Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Care of Pets


Today is the third anniversary date of the death of our Bichon Frise, LeStat. Although the image to the right isn't LeStat it is a picture I like very much of a Bichon. LeStat was thirteen years old when he went to Heaven. We miss him and honor him on this special day of remembrance.
Last evening I viewed the movie Hachi with my three grandchildren who also loves dogs. Hachi is a story of a special relationship between a dog, Hachi and his master. The themes of love, loyalty and family reminded me of the relationships I have had with my dogs over the years.
The story reminds us how many times we are chosen by a pet and not the other way around. The dog or cat comes into our lives by chance, yet it changes everything. And, sometimes the pet fills a void the person doesn't even know existed, and remember maybe that is true for the pet too.
If you have ever lost a beloved pet you know that the dog (or, any other loved animal) lives on in our psyche. Hachi teaches us that the pet owner lived on in his beloved dog. Hachi would continue the daily ritual of meeting the train in the mornings and in the evenings that his beloved 'owner' commuted on daily to the university where he was a professor. Hachi would change his life to continue this ritual and devotion to his master. The love and loyalty displayed by Hachi is heartwarming and touches the lives of those that observe this daily happening that went on for nine years past his master's death.
It reminded me that although I do not have the daily outwardly connection with LeStat (and, for that matter all the other dogs that are also in Heaven; but today is LeStat's day!) he is with me in my very being just as the professor was with Hachi.
If you haven't seen the movie Hachi I highly recommend it. Today take the time to think about the animals that have been in your life and how the love and loyalty lives on.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Birds and Their Lessons for Me

My husband and I in the recent past have come to truly enjoy watching the birds. He has placed several bird feeders in view of our table in the sunroom (where I am sitting now and the Kitchen Table I refer to often) where we eat our meals and get to watch the birds. We have become birdwatchers. I appreciate the freedom I experience as I watch the birds fly. They have a lightness I envy and want in my own life.

A friend recently sent me an email that asked "do you ever wonder what is inside a birdhouse?" Then the email allowed you to go inside the birdhouse and it was a complete house, of course in miniature size. It humanized the birds by giving them what we have in our houses. It was quite amusing and it was certainly a creative email; however, I do not want the birds to have all the hassles that come from having a house. My thought was that the birds would loose their sense of freedom and lightness that I experience as their essence, as well as what I am trying to bring into my life.

This continued to prompt me to think about birds and how they fly. I quickly realized that I was projecting onto these birds my own desire for 'freedom' and 'lightness.' I realized I do not want all those household chores, labor intensive tasks, and ongoing meals, dishes, and laundry to do. I want to fly like the birds. My next question became "how do I do that and continue to live in my house?"

Mindfulness was the answer that 'bubbled' up in my thoughts. Yes, mindfulness. I need to be in the NOW like the birds. I can live in my house with more lightness if I can prioritize chores, lower expectations, not think in terms of 'all or nothing' and make sure that there is balance to my day. I can be present in my life by honoring me. I can fly like the birds and experience my freedom and lightness by living my life by my choices on a daily bases. I can feel freedom and lightness.

It is no wonder I have become a bird watcher as 'the teacher appeared' when I needed it. The birds have been teaching me about how much I needed to learn to 'fly' and to be 'light.' Thank you birds and yes, we will keep your bird feeders full!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wisdom


I am a Sage-ing Leader (www.sage-ingguild.org) and Sage-ing is about conscious aging. It focuses on positive aspects of aging and what I call creative aging. One of the Sage-ing exercises is about harvesting our lives. I like to think that when we do this exercise we are mining our lives for the gold or the wisdom we have gained through living.
Wisdom is what we have learned along the way. What we have gained from perhaps choices we wished we hadn't made, from our life experiences, from our losses, and from falling down and getting up again. We cultivate wisdom when we journal, when we tell our stories, through prayer and meditation, listening to others share their journeys, as well as the learning we can do through books and movies.
One Saturday morning I sat in Cracker Barrel eating breakfast when I overheard some women at the next table talking. One of the women said, "my life has just been a series of one bad decision after another." I have never forgotten those words and the laughter that all of the women at that table engaged in as they listened to her reflect on her life. As a Sage-ing Leader I'd encourage her to harvest the gifts that are within those decisions and to cultivate the wisdom that are the offerings extended to her.
As we age we certainly have had life experiences and I hope each of you will take some time to reflect with the goal of finding the wisdom that is your gift. This gift hopefully then allows more consciousness as we live our life and offer our gifts to others.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Create

Over the weekend I attended a Spring Art Festival. As I walked along the street stopping at different artist booths I felt an 'awe' for the creativity I was witnessing.

I was amazed at the many themes of creativity as I looked at the artists' work. These objects were something they 'birthed' and to think that it started with a thought; i.e., a seed. These objects went from a thought to a reality. These artists had to devote time, money and energy to finish these products.

I wondered what their thoughts were along the way...what did this artist think about this piece of pottery; this piece of jewelry; this woven garment; this painted picture that they created? And what was it like now for the artist as we potential buyers walked about touching and commenting on this item they had 'birthed?' The artist had breathed life into something that now had form and substance. What was it like for the artist to see people pick up the wonderful piece of jewelry and then put it back down? Did they experience rejection? Or, were they glad that they got to keep this particular piece of jewelry awhile longer?

I purchased a beautiful pair of gold butterfly earrings and a ring made by an artist in Nashville, Tennessee. She was a joy to talk with, taking her time to explain to me the different pieces of jewelry I looked at, and she was friendly to me and my friend. I enjoyed buying these items and I enjoyed spending some time with this talented woman.

I appreciated the energy it must take to travel to these art shows, packing and unpacking their precious art, the expenses to participate in the shows, dealing with the weather, interacting with people, answering questions, being tired and not having anybody to watch your booth so that you can comfortably take a much needed break. As a person walking through the crowds, looking at the art, leisurely talking with the artist I certainly came to appreciate the work that went into the artist once again giving of their time, energy and money in the sharing of their talents.

Thank you to all you artists out there that might need to know that you are appreciated, that your talents are honored, and that you deserve recognition for the sharing in so many ways of your talents.