Sweet Soul

You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can decide how you’re going to live. Now. ~ Joan Baez

It has been a rough morning around this place I call home. Waking to our very old and sweet dog not doing well. I am able to write now because after making him scrambled eggs, which he ate and then his own dog food, some water, and visited outside, he is lying next to me on his comfy bed and seems for the moment to not be suffering.

He now has a second comfy bed to lie on during the day so that his old bones can have a little rest. He has parathyroid disease and his calcium is very high. During this past year his breathing has become more labored, he can no longer hike with me, and he takes Rimadyl every day for the pain in his hips.

His name is Chesky. We got him in 2004 after a friend suggested the Goldendoodle breed to our family. My husband finally agreed we could get this very expensive “mutt” as long as he could name him. I immediately conceded on the name, although I always thought he picked funny dog names. He came up with Cesky Krumlov after the city in the Czech Republic, one of our favorites and in our family if it was Czech it was the best! My husband was Czech.

My step-son got married that summer to a Czech girl (of course), in the Czech Republic. It was a wonderful 2-week European vacation with family and friends. In the late summer, specifically Labor Day weekend, the newlyweds came to the United States for a wedding party in Minnesota for extended family. After the party, my son and I returned home to Colorado, and my husband went on a business trip. We picked up our new puppy on the way home from the airport! What fun it was to see this little guy curled up on my son’s lap. We were ready for this dog, and going to train him correctly this time around! We had a crate, I read all kinds of training manuals and he was going to be raised to be a well-behaved dog.

I was just about to begin group classes for Chesky in early November when one morning I awoke to my husband saying he did not feel well. Turns out he wasn’t well, his aorta tore and he died within a few hours. There went the dog training. To be honest, I almost got rid of the dog a few months later as it was all too much to embrace, taking care of all that needed to be done with a very complicated Estate (to say the least), trying to raise a 12-year-old boy, and a new puppy. I will never forget sitting on the kitchen floor crying and telling my son we had to get rid of the dog, and my son consoling me saying we couldn’t, we needed him. Turns out he was right, we did need this beautiful soul to nurture us through the rough road that lie ahead. Every day this sweet gentle soul greeted us with love, was mostly nonjudgmental . . . okay, he hates it when anyone raises their voice, or cries for no reason. He actually goes to the door and rings his bell to go outside. So, he did keep us in line over the years, whenever things got heated and my son and I started to verbally get into it, the dog always brought us back to reality.

Today I am sitting on the floor again, nurturing and loving this beautiful soul. I am blessed to have had such a wonderful dog, perhaps a once in a lifetime dog. My son has long since left the nest and lives on the other side of the world in New Zealand. He hopes to come home at the end of the year for a visit, and we are praying our sweet dog lives that long. My guess is he may not, and I won’t let him suffer. He has given so much love, joy, guidance, and more to the both of us that I can never thank him enough. Today I made him scrambled eggs to get him to eat, and I will do the same every day that I remain blessed to have him by my side, and this is how I choose to live . . . in loving kindness, with gratitude for all that sweet Chesky has given to our family.

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Letting Love Flow

May you learn to dwell
Below the surface of the days
At home with the ebb and flow of
Your own heart’s tides.
May you find the womb space at the center of your Life,
There grow wise in the sacred rhythm
Of filling and emptying,
Emptying and filling.
There, held safe,
May you surrender to the unknown
As completely as the dark moon
Empties herself into the secret embrace of her Beloved, the Sun.
There may you cherish hope of renewal
As tenderly as the crescent moon
Cradles the dark in the curve of her arm,
Enfolding, quickening with life new born.
And may you always open to the flow of love
As voluptuously as the moon at full,
Until filled, overflowing, you pour
Love’s gifts out into the world.
So may you grow ever more intimate
With the inward way, the deepening way,
Where filling is emptying, emptying is filling ~
At one with the mystery, at one.

~ from the poetry of Tracy Shaw

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The Winter Solstice

In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice is the longest night of the year. It is a turning point in the cycle of the year where light is born in the silent, stillness of the deepest night.

In each of us, there is a potential to find purpose, meaning, direction, and joy in life, particularly when things seem dark. Darkness is not a mistake; it’s part of the natural cycle of growth and renewal. The winter solstice is a reminder that things always go dark before the light emerges.

How do you know if you are in a winter solstice period in your life?

You might be in a winter solstice phase when:

  • The beliefs, attitudes, structures, and goals that fueled you in the past have stopped working.
  • The harder you push the slower you go.
  • The self that you’ve been identified with no longer feels comfortable.

During a winter solstice phase, the task is to empty your self fully, without knowledge of how you will be refashioned, or what your vision for the next turn of the cycle looks like. This takes trust.

  • Trust that only by letting go of the old forms that no longer serve, can you make room for something new to be born.
  • Trust in the darkness and the ability to recognize that “those who dwell in the darkness shall see the light.”
  • Trust that the old ways of being will require some disassembly, because to hold yourself together at this point is to fight against the awakening current of your life.

Now is the time to be still, and it is in this stillness and silence that you can re-connect with that which is deepest within you. Light emerges from the stillness. Befriend the darkness on this beautiful day that has been provided for just such a reconnection to your inner being.  Blessings.

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This is the solstice, the still point

of the sun, its cusp and midnight.

the year’s threshold

and unlocking, where the past

lets go of and becomes the future;

the place of caught breath, the door

of a vanished house left ajar. ~ Margaret Atwood

 

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Tenderness of Self

In light of all that is going on in the world, be gentle with your own soul as well as others. We are all interconnected.

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Looking Inward at the Solar Eclipse

It seems significant to not only view the wonder of the upcoming solar eclipse, but to also set aside some time to make inner observations.  The eclipse is a time of the coming together of the sun and the moon, opposites of one another, and yet in so many ways the same. It is a time of darkness over light, and light over darkness, the Yin and Yang. The eclipse is a powerful metaphor and an optimal time to consider our internal lives and dialogue. It presents us with a chance to move inward, and to make changes as we move forward. For those of us that have the opportunity to witness the solar eclipse, take a moment while gazing up to gaze inward and shine your heart.

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Gaze upward

Look inward

Reach outward

Press forward

 

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Best Friend

Finding the answer to the meaning of our lives is an age-old quest.  The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell is just such an account.  Every day we come to this place of wonder. Oftentimes we think we have failed, or we believe in our magnificence.  The truth is we find our way for a while, we stumble, we brush ourselves off and get back to our journey again and again.  Over thinking can be a chronic problem for many of us, and I place myself at the top of that list!  Yoga and meditation have provided a great outlet to quiet my monkey mind, but it still exists and requires daily tending.  Today while taking my beautiful best friend for his grooming appointment I happened to turn around and catch this image of him. He was grounded in the simple joy of the moment.  He was free.  Free of the pain that I imagine racks his 13-year-old body, and feeling the wind in his face and shining his light out into the world.  I love all that he is in his pure loving form. Thank you sweet Chesky for reminding me once again to come into the moment and exist in pure love, joy, and simplicity.  You are my best friend.

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Peace

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