In memory of Sweeper 2005-2018

She was lost, I remind myself. I watched her decline over the year and every time I thought this might be it, after a bad week, she bounced back and appeared to be herself.

Kind of.

She still walked into walls, got stuck in odd places, didn’t know if I was home or not, twitched, paced, walked in circles but she didn’t appear to be suffering or hurting. I remember one time, there were so few lately, I walked onto the porch and she looked up at me, right at me. There you are! I beamed. She beamed!

Those moments were rare and worth it. I was told it’s her brain. I often wondered…her quality of life…sleeping all day, incontinence, but she ate, kind of. Sure, I felt I had to bring the bowl to her mouth at times or help her locate her water…but she didn’t appear to be suffering. At times I tried to walk her, even though it was about two houses down before we returned. I brought her up to me and snuggled (as she always loved before) and tried to guide her but mostly she wanted down, to wander, stare, walk in circles, pace, until she made it to her bed.

I pushed all feelings aside for a year, found myself snapping at others, irritable, and it weighed on me. Is she in her private hell? I tried to read what she wanted or needed in each moment but she appeared lost.

I took a day off and the night before, she started to cry. She stood there in her bed, not wanting to lie down, look at how skinny she is. You’re not happy. I picked her up and rocked and snuggled with her until she fell asleep.

As usual, in the middle of the night, I woke up to her crying. I helped get her settled and the next day, my day off, she just started crying while standing in her bed. I tried to rock her, no good, she kept crying, whining.

I made the call.

I wrapped her up and rocked her until she fell asleep. She stopped crying.

Dearest Sweeper, I have missed you for a year. My jogging partner, my therapy dog, my ‘go everywhere we go’ girl, my protector, my friend, my excited and happy and friendly and jumping up and down, sweet and accepting mate. I have so missed you. It hits me, the painful year, where I pushed all my feelings aside a lot, hits me hard and I can’t stop crying. I miss you so much.

The guilt that comes with saying goodbye looks at me squarely in the face, and so I write. Sweeper, have you been found?

Thanksgiving thoughts

As I take time off for Thanksgiving break, I am reminded of all I am grateful for. I know some of you are struggling, sick, depressed, hurting in some way. For that reason, the Holidays can be a challenging and sad time for some. Please take comfort in knowing, this too shall pass. In my most painful moments in my life, when I was in it, it felt like it would last forever. There appeared no end in sight. It was scary and overwhelming.

I can’t know exactly how You feel.

I can’t.

I can only share that I have lived through my own terror – surprised that I made it. During my most challenging times, I reached out and asked for help. I allowed myself to feel and grieve. When ready, I allowed myself the pleasure of distraction, if only for a second, and turned away from the dread. I listened to myself. I looked into the mirror and gave a hug and declared “I love you.” When I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, I focused on all that I was thankful for…and one day, I realized I didn’t need to try anymore. It passed … and this continues to be the case.

No matter where you are at, I send you so much love during this time of Thanksgiving.

The mirror

I am coming up on 20 years of marriage and 23 years together. In looking back, I am most grateful that Will didn’t quit on me. I am most grateful for the mentors and teachers along the way. When I would cry my eyes out and blame him for this or that, I was guided to the most aware teachers in my life. They would often stop me in my tracks and return the focus back on me. They would ask me, “what is this bringing up for you?” They would ask all the right questions until I remembered that I was the master of my happiness and the sky was the limit.

Will is my best friend. He has been the most perfect mirror reflecting back to me all that I could conceive. I have chosen to love one day at a time. I have chosen to show up. I have chosen to forgive time and again as he has had to as well.

When we met my capacity to accept and give unconditional love was very low but I had no idea at the time.

23 years later, my heart is so full…full of love, acceptance and an excitement of new beginnings for our next exciting chapter. The sky is the limit and I am so grateful I have you, my best friend, to walk this journey with me.

REWIND, Create a New Story

Many of us have an experience. And in that experience, we determine if we want to experience it again. We make a statement about it and we create a story that determines our path ever after.

Let me give you a personal example. I once tried a yoga class. It was so hard and rigorous that my legs and arms were shaking as I left the class. At the time, I was experiencing anxiety in my life. This shaking created more anxiety for me, thinking something must be wrong with me. So the story I created was that I hate yoga classes and they are not for me. If I did yoga, it was at my own at home and it was a routine that worked for me.

The end.

Or so I thought.

There came a time in my life when I wanted to change my life. I wanted to create more joy, adventure and fun. So I imagined my new life on a regular basis, the one I wanted to create, and I set my intent. One day I was about to tell this yoga instructor that she could take me off her mailing list, that yoga classes are not for me. And I paused. I asked myself, “Why not?” Needless to say, I went to her class and loved it so much, I now cannot imagine not going to her yoga class. This happened because I was open to change. I was open to creating a new story.

Our story, the one we continue to remind ourself of, dictates our behavior which in turn creates our experiences. What if you decided to change your story? What If you decided to create a new one? What If? I dare you.

Beating up on Self



Beating up on self.
We do that.

 A lot.

If a friend came up to you and confessed a painful moment, a moment she is not proud of, what would you say to her? Would you berate her, tell her she is worthless, nothing? Would you remind her of all of her mistakes over and over again?

Would you, instead, tell her to go easy, be gentle, let it go, we all make mistakes? Would you remind her that in that moment, that was where she was at, but she has grown and is a better person today? Would you remind her of all the good she has contributed to the planet just by being who she is or would you just focus on her perceived faults or mistakes? Would you remind her that every single person on this planet makes mistakes, has good and bad (a shadow self) but loving ALL parts is the greatest gift you could give to yourself and to the planet?

What kind of friend are you to yourself?





Perception

This weed flower (and it’s unique strength) I saw this morning reminded me of a poem titled “Perception” I wrote in 1996:

we walk thru the fields
and all we see are the weeds
growing, expanding
spreading through all of the land
until that is all we see

we forget about the flowers
the trees
the crystal blue-white sky
sometimes we wonder about them……

we look again at the weeds
and we see the beauty in them
we see them dance
knowing their place in the world

and as we sit there
gazing at their perfection
and beauty
they start to fade

and all that is left is
the crystal blue-white sky
the magnificent, colorful flowers
the trees…

Copyright (c) 1996 Kimberly McCandless