I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN

IMG_6221Just 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?

IMG_2449So 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.

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TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS

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.

ShebaShe 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.

 

 

LETTING IT BE

IMG_2373It’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.

 

CONTEMPLATION

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Sheba and I are spending time alone today.  She is cuddled up with her toys and I am sitting before my keyboard, tapping out my thoughts and feelings.

It has been a good day.  I am not only reading self-help books, but I am actually putting my gained knowledge into use….finally.  Imagine that!  I have spent a lifetime gathering information on mood disorders and how to be happy.  But knowledge without action equals zilch.  If we keep doing the same things over and over, we keep getting the same results.  Who said that…Oprah, Dr. Phil or some other luminary?  You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that, but sometimes a hammer on the head is necessary.

After reading Sitting Kills, Moving Heals by Joan Vernikos, I decided I better MOVE today.  And so I did.  Sheba and I went for an early morning walk after breakfast.  The morning sunshine and kids going to school was energizing.  I did my qigong routine after we got home.  I breathed and moved, clearing my stagnant chi.

Having limbered and stretched,  I got on my bike before I could procrastinate away the opportunity.  I am learning to prioritize…get the important things done first.  I rode to the park at the school, pedaling along the meandering paths, practicing gear shifts.  I made it up the hill once.  On my second time around, I couldn’t find the right gear and couldn’t make it up.  I had to stop and turn the bike around.  It was still a valiant effort.

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I kept my natural restlessness in check by moving – doing my neglected daily living activities.  I ironed my uniforms and damp mopped the floors in a steady leisurely pace.  I tried to keep my attention focused on what I was doing.  I was practicing the yoga of housekeeping.  I felt a certain pleasure in doing my chores.  Weird!

It sure sounds like I did a lot today.  I did, compared to my usual slothful ways.  Sheba and I even went to the park after lunch and then stopped at the library on the way home.  The secret for me is tiny steps and small varied chores….a little of this and a little of that.  They add up big.

I’m not saying it was easy, but I’m not saying it was hard either.  Throughout the day, I felt moments of blueness, anxiety, fatigue.  I took a break in those moments for a cup of tea, a handful of walnuts, an avocado.  I laid on the floor and did some stretching and meditation.  I’m not at all flexible.  My mind wanders.  So what?

PRACTICE MAKES BETTER.

And my mood waxes and wanes…the blueness and anxiety.  They are fleeting, but I resist the need for conversation, company and comfort.  Sometimes you need to spend time with yourself…to wrestle with your demons or to talk with the angels.  You cannot share everything.  You have to save something for yourself.