The blister of growth

This morning I was thinking about all the ways I am going to miss NC. My instant reaction was, “My soul broke open here” but a mere second later I thought, “no that’s not quite right.” It’s not. I went through tremendous growth here, so what could I liken it to? Perhaps not quite the sexiest analogy, but the one that comes closest is that my growth here has been like a blister. I know. I know. You don’t want to hear about my blister. That sounds gross. But, if I haven’t completely lost you, hear me out…

When a blister happens, there is usually some form of friction. Something rubbing up against resistance – oh I don’t know, like for example, a soul that wants to be set free while the human form it resides in just wants to remain in it’s comfortably uncomfortable little existence. Check.

The blister grows to the point of utter discomfort where you know you NEED to relieve the pain. My soul did this. It grew until I knew something had to give, I no longer had a choice to remain in my small little world ignoring the insistence of my soul.

At this point, I knew I had to pop that sucker and leave the wound raw, painful, vulnerable and need to scab over or take a tiny pin to it and allow the pressure to be relieved while the healing was done under the protection of the remaining old, soon to be renewed skin. As difficult a choice as that was (as you can imagine…) I chose the latter.

My soul did not break open in Raleigh. It’s just sort of slowly leaking out. Still quite painful, but in a much more manageable way. One day, maybe soon, maybe years down the road; I will look back at this time with gratitude and know that that blister has healed. I expect it won’t be sudden, just a kind of quiet awe where I will be able to say to myself, “huh, would you look at that. No more blister. I have healed.”

{HUG}

Baby Steps of Faith

How do you have faith when it feels as though everything is out of control? Throughout my life when people have told me to have faith BECAUSE everything was out of control I wanted to punch them in the face. Then, when everything was back in control again faith felt so easy that it was obvious I had faith all along. Until everything went to shit again. So, how do you break the cycle? I mean, in order to see faith at work you kind of need to be in the shit practicing it while it’s hard. Vicious, vicious cycle.

The awesome thing is that life will hand us small opportunities of difficulty to practice that faith even amidst some of our hardest times. Let’s take moving for example… just kind of popped to mind… They say that it is one of the most challenging things you will go through beside divorce and death of loved ones. What a great opportunity to practice faith. So, that’s what I did. Each step along the way I breathed deeply acknowledging that it was all beyond my control and I knew it would work out as it was meant to even when it didn’t feel that way. And, I would focus only on one manageable thing at a time.

I have literally spent the past few months spending most of my time breathing, meditating and walking in nature. Many people (including myself) might think how unproductive that would be. I mean there are a thousand and one things to do to get ready. But I was practicing faith. I knew everything would get done at the time it was meant to be done. Do you know how hard that was when all of the following things happened?? Our house didn’t sell right away like we hoped. (Funny enough there was a small part of me that wished it wouldn’t sell until I knew the boys could finish out the school year and not have to transfer before the year was out.) What if we didn’t get a buyer for 6 months? Would we need to move anyway? Could we afford two places even temporarily? Stuff that I was posting on craigslist and Letgo sites weren’t selling very quickly and I knew we didn’t want to move them. Once we got a buyer, we didn’t have a place to live in Atlanta and our one househunting trip produced nothing. I couldn’t line up a vanline until that was set and we were going to be moving during the second busiest week of the year for vanlines. My dog was still peeing and pooping in the house and started barking in his crate when I would leave the house. Big problem because we expected to be renting and are pretty sure the neighbors won’t go for that. Would we need temporary living? How would we pay for that?

Looking at all of that now gives me anxiety, but staying in the moment as much as possible led me to only have to be concerned about one thing at a time. Much more manageable. Eventually my faith paid off. We did get a buyer and lo and behold they wanted to close in one month! The timing turned out perfect, the boys would finish school and we would close one week later. We did find a townhouse to rent that would be available 5 days after our closing – just long enough to go on a Disney cruise to reward ourselves. (that’s right there happened to be a Disney cruise for 3 nights that fit perfectly in between the time we sold our house and when we were ready to move in to the new house!) I found a van line that had perfect availability for us – with only one spot left in that time frame! Over the past week, I have taken a Horsewise class that helped with my confidence in working with animals including my dog and I had been given the name of a dog trainer that came to the house to work with me and I feel quite confident Tater’s barking will be under control in no time. And, slowly but surely the items we don’t want to move are getting sold.

With each step that began to work in our favor I felt stronger and stronger in my faith. It helped ease the pain of the moments when things didn’t appear to go in our favor. Because I knew there was a reason and that reason probably was that I didn’t see how great the outcome could even be. But life is proving to me that it knows better than I do. That I am not in control and am fully supported so that I don’t have to worry about trying to control.

I owe so much to my insane amount of ‘downtime’ knowing in reality it wasn’t downtime at all but just practice. Practice at letting go, practice at allowing life to flow through me, practice at having faith. I am beginning to witness the person that I always wanted to be, the person I always knew I was. One that believed in love, peace and faith that everything always works out just as it is meant to. It doesn’t always feel good, but faith allows for peace even in those moments because I know eventually it will.

See you in Atlanta.

{HUG}

 

I’m Coming Home

Vacations are awesome. Even quick weekend trips. But, you know what is even more awesome? Coming home. Settling back into that comfortable routine. There is just something so sigh inducing about familiarity. So, what happens when there is a disruption in both the vacation and home?

Hubby has been in Atlanta working every 2 out of 3 weeks for the past 3 months. The longer time goes on without the house selling, the harder it is to watch him leave. So last Thursday I took the kids out of school early and allowed for them to skip school Friday so we could make a surprise visit to Atlanta. Best. Decision. Ever.

We had an amazing time doing a little more sightseeing of our new home town, having the whole family together (even Tater Tot) and looking up places we may want to live. I intended to bring us home Saturday but the agony of leaving hubby was greater than the responsibility and comfort of returning home even with the hotel having such terrible coffee.

We returned home yesterday and it was just as always, a smile crept across my lips at the familiarity of returning home. This morning that sigh slipped out as I enjoyed my casual routine of making my (excellent) coffee and helping to get the kids ready for school. But, this time I caught myself. The sigh was followed up with a ‘something’s missing’ feeling.

The big issue here is that this isn’t home. Neither is Atlanta. Hubby is home. All of us together is home. So, until that day comes that we are permanently together in one location, I am learning how to settle in to this temporary place of home/not home no matter where we are.

{HUG}

All the Love – Healing Touch for Animals

Umm hi. I’ve thought of you all often. I feel like I have been away from the blog forever when in reality it has probably only been about a week or so. Anyway, last weekend I took the Healing Touch for Animals level 1 course in Raleigh. All I can say is Wow. I have always loved animals, but we learned techniques to create such a deeper bond with them that I truly felt how we are intricately connected. I watched as skeptics of energy work ‘felt’ the energy and could not deny what they were experiencing. I watched (often tears eyed) as dogs and horses seemingly melted under the peace and love of the work that was being done with them. 

Most incredibly, I watched my crazed Tater Tot transform. I was invited to bring him to our dog class on Saturday. It felt like such a mistake once we were there. He was aggressively barking at the other dogs, he was snapping at anyone other than me that wanted to do work with him. I was highly stressed and while he occasionally settled down, it appeared he was pretty stressed too. By the time lunch was over, I was a mess. I couldn’t hold back the tears. Especially because while doing this work, we open ourselves up to healing too. I felt like a failure, like I was doing a disservice to the class, Tater Tot and myself. I felt like there was no hope and no end in sight to the training with Tater.

Next thing I knew I heard, “Tater is so lucky to have a patient mom like you.” Woah. What? Are you sure? I certainly hadn’t felt patient, but just hearing those words I thought back to how long he has been a part of the family and how calm I had remained through the first part of the class and I realized she was right. Why does it take someone else pointing out your good qualities before you can see them yourself?

Then, I hear again, “Tater is lucky you are his Mom. Can I come pet him?” Are you sure? Have you not seen how aggressive he is being? And, when he proved my point, she casually backed off and chuckled. No anger, no impatience at this crazy dog I have brought to class that is probably distracting her. Just acceptance, empathy and love. Wow.

Finally, after grabbing a few more tissues that I knew I would probably need before the end of class we started back up again. When we were asked to partner up with someone to do the next exercise on the dogs, I wondered who would get ‘stuck’ with me and Tater. I barely had the time to have that thought when I saw someone immediately crossing the room to me saying, “I want to work with you!” I am sure my face must have been gold. I just couldn’t believe someone would be so eager to work with us. (Wow, I really can be quite harsh on myself) She was so patient with both of us and we ended up having some amazing results.

Fortunately the class was quite small so the instructor (who happened to be the founder, Carol Komitor!) was able to do some extra work on Tater that she normally wouldn’t have the ability to do during a class. It was during an instruction piece so we all watched as Tater was given behavioral adjustment work. I wish I had taken pictures. I was in happy (bawling) tears as she worked on him. It was like I watched the fear give way as he relaxed into his natural loving state. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. She stated more than once how she wished she had more time to do the work to really get it to stick, but she gave me the gift of having the tools to be able to continue the work at home which I have done. 

He is truly a different dog – no strike that. He is the Tater Tot that I always knew he was. It was only masked by fear. We still have some work to do, but the majority of the difficult work is done. He is now a loving, peaceful integrated part of our family that we joyfully embrace rather than stressfully manage. 

There was so much kindness and love shown to me that weekend that my heart overflows. I am grateful to HTA. I am grateful to Carol Komitor. I am grateful to my classmates. I am grateful to Tater for the lessons he has taught me and the love he has shown me. I am grateful for my family for their patience and I am grateful for this amazing connection that I have now firsthand seen that we all are truly connected. 

With so much love,

{HUG}

Sisterhood of the Chihuahuas

I am having soooooo much fun witnessing kindness and love! Yeah! Why haven’t I done this sooner?!

Today I took my little Tater Tot to a park, then an ice cream shop, then another park. This is BIG news because up until a few weeks ago he barked at everything that came his way and taking him out to 3 different places would have been out of the question. He did so well today that he even let children come and pet him! (Trust me, that is huge!) So, when I brought him to the 3rd place, I probably should have thought it through a little more. 

It was crawling with screaming kids. The energy there was high and he had already been out and about for almost 5 hours. I know I am not at my best when I am tired, so if I had really thought it through I probably would have realized that I may have been asking too much of him. Still, he was doing great until a very young lab showed up. Then the barking began. I worked with him and continued with his training but all I could hear were kids saying, “look at that dog. He’s so loud” “why won’t he stop barking?” With a deep breath I continued. And, I could get him to settle every once in a while. Knowing how far he had come, I was actually quite impressed by his control and behavior despite what others may have been thinking. 

A woman was there with her 16 month old foster child. She looked at me compassionately and said, “I give you credit. I know how hard it is to work with chihuahuas. I have a chi mix myself.” She praised my efforts and we struck up a wonderful conversation most of which had nothing to do with dogs. After about 10 minutes of lots of patience on both our parts while trying to talk over Tater’s intermittent (LOUD) barks; quite a few more dogs started to show up. At this point Tater could no longer settle so it was time for us to go.  

As we were leaving I heard the woman say, “I think it’s great what you are doing. It’s important to try to acclimate them to new surroundings. Forget about these other people and any stares you are getting. You are doing a great job.”

Imagine how much more we could accomplish in this world if we all just encouraged each other more. Thank you loving, kind, compassionate stranger.

{HUG}

I see you.

I believe in the goodness of people. Even as the craziness of the world continues to unfold, my belief in people never wavers. I believe love wins. I not only believe that 99% of humans are capable of unbelievably kind acts, I believe that deep down inside they want to perform these kind acts every single day. Hell, I believe they are.

Every day I am a witness to these kind acts but I am usually so focused on my next task/event/thought that they don’t even register. I hope to change that. I hope to ‘catch’ good deeds every day. I already know of so many I want to share with you, but for this first day, I am going to keep it simple because a kind act does not have to take a lot of time, cost any money or be any sort of sacrifice on our part. 

Someone blessed me. I sneezed (quite embarassingly loud too, I might add) at the gas station and I was actually startled to hear a quite loud, “Bless you”. After I got over my fright and embarrassment, a smile crept up on my face as I thanked this faceless stranger. Simple. Kind. Loving. 

I can’t wait to see who else I ‘catch’.

{HUG}

Jedi Fighting and the art of living

We have a bit of a Star Wars obsession in this house. I know it doesn’t look like it, but that is my oldest playing Jedi fighting with Tater Tot. The stuffed dragon is his light saber. He just keeps saying, “Tater is a natural Jedi. He’s blocking all my shots!”   
Ahh kids. Imagination, creativity, fun. I envy those adults that are able to keep those qualities in their life. After all, we are not surviving this human adventure so why bother spending any of it in anything other than fun? I, for one, take everything too damn serious. I spend too much time in ‘what if’ followed by expectations that the outcome of that what if will be tragedy or terror. 

What if I spent my time only thinking of Now? There will be no outcome to expect.

What if I spent my time expecting greatness? How fun would that be?

What if I allowed myself to try and fail? 

What if I allowed myself to have fun and embrace the outcome rather than never try and simply worry about what ‘might’ be. 

Well, would you look at that?! That kind of resembles what it might look like to actually have a life. Because I can tell you firsthand, spending time in the what if’s is no life at all.

{HUG}

Hello?

We are on day 11. 11 days of no house showings in a market that is apparently saturated with buyers and homes are in bidding wars within days of going to market. 

So, in the great (altered) words of Lionel Richie:

Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?

‘Cause I wonder where you are

And I wonder what you do

Are you somewhere without a home, or is some home loving you?

Tell me how to win your heart

For I haven’t got a clue

But let me start by saying, I need you.
Read more: Lionel Richie – Hello Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

*Big breath*. Everything is in Divine Order.

{HUG}

Stop the Labels

I took one of those ridiculous Facebook quizzes the other day (I reluctantly admit to being a junkie) about whether you are a right-brained or left-brained person. I was confident in how it would turn out. Clearly I am right-brained. You know, creative, intuitive, whimsical. Imagine my utmost surprise when the results turned out…

50% right-brained 50% left-brained

What?!! Split down the middle. No, clearly something must be wrong. Oh, right, it’s just some ridiculous quiz from Facebook. Nothing to get worked up over, I mean there is probably no validation to these things anyway. Yet there I was very worked up over being split evenly. 

I was upset because I was certain I was right-brained. Yet, I was even more worked up because I officially wasn’t in a category. I needed the label. How else would I know how I should move forward in life. Should I be more analytical or should I remain my whimsical self? Who was I without the label? Holy crap. When I realized how much this bothered me I realized how much of my identity rested in what my labels are. 

Labels make us feel proud of things we are. They make us ashamed of ourselves. They keep us from fulfilling a life we have always dreamed of because that’s not who we are. They insist that we fulfill the life that is expected of us. Labels are a bunch of shit we made up to keep our ego fed. 

I am not my ego. I am not someone with multiple sclerosis. I am not a mother. I am not a wife. I am clearly not right or left brained. I am not a writer. I am not a college drop out. I am not beautiful. I am not a Leo. I am not a 40 year old white woman. 

I have experienced all of these things in my life. I will experience many more. I am witness to all of these things but the truth of who I am? I am everything. I am nothing. I am connected to you, this earth, the sky, the universe. And, we are love.

{HUG}