Thursday, March 13, 2008

full on empty Now

i have not written here in FOREVER. there is my perception of time for ya. a few days/weeks/months all might equate to my mental timeline of forever. lately my mind has been reliving and reliving and reliving - right in the middle of the moment. i have been far and away. i spend the NOW regretting, replaying, and regurgitating the PAST while simultaneously lamenting what seems to be the most certain and fated FUTURE. and where am I? i have tuned out - unable to be present because i am multi-tasking in the past and future with such whole-hearted commitment. ahhhh enough.

BUT, i have not written in this bloglette in FOREVER because i have not had any epiphanies while running these days. i have not experienced "everything making sense" at the time. what i have experienced is the absolute relief and bliss of clearing my head. i have been willing to wake up and run, run sans sleep, run sans sun, run in the rain, run in thick mud - because of the ease with which i can NOT think.

my mind stops focusing, fixing, and negotiating with my imaginary conversation partners and i just run... i am not thinking of anything. it is like respite care for the compulsive thinker. it is a break. my mind goes empty and i feel present and altogether whole, present, and FULL.

that's why i haven't written for so long. there was, delightfully enough, nothing to say. thank gOd.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

what we in our bones

The other day I went swimming, in order to live into New Years commitment to get back into the water. I was raised swimming, competitively. I was one of those kids who had a permanent tan line all year round because I think the suit and the chlorine just stains your skin, even more than the sun. That's just my theory. I am totally comfortable in the water. I swim without having to think about what I am doing. I can speed up, slow down, breathe, change strokes, flip over, without having to consciously plan it out in advance. I am grateful for my ease in the water because I know that many people are actually frightened in the water and it takes an enormous amount of menal energy to get their body to float.

I taught swimming lessons in high school. The youngest kids, as always, were the most open to anything. And the older you got, the more anxiety was associated with simply being in water, to say nothing of putting your head in the water.

Back to my swimming the other day. I am in my customary active conversation with myself while swimming when I noticed a huge German Shepherd walk on the pool deck. No, not the Pope, an actual canine. And there was a person attached to the dog. A woman who appeared to be in her 40's, who appeared to be totally blind. Another woman, unattached to anyone, casually came around and tied the brilliant dog to the lifeguard chair at the edge of the pool and slowly took it's place as the protective and loving guide for this woman, blind. Very slowly the two humans slid into the water, physically unattached. Despite the woman's blindness I did not want to stare...but my mind began to gawk, stare, and focus my imagination on what a surreal experience it must be for this blind woman to be unattached -- completely. Her feet not grounding her and attached by gravity, her vision not grounded by the dog and attached by her hand and absolute trust and loyalty. She was weightless in water and attached only to the pressure of the water that held her up all around...the assurance that the water would protect and keep her, as long as she trusted it's purpose and function - she floats. And she did. The other woman, who "sees" did not hold her hand or guide her. She seemed to just talk to her acting as a boundary of sound, and I imagine, a loving set of eyes to make sure she was okay.

It was amazing to think about. I have a hunch there is much for me to learn from it as I can hardly stop thinking about it. Makes want to get back in the water, shut my eyes, and FEEL what it means to float, to be attached to all this glorious water all around, holding and keeping me.

Honestly, that one sappy guy is right -- our body in a wonderland.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

back in the saddle again, thank gOd!

Rita and I went for a long run yesterday. The vet maybe would not have recommended it - but they are the same humans who took the stitches out too early and left a gaping,open-hole of a wound on this dog. So, I was going to trust my hunches that it would do wonders of mercy for dog and dog's-person, me.

When we started out and Rita was whipping around in circles, biting at the crispy, cool air, announcing to everyone that she was outside and she was running, for the love of God!!!!!!! I really wondered why I strap myself to this untempered beast and started running - or get pulled along after it, to be honest.

But, then Rita got in her own little trance, her ears slipped back, she held her head up, and she just got 'er done. THEN it is just so stinkin' fun to run with this animal that is THRILLED to be so vibrantly in motion. She LOVES it and if her body could sing for joy, it would be some high energy dance number. I get inspired in the thrill of breathing - really, really breathing - it works. And I love it too. I love it. I love to run with her because it is somehow just like and exactly opposite yawning - you see someone else yawn and suddenly out of no where you are pooped and yawning.

But, with this crazy little dog, she runs and it makes you want to be THAT excited about running too --- when you were just eating chips & salsa moments ago, thinking that was pretty spectacular.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

healing intentions

Rita is pretty much still on sedentary confinement. We have the okay to walk, but not vigorously. I did not share with the vet that due to her zeal for life Rita can only walk vigorously. The stitches and recovery have not gone well for poor little Rita. She is still on antibiotics, 3 or 4 weeks later? What was 4 stitches is now this half-dollar (the coin - not half the bill) sized open wound. and i have learned a bit about healing and about my own selfish impatience.

1. don't rush the healer
i took Rita back to the vet when they told me, to take stitches out. they said that it should be healed by then. i really wanted the stitches out. not for any good reason other than i just did not want to have an injured dog anymore. but, that is dumb. so dumb i'm embarrassed. seems that each wound is different. they cut two (of four) stitches and the cut split open as if by a spring. And hour or two later it had stretched wide open.

2. a watched wound, never heals.
the vet tells me that when the cut had stitches, that kind of healing is called "1st Intention Healing" (any vets reading, i'm sorry if i get this all wrong). 1st Intention Healing happens on the surface. They close the skin up and it should grow back together, on the top.

now that there are no stitches and it is an open wound she is in "2nd Intention Healing". this kind of healing works from the inside. It is slow and not obvious. when it does finally heal it will leave a pretty vivid scar, as opposed to the neat and tidy little line of a scar that would have remained after stitches. the vet assures me that Rita is not feeling any pain on this wound, nasty though it may look to me.

the vet suggested i just stop looking. trust that the wound is healing and stop trying to decide if it is getting worse or better by looking at it, because i will not be able to tell for a long time. and it is on the inside that is making the difference. amazingly rita seems so unfazed by it all. she never licks and picks at it. she has so moved on. it doesn't hurt her anymore, so she doesn't even notice it.

there are so many ways that this relates to some of the significant and insignificant wounds in my life, that i hardly can break it all down.
mostly, i have just been humbled by my impatience for healing which only puts a focus on the wound, make it worse. my obsession in lookingat the wound(s), keeping watch, analyzing, blaming, regretting, negotiating, and fixing it at it. and humbled by Rita's skill of living in the moment - when she doesn't give two hoots (or barks) about this open wound on her body.

so there is the new bumper sticker for my brain -- just stop looking.

Friday, November 16, 2007

therapy dog

I have used in a sermon before a prayer that goes something along the lines of, "when i am lonely, send me someone who feels like a bigger loser; when i am thirsty, send me someone all dried up and dead; when i am in need of the tender mercies of God, send me someone totally vulnerable and needy". Not those words, exactly, eh. That was my paraphrase of a very lovely prayer that I have too often written off (while using in a sermon) as great cognitive therapy and motivational negotiation for a mass audience. Until this week. I get it now.

I was just about to crumble under my need for some familiar, intimate, tenderness. I wanted to be in a rest day with someone who just loves me silly; will laugh with me, have long breakfasts, take naps, lay around and do nothing - intentionally - because I'm their favorite person to be with. I just wanted to be LOVED - is that so wrong!? And before I could even complain about being alone Rita Rae cut her leg quite pitifully, requiring stiches. And being that she would have to be "put under" i had them also trim her nails to the lowest possible nub, brush her teeth, and remove an old lady-like nasty wart object in her leg-pit (as I'll call it).

It made for quite a long day for li'l Rita Rae, and for this big mama. She did not come out of anasthesia well. She stood around moaning, swaying like a drunk old man, unable to just lie down, settle, or get comfortable at all. She had to wear the megaphone over her head. Nobody likes that.

I have decided that this megaphone is a fine thing that maybe we all need when we are healing. For one thing, it lets everyone know that this "one" has been injured and is trying really hard to heal. Although it would be awkward to wear such a public announcement of our painful healing, it might be give people some explanation of our difficulty getting around and managing ourselves while we recover from a broken heart.spirit.dream.identity. It would be pretty tough to fake that we are not well. It would be okay - because we are wearing the official Healing Collar.

Rita had no sense of how much space she required with her healing collar. More than ever she wanted to be close to me, constantly with me, touching and leaning into me. But, the collar made it awkward and uncomfortable to do that. How many relationships born of a wound would never have begun had we worn the Healing Collar, detirmining a certain distance that had to be maintained.... And how many wounded, torn, nasty infected-pussy relationships would never have been perpetually picked and licked -- and actually allowed to heal properly -- had we only worn the megaphone keeping us from attending to it while announcing to all; I AM HEALING!

So, back to the point of my neediness and thirst for familiar luvin.
Since this little incident Rita has been cuddling non-stop. NON STOP.
If I eat breakfast at the table, she will plead with me to allow her to just lay her front legs and chest over my lap, staring up at me with absolute adoration (my interpretation). If i lie on the couch, she curls into the tiniest pinwheel tucked into my chest and sleeps. This morning I stood in the kitchen crying, listening to a touching NPR story. She sat between my legs and wrapped her head around my ankle.

I'm not sure anymore who is the needy one. It seemed at first that Rita needed the constant affirmation that I would take care of her. But, she gives me this foolish, non-sensical, un-requested love that is just HUGE. I really dont understand it. But, I'm certain I desperately needed this week of tenderness, quiet sympathy, and love. I needed a week of intentional healing and recovery. I needed a week to be safely wrapped up in love, with no questions asked, no judgment, no nothing - just the sweet tender mercies from on high.

Dog in other languages is not God, inside-out. But, for me - it sure feels that way. Just as we ought not minimize God's character by anthropormorphizing God, I surely would not minimize my dog Rita, by making her love like human love. It just is not. It is a relationship of absolute mystery to me. Thank gOd.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

sabbath my behind

i have 12 minutes on this library computer. the clock is actually ticking in my sight. 11 minutes. today is my day off and i am being rushed by a fricking clock on my screen. sabbath? shabbot shalom - shabbot not. i am foolishly jealous of my dog who is put in her kennel, near a window, with two cozy blankets, AND A TREAT everyday for several hours. all she can do in said kennel is stand up, sleep, and be. sure, she probably barks at some passing buses - but she doesn't entertain herself, eat, worry about squirrels. nothing. she experiences authentic quiet time and just time FOR.WITH.BY.TO.IN.AROUND.UNDER.OVER.NEAR.IN THE CENTER of herself.
good lord. i wish someone would give me a bite-sized treat and close the door on me. put me in my sabbath kennel to not DO anything. no magazines, no books, no stEWpid t.v., no npr, no nothing. no to-do lists. no would like to do lists. no want to call lists. no hope to hear from lists. no want to look up on the internet lists. no nothing.

and now there is 6 minutes and counting. i will be out and about.
sabbathing my day away. hm... i think i need God to bludgeon me with something to get me DOWN. there is a funny prayer. what am i smoking? just lie the frick down.
oh i just got the 5 minute alarm....must go. hm.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

the way a dog knows

i have been really skeptical and actually frightened by those people who claim to know things about you - just by sensing it.
the people who read your palm, smell your fear, see your grief, and hear your regret even before you realize you are thinking of it. they get famous on t.v. by freaking us out. how do they know these things about you? is it magic? did they take a survey of the audience and they are simply elaborating & generalizing small bits of information? it is weird and a little freaky. and i am usually all weepy in fear when i witness it. it scares me in the way that ghost stories scare me. "they" - those who have the gift - are in touch with something in me, that i am not in touch with...what is that? "they" say that we all have this gift and could be aware of our own environment in the same way and they have somehow been gifted with access to that awareness.

i have come to believe in such knowing b/c it seems even my dog knows things that i cannot put into words, myself. why does my dog rouse out of sleep when i am merely thinking of going for a walk and stand up? she does not get excited when i stand up to go to the bathroom or make a cup of tea. how does my dog know when i am sad or sick and simply lies down next to me, being a quiet presence of love and enduring patience. is this the sixth sense? is it the ultimate sense? is it common sense that we disregard? do we observe and sense more than we allow ourselves to interpret?

i know that i often wear my heart on my sleeve. but, with my dog and with people who are willing to access that ultimate sense, all of our emotions are obvious to the naked eye. there is no faking anything. the rest of us must sense more than we give ourselves credit for. and we aren't willing to make our hunches truth until there is a story to prove our hunch. i can see when someone who looks exhausted, lonely, and intimidated and i really do not need their why & how & what happened to recognize their need. do i respond to all the people i pass in a day who look so tired and depressed, uncomfortable and confused? no. so what does this super awareness provide? why be so aware of the world if we dont act on it? i dont have much conclusion. i suspect that if we fessed up to all that we can sense about each other, we might fess up to how lonely we are too. we might fess about how much we love each other. if we understood what bad liars we are when we try to cover up how we actually feel, and how little purpose our lying serves --- well, that sounds like crazy talk. actually telling others you love them. being honest about our hurt. huh. imagine that. that would be crazy.