Saturday, September 19, 2020

Over Her Lifetime She Showed Them Why


I was in shock and numb after my eldest daughter ran in to tell me last night that Ruth Bader Ginsberg had died.  I was numb the rest of the evening and it was only fitting that I had to drive in the darkness late to pick up my daughter from an event. It feels like a light has gone out.  

My hope was that she could pull through for as long as it took.  This was her fifth bout of cancer in 21 years.  It felt like she was a super hero both in physical survival and also her fighting for the underdog.  And that underdog was those whose rights were being trampled upon by a white male dominated society and we needed another interpretation of the Constitution. 

She always fought in a quiet but brilliant way to interpret things differently and bring the all male bench along with her when she presented her cases.  She said it was like teaching kindergarten and they had never heard anything like this before.  She did it nicely without raising her voice as her mother had instructed. 

I watched her documentary, RBG when it came out in 2018.  As a baby, her only sister died of meningitis leaving her an only child.  Her mother whom she was very close to, valiantly fought cancer for several years and died when Ruth was seventeen and graduating from high school.  She said there was a smell of death in her house.  Her new husband, Marty had cancer when they were both in law school with their young toddler and Ruth did the law school work for BOTH of them!! That is when she learned to burn both ends of the candle.   As one of a handful of female law students,  Justice Ginsberg made both the Harvard Law Review and the Columbia Law Review and graduated tied for first in her class.  Yet, when she graduated, there was no employment to be found as a woman.  At a dinner in law school early on, Ginsberg along with other females were asked by a professor why they should be able to take the slot of a man in law school.  

Over her lifetime she showed them why.  

It seems her inability to find employment after graduation was the beginning of her lifetime journey of championing equality. 

As a human and mother of two daughters, I'm deeply grateful for Justice Ginsberg paving the way for gender equality in daring and innovative ways creating the Women's Right Project with the ACLU.  One of her first major cases was for a man to receive social security benefits for caregiving equally as a woman when his wife died in childbirth.  She looked at the law with new eyes and loved it.   It was the great love of her life along with her husband Marty and her family. 

Her work in the 1970's as aConstitutional lawyer for equal rights winning four out of five Supreme Court cases was proficient for changing the lives of women whether they know it or not.  (I didn't know what she had done until 2018)  This accomplishment stands out as historical even without her work as a Judge.  She was shy, quiet and taught by her mother not to let emotions overwhelm but to do the work and be independent.   

The morning after her death and a disturbed night of sleep, I woke and the sadness set in.  It felt like a body blow, like the 2016 election all over again.  Mitch McConnell will hypocritically work to fill her spot on the bench when he sat on Merrick Garland's nomination for 10 long months in the election year of 2016 because what he said back then was we should hear the will of the people first.  Not anymore. 

With this sadness, I have cried for someone I never met but for her ideals, decency and tenacity.  We lost a lion of courage but a legacy to act, even in quiet ways.   

As a stay at home mom, what does the story of a prolific litigator for equality and a Supreme Court Justice and Master Dissenter move me so?

Quiet, tenacious, do your job well.

Before I had children I decided that I wanted to be emotionally present for my children.  I didn't really understand what that meant but have spent the last twenty years figuring it out, diligently.  It was a calling.   I did not feel heard growing up because I felt I didn't have the right to speak.  I can see this pattern to different levels in my daughters and in other women of all ages.   I processed life alone in my head and now I do it by writing and hope to connect with others.   I was a people pleaser and I stayed silent until it really began to burn me up inside and then I dove in hard to understand.  That anger of staying silent was a sign that my boundaries were not being honored.  I didn't have any boundaries!  Therapy along with changing my image of God has helped tremendously.  God is love and God is in everyone, of every color, race, creed and religion.  Justice Ginsberg who was Jewish fought to care for the marginalized just as Jesus instructs us too.  It's amazing that non-Christians act in a manner following Jesus better than many Christians.  

Justice Ginsberg's tenacity in interpreting the law was overwhelmingly obvious when watching her story. I feel the that same way about healing pain that is passed generationally.  If you don't transform your pain it will be passed on.  Even before I knew that what meant, I was unconsciously working hard not to do that.  I have stayed with this learning of how to listen to my children, and be a heart with ears.   I am learning to listen to my own self this way.  


I'm not a "march for your rights" kind of girl.  I'm introverted and learning to write my way out and take care of those whom I love with tenacity, listening and continued learning. 

Ruth Bader Ginsberg was a transformational powerhouse in her own quiet but mighty way.  I take inspiration, and much gratitude for her as a role model and icon.  

Be who you are, use your talent and do it to the best of your ability. 

Stand up for those who need it. 

RIP Ruth Bader Ginsberg - You fought the good fight.  Imagining your joyous reunion with your mom whom you lost so early and your Marty with a smile on my face. 


Friday, August 28, 2020

Sitting With Hot Lonely Pain: It's A Spiritual Journey

So I have been partaking in Internal Family Systems therapy with my longtime therapist for the last few months.  I'm so glad she went to a conference and we began this new journey.  It is awkward, and uncomfortable but throwing me for a loop in the best possible way.  The theory is that we have parts of our personalities that sprang forward to take care of us since we were children (and continue today).  Life happened to us and we were overwhelmed and protective parts arose.  These parts are very connected to our woundings. 

My most active protectors are anxiety, sadness and eating. I know judgment and shame are in the mix but I don't know how they show up.  We begin by seeing which part is showing up in my body at the present time and then we kindly, compassionately, talk to the part and there is always another one waiting in the wings.  I have chest pain that appears as anxiety, I have sensation that starts in my chin and leads to my eyes for sadness.  My therapist tenderly asks questions like how do I feel about the anxiety?  Can sadness go to a a safe spot and let us talk to anxiety?  Does it know Adult Carolyn is here?  What age do you remember this showing up?  Whatever the parts want to do, is okay and met with gratitude and compassion.  With each question, we are teaching the wounded parts that there is an adult core (Self) of confidence, compassion, acceptance, calmness, wisdom, connectedness, and leadership that is in place and is ready to take over.  We are synthesizing the protective wounded parts with the core Self.  

And guess what that core self is?!


The Divine One.

One That I Want to Get to Know!

IFS therapy at this time in my life amazingly builds on other theories and spirituality that I have been exploring for years. One of my favorite therapist teachers, Mary O'Malley, has advocated for curiosity, compassion and kindness with ourselves. This stands out to stark contrast with the judgement and shame that I have heaped upon myself for decades.  The religion of my youth added to the self-criticism.  God was not a loving being, but a judging Santa Claus in the sky, whom I needed to be saved through Jesus in order not to be punished to Hell.  

I didn't want to get to know that God. Who would want that? 

The judging Santa Claus with a side of Jesus was the message I received and took to heart and it has taken two decades and counting to begin to rewire and transform my image of God. 

My life along with this therapy is a spiritual journey of being in the present moment, and for me to know God is inside each and every one of us.  The love of the Divine One is unconditional, and the Trinity. Oh the trinity!  I continue to heal with the Father, Son and HOLY SPIRIT in the mix.  There is a Divine Flow which has been around from the very beginning of creation of the World. (Thank you Father Richard Rohr!) This flow when I can rest in it, makes me feel connected to the entirety of creation, humans, plants, animals and includes those with whom I utterly politically disagree in our current most divided world.  You know that's some powerful stuff. 

It takes a long time to unlearn what was learned from the very beginning of our lives.   Spirituality is really about unlearning. One of my biggest teachers is emotions. 

Emotions overwhelm me (as they did in extreme form in Postpartum Depression). If I don't identify with them, attach to them, become them, they flow through.  (Different flow though!!)  

I know this mechanism well but I lose sight of it and then I remember again, and then I forget.  In my most recent therapy session earlier this week,  I very unexpectedly was taken back to the postpartum depression I had with my first child.  In past sessions, I have gone back and forth between sensations of anxiety and sadness in mere seconds.  In the last session, holding those two emotions this time, seemingly "out of nowhere," my mind went to my first postpartum experience.   I had fallen into a deep pit of despair, and volleyed back and forth between grief and overwhelming anxiety.  I hit bottom one night after months of struggling, when I finally started an anti-depressant.  That night, it ramped my anxiety up even further.   I did not sleep at all, and my overwhelming fear was that I needed to be carted off to a hospital and that my baby needed to be taken away.   The memory of this night and the postpartum depression, is still present in my body and I can call up the depth of the fear, isolation and utter despair easily.  

I felt so utterly alone and abandoned.  

My therapist and I address the Postpartum Depression experience lovingly and carefully during this session.  I attempt to recognize that my adult self is present.  When I answer the age question, it seems like I'm a teenager.  When finished, she tells me the Postpartum Depression is likely related to feelings of abandonment from early on.  She told me to take special care of myself.  For days afterward, I felt the aftereffects of examining these parts in the form of mental exhaustion, irritability and sadness.  I felt blah, I really wanted comfort.  Not so long ago, my therapist and I had discussed looking at anxiety head on and not avoiding it.  I was having chest pains, with the pandemic and my daughters going back to school.  My therapist would ask, how do I feel about the anxiety?   I began to feel edgy towards her which I have never done.  I'm freaking terrified, of a heart attack right now is how I feel.  After the session,  I did a little research into heart attacks, because you know, I had too(!) and as I had gone through cardiac testing before, I knew the chest pain was anxiety.  I sat with that knowledge and when I began to feel the anxiety again, I thanked it for working to take care of me, for showing up and that Adult Carolyn had this.  

And the chest pain went away.  

I know it will come again, and I will forget but ultimately,  I plant to practice gratitude, kindness and compassion towards the anxiety over and over.     

So, here I was again, days after exploring postpartum in my last session. I don't like it, I want to escape it and I want it to GO AWAY.    I talk to a friend.  I look things up on the internet.   Somehow I come across this video of Glennon Doyle.  It is a 23 minute Master Class in being with the pain while laughing.  She comes on very strong, but hold on for the ride.   

She gets my pain.  She is saying this stuff out loud and people respond to her.  I respond to this. 

She and Pema Chodron both say: "If you can sit with the hot loneliness of pain for 1.6 seconds, when yesterday you could only sit for 1 second, that is the Journey of the Warrior."

Glennon continues: "When we transport ourselves out of our hot loneliness, we miss our transformation. And everything we need to become ourselves is in that hot loneliness".... "the pain teaches us what we need to know."

This is spirituality like I never knew before whereas the judging God of my youth would never evolve to knowing how much I'm loved, how I am at one with the entire universe and knowing the peace that surpasses all understanding. 

With the hot pain, also comes joy.  When you numb pain, you also numb everything else. 

So this crazy therapy is deep, deep spirituality at it's core and coming to know God and myself in ways I never ever dreamed of. 


Here is the Oprah's Super Soul Conversation featuring Glennon Doyle Melton.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Presidential Leadership Traits in Time of Crisis: Trump Has None of Them

Every now and then I need to hear a historian.   I unexpectedly caught a glimpse of Doris Kearns Goodwin yesterday.  I watched it, I paused it, recorded it with my phone and I listened again because she made so much sense.  Hearing someone speak eloquently with education and authority about Presidential history is a welcome, welcome relief to my soul.  Hearing what would make a good leader explained why Trump is failing. 

Here is my summary of Ms. Goodwin's answer to one question about the historical nature of Presidential leadership in times of crisis: (I included much of her own wording.)

We are facing a triple crisis: pandemic, economic fallout and search for racial justice and in the midst of that we hope would be a leader who would have the ability, skills, and temperament to mobilize all of the national resources, to provide national direction to bring the country together. 

During the Depression, (and WWII) - what mattered and what worked is that Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew you had to have action and move.  President Hoover couldn’t change his ideology that the federal government should not be involved in local and state governments.  Hoover could not act but only get excited and say there is an uptick in the economy, the stock market, went up!   {Does this sound familiar?!!} But to deny the realities of the moment when you are a leader in a crisis is the real problem because the ground will catch up with you. 

What FDR did as a governor in NY, with no national leadership, he took action. He starts unemployment insurance, and public works jobs.  He takes responsibility for dealing with the crisis.  That is what catapults him into the Presidency. When FDR runs, Hoover has to defend his non-action.  FDR, says let’s get together, have collective action, we are going to work as a team, it’s going to be like a war.  He produced the action. The people then say, we finally have a leader!

Collective action of a nation as a whole is a central key to dealing with any of the crises as a team, much less the triple crises that we are experiencing now.

Back to me: Trump is unable to respond to these national crises because it is not in his makeup or mode of operation at all.  I kept thinking at some point, he would pivot.  He will never pivot and never speak for the entire nation.  He is a reality tv show presence and his instincts are no masks, no social distancing, in favor of the photo op and everything revolves around re-election.  (per Bolton and his actions) And it doesn't matter who he puts at risk in order to have that photo op or event.   

In his Fourth of July speeches, he doubled down on White Nationalism.  He uses race baiting rhetoric to appeal to his base which worked in 2016 with the caravans.   Yet we were not in the middle of a pandemic, economic downturn and racial turmoil that he refuses to address other than standing for the Confederacy and monuments over human beings.   We have to address our history and put the monuments in museums.  Looking at the past, reckoning with it with new eyes and receiving education of history and current times that we do not know.  I didn't know about Tulsa or Rosewood.  I didn't know about the mass incarceration rate of black men versus white men which is about five to one.   The system for profit for corporations in the prison system is diabolical to keep numbers.  I didn't know about the clause in the 13th Amendment which although it freed slaves it allowed black men to be rounded up for minor offenses, and lose their freedom forever.  The powers in charge, needed labor to make up the loss of four million slaves. 

Back to Presidential leadership.  These are the traits we need in a time of crisis: 
Humility and empathy, acknowledgment of facts with hope, surrounded by a strong team and set an example and share a sense of mission.  

Donald Trump does not have these traits and never will.  His diagnosable extensive Narcissism does not allow him to look at the big picture.  Even as the governors began leading the war on Covid19, he would get jealous when one got attention over their leadership skills, so he fought with them.  And most negligent, he turned wearing masks, the only method along with social distancing that we have to combat the spread of the virus, into a political divide.

Could you imagine if he did wear a mask, promote social distancing, and be the leader to head up all the governors and local officials in the war against Covid19?   He could be the general of the war on Covid and be lauded for that but he is incapable of taking on those reins.  His poll numbers would rise.  He tried out the moniker of a war leader for a half of a second but being a general takes fortitude, patience, long term direction and acceptance of facts...  He could express empathy about the 135,000 lives that have been lost and comfort our country.

The problem is he doesn't know how to comfort himself because his ego needs constant stroking.  He likes chaos and he's got it as does the rest of our country and the world.  We are leading the world in infections.  He's winning that number in the most advanced country in the world because he's ignoring the virus and hoping it will magically go away.   Trump won't allow the infectious disease experts speak, and they have to tiptoe around him because he and he alone wants the spotlight and... re-election.  At this point, his personality defects are impacting the country with death, economic destruction and inflicting more pain on racial minorities who have had enough pain for too many generations.   He could take it on, and turn the tide but he is clearly incapable.


Sunday, December 22, 2019

Feeling The Spirit of Departed Loved Ones

I had pulled out all the Christmas presents to wrap while the rest of the family was off running errands yesterday morning.  I am moving into the holiday spirit.  If feels like I'm getting a handle on the to do list.   It's time for some Christmas music!  This occurs every year just a few days before Christmas. I steal back my bluetooth speaker from my eldest and I pick a Rat Pack Christmas album on Pandora to listen to.

I have not walked this rainy day and I don't want to go to the crowded mall which is my go to for inclimate weather.  But this music by Frank, Nat, and Dean makes me want to move.  I wonder if I can get my cardio in this way?!  "Fly Me to the Moon", "The Way You Look Tonight", "I Love You for Sentimental Reasons", "I Could Write a Book" and "Fever" are the selections that are played after my Christmas album is over.

Pandora really knows Me  (Okay, yes, they have a good algorithm. )

As I'm wrapping the presents that only I know about,  I will be delighted to see the family's reactions when they open the presents.  I'm on a little high. I'm dancing and wrapping.

It's such a lovely delicate moment. 

And then it pops in my head and heart that I'm channeling my mother in law right now.

My mother in law, Mary loved Christmas and Frank Sinatra.  She had several of his CDs in her collection that we have now. Her parents did not have a lot of money as she grew up in a Pennsylvania coal mining town
with her six brothers.  Christmas presents were sparse for the Polish immigrants who came through Ellis Island.  Mary delighted in making a big deal out of Christmas for her children growing up and that spread to her grandchildren.

I had wondered why I loved to dance and clean the kitchen to this era of music that I did not belong to.   And it finally dawned on me, it was Mary.  Mary was my savior with our young daughters.  She delighted in spending time with our family, but she also would quietly wash clothes, clean the kitchen and loved ironing!  What?!! She also sat down and played with the kids, even climbing in the crib to do so.

There comes a time when you can feel your departed loved ones presence. It hit me that GaGa was with me as I wrapped.  Goose bumps arose when I put the two together.  I have heard TV mediums says those goosebumps or when emotions wash over you means your loved ones are present with you.

I believe it.

Mallory and I were in Piccadilly months ago, and there was an older gentleman playing a keyboard for the older crowd that was there.  My old soul youngest child loves Piccadilly mashed potatoes and friend chicken.  We sat down with our food and I started listening and I was overcome with emotion.  It was not my era of music and  I don't really remember what they were playing but Dad came into my mind.  He loved to dance and this was his era.  Blueberry Hill was playing when we left.  It's very powerful when these emotions come over you.  It cannot be denied, something is going on.

These moments don't last long but when they come along, I acknowledge them and the person they remind me of.  It's a bit of delicate mysticism and I embrace it fully.

The rest of the family thinks I'm crazy, but I want to visit a local medium.  I'll let you know what happens.


Friday, July 26, 2019

The Mueller Hearing Should Have Had More Glamour

The bottom line from the decorated war veteran who kept our country safe under several Presidents, is that the current President committed crimes but could not be charged because of Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel policy. Russia interfered and continues to do so and our current President who is now beholden to Russia will do nothing to stop it because he benefited from it. So our Intelligence agencies do their jobs, and yet... it doesn't matter. (Also could there BE any more dichotomy between straight as an arrow, honest to a fault, full of integrity Mueller and then you knowTrump.)
I still don't understand why are Presidents above the law when they commit crimes to get to the office? Can't this policy be changed?
We have come to a strange sad time in this country where the law and order party means it's okay to welcome and use hostile foreign powers to win an election (and be indebted to that hostile foreign power). Then lie about it to authorities, refuse to cooperate and everyone looks the other way and lies about it. This happened during Nixon's time as well, and only until there was dramatic testimony after weeks and weeks of hearings did the tide finally turn. None of Trump's players will testify. It takes one brave person to step forth and tell the truth and no, it's not the fixer.
We evidently need a prime time glitzy broadcast to educate the general public, so that the facts and the law are presented in a way that everyone can understand, because plain spoken brief affirmations from an aging war horse isn't enough. We need razzle dazzle with female models who are tens only, and lots of American flags, and maybe tanks? It needs to be more like a reality show, with suspense, good lighting, a perfect television soundbite, and a studio crowd yelling "lock him up." That would get the job done, right?
The truth has gone by the wayside. The truth is pummeled every day to bits by this President and the party that stands by him.
I have sadly accepted that because of the Republican majority Senate, Trump will either have to be voted out or serve another four years. For my mental health, I have had to let it go.
And that seems to be the spiritual path as well.
But this is hard to watch if you believe in truth and justice.
And then there's God.
You know, you are not supposed to discuss politics or religion with others. This current situation combines both for me, because I can't fathom how "Christians" and their leaders support this lying, corrupt, egotistical person with no morals or ethics.
Who would be drawn to Christianity when Evangelical support for Trump has never wavered? A lying, corrupt, inarticulate, pussy grabbing, draft dodging, racist, dictator loving, fascist leaning President who needs to be the center of attention at all times. He uses and abuses race bating, patriotism, and qualifies for two different personality disorders. He paints complicated issues in broad strokes and continues to amplify the division in our country to new lows. All while never cracking open and reading a briefing. (That one really kills me LOL)
Trump is the ultimate black and white thinker.
And this is exactly what all Christians are called spiritually to overcome. Hold the tension.
Lose yourself and your ego and let go.
Trust in a higher power.
Jesus, the long haired brown skinned Eastern European Jew, did not reside in America or embrace Christianity but said love your neighbor as yourself. Take care of the less fortunate.
Hold the tension.
If we learn to hold the tension of the opposites, we are able to stretch and grow. When there is more space for seemingly opposite ideas, feelings and behaviors to peacefully coexist. We become less rigid and more flexible, less judgmental and more tolerant, less fearful and more loving.*
More loving.
Didn't Jesus say to love?
Laws are broken, there is no justice. Story as old as time.
I really work to see the other point of political view but I'm worn down.
Trump and his team broke several laws but yet, the only consequences will come after he leaves office. There are also emolument clauses, campaign finance laws and everything he boasted about for years and will any of that come to justice. His dad also gave him four hundred million dollars over time, much of it, was to bail him out of bankruptcy. Laws were broken to avoid paying taxes which are too old to prosecute. I'm sure there's more, but I'm too tired.
So tired of it all.
Sometimes things have to go really bleak, in order to become anew. Can the country do that? The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. I must remember that.
All I know now, is that my part now, is to hold the tension and love my neighbor. Even those who love Trump.
Letting it go, holding that tension. Wave at the person who waves at me driving down my street while I walk the dogs. Smile at a stranger. Hold open the door for the next person.
*(With thanks to Psychology Today)

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Father's Day Meal at A Men's Shelter

I have to remind myself not to look at Facebook on certain days like Father's Day because people will express their heartfelt appreciations of love and devotion to their father. And for years, I thought something was wrong with me because I didn't feel that way.  When Dad passed away in August of 2014, I wrote a piece about him and it summed things up pretty well.

I loved him but I didn't feel emotionally connected to him. I know he loved me but I couldn't feel it.  He was who he was, and he wasn't changing. I had to accept this and make peace.

It takes time to accept people for who they are even after death. (And accepting myself...)

On occasion, I am surprised by certain emotions that come to the surface seemingly randomly.  When I become verklempt or the hairs rise on my arms and legs, this means a loved one is around.   A few months back, on a weekday when Mallory was off from school, we went to her favorite place to eat at the time.   After we went through the Picadilly cafeteria line, we discovered a gentleman playing a keyboard.  We sat down and as I listened, my eyes began welling up. The ugly cry was just around the corner.  He was playing music for the "older folks" in attendance.  I can't remember the songs exactly but as we were leaving, Blueberry Hill was being played.  Dad was present. These weren't my songs, some of them were his. He loved dancing and that is how he and Mom courted. And she would want me to mention they won a dance contest on one of their first dates in the late 1950's!

Holding the tension.  Holding very dissimilar and opposite notions at the same time and being at peace with both of them.  This is spirituality to me.  This is what Jesus was teaching but his message has become very cloudy.  Mysticism...another topic for later. Except this writing is mysticism.

On Father's Day, I signed Riley and I up to make and serve an entree with other National Charity League moms and daughters at Bishop Ott Men's Shelter.  We went to a bleak part of town in a run down building and found thirteen men in need of an evening meal.  These were men who had no where else to go.  Part of me wanted to sit down and engage with them and the other part of me wanted to get the job done and escape back to the comfort of home.  My heart is a bleeding one.  I root for the underdog. I put myself in their shoes. I remember listening to a woman from Connections for Life talk.  She had been in jail and was in a transition program to learn life skills to rehabilitate her life. All I kept thinking was, wow, that could be me except I was afforded the opportunity to go college.  College doesn't change everything but it's a major leg up.

Dad really wanted his children educated.  He and mom sacrificed for private school in our small community, and for college educations for my siblings and I.

I came home from Bishop Ott and felt affected. As the men ate, the group of moms and daughters discussed ACT exams and Junior and Senior years. The future.  One man walked off with his belongings in a trash bag and waited for a ride at the bus stop.   The contrast between the two groups stayed with me.


These men were appreciative for the meal and expressed it.  The supervisor of the site, prayed over our meal, for us ladies in particular and our travels, as well as for the men there.


Later that night, I read my sister's FB post about my dad.  She had a different experience of him having lived close by each other and Dad's ability to fix or create almost anything around the house and property.  I didn't have this experience and for a brief moment, I felt longing.

And then it came together.

I thought of the day's experience and holding the tension.  My experience can be different even with the same person.  Even though I very much wanted to be emotionally connected to my dad, I can hold that tension and be grateful that Dad showed his love in another way.  He wanted me to be educated.  That opens so many doors and opportunities.  I can feel that now.

Dad put me in a position to be a helper.  I can be with a person in a very different situation than I, look at that person in the eye and smile and serve a meal. It is a small service but it is one that I can do.

Holding the tension, being in the present moment.


Sunday, May 5, 2019

Allowing Persons (and Dogs) To Be Who They Are

These are my buddies.  I never had an inside dog that I bonded with until this beagle, Annie, on the right.  A year later, we adopted the mixed breed, Brinkley because Annie was fearful of George.  Brinkley has taught me unconditional love and Anne, well, she has increased the amount of laughter in the household immeasurably.  In the past year plus, the teenage girls in the house obsess over Ann (the name they began calling Annie)  I have to send pictures when they are away from the house. They come and greet her, and ignore Brinkely. I don't try to understand it, I just roll with it although Brinkley is so much more responsive in every way unless it's the food bowl.

It is my job to walk them in the morning. My husband, George walks them at night. Sometimes on the weekends, he walks them both.  We had a brief conversation that I would walk them today.  I became busy with stuff inside and George was busy outside.

And then I tried to walk the dogs.

Brinkley was raring to go in his youthful self. Annie not so much. After her vet appointment yesterday and with the evidence of her ever whitening fur coat, we know she's reaching her elder years.  We don't know her exact age, but now there is a heart murmur ( And an every present cherry eye that no longer ruins my appetite.)

So Annie very reluctantly comes to the front door when I call, but we don't get very far in the walk and she is not budging.  Brinkley is way ahead of me, and Annie is lagging way behind.  A jogger going by, laughed and said, "Resistance." I laughed, and said yes, she is resistant.

And then a magical thing occurred... I accepted it.

I accepted Annie for who she was in that moment.

Why fight her on this? I will be home this morning and let her outside to relieve herself. George will be home this afternoon. She obviously doesn't want to walk.

So I accepted it.

I know this is a dog but you know ... I have fought with this dog a lot, early on. She peed on my carpet and ruined it on one side of the house. I did not like her for a long while.  She tried to escape several times, and it came to a point, that if it wasn't for the chip that identified her as ours, I would have let her go.  I had to learn boundaries with her.  And once that was established, LOVE.

Also, she might be sore from her shots. So I dropped her off back at the house and continued with Brinkley. But he was acting weird too.  He was choosing to lay down on the ground and rub his back on the grass multiple times.  He looked ecstatic in these actions.

Then I get the text from George and it all made sense.
So much for communication. 

What I took away from this little escapade. People (and dogs) will show me who they are in the moment or on an ongoing basis.  I am learning to believe them. Even bigger is to accept them for who they are and know that it is not a reflection of who I am.  

That is the kicker. 

It is not a reflection of who I am. 

I didn't even get mad at George.  It was funny.