The Grief Circle for Gracie, Sesame, Pippin, Abbey, Skyy and Moose

Several wonderful women and I held a grief circle to honor our Beloveds that have passed . I made an altar with photos, flowers and candles. We listened to a few beautiful songs,  We had a 5 minute silent meditation to focus on connecting with our beloveds, and then one at a time, we  shared   We all held a sacred space for each of us to cry, express grief and sadness, as well as celebrate the miraculous love we have for our beloveds.  Then we did a red circle grief ritual, lead by Ruth.  It was a tying  and connecting together of red yarn in solidarity of our expressed grief.

I am profoundly moved by these amazing women, who have the courage and strength to bare our broken hearts.  Thank you for this precious gift of connectedness.

Passion or Burden?

Being a good dog trainer ,whose specialty is aggression ,fear and anxiety , involves becoming quite intimate with the owner (s)
It is very similar to entering into a therapeutic relationship, with a  social worker or therapist.
I work with people that consider their dogs their children. Just like I do.
And their child is acting up aggressively, violently, anxiously, fearfully .
and they do not know how to make it right.  I do.  I have the ability now after many many years of honing my skill- to see, feel and grasp what can be done to right the dog, in most circumstances.  There must be said that there are some innate drives in dogs that will override even the strongest hand and correction.
Their dog is a reflection of them, just like a child. And when that reflection is a violent one – it’s full of shame, guilt, doubt, frustration. Everyone looks at an aggressive dog and wants to run the other way.

And then I am called . This initial phone call to me is usually  wrought  with great emotion and fear . I want to help because I understand.

I hear their stories and their  stories were my story ,many years ago. I feel empathetic. I understand the worry, the stress, the anxiety.

And I say yes to being their dog trainer
And then begins very interesting, often intense process between dog, owner and I.

I become intertwined in their lives for weeks, months,  sometimes  years.
There  have been numerous miraculous shifts  that inspire me. The combination of intuitive understanding, patience, deliberate correction, and encouragement within a program.
These all  become this miraculous recipe that leads to transformation. Those programs I will celebrate forever. There have been many and those owners often become my dear friends. We are kindred souls. We have been through the fire together. We understand what it takes to shift an  aggressive violent dog and they dive in wholeheartedly. I bow to them.

Yet then there are many more times where I am taxed, emotionally drained and exhausted from the process of working with the human. I’m supposed to be their savior. I’m supposed to make everything right in their world yet  they have very little understanding that this is an intuitive process that requires an extreme discipline of action, leadership and introspection.  and they are unwilling, unable and resistant to truly change

They are too vulnerable to hold themselves accountable,  so they  blame the dog or they blame me.

I’ve been doing this almost 20 years and as much as was born to do this.

In so many ways, it’s starting to take a toll. How do I keep doing what I’m doing and not feel my life force dwindling when someone is not satisfied. When someone is not realistic. when someone is irrational ,when someone makes me the savior that can’t save them??

This is why I contemplate a serious life changes. When does one’s  passion become a burden?

My shift inward

For the last 30 years, I have been on a spiritual quest.  It’s been a windy road filled with loss, angst, anxiety and growth.  This past year, 2017 was my dark night of the soul. I am private in these matters, but it is enough to say, that I was hurting deeply psychically and spiritually.  It all came to a head the first 15 days of 2018.  My Abbey was declining.  My entire days were filled with so much worry. The worry of a mama is like no other.  I was tired, skinny, anxious and overworked.  I came down with the terrible flu that so many had.  It was the sickest I have ever been with a flu.  I was bed ridden for several days, delerious for a few and Abbey and Patrick hunkered down with me. I was in an altered world of sickness, fear, and true surrender.

Looking back on those 15 days, I know that Abbey was moving back and forth between worlds.  The AfterLife of All-That-Is Good and this life- where her mama was weak and scared.  It is truly humbling to live alone and worry that you could actually die alone….  Abbey was preparing to depart.  She was sleeping so much more, that deep kind of sleeping that instills a sense of wonder in where the sleeper is abiding.   I know she was communicating and in touch with Madeline.  Madeline was preparing her to return Home.  But my Abbey was worried about me.  I had been putting myself through so much this last year.  Hidden from many but not my 2 dogs.  They felt and sensed all my woes.

These 2 weeks are very hard for me to write about.  Because it brings me back there.  We were a pack of 3, so tightly bonded in our silent world of infinite understanding and unconditional love. The hastening was coming.  The hastening of my own breakthrough from the dark night which then brought the hastening of my Beloved’s readiness to leave me and return Home.  My Abbey did not leave me until she got 100% definitive signs from me and from God that I was going to be OK.  She left with a huge sigh of relief. Her whole being was ready, so ready….but she would not die until she knew I was standing on solid ground.   and I was…fragile but standing.

Since her passing, so much light is entering my life.  The light of pure goodness and joy of Bernandette Rose. Her rescue was my resurrection.

and then something even more mysterious….This subtle yet so palpable shift into the Silence of God.  How do I explain it?  Okay, let me try.  Imagine me-  a human being that has run fast and anxious her entire life.  My anxiety and OCD has also brought fits of brilliance of intuition and knowledge about dogs.  This brought me my career!  The only time I could touch this silence within is when I am fully present, teaching and working a dog.  It- is -being -done -through -me.  Not unlike a painter, a writer,a dancer.  But then the other 90% of my days are anxious, running late, losing things, cleaning too much organizing beyond a necessity and on and on.

and then Abbey passed..Grief hit hard…Bernadette found me.  and I woke up one day about 2 weeks ago, and said to myself- I feel the Silence.

Oh My God.  It is hastening.  That which I have always craved and only read about in old spiritual texts.  I have experienced a dipping in to the Eternal.  The anxious me is not me.  I watch the anxious me from a vantage point right above me, without judgement or shame.  The I that is watching is the same I that can speak to a dog with my touch, my presence and my compassionate heart.

and then I wake up, drink too much coffee, curse at someone that is pissing me off, and I am human again.   and the Silence watches that too.