Monthly Archives: March 2014

Looking with Eyes of Love.

momma and baby

Last night, we went to the grocery store to get supplies for our Mexican inspired dinner. As we waited in line, which seems to take longer than expected, we both were observing the people all around us, from cashiers to customers to baggers. At one point, Brenda asked me what I thought it would be like, to look upon every person, and to accept them just as they are?

As I thought about that, and started to be aware of how I was actually viewing others, I looked more lovingly at others around me. It really made a difference. I looked differently at the man in line in front of us who had a lot of coupons; I looked differently at the woman behind us who seemed annoyed and angry at the children who were with her; I looked differently at the person who was bagging the groceries at the end of the counter. I seemed to be looking upon them all with eyes of love.

Looking at the world, and the people and circumstances in it, with eyes of love, is a scary task. At first, I want to say how difficult it is, to look at others around us and to accept them as they are. Yet, as I have said here before, it isn’t necessarily that it is difficult to do. More accurately, to my way of thinking at least, we are afraid to look at the world with eyes of love, all the time. Actually, I don’t think it is possible to look at the world through eyes of love all of the time. I am too filled with fear. My fears have diminished over the years, and I feel more assured to live in the world as my authentic self more than ever before. However, I am still afraid.

The plain truth of it is, is that when I see someone in the world, that I want to cast a judgment upon, it is because that is a judgment that I hold toward myself. So, when I see a person in the grocery store and I judge them for taking a long time in line, or because I find them to be annoying, that is because I am afraid of the annoyance that I am putting upon the world. When I judge that person, it is a prime opportunity for me to declare war upon myself, for some shortcoming that I see in myself.

We make it about the people around us so many times, yet, it is really all about us, and how we view ourselves. We are universal beings, yet we tend to forget that in most moments of the day. Let me say that again: We are Universal beings. We are ALL connected.

There has been many times in my life, prior to a few short years ago, when I would say that I knew that we were universal, that we were all connected, yet in my mind, I would be judging others as being separate than me. My thoughts and my words did not match up AT ALL. I was being a hypocrite, while say all of the right things. It wasn’t out of malice, and there was definitely a desire to connect with others, and see how we are all one. It was that the thought of being connected to others was so frightening and overwhelming to think about. I mean, what if I say I am connected to or just like the person that murders? The person that hits their children? The person that uses drugs or abandons their families?

The beauty in all of that for me now, is that we are one another. We are all one. I deeply believe that now. However, there are many moments when I forget that it is the real truth. When I look upon those around me with eyes of judgment. When I find a reason that I believe is justified, to be separate from those around me.

So, there will always be someone around to remind me of how connected we really are. Whether it is my love in the grocery store, my cat being in the last stages of life, or me reminding myself of what I really believe. I don’t have to do it perfectly, I just have to remind myself as often as possible that we really are all connected.

And remember that looking upon the world with eyes of love means that I am also loving myself.

sun-energy

Advertisements

Only a Body.

1461542_10200988847869636_1060254563_n

I have been thinking so deeply over the last few months about death and dying. Between having a health issue that I was worrying about, thinking about my own aging process, and the deaths of a friend to suicide, and my beloved Felix, it has been a topic that feels closer than usual. And, besides the circumstances around me bringing it more to mind, I have found myself drawn to the subject of death and my feelings around it.

There is no doubt that my feelings around it have changed; changed in the sense that I am deepening my understanding of what death is, and what my fears are around it. There are a couple of specific parts of death, and all that is involved in the process, that are new and peaceful revelations for me.

First, I have deepened my understanding and acceptance of how close to death I am in every moment. We all are. We are literally one breath away from physical death, in every moment. As I consider that more deeply at this stage in my life, I appreciate the moments even more so, the moments that are here, on earth, among my loved ones and friends, doing work that I enjoy and playing fully and happily. There are times that I believe that this is all a dream, an illusion, and that the life that I am living is all in mind. However, even if that is the case, I enjoy living it. So, presence of moment is more important to me than ever.

The other way in which I have been considering death, is that I don’t have to live in fear anymore, at least not as much. I don’t have to complete countless diagnostic tests, just in case I am prone to some disorder that has come down through my family, yet I may never have it myself. I don’t have to worry that if I don’t eat precisely a certain way; go to the doctor and take medicines; or miss a day of exercise, that I will shorten my chances of a long life. I may, indeed, not live to be 90. Yet, I don’t worry on that so much anymore. I want to live a life that is full, rich and free of concern about what comes next.

Felix and her death has taught me a specific lesson regarding death, and the body. After she died, we brought her body home from the vet’s office, because we both felt as if we would want to bury her, rather than have her cremated. Both Jamie and I have had several pets over the years, that are buried on the property that I lived on with her. I wanted to have Felix buried there, with her friends. But, right now, in Northeastern Pennsylvania, there is still snow on the ground, and in most spots, is frozen solid. So, on Tuesday night, when we brought her home, we wrapped her lovingly in a scarf of Brenda’s; put her into a bag, and placed her on a bed of ice and snow in a large blue cooler. That cooler is on our porch until we can bury her.

It felt weird at first, to put her body in there, and now, to walk by it every day as I go to work and return home. I have even been opening the lid each day, to make sure that there is still plenty of snow left. Yet, she isn’t in that bag, in that cooler, out on the porch. She is not in that body.

After all, what is in that cooler, what I walk around in, it is only a body. When she left this place, just like when I do one day, what stays behind of me is not the physical body that I was appearing to be in. What is all around this house, in every room, and in the air and in my dreams, is her spirit, her light, her voice and bright eyes. Felix’ soul is every where here, and she surrounds me, as do all of the souls of my loved ones who have passed on. What we bring to this world is so much more than flesh.

When we remember where we come from, we remember that we are light, soul, and part of everything.

ID-10037009

Goodbye.

1000794_794_102

My darling cat, Felix, her journey on this earth, in this life, ended yesterday. After listening to my inner voice, the one telling me to have her here with us, it became clear that she no longer could bear what her body was going through. And, all of us were suffering, in many ways.

The decision to take Felix to be put to sleep was easy, and hard at the same time. We had wanted so much to be with her, right to the point of her last breath, and have her here in the house with us. We wanted to be present to the fact that creatures in nature die every day, and wanted to allow for the natural process to take place. That plan ended up not being how it would turn out. Yet, it was one of the most moving experiences of my life.

Yesterday morning, when I came downstairs, she was lying on a blanket, still, and not making much noise. It didn’t seem as if she could move easily. She was purring, but also seemed to be very uncomfortable. I hated to leave her to go to work, and after getting halfway to the office, I pulled over to let go of the struggle of feeling like I had to decide, between home and work. I returned to my peaceful center, and when I did that, realized that I need do nothing.

Last night, my love and I took Felix to the vet’s office, the doctor to whom she has been going her entire life, which is close to 18 years. We carried her in a basket, wrapped up in a blanket, and the whole ride, I was still not wanting to decide. I was pissed. I was sad. I was full of such deep grief and confusion and disbelief. Yet, I knew that we were heading right where we needed to be. And, Felix knew that too. She didn’t complain; she looked at me, she moaned a little here and there, and we all knew that it was the right day to say goodbye.

No matter how much we know we are making the right decision, it is still so difficult to let go. That was part of why we took her; NONE of us were ready to let go, including Felix. Her body was shutting down, she couldn’t move, and she was still holding on, looking into our eyes, purring right up to her last breath.

Coming home, with her, brought a new set of feelings, of loss and deep missing. I miss her so much. I miss seeing her on the kitchen chair, waiting for us to come down. How she would chase my feet under the covers of the bed, and spit when she got really excited. How she would lay down on command. How she knew how deeply she was loved, always.

Death is a part of this existence, that we all will encounter, that none of us can avoid; yet it is so hard for me to grasp at times, and even come to acceptance. Yet, this goodbye, this process that we all have gone through, is one of the most beautiful moments of my life. To care for such a beautiful creature, to be with her through one of the most challenging journeys, and to know that we did it while standing firmly in love.

I love you, beautiful Felix. Always.

new pictures 053

Thoughts on Death, Dying, and What we REALLY know.

ID-100113575

I love cats. Since I was in my early teens, I have always owned at least one. Right now, in our house on the hill, we have four cats. Two that I brought when we moved in, one that my love has raised since a baby, and one who lived outside until this winter when he joined our family.

What I love about cats is their independent nature, as well as their need to be loved and attended to. When they don’t want to be bothered anymore, they go their own way. I love petting and stroking them, holding them in my lap, and my one kitty lays on her back for me to rub her belly.

It goes way beyond just love and admiration, however. For me, I know that I am deeply connected to my animals. I have felt that way about animals for most of my adult life, in part because of my Native American roots that I stay close to. I know deeply that I can sense what is going on with the nature world around me, and I respond accordingly. Cats are no different to me in that realm.

My one cat, Felix, is close to 18 years old. She is named such because she reminded me of Felix the Cat, the cartoon character, when we rescued her after the people next door moved out in the night and left her behind. She was just a baby, scared and cold, and we scooped her up and brought her into our lives. She has moved six times with me; she has been sick to the point of being near death twice; and she is often scared of her own shadow. I absolutely adore her.

For the last two weeks, we have seen a steady decline in her health. She is barely eating, she sometimes cannot make it to the litter box, and her back legs are failing her. She meows less often, and she doesn’t move much. So, two weeks ago, I started thinking about what I might do, to consider whether or not I wanted to have her put to sleep. It felt like a real struggle at first.

I have taken pets to be euthanized before. It is as humane as it can be, considering you are deciding to put a living creature to death in an intentional way. However, it is an awful experience. I tell myself that it is the way to put my pet out of her misery and pain, but it is deeper than that. On a very truthful level, by making the choice to take her there, I am choosing to end my own pain of watching her die.

The truth is, I don’t know for sure if Felix is in pain, or what her experience is. I may not know intellectually what she wants, but I do know my cat. And, I know she wants to be home, with us, until her last breath. When I come in the kitchen, which is where she is all the time now, I hear her start to purr from across the room. She wants to be with us, whether she can walk, or meow, or even eat. She wants her family, and to be loved until she transitions to her next room.

Death is many things to many people, and who knows what really happens when any of us breath our last breath. What I do know, is that I am not as afraid of it as I have been before. I believe that it will come when it does, to all of us, and in the meantime, I don’t need to be afraid to embrace all aspects of life that come before that. I can love, and grieve, and keep breathing, and know that I can always choose peace.

We all can.

ID-10052124

Just Ask.

question mark

I am travelling for my job this week, and while I enjoy the trips, and the opportunity to see new places, eating when I am away from home can be a challenge. Besides being tempted to snack constantly in the car on the way from and back home, and the necessity to eat less freshly prepared food as I would have at home, I had a new challenge this trip. I have recently adopted eating a mostly vegan way of life, and that has been an interesting transition.

I did the basics, right? I looked up on the internet the places that are vegan, or at least, vegetarian friendly, and pretty local to where I am staying. Sounds simple, but the options, although there were a few, were limited for an area that appears to be a larger city than where I live. So, I knew that if I didn’t want to go far from my hotel, and also not be so limited in my choices, I would need to go to a place local to the hotel, and ask for what I wanted, and needed.

ASK FOR WHAT I WANT. What a concept.

I am not making light of this, believe me. I know how difficult we can make it, particularly myself, in this case, to ask for what I want. I recall a time when I was a college student, and was going through the lunch line. I had asked for a cheeseburger, and I was given a hamburger. Although my friend who was with me insisted that I go back and get what I asked for, I didn’t want to bother anyone. I didn’t want to be uncomfortable, to stand up and ask for what I really wanted.

That theme has continued throughout my life, in many different scenarios. It was easy in situations when I got what I wanted to begin with; then I never had to speak up. But in those in which I had to specifically ask for what I wanted, or needed, I would often, instead of that, go along with whatever was offered to me. I would be happy with that, but not completely satisfied.

The place where it got most tricky for me though, is that then I would blame the other person, for one reason or another, for not giving me what I wanted. Either I thought that they could literally read my mind; or that they must have been able to tell from the “signals” I was giving them what I really wanted. I always found a way to make it about the other person, rather than myself and what I needed to do differently.

Today, I know deeply what I can do differently, and what I want to do differently. I know that I want to not only not blame other people for me not getting what I want. Bigger than that, is that I want to ASK for what I want, with a feeling of self assuredness and humility. Will I always get what I want as a result of that? Who knows. What I do know, though, is that having my voice, and using it in a way that is loving and respectful, to myself and others, is the only way to be my true self in the world.

kids playing<img