Sharing the lessons along the way…

Archive for the ‘letting go’ Category

Maybe I do

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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.

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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.

 

Ending an Era–Weeble-Wobble Style

There is a natural order and flow to the universe.  It becomes evident as one period ends and another begins.  No time is it more evident than the ending of one year into another.

This year, on New Year’s weekend, I did something a bit different than I have in the last few.  While I was my usual reflective self, purged things in my house no longer necessary, and such, I was also ever conscious of the need to be still enough and grounded enough to understand what I needed to let go of from 2015.  I wanted to be clear and certain about what would carry over into 2016.

My 2015 was overall quite positive with the exception of the loss of my soul mate dog.  Much of what happened in 2015 involved the ending of an era.  An era that started nearly 15 years ago, and I am not sure I realized the magnitude of that ending.

I didn’t just need the stillness and grounding to close out a typical year, but to close out an era and to put some serious thought into what I wanted to create for the next era that had already begun to emerge in 2015 (late 2014 technically).

Moving forward is probably one of my frequently used tags for this blog, so it might surprise you that I historically am not very good at letting things go.  I have so often in my life hung on so tightly to ideas, thought patterns, people, jobs, situations, friends, etc. long after I knew it was no longer serving me.  I am not sure I can say that in this new emerging era.  I have gotten quite a bit better, and perhaps even more efficient, in my ability to let go and move forward.

It was certainly something Duke and his brother tried so very hard to teach me in their lifetime, so I am proud to be able to honor them by finally “getting” it.  I surprised myself when it was time to let Amore and Duke go because I didn’t feel the need to hang on for dear life for myself.  I felt more the need to let them go for them.  Duke was truly the testament for that.  Amore paved the way for it.

Letting Duke go meant the end of a very challenging era.  My entire life was thwarted, derailed, and I was on a detour for quite a while.  But somewhere along the way, I realized I might just be a Weeble-Wobble.  How else can I explain where I am now, based on where I started?

weeble-wobble

The detour taught me more than I ever expected to learn, and gave me a perspective that I never thought I would have.  The lessons, the perspective, gratitude, humility, and the strength from that era helped me to move forward at the time of his loss, but more than that, have allowed me to get back on the path with more certainty, in spite of my illness.

It is this foundation I chose to take with me into my life’s new era, and into 2016. What are you choosing to take with you into 2016?  What are you letting go?

 

 

 

Dinosaurs and Zebras

20091212-zebra-dinosaur

Earlier today, I watched a dinosaur and then took a ride on a zebra.

It was my toddler sister’s first movie at the theater and this auntie was invited along.  The Good Dinosaur might be for the little ones, but I feel certain that the grown-ups in the audience were the only ones bawling their eyes out.

It was a movie about family, loss, friendship, getting through fear (and not getting rid of it) and letting someone go so that they can follow their own path to happiness knowing we have to follow our own.

Heavy, right?  It was for me.  It has been a while since I have seen a “kids” movie, and I had forgotten how they tend to do that for adults.  I didn’t get that at all from the previews Pixar!!

There were intense messages throughout that my toddler sister couldn’t have possibly comprehended—just yet anyway.  She was a champ making it through the entire movie!

Afterwards, we rode a zebra through the mall, which was a wonderful change of pace.

Dinosaurs and Zebras make for a full Saturday if you ask me.  What have you done today?

Day 28 and totally recommend the movie if you are in need of a good cry!

nanopoblano2015light

 

No Mystery Here

Trust

When I hear, “Look how far you’ve come…” sometimes I hesitate to own it for some irrational fear of jinxing it.  Sometimes, I think “Hell yeah, I have!”  The rest of the time, I have a hard time wrapping my own mind around such a comparison, so I tend to dismiss it and redirect the focus to something else.

Because of the detour I had to take to make it to here, I often feel behind in what I intended to do here in this life.  I feel a strange sense of urgency to hurry up to put new programs in place to make a bigger difference in the lives of others.  Of course, I wouldn’t have a direction to do any of it were it not for the detour.

It is an interesting turn of events, really, and I am not sure I could fully explain just how passionately I feel about it.  It has a life of its own, and I am not sure I could put the fire behind it out if I tried really hard.

So while I have difficulty wrapping my own mind around where I am now in comparison to where I was eleven years ago, I am also grateful on so many levels to have lost everything.  Losing everything put the rest of the world around me into a perspective that I don’t know that I would have found otherwise.  It reminded me that we don’t have an unlimited amount of time in this life to get busy doing something worthwhile.

Starting over, in retrospect, became an opportunity to create a life that I wanted, rather than one spent playing the hand I was dealt.  The proverbial deck of cards was shuffled and I realized I was the dealer in this life.  No matter what level of uncertainty or insecurity came with each day, I was the dealer, dammit, and this was my table.  And I haven’t stopped because it really isn’t about how far I have come in the big picture.

It is more about each literal step I took to get here and the very many people who believed it could happen—and some of the ones who didn’t believe it because those were just as helpful each step of the way.  Each step comes flashing back into memory each time someone says, “Look how far you’ve come…”

It didn’t happen magically.  There is no mystery to how I got from there to here—not for me anyway.  Did I have any clue just how well it would turn out?  No, nor did it matter along the way.  My persistence mattered, and I was simply determined to have a better quality of life than the day before.  Each small change, each day-to-day choice, was made with only that in mind.

And today, I still make choices with that in mind.  I know the more quality my life has, the better I can help others to make choices to do the same.

Today is day 24 of the writing challenge and this is my 401st post in the blog world!

nanopoblano2015light

 

 

 

WWDD?

tea bag love

What Would Duke Do?

Several weeks back, no matter where I was turning, there was a barrier.  Some of the barriers were biting and hurtful.  I couldn’t help but think that if Duke were here, I would feel better and figure out how best to move over, through, above or around the barriers.

I asked myself daily WWDD?  The answer was always that he would be love.  He would love so much that no one around him could feel anything other than special.  Everyone would feel his/her ability to rise to any occasion.  He would remind me that hurtful, biting, stinging things thrown in my direction were merely evidence that someone needed some extra love sent their way.

His love for me would then allow me to have the strength to do just that—to be love.

Sometimes it doesn’t come as easily as believing in rainbows.  Fear and ego serves no real purpose on the mission.  The mission to be the change essentially is to be love and fear and ego only serve to block the way forward.

buddha dog

I haven’t yet let go of the notion that if Duke were sleeping in the next room because he was my center of gravity.  He was my go-to guru on all things.

He could always figure out some magical dog antic way to make me let go of whatever it was I was holding onto so tightly.

Since June, I have actually had to find it and maintain it on my own.  He taught me how to do it independent of him, after all.  It just isn’t always that easy.

Duke would certainly always be love and I will do my best to follow his lead.

Day 12 and really happy to be back in the routine of writing everyday!  Go Team Pepper 2015!

nanopoblano2015light

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