Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Big Questions of the Day

Had a dream last night that I was in the house I'd grown up in, and intruders entered. Several of them. Six? Eight? More? Men and women, non-threatening, but in they came and they wouldn't leave, despite me asking them to, repeatedly.

I reached for my phone and called 911. The operator said, "I can't find a pen right now, can you call back?"

I woke up.

But I can't shake it.

We had recently been in Eugene visiting my brother and his family, and they live in my childhood home. They still have the four yellow chairs we bought in the 70s, to go with the groovy coordinating, yet not matching, floral and striped wallpaper. Two walls each as I recall, but I can't be sure. Two orange chairs and four yellow.

My nephew didn't know the history of the yellow chairs, so when I got home I searched through thousands of unorganized photos on my laptop, to find one with a yellow chair. Found one, but it only had the tiniest tip showing. Just enough to give you proof, but not enough to really satisfy.

Where did the two orange chairs go?

Why the intruders? What part of me is intruding?

What part of me "can't find a pen" ?

What part of me doesn't match?

What part of me got left behind?


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Figurative Fasting


Yesterday was Ash Wednesday - the beginning of Lent. Forty days with a focus on fasting, praying, and giving. I had been thinking about what I wanted to fast from, for many months, and had come up with being negative/critical/complaining. I was hoping I could make it to lunch without breaking my fast.

I am teaching a small group of kids at church, preparing to be baptized at Easter. With ash crosses marked upon each of our foreheads, we discussed what we'd learned at Mass earlier that day: the meaning of Lent, the symbolism of the ashes, and what we were going to do during our own individual Lenten journeys.

One of the older students, a sponsor to a younger student, after a group discussion about giving up Xbox, iPods, candy, sweets, etc., said she was a going to do "more of a figurative fast." It's not my place to publish her personal decision on what to fast from, but suffice it to say, I was blown away by her maturity, wisdom, perspective, and approach. It gave me both hope for humanity, and raised my own bar. She shared that she'd made this same journey a few years ago, but had decided it was time to bring it back around again, now that she's older and sees it differently.

I am listening to Eckhart Tolle and Oprah's Super Soul Conversation podcasts on A New Earth: Awakening to you Life's Purpose. I've listened to each one at least twice already, and many years ago when they did their webcasts, I listened and re-listened over and over again throughout the years. It seems to take repetition to break through to any kind of deeper understanding. Even then, the tendency to "forget" is strong.

And so with the help of Eckhart to become more conscious, more in alignment with my inner purpose, to be in the Now, I step forward into Lent. More mindful of that from which I am fasting.  More prayerful. More giving.

Amen.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Annual Needs Assessment

Yesterday was Wil's annual needs assessment. Oregon has moved away from the ANA, and is now conducting the Oregon Needs Assessment, which, thankfully, only needs to be done every five years. "Unless that changes... you know how things are always changing," Wil's Personal Agent said.

Yes. I know how things are always changing.

What doesn't change is the PTSD the needs assessment activates. Because of the new tool, and new rules that come with it, Wil's PA came as support and for advocacy, but a second person came to administer the assessment. Through emails with the PA, I was well-prepared for what would happen, how long it would take, and what was expected from Wil. For the 100-minute appointment, Wil was asked to partake for 30. Much pre-paving and elaborate scheduling to assure he was well-fed, under-scheduled, etc. took place.

The PA and the assessor, in 30 minutes, got that. And more. They really saw and heard and gathered and gleaned. The three of us were able to finish the assessment without Wil, and there was a sense of teamwork, Team Wil. AND, Team Care.

If anything, the convincing was on their part. They could tell that there are a million-and-one ways I personally support Wil in a day, many I am not even aware of, because they've always been there.

This is my first experience in nearly 23 years, of being accurately, and fully seen and understood by an outsider.

It is empowering, humbling, liberating, validating, and a little unsettling. It's Brené Brown-level vulnerability.

I highly recommend it.

Friday, February 15, 2019

56

It's been awhile. Sorry about that. I've been working on a "new" memoir. "New" can only be said using quotation marks, as it's been many years in the making, but has been started and re-started, many times. I haven't quite landed on "it." I will know when I'm there, but the path is that of a maze: the dead ends are many, and the way through, not obvious.

Turned 56, yesterday. Closer to 60 than to 50 brings with it mixed emotions, mostly good. Our nest is full. Woohoo lives here again, and we are once again, a full-time family of four.

Been listening to Eckhart Tolle and Oprah's new podcast on A NEW EARTH: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose. I went through the original series they did together, many times. Life and times have changed, and it's almost like hearing it all again for the first time, but with a twist -that stir of remembering.

It occurs to me, not for the first time, that Wil does not have a Pain Body, nor an ego. He is not triggered. He does nothing because it makes him look/sound/seem good. He holds no grudges, no anxiety about his future (beyond what we're doing on Monday). He lives a life of presence and consciousness. He vibrates at a higher frequency than mere mortals. To have the opportunity to live with such an example, is an (exhausting) honor.

What else? Honey. Honey is the best. We believe Flicka brought Honey into our life, and we couldn't love her more. She is easy. Apart from the shedding, she is perfect. Woohoo recently took her to the Oregon Coast. If you're in need of a pick-me-up, watch this:





Monday, January 14, 2019

It Counts

TOP 10 THINGS THAT COUNT AS WRITING:

10. Reading books about writing

 9. Reading great writing

 8. Signing up for a writing class

 7. Listening to podcasts with great authors

 6. Combing through old writing for snippets, ideas, threads

 5. Writing in a journal

 4. Blogging

 3. Talking about writing with another writer

 2. Reading what you've written from the day before

 1. Writing



TOP 10 GRAY-AREA THINGS THAT SORT OF COUNT AS WRITING:

10. Cleaning your house

 9. Yard work

 8. Going through photo albums

 7. Ironing

 6. Sleeping

5. Recording dreams

4. Listening to an inspirational song, in a continuous loop

3. Staring into space

2. Meditating

1. Walking, alone, in silence, while the writing sifts and sorts


Monday, December 3, 2018

Honey



"Don't wait too long to get another one!"

"When are you getting another one?"

Variations on the same theme and message: you need another dog, ASAP.

"We miss Flicka, but we're enjoying being pet-free," was our response. We didn't miss the hair, the rigid schedule, the expense, the obligation.

We were in no way considering another dog. That was our story, and we were sticking to it.

STM and I had been hearing Woohoo talk of Honey for months. "Don't get any crazy ideas about bringing Honey home with you," we cautioned.

When we landed in Puerto Vallarta, it was only a matter of hours until we met Honey, Pickles and Nova, favorites of Woohoo's from the dog rescue shelter at which she'd been volunteering.


Woohoo played it smart. She didn't push. She understood when we told her we thought Honey was adorbs, but that we were not considering another dog.

Long about Day 3, Honey came up in conversation again. "I'm considering it," I told her.

"I know you are," she said, adding nothing further.

You all know where this story ends.

And begins.

Tomorrow, we will go to PDX and pick up two honeys: Woohoo and Honey.

Welcome home, Woohoo.

Welcome to the Link family, Honey. We think you'll be very happy here.



Thursday, September 27, 2018

Flicka Link



January 26, 2004 - September 4, 2018

Three weeks later, and it's not much easier to talk about. 

My dad used to say, "I don't get a dog because I want to be free to go, but the truth is, nobody 'goes' less than I do."

That was not the truth. The truth was, he could not bear to put himself through the inevitable loss he would one day face. The loss he'd experienced before, and knew he could not do so again. 

That never made sense to me. He needed a dog for companionship, for purpose, structure to his days, for the unconditional love a dog would offer, and he craved.

It makes sense to me, now. 

I have never been with another soul as the veil got thin, and they passed right on through.

I have never been the one to choose the date and time of another's passing.

I will never do it again.

The time was holy, unifying, and beautiful. The days leading up to it, I sat with her for hours, praying, petting, and trying to make peace. I shuffled my Mother Mary Oracle cards, pulling one I had not ever pulled before: Our Lady Who Sends the Angels. I prayed that Claire, who had brought Flicka into our lives, and had passed a few years ago, would be there to greet her. I prayed that those whose names I knew, and those whose names I didn't, would escort her lovingly to the other side.

My husband and I had candles, music, tears and time with her. Flicka lifted her head off her bed and alertly looked towards the door of the living room. Her cataracts had prevented her from seeing much of anything for years, but she "saw" something. She put her head back down, rested comfortably while we petted her, then again, raised her head and "looked."

"She can see them waiting for her," I said to my husband.

"She certainly can," he said.

Soon, the waiting was over. She was one with those ascended souls with whom she belongs. 

I do not cry easily. I tear up, but to actually cry? It had been years since I'd lost myself to tears. I cried more in the days leading up to, and following Flicka's death, than I have in the last 40 years, combined. When I tried to sort out why, I came to understand it was because her death was 100% sad. All the other deaths I'd experienced had other complex emotions, chaos, crisis. This had none of those things. There was no drama, nothing complicated. Just pure sadness.

"Remember, you're putting her 'up,'" my friend, Ilonka Michelle O'Neil, told me, as I shared with her the struggle to make the decision of when, not if. 

There is no doubt in my mind that she is "up." If one can continue to ascend from the other side, and I believe that to be so, Flicka went straight to the highest ascension possible. Our Lady sent the angels, and now, Flicka is one of them.

Big Questions of the Day

Had a dream last night that I was in the house I'd grown up in, and intruders entered. Several of them. Six? Eight? More? Men and women,...