Friday, August 28, 2009

Where We Are

As I write to you, I am sitting aboard a rocky ship which is bound for Victoria, British Columbia. On Saturday, my four Angels, my husband, my father, my step-mom, and I embarked on a journey through Seattle, to several ports in Alaska. We are now on our way to the quaint little city of Victoria. I love it there.
It has been an interesting adventure, so far, filled with glaciers, rain, stormy seas, lots of food, and a first place win in a Blackjack tournament for me!
I will return very shortly with memories and stories of my reflections at sea. There is something about the ocean that draws my very soul to the surface of my being. Until then, be well, be safe and give yourself time to just be.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Legacy of Michael Vick?

Micah, dubbed "a drug lord's dream dog" by our veterinarian because of his impressive DNA, is now approximately seven months old. Strong, majestic, loyal, and trusting, his genetic heritage consists of three breeds. Fifty percent Rottweiler, twenty-five percent Doberman Pincer, and twenty-five percent Pit-Bull. If someone like Michael Vick had gotten his hands on Micah, or one of his four other litter-mates, it is entirely possible that this puppy would have become "bait" in a horrendous cycle of torture, known as a dogfighting ring. In the wrong hands, this loving angel of a pup could have become something entirely different. Something filled with desperation and anger and venom. And no one would have ever known that it is in Micah's nature to do nothing but love.
I do not ordinarily write about public figures or major news stories. I leave that to the other bloggers. My world is fairly small, and so I write about the things that directly affect me, my family or my wonderful readers. Most of the time I have a cat snuggled up on my lap, mischievous paws typing miscellaneous combinations of letters on the keyboard, or a dog snoozing securely by my side. I am that kind of person. I don't think I have been completely alone in a room since 1975. To me, our animals are the souls of our homes. And yet, there are individuals out there, like Michael Vick, who think that they can justify the abuse of these wonderful creatures by whining about their own messed up childhoods. After hearing about Michael Vick's reinstatement by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, I looked down at my puppy, Micah. And I felt remorse that somehow, the value of his life had been regretfully downgraded by society. Yes, I understand that Mr. Vick went to jail and served out most of his twenty-three month sentence, but what does all of that mean if he is then released from prison and accepted back into society, as if nothing ever happened? Shouldn't the NFL Commissioner and everyone else who thinks that Vick is such a worthy talent deserving of another chance, wait to see what he does to right his own wrongs? He went to prison. That was societies way of punishing Mr. Vick. An apology, more than likely composed by spin-doctors, worded in a way that should make us feel sorry for him, is just not enough. This man should be shunned, and shunned in a huge way. Talent in one area of someone's life should not excuse them from being a kind and decent and moral human being. Michael Vick is none of those things. He is a cold, heartless, vicious victim of his own circumstances, just like Micah would have been had Vick gotten ahold of him. The major difference is that Vick had a choice. But he decided to become everything that he, himself, disdained about his own upbringing.
Mr. Vick, if this seven month old puppy who was, incidentally, left to starve for the first few weeks of his life by some disgusting human beings much like yourself, can rise above his own start in life, why couldn't someone with the God-given talents that you seem to have, risen above his? I look at the photos of you that are being published in the newspapers and on the Internet. I have looked into your eyes, Mr. Vick. I can see who you are. I can see into your soul. Do you believe that you can really change what is imbedded in your soul?
If the wrongs that were done to us during our childhoods became the basis of how we live our lives, this world would be an even more ruthless place than it is now. It is about choice, Mr. Vick. It is about experiencing the bad, but choosing to live the good, anyway.

Micah has a wonderful life. And in spite of all of the Michael Vicks out there, he will live out his life with love and security and joy. My heart goes out to all of Vick's dogs who are still alive and are healing from the hell that he put them through. May God bless those who worked with or adopted them. Your love is what will heal these dogs.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Meditations on Observation

I spend a lot of time in quiet observation. There has never been a time in my life, when I have done more of this than during the past eighteen months. When my brother died on February 17, 2008, something inside of me withered and crumbled, leaving behind a spirit that was scarred in a way that even I could not fully comprehend. And I am now beginning to understand how incredibly hurt my soul has been. How deeply damaging my own mother's behavior was to my fragile psyche during a time when all I really needed, was someone to mother me. I had never asked for or even expected it before. I knew that in so many ways, she was incapable. But oh how I needed a mother during that time, and oh how she betrayed such a simple petition. All has been forgiven. Because I chose to. Because I knew that it was the right thing to do. Because I could not be the one to leave my own mother, childless. But even now, I am writing through the pain. It runs through my body like thick mud through a very narrow canal, pulsating against the margins of skin. Thick with betrayal and sadness and confusion.

So, I thin it down with forgiveness. I speak to her, I see her, I listen to her. I love her, but I just cannot like her. She has caused me too much pain over the course of my forty-seven years. And yet she clings to me. She tells me that spending time with me is like medicine for her, without even realizing that it is toxic for me. I hate this. I want it to be different, but it cannot be. She has done too much harm and all that I can offer her is forgiveness.

So, I retreat into the realm of quiet observation. I observe short vignettes into the lives that go on around me. I quietly watch, hoping to catch a glimpse of something that will heal my wounded heart. I know what a healthy relationship looks and feels like, because I have created and nurtured many in my life, but still, there is something missing that should be there. And I mourn its loss, even while it is still alive.

I have recently begun catching up on all of the health-related appointments that I skipped during the past year. Our family has been going to the same dentist for over fifteen years. When he asked me why I had missed a cleaning, I admitted something to him while admitting it to myself. For the past year and a half, I had checked out. I stopped going to all of the appointments that I was so good about going to in the past. I did not do it consciously, but in some ways, it was a mindful decision. I was not interested in dealing with the body, when the spirit felt so lost. My chronic illness exacerbated this by allowing me to wallow in the physicality of my pain. It began to feel as if I was giving up, fading away, giving in. And then I went to the dentist, and after finding out that he wants me to come back again sooner than normal, something in my soul shook loose. I realized that I was falling behind in my life. I began to realize that I was observing my own life from a kind of detached, other-worldly place, and that if I continued on that path, the result could be devastating. So yesterday, I went back to the gynecologist for the first time since 2007 and I now have plans to get my mammogram, get back to my hematologist/oncologist every three months for blood work and to visit my dermatologist to get checked for any suspicious sun damage. After sending my dear husband, Mark, in to find out how to combat any further sun damage, and then finding out yesterday, that he has a very mild form of skin cancer that must be removed from the bridge of his nose, my world of observation became an even more dangerous place. It is time to do more than just observe.

So as I slowly make my way back up to the surface of my life, here are a few of the observations that I made over the past year and a half. May they serve as reminders for us all.
Toss away negative feelings in the same way that you might throw a ball. Physically find a way to let them go, whether it be by throwing some rocks into the ocean, or releasing a balloon into the air. Utilizing a physical symbol to sustain the idea that we are letting go, is a good way to reinforce it.
Create lots of memories and then photograph them. I cannot tell you how comforting the pictures that I have of myself with my brother are. There are just not enough of them. Take lots of pictures. Be absolutely sure to include yourself in them. Oh and do not worry about scrapbooking or putting them in albums. It's the memories that are crucially important, not how you file them away.
Look for beauty in the beliefs and traditions of others while still honoring your own. There is so much to be gleaned from observing the things that give meaning to lives of others. This woman held my attention for quite some time. The way that she looked in her sari made me wish that I could wear one, too.
Try to view the time spent waiting, as perfect timing. Recently, a friend wrote about an incident in which she avoided being involved in a car accident that occurred a few cars ahead of her because she was running a few minutes late. The Universe has timing that we cannot possibly understand.
Accept your own beauty in the same way that you appreciate the beauty that you observe in others. I might not be the exact weight that I would like to be, at this point in time, but so what. I am here, I am alive and I am wonderful.(There. Now I said it, so you can, too!)
Take comfort in the arms of those you love and who love you. To me, there is nothing better than a genuine, heart-felt hug.
Enjoy the company of someone else. Absorb each other's energy. Discover the things that are important to the other person. Collect sea glass!
Never stop searching for more. We will never know what we can possibly know unless we continue to be curious.
As I move forward into another phase of my life, one in which I promise to be a better mother to myself, I know that I will continue to observe. It is what I do. It is how I make sense of the world. It is how I metabolize meaning. But I will also continue to force myself to become more proactive. It will still take some time for the dull ache which has consumed my soul for the past year and a half to subside, but I will remain more aware of it and what it does to my life. And like a good mother, I will schedule all of those appointments that I neglected in 2008, and I will get my blood work drawn whether it hurts me or not.(It does.) I will check back into life. Slowly, steadily with both observation and action.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Reason

The reason my soul feels as if it can take off and fly at any given moment. The reason that I have and always will believe. The reason that I can trust with all of my heart.

The reason I can keep my feet planted firmly on the ground.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

When Love Crosses Your Path

There are times when love just happens to cross the path that we are walking along, causing us to momentarily lose our breath when we least expect it. There we are, just strolling along while seemingly minding our own business and WHAM, time stands still before we can even find the comprehension to metabolize what just happened. Who we truly need, at that exact moment in time, somehow strolls(or in this case, struts) right into our life and before we know it...LOVE causes our heart to skip a beat and a new story is written.

Angel Daughter Number Two came across that kind of love, fairly recently, when this tiny black and white bundle of fur caused her to stop in her tracks on her way home one evening. There he was. All alone and vulnerable and frightened, and there she was, journeying into a new phase of her life feeling much the same. When I received the phone call telling me that she had just rescued a scared and lonely kitten, I knew that it was too late for reversal. Serendipity, kismet, destiny, LOVE. Who would I be to interfere with all of that? And so, Rex's path intersected with that of AD2. They have been walking together ever since.
Except on certain weekends, when AD2 is busy. That's when she drops him off with me and I get to experience the energy and joy of a kitten without inheriting another cat. For now, this is as close to a grandchild as I want to get and it's definitely good practice. I get to love Rex up and then send him home.

This weekend when I was baby sitting for my grandkitty, I noticed something quite extraordinary about him. Do you see it? Look closely...

Right there, in the center of his back is a perfect heart.
How incredibly unusual it seems to me, for love to step right out into our path, while wearing its heart on its own sleeve, so to speak. When I pointed this out to AD2, she was mesmerized by both its obviousness and obscurity.

Maybe this has to do with the fact that love is often obvious and obscure and blind. Love is a feeling. A simple rush of hormones set flooding into the body to let us know that something quite obvious has just occurred. Yet love is also quite obscure, reminding us that it isn't something that crosses our paths everyday.

How lovely it is when love is not only imprinted upon the soul, but visually manifested, as well.

Serendipity, indeed.
Related Posts with Thumbnails