Friday, June 3, 2011

Love is the Most Powerful Force

center of tulip

I want to take some time here to say Thank You for life, for love, for friendship and for being with all the wonderful people in my life.  In this final blog I have come to say goodbye.

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my Soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my Soul to take.
If I should live for other days, 
I pray the Lord to guide my ways.

May the Force Be With You.


A note from Amy, Tanza's sister:

On Thursday, June 2nd, just after 2:00pm pacific time Tanza Lorraine, aka Lori Smith left her body here on earth and flew free - on to her next adventure.  Always the dancer and the artist, she was beautiful to the end.  She left with a smile on her face, and love in her heart.  

Tanza wrote this post a couple of weeks before her death, and asked me to post it here when it was time.  She said that if there is anything she would leave you with it is this:  

That love is the most powerful force, and it is the reason that we are here. 
Love each other, Love this earth, Love Life. 

~ many blessings ~

Monday, April 25, 2011

Living in Hospice and the Right to Die with Dignity

 Olympic Mountain Range

Hello to all of you who have followed my journey. It is only fair to keep you abreast of my feelings, thoughts and the possibilties as my spirit begins to soar, and I can walk through that door, filled with your love and hopefully acceptance of the choice I have made.
First of all Washington state has put a law in place that allows a terminally ill person the right to choose his own death.
This brings hope and solace to those of us living in hospice. I have been so blessed, surrounded by love and living energy. I have watched my body deteriorate, felt the increase of pain and the loss of bone mass. I am losing the ability to do artwork, have lost movement in my body and the ability to travel. If any of you have felt what it is like to move ones limbs in space, dancing effortless to music and then it is know what I am talking about.Even as I share with you my recent love of life painting and drawing, and great teachers, I am watching it slip away.
However, my dream of having an artist's residence recently came true as I bought a house in a small artists' village France south of the Loire.

 I named it La Maison Hirondelle after spending lovely evenings on the terrace with friends sipping a regional Rosé watching the swallows winging as the sun set. My hopes continue for this lovely light filled house as it now has a studio in the loft ripe for creative energy.


Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never;Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams!Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit forever;Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems.
Bhagavad Gita

Back to rainy Washington state (well we did have two full days of sun for Earth Day weekend), where I am residing, I know that this lovely space in France is being used by artists and that makes me happy.
Thanks to you who made this possible!!

For myself,I have been occupying my time with some meditations, doing a little ink work (ie ornamental alphabets) to steady my hand. The last painting  done was in February back in Miami as a gift for a friend who wanted a portrait of her cat Tiggley. I attach it here.


Happy Easter ! 
I wish you all the peace and promise of rebirth, of love ,
 the spirit of hope and legacy of creativity.


Thursday, March 17, 2011


Arrival to the Pacific Northwest  brought many welcome and unwelcome changes. Transitions are not only physical but mental, emotional as well.

Linda's smile
A few days after enjoying a welcome from my sister and niece who have provided us with a lovely place to stay, I was admitted to the hospital again...X rays and cat scan revealed more weakness in the the vertebraes including damage to the lumbar region. I began a ten day series of radiation  to ease the severe pain I was undergoing. We also changed the medication from old man Morpheus to methadone. after some deliberation and thought, we decided Hospice will be the best route to go, and Saturday 12 March, I was discharged from the hospital and a  small sturdy hospital bed was delivered to the house as well as a rolling side table.
Ah to smell the fresh Evergreens and see the tall trees as a fire crackles in the fireplace is quite a blessing after being cooped up in the hospital!
Hospice will allow us home care, with a weekly/ biweekly visit from a nurse, help with other needs, emergency services as well as possibly volunteers to help out down the road as things progress. My family is very supportive in my cocoon state of vulnerability.

The sun is yes, occasionally showing her face, small tubulars are popping up, daffodils. crocuses, big fat robins exploring the cold earth for food as we change the clocks and prepare for the Spring solstice. Yesterday evening we saw a double rainbow followed by the  beautiful waxing moon. There is such beauty in our lives; physical, mental and emotional if we take a moment to look thorough the tears and pain. Take a moment!
I love hearing from you all and if there is an update I missed that you might be interested in ie Hospice, let me know.
All my love

Monday, February 21, 2011

The journey continues

Sunday Feb 13, we had a Valentine's Brunch with many lovely friends; a sort of send off and celebration of love. Feb 14 Monday, Volvo loaded we set out for the great wide west.

Today is day six of our travels across the USA. It has been so long since I have seen this country. For many years (I hate to admit how many perhaps 20?), my travels have been uniquely in Europe so that I am often surprised to hear English spoken on this trip!

At one rest stop we discovered as passenger as a little gecko crawled out of my bag. Carefully releasing her I hope she finds a new home.

So far we have traveled through seven states. The long drive out of Florida through the panhandle onto Hwy 10 took us across Alabama, Louisiana, into Texas, another long vast stretch of endless land and big skies. The weather stayed clear with cold mornings cool even warm afternoons! Physically I am doing ok thanks to Amy's care (She carries the luggage which includes a small kitchen)and all your prayers and financial help. We rise early and drive through the morning and afternoon, then stop to rest at an all American motel.
We cut up to Hwy 40 into Oklahoma and yes, again Texas to New Mexico where we encountered the most beautiful land which seemed to stretch into infinity. Sunrise was aa brilliant show of color and light, flames rising over the roadside truck stop.
(Photos are by Amy)

As the color faded in the east, a big full moon dripped out of the western clouds. What an amazing morning. (Amy has a full file of photos as the colors faded into day! Check out her blog, A Yoga Year,
Add caption

full moon morning

New Mexico hosts the Petrified  Forest National Park in Holbrook. We took a 28 mile detour through the park to admire the painted desert. My first reaction was absolute awe at nature's fine art. Vast "Badlands" of forms, shapes, changing colors and patterns as the weather varied. Photos and descriptions cannot possibly do it justice and I am thankful for the opportunity to have seen and experienced them.

     Painted Desert 

We heard that there would be 16 inches of snow in Flagstaff, AZ which is at a high elevation. We sensibly planned to be past it before the storm hit. Whoops! The snow came fast and furious and my Florida car was not happy. Luckily we were close to an exit, and thanks to Amy's heroic driving in zero visability and slick unplowed roads, we made it to a motel. Overshooting the parking lot by a few feet, the father of a cheerful family building snowmen oblivious to my terror(!) pushed us the last few feet into a parking space and here we decided to stay until the storm passes. By tomorrow, Monday we should be back on the road with the ultimate idea of heading up the California coast and avoiding any more snowy clashes with mother nature.

Snow in Arizona

I hope you enjoyed the update. Love and light as we all travel our individual journeys and paths.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


The Garden

After over three months in this apartment, I will be moving across country to Olympia Washington in the Pacific Northwest accompanied by my sister, where I will be close to other family members who have offered their loving care.
Change like this can be frightening, moving away from familiar places and dear friends. I have been guided through this journey, carried by so many loving people and the spirit of giving. This new choice to move is also a gift offered to me by my family, however shaky it feels.

The mind thinks  
That any change 
Is painful.  
The heart feels 
That any change 
Is powerful.
Sri Chinmoy

How do I say thank you to all the people surrounding me who care so deeply to be able and willing to carry my weight at times when I have fallen. Thank you from the depth of my heart!

I have stopped treatments for now to gain weight and strength for the move. We have scheduled an appointment with an oncologist after we arrive for the first of March.

I have slowly been giving away stuff, lightening my load little by little, observing many years of photos, journals, and work history, carrying me to the present moment,  packing art supplies, computer and clothes. (It will be quite a climate change!)

Well as some of you know, February brings my favorite holiday, Valentine's Day, the celebration of Amore... Love pure and simple.

I wish you all Love,with a capital ' L'. Celebrate life! It is so easy to rest in our problems and anxieties, believe me I know! 
 I have seen a kind and gentle psychologist who reminded me of my meditation practice... and as difficult as I am finding  it in my self absorption, I have begun quiet sitting. He also reminded me of how fortunate I am to have you all supporting me. All through various means; food such as fresh soups and 'magic mandelbread', for shopping for me, and for all the long distance communication, in essence for encouraging and uplifting my spirit..
I also met with my dear friends at White Crane Healing Arts for acupuncture, knowledge, the practice of  breathing, and lots of healing energy.

I am and will be with you all in spirit
Blessings, Love and Light


Monday, January 10, 2011

Never say never


When I began this journey, I was convinced I would never do chemo or radiation, and yes, that is exactly where this road has led. I ask no questions at this point and have no answers. I am asked many... How do you bear it? How do you do it? How can you be so brave? I do, bear, and be none of the above. I live day to day even hour by hour wondering why I am still here in this body that is so achingly frail. Perhaps a strong mind? I don't know. Many nights I cry and ask these very questions.

Look around, we are creators. We have an incredible ability to make our world one of kindness, faith and beauty. I love the flowers in my garden, the paintings and art. I love the ocean, flying (OH did I neglect to mention that today I went up with my friend in his small aircraft, and we flew down to the keys and back in under two hours!!!!) What a nice diversion!
MIAMI from the air

Diversions are helpful, visitors welcome. I began a small painting project which I hope to be able to continue this week in spite of the treatments... 

 The stints were changed last week to shorter and narrower tubes so there is less pressure on the nerves. I can leave them in six months before they must be changed.

Tomorrow I begin a second round of chemo therapy. I stay one day in the office with the kind nurses for hydration and a chemo drip. Then I am given a small pump in a fanny pack which I carry with me Wed-Fri  that continues feeding the poison to my body. Maybe I can visualise the poison as light and healing power??

My sister Amy is arriving tonight to care for me during this difficult time for which I am extremely grateful. I am receiving a lot of support, love and prayers from my sisters, blood and otherwise and  to you dear ladies I send my LOVE and GRATITUDE.

In the end it is the soul's choice when to travel on, 
 the spirit never ages, never dies. 
Still here, Tanza

Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never; Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams! Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit forever; 
Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems.
Bhagavad Gita

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!


I am established in my new apartment, the weather is warm, and I am aided by many wonderful friends. I can rest here after the chemo therapy which made me very sick.
This week I hope to replace the stints.( Oct 21 blog) It is possible that some of the pain is coming from the wrong size which presses on the nerves. We are looking at Wednesday. It is a one day outpatient surgery as the procedure itself only takes under ten minutes. So keep me in your thoughts this week that it is possible to decrease the pain.

"I'm  afraid," she said.
"Of what?" came the reply.
"Of going", she said.
"Then stay."returned the voice.
I'm  afraid," she said
"Of what?" came the reply.
"Of staying," she replied.
"Then go."

A Blessed New Year without Fear
Lots of love,