Book Writing Saturday

Sometimes writing is a lot like the way my mind works when I am walking with my dogs–a collection of random thoughts, a flood of images and phrases, moments of amazement and suffering, even of boredom. If these things are connected at all, it’s by the crazy maze my heart makes, the pattern of my breath, a map written in the blood ink of a warrior and traveled in dreams, both awake and asleep, only making sense in a way that’s beyond any language, but is still so completely true and knowable, tangible.

Walking with Dexter today, it was both an entirely new walk and every walk we’d ever taken. We were together and alone, completely connected in some moments, while in others we were limited to our ability to physically connect. I remembered, anticipated the grief that comes from one of us losing that physical reality, that body that can be known, seen and touched, and how when love loses its ability to attach to that, that reference point, that thing that can be held, we can become confused, lost, believing (wrongly so) that love goes with the body, that it ends there, with that physical separation. I spend now, this walk, memorizing his body, the way he moves, his soft fur with all it’s amazing colors, how serious he is about the walking but at the same time how much joy he feels doing it, the way he looks at me, his smile, his shadow, but also knowing that when that body is gone, the love we have will remain.

I stepped in poop while we were walking. It made me think, “when you don’t clean up after your dog, someone else will step in it.” It made me laugh, because that’s true about life in general, the choices we make: if you don’t clean up your mess, don’t tend to your shit, it will become someone else’s problem. Then when I got home and was cleaning up our own yard, actively dealing with my own shit, I managed to step in another pile, “my own” mess. If I continue with the metaphor, I’m not quite sure what that means–even when you are dealing with your issues, cleaning up after yourself, you might still get dirty, get hurt?

And later, inside, a post on Facebook from Your Inner Pilot Light, which said:

Love feels crazy vulnerable, doesn’t it? Love can drop you to your knees. Love can break your heart. Love can crush you if you let it. But what’s the alternative? Closing your heart? Shutting out love? Choosing fear instead? Nope. I know you, precious. And you know better. You know that love can also open you up. Love can make you giddy. Love leaves you feeling radically alive. Love improves your health. Love connects you, not just to other people, but to me, to Source. Love is the antidote to fear. What do you choose, darling?

I choose love, always love, which guarantees that I’ll be hurt. Maybe that’s the point, the pattern, the message of all the random thoughts, the moments big and small, the piles of shit, the love and the loss–life is beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible, but keep your heart open anyway, surrender to what is, stay awake, experience all of it. This is the way to live, to be fully alive. Of course, Dexter already knows all of this.

4 thoughts on “Book Writing Saturday

  1. j

    I think this is my favorite Jill post ever. I love your description of your dog walks, and especially this particular walk with Dexter. It’s so (beautifully, heartbreakingly) human for us to try to imprint the memory of a specific love, so we never forget, so we never lose it.

    Beautiful writing, Jill. Beautiful you.

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      Thank you, j. The forgetting is the hardest, and I know I will, even as hard as I’m trying to memorize everything about him, it’s happened before (I can’t remember the sound of my friend Kelly’s laugh, no matter how hard I try), and it will happen again, and that’s where my heart breaks, where it hurts.


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