Posted in Disaster, Loss

Too close for comfort

Today had some scary moments that definitely came too close for comfort. Whatever my system was fighting, was still making me feel less than a 100%, but it was better than the day before and off to work I went. I struggled a few times and honestly, I wished I could have called in sick. But I couldn’t and to offset my nausea, I drank more water than usual in the hopes of staying hydrated and help with the dizziness. I made it by and soon I would learn that there were even bigger worries to be concerned about. Around 4PM I found out that yet another wildfire had started, the ninth one within the last ten days. Although it is wildfire season for us, I don’t remember ever seeing so many right after another. People are beginning to speculate if someone is setting these fires on purpose, as it is hard to believe and what are the chances that a wildfire erupts every day as a part of our daily routine. 

What was different about this one, was that it was dangerously close to my house. The freeway was closed already and there was no way getting to the house unless I was going to drive a giant loop, trying to circle the fire and come back to the house through another state, California. I contemplated getting back into the house one last time, as I was thinking about what I would take. Strangely very little came to mind as most things would be replaceable or had reached a point of where I wouldn’t want to replace them. I felt a strange combination of emotions wash over me as I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what I was feeling. A bit nervousness, sure, it’s not every day that your house is threatened to go up in flames and there was a little sadness as my mind had no problems countering up images of a past life gone up in smoke. Reduced to ashes with nothing left, gone. Of course this was exaggerated as there was plenty left, even if that would have happened, but our minds are powerful and the ego always love to portray the worst case scenario. For a moment I wondered if this was God’s way of helping me dissolve a household and clear the path for Germany. In a way, it was in that moment that I stopped worrying and once again found trust in my beliefs of that everything would find it’s way and would unfold how it was meant to be. I wouldn’t even try to interfere. 

I continued to check the phone periodically for updates and at one point learned that people within a couple of blocks from my house got evacuated. The fire was creeping closer, but eventually changed directions and was moving away from my house. I was sure I was amongst the 4000 people without power. I could sense it without knowing. I was off at 7PM and by 8:30PM the freeway finally opened up again and residents were allowed back to their houses. It was light enough driving home to see the charred up hill and how close the fire came to doing even worse destruction, messing with people’s livelihood. In the end 250 houses, 7 businesses and 10,000 residents were affected. It felt like a devastated area, driving through the black vegetation and the roads covered with red fire retardant. But those are minor things compared to what could have been and I have no complaints. I’m tired from not feeling well and I’m grateful that I can rest in my own bed, without further stress. Even the power was back on once I came into the house, as all electronics greeted me with flashing numbers to have their time reset. They are still flashing…

This was only the beginning 

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Posted in Buddhism, Emotions, Experience, Feelings, Human spirit, Inspiration, Life, Life lessons, Loss, My story, Photography, Purpose driven, Self help, Spirit animals, Spiritual awakening

Spiritual awakening – Stage 1


“The transformation begins”

As I mentioned before it was Pinterest that steered me into the direction of spiritual awakening. You might wonder what exactly it means to be spiritually aware, awake and enlightened. Don’t you walk around with your eyes wide open every day and if so well then you are definitely not asleep, right? What could be missing? I had the same questions and it remains something that is somewhat difficult to answer. I think that the timing has to be right for you to believe and to see the signs the universe is throwing you. I like to say it’s made more of the things that you just feel, a instinct, a gut feeling, maybe a hunch. And even when you do feel it, you won’t know what it is, which stage you are going through, let alone that you realize that you are going through a stage or a phase. None will make any sense as it is new information and you are learning it for the very first time. Perhaps it’s a discontent you have felt, something you want to change in your life, maybe you have questions that have gone unanswered, until now. To say the least my curiosity was sparked as I first embarked on the first message and my hunger grew to learn more about this mysterious subject. I kept most of it to myself and shared very little of what I was exploring. How could I explain it to others if I couldn’t even explain it to myself. Many times I thought people would for sure think that I had gone crazy, not that I really cared all that much about what others thought of me. I had learned a long time ago that people will always have an opinion one way or another, whether you do something or not and even if you do it perfectly. Sometimes you merely get caught in the crossfire and have to accept things how they are. If you can, you will feel less burdened and may even be healthier and happier for sure.

One article exclaimed that there were 7 stages to spiritual awakening and that a person could go through any given step at any given time without any particular order. The process is different for everybody as we all awaken in our own way, so this is really where the tricky part comes in as there is not a one fits all process. From person to person we interpret and feel things in a different way and it was said that some people may even skip a few stages where others yet repeat a few stages to solidify the lesson until it is learned.

I still think that the first stage is vital and sets the course for all the other stages to follow while it remains unclear to me if the first stage could ever be skipped.
Stage 1 The Catalyst
The Catalyst is described as a life change, a paradigm shifting event that shakes and jolts you awake. Some people may need several of these catalysts which are said to be gentler after the first strong jolt. They weren’t in my case but I did require quiet a few to finally wake me up. I think the first big one was my fathers death, but I was only ten years old. And while I knew back then that life would never be the same again, I understand now that I couldn’t have had many plans and experiences at such a tender age that would have wanted me to completely change my life around! I simply was too young to understand, I didn’t know, but I still believe it was a vital event that shaped my life and my future that was to come.

The miscarriages were catalysts further forging my path. And there were a few others of which I am not sure if I could ever sort them into a gentler category. Being torn between two countries, being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis which almost left me crippled for awhile in excruciating pain and the fear that it would rob me of my life, a failed marriage and the estranged mother / daughter relationship that had brought me much guilt over the years. Maybe I had learned to live with most of those things, maybe I had accepted them over time and they were no longer catalysts at all. I don’t know for sure but I believe that everything that happens in our lives is here to guide us onto the path we were meant to take. So ultimately I have to believe that these things are a part of my journey.

The next jolt came as Sparky did not make it home after a vet visit and the aftershock of having to say goodbye. The final catalyst came 2 1/2 years ago as Nikki crossed the Rainbow bridge. I never recovered from that one and it shook me to my core. There was no way I could sleep through that one and it was then that I found myself in the early stage of waking up. Nobody ever said that it was suppose to be beautiful and it was better be explained as very painful, life altering, a life changing event, a shift, catalyst and jolt that was character building but not to be ignored.
Some example events / jolts can include:
A near death experience,

Loss of any kind,

A life threatening illness,

Depression,

But also meeting your soulmate
Further it was suggested that spirit visitations could also be a part of it. This last one truly made me pause and think. It wasn’t that I had experienced any ghosts, aliens or other spirit visits, but how did I know and how could I make such a statement! How exactly did a spirit look like, would it take on a human form to sit here and chill with me, having a conversation as if it was the most natural of things? I was thinking back to the Spirit Animals that I had encountered, the sightings and the incidents in nature that remained mostly unexplained. Could it have been?
The summary of the emotions experienced during this first stage were:
Fear,

Shock,

Disbelief,

Not understanding what was going on,

Awe,

And the difficulty grasping that it happened to begin with.
I definitely could relate and without a doubt I knew that I had experienced stage 1 in the process of spiritual awakening. I’m still curious and wonder how many others experience similar instances. For myself, many questions were answered and the article even though it was read in hindsight and might have not guided me at the time, it still shed a lot of light. It brought explanations and clarity to me during a time I felt alone and confused with the feelings I couldn’t articulate and share with others. I look back to these painful catalysts and I have learned to embrace them. I don’t hold any bitterness as these painful thresholds are nothing more than a push towards a life that is enriched and lived to the fullest. A life with my eyes wide open and my senses heightened to take in all of what truly matters, in all of it’s glory and all of it’s beauty.

How could I ever be bitter about that?

Posted in Emotions, Experience, Health, Human spirit, Inspiration, Life, Loss, Motivation,, My story, Purpose driven, Self help, Wisdom

Thank you Tooth – Fairy 

Dear Tooth – Fairy (my dentist)
There used to be a time you brought me money when you took my teeth. And just like that everything is different and the times have changed. You still take my teeth but today I pay you to do so 😉. I mean this in the most fun and harmless way possible as no amount of money could buy the kindness you have bestowed upon me. What you have given me is simply priceless and involves the human touch. 

You see it is much more to me then just finding an outstanding dentist such as yourself who is loved by her staff and clients alike. I don’t need a testament from anybody, I just sense it in the atmosphere and the vibes when I’m around you. I have always said that my strong intuition can be a blessing or a curse as it often reveals a look beyond and I see things hidden from many others. It’s not always pretty and it is often filled with ulterior motives that are self centered, even inconsiderate. Coming across you has been a true blessing and without you ever saying a word, I know why you do what you do. Working in the service industry, impacting and affecting people every day, I want you to know what a difference you make. You have for me, in a huge way. And I know that this is what it’s all about, amongst other things, but this has to be one of the most fulfilling and satisfying reasons I bet. The reasons you can go home after a day of work and feel like you made the world a better place by bestowing your grace upon some lucky souls, your team and patients. 

Bad experiences had kept me away from the dentist, but coming to your office three weeks ago, I couldn’t have known that I was well on my way of overcoming all of my fears. From the moment I stepped foot through your door, I felt so much more than just a new patient. Everybody was so warm and kind and Ashley had the biggest smile once I introduced myself and she handed me the new patient documents to fill out. She would also sneak me into a cancelled appointment the following week and was sensitive to my needs, time and desire to get this done. Later I was kicking back in your lounger (which I previously always considered as the torture chair) simply knowing that everything would be ok. I didn’t want a magazine or anything while I was waiting, I simply wanted to soak up the feeling and enjoy the peace I found myself in. There was a comforting calm settling over me, as if somebody had wrapped me in a warm blanket, a feeling I took in the best way possible. And then I met Elvia which was more like meeting a friend instead of being a patient. I trusted her from the first moment and knew that I was in good hands with her. I immediately connected and she is such a wonderful person, a true gem I’m sure you are very lucky and grateful to have. Elvia remains a vital part of my visits but has grown in my heart as a friend and a person I’m lucky to have had the opportunity of meeting. Elvia reminds me of how good it is to give and I would go to great lengths to make her day in any way possible. 

And then I got to meet you and you sat on your little rolling chair right next me. What I first noticed was the kindness in your eyes, your desire to help, to make things better for me, to do the best to your ability and to be a part in making my smile even bigger and brighter. Yep, I got all of that before we even spoke and once you did, it only confirmed what I already knew about you and your kind heart. If was refreshing to see all of the care you had for me and I have to admit that people such as yourself are very rare. Today’s society seldom gives you the time of day and we often lack the compassion and love for our fellow humans. Feelings and emotions are replaced by selfishness, envy, jealousy and greed. Instead of pulling together we become competition and enemies, caught in a constant race against each other. I felt none of that sitting in your chair, but what I did feel was as if an angel was sitting right next to me to restore my faith in humanity once more. YOU. And you did it in such a big way and not so subtle at all. You touched my heart in ways you might not even be aware of and I could never thank you enough. We had touching moments on all of my three visits. During two we were close to tears, but in a good way as they were tears of joy and sincere emotions. It is now that I find myself once again, close to tears as I am writing this. Also in a good way, because it has so much meaning and I know we might cry once more reading this. 

I experienced loss at a very young age as I lost my Dad and I’m sure it is a big reason as to why I feel so strongly about sharing my feelings. I may do so verbally or physically such as baking a cheesecake for you or doing something else I might think could make your day. And you truly made my day today by accepting the cheesecake and being so excited and appreciative about it. I loved doing it and I don’t do it because I have to but because you have made a difference for me. It’s a very small token of gratitude that I can repay you by making you smile and say cheeesssee….eeeee….cake. If you are lucky enough to meet an angel who changes your life and outlook, if you care and love somebody, if you are grateful for something they did for you, then I say that you need to take the time to acknowledge it and let them know. And so it is that I feel a simple “Thank you” will never be enough to express all of my gratitude for you and your wonderful staff, I hope that this intimate post will give you much more insight of what you have done for me. Thanks to you and your team I no longer fear the dentist and actually think that I might have withdrawals if I don’t see all of you on a weekly basis 😉. It was a thought that crossed my mind today leaving your office knowing that my next appointment won’t be until the 21st. Strange….I know, but in a good way. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart Dr. Owens and team. You are the most amazing Tooth – Fairy ever and I’m truly, truly blessed by you.

Posted in Adventure, Animals, Death, Emotions, Experience, Feelings, Hiking, Human spirit, Inspiration, Life, Life lessons, Loss, Mother nature, Motivation,, My story, Pets, Photography, Purpose driven, Self help, Spiritual awakening, Wisdom

The heart of a lion

Nikki came into my life as she was nearly two years old and I feel extremely blessed that I could rescue her from her abusive owners. I didn’t know at the time that she would equally play a huge part in my life, ultimately rescuing me as much as I rescued her. I was unaware that she was coming from a violent home and all I knew about was the apartment situation that would lead to the separation from her prior owners. Soon enough, the same day, her dramatic past began to unravel and I got a glimpse into some of the struggles this poor little baby had endure. From being chained and staked in the backyard, to a prior broken leg from abuse, her fear of water from almost drowning at the hands of her owners, her food aggression and her fear for humans. I won’t go into too many details to relive this horror, which I mostly found out through her behavior or through the jokes of her previous owners. Needless to say it was also the last time that they ever got to see Nikki. I always felt very lucky to have been the one able to turn her little precious life around and give her a reason to live. Besides having the heart of a lion which I will describe later, she also looked like a lion as I first saw her. A good brushing, which was yielding numerous brushes filled of hair later, (it would have made the softest pillow stuffing ever and I wish I would have kept it), she emerged as a different dog and looked nothing like the Chow Chow mix she was suppose to be. She looked like a Shiba Inu mix, a starved one that was reduced to nothing more than skin and bones after shedding the matted fur mess. She was visibly malnourished.

Her eating could hardly be described as eating. She was scarfing her food down in such a hurry, forgetting to chew, obviously being afraid that somebody would take it away. In return it caused her to choke and gasp for air. It was during that time that I considered learning the Heimlich maneuver, just in case. Reaching down to pet her, I was hoping to talk some comforting sense into her, but it only caused her to duck. She was afraid that the hand that was coming down would hit her, which I’m sure had happened too many times. Over the years I made a game out of it to take away her fear and associate the hand with a new meaning. Fun and playtime…”The claw”. It took years to rehabilitate her and years before she took herself not so seriously, finally allowing herself to play. It was then that the Shiba 500 (playful little outbursts of energy, running around like crazy while smiling from ear to ear….and yes I’m still talking about Nikki, she had the biggest smile I ever saw on a dog ) was born. It was an extraordinary day and I remember how happy I was as she dropped her fear and revealed her true nature. Her beautiful soul emerged and for the first time there was no fear in her eyes.

Nikki and I had a special bond, a bond words simply can’t describe. She literally was my fur baby and meant everything to me. She was my child and she lives on within my heart. I didn’t think that I could have loved her any more as I did, and despite that she couldn’t physically communicate with me, I understood everything she was trying to convey. Her gratefulness for saving her was obvious in all of her actions, all you had to do is look at her little face. I have always considered myself an animal lover, but it was Nikki who taught me to see more, to see the living soul mirrored in her eyes. I despised people referring to her as nothing more than an animal, a pet,  I simply couldn’t relate. She was so much more, she was a beautiful living soul, full of spunk and emotions.

After Sparky’s death her little heart was broken and our relationship became even closer. I was all that she had left and while Sparky was alive, I might have not believed that our bond could get any stronger. But it did. Nikki became a hiker at the age of 12 and I once heard that 1 dog year is equivalent to 7 human years. There is much controversy discussing this topic which includes the consideration of various breeds etc, but if there is truth to it, Nikki would have been 84 years old as she took up hiking. A true testament that it is never too late to start doing what you love. At the age of 84 she found a new passion (she probably always had it and I feel guilty of not introducing her to it earlier while coming up with various excuses of not being able to handle two dogs by myself, working so much back then and still now, to etc. etc.) a passion that would help her cope with the loss of her companion and soulmate, Sparky. 

Preparing for a hike was tricky and I had to be careful as the adrenaline and her sheer excitement of going for a hike would often lead to overexertion. In her senior years Nikki had developed arthritis and her own excitement and willpower often exceeded what her little body could handle. It was crazy how she would pick up on the tiniest of clues before a hike. She definitely knew the backpack and me grabbing it would result in the Shiba 500, running around like crazy, wiping out, hitting a slippery patch on the hardwood floor or leaping through the air almost knocking me over were all results if I wasn’t sneaky enough. All things her old little, aged body couldn’t put away so easily anymore. Her leash was no difference or putting on her harness, even the sound of the car could trigger the excitement, followed by what I can only express as that shit grinning, tongue out smile that appeared on her face in anticipation. She didn’t know her own strength and I often felt that it was sheer adrenaline and her willpower, the passion for what she loved and the heart of a lion full of courage that propelled her forward. Looking back, I realize that Nikki was one of my greatest teachers. I have no doubt that without any spoken words, she has taught me more than I ever learned from some who could speak. I might have rescued her from her abusive owners but in the end I’m not so sure of who ended up rescuing who. Let’s just call it even.

It’s been 2 1/2 years since Nikki has been gone and I’m not sure if I will ever get over her loss. I’m reluctant to say that I felt as if I lost a child. Despite two miscarriages I never experienced losing a child that lived with me for several years and I can’t truly compare it to make such a statement. Still it is the closest form that I can describe her loss and my life remains forever changed. People have encouraged me to get another dog and while I believe that a new dog could ease the pain and help me make new memories, I also know that nobody will ever take her place. It is the uncertainty and the changes that lie ahead that have prevented me from taking on the responsibility of getting a dog right now. Nikki will always have a special place in my heart and I held on to her as long as I could. Her wings were ready but it was my soul that wasn’t prepared to let her go for selfish reasons. In the end I had to do what any animal lover would have done to spare her additional pain and a life that had no future. And still, no day goes by that she isn’t on my mind. I wish she was here and the thought of being reunited with Sparky brings me only little comfort. I have to remind myself that her beautiful soul is with me forever, pain free to roam and play once more until we can meet again. In the meantime there is an empty hole within my heart as I have no choice but to roam without her.

Nikki has taught me that it is never too late. To pursue your passion as it is the rhythm of everything that matters in life. Do it with passion or don’t do it at all. If you have to do something you don’t like and the passion is lacking, change your stars and pursue what matters. Work towards your goals and take that first step no matter how tiny it is. Just do it anyways. Nikki has taught me to look beyond and recognize a soul within every living being. To drop its formal name of calling it an animal, but to see the spirit and the soul that lies within. Nikki showed me perseverance by pushing beyond  the pain as nothing in life is free. To be a warrior and realize that the harder the struggle, the sweeter the victory. It takes life shattering incidents to mold us into the people we are meant to be, otherwise we just don’t learn. I believe that it was Nikki who initiated the first stage of what would lead me to my spiritual awakening. The other element of importance was that the timing was right. I simply became aware and was willing to listen and see the signs that have always been there, unnoticed until then.

Coming soon…stage one of spiritual enlightenment and spiritual awakening. I believe now….

Posted in Death, Emotions, Experience, Feelings, Human spirit, Inspiration, Life, Life lessons, Loss, My story

“Just like your Mother”

You said it a few times by now and each time you have said it in anger. “You are just like your mother”. I’m not quiet sure as to why you say it or if it’s a low blow you are trying to deliver. Maybe it’s just a statement, an opinion, something that doesn’t come with good intentions. I wonder if it truly needs to be spoken, as it’s context conveyed is meant to be hurtful. I fail to see your reasoning, nor am I trying to figure it out. All I know is that it’s no compliment towards me or my mother and I feel a change inside of me rising when you bring it up. A switch that turns to protection of my mother as I feel that she has bestowed nothing but kindness upon you. I know there have been many times that you have seen me struggle through some issues with my mother and perhaps it is the reason as to why your perception of her has shifted. Maybe it is different for an outsider, somebody not related through blood, but even that I can’t justify and excuse because you have experienced some of the same with your own family. 

As far as my mother is concerned, I’m not sure if we struggled after the death of my father. She provided me with everything that I needed and while I’m sure that there must have been tough times, I was too young to understand and notice. I might have never seen or recognized the signs that were there and I dismissed them with young, innocent and ignorant bliss. There was nothing to notice for me at that age, she did a great job of keeping it all away from me and nothing was obvious or appeared out of the ordinary. For the most part anyways, besides missing my father every day. She had to be a strong woman, raising me by herself and finishing the construction / remodel on our house that was only half finished through her own power. She never gained the respect a man would have had dealing with the handy workers of various traits, but she learned to become tough which also caused her to lock her feelings away in order to display this strong front. Even towards me she kept her wall up, towards her own flesh and blood. I knew she cared about me and loved me, I always knew, she just never said it to me and I missed the affection I had come to know and love from my father. 

I don’t know if my mother changed or if it was me realizing how important it was to convey feelings. My father taught me in his absence that we can never take anything for granted because we might never get a second chance. And so it was that while my heart and my feelings opened during this Rhapsody (an effusively, enthusiastic or ecstatic expression of feelings), it was the opposite for my mother and her feelings and her heart hardened during that same time. Yes, she choose to be by herself for all the years that followed my fathers death and she never remarried. Sometimes I think that it is only me who can understand her reasonings behind the unspoken words. She doesn’t have to say anything and still I already know that my father was her soulmate, he was the one and only for her. A play of words that couldn’t find a better example as describing the love that lived between my parents. 

I never realized how much it impacted my mother that I left her and my country to come to America. How could I, we never talked about feelings in any way or form. By now you could say, she had become an expert at hiding her emotions, with a poker face that left no clues. Over the years she became bitter that I left her behind and we drifted apart. We almost became estranged and for many years I felt that we knew each other as people, but not as family and definitely not like mother and daughter. She held a stubborn grudge, unable to forgive me and it didn’t matter how successful I had been in my second country of home, all there was, was that I had left her. Going home to visit was not always an easy thing as the first week was wasted and filled with the tension of her despising the decisions I had made. It took me over twenty years of trying to rebuild a relationship between us and thank god for that it finally happened. I nearly gave up a few times and so I understand when you remember that side of me, the frustration through it all, but you forget the internal struggle to continue the fight for her love and acceptance. It took many arguments and heartaches to finally break through to her, to finally give her something she could agree on and be proud of. It was nothing short of a miracle to have her back. 

And finally she allowed me to see a few glimpses of the mother that I knew as a child. I saw her laugh again and have great fun, do spontaneous, silly things and just live a little. An inner child that was locked away for many years because of the extreme difficulty and the seriousness of events that had transpired. I could never hold anything like that against her and my heart was always aching for the tough life she had to endure. Many might not understand her, but it is me who does and who imposes the question to imagine how your life would have turned out if you had lost your soulmate at such an early age? What would you have done, or would have to do to survive? Chances are none of us can answer this and we don’t know how strong we truly are until having to be strong is all there is left. I think she did just fine and even though I know that at some point I let her down in a big way by leaving her behind, I am the work of labor and love that comes from my parents. She sacrificed much for me and I can never thank her enough for helping me turn out alright.

So when you say that I am just like my mother, I know it is in comparison that I hold on to the past, that I hold a grudge or that I can’t forgive. I might even agree with a few things that could fall into a statement like this, for we both had to be strong women and life didn’t always made it easy for us. And yet you won’t hear me complaining because life had a plan for me all along and has made me into the person I was always meant to be. I will always be my mothers daughter and just maybe I was meant to be “Just like my mother” and I take that as a compliment.

Posted in Animals, Death, Experience, Inspiration, Life, Loss, My story, Pets, Spiritual awakening

I believe now….

This month has packed a punch, filled with that of an emotional rollercoaster and once again it does not surprise me that my life always seems to pan out in the fashion of being born on The day of up’s and down’s. The Hawk visit from the other day made me pause and think about the meaning, the awareness of being able to witness this brief moment of which I don’t leave to coincidence. I believe in the signs and the purpose that they bring, just as I believe that everything happens for a reason, including the people who enter our lives who are here to teach us a lesson, good or bad.
On November the 15th it was 5 years since Sparky…has been gone. It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed already and his death brought a likewise emotional rollercoaster. He had been sick for a while and I know it was painful for him to move around with his arthritis. He struggled and still I wasn’t ready to let him go and say goodbye. Yet it was inevitable and I remember driving home from the vet, alone, without him, in tears and with my heart ripped out. Nothing prepared me for what was about to unfold at home as I opened the door and came in without Sparky.

Nikki immediately started to search the entire house for Sparky which made my heart even heavier. Her friend and soulmate was gone and here and there, in passing she would throw me a frantic look because she couldn’t find him. I never seen anything like this display of mourning from an animal, it was truly gut wrenching. This went on for hours, with her running up and down the stairs, checking everywhere. Finally she collapsed in front of the couch, right next to me. I decided to spend the night downstairs, on the couch and turned on a nightlight so I could see her and comfort her. The house was silent, no TV, no noise, nothing.

I’m not sure when it happened the first time, but I heard a click as I was trying to figure out what had caused the noise. To my surprise the cable box had turned on by itself and the bright little digital display was shining through the otherwise mostly dark room. And if that wasn’t the weirdest, it was that Nikki jumped up in that very moment to start her search for Sparky once more through the entire house. Relentless, up and down the stairs in every room I could hear and I couldn’t explain what was going on. I had never seen the cable box turn on by itself. Maintenance? Was somebody performing some sort of test on it? And then there was Nikki, coincidence? I didn’t know what to believe and finally she calmed down and took her place next to me once more. Needless to say I don’t think either one of us slept much that night and the cable box incident repeated itself two more times, each time turning on, with Nikki springing into action and searching the entire house until she eventually gave up.

I shared this incident only with a few select people, in fear that they would declare me nuts. They didn’t, respectfully so but I knew that nobody bought into the story or perhaps believed it. People tried to justify what happened in a logical sense and dismiss the whole thing.

A few days later driving home from work, I thought of Sparky again and once again the tears rolled down my face to the point I was considering stopping the car. It was a stormy dark night and the wind was raging against my car with such fury as if it was attempting to blow me off the road. I tried to focus through my tear covered veil as I was nearly home. What happened next could have not lasted more than a few seconds, but it was as if time stood still. The noise of the wind stopped and a calm serenity engulfed my car. It was quiet and peaceful and I noticed the sky turn brighter. Leaning forward in my seat, I looked over the steering wheel upwards towards the dark storm clouds that had just been here. Through the silence a white feather danced through the night sky and landed on my windshield. And before my mind could really comprehend everything of what had happened, “Swoosh”, the wind picked up in full force again and swept the feather away.

I don’t know how to explain what happened on those two nights and no matter how much others want to dismiss these incidents and give me the strange eye, I know what I saw and what I felt. It was the beginning for me to believe in Signs and to become more aware. And I believe that Sparky came to visit us those nights once more, to ease our pain and to let us know that he was at peace while always being a part in our hearts until we meet again.


 

 

Posted in Life, Life lessons, Loss, My story

I choose love

I wonder what will be left after everything is said and done. As we embark on the final stages of our journey, I’m left with mixed emotions, almost as if I’m punished to feel everything at once. I worked through anger and madness, numbness and a sense of not understanding, a feeling of disbelief and the realization that no matter of how hard I tried, I just can’t relate and I don’t understand your motives. And then there is the other side that wonders why would I even want to understand, haven’t I been proven too many times that this is just how things have progressed? Shouldn’t I stop justifying the behavior and make excuses to talk myself into believing that these actions were not deliberate. My mind knows that I am just fooling myself but my heart still aches knowing that you are a smart man that has taken calculated risks, while being aware of the gamble. I wonder if we will look back some day wondering if it was worth the price. 

Perhaps it was your addictive personality that dragged you down and still somehow you took my doubt away that I’m really that stupid. In the end you taught me that I can no longer look the other way. There is a difference in the point of view that we share, but mostly there is an empty hole that has brought clarity yet sadness about the choices that have transpired. And just maybe there is some relief of finally knowing where our lives will take us in the future, even if it means that we travel into different directions. I feel we have been lost for a very long time and now it’s a matter of adjusting to a future of change and the unknown. To finally give in and accept that we are better off apart. I haven’t made you happy in a very long time and at times I hate the person you bring out in me for it is not me at all. I feel you no longer know who I am at heart and I see a stranger as my foreign behavior emerges to leave me depressed, willing to accept my fate in silence as if I was asking for it, deserving of the bad things happening in my life while putting my happiness last. And once more I cry in silence and feel lost and alone. 

We have been through a lot, from losing a child together that was never born, but who already had captured my heart and was given a name, to secrets, lies and betrayal that followed in later years. In the end I think we faced challenges no marriage can survive and it was a matter of coming to terms. I finally arrived at a point of accepting these developments that are beyond repair, while I have to realize that we lost more on an individual basis vs. celebrating the good times that we got to experience as a couple. Life has changed us over the years, we lost ourselves and were unable to hold on to each other. Instead of pulling closer, helping each other through these tough times, we stopped most communication and drove each other further apart. I don’t think for a moment that this was done intentionally, but it just so happened and I believe you settled into your accepted behavior which made me feel that it was selfish in ways that left me behind to pick up the pieces. To always be the strong one with a backup plan to help us survive. Not really such a bad thing, but there were complications that impacted this in a negative way. I didn’t feel they were accidents and I lost some of my dreams throughout it and you have perhaps as well. We were best friends that couldn’t imagine a life without the other one. I always looked up to the man you were, proud to be your wife. And now here we are 22Years, 5Month & 0Days later…at the end. I feel no blame is to be passed, no arguments and fights that need to be fought as all that remains is an outcome that for the longest time I didn’t want to foresee. 

I can say with certainty that we surely tried to build a life together. I just can’t say that we always gave it our best shot. There was a time we defied all odds, the opinions of others and we never knew a bad word for each other. We never fought or argued and today I feel sadness because I can’t explain where we lost that feeling. I remember once upon a time when we thought that we had it all, once upon a time now come and gone. Our love was based on friendship and it was your personality I fell in love with first, your gentle nature and your caring ways. You had a special gift to always make me feel supported and beautiful. Now I don’t know anymore when the last time was that you had my hearts best interest in mind. 

I’m no longer sure if we will ever know what truly happened but I know that we have tried to understand for the past 12 years. I am not any smarter through it all and I feel no need to hash out the flaws in order to pass the blame. In my eyes there are no winners emerging here but I will fight if I have to. I don’t care to carry the title of being right as it would just further degrade each other and I feel no need of making a point. What we once shared was reduced to nothing and the trust, friendship, partnership and love we once cherished so much has vanished into thin air. Today, we share a different vision about true love and I can no longer go on and pretend that these values don’t matter. You know that our love has left a long time ago and that it’s just convenience that keeps us holding on to share our lives as roommates. 

I am truly sorry for my part and for not being aggressive enough, for accepting and tolerating these changes. If I had to do it again, I would push you and not stand for any of it. I wouldn’t let these behaviors come between us, while naively and patiently believing that things would change because you want the same. I would set boundaries and demand respect through not letting anybody, but most of all you take advantage of me. And it is that while I am writing this, that I feel a shift and know that deep down inside I shouldn’t have to do any of these things. It is my heart that believes that they should naturally fall into place. Will they ever be worth anything if they are forced and are not naturally this way? I know it is the very reason why I kept silent but hopeful. And maybe it is the hopeless romantic in me expecting those dreams and visions to exist in real life.

So in the end and no matter how we decide to part our ways and live the final days or months together, we both decide on our own. I know that there will always be a place for you in my heart and I’m sorry that I couldn’t help you find your way back to the man I once knew. As I forgive you for your part in this, I hope you can also forgive me for mine. As we walk this thin line between love and hate, I truly wish you the best in your new journey as you write the next chapter of your life’s poem. 

As for me, I will always care for you and love you through the good memories we once shared. Enough so to set you free instead of holding on to you for convenience which most likely will end up in hate. I will care enough to let you pursue a life with somebody that can give you what I no longer can. I hope you will see that this is not the end but the beginning of anything you want it to be, of anything you choose. 

And in the final stages of our life together it is love that I choose instead of hate. 

Posted in Death, Emotions, Experience, Feelings, Human spirit, Inspiration, Life, Life lessons, Loss, Motivation,, My story, Photography, Purpose driven, Self help

Living vs. being ALIVE…

If you follow my blog then you know that the trail often calls my name and nature for me is a way to escape a life filled with responsibilities and duties. From time to time bits and pieces of my life flash by me like the segments of an old movie reel. Black and white images, frayed and shaking against the backdrop, trying to hold on, trying to find their place. For a moment my strength subsides and I yearn to lower my shield. Exhausted from having to be so strong, I look for a break where my vulnerability can roam without the fear of harms way. To drop the responsibility and to set my inner child free that never got to see its childhood come to full terms. It was my Dad’s tragic accidental death at the age of ten which signifies the end of my childhood and the begin of adulthood that came way to soon. 

Life as I knew it had stopped for me and I lost my hero and best friend that day. There was no professional help to cope with the loss and to this day I don’t think that my Mom ever realized how much my Dad’s death impacted my life. I’m sure she was trying to find her own way of dealing with the loss of her soulmate and now raising me on her own. I would like to think that overall she did a great job and I never got into any serious trouble and grew up with values, a great work ethic and manners. I wonder if that is really what it is all about because despite it being so, I never learned how to actually live and there are no schools that teach you what should be most important. Today and going forward my hunger to live more is greater than ever….

It was many years later that I realized that my childhood died with my Dad. In school I found it hard to relate to other kids and I simple had no place amongst the popular crowds. Not because I was “nerdy” but because I had nothing to share. There were no stories to tell, no adventures of what I did with my Dad last weekend and hearing the other kids talk, was nothing more than a painful reminder that I was alone. Eventually I avoided being around those scenarios and perhaps it was the beginning of my introversion. 

I lost my place in society as the place it offered to me was too painful to be around. Every once in awhile a faint memory of my childhood emerges that somehow had vanished until that moment. As if it was hidden in a way to protect myself from the trauma of my Dad’s death. Maybe it is to be revealed now and maybe my adult self is ready to deal with those moments better than I could at the age of ten. I recall the silly times with my Dad, the carefree moments of just laughing and letting my soul hang loose without fear and constraints. 

Today it is nature and the trail that offers that outlet to me along with a few very special People in my life. It is then and there when that inner child emerges and I hear the voice (literally) coming from within to play, to be silly and to be a part of what will become a lasting special memory. Urging me to drop life and all its seriousness for a moment and instead take as much time as possible to truly be alive. 

Picture from my backyard “Lake Tahoe” ❤️

Posted in Animals, Inspiration, Life, Life lessons, Loss, My story, Pets, Self help

Sparky…


It’s my day off and I can’t help but feel as if I missed the short season of Fall all together. The one time that I could have gone out, I was sick with the Vertigo episode and the other two weeks following just didn’t line up with the weather, tasks, or me not wanting to go by myself. It feels a little like life itself and it’s not just the season that passes but life as well and I recognize lost moments. 

A storm moved in last night with high wind warnings and my beautiful yellow leaved tree in front of the house lost most of it’s foliage overnight. I saw a rainbow outside and two tractor trailers that were knocked over by the wind on the freeway, while driving I might add. Scary and I always hurry passed a Semi on the freeway, especially in windy conditions. Once a sheet of ice flew off the side of a trailer and smashed onto my windshield. Luckily nothing happened, but the moment was very intense to say the least. It’s raining, which I love and I can hear the melodic rhythm of the wind chime swaying in the wind while competing with the hauling and the raindrops hitting my window. I’m cuddled up with a blanked, engulfed in one of my favorite activities, writing. I still need to do chores but not just yet, right now belongs to me.

A recent reminder made me think back to the first time that I started writing and it was towards the end of 2011. Sparky, my beloved pooch who was with me since the age of ten weeks, struggled to eat. There were complications such as arthritis, being on glucosamine for a few years, daily pain control meds amongst other normal life challenges such as old age. It was November the 15th and I knew that my overnight shift at work would start in a few short weeks. I scheduled a vet visit in the hopes that somebody could help Sparky to feel better. My time would be limited to provide extra care for him and you could clearly see that he was not his old spunky self anymore. He was twelve years old and I could see the pain in his eyes and in every movement that provided a huge challenge as his legs simply gave out at times.

Sparky never came home that day and I had to say goodbye to my best friend, somebody that was more like a child to me vs. being just a pet, that he never was. It was a hard reality to grasp and honestly it never even crossed my mind that this could happen. Or did it, was it me who wasn’t ready to accept it as my truth? Perhaps I dismissed the thought into a state of unaware bliss, the uncertain where hope was residing and it wasn’t a state that was so final. He was so exited of going for a ride in the car and from little on he would sneak into the car if you left the car door open, ready to go for a ride. And here I was, unaware that it would be our last ride together and that I would have to drive back home alone in tears.

Shortly after that I started to write and it was like an outlet for me. I found little relief elsewhere and I remember a coworker at the “Ugly Beauty store” dismissing Sparky’s death by casually saying “Well life has to go on”. True, as it always finds a way and as it always does, but definitely not something that helped me at the moment, or something that I wanted to hear. I was filled with emotions of pain and words were left unspoken, as if things were searching to find their way to escape my heavy soul and jump right onto paper. I wrote for a long time and got lost in the feeling to overcome and to forget. It worked and the idea of writing a book was born. A book about my personal experiences and my journey in life, the highlights and the struggles. Surely there had to be others with similar experiences, others needing to feel that they were not alone, including me. 

After all, my subject matter was something I knew a lot about and naturally you would think that it should have flown easily and be a piece of cake. But that wasn’t so and in hindsight I know I was too critical of everything. I was overthinking it from the beginning to the end. Where would I start and how should the order of events unfold, were all common questions. It had to make sense without losing my readers (if I would have any) and I guess it was the perfectionist in me that wanted it to be a certain way. Eventually I stopped writing because I drove myself nuts and wasn’t happy with how things progressed. I kept constantly correcting myself and it felt as if I couldn’t make any progress for the life of me, when in all reality it was a part of the journey and a part of the progress, but I couldn’t see that then. I spent so much time on it and reading it now, I feel that most of it is not all that great. I wonder if it’s my critical nature and the high expectations that I place on myself who are paying me a visit and if the day will come when I look back at my current writing and might feel the same way.  

I look back knowingly aware of the lessons learned from these experiences and I believe I have grown because of it. At least I would hope that I did as much pain was associated with those times. Today I know that things don’t always have to be perfect and life itself is the greatest teacher by allowing us to see how messy it can be at times. So if it’s not life that is expecting us to be perfect, I look at myself and have to realize that it was me who put most of the pressure onto myself. In my mind it had to be perfect, but in reality nobody is perfect, nor does life expects us to be and we are all flawed in our own way. It feels as if I was in pursuit of something non existent, something impossible to attain.

Just the other day I was contemplating the direction of my blog and I’m glad that I finally just went for it. Without the what if’s and how it should be, I had taken the most important step, I took the plunge and got started. It’s not perfect and it never will be, but it’s from the heart and therefore I could never go wrong. There is passion invested and I found purpose in writing that makes me feel good. Besides being blessed to have met so many amazing people on here. Some of my subjects are darker and it is for that very reason of life not always being perfect. Once again, writing serves as an outlet, to free my mind when I can’t be in nature and to share my experiences with you. I’m grateful for the people that have allowed me to do so and that continue to take the time to read even the sad stories, leaving their heartfelt comments for me. It requires involvement, compassion and looking beyond. It takes time to digest the subjects and a willingness to acknowledge our human struggles. Thank you, it means more than you know….

I guess the lessons that I learned here are not to be too critical of ourselves. Sometimes we just need to go for it and perfection is often a status we self inflict. The way we feel about ourselves is not always dictated by the actions and the behavior of others, nor is our happiness dependent on others. We already have everything we need inside of us and we are the ones to make it happen instead of sitting there waiting for somebody to miraculously do it for us. It can’t be done by others and it will never happen this way, so you might as well get yourself a snickers bar if that is what you are waiting on. And who cares how good it is, if it’s perfect or not, what’s more important is that it gives us the meaning and the sense of having contributed. Sparky taught me that we can’t hold on to some things or to somebody for selfish reasons as it only prolongs their suffering in most cases. I learned a lot from my four legged fur baby and that very night on November the 15th after being back at home consoling Nikki, my other pooch, I believe Sparky came to visit us once more. 

To be continued…

Posted in Experience, Feelings, Human spirit, Inspiration, Life, Loss, My story

Closure!!!

I never sleep all that great when I have to work early and last night was no different. Maybe it’s the sole reason as to why I don’t oversleep. Starring at the clock every other hour keeps me pretty safe in that regard. And so it was that I woke up this morning before the alarm clock even had a chance to spring into action. One leg emerged the cocoon like structure of blankets that I constructed around myself, not to speak and mention of all the pillows, surrounding me like a fort. Have I mentioned that I’m quiet fond of my bed? I’m a comfort creature in certain respects and I think I’m in love with my bed after all hahaha.After a few more moments of bliss, I jumped out of bed to make coffee and get ready for work. While doing so I felt my mood shift with increasing quickness, until I felt nothing but defeat and emptiness. I pondered the reasons for the sudden change and found myself looking forward to coming back home, to relax and to write, to finally call it a day. I hadn’t even left yet…. but I also knew why I felt this way.

Yesterday’s little triumph of venting was short lived. After almost two years I finally cleared my mind (or so I thought) by ranting about the “ugly” beauty store and what happened to me. It was a time filled with too much to handle and yet I would have gladly tried, given that I had the support to do so. But now that I had finally spoken about it and no longer kept my story bottled up inside, all that remained was sadness. If you asked me, I would tell you to let your emotions out, to discuss your issues and try to deal with them. I would tell you to not allow those little demons to eat away at you, to naw on your very existence just enough each day to never truly allow you to forget the nightmare. And in a way I felt like a hypocrite, going against my own word and not following the advice I would give you. I was good at that and I had noticed that a few times before. The rational me could give advice all day long but when it came to advising myself and walking the talk I preach, well that was a different story. Why? I knew I believed in the wisdom and the words that I would so often bestow on others, so why couldn’t I do this for myself? Was I not worthy? Who knows, but I knew that it takes a lot for me to rant, you have to provoke me heavily and I am not easily pushed in to the corner, nor do I give up easily.

After last nights rant, there was a certain amount of relief and I finally got to tell my story. In retrospect it felt as if I was trying to justify myself, perhaps I was looking for understanding, was it pity I was after? It couldn’t have been….So what was the problem then? I ranted and I even had some relief, but had it brought the closure I was hoping it would? It didn’t and in the end this issue will always remain unresolved to some degree. It’s done and it is what it is….

As I contemplate the reasons, I come to the conclusion that just maybe it is not always closure that we need and sometimes the answers simply don’t exist. Maybe all we need is to learn to accept that all things, good and bad will always be a part of our life. Maybe it’s enough when we can learn to move on, to learn to forgive even if we never forget and we shouldn’t.

My perception has shifted a bit and I find myself in a few new beliefs. In the end and just maybe it will be all the closure I will ever need.

 

Good night…I’m going back to the cocoon.

 

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