The cycle of life is the constancy of beginnings and endings and back to beginnings and endings again. The stuff in between these milestones is the skeleton of our core beliefs about ourselves and the world. The meanings are woven into our marrow, the source of blood and symbolically the source of life.
Today is the first day back at the office for many people who work in such an environment. I see an email from a friend expressing with a heavy heart the peaceful passing of his father in the early hours of December 31st in Vancouver. That particular day I was helping my husband cater a wedding in Los Angeles. The following day, on the 1st, we spent the day in our new home in Inglewood. It’s a house where a woman died from cancer last summer. These events are filled with the spaces of our day to day business of getting on with it. There are days when I just don’t feel like participating in the turning of the wheel – at least not at the same pace nor volume as other people are going about it. I question myself what’s wrong with me?
I went home during lunch and was greeted by 3 dogs wagging their bodies and tails. The latest addition to the family is Molly. My husband and I found her on January 1st wandering the busy street of Florence. After an eventful time of capturing the dog we finally made friends with her yesterday. She allowed us to pet her, put a collar on her and she sat on Bruno’s lap in the car as we made our way home. He bathed the dog. It took 4 full baths before the water in the tub started to run clear. Now Molly seems so eager to please us, so much so that the other dogs don’t like her “brown nosing” antics. Last night I watched her wander in front of me with its collar and leash. She sniffed and tugged and wagged her tail. I wondered what traumas this dog had endured. I recall my feeling when I covered my eyes and screamed “Oh no!” when I saw her beeline directly into the 4 lane traffic of Florence avenue 2 nights ago.
Meeting Molly was another milestone. Had I not cared enough to pause from my task of buying wine at the liquor store then I wouldn’t be thinking or writing about her. What’s going on here? These events are strung together by what? My credo is what propels me towards choices and actions. Last night after Molly was bathed I took my turn under the shower, letting the water unfurl the knots in my mind and body. How do I feel about myself? I’ve never asked myself that question before. My feelings can vary about myself, but lately it’s been disgust that I’ve been eating too much and not exercising at all. Honesty to myself is tough. To admit disgust at myself seems so wrong. It is everything that society deems as an illness or abnormality – Of course we love ourselves! But this is not always true. I have many days between milestones and events when I suck.
After admitting to myself this shallow feeling of disgust then I felt I’ve hit rock bottom. Hate and disapproval. Since I am capable of this feeling at myself then I can be capable to feel this towards another. When I think of it that way then I recognize that I do not want to be on this path. If can have kindness and compassion towards a little lost animal, then couldn’t I give myself an ounce of that kindness and compassion? What would that look like? I look to the setting sun peeking through a blanket of clouds. It’s brilliant at this moment. The remainder of the week’s weather forecast is rain. What grace! I love the rain. Thank you. The breath I had been holding whooshes out and my heartbeat slows down. Acceptance. I can’t change the weather but I can relax my grip on what perfect health is. There’s a part of me like Molly who is afraid. I’m afraid of my ennui. Then there was a moment when Molly took a leap of faith to trust this caravan of strangers. I have to do the same too – believe in me and trust that I will get back in the pool and be regular at swimming. One thing at a time, one day at a time are the events and milestones that make up a life. Awareness and minding those sunrises and sunsets is a gift in itself.