This Year’s Lessons

First of all… how did another year go by so fast?

I have a theory… one of my many unproved theories. I think the Earth is spinning faster each year, so time itself is speeding up, or maybe space is slowing down. I can’t prove it…. yet. Stay tuned.

So what happened this year? Instead of writing a brag letter about everything I accomplished, I’d rather just share what I learned this year.

Dogs Don’t Go to Heaven

EliSeraUntil I  met Sera, I was not a dog-person. Within a day of meeting her, Sera accepted me into her pack and took it upon herself to keep watch over me. During a 4-day camping trip with Eli, Sera stood guard 24/7. Later as our relationship developed, Sera would escort me around Kings Beach, keeping me safe, by her own choice. This girl was more than a friend, she was family.

Sera died suddenly in January of 2013, while Eli and I were visiting family in Wisconsin. We found out just before boarding our plane home. It was devastating. We were thousands of miles away and could absolutely nothing. Looking back, I was just glad I was with Eli when he got the news.

Back in Tahoe, as friends dug a grave in the back yard, a very curious hawk hovered around the yard. This was odd because hawks weren’t typical wildlife in Eli’s yard before. The next day, as Sera was laid to rest, her friends and family circled around her, embraced in love they shared the loss. As they read from a book on Native American spiritual belief, a passage about the Hawk spirit was read, stating that the Hawk is the messenger, offering perspective from high above.

At that moment, the hawk returned, circled the yard, flying between massage pine trees and made it’s presence known by calling out. The hawk landed in a nearby tree, and watched as Sera’s loved-ones mourned her. The hawk lingered  a while as Sera’s family said goodbye. Before flying away, the hawk flew over the gathering, again making her presence known.

Contrary to religious belief, I am now convinced that dogs do have a soul and that souls are capable of reincarnating. Sera was a generous and loving soul, she took care of us all and she wanted to make sure we all knew, that she was okay. That’s the kind of girl she was. So I don’t believe in heaven, therefore I don’t think animals go to heaven… but now I know animals do have souls… capable of touching ours.

Baby-Swims

just-keep-swimming“Just keep swimming, swimming swimming, just keep swimming…” These are wise words from Dory the fish, a mantra a repeat when times are tough. I’ve had some pretty tough times the past few years with plenty of challenges.

After years of swimming through churning personal chaos, through dark scary emotional tunnels and across rocky barren financial terrain… new life has begun to take root. My new corals have developed strong foundations, allowing new fish  and sea creatures to settle in and grow.

nemoSwimming across the ocean is daunting, intimidating and downright scary. By looking ahead, just far enough to know where to take my next step… or in this case, swim… I was able stay focused on the present task…. baby-swims. Before I knew it, I had crossed the ocean to find a safe place to rest, flourish and occasionally swim just for fun.

Buttered Toast

toastI’d like to think of myself as a generous person… generous with my time, my effort, even with my resources when I can spare some. It makes me feel good to give, to help others, to make people happy. I am especially generous when I am happy and feeling grateful. That combined with my instinct to over-commit, often causes me to bite off more than I can chew.

This year I bit off too much, in many ways. I forgot how to say no… or even maybe. Worse yet, I found myself volunteering to do things before even being asked, never giving others the chance to ask for help. While my intentions were good, I forgot to think about what my commitments would take from me. I found myself being spread thin, like not enough butter being spread over a huge piece of toast.

I’ve finally learned that I have to save some butter for myself. Of course, if I see that somebody else’s toast needs butter, I’ll offer a little, but just a little. Nobody should have to endure dry toast, not even me.

Go Small

bendykittenThere is a lot of pressure to go big… play hard… to get the most out of life in order to be happy.

I used to do such things. In fact, over the  years, I was always the instigator. I would organize white water rafting trips, beach bonfires and host parties. Sure they were fun, but does everything have to be special? As it turns out, no.

This year, I learned to appreciate the small things; sleeping in, speaking meow, a hot shower, kitten whiskers touching your face, or spending quality time with loved ones. That quality time, by the way, doesn’t have to be a big deal. We don’t have to DO something to enjoy each others company.

I found that simple pleasures like just sharing space, watching documentaries and enjoying a really good burrito, is just as satisfying as going out and going big. Please don’t take it personally, but I am looking forward to a year of less.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

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