Just when I think I have a handle on things, dare to relax and let go, life – that perennial jokester, shows herself again. I shake my head. What makes me think that there is smooth sailing into the sunset from now till eternity? It’s an illusion, happening only in movies. I know that, but still I hold onto that dream of Utopia. I am a little blue and sleep deprived. Sheba has had a little relapse with her anxiety yesterday.
We were too happy too soon with her recovery the other day. I thought it was behind us. But nothing is ever that easy. We all I know all that. How many times have I been sure that I will never be afraid again and I will never feel depressed again? And time after time I have been wrong. It is the cycle of everything. What goes up, must come down. There’s the good times. There’s the hard times. Otherwise life would be stagnant. The Universe would be a huge yawn. Do I really want a Utopia?
So Sheba is going through a rough period again. I take a deep breath. What do you do when your child is afraid? You can’t abandon her or tell her to snap out of it. You hold and love her. And so we put on her Thunder Shirt. It helps with the shaking. We stand over her while she eats. She looks over her shoulder with every bite, checking for the bogeyman. We can’t see or hear him but then we don’t have her senses.
Just when she is able to settle for the night on her mat at the foot of the bed, she is jolted upright by some energy. I don’t know if my imagination was at work or not, but I could feel ‘it’ at the same time – not the same intensity as Sheba but I sensed it all the same. There was no calming her. She would not lay down and she cried softly. How can you go to sleep when your baby is crying.
In the end, I took her out to the living room and we laid down on her big fluffy pillow. It was not big enough for both of us but I made do with three cushions and a couple of blankets. She relaxed and went to sleep. I was able to wiggle myself free and laid on the sofa within her sight. She was happy with that and stayed on her pillow. Surprisingly, I had a restful though short sleep.
Today, she is better though we still did the Thunder Shirt in the afternoon. We still stand guard when she is eating but she is restful tonight, going off to bed by herself. Yoga is good for both of us. She likes my mat. Hope it lasts but no one ever promised me a rose garden for ever and ever.
I have been wandering silent in the desert. I could not find nor utter any words. It is as if I am empty of everything. It is not a bad thing. It is just what it is – a time for the quiet.
In the quiet, I am learning to be still within myself. I’m finding that it is safe to stay here in this moment, in this space. No need to rush off. There is no emergencies, no one to rescue – except myself. I can be here for me.
My time in the desert is coming to an end. It is time well spent, getting acquainted with myself, feeling my body, its sensations, its discomforts and staying the whole while. I have learned to weather all the changes and storms like the majestic mountains. I am standing tall and rooted to the ground – steady and strong. I am understanding of being grounded. I am here today and not gone tomorrow.
I love the desert with its silence and barren beauty. I will come back again and again. It nourishes me and makes me feel whole.
If wishes were horses, I would wish for more hours in a day. But what is the use? It is not possible. And the wise say it’s not the number of hours but what you do with them that matters.
Well, then I wish I have more patience and fortitude. What does it take to have those qualities? Googling, I find that PATIENCE is the quality or habit of enduring without complaint. FORTITUDE is: Strength of mind to meet or endure unfalteringly pain, adversity or peril; patient and constant courage.
Looking further, I find that they are the names of two lions flanking The New York Public Library. They are perfect personas of patience and fortitude – sitting, waiting and enduring through thick and thin. I remember my cousin Edmund taking me there once upon a time. I had taken out Herman Wouk’s Marjorie Morningstar. It is still one of my favourite books.
Can I hope for these qualities? My name certainly is not PATIENCE. I complain a lot – vocally and in print. I can feel my agitation stirring and neck veins bulging just thinking about it. I have to stop and take a breath, relaxing my shoulders, relaxing my face and smiling to ease the stress. My furry baby is better, BUT….In the evening, she starts her insistent whimpering and she is my own personal magnet. Yes, I need more patience – and discipline for Sheba.
I had an extra egg for breakfast this morning – more protein to build FORTITUDE. I am very good at rationalizing. I am grouchy. Protein is good for smoothing my edges. I am in month 4 of healthy eating and life style changes and week 7 of Dr. Jon -Kabat-Zinn’s stress reduction method. I haven’t fallen off the wagon yet but I am grouchy and complaining. I am not perfect but I have lost a few pounds and a bit off my midriff. I have fortitude.
Let life carry me forth. The sun is shining brightly. My Income Tax Return and filing are awaiting me. The delivery man have just come to the door with my seed order. Meanwhile, the petunias are crying for some attention. And of course, Sheba is waiting patiently for her walk.
Soon we will have green grass and flowers growing among my own Patience and Fortitude. They sit day in and day out, watching silently over me, giving me their patience and fortitude.
Another day begins, cloudy and overcast, but it is 4 degrees C. Be grateful, be happy and count your blessings. I am! I am and I will!
Spring is around the corner. The snow is melting. The slush and puddles are less and less. My amaryllis is showing its lush red promise. Sheba is over her anxiety funk. She can eat and piddle without someone standing guard. She sleeps in her usual limp and boneless mode. She is her bright-eyed, bushy-tailed self again. How wonderful it is! I can let go of my fears, too. There’s no boogeymen, witches, spells or hexes. We will go boldly forward. March!
Some days are harder than others but you just suck it up, get up, dress up and show up regardless. Some days are real grinds. You put one foot in front of the other and shuffle forward if that is all you can do. Sometimes I am surprised by how far I have travelled with my heavy footed shuffle. I’m reminded of my mother’s words again. Don’t put hard in your vocabulary. Be patient. A drop at a time may be slow and small but they will eventually fill a bucket.
My bucket is not full yet. But it has results – enough to spur me onward. On days when the drudgery is heavy on my shoulders, I look at those drops, those little igniters of hope. I take one step, then another. I put a letter, then a word onto my blank page. And so it goes.
When I least expect it, I feel a shift within me – fear leaving my body. I am relaxed and gliding through the waters. I am moving forward in life. And I go ahhh! So this is how it is. I am grateful and buoyed by the moment. I store the memory drop in my bucket for prosperity.
I read Sheba the riot act this morning. Enough! I told her firmly. Two days of her constant restlessness and attachment to me was taking its toll. Life could not go on as is. Time to put in some boundaries. She was developing some bad behaviour from our coddling because of her anxiety attacks.
She could not tell us what the problem was but she was always a bit of a scarity cat right from puppyhood. She would not leave the kitchen area. The only way for me to get her out the yard for a walk was to take her in the car and drive to the neighbourhood park. We got an igloo dog house for Christmas the first year. She was scared of it and I had to go in with her. That is, I had to lay down and stick my head in. What I wouldn’t do for Sheba. She outgrew all these, but now….
I am getting weary – and frustrated. Seems like every time she make some progress, she gets another episode. I have witnessed some of her attacks and there doesn’t seem to be any triggers. She would be playing, eating or not do anything particular when she would stop, yelp and come running to me, shaking. She has always settled down after it all passed and rest. Lately, she’s been restless and watchful all the time. We have to stay with her while she eats. And she needs company to go out to potty.
We had been at the vet not too long ago and I had mentioned her anxiety attacks. She passed her physical and bloodwork. I’m calling forth patience and calmness to get both of us through this. I wonder if HE is testing me. How serious am I with my meditation and yoga practice?
It’s a piece of cake to practice when things are hunky dory. It’s quite another when they aren’t. The aren’ts crowd and overtake my mind. I breathe and find my way back, reminding myself that it is precisely for these times that I am practicing for. I am still on track. God has a way of keeping his eyes on me.
This morning I would have abandoned my new way of eating. I would have say “Give me 2 eggs and 2 pieces of toast. I wanted to fill that hole created by stress and it would be a start towards that slippery slope. But we only had 2 eggs in the fridge – one for me and one for my Significant Other. Saved by what is!
Sheba and I are soldiering on. She is resting after a morning walk. The streets are better but still is treacherously slippery. I am happy that I haven’t fallen as some poor woman did, walking her dogs. I have done some research on dogs and anxiety and trying out some remedies. I will be patient and calm and breathe through it all.
It’s Wednesday and I’m ready for Friday Fictioneers. We are hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields of Addicted to Purple. This is my story of 100 words to the photo prompt. This story is for Sheba (my dog) and I. We are both trying to work through our fears, both seen and unseen. Together we will conquer.
She was so afraid. Perspiration blinded her as she ran. Her heart was thumping in her chest. It roared in her ears. Her breaths came in jagged rasps. She could see them in the frosty air. She wiped her hand across her eyes.
She was almost there. She quickened her pace. Dusk was coming. The sun was receding beyond the bridge. She must be on it before it gets dark.
Please, God! She pleaded. I won’t ask you for another thing.
She gathered her strength, pumped her arms and stretched her legs. She was flying. Her foot touched down. Safe!
It’s March 10th. It’s 3 degrees Celcius above. Saskatoon is melting in the sunshine. All the snow turning into mush and grey water, running down the streets. I am lamenting about the curve balls that life is hurtling at us. Someone please turn off the damn machine! I can’t stand it anymore.
I love the lyrics to Macarthur’s Park as you can see. It helps hugely to lament my maladies to its tune. I don’t know exactly what they are. That’s the point – not knowing exactly. But nonetheless, they fester under our everyday lives. Yes, some days I feel I can never get life’s recipe right again. Oh noooo.
MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
‘Cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again, oh noooooo
I’m trying, but maybe the trick is just letting it be. Is that what is meant by acceptance? I try hard at that, too. I’m on my 6th week of meditation and yoga practice, trying to sit in the present, accepting what is. It is not easy to sit and take things as they are. I have been forever and a day striving for something else, somewhere else and someone else. I have been working against myself all these years. I am learning. It is time for me to relax, breathe, just be and let things evolve.
It’s only Wednesday and I’m ready for Friday Fictioneers! We gathered every week to share stories of 100 words. We are hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields of Addicted to Purple. Here’s my 100 words inspired by the photo prompt from Erin Leary.
She knew exactly what she was going to do. She opened the fridge and set the ingredients on the counter – sirloin steak, bacon, pearl onions, sage and thyme. Last but not least, the precious white mushrooms. She will cook him the best sirloin beef burgundy of his life.
She had found them on her walk, their white heads poking through pine needles. She knew enough to keep Hunter away from them. That dog will eat anything.
A smile broke out on her face. Her eyes shone. Happy at last! She started slicing the white magic, whistling as she worked.
Yesterday I found Sheba with her hind quarters vibrating in the sun room. I thought we were done with all that. But apparently NOT. Nothing to do but hug her and give her a treat. She’s just had a checkup a couple of weeks ago and passed all the tests – heart, lungs and bloodwork. Her cholesterol was a bit high but then it wasn’t done on fasting blood. She’s a few pounds overweight, but who isn’t?
Happily this time it was was just a small episode. There was no running away, crying in fright. She settled and ate her supper without coaxing or me having to stand on guard by her. Progress in slow motion. Two steps forward and only one step back. We soldiered on – life in small increments.
Today she is her saucy self again, bouncing and strutting to her own rhythm. Maybe she, too, is feeling the flow and ebb of the Universe, fielding the blows and strutting in the glories. I take heart in her resilience, thinking I need to strut in her wake. There’s so much fear in the world but there’s that much more joy and glory. I have to believe and trust in my own strength.
Fine, powdery snow is blowing. The wind has picked up. The light is pale and cold but I’m remembering the brilliance of yesterday’s sun. I can still feel the healing power of its warmth as it smiled and embraced me. Ahh! I think it heard me just now. It’s smiling and trying to make a stronger showing. I am soothed and smoothed.
All of life is a circle. What goes around comes around. What goes up, must come down. That’s all I know. I don’t understand sometimes but I’m all right with that. In the words of Harry Chapin:
“All my life’s a circle, sunrise and sundown
The moon rolls through the nighttime, till the daybreak comes around
All my life’s a circle but I can’t tell you why
The season’s spinnin’ round again the years keep rollin’ by
It seems like I’ve been here before, I can’t remember when
But I got this funny feelin’ that I’ll be back once again
There’s no straight lines make up my life and all my roads have bends
There’s no clear-cut beginnings and so far no dead-ends”
So I lift myself up, square my shoulders back, quell my fears and reach for the stars. I will not be drowned by fears.