Suicide Aftershocks VOL V: Synchronicity and Windows of Opportunity, and How a Canine Helped Unpack my Heart and those of my 3 pups!

Early this year, about seven months post suicide; I was sitting at my computer aimlessly wandering through emails.  My late husband’s email address was still active and receiving as I had not yet dismantled his accounts.  He had an account with a site called NEXT DOOR.  It’s a website that allows you to connect within your neighborhood to promote community, communicate real time with neighbors and happenings and go local.  (www.nextdoor.com )

As I was scanning through the mail, a post on this site came up of a neighbor looking for a daily dog sitting situation for his very large and active Belgian Malinois.  I clicked the link and responded that I was interested and gave my phone number before I even realized I’d done it!  Once I clicked SEND, it hit me that I’d put myself out there. My mature, fear based response was to immediately delete my husband’s account and pretended it never happened!  I didn’t think I wanted any kind of commitment plus I had three dogs of my own.IMG_0595

A couple of days went by and the matter slipped my mind (or I blocked it out) until I received a phone call from the guy looking for dog sitting.  This was one of those synchronistic situations where I decided to roll with it even though my mind was screaming “DON’T”.  Coincidentally, he was immediately able to bring the dog by my place for a meet-and-greet to see if we would all be a good fit. My “normal” at that time was far from normal.  I was on edge, defensive and anxious a lot of the time, in relatively deep grief and quite scattered.

I have about ¾’s of an acre fenced on the water which is essentially my own dog park.  The owner and McLovin’ the dog arrived (names have been changed to protect the innocent!) and things went great.  We decided to give it a go which meant I would have McLovin’ daily for an hour.  I was weirdly excited and scared at the same time.  My heart recognized that this was a window of opportunity for me but my mind was telling me that it was a mistake to have a mid day commitment long term.

Our first day I thought—I LOVE this dog AND I’m remembering why I don’t want a puppy!  But my heart was singing!  This dog was a giant, pain-in-the-arse dose of presence! He’s smarter than me, curious and full of vitality which in dog speak equals trouble, opportunism and loads of adventure.  He needed eyes on him at all times.  This meant that my routine went out the window and I had to be fully alert and engaged while he was with us.  This shift of focus was powerfully transformative.  It allowed my mind to relax, my edges to soften and my heart to open again.IMG_0621

IMG_0504McLovin’ and my biggest dog, MacTavish, became best buddies instantly and my 2 little ones were equally captivated by him.  He clearly liked us too, and his very being-ness created an entirely new dynamic in my home. IMG_0631

This giant puppy engaged my dogs in a playful and experimental way, bringing out the inner puppy in them and effectively eradicating the grief and pain that they’d experienced in the loss of my husband, prolonged exposure to his depression, as well as my grief and diverted focus.

I kept him in general 2-3 hours daily simply because it was so much fun. He brought a joy and lightness I needed desperately in my environment—in my home.  This is so relevant because most of my friends were uncomfortable coming to my house as it’s ground zero for my husband’s suicide.  I nicknamed him “McLovin’” because he’s the definition of unconditional love on four legs.  He’s silly and affectionate in a full body, roll all over you and against you kind of way.

My mood never mattered to him—he was forever happy to see me and even more so to come to my house and play with the pack.  If I stopped and sat, he’d immediately be on me—literally!  He would sit or lay on me instinctively knowing what I needed to lay down my guard and navigate back to my heart.

Daily, when I left to get McLovin’, my dogs would wait at the window patiently for our return and then pine away for him when I took him back to his house.  On days I would leave and come home without him, my dogs would howl and cry—berating me for coming home alone!

This is the beauty of synchronicity and taking chances—the willingness to go beyond fear and just roll with it!  It obviously didn’t occur to my rational mind to bring in a new puppy pack mate as “healer” for my dogs, my home and my heart, and yet that is exactly what happened in the most unexpected, fun and joyous way.

In short—a situation I was scared to enter quickly became one of the most profoundly transformative opportunities in this very difficult year.   A window of opportunity that I allowed myself to open, for which I will forever be grateful.  And it came in the unexpected package of a very big puppy, who, to loosely quote the following song, “shone a light into my darkness”.

So here’s to leaping through windows of opportunity with reckless abandon!

Joyfully unpacking my heart,

Kim

The Dog Park, Beingness, and the River of Grace

 

“Play is the exultation of the possible.” Martin Buber

As I return home from the dog park here on Kauai, I’m in awe once again over how much I learn about play, fun and the simplicity of approaching life with curious, excited expectations.

Our dog park here on island is an amazing space with a 100 yard fence dividing small dogs from big making it the perfect track to invite a chase.  Having 3 dogs, two small and one big, they are most often segregated and pining away for the greener grass on the other side.  But that’s another story!

Post dog-park nap time!

Our big dog, MacTavish, is the definition of pure beingness when he’s at the park.  He is indiscriminate and invites every dog to chase and play.  He understands boundaries and honors them without personalizing.  He graciously slows down for dogs that aren’t as fast as he is to allow them to stay in the chase.  He’s gentle with the elderly dogs and aware of where the humans are so as not to bowl them over.  He stays in sync with the way the other dogs and their humans are showing up and truly enjoys exactly how that is represented on any given day. In short—his true nature is joyful, gracious and courteous. 

I believe that the key to this presence is showing up with no expectations.  It doesn’t matter how often we go to the park, he is equally excited and appreciative to be there and naturally falls in to the rhythm of the day by simply allowing what is. 

When we approach life with that excited curiosity and leave our expectations behind, that’s when we can find the rhythm of our lives and easily fall into the flow—that river of grace– that supports us in sharing our true nature and joy with all of life.

Joyfully sharing my joy with warmest aloha, Kim

Purple Cauliflower and Assumptions!

Beautiful Cualiflower

We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be. And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of these assumptions.     Stephen Covey .

 

The other day I was shopping at Papaya’s Natural Food store on Kauai   (papayasnaturalfoods.com ) where I purchased a couple of heads of purple cauliflower.  To most vegetable enthusiasts, this would seem a non-event, but to me, it was a bit of a reach. Up until this, my 47th year, I had only partaken of white cauliflower.  I found out that day that I was, in fact, a colored-cauliflower bigot! Not intentionally, however, but merely as a product of my unexamined assumptions.

Upon first exposure to colored cauliflower a decade or so ago, I made the false assumption

Do trees grow out of Money?

 that such a vibrant and beautiful color in cauliflower couldn’t possibly be natural, so it must contain some unnecessary dye purely designed as a marketing ploy to get their kids to eat “fun” veggies!  I honestly don’t think I gave it that much conscious thought at the time; I simply never explored the purple globes further.

I was compelled to make the purchase of said colored crucifers because living on Kauai, good organic veggies don’t come cheap.  The white cauliflower were going for $9.99 a head and at half the size and double the cost of the colored.  I made the choice to go purple because I LOVE cauliflower and couldn’t pass up such a great buy (for Kauai!) colored or not.

Later that afternoon, I was out chatting with a neighbor and I mentioned the purple cauliflower.  To my immense amusement and lesser embarrassment, she asked me, “Well, haven’t you eaten purple sweet potatoes?” 

It was like my world opened up as I started mentally digging my way out of the pigeon-hole I had put myself in.  I was flooded by images of the hundreds of purple and blue potatoes I’ve eaten, the carrots of purple hue and the purple beans, beets and brussel sprouts.  How could I have gone so long and not extrapolated that information and applied it to the color of cauliflower?

My cruciferous assumptions kept me from enjoying my most beloved veggie for far too long.  After having a good laugh at myself, I started looking at other assumptions I’ve made and where and how they’ve limited my experiences.  

It opened my heart to remembering that people only know what they know, what they’ve been exposed to and chosen to explore further.  When we can laugh at ourselves and our own silly, seemingly foolish or unexamined beliefs and assumptions, we can look upon others with the eyes of grace when they might not know something we think they ought to. 

Mostly, it reminded me to ask-ask ask!  Ask questions externally and internally until a topic is exhausted.  So here’s to what we think we know but really don’t and the opportunity embarrassment provides to expand our knowledge!

Tighten up that Corset—Keeping my word—to myself!

Promises are like crying babies in a theater, they should be carried out at once.  ~Norman Vincent Peale

Scarlett Tightening up!

Scarlett Tightening-up!

Oh—personal integrity.  It’s so easy for most of us to keep our word with our friends, family, at work and in the outside world.  We make a commitment and follow through without too much thought. 

I’m sitting at my computer doing the tasks that I committed to do two weeks ago and didn’t.  I didn’t, simply because they are less than thrilling for me and “I didn’t feel like it”! The tasks that have gone undone are not truly life changing or time sensitive, but because I made a commitment to do them, and then chose not to, they’ve been a serious energy drain every time I’ve thought about them for 2 weeks!

My friend and neighbor—who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent—called a bit ago and commented on my demeanor that “obviously computer work left me less than energized”.  When I told her, “Yeah, but I’m keeping my word to myself”, she laughed and told me to “Tighten up that corset girl” and get on with it!!!  (Yes, she’s spectacular and I have a whole list of “isms” with her name before them!)

So as I sit here with corset suitably tightened and actually enjoying myself now, I’m remembering a lesson by spiritual teacher Carolyn Myss, www.myss.com .  Myss correlated self-worth directly with our ability to keep our word with our self.  She asserts that when we lie to ourselves, we are basically training our soul to know that we are not trustworthy, and thus weaken the connection between our humanity and our divinity.  Even though no one else will ever know that we didn’t exercise like we decided, or give up sugar, write that report, or mail the package, etc. our soul, our higher-self, does.

 I believe that this relationship between our humanity and our divinity is the most important relationship we are here to experience and cultivate, so it makes sense to me that when I feel the emotional, mental and /or physical drain of not following through, that I am undermining my own foundation.  That foundation of how I feel about me.

My own opinion of myself matters more than anything, so I will keep my corset tight, re-examine all commitments I have left incomplete and either complete them or release myself from them and I will thoughtfully consider taking on any new commitments before making them!

Joyfully and with warmest aloha,

Kim

The Holidays, Freedom and Choice

Today, my interaction with the world will be...____?

Ohhh--which to choose!

The holiday season has gotten me thinking about freedom and choice.  I love going out shopping and seeing the decorations and mostly smiling faces.  Feeling the energetic enthusiasm of crowds of people doing what they do for the  holidays.  Since moving to Kauai, I’ve edited and simplified much of my gifting.  This choice has created a freedom to enjoy the holidays with no self-imposed or society driven anxiety about doing it “right”!

Freedom distills down to the power of choice. We are choice making machines–what to wear, eat, think, say do. Where to go, how to feel, who to include, whether or not to keep our word, do our best or not do anything.

One of my favorite adages is, “If what you’re doing isn’t working, then do something else”. Einstein, among others, is credited with saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Most of us have grown up being exposed to this way of thinking, but so often fail to apply it in our day-to-day lives. Instead, we operate on auto-pilot, reacting the same old ways rather than giving thought to perhaps trying a different approach, or shifting our perspective.

Our ability to think for ourselves, to change our mind, to shift perspectives is directly linked to our sense of self-worth.  It is only when we decide that our good opinion of ourself is more important than the good opinion of anyone else, that we have the ability to start making thoughtful choices that serve us.

It’s interesting, as well, that when we make choices that serve us (i.e. healthy boundaries!) we actually create space for those around us to do the same.  It’s amazing how many of my friends feel grateful, or let-off-the-hook by me being the first to embrace and then enact the no-more-gifting policy.  This choice has also created the freedom to enjoy people simply for being.

I enjoy the holidays more and more as I get older and make the choices that allow them to be simple, easy and people-focused.  Feeling like just being and giving the best I have to offer energetically, in my thoughts, kind words and heartfelt actions is enough–that’s TRUE FREEDOM!–and it’s a choice.

Happy Holidays and warmest Aloha,

Kim

How to Procratsinate WELL

If only there were more time!

Time waits for no woman!

So it’s a week since my last blog and I’ve been feeling a bit of procrastinator’s guilt at not having written a post before now.  I’ve been pondering the topic all week, and I’ve decided that giving up procrastination is an unachievable goal—so I’ll put off trying to stop! 

After all, if I’m involved in one project or task, I’m NOT doing something else.  So, how do we chose what to accomplish and what is actually beneficial to procrastinate on?  The trick, I think, is in having a clear vision.  Whether it’s a vision of how you want the house to look for a party or an explosion of growth in your business, knowing what you want and imagining how it will feel when you have it, creates a vibrational pull of inspiration that definitely helps me make the choice between running errands or working on the project that will take me even one step closer to my vision.

Debbie Ford, in her book, “The Right Questions” (www.debbieford.com) asks;  “Will this choice propel me toward and inspiring future, or keep me stuck in the past?”  Will it move me closer to my goals or farther from them? 

I love these questions because if you’re honest, there’s no hiding behind distractions like running errands or saying yes to others requests when you could be helping yourself!  Many of us—me included—use busy work as a balm to make us feel a bit better when we haven’t worked on something we SAY is important to us.  Running errands or helping neighbors is measurable and feels like a reasonable justification for not doing something else—the thing we’ve said is important.  This is my favorite way to procrastinate. 

If you find yourself doing busy work today—make the conscious choice to procrastinate for the higher good of taking action on the project or hobby or relationship you’re truly passionate about—and enjoy it!

Joyfully and with warmest aloha,

Kim

Procrastination

Waiting to Transform

Procrastination is not an option!

As I sit to write my first blog post in over 2 months, it occurred to me that procrastination might be the perfect topic!  I’ve been INTENDING to post a blog for several weeks, but we all know where that paved road leads. 

Marianne Williamson in “THE SHADOW EFFECT” says that we give intention much more weight and credit than it deserves, and that intention isn’t enough when a change in behavior is warranted.  (www.marrianne.com )

This realization—which I seem to experience over and over—is a tad embarrassing as this is a huge part of the daily work I do with others.  In looking at where I need to make a behavioral change in this arena, I realize that it’s the same, tired old excuse that has been played out in so many areas of my life, and that is putting others and their agenda as a priority over my own or what’s in my own best interest.  For me, this seems to be an easy cop-out, and a fall-back M.O. that I comfortably allow. 

The trouble with realizations like this, of course, is that once it’s made, it will occur over and over as a call from our higher-self to create necessary change.   We show ourselves and others what we are committed to through our actions. 

So- I heed the call from my higher-self to show, through my actions exactly what I am committed to.  Procrastination loses today, and intention with behavioral change wins- beginning with today’s blog post!

Joyfully and with warmest aloha,

Kim