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? #pet #animalcompanion

Trust your life plan

Many times in our lives we may find ourselves in situations that question all of our decisions. Then one day we may get an “Ah ha” moment that brings such clarity and understanding. Because of these gifts, I remind myself of this wisdom during uncomfortable times. I remind myself that in that one precious moment of decision, it felt right. So I choose to honor that, trust that, and I sit with the uncomfort as I choose to show up, day by day, keeping it real. The excitement and joy happens subtly and the confidence and trust in self grows. It’s easy to stay as-is even though gentle nudges are trying to get our attention. Change can be hard. But listen we must. Act we must. Or one day we wake up and realize we missed the boat. Get to know yourself. Trust yourself. Honor your nudges. Keep it about you and what you are choosing to do, or not do, and leave the blame game behind. Trust the process of your life. You are where you are supposed to be, right now. So, what do you choose?

Take pause…and feel

For some of us, dealing with anxiety and/or depression has been a roller coaster ride for much of our lives. We are up, we are down. We are on, we are off. When we feel good we want to hang onto those feelings and never let them go, sometimes to our own detriment. I mean can you blame us? Feeling good feels good and we don’t want it to end. When we feel that darkness starting to creep in, we ignore it. We may start to use some tools we know of to get back on track and we push forward. And then one day we pause. We may look over at our senior animal companion and feel immense sadness that they are changing…growing old and we cry. And with tears streaming down our faces we cry for all the change happening in our lives, in our world. We may cry because of pain, fear, sadness, joy. Whatever the reason, there is a freeing release. Depression/anxiety has been that gift for me.

Take time to acknowledge whatever feelings you have without judgment…and allow yourself the experience of having them. You will let them go when you are ready.


#feel

EGO is not our enemy

For so long I looked at certain traits in myself and I judged them. I told myself I needed to change. I told myself I needed to do better…be better. Until one day it clicked. All of these things I condemned in myself I realized were my gifts to the world. When I started to finally embrace these traits and see them as gifts, I stopped apologizing for who and what I was. It was in this moment, I felt free to find opportunities that support my gifts. For instance, I used to say I needed to work on myself and have less ego especially when I would think to myself “Look at me…see me.” Even as a teacher, I judged myself because I did better when I was observed. One day, it hit me.  My whole life I pretended to be putting on a show. As a child most of my imaginary play was based on me being watched and there was a time I thought for sure I would grow up to be a famous actor. When I had my AH HA moment, I turned it around and declared “I love to perform and have an audience. ” I turned a perceived negative trait into a positive one.  When we truly love and accept all of our idiosyncrasies and unique ways of being in the world, we realize these are our gifts. This is our unique puzzle piece to the whole in which we are all needed. When we have such love and acceptance for ourself, this energy goes out into the world as love and acceptance. Hold your head up high…celebrate ALL of you today. Only good can come of it.

Us vs. Them

The us vs. them mentality just doesn’t work and it leaves us in a perpetual state of victimhood and duality. It is much harder, yet more empowering and rewarding, when we take our issues directly to the source of our discontent and have a crucial conversation with positive intent.

What positive intent means is this. Instead of going to someone full of rage and accusation, which keeps others on the defense and problems not solved, instead try approaching them with compassion. That means doing our work first. That means asking what this is bringing up for us. This is our stuff. Once we are honest with ourselves and we have more understanding, we are ready for a crucial conversation.

I will tell you what is easy. It is easy to sit behind the computer and blame and accuse others. It is easy to gossip. It is easy to spread rumors. It is easy to blame others for our discontent. It is easy to buy into everything we read that reaffirms the us vs. them mentality. Yet, it is also extremely disempowering and leaves us feeling more lost, scared and disconnected.

Take time today to open our hearts and see the good in all. The happiness this brings is indescribable.

#restorativepractices