Category Archives: Laughter

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.

Gratitude Friday

This post started as a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. Grapefruit juice and avocados. I am obsessed.

2. Paid sick leave, and a job where no one will die if I miss a few days.

3. Winter morning light. It really is amazing.

4. More snow. Only a tiny bit, but we’ll take what we can get.

5. TV that makes me laugh. My favorites are 30 Rock (*sob*), Community, Modern Family, Parks & Recreation, The Mindy Project, New Girl, and The Office.

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter. All I can guess is that maybe we caught this really early, the anti-inflammatory is working to slow the tumor down, and/or his might be the one kind of nasal tumor that is slow growing to begin with. Whatever the reason, it means extra time for us to be together, and in the end I don’t care why, I’m just really grateful.

Taking a nap with his Dad, curled up under a blanket and using his Little D as a pillow

Gratitude Friday

theboys

This post started as a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. Running. You heard that right, and no this isn’t a joke. I am grateful that I am alive, healthy, and my body is up for it.

runningshoes
2. Clarity. About the help I need, about where to focus my energy, time, effort. I had an awesome coaching session with Andrea Scher this week, and her ability to see, her compassionate and clear vision, always surprises me, touches me, inspires me.

3. Good things happening to good people. People who have been working, trying so hard, suffering and struggling and loving as big as they can stretch, people who deserve it, people I love, people who inspire and support me.

4. Sleep. I’d like even more of it, but I’m grateful for the rest I do get, and that it’s usually easy for me, there’s no struggle involved, that I can surrender to it.

5. Laughing with Eric. Only he’ll understand this, but this one is for you, Mr. Salahub: “This is designed to hurt. This is designed to hurt.” I’m so lucky we find the same things funny, can so easily make each other laugh.

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter. This time has taught me so much about being present, about gentleness and play, about love.

bigdlittled

#Reverb12: Day 10

reverb12There are a few extra prompts from over the weekend from Besottment that I’m catching up with here, and other ones that are on the wrong days because I can’t seem to keep them organized–but I like how no matter how I approach them, the right ones seem to come to me just when I’m ready to answer them, trusting in the process, the practice, the magic.

Funniest Story

The full prompt: What was your funniest story from 2012? This is a great prompt to have some fun with! Think of a funny story you were involved in, heard of, saw happen, etc. Describe what happened – is there any back story to it? What were the circumstances? Do you still chuckle when you think about it now?

For me, no one story stands out as memorable, as THE funniest. However, there are relationships where laughter happened on a regular basis–in my Writing for the Web class (I made them laugh, they made me and each other laugh), between Eric and I (we are always cracking each other up, over sometimes the dumbest things, stuff that would make no sense to anyone else), with my trainer (we both have a sense of humor equivalent to that of a 14 year old boy), and with the dogs (I don’t know if the dogs laugh or think things are funny, but they are constantly making me laugh).

samleafpile

why the backyard needs grass: for running, rolling, lounging, and peeing on

This year I’ve became increasingly aware of my sensitivity to what I watch on TV–it has to be either funny without being too mean (no pranks of taking advantage of those who can’t defend themselves, no humor that is dependent on hurting someone), or a “feel good” story. I typically watch short episode comedies, with the occasional movie, when I watch TV. Shows like 30 Rock, Parks and Rec, The Mindy Project, Ben & Kate, New Girl, or The Office. On Netflix this year, I worked my way through How I Met Your Mother and then started My Name is Earl. (I really don’t watch as much TV as that all makes it sound like I do!)

Quote

The full post: What was the quote or saying that most resonated with you this past year? Was there any quote, mantra or saying that really spoke to you? Helped you through something? Made you smile?

The most significant quotes for me this year were:

Confidence is the willingness to be as ridiculous, luminous, intelligent, and kind as you really are, without embarrassment. ~Susan Piver

We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves—the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds—never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake. ~Pema Chödrön

I have a hundred other favorites, but it was these two that came up, over and over–so often that I practically memorized them.

Nostalgia

The full prompt: Was there anything you were feeling nostalgic for in 2012? Anything that you were feeling nostalgic for? Something you were yearning for from your past? A memory that wouldn’t leave you, or tradition that you wish you could continue?

I felt this longing for something past first when we went to the beach this summer. We have stayed in the same house in Waldport three times now, and one of those times was Obi’s final trip there. The second time in that house, the next trip we took to the beach, we brought some of Obi’s ashes with us to scatter in our favorite spot, and this last time, I brought a little bit more. When we visited the place on Driftwood Beach, scattered more of his ashes, letting him go little by little, there were yellow wild irises blooming.

obisirisesThen right after we got back from our trip, Dexter was diagnosed with a fatal cancer. We’d only lost Obi to his three years before. This made me again feel nostalgic for the days when Obi and Dexter were together and so in love, both young and healthy. Three years out, I had finally felt as if I’d released most of the pain surrounding Obi’s loss, that it had softened to gentle sadness and happy memory. And just as that ease occurred, the grief began with Dexter. If only I could know for sure that Dexter would get to be with Obi when he left us, it would be so much easier to let him go.

Obi and Dexter

Accomplish

The full prompt: What are the 10 things I’m most proud of accomplishing this year? What are 10 things on the to do list for next year? (Author: Lee Currie)

10 things I’m most proud of accomplishing this year

  1. My continued commitment to this blog, the ease and joy of this practice.
  2. Attending the World Domination Summit.
  3. Meeting so many women I admire and not throwing up on any of their shoes.
    feet
  4. Hosting a Well-Fed Woman Retreatshop, led by Rachel Cole.
  5. The poem I was brave enough to write and share at the Fearless Creativity Writing and Meditation retreat with Susan Piver.
  6. The way I’ve handled Dexter’s cancer, his care.
  7. Teaching.
  8. All the classes I’ve taken, the engagement and the learning.
  9. Connections I’ve made, so many amazing and like-minded, like-hearted people.
  10. 20 years with Eric, in a relationship that is functioning and workable, happy and loving.

10 things on the to do list for next year

  1. Take a lettering class, such as this one.
  2. Do a massive decluttering of our house.
  3. Send some things out to get published, both in print and online.
  4. Increase my HTML and CSS knowledge, specifically learn to set up and maintain a WordPress site on my own server.
  5. Heal my body, my relationship with it.
  6. Cultivate my meditation practice so it rivals my writing practice.
  7. Another retreat with Susan Piver.
  8. Explore and learn what it might mean, be like to teach an ecourse, (consult the experts).
  9. Catch up the home repair and improvement project list.
  10. Determine what a “balanced” like looks like and live it.

Soul Food

The full prompt: How do you nourish your soul? What activities are essential nutrients for your soul’s well-being?

buddhafeatherPractice: yoga, meditation, word, and dog.

Study: reading, reading and more reading, responding to prompts, taking classes, attending workshops and retreats, watching video and listening to podcasts, showing up and doing the work.

Connection: consulting with teachers and other open-hearted, wise beings, being open to whatever arises, synchronizing body and mind, connecting with nature and reality and myself.

Creation: art, space, and love.

Greatest Risk

The full prompt: What was the greatest risk you took in 2012? What was the outcome?

Being myself. Maybe I wouldn’t like her, maybe she’d be boring or insane, maybe Eric wouldn’t like her, maybe I’d have to choose between her and him, maybe she’d ruin my life, maybe she’d have nothing to say, no skill, nothing to offer, maybe she’d be less than I imagined, small, maybe she’d have something to say but no one would want to hear it, maybe she’d be hated, unlikeable, maybe she wouldn’t like who liked her, maybe she’d be impulsive, reckless, so selfish that she’d end up alone and unloved, maybe she’d fail, ruin my life.

None of these things turned out to be true. I adore her, and she’s doing really good work, helping people, easing suffering in the world.

eyei

Scars

The full prompt: (this is the one I’m doing out of order, but it’s the right time now). They leave marks, and sometimes you can only take what you can carry. What will you, by choice or by chance, carry into 2013?

I will carry with me the consequences, the karma of mistreating myself, of denying my power, resisting my calling, rejecting my need for love and affection. There is real physical damage, a literal weight I carry with me, but there is also mental and emotional baggage, old habits and ways of being that no longer serve me, but are sticky and deep, patterns of behavior, discursive and destructive thinking, ways of numbing out, resisting and rejecting, running away from the truth. Judgement and criticism, anxiety and depression, practiced for so long, so intently that they don’t fall away in an instant, not even after concentrated effort. There remain faint lines, bumps, jagged raised scar tissue. They ache in the cold and itch in the heat, old hurts, lingering damage that can resurface under certain conditions.