Irma’s Visit

Irma left us early yesterday morning.  Everyone started breathing again.   I didn’t realize I was holding my breath until she was gone. 

The posts on “Experience” and “Allow”  that I wrote a couple of weeks ago came to life during Irma’s visit.   As the leading edge of her moved in on Monday morning I was given an opportunity to have the experience of bending.  My MO is to stand straight and ridged and do it myself.  By noon I began to see staying in a trailer surrounded by large oak trees was not the best place to be.   My wonderful friends who live across the road had already offered the cat and I stay with them.   I packed some things and the cat and I went across the road.  Why did I think bending was hard?  It felt really good to have company and feel safe. 

As I watched out of the picture window I felt pity for the trees who were being pushed roughly around by the wind and rain of Irma.   I had to stop and remind myself this is their experience.  They were not victims.  Why is it so hard for me to get that my pity is so unwanted.  They were fine.  And what did I think I could do for them?  Bring them inside?  

At 8 A.M. Tuesday morning I went across the road to take care of the ponies and check the trailer.  They and the trailer were fine, a relief.  That is when I noticed one of the large oak trees was down.   It was on the west side of the trailer and had fallen away from the trailer.  I walked to the tree, not only was it down but trees in it’s path were down too.  I really had to rein my emotions in and go to the allowing place.  The tree was glad I did that.  The tree showed me it was ok and that dying was a slow process.  In that process it had time to come to the realization that being rigid and not able to bend is what brought it down.  It showed me this was a huge lesson it was learning.  This was part of it’s inner growth and expansion.  It is life.  Dying is the greatest opportunity to evolve, expand. 

I told a friend in Colorado about the tree and she asked me for pictures.  Immediately the tree asked me not do this, it needed privacy.  I honored the request.  Dying is a very private time.

Irma brought a lot of experiences to process.   A big one is gratitude, not taking anything for granted.  Seeing the Divine at work in everything.   I am blessed beyond measure. 

Kyle: A Celebration

Life is filled with comings and goings; births and deaths.

When Kyle called me in early June 2001, we both lived in Albuquerque, NM; he wanted me to work with his dog Rusty.  I had no idea how that first session with Rusty would evolve into a 14 year relationship on the phone.

The issue was, Rusty would escape their fenced yard and chase cars.  Kyle wanted Rusty to stop.  Rusty saw it as defending his territory and Kyle saw it as a safety issue.  Kyle did not want Rusty to get killed.  Rusty saw getting killed as no big deal. We were at an impasse.

Kyle thought I could order Rusty to stop and I explained I had no control.  I can show Rusty it is dangerous and to stay in the yard.  The rest was up to Rusty.  I said it was a management situation and the responsibility fell to Kyle.

Well, what good was I then if I couldn’t order Rusty to stop.  We worked a little more and the session ended.  When I got off the phone I thought I would never hear from Kyle again.

To my great surprise Kyle called a couple of weeks later.  What started as a client relationship, quickly turned into friendship with Kyle and his wife Lisa.

In those 14 years, they would move to St. Louis and I to Colorado, then Georgia.  We went through the deaths of dogs Rusty in 2009, to old age, Sophie in 2010 and Comet in 2012.  Dogs, Rocky arrived in late 2010, Zoe in 2012 and Holly later in 2012.

We did not realize Rusty, Sophie and especially Comet’s deaths were the Universe setting the stage for Kyle.

The dogs were very clear they had no fear of dying and that they preferred to die in their own rhythm.  Kyle really listened to what his dogs were telling him and we had many wonderful conversations about death.  Sharing our beliefs and adding to that what the dogs taught us.

In the summer of 2013 Kyle was diagnosed with brain cancer.  We talked less as surgery and treatment took the forefront.  We worked with the dogs, me explaining to them they had done nothing wrong as their pack leader changed.

On Jan 16, 2015 the doctors found a 2nd tumor.  Kyle was told there was nothing they could do except chemo.

Kyle called me on Jan. 23 to work with the dogs to prepare them.  He told me he and Lisa decided they were going to enjoy what time was left.  Just do things and live each day grateful for it.  We had the best time talking both knowing it was probably our last time.

We both saw the beauty of it and that it was about the choice of how one lived.  I saw that Kyle and Lisa chose to live every moment with joy and laughter.  I realized that is love.  They chose home hospice so the dogs and they could live it their way.

The day LIsa called to tell me Kyle was gone, her voice was so peaceful and complete.  She radiated love over the phone line.  In that moment I could not be sad as I was filled with their love.  There were no regrets or fear here.  Just love.

Kyle, I’ll miss our talks.  Mostly I’ll miss your laughter.  Thank you for sharing a part of your life with me.  I am blessed by that.  God’s speed.

Tree and Mistletoe

It has been a long time since I have made a post.  My New Year resolution is to get back to writing.

Living in Georgia is good.  Has taken some time to adjust to a very different environment, so most of my energy went to settling in and I am enjoying warmer and moister.

In the fall I started doing morning walks and on these walks I noticed trees that had lost their leaves and had round ball shaped groups of green leaves still on the tree.  I was curious so I asked a friend what kind of tree did this.

I was told it was not a type of tree.  These trees had mistletoe growing on them and the mistletoe was the green leave balls and the mistletoe would eventually kill the tree.  My friend went on to say how sad it was and that the mistletoe is a nasty parasite.  I let myself get sucked into what a terrible thing this is.

The next morning on my walk I passed one of the trees with the mistletoe growing on it.  I started to do my pity thing and the tree showed me it did not want my pity and it was fine with the mistletoe growing on it.

The animals have been very adamant with me on the pity thing and you would imagine by now I would think before I felt pity for anything!

I stood looking up at the tree and then the mistletoe showed me it had a job to do.  It did not take hold on strong trees and the mistletoe is part of nature’s pruning system.

The tree was ok with the mistletoe taking of its’ life force.  It was a slow process of leaving and that it was fine and the lesson is surrender.  The mistletoe’s lesson is how much to take.  I began to see it is about balance and coexistence.  The tree is not a victim and the mistletoe is not the bad guy.  I thanked them both for setting me straight.

It helped me remember, the Universe knows what it is doing and no one needs my pity and sad thoughts.

Now when I walk by the tree I have a light heart and know all is well in the world.

Life is a Journey

Writing last weeks post was a real stretch.  I was going to pull that post today and when I went to the dashboard there were two comments basically saying thank you for writing the posts on dying.  I realized there was a benefit so I left the post on.

I want to say there is no right or wrong.  Animals have their points of view and humans have theirs with no judgment.  We are all doing our best to find our way everyday.  To negotiate what life brings us each day and make the best decisions we know how to.  When it comes to dying there is so much emotion around it, it becomes very hard to see past those emotions.

We don’t want to let go and sometimes the animals don’t want to let go.  There are no straight lines to follow.  Each human animal combination is unique.  It’s like snowflakes, no two are alike.  That is why I said last post there is no blanket statement being made.

Yes there are some basic things and even those become tailored to the individual being.  I do not know another beings path.  That is why I do my best to listen.

What the animals are asking is for us to stop seeing death as a drama.  For them it is just a movement they follow.  Does that movement always look peaceful?  No.  Is the movement always serene and pretty?  No.

What I am learning is if I can see that I am in a really emotional state then I can affect it and calm myself down.  In a calmer state it is easier to have a clearer picture of what is going on.  In the case of an animal dying it allows me to step back and give them some room.

When I started to get past the drama I began to see there is a beauty to the dying rhythm.  It is a beings end of life journey that is so individually theirs.  I learned it was not about me, it was about them.  Seeing from that point of view changed how I acted in a big way.

Working with animals is teaching me to get over myself and get out of myself.  Not always a pretty lesson.  I also see my beliefs changing.  It is a journey for sure.

End of Life

I am being nudged to continue writing about animals and dying.  One of the things I see over and over when working with an animal who is in the dying rhythm movement is they are clear they want to die in their own rhythm.  Which means not to be euthanized.

I want to be clear here.  I am relaying what the animals show me and this is not me saying animals should not be euthanized.  I do not want to hear of anyone saying “Sandy says on her blog animals should not be euthanized”.  You want to see me really angry just let someone say that.  What I am doing is giving the animal’s point of view on dying.

They are teaching me their end of life is a very rich time for them to work on what they came to learn in this particular life time.

I am working with a cat now.  He can’t get up on his own anymore; he eats and drinks, purrs and is clear he is very alive.  A couple of weeks ago the question of euthanasia came up.  The human was torn so she called me.  In working with him he showed me the lesson he is working on is his will.  He has a very strong will.  All his life he has been able to will his way through challenges.

Now he is discovering his will is not working the way it did.  He is learning acceptance and surrender for what his will can’t change.  He is also seeing there is a bigger movement then his will is.  He had never seen this before.  The bigger movement is the Divine that moves through everything.

This is a huge discovery for him.  At the end of the session his human agreed to let him follow his own dying rhythm movement.  One of the things he wanted his human to know was, don’t get stuck in what it looks like and she listened.  She realized there is something big going on here and she wants to give him the chance to have his own movement and discovery.  She is willing to put herself aside so he can do what he needs to do.  To me this is a beautiful loving gift.

What I am passing on here is an example of what I am being shown by an animal moving toward the end of his life.   There is no blanket statement being made here.  I am simply sharing a story of a cat and his human and their journey together.

My work with dying animals is such an eye opener for me.  I am doing a lot of rethinking how I look at death.  Is it always comfortable?  No.  I am being taken out of my comfort zone and being asked to see someone else’s point of view on the end of life.

The phone just rang and it is this cat’s human, which blew me away as here I sit writing about them, reporting he is still here and she and he are having a very special time.  She wanted me to know how wonderful it is to be a part of his journey.

The animals are simply asking us to take a look at their point of view.

Life

I am a bit behind in posting.  Life had some interesting challenges, all resolved.  Lessons?  One lesson I got for sure is don’t forget for ten years to change the spark plugs in the car!  How I missed that one is a mystery as I am pretty car savvy.

A client read the post on “Letting Go” and asked if I could write something on animal’s dying.  It is a topic I knew I would write about and I wanted to get the blog somewhat established before I moved in that direction.  It is a big topic and a huge part of life.  We for the most part are not taught much about dying.  We know a great deal about birth, as it is considered a joyous event.  The end of life for the most part is not viewed that way.

My Dad believed death is part of life.  Death in our house was not a mystery it just was.  When animals or humans died I was shown there was nothing to fear.  I was allowed to see their bodies and told they couldn’t stay and that they went back to God.  Yes, I would miss them and that was ok.  As I look back I see I was being prepared for the job I do now even as a child.

I think I have mentioned that about half my work is with animals that are dying.  In a way they took over where my Dad left off in the teaching department.

Firstly, animals have no fear of dying and their point of view is very different from ours.  For animals life is rhythm and movement.  For them there is rhythm in the movement which they simply follow.  It is not a thought process for them, unlike us who think everything to ad nausea.

So death for animals is simply the dying rhythm movement.  In themselves they follow the inner rhythm of dying with no worry or judgment.  It just is.  I have worked with animals who could no longer get up and to them they still had a life.  From their point of view as long as they are breathing they have life.  No concept of quality of life, simply life.

I am going to stop here and I will write more.  Hopefully this opens the door a little into the animal’s view of dying.