appreciation and reaching out to let another person know that they have made a difference in your life is always a pleasant surprise. In my case, I’m writing love letters to five men who are dead. Ideally, we should be inspired to write letters to people when they’re alive and able to learn about our connectedness in this uniquely meaningful form of communication.

Thank you. Thank you for taking my accidental fall, surgery and recovery as an opportunity for me to be reminded that even if I don’t know you personally, or we are only acquaintances, we have a certain common bond through my work. What is profound in your reaching out to me in your letters is a feeling of understanding that we are living together on this planet earth, and we are here for each other. Through the power of the written word, we can relate and share our stories as we journey together.

I don’t think everything happens for a reason but I am a firm believer that whatever challenges we are called to face, we can accept, adapt, grow through and transcend ourselves into more loving, compassionate, kind, gentle souls. I often think of my former boss Eleanor McMillen Brown, who taught her young designers that when one thing changes, to rethink everything.

My healing progress is as good as could possibly be expected. I’m now free to walk about the village with a cane. I’m back upstairs in my inner sanctuary of Peter’s and my bedroom overlooking the harbor. I’m able to be back in my writing room. I’m flooded with light, familiar objects, intimate memories, art, and the joy of being on my path to a full recovery, living an independent life. My first big adventure out of Stonington Village was going to Providence to the theatre and dinner at a favorite French restaurant on a garden terrace. Even though I could have used my cane, as an extra precaution, I used the walker. One of my theatre buddies, Regan, gently suggested that I let people help me as I’m recovering and healing from surgery. Sound advice. I am taking the long view. Ryan, my physical therapist, said most people are impatient. Another friend told me he was completely taken by surprise when he heard I’d skidded and fell down. I laughed at Jamie and asked him how did he think I felt? Jamie told me his mantra that is close to his heart is love, devotion, and surrender. What do I love? What am I devoted to? How can I surrender to bring peace to this moment? I had a hiccup. I experienced a misstep, a mishap. My accident was unfortunate, but in the face of reality, I am responsible to do my level best to make the greatest good from my circumstances and the least from whatever I have no control to improve. When I encountered someone on the sidewalk of Water Street as I was returning home after an early supper, she asked me, “Aren’t you stiff at night?” I told her even if I were I wouldn’t tell her I was. I try to always remember one of my favorite mantras, “pain is inevitable, suffering a choice.” Peter, my “everything” hero, assured me that complaining only increased the pain. Whenever we are vitally focused on doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason, any sense of pity and sorrow melt. My roommate in rehab who has cancer told me that of all her operations, her hip surgery was the easiest, the least painful, and the quickest recovery. How quickly everything snaps into perspective.The New York Time has a full page devoted to the truth. I am infatuated to randomly come across one of these pages, never knowing what truth will be “today.” “The Truth is Local.” My new hip is the truth. The truth is local; in my body. Gloria made me feel fortunate that I broke my hip rather than a shoulder, ankle or knee.

I love life, and while I’ve experienced a brief detour, I am healing from my operation, I am not ill. I feel great. Being able to heal in Stonington, in springtime, at the cottage is the blessing of my real life being in such a restorative seaside village environment surrounded by the healing power of water. The first thing I did after I was told that I could sleep upstairs was to sit up in bed, pause, and be one with the moment, mesmerized by the dazzling sparkling light dancing on the harbor, experiencing a glorious hot pink sunset.

My philosophy has proven to be instrumental in my steady, rapid recovery. We have to be prepared for the worst when we’re celebrating the best. Being logical, reasonable and realistic doesn’t dampen my romantic spirit, nor does it make me less optimistic or positive. I believe in luck, and I feel extremely fortunate to have come out on the other end feeling so lucky. Thank you for reminding me that you, too, have had surgeries and challenges. Times of adversity are opportunities to build stronger resilience, finding greater purpose and meaning in life.

I believe our vulnerability is our strength. I feel new. I’ve been given a chance to stop living the life I enjoyed, to live a life I cherish, with greater acceptance, focus and appreciation. We don’t ask for our inner resources to be tested; but when we’re called to face problems, we have the power to choose to turn them into situations that can evolve into fresh opportunities. As I heal, I am celebrating a rebirth with a higher awareness of the joy of silence, inner calm, and clarity of mind. I feel stimulated to do my best, make an effort to learn from this challenge, trying not to take anything for granted. This new hip is a fresh start. I’m called to strengthen my thriving skills. I’m thankful for the good friends who have reached out to me in beautiful, touching ways. I am humble as I assure you I want to be worthy of your trust in me. I was lifted up when I fell. I want to be in a position to lift others up if they fall. I will not forget how supported I feel by your concern, prayers and love.

Many of the touching letters I received recently have been from people who have come to a Happiness Retreat at the Inn at Stonington. Please call the inn and ask to speak to Aubrey or Sue for more information about the January event. By putting your name on a waiting list early, there is a greater chance we’ll be together soon. The inn’s phone number is (860) 535-2000.

July will burst with summer activities. I’m celebrating the week of July 4th with family and look forward to my grandchildren and soaking in the magic of this sweet village by the sea I have grown to believe is paradise on earth. I will keep you in my mind and heart as I work on my book. I have lived my adult life loving these men; being able to share our intimate stories with you is great inspiration for me as I work.

I send you love and affection. Whatever you do, know how deeply I appreciate your caring and our connection.

Love & Live Happy

Book suggestion:

Working: Researching, Interviewing, and Writing"

Author: Robert A Caro

The Annual 4th of July parade in Stonington Village ~~ Peter's favorite event! Red, white and blue!

July days of roses and flags

Launching the colors of summer!

Happy July 4th!

Living surrounded by water brings me "sacred awe."

The colors of summer!

Peter is Matt's mentor and mine. He has "wings." Thanks Matt!

Our blue hydrangea jungle awaits our family reunion

Ready for a play date!

Holding on! Peter's grab bars are now mine. Ours.

Love & Live Happy

Planning ahead .... Please join Alexandra next year and consider a gift certificate for a friend and loved one to attend her 2019 Happiness Retreat and Celebration, at the Stonington Inn to be held November 6th and 7th, departing on her birthday November 8th, 2019, after a visit to the Cottage.

To register and for more information please contact Aubrey or Sue at the Stonington Inn (860) 535-2000. Alexandra looks forward to seeing you all then.”

Grace Note

"Participate with joy in the sorrows of the world."

~~ Sanskrit