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Recovering from a bomb blast took two years of surgery, and more years for the psychic wounds.  To keep up my spirits, I devised a three-word mantra:  strong, healthy, calm.

It was hard work to get healthy again, and I’m grateful for all that it took — and still takes — to live a healthy life.  I’m thankful for everyone who persevered with me, accepting my cranky, whining self-absorption.

Certain days, just to prepare myself mentally for the rigors of physical therapy or other exercise, I would keep repeating the mantra, in different order — healthy, calm and STRONG.

It worked as a simple motivational tool.  It’s still particularly helpful when neither my body nor my mind is interested in another round of strength training, or lifting weights or doing anything physical.  (I would rather be reading.)

Physical strength returned steadily, with the help of surgeons, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, my workout partner — thanks, Hadi — and naps. Lots of naps.

I’m grateful that I was able to regain strength, and can maintain it.

As for calm, still working on it.

Some days, the mantra is CALM, healthy and strong.