Sharing the lessons along the way…

Archive for the ‘impermanence’ Category

Happy New Year!

I have written three different posts in the past week and none of them found its way onto my blog.  I didn’t post them because they were superficial and not at all where I am.  In between, something in life would happen to remind me of who I am, and where I am right now, so now you get what’s real.

The truth is, publishing a book about a challenging time in your life will stir up some crap.  The crap it stirs may not be what you think.  I am not traveling back in time revisiting emotions but I am again challenged to consider what I want to create in my future.

A future that, in that period of time about which the book is based, I wasn’t sure I would even have.  While I was busy these last few years making a difference in whatever time I had, I failed to realize that there may just be much more time than I had considered.  I am pretty sure on some level, I thought I was cheating the universe with each year that passed allowing me to do so.

I constantly remind myself that it was simply a colossal detour, it is in the past, not in my present or future.  Clearly, I have moved forward from it in action and in rational mind, but emotion often is more difficult to bring forward.

I am not just that young woman who became ill and homeless.  I am a competent and capable professional with more capacity to influence change than I probably ever will realize in my lifetime.  I am both that young woman and that middle-aged woman all rolled into one.

So now, the questions I have for myself include “How do I want to spend my time?”  “Where will I make the most impact?”  “Am I where I need to be to do that?”  “Is what I am already doing enough?”  “Can I broaden that scope?”  “What do I need to do to make whatever those answers are a reality?”

Honestly, I am not sure it matters how much time any of us have.  I think it matters more how we spend that time.  For me, it also matters whether or not my time is spent doing something that answers those very questions.  What I am doing is wonderful and I love it, but there is a gnawing somewhere inside that tells me that I can be and can do more.  More what and more how will have to unfold as I become clearer on what those mean.

I have a feeling 2018 has a lot in store.

 

 

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Maybe I do

PhotoMail (5)

I have been without a canine companion for nearly two full months since Ruby died.  I have lost count of the number of people who have sent me posts of a dog in need of re-homing, the number of texts to take a dog, foster, and the number of times I have been asked, “Have you gotten another dog yet?”

Ruby was my back up dog for Duke and I did not have a backup dog for Ruby because I did not imagine I would need one for many years.  Her death was sudden and traumatic.  While I could not imagine a life without a dog exactly, I knew I was in no way ready for another.

My friends and I talked at great length about how we do not know me without a dog because for the last 16 years, I have had one or two.  My brother said I could not be me without one.

I made a conscious decision not to rush into another because emotionally, losing three dogs in three years was a lot.  I went on the hope method that I had learned how to stay grounded without the need of an external grounding source, which for me was always a dog or two.  My dogs taught me how to do this over the years, and I felt somewhat confident in the lessons I had learned from them.

Still, I was not sure.  I wasn’t sure if I would feel lonely without one.  I was not sure that I wouldn’t lose my mind or otherwise lose my sense of mission and purpose.

Two months in, I have not lost my mind or otherwise lost my sense of mission and purpose.  I still do not feel lonely.  I do miss having a living, breathing, always loving being under foot, but have watched others’ dogs and getting my dog fixes often.

I figured I would be trying to find ways to avoid coming home to an empty house, but as it has turned out, I still like my place.  It is still the refuge and the Zen space I created for my dogs and I.  While I have the freedom to do other things, and sometimes choose to do them, I am often simply choosing to come home after work.

It is not uncomfortable.  I do not feel like I am missing anything in my life.  I do plan to add another dog into my life next year.  I honestly never thought I would be ok under these circumstances.

Since I seem to be, I will go with that.

Letting Go Goes Deeper

Run Free Sweet Girl

Run Free Sweet Girl

It is certainly not my first post on letting go, nor do I suspect it will be my last post on the subject.  The last few weeks, the universe has honed my ability to do so more quickly.

I am no stranger to traumatic experiences, nor am I trauma’s biggest fan despite the familiarity.  What I have learned about trauma is that no matter how quickly you pick up the leftover pieces and continue moving forward, the imprint physiologically remains far longer.

Loss and trauma are strange bedfellows, I have also learned.  Not all losses are traumatic, but most trauma involves a loss of something/someone.

With the vicarious trauma professionally, and from simply watching the news about the various tragedies happening world-wide, experiencing a personal trauma in addition, has created a variety of interesting visceral responses.

Nearly 2 ½ weeks ago, I unexpectedly lost my third dog in three years.  The first two were inevitable as they were seniors, but the third was only five years old, and we experienced a painful final 72 hours of her life together.  She was very vocal about her pain and suffering, and no amount of medication was easing that for her.  I chose not to prolong her suffering.

While I chose to let her go, the experience of her suffering remains both in my heart and in my mind.

I went back to work the following week, and while apparently numb, I found myself extra sensitive to suffering of all kinds.  In my semi-conscious waking state for the first week, I saw her eyes and felt her pressing her painful self into me attempting to ease her pain.  The second week was a bit more interesting in my sleeping state.

Nearly every soul connection I have had in the last decade came flooding back in my dreams.  The gist I could gather when I would awaken was the theme of letting go on a different level.  Interestingly enough, Duke was not among them because he was in my dreams the week before all this happened with Ruby.  It was his death anniversary, which is the last time I posted a blog.

Because it is my nature to look for the lesson and potential growth opportunity in everything, I cannot help but to think more about these losses and the residual effects they may be having on my ability to move forward in my life.  Perhaps that was Ruby’s ultimate lesson for me in our relatively short time together.

Grieving, letting go and healing trauma happens as a process.  It appears to be happening on a global scale, and not just in my personal and professional life, so I have to believe that continuing to move forward while being open to the process itself, will promote that healing process.

 

In the spotlight

The stage is set.  The audience is sitting quietly in anticipation.  The curtain slowly opens.

The spotlight is on.  There you are on stage.  Exposed.  Vulnerable.

Now what are you going to do next? 

Will you act as though you are in a play that you have been in over and over before in your life?  Or will you realize that this is most likely a brand new play and you have been resistant to learn your new lines?

Vulnerability

I probably feel this way at every major life opportunity.  There is this moment (or many) where all eyes are on me to see whether I rise to the occasion or not.  In the past, the very nature of feeling exposed and vulnerable could be enough to undo me as the spotlight shone.  Until I realized that as humans, feeling this way is what makes us feel alive and what makes us start to live the life we often pretend we live on that stage.

At this point in my life, I realize that being humble and remembering that I am human serves me.  I have nothing to hide, so the exposure and vulnerability is minimized.  I might be momentarily slowed as those curtains open, but I recover quickly and realize that it is always a new show.

In real life, it is never really the same play every day, unless we design our lives to be a repeat performance.  Sometimes we behave as if it is and continue to use the same lines and set the same stages.  It is rare that I watch a movie more than once and don’t hope for a different ending.  I know in real life the ending doesn’t have to be the same, so I just thought I would tell you in case you didn’t know.

Happy Day 20!  Here’s to a Friday of creating our own idea of a good ending to whatever kind of day or week you have had. nanopoblano2015light

Shoutout to Dorkville, USA

I am one of the most blessed people for having so many wonderful humans in my world.  While we all have our quirks and issues as we make our ways on our journey, I love that we seem to see the strengths in each other much of the time.

One such human recently completed a tribute to “my boys” because he seemed to “get” the unshakeable bond I had with each of them (and both of them at the same time).  Even though he is a University of Kentucky basketball fan and I am a Duke University basketball fan, we have been peaceful neighbors in Dorkville.  Yes, it can be done.

Another wonderful human reminded me today that nothing stays the same in this life, so we end eras and start eras just as we start brand new days, weeks and years.  None of them the same as the one before and each bringing with it challenges and triumphs. Don’t buy into the idea that change is scary.  Buy into the fact that it simply is what it is and we move through it with love.

The era that spanned 14 years with “my boys” has ended.  And in the same week I realized that I had moved a bit forward from the losses (like for real), his tribute was ready to share with me.

Enjoy it and be sure to send him his props as he is quite talented!

 

Incidentally, I clearly thought yesterday was the 16th, so here is to another Day 16 of

nanopoblano2015light

Keepin’ it Real!

On my bathroom mirror, I have written:

Stay Focused.

Stay Authentic.

Remember the mission.

I think I wrote it a few weeks ago and I cannot even remember why I felt compelled to change the previous message.  What I do know for sure is that I see it far more than I have seen many of my previous bathroom mirror messages, and it makes me think every time I do.

Am I getting distracted?  Am I being authentic?  Do I remember what I intended to be doing?  I tend to be more easily distracted in real life, so I am reminding myself to stay focused on my intentions for this year.  Authenticity is synonymous with being genuine, but I like the work authentic better.  Am I keeping it real?

A few weeks ago, I was frustrated that I wasn’t able to do more.  I was ready to do more once Duke’s work here was done, so I was ready and felt like I couldn’t.  I felt like I couldn’t have the reach I believed I needed to help people help themselves—to help even more people to help themselves.  It was authentic, and it was not self-serving in the least.  Quite the opposite really.

Bam, Pow, Shazaam…

Three weeks later, I am in a position to expand the reach to more people.  In a whirlwind of interestingly timed events and genuine speaking out for the mission of a broader reach, it happened.  It all seemed synchronistic and very fast for me.  I am fairly certain that I played only a very small role in all of it, except for authentically expressing myself at the opportune times.

My poor brain was reeling after so much positive happening, one thing after the next, and I was looking forward to a much-needed break from it to assimilate and process all of it over a three-day weekend.

I started thinking about authenticity most of all.  I value this very much both personally and professionally.  I know if someone is being real or genuine quickly in an interaction.  I want to make sure that I am being real and genuine too.  I am not sure I have ever been more authentic in my life as an adult, and I am proud of that.

What I have learned is that being authentic gets you farther, and further serves you than trying to be someone or something you aren’t.  I learned that long ago, and now I learn it again, but on a different level.  I am starting to really enjoy just being me.  I love having no hidden agenda.  Whatever is, well, it is.  If I want to make it better, then I just say so because there is nothing to lose by doing so.

So, I am keeping that message up on my mirror for a bit longer.  There is a lot of work ahead.

Kitt O'Malley

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