Category Archives: Gratitude

#reverb13: Day 11

reverb13Project Reverb prompt: “FAIL | What just didn’t work out this year? Is that okay with you? Or are you going to try, try again?”

Taking on too much. All you’d have to do is walk into my office at home right now and you’d be able to see it, the chaos and the overwhelm. It doesn’t work out, but I keep doing it. I posted on Facebook yesterday that “I’m feeling like the Jenga tower must feel at that moment when no matter what piece the next player pulls, the whole thing is going to come down.”

I continue to aspire to pare down, lower the bar, simplify, but saying “no” to really good stuff is hard. Right now I am in an Intuitive Eating book group, getting daily emails from four holiday programs (all intended to bring calm, ease to the season), taking part in all three Reverbs, and I took on an extra three people to buy gifts for. Oh yeah, and I have a full time job.

I also failed taking care of my body this year. I haven’t fed it what it wanted, when it wanted. I haven’t given it the rest it needs but rather pushed it past its limits. I haven’t let it move the way it wants to. I was talking with my trainer yesterday, and clarified something for myself by saying it out loud to him — My body actually wants 2-3 hours of intentional movement a day. I’m one of those people who actually loves exercise, getting out and moving around. Even on a rest day, my body at least wants a walk. And yet, because I am so busy and tired, I can’t give it this. I push and then I struggle.

It all boils down to this: I haven’t been honoring my hunger or fullness, in any aspect of my life.

Reverb13 prompt: “What challenges lie ahead in 2014? How might you meet them boldly?”

The challenges that I’m aware of: Yoga teacher training, an ebook about self-compassion, a new (to us) dog, spending money more mindfully, resisting ecourses and new books, new responsibilities at CSU, continuing to practice intuitive eating, working with anxiety that keeps showing up, a crisis of confidence and an awareness that love is never safe.

How to meet them boldly? Show up, keep my heart open, be present, pace myself, soothe and comfort myself when I feel overwhelmed, practice self-compassion, honor my hunger and my fullness in all areas of my life.

Besottment Prompt: “10 things you were thankful for in 2013?”

Besides the 5-6 things I’ve listed each week in my Gratitude Friday lists,

  1. Eric — how could I do it, any of it, without him?
  2. Sam — he’s helped me through my grief twice now.
  3. Dexter’s easy death, the extra time we had with him.
  4. Friendship, love and connection, support and guidance.
  5. Self-compassion, for all those who’ve taught me and for the chance to practice.
  6. Kind and gentle readers.
  7. Intuitive eating.
  8. Smart phones — I was skeptical, but now I can’t imagine not having it.
  9. Financial stability, in a time when it seems so many are struggling.
  10. All the good things, all the amazing people and the brilliant stuff they create and do. I make a list every Monday and am always gobsmacked.

Day of Rest

*sigh*

This picture is the last one I took at Lee Martinez Park, the place we walk almost every day, sometimes twice. On that morning, that walk, I had no idea that the next day would be the day Dexter died. I knew it was coming, we’d known for a year it was on its way, but on that particular morning it still felt unknown, uncertain, undetermined.

We haven’t been back to Lee Martinez since Thursday morning, the last time we walked there with Dexter, the walk we took knowing it would be our last. We’ve been to City Park, Big South Trail, and this morning we walked at Colorado State University, but we haven’t been back to “our park.” It still feels too hard, too sad.

We’ve managed other grief hurdles. Eric cleaned the living room floor yesterday. The raw wood in that room was covered with tiny spots where Dexter’s nose had dripped, (because of his cancer, he basically had a constant runny nose). I washed some of the blankets from his bed, along with his Little D baby, (I’d originally planned to have him cremated with Big D but in the end I couldn’t stand to lose them both). Eric brought home his ashes, and I put those on top of his mostly empty crate, along with his collar and a clay paw print.

memorialWhen I’m able to, I’ll open the ashes and put some in the urns I have that contain Obi’s ashes (one is on my writing desk and another on my meditation shrine) — I left room for Dexter so they’d be together again, they loved each other so much.

pawprints

I still haven’t been able to put clean sheets on our bed (the ones that are there were slept on by Dexter) and his toothbrush is still on the counter, and I’m still putting a tiny offering of food in his bowl every time I feed Sam. I know it’s silly, but I was devastated yesterday when I went out to do poop patrol in the backyard and couldn’t find any of Dexter’s. I was so sad that I’d never get to pick up anymore of his poop — that’s a crazy kind of love.

Eric has been dealing with his grief, in part, by cooking. Yesterday, he made three pies. We did a pie drive by to our friends’ house last night because even as much as I love pie, we couldn’t eat it all ourselves.

griefpie

Jamie Ridler’s mom, who also had cancer, passed the day after Dexter. Jamie invited me a few weeks ago to do a guest post in honor of her mom, the prompt being something her mom had recently said, “It’s not about being tough, it’s about being tender.” I have so much to say about that, will be finishing up my post and sending it to sweet Jamie later today. These losses (something we all face as we live and love), this prompt, has me thinking about how important it is that we have confidence in our basic goodness, the essential wisdom and compassion and power that rests in each of us, that we practice self-compassion and keep our hearts open, knowing that life is beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible.

In this audio recording, Pema Chödrön talks about basic goodness. She tells a story about burnt cookies and a fox that is such a great metaphor for how we can approach difficulty — we can allow ourselves to become hard, closed off, or we can stay open to reality, to be present for whatever might arise. Yes this means we will be vulnerable, we’ll get hurt, but we will also be amazed, healed.

My heart is broken right now. It’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last. But there is so much worth showing up for. Such as:

A chance to get away. We hadn’t wanted to do this when Dexter was still here, were worried about being too far away from a vet if something happened. But now, sometime soon, the three of us are going to rent a cabin in the mountains and spend some time together in the green and the quiet.

Pie. Especially the ones made by my person, who is as sad as me, who knows just how I feel, just what I’m missing, who will talk all day about what we’ve lost and never get tired of it, who wants to do whatever he can to make me feel better.

peachpie

Friends, near and far, sending us love and light. So many have reached out to me, offering such kindness, making this heavy thing so much easier to hold.

The sweet animal bodies that are still here, that long for love and need care. It’s Sam’s turn to become my favorite, and when we are all ready, there will be another dog.

sam

Laughter. Last night, on the way to our friends’ house to deliver the pie, Eric suggested that they expected this happy gift of pie, so it would be funny if when they opened the door, we gave them a pie in the face instead. It was such a ridiculous and awful idea we laughed the rest of the way to their house. It felt good.

Brilliant nature — blooms and fruit and animals and trees and landscapes and sky and deep water and weather.

Practice. Yoga, meditation, writing, and dog — this regular attention, showing up and being open to whatever arises, moving in ways old and new, creativity and discovery, is medicine.

Music. I heard this song for the first time yesterday, and am totally in love.

because nothing lasts forever
some things aren’t meant to be
but you’ll never find the answers
until you set your old heart free

I’m so sad, kind and gentle reader, but at the same time I am so in love with my little life, my heart so full of every last wonderful thing that sometimes it feels like it will explode.