Disconnection

I awoke and proceeded to tumble down into a rabbit hole. It did not take long. I turned to look at my alarm clock to see it was a close to 3:30 am. My bewitching hour: the time when the demons of my life rear their ugly head and dance me around in a tango that leaves me breathless and with a pounding heart. As I lay there, listening to the emptiness of the night, the slope increased with great speed as I tumbled deeper and deeper. On the rim of the hole was an observer, helplessly watching the descent. That spectator was also me, tottering on the rim but completely aware that this is not the way it has to be. Who and what is making this call to allow this person to cascade into despair. That too was me. I had made a choice to forget and allow the insignificant issues to pull me down and into this abyss.

The past month has had a lot of things happening that were out of my control. I forget that we do not really have control of much in our lives. People like me need a steady environment in order to feel safe. I do not feel safe very often. Even when my head says that there is nothing to fear, I fear anyways. It takes a great deal of focus for me to keep myself from tying myself up into a knot. This compounds the issue because when things get scary, my body reacts by creating quantities of pain and they pop up in locations that have no reason to hurt. And then I start to worry about what is physically going on and why I have the pain I do and it compounds things. And then I keep falling.

This time of year is very hard on me for a variety of reasons. I have lost three dogs including the one that was the closest of any being to me. And unless you have been blessed with that connection, it is hard to describe well enough to give it the meaning it needs. I also have had some of my worse diagnoses handed to me at this time. I also hate the darkness that permeates this time. It is dark when I get up and go to work. I work in a windowless area as my office is in the center of the building on the second floor. And now it is dark when I leave. I do love the holiday lights and that is one reason why I leave them in the back garden all year. The trees are bare and the plants are gone. I have one room in which I have brought many of my plants in and they continue to grow. I have no control over the light and seasons and yet it still affects me greatly.

I understand why animals hibernate and I wish I too could just sleep the winter darkness away. But, as almost a joke, this time of year for most of my life has been plague with insomnia. I can remember the first time I was aware of it and I was around 12, but it had been there before. My parents used to dismiss it as childhood anxiety about Christmas. But I never cared about this holiday since I was old enough to be aware. To me, this holiday created even more havoc in a home where turmoil ruled. It has never been about the gifts either, as my parents never made a big deal about presents. There is something about the energy of this time of year that causes me to not sleep and that adds to the exhaustion of a season of perpetuated deadlines.

So without recounting my litany of gripes, I laid there in my bed, listening to the short breaths of the two little dogs attached to my side. I realized they felt safe for the first time possibly in their little lives. I have no clue why three different times they were dumped into either the pound or a rescue. But it does not matter, they are safe and at home and loved and isn’t that all any of us want?

And it hit me like a brick. Yes, things have been really caustic. And yes, things are definitely out of control right now. There was nothing I could do there in bed to resolve any of it. And it is that helplessness that causes me to fall so quickly. It is not the issues, they happen to everyone. It is my lack of being able to resolve them right then and there. And because they have been coming at me rather in abundance, I am overwhelmed. So the first things I did as I lay there was to say I had a valid reason to feel this way. I accepted the situation for what it was. I paid attention to my breathing because one of my biggest indicators that I am headed into or are already into a freeze. I cannot breath. I take short rapid breaths instead of conscious long and deep relaxing breaths. I made attempts to slow down and breathe way deep into my gut. It took a lot of effort and as I am sitting here typing I realized I am back to short breaths.

But the thing that was so apparent was why I got up and decided to write. I realized what was missing. I have lost my sense of Spirit. I have been so focused on the crap of being human I forgot that none of it will matter in a month or year. I forgot that these issues are not the end of my life and that they will resolve in time. But most of all I forgot to trust that God is with me and will continue to be with me if I just chill. I lay there and felt that even though the word God does not resonate well with me, the feeling of having the energy flow certainly does. The word God to me conjures up memories of not so good childhood thoughts so I prefer to use Spirit. The word does not matter. I realized the Spirit connection was not there. I had forgotten the feeling being so wrapped up all that was coming at me. And that is what I am talking about feeling safe. Because there was no safety for actually the better part of my life, and that most of the spiritual grounding I have is very recent, when I am being broiled, I let go and forget. It all made perfect sense to me. It is why I cannot and have not written. It is why I cannot breath. It is why all of the things that I have no control over have taken me into their jaw and chewed me up. It is why I hurt. Nothing I do in an attempt to feel better right now  is possible until I get back to being connected with Spirit, God, Creator or whatever human name we attach to the feeling of being safe and loved. The Light is very low but not out.

 

 

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Giving Thanks

berrys bush

It is a sunny brisk morning. The snow has covered everything and is stuck on the branches making the world look spectacular. I love when the snow does that. It reminds me of one of my favorite movies Dr. Zhivago when they reach the summer house and it is covered in ice including the inside.

snow backyard'

 

The back deck and garden has paths cut into it for the wee ones, because they are so tiny they cannot get through it. Yesterday, before it got very deep, Browny spied Mrs. Bunny and went flying. He barely was touching the ground as he flew like a thoroughbred, his little hooves lightly printing in the snow.

snow on branches

Today will be spent in furry cuddles and hopefully not furry cooking, rejoicing in the bounty which is in our lives. I am so grateful for the many people who have crossed my path and are part of my world. Bless you all and thank you.

Lessons from my dogs

I have to apologize if I seem to be absent from posting and commenting. My WordPress account is messed up. I cannot do things I could before such as read blogs without shutting my IE down. I go to comment on blogs and it won’t let me. Hopefully this will post ok.

What I have learned from my dogs.

These are my new doggies. We have had them now for about three weeks. They are wonderful.  Browny is the son of Cookie and it is not hard to guess by there names who is who. Little Ms. Cookie is a little loaf of bread on legs. But she is anything but mild manner. She is alpha to her son. But she is Daddy’s little girl.cookie 11-13   Browny is more attached to me but they both are very smart and loving. These pups have gone through rescue three times and for the life of me I cannot figure out why. They have not had a vet check yet, but I would never return a dog for having a health issue. Most of my dogs have come to me when no one else wanted them, a couple of them with some serious health issues that cleared up. This is Browny who is a tad hyper at times, but is still under the age of two and shows it. Borwnie in the window They have taught me so much. Browny is very in tuned with me and knows when to jump into my arms and love me up. He was the more scared of the two and now is much braver. they both demonstrate fear with loud noises, sudden movement and shrink if they think they are going to get hit. His favorite thing is to lean on me in bed and flip on his back for belly rubs. But when he looks into my eyes, I see such trust. I need to learn to trust like he does. He has had a lot of adversity in his short life and yet, he knows what safe is. I am still learning that. Feeling safe and having trust are both very difficult for me.

I love coming home from work, tired and frazzled and letting these guys out to explode into the yard. They barely touch the ground as they push and shove each other like horses let out of the gate at the races. They fly around the yard in wild abandonment and glee. This is their method of discharging their tension.

rough time finding a place to call home. I think it was because they were waiting for me and my family. I miss Bishop, and still see him in the shadows. I know he would approve of them loving me. He would have loved to have someone to paly with like this when he was younger. My Toots, who was his first sibling did not know what play was. Bishop had a best friend, Rusty, who would go to the park with him or come over to play. When we got Bubbi, they would run like these guys do. These little guys have taught me life moves on whether your ready or not. And you make of it what you can. Excellent canine lessons. The guys are forever home and in our hearts.

Miss CMr.B

Squirrel writing Vol1.

compass

There are so many things swirling in my head. Some are connected and some of what is winging through is a reaction to a session I had this afternoon. This is another epistle of squirrel writing and instead of trying to be clever I am just going to name them by volume from now on.

Some of you who have been following me for a while know that my past has some very dark places. I spent a lot of time running away from the reality that my home life was not The Donna Reid show…. And in true Janeism, I was going to say “Leave it to Beaver” but even for me that would be so inappropriate. But this is the whole point…stay with me. I am making a joke about something that last year was terrorizing me like I was going through it all. And in some cases I was because I was finally became aware of the tragedy. I was missing huge pieces of the puzzle. I was sexually abused as a young girl. I am fully aware of it but I have dealt with it and healed. That’s the point, it is history. I can make a joke about it. Now I KNOW I have healed from it. This came up today because in a therapy session I was listening to some country music about a young woman who allowed her drunken father to blow away in a tornado in Oklahoma. And once I figured out where she was going in the song, I laughed. Then there was another song where the woman set fire to the house to burn up her whisky drunk father. Last year I would have empathized with the anger and the hurt. Now all I feel is compassion for the writer of the song to have so much hurt to pen such a desire to kill her father. I never felt that in my situation. And I said to John, I have forgiven my father. I knew in my heart it was true and saying that out loud was really huge. And it is because I have moved on. It is not my present moment. In actuality, it is not even in my thoughts much unless it is brought up. As I said, I have forgiven the people who made big mistakes towards me but I am still working on forgiving me.  I am not going to go into this tonight as it needs more thinking to bring it to where I can talk about it.

I have been writing about figuring out a direction for me to take. I see in huge increments and always have been a big picture person. I think it is the dreamer in me. And that is a family trait. I do not think this is a bad thing at all. The best parts of my life was when I had a focal points. I wanted to sing and so I put my heart and soul into my music since I was five. I have been a performer of sorts since then. It is part of me. And I can now speak to something that was said to me and I always have taken it as being something negative and it bugged me. That is my ability to perform. I am an actress and a performer. It IS me. I have been doing that since I was old enough to put a musical instrument in my mouth in kindergarten and play a song. When I was seven years old, I performed solos in choirs. I had a part in a play in the fourth grade where we had a stage prop failed and I fixed it in character. I still remember Mrs. Kehoe saying I was a natural actress.  I am no longer accepting that as a failure in me. It is part of me. I won awards for my performances in music and in theater. To take that and make it something ugly is wrong and I don’t accept that. The difference now is that I can get off the stage. But I choose when and I choose the audience. And I am very selective. I need to mull this around a bit more but this is me doing squirrel writing.

Slowly as an adult my being was squashed and the music faded from me. It got stuffed down with all the crap that came with my first marriage. But as a teen, there was a time when I dreamt of being an opera singer and so I prepared to do that. In my senior year of high school, the dream was not dashed, it was morphed. Reality was that I was not of the quality to get in to the Eastman or Oberlin, and I was surrounded by those who did. It was fine because I fell in love with the drama and the makings of good theater. I developed the skill to make others perform well.  I then had a dream to go to NYC and was actually on my way there to off Broadway to work with my cousin who was enmeshed in theater society there. Fate interjected and I met my husband. I continued to do production in local theater and play and sing in local performing groups. Then life intervened and it all faded. I cannot even tell you now why. The dream shifted to home and hearth. I wanted a family to fill in where the huge hole from my childhood remained. I wanted the Waltons. That dream was shattered when I found out at 21 I would not get pregnant easily, if ever. I never stopped trying.

Then life slowly enveloped me. I gave up and drifted in and out of consciousness from the cloud of self-medication on alcohol. I drank in a societally acceptable form: at home and only at night. Slowly I lost who I was and I had no dream. I actually had thoughts of just letting go and letting the blackness take me. When I reread this I had a moment of remorse and was going to erase what I wrote. But again, it is the truth, my truth and it is what made me who I am. If you chose to judge me I cannot stop you. But it does not matter.

Then one day, I woke up. It is funny the computer autocorrect woke to work. And that was the reason. My home life was ridiculous. I escaped from one form of abuse to a more hideous abuse; one that slowly takes the soul. But I found myself when I became a teacher. Again, I had a dream. I prepared. I went back to college for 14 years. Oh my, that is pathetically true. This is the first time in 14 years I am not in school. But that is going to change soon, I can feel it. And I became a teacher. It is my calling. I know that. All I have with being a performer makes me a good teacher naturally because I can tell a story. But again, life swallowed me up. But I never went under. I never gave up and I hung on with my finger nails. We are all heroes of some sort if we look.

Now I am not a wash or feeling like I am drowning at all. I feel like I am adrift though. As I was typing this tonight, I felt the healing that has occurred and is happening. I see in my writing an emerging strength that was not there a year ago. I am becoming the defender of my own being. Somehow through all the work with my mentors and pages of writing I am peeling back the sheath of victimhood and defenselessness that I have lived with for so many years. And what is emerging is a funny, very strong woman who can make you laugh and cry with you when you need to cry. My empathy is very strong along with being naturally compassionate. I love LOVE once again. I can also embrace my areas I still need to develop and grow and I will take the time to do the work to heal what I need to. I can actually type that I do not care if you are in agreement with me. It’s ok. I actually like that I am standing tall on my own. There has been some cosmic shift, a gift of sorts. And I also grateful for the support I have been given.

But like my fellow friends and bloggers who seem to be facing changes in their worlds, I am anxious to continue. I want to prepare. I want the compass to point and say this is the way. Right now I holding kryptonite and the needle is spinning. Maybe that is the point, to stop looking out, but to look inward and discover who I really am and accept it. And there is much good there…..I was going to counter with a self-effacing comment about a lot of bad. But I am not. We all have room to grow. When we stop, we die. Maybe this is the time I find Jane. Maybe it is time to bring her out of the shadows and into the center stage of my life. There are always going to be critics and the idiot in the fourth row who does not get the plot. “Ca ne fait rien.” This is one of my favorite French sayings which I loosely translate to “it does not matter”.

Which path

paths

After reading a couple of friend’s blogs this morning, I realized that the feelings I am having are not mine alone. They are something that is more global than I thought. The questions I am struggling with are also what others are working through: What am I to do? Where is the direction I am to take and what is it I am striving to do? Two years ago, I thought I had a life pretty well figured out. I would work at my current job and retire in seven years. It was an easy plan without much depth to it. These past months have been very difficult at work. It has brought awareness that this is not my destiny. I think I have accepted that as disappointing as it is because I really thought it was a good situation. I know I must travel on at some point but there has been an underlying issue which I have articulated many times and that is knowing where I am going. It seems that being on this spiritual path has a lot of wonderful things on it like feeling connected and healing. But from what I am reading, I am not alone on this one area of concern. “What is the thing I was made to do?”

A friend of mine and I were having a spiritual discussion. She and her husband are going to school to get their Masters in Divinity. They are both pastors and are hoping to have their own congregation someday. We were talking about things we do and I was mentioning a volunteer group I am working with. She said “ that work was worthy.” I struck me profoundly. We all work at something, but is the work worthy? In other words, is the work making the world a better place? Is it serving the source and giving or is it self-serving and only production.

Before anyone gets upset with what I just wrote, let me add this. We need people who toll at the everyday jobs. We must have them to keep our world functioning. This work is important and stands alone as being worthy but it is not the worthy I am talking about. There is work that serves humanity that needs to be done. This work is based on helping others; to help them heal and grow. It is work that brings people back to their source, whatever they call it. It is work that is done in Love. You can be a hairdresser and if you do your job with love for others, that work can be worthy. Say for example you cut hair for elderly for free or for an underserved population who would not normally have the opportunity to be pampered. This is worthy work by definition. You could also be a doctor, but you see only patients for five minutes because it is all about the dollar and not the care you are rendering. That is not worthy. I hope you see what I am saying because it could be misconstrued as being judgmental about occupations. Worthy work is any work that is done in service to others with love as the main driver. You also need to love what you are doing. That makes the work worthy.

When I was younger, I was the one in the family designated to resolve issues. I was present and that was what was needed. I thought that was my role and it was to some extent. Unfortunately, it left me pretty scarred and I have worked through many things and healed from some of it. But was it worthy enough? No, I do not think so.

When my first husband decided to go into law enforcement, I totally supported him even when it changed him so much. I thought my role was to be a cop’s wife and all that meant. Unfortunately, the biggest regret I have was that I did not have children and that would have been a qualifier for worthy work. But I stayed in the marriage because I thought that was my destiny.  It took huge pieces of me but I am also healing from that. The answer is a resounding no to it being worthy. It was self-sacrificing, which in truth is not a good thing and not what we are here for.

When I became a teacher, I knew that work was worthy. I loved that job the most of all the work I have done so far. The work with the students was worthy and my reward is having connections and relationships still with several of my students as they progress through their worthy lives. But the schools where I worked were not honest and the students were not the focus. Scores and tests results or big tuitions were the driving force. The system is corrupt and I know in my heart I cannot participate in the educational systems as they currently stand. I am also acutely aware that I may be destined to teach, but I have not learned what I am to teach yet.  I am still very much the student.

I thought working with clinicians would be very worthy. But I have written volumes on how this is not working out for me.

I know many people who have sacrificed so much of themselves and now are struggling to understand their lives and the point to it. Sometimes we do not see the worth of those sacrifices even though in many cases these people may have saved hundreds of lives. They did what they had to do. Sadly the cost in my mind was too high as now many of them suffer greatly with demons.

I remember listening to my mother and my mother-in-laws gripe about their lives. My mother told me when she died she would have done a lot of things different. She wanted to be an artist and stopped painting when we kids came around.  My Mother-in-law is suffering with some dementia. But she often berates my father-in-law for abandoning her as he was involved with many activities during their marriage. She was a homebody and stayed with the kids who are now all in their 60’s.  Even now, when my FIL spends times doing something like a puzzle she will get upset and call herself a puzzle widow. She speaks often of regrets and her anger is confusing for the family.

The point is that from the outside, we would say all of these things are worthy. Parenting, soldiering, teaching and on the list goes. But it is what intrinsically a person feels that counts. There is a feeling I am having, and I think others are feeling it too, that says there is more to this time we spend here. There is a calling that hits the soul and says “I have a plan for you. Prepare for it.”

I do not have an answer for all this. I do find comfort of sorts that I am not alone in these feelings and that the company includes some truly amazing people. I could have easily not started down this road, missed the entrance to the path and blindly continued in my life as it was. I can also quit at any time. But my heart knows that there is something more I am to do. It will be worthy work. It will come. I have to trust that.

Four footed destressors

Yours better
After a peaceful night of sleep, I woke up with four marble eyeballs staring at me. I felt the presence of little snouts sniffing frantically at me in hopes to procure my awareness. As I slowly opened my eyes, the noses turned to little tongues offering doggie kisses. All the troubles of the week vanished. When the little ones finally knew they had gotten me up, they leaped and twirled in their success and off we went to the yard.
It was like a spring morning. The trees were filled with little birds chipping and squawking. I am not sure what they all were but there was an abundance of chickadees. The sun was cresting over the neighbor’s house and the rays streamed upward in the still misty air.
Like little cannons had been fired, the mighty hooves of little dog’s feet sailed through the air and landed out into the yard once freed from the confines of the house. There was no stopping the race to end of the yard and the offering of newly dropped scat from the squirrels and chipmunks. The noses again were in full operation and I could see the bellows of their bodies working as they scanned and spun and made no scent go unnoticed. Then as if a gun had been fired, they shot around the yard in wild abandonment. You could see the joy as the furry blur passed by.
When I first got them, their nervousness was demonstrated with rough housing and running around the house. They have calmed down so much because they know they can run free when outside. This is a form of doggie stress discharge, much like what humans feel after strenuous exercise. I wish I had the ability to do something like this but that is not happening. Just watching them race around is a reward. At night I attached these one inch balls that have red or blue led lights in them. As they race around the yard, it looks light a laser light show. I can only imagine what it looks like from the road through the slat fence.
This morning was so warm, I sat in my chair I have left on the deck and listened to the birds. The running around ended much faster and they decided to discover all the smells in the yard. There are many and they are ever changing. We have a large bunny that visits but I am not sure if she is still coming as I have blocked her holes where she popped through the fence. If she can get through, so can the kids. But the squirrels have not met the “Brownynator”. I have a feeling he is going to give them a run. There was a peace that enveloped me and I reminisced about the times I sat with Bishop at my feet. I will miss him forever and the garden will be different. But as my eyes started to fill with tears, I felt a little paw on my knee as to say, “Mommer, I am not Bishop, but I am with you now.” My little guy has my heart and soul already. He is learning to read my feelings. He is very smart and is learning new “tricks” like give me paw and high five. Cookie is winning her Dadder’s heart. But the Mommer is who she goes to for comfort. I am definitely Alpha.
I was so glad for the respite of the week and I am planning on spending more time with the kids in the yard. There won’t be many more days with sunshine and no snow.

Why…ning

Sinking_Ship (1)
This has been a very long week for me and everyone I know. I am in the mood for some squirrel writing. (see previous post) I am very weary of the way people act sometimes. I am very frustrated with work. I do not understand when the goal is as simple as the agency’s mission and vision states: get people better and keep ‘em better in their homes…(not really the mission but you get the gist) why the staff have to play their silly games. It is really all about ego? And what is it this thing we blame all the time, this ego? I remember hearing growing up that having a strong ego was equated with bravado… no wait, that was for my brothers. We girls we taught to acquiesce from a very early age. I was not so good at it and was deemed a feminist way back. That is the name given to women who are pains in the ass to men. But that is a different blog post. I haven’t been writing as much for a reason, I am too tired again at night. So tonight I am why…ning. Why are things the way they are (said in a whining tone)
I was listening to a guided meditation earlier and it was about abundance and ease of life. They made it sound so easy and according to many sources, it is the way it is supposed to be…. Life: full and rich and rewarding. It is supposed to be stress free and you are supposed to come away from your vocational efforts feeling fulfilled and worthy. I took this job because I thought I had found an outlet for my expertise of developing people to fulfill their aspirations, to work with clinicians to become compassionate and empathetic in their caregiving and to teach. I have been thwarted on all counts. I completed a program to become a certified professional in organizational development and it was paid for by this company. Yet they will not use my expertise in project management….until things are so messed up that it always in an emergency solution. And it all stems from someone’s ego and need to control who is totally unqualified. It is so frustrating. The only solution is abdication for me. I am not ready to throw the towel in yet but pretty close…. And why won’t I? Because truthfully, I am afraid.
I do not want to quit or run away because I am feeling …. I was going to type snubbed, but it is more than that. It is actually abusive lately. I am not going into details, but I will say this: My direct report who I consider more than my right hand has been with the agency for 24 years. She is has never seen it so bad. With my blessings, she has now gone to my boss twice with her concerns. She had never had to do that before. And she is not going to my boss about me; she is going to my boss to speak on behalf of the nurses about not working with our team for rolling processes out and using the expertise of the team. My boss is an administrator so that is as high as she can get except the CEO. She and I and the other two members of my department are a great team and there is a respect that works both ways. I have been handcuffed and could do no more for her concerns. It will be interesting to see if her discussion will change much. I am not holding my breath.
But back to the point: I do not understand why people have to have personal agendas that thwart the best practice. I wish I did not care, but it is true…. I do. I do want to see our caregivers have the best training available. I want them to learn that clinical practices need to remember the patient is the most important thing in the mix. Not the documentation, not the insurance, and not the drugs….the patient and the family. But time will tell too soon that the patient-family centered care will be a thing of the past. I am the chairperson of that initiative for our whole agency, all seven counties, as well as sit on the committee at the Medical Center. It is still being touted as important, but it is all double speak. And as we approach the future, it will be the least important factor in health care. And much like some of the protagonists of the past, the louder I shout, the more I advocate, the harder they come down on me. I wish I did not care but I do.
Someone close told me this is just part of my path. That there is a better situation coming. I have to trust this. This situation at work has been steadily getting worse. I tried for a while to not be effected by it, but it is affecting so many people now. The group of managers at my level are all running around like zombies. No one can even think because the amount of resources is so limited that no one can complete their work. It is not getting better and rumor has it….it’s going to get worse. The truth is health care is about to do a major face plant.
So it is Friday night. I am writing and fighting the fatigue coursing through my body. It is not caused by physical exertion. It is the total exhaustion of being on a sinking ship, roped to the masthead as the water is slowly and steadily rising. It is the frustration of knowing it doesn’t have to be this way. It is knowing that it is not personal, and that in truth, I do not matter. And that knowledge makes it all the more painful. I do not want my last major job to not matter.
But to what path do I turn…..?

Guilt and grief

In a pathetic way, I am struggling with feeling good about my new dogs. This is going to sound a bit strange but I feel guilty for not grieving. My big dog passed on October 27th. I have been anticipating this for a while as he was at least 14, but closer to 16. In big dog world, he was very old. But the Friday before he died, he was healthy and running as much as an old dog runs. Ok, it was a lope at best. But off he would go with all the enthusiasm of a pup.
This summer, when the two of us would sit out on the deck in the garden, I would think how much of a void there will be when he is gone. I would grieve and cry. He would look at me with this puzzled look like “what is wrong, I am still here.” I took him for a wellness check and the Vet who I have been seeing for over thirty years said he was in great shape. But there were so many moments this fall when I would look at him and feel him gone. I thought it was just me being worried. I felt in my gut that his passing would devastate me. And I would cry. I felt his loss, even with him right in front of me. I thought it was just me perseverating on a thought. It was actually preparation.
When he did pass, my heart broke into a thousand pieces. I felt him leave this plane and pass through me. You can believe that or not, it happened. I have taken many animals to the bridge, and his passing was no easier. But the heartbreak did not last as long as I thought it would. There is a hole, no doubt about it, which no animal will ever fill again. But there is a calm, a peaceful grace that I have never felt before with the passing of one of my babies. It was as it should be. He is still with me. This is what I sense.
The connection I had with Bishop is unlike anything in my life before. I doubt if I will ever be so blessed to have it again and truthfully I am not looking for it. My guilt is in the fact I knew within 24 hours that I would have to fill my house and heart with another dog. The first dog I saw when I was going through the thousands of dogs on the intranet and saved in my queue is actually who we have now. It was fortuitous as his mother was also up and they were a bonded pair. Just what I wanted. I felt a connection from looking into his soulful eyes. He is a baby, not even 2 yet. But in those eyes, now looking at me as I type, I see the love that was missing with Bishop’s passing. His mother is more attached to my husband and that is just fine.
To explain the guilt is difficult. It is the child in me who wants to know why beings have to die in the first place. My first experience with death was my mother who passed when I was 23. I know there is a time for everything. The fourteen years I had with Bishop went by very fast. But it is a time in my life now gone, that in truth, I would not want to go through again. Bishop was my rock as I transitioned from one very bad situation after another, to the present, which in measure is wonderful. He was there when I needed him. I hope I was the same for him.
We cannot stop the progression towards death. At this age, it is a reality that it is coming quicker than I want. So I am going to accept my guilt, but not let it stop me from accepting the joy I have with the new fur faces in my house. They are a blessing. Besides, how can you not love this face?
Little Bear 11-10-13

Introducing…

It is with pleasure that I would like to introduce the newest members of our family. I struggled with whether it was too soon, but I had it on great authority from a whisper in my heart that Bishop wanted us to continuing to love and provide for dogs in need. The story of these two is a bit confusing and has huge gaps. This was their third time in foster care. The time before was last year when they were considered no longer “proper” for breeding. They were neutered and adopted only to return once more to Lollypop. This person said they did not have time for them and they went into the group Rescued Treasures, which is where they came from to me.
Meet Cookie who is slowly becoming PookieMiss Pookie Aka Cookie
She is the Mom dog and she is almost 7. She is the more aggressive of the two but is smaller. She is a sweetheart and seems to enjoy her new found place. She slept upside down between Joe and I last night.
Little Bear 11-10-13 This is Browny, slowly becoming Little Bear.
He is definitely Mommer’s new boy. He spent the night on me. He is taller and a bit shy.
Their favorite thing to do is Smack down. They run around like crazy and “fight” tumbling over each taking a turn on top. This is post smack down.Post smack down
They are getting used to their new world, but it seems like they have been here forever.Magoo the cat is not happy. They will all figure it all out.There are a ton of toys and new chew bones. They are a blessing. Love our bonesYours better
They are done with the coming and going in their lives. coming and going

Squirrel writing: “who am I?”

I just had a very interesting conversation which follows a series of thoughts and other conversations I have been having for a while. “Who am I?” This simple question is not one that really is so easily answered. So I am writing because that is one thing I do know that I am; a writer. I put thoughts into words and then through my fingers on to keys which translate the thoughts into concepts which I share. This to me is what I do as a writer. By putting my thoughts on paper, I am trying to figure out my dilemma because in a face to face situation, I was totally inarticulate. I needed time to digest what was being said and then a realization hit me which I will share in a moment.
Some of you will start right now shaking your head because you know where I am going with this….”just be.” My old nemesis. But this is more than “just be” being…. It is trying to figure out my comfort zone with myself and what that looks like. In trying to figure out the person who is me and that I am comfortable with, I realized I am not sure of what me really is. But then on further thought, maybe I do know who I am and it is not fitting what everyone else thinks it should be. For someone to say to me “just be”, I have no clue how to define what that represents. My past precludes one simple answer to that. My body and mind have been in a protective war for so long, that my natural state of being was hyper vigilant and afraid. I have worked hard to knock down many walls and peal back many layers only to discover ….what? I have been so barricaded and so wrapped up in protecting this being from being hurt that to remove the battle is very unsettling. The adjustment has made me extremely vulnerable and even more susceptible to critique. No wonder I struggle with just be. I am almost 60 years old and I have no clue who I am. Or do I? And am I still requiring some form of validation because I have no reservoir of internal knowledge that I am truly ok? My mirror is so clouded with the transgressions of past relationships that to reflect with approval on myself is foreign and that the concept is making me uncomfortable. The old way of either being put down or putting myself down was how I have rolled for most of my life.
Here is where I struggle to articulate any cohesive response. Because I still have fear of exposure, I hesitate in any action of self-proclamation. And truly, why wouldn’t I? So the simple response and about all I can give is: “I am”. That’s it, “I am.” So when someone says I am not being me, who are they to say so? Isn’t this a fun riddle? There are lists of things that I know I am. We all have them. So why isn’t the person who has a list of things not being themselves when they are doing something on the list? How is saying that not being judgmental? How are the things that I do not being me?
I have been called an actress. So how is that not also a part of me? I like to entertain and I like to be funny. Making people laugh brings me joy. I do play roles; we all do as life demands. Mothers are mothers when their kids need it. Teachers are actors who portray educational concept so their students can learn. Who gets to say that is not me being me? I do keep a lot of stuff to myself and I do put up walls but it is as life demands. It is also because I am so vulnerable and uncomfortable with opening myself to being criticized. Funny thing is does not stop anyone from making comments as they see fit. I know I still hear and react to negative comments and why wouldn’t I? It is what I have always done. I am learning the skills necessary not to react but it is going to take time and a lot of acceptance of myself. See what I said about not having a reservoir of knowledge on knowing what that feels like. Hence my struggle. But this is me for now.
There are stories that make up who I am. There is history that I cannot do anything about at this point other than let them be. I do need to keep working on the release of the pain it caused and the other manifestations but the story is still there. However, I do not want to be known as a victim who survived. The details are not important anymore. I am learning that it is not necessary to relive all the crap we have walked in our lives. It really does not do any good unless there are pieces of the puzzle that we need to fit together. Sometimes the finished puzzle is horrible. But we learn from these things and so when I am with others who have lived a similar situation I understand. I have turned some things around in my life that could have brought me to a standstill and incorporated the lessons to help others. This is being me. Yes the “bad stuff” is part of my life, but it is not all that makes Jane- Jane. “I am”
But there are things that some people will never understand because they have not gone through similar things. I am so glad for them. Truly, glad. And I cannot explain to people what it feels to be me, either. And you cannot explain to me what it feels like to be you. What I think I am coming to figure out that the only reality we do have is acceptance. It is very easy for me to accept other people. I have always loved the “underdog” and advocated for others in need. But I do not do it easily in myself……because I did not know I was so broken. That is what just popped in my head.
This is taking me somewhere, which is why I like writing… keep coming along if you want. So “I did not know I was broken” was very interesting when it popped in my head. This journey I have been on has not been easy at all. But I will not argue with the fact that there was much need for healing. Broken is not the right word, but in need of healing is better. (When I reread this statement after eight hours of writing it, it offended me which is good. I am not broken.) This comes back around to acceptance. I can easily accept that I needed to heal. But to say I was broken makes my life a mistake, and error or travesty. And it soundly was not. “I am” for a reason. Granted I do not have the answer why, but I am ok with that. I am on the route and every day is another step to that answer.
But there are many things that are not going to change overnight. Being me is also not being patient by the way. I know that very well about myself. So there are things that will not become apparent to outsiders because the insider (me) is still learning to accept new feelings and be comfortable with that. I will share an example.
A year ago, no one could touch me without getting a reaction which was usually a withdrawal or flinch. I still flinch to a degree but now as much. But there is still trepidation of physical contact and I still have trouble with it. I am much like a beloved dog who was abused by others and reacts by lowering the head even when their loving owner pats their head. And as much as I do not like to be touched, I struggle more with touching others. I am uncomfortable and at first I thought it was because I am embarrassed. I realized something today when I had time to think about it. It is much more that I am afraid the touch will be rejected. Also, there is still a huge fear that by reaching out to touch someone, I offer myself to have my arm grabbed and twisted or that I am leaving my body unprotected. I keep my arms very close to myself. I never paid attention to it until now. That is conditioning and it will take a long time to heal from.
And for those of you who know me outside of the blog world, you may be wondering how I can do Spiritual Healing Touch if I cannot touch people. That is very easy to answer: because it is not me who is doing the healing. I am only a tool or conduit. I take myself right out of the equation. I am perfect for this work because I can only do it if I take myself out of it. I accept this and I am fine with it.
This post is a fine example of what I call squirrel writing. It is when I just let my mind wander and change my thought path much like my dog would do if he saw a squirrel. This is how I work stuff out. Going back to the question of who am I? I do not know if I can define that. I know there are things I want to change. My focus is on learning to hear the good. I need to work on building a bank of self-resilient and non- deprecating thoughts to pull from. Unfortunately there is a lot of mud to get rid of first to uncover any pool within. I need to stop worrying about that. Today is now and this is what I have to work with. Nothing is permanent. I think my work is only beginning on the discovery of just being me. And yet, every day “I am.”