Sunday, August 28, 2011

For The Love Of A Dog

My beagle has been a woman's best friend. Her name is Bayley and I've had her since she was seven weeks old. I was seven months pregnant with my little girl when I saw her in the pet store window in Lubbock, Texas on my birthday in July of '03. It was love at first sight, especially when I saw a little boy squeezing her and starting to give her a shake. I rushed in all belly and hormones and as politely as I could muster (it was also a hundred and five degrees outside and I wasn't thrilled when I woke up that morning) I said I was buying her. Three hundred and fifty dollars went on the credit card without blinking twice, and I walked out cuddling the most adorable snub-nosed baby beagle I had ever seen or held in my life. She was mine. Immediately the nay-sayers in life said I was crazy to take on a puppy when I was pregnant and about to give birth to a baby that would take over my life. Yeah maybe, but that's how I've always rolled, simply acting on a strong voice in my head that says, "Do it". Texas summers are brutal, and a West Texas summer is hellacious. The night time temperature cooled to about 75 or 80 degrees, so when I found I couldn't sleep from the heat and my rather uncomfortable size, I would go out onto the patio and take Bayley with me. She would romp in the yard at 3am while I would fervently wish for a breeze to come along. It worked out well, this set-up of ours, she would be wide awake at 3am and so would I, so outside we went for about an hour. She would tire herself out and I would be ready to lie down again and try to sleep. For the two months it took to get to my delivery date to have my daughter, Bayley and I had a nice routine, and in two months she calmed down enough and adapted enough that she started to sleep all night through.....(not so for my baby girl when she came along, but that's another story and another blog). Bayley fit right into our family, and did I mention that we already had two other dogs? Yes, I know....crazy.

Bayley and the other two dogs loved to vacation with us. We traveled to the Rockies almost yearly, and later on when we moved to Kentucky, we spent summer vacation on Lake Superior. Bayley loved to go with us. We would board the two big dogs and take her with us. She was never any trouble, and we adored her. Moving to Kentucky was quite the adventure, hauling three dogs and five cats a thousand miles in three days to make Lexington, Kentucky our new home. It was a career move for my then husband, the university professor. Bayley loved her life because I was a stay-at-home mom till my little girl started kindergarten. I always raised my girls like that, I got to be home with them and to take care of our house, our pets, my husband and our whole life. Wow, pretty tall order now that I look back. But life changed last year in a big way. Our family was abandoned and left to pick up the pieces. I have written extensively about this whole ordeal when this was a divorce blog, so no need to rehash a single thing here, other then to say that pets get the short end of the stick when life falls apart. I have spent the last year and a half taking care of Bayley and my five cats in a small rented home. The oldest dog passed away a few months before life hit the fan, and the other big dog we had, Annie, was placed into foster care because I was not allowed more then one dog in my new home. So I downsized in living space, pets and my sense of belonging. I learned to manage, although very stressfully, over these last eighteen months. But, here I am today....it's Sunday, August 28th 2011 and I am waiting for a family to come and take Bayley away to a new life in Ohio. I never would have imagined being in this situation, giving up a beloved pet, but you see, Bayley's life has become small over the last year. Very small. I needed to get out and work or starve, and Bayley needed to be crated on a daily basis, sometimes for twelve to sixteen hours at a time. I had no other choice and no one was willing to help me with her, everyone had their own life, troubles, etc.,etc. Forget the ex....yes, let's forget him. So I was doing the best I could under the circumstances. It was increasingly clear that Bayley needed a better home then I could give her. She needed a family, kids, other dogs, room to romp, and I couldn't do that for her anymore. So began a series of calls, emails, Facebook posts, and much pleading for someone to step up and take her as their own. Thankfully, and due to the big hearts of dear friends, and one very special friend in particular, I was put in touch with a family that is on their way to my home as I type.

Bayley is going to her new home this afternoon. What else could I do but sit here, blinded by tears at times, and pound away on these keys? She is laying in the recliner across the room, breathing contentedly and raising an eye every now and then to check on me. We've spent today playing with her, bathing her, cutting her nails, and generally excepting what is about to happen. I'm giving my baby away. This is my last gift to her.....to have a home with people that will love her, people who are devoted animal lovers, people who have beautiful property and a big fenced yard and two kids eager to have Bayley come home to them tonight. I can do this. I can do this because I love her more then my stubborn will that says I can manage no matter what. I simply can't, and I am making Bayley's life better by giving her up. There is guilt, there is anger at having to even deal with this because of what was thrust upon me last year, and it's something that is cracking me wide open....yet again.

So, for anyone who has ever loved and lost a dog, you can imagine how I feel. To anyone who has ever known a bond and a kinship with an animal, you know how I feel. And to anyone who may read this post, please, send me a good thought or two, a silent prayer for balance, harmony, ease of transition. My heart is breaking, but even this is going to turn into a blessing.

And that's the point to this post, bottom line, no matter what is going on there is a blessing within the pain. This is all I can offer up today....wait for the blessing....it will come.

Until next time....blessings upon your heart. And mine. And Bayley's.

Cindy

Sunday, August 21, 2011

For All The Difficult People (may I be truly grateful)

They've got to be here for a reason. All the difficult, exasperating people that show up in life. At least that's how I choose to think about it. Nothing like a lovely day that's sailing along smoothly, even joyously, and then, pow, someone turns on you. So, if we are capable of drawing to ourselves certain events, emotions, life experiences, then we are capable of bringing to the forefront the ones that we need to help us get to that next level. For fear of sounding too deep, let me just say, I think when we are ready to learn how to cease being jerked around by other people's problems, is exactly when those same people enter the picture. Vividly. If I'm clear that I've done nothing to instigate a verbal assault, then I have to believe this person in front of me, trying my patience, is here to teach me something. "When the student is ready, the Teacher will appear".....and it's not going to be some kindly, sage old soul.....it's going to be them. Just imagine if we could get to the point where it didn't matter what was said, or who did what to whom, we would be able to rest easy in the knowledge that we are so secure within ourselves (ah yes, it's an inside job) that we could sail through our life unaffected by someone else's drama. Drama loves to suck you in....like a good movie. A little trick of mine is to project the scene in front of me onto an imaginary screen and view it third person. Aren't we all good at looking into someone else's life and seeing exactly what needs to be said and done? Treat it like that. Impersonalize it. Yes, that's hard, I know, especially when what's coming at you is being said personally to you. But try it. Like anything that's worth being proficient with, it takes practice.

Next time your day is going along as you like it, the sun is shining, you're smiling, and all of a sudden someone brings their little black cloud and hangs it over your head, take a brief moment to say, "thank you". Just think of how it will be when it won't have the power to disrupt your flow, and if it does, the rebound period will be much shorter as you regain your balance and poise. What a gift that would be and what a skill to have! And the perfect people are waiting to teach us how to do it. I love it when people love me, there is nothing hard in that, it's lovely and I have much of that in my life, but typically when I need to move to the next level of peace, something will occur that will push me to it, or make me falter. And I don't like to falter, so I don't choose to stay gobsmacked for very long. It's not comfortable, or natural. Peace is natural. Peace flows like a river, over the big boulders placed in it's path. It flows around them. If there is a dip or a hole, it fills it up and spills over and keeps going. It keeps flowing with a grace and a power that is unstoppable. Yes, I look for metaphors in everything. It's kind of fun. It keeps me lighthearted.

Next time someone dumps on you, take a sidestep....be the river, (and I'm not suggesting you endure abuse, verbal or otherwise, no!), because even if you have to take action to remove yourself from their presence, do it, just don't hang onto the darkness the moment can stain you with.

A silent "thank you", a sidestep, a direct refusal to allow any mistreatment, a vision of flowing water....any and all of these can be done without you losing your poise, and they can propel you on. Just be the river, and keep your peace.

For this and the many lessons I am given everyday, I am truly thankful.

Until next time....blessings upon your heart

Cindy

Friday, August 12, 2011

When We Cry

....angels attend us. I need to believe there is a Divine love that supports grief. Tears are the outward depth of our love, our anguish, our humanness. I know I could never get through this life without the knowledge that I'm being upheld by a source and power greater then myself. In my greatest pain I have felt the unseen. When I fight the flow of life, everything goes wrong. When I go with it, it leads me to greater things, opportunities, people, events.....completely unimaginable good comes into my existence. In the meantime, in the wee hours of the morning, in my silence and aloneness and doubt, I sometimes cry. Trusting a source to carry us through does not come without doubt. Trusting that life knows how to take care of us better then we do does not come without tears. Feel the fear (pain, sadness, anger), and do it anyway, and after you have cried all the sacred tears you have within you, you will have allowed a space to open up where you can now be on the receiving end of bliss.

Within my day in day out struggles I have a deep faith that despite all the outward toilsome annoyances, everything will work out. Whatever your highest sense of good is for you, there is a way to attain it. Flowing with life, even when it's tough, is the way to higher ground. You will be sustained. The tears and stress will reveal your tender heart, because under all the exterior stuff, we are good and kind and decent people. And your tears are sacred, never forget that.

I'll leave you with this...one of my favorite quotes:

"Maybe one day we'll grow weary of whining and celebrate the rain, the manna, the half-filled glass of water, the little gifts from heaven that make each day bearable. Instead of cloaking ourselves in the armor of pessimism, maybe we'll concede that we are who we are: capricious, fortunate, wonderful, delicate, alive. Forgiven" Mark Collins....

But if you need to cry.....cry. Let it wash you clean. Then gently move on.

Until next time....blessings upon your sweet heart

Cindy



Monday, August 8, 2011

Laying Down The Burden

Lay your burdens down on the alter of your personal faith, whatever that may be. Just lay them down, gently. They were never yours to begin with, so offer them the space to go back where they came from. This life is full of burden, no one needs to drive that home with any of us. The burden other people try to inflict on us will try the hardiest soul. Then there's the burden of too much . Too much sorrow. Too much stress. Too much mental unrest. Too much stuff.

It's all too much. I know....

My life gets to be too much at times. Too much juggling and balancing and rushing about to get it all done. In the last two days I have felt within my body the urgent need to lay down the burden of this life, if only for a little while, and if I decide to pick it up again I know it will have lessened in it's demand. When it's all too much, just lay it down. Da Vinci said when you are stuck, when you have lost your inspiration, your will...walk away. Leave it for three days. Something magical about the number three....the holy trinity of restoration. Coming back with fresh eyes will make it all appear more logical. The dizzying madness of too much will have dissipated. If tempers have flared, three days gives everyone a chance to regain their composure. Yesterday, the world came a little too close for comfort. Demands, false expectations, unsavory people, fear, heartbreak. My back hurt me in a way I haven't experienced in years. I was emotional, fought back tears all day. My tear ducts were near to overflowing with too much. When the emotions get too big....the body weeps.

Last night as I sat with my beloved out on the deck, there was a storm brewing up. Far off lightening illuminating the distant clouds. The air heavy with promise. The night sounds were a symphony surrounding us in comfort. This kind of quiet Himself and I share is a beautiful thing, and something I crave. We are sustained by it often and no words need be spoken during these moments. As I sat there restoring a sense of peace to my heart and mind I became aware of all the beauty around me. The velvet night. The power of a storm. The tree frogs and myriad insects all joining together effortlessly in a song. His hand in mine. The aroma of his cigar wafting on the air....yes, this woman enjoys the whiff of a good cigar. Two kittens playing at our feet. The stars peeking in and out amongst the clouds. Country tranquility at it's finest. My body began to relax, my mind began to unwind, my heart began to beat gently. I watched the lightening in the clouds. It was awesome in the way the word was meant to be used. AWEsome. The thought that seeped into my mind was very clear, this very energy contained within those clouds was the very same energy that flows through all of life. And if I can sit and experience the absolute beauty and rhythm and harmony of the night, the storm, the perfect sense it all made.....then I can experience that same energy and rhythm and power in my life as well. It's all so much bigger then we are! Nature in Her loveliness, Her fierceness, Her flow. If there is a power that governs that, then there is a power that governs me. And within those moments I felt I was able to lay down the burdens of the day. I felt I could loosen the grip on all that I try to juggle....all the times I wish people were different (a futile exercise), all the meanness and ugliness of the world....it was not my problem. I could lay it down. I could lay it, them, whatever it was....down. Whoever they are, whatever they did.....lay them down and walk away.

So this post is about faith, whatever that means to you...and it's all good. It's all perfect, really. Just surrender or offer up your burden at the alter of your own unique personal faith. Personally, I usually find my faith restored when I'm in nature, when I am at one with the energy flowing through the lightening, the energy that governs the night, the seasons, embryos, seeds, rivers, the tide. Perfect harmony. Once you tap into it, you will never leave it again for long. You may forget about for a while when you're stressing and striving and worrying, but lay that all down. Loosen your grip. Let it go.

When we can get ourselves out of the way, the swift and ever present love that binds all of life together will take over. At least, you will feel better in giving up the weight of the struggle. Then wait. Rest. Come back with fresh eyes and see how it all looks then. And always remember.....repeat as needed.

May the power of nature return you to your balanced self. May you feel your limbs lighten and your heart swell with gratitude, may you be filled with what you need....and none of what you don't. Lay it on down.

Until next time....blessings upon your heart

Cindy