(While fully admitting that politics isn’t my forte, I felt compelled to try to say something that might speak to the events of this year).
2016 has been a year of unpredicted whirlwind changes on the world stage.
June saw approximately half of UK voters cast their vote to leave the EU.
That night I watched the number of constituencies voting to leave steadily rise with a sick sense of disbelief deep in the pit of my stomach.
I wasn’t the only one.
“What have we done?” asked one of my friends on Facebook. (A Remain voter).
“How can this be happening?” were the first words of another.
With an eerie sense of deja vu, I’ve seen many American friends express the same sense of shock and disbelief in the wake of the Presidential elections.
Both the UK and the USA – despite their umpteen deplorable mistakes that have left deep scars on the face of history – have been in many ways proponents of humanitarian values.
We now find ourself in the situation where they are – politically speaking – leaning heavily towards the right.
This seems to have given hardcore nationalism, white supremacy and the minuscule percentage of people who subscribe to them the license to rear their ugly heads. Spates of xenophobia and other hate crimes followed close behind in both countries.
Although it is edifying to see the amount of support for the targeted minorities and that these incidents have been swiftly dealt with by the authorities, it is easy to surmise that the political, moral and ethical landscape in the UK and the US has shifted beyond recognition.
It is as if the values that we thought our countries stood for have been swept away from under our feet.
People from both sides of the political spectrum feel the pain of this.
Many who were on the “losing side” feel that far exceeding any personal sense of loss, the result is a loss for the nation; a loss for the world.
Stranded in this sea of uncertainty and tumultuous change many of us feel anchorless. Ungrounded. Like strangers in our homeland.
We are shaken to our core; no longer able to identify with the badge of belonging which has been ours for so long.
In this sea of dismay and despair, it can be easy to feel like we have little say in the way our lives are determined.
We can feel like our lives are controlled by external events; forces bigger than us – things that are beyond our control.
When we do, we give away our power.
The truth is that we are the biggest force in our own lives.
We are the source of our power.
Reeling after the Brexit decision back in June, it took me a couple of days to remember that I am the authority in my own life and reclaim my power.
When I did, I wrote these words:
“I am not defined by my nationality. I can and do choose to embrace inclusive values, love and compassion; even if the leader(s) of my country or some of my fellow countrymen do not. I can hope that the leadership that emerges will also choose to embrace these and other such noble qualities. I can commit to doing all that is within my power to sow seeds of love that will grow in the hearts and lives of others and to spread compassion in the world.”
This is where our power resides:
In our response.
We always have the power to choose the way we want to show up in the world.
We always have the power to choose the values we want to uphold and embody.
That the political, moral and ethical landscape is always changing is not a fact we often consider.
Referendums and presidential elections may emphasize and draw our attention to this; but the political arena is not where the moral and ethical landscapes of our countries are created.
The power to create the moral and ethical landscape of our nation resides within us: in the moment-to-moment choices we make, and the values we source them in.
As sovereign beings, we always have the power of choice.
We have the power to choose who we want to be and how we want to show up in the world – how we want to act, speak and respond – in each and every moment of our lives.
The current state of the world is calling us to step up into that power.
To claim our authority.
To develop increasing mastery of ourself.
To bring more consciousness to the world we are co-creating together.
To step into the fullness of our power as co-creators.
It is asking each one of us to examine who we are and who we want to be.
It is asking us to examine our values.
It is asking us to commit to all that we believe is good and pure and true.
It is asking us to uphold these things.
It is asking us to do these things now.
So that we can create a better world for ourselves, and for each other.
Now is the time for us to shine our light.
Without the darkness of the night, the brilliance of the new day cannot be seen or comprehended.
The darkness of intolerance, greed and hate; disrespect for each other, our fellow creatures and our planet is the stark contrast that is calling us to boldly shine our light forth in the world as never before.
The world needs our light.
The inequalities, divisions and discriminations that have permeated our society for so long; deeply embedded but all too often denied and discounted; have at last broken the surface and are exposed, in plain view for all to see.
This sense of decline we feel; this sense that as a nation, and as nations, our collective backs have been turned and we have regressed to the divisive politics of bygone years – this is our medicine.
This is what – if we allow it, will empower us to diagnose and treat the greed, superiority and hatred; the politics of fear and division; the legacy of suspicion and mistrust of difference that is a cancerous cell embedded deep within the heart of humanity.
We cannot treat a disease that we do not know is there.
Nor one which we refuse to acknowledge.
We have made gigantic leaps and bounds in many parts of the world towards embracing inclusive policies and equal rights. It is right that we should celebrate this.
Now the shadow has come into plain view again so that we can heal it on an even deeper and more profound level.
It is not the politicians and world leaders who have the ability do this; though they have their role to play.
The power resides with us.
It is up to each one of us to take on the task of healing and transmuting the darkness. Turning it into light:
One loving thought at a time; one loving word at a time; one loving act at a time.
We begin with ourself.
Noticing the shadow within us – the places where we act from fear, greed and hate – surrendering it; breathing in love instead.
The love we breathe in is a love that embraces the whole of humanity.
A love that embraces the whole of life.
It is akin to the concept of love expressed in the word Namaste:
I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One.
The question to ask ourself is are we acting from this space of Love?
Are the moment-to-moment choices we are making coming from this space in which we honor the whole of humanity, the whole of life, as expressions of divine Source; each equally worthy, each deserving of our love and compassion?
Are the moment-to-moment choices we make – choosing one thought over another; one word in place of another; one action instead of another – grounded in love and compassion; rooted in a desire for the freedom of all sentient beings to live happy and fulfilling lives?
We extend this love into the lives of the people around us by:
Choosing thoughts, words and deeds that respect and honor.
Choosing thoughts, words and deeds that offer solidarity, peace, joy and hope.
Choosing thoughts, words and deeds that bridge differences and build connection.
Choosing thoughts, words and deeds that seek to understand and find value in others; that let be and continue to treat with respect and dignity those with whom we find ourselves to be irreconcilable with in some way.
Choosing thoughts, words and deeds that unite us in our common humanity, whilst also respecting its multifaceted faces.
Choosing thoughts, words and deeds that join us together in mutual compassion and understanding, discarding those that drive us apart.
As each of us chooses to act from this space of love and compassion, as this ripples out into the lives of the people around us, we change the moral and ethical landscape of our nation.
This is the tremendous force of the power that resides within us.
The power to choose and – by our choices – change the face of our nation.
The power to choose and – by our choices – change the face of the world.
Each of us has a unique soul blueprint imprinted indelibly in our cells. Our soul blueprint holds the key to our happiness. Activating it is the key to living self-expressed, authentic and joyful lives.
We tend to think of our soul as disembodied, independent of us. We conceive of our physical body as belonging to this world; and our soul as something apart. Far from this, our soul is woven into the very fabric of our being and the two are inextricably intertwined. It is the non-physical that breathes life into the physical. Our physical body is infused with the energy of our soul, and we are in constant communication / interaction with it throughout the day – whether we know it or not.
Our soul can never be apart from us; it is the essence of who we are.
What defines whether we are activating our soul blueprint or not is how closely we are listening to the communications of our soul and living into alignment with them.
Our soul is speaking to us all the time. It speaks to us through our emotions and intuition. It speaks to us in the silence of our heart space. It speaks to us in our passions and enthusiasms. It speaks to us in the words of others, or the words of a book, a movie or song.
When we learn to listen to the voice of our soul within us, we are able to step into a truly authentic way of living. A way of living that honors us and who we are. A way of living that nurtures and expresses the essence of who we came here to be.
Our soul speaks to us in each and every moment.
It speaks to us when we feel unenthused, uncomfortable, compromised, fatigued, disinterested; telling us that the course we have embarked upon is not in alignment with our soul.
It speaks to us in the vague unease or the murmurs of discontent that we so often ignore and brush aside.
It speaks to us in our feeling of malaise; in our longing for something more.
It speaks to us in the whispers of desire that we feel in our heart to choose one thing over another; one experience over another.
It speaks to us in moments of happiness, joy, pleasure, gratitude, love, appreciation; telling us that yes, in this moment, we’ve got it! We’re living in alignment with this essence of who we are.
When we live in alignment with our soul we become the happiest, most authentic, most joyful version of ourself; expressing the essence of who we really are in the innermost part of our being.
By choosing to release from our life the things that send us into negative emotion; by choosing to spend more time on doing things that cause us to feel gratitude and joy, we can bring ourself into greater alignment with our soul. As we do, we transform our life. We experience blissful moments of deep connection to our Self and the world around us. We experience the joy of living true to ourself. We begin to live more in the moment, trusting in our soul to lead us and the goodness of the Universe to provide. We value the sacredness of all life – including our own – and begin to honor the truth of who we are and live on purpose. The more we come into alignment with our soul, the more we open ourself up to a radiant joy in Life and the living of it.
Although we are taught to listen to and value the opinions of everyone but ourself, our own inner voice – our soul – is the only one that can guide us true to course in our quest for happiness, fulfillment and joy.
As we listen to the song of our own heart and deepen into a more intimate relationship with our soul, our soul re-minds us of who we came here to be.
Speaking to us in moments of silence and stillness, it whispers to us our highest and grandest vision of who we could be. It gives us a vision of how we might use our specific gifts and talents, the wisdom garnered from our experiences, to serve the whole and share our light in the world; giving us a beautiful vision of what our life could look like if we surrendered to its call and chose to live our life in conscious alignment with our soul, activating our fullest potential over and over again.
In these moments, our soul is speaking to us of our soul calling.
Written into our soul blueprint are our soul’s callings and purpose. For some of us this may express as a particular job or role; teacher, healer, parent, listener, artist, writer, animal lover, activist, friend.
For all of us, at the most essential level, our soul calling is to co-create with the Universe a life that enables us to experience a deep joy in living and creatively express our love, our passions and our unique essence in the world.
When we hear the calling of our soul, it is up to us to respond; taking the first steps on the journey it is urging us to embark upon.
Too often we make ourselves and our happiness our last priority. In doing so, we fall out of alignment with our soul and the joyful lives we came here to live and experience.
Our soul’s greatest desire is that we feel radiantly, blissfully alive. It wants us to live lives we love; happy, joyful and fulfilled. It wants us to evolve and grow into more of our potential; living beyond our safety zone; reveling in the rich and vibrant experiences we encounter along the way.
This is our soul’s calling.
This is what we came here to do.
This is what we came here to be.
If we have been ignoring it, sweeping it aside; at some point in our life our soul will find a way to grab our attention. It may to do this though illness; the shock of losing a loved one; or some other turbulent event in our life. Perhaps the loss of a job, the break up of a relationship, or some other dramatic change in the circumstances of our life.
At such times of unrest and uncertainty, the voice of our soul rises to the surface demanding more. More happiness; more joy; more peace; more abundance; more health; more well-being; more truth; more love; more energy; a way of living truer to ourself; a way of living that brings more pleasure and joy.
This is a crossroads in our life. We can either go on doing on what we’ve always done, getting the same results – a life lived out of alignment with our soul, the feeling that there’s got to be something more. Or we can make a different choice. Decide it is time to listen to the whisperings of our heart and the voice of our own soul’s wisdom and step up into a new experience of life; one that allows us to expand; one that allows us to open up and experience that something more.
As we open up to our soul, we embark on an ongoing awakening experience; a lifelong journey of living into more of of our truth.
The closer we come into alignment with the truth of our soul, the more we feel our soul calling express itself as a specific role or purpose.
Our soul only speaks to us of our specific soul calling when we are ready.
Its timing is perfect, for it is divinely orchestrated.
We have learned to embrace our experiences and evolve through and beyond them. We are learning to love ourselves first; that it is when we do that we offer the most to others. We are stepping up into honoring ourself and our truth; finding our passion and following that.
It is our time to live authentically and true to ourself. To make our mark on the world in a way that only we can do, following the lead of our deepest soul longing.
This is the voice of God within us. It is up to us to listen to this inner voice and honor our deepest most soul-felt desires.
This seed of longing planted within us before we were born might not seem the most logical course. It may take us in new directions to the ones in which we thought our life was going. It will almost certainly involve courage and risk, and we may be required to leave some of our roles and the people and places we knew behind. We’ll be asked to expand ourselves and our comfort zone over and over again. We’re undoubtably going to encounter new challenges as well as new vistas as we adjust to this new way of being in the world.
The desire planted within us is so strong, the vision of the potential we came here to embody so pure and true, that even when we fear we may not be equal to the task; even when we fear the reactions of others, we find the strength to proceed.
As we take more steps on the path of this grandest and highest vision of ourself, deepen into a life of co-creation with our soul, we see that we are supported.
We learn to trust.
The path of our soul longing is not always the easiest one we can walk, but to live true to ourself and in alignment with our soul is the most important decision we will ever make. It may turn our life upside down, but it also turns it around. At last we are living authentically; at last we are living in integrity with who we are. There is a beautiful feeling of bliss inherent in this.
When what is in our soul blueprint becomes what we live and breathe – when our internal and external worlds are aligned – there is an indescribable sensation of peace, joy and well-being. We feel at ease in the world and more ourself than we’ve ever been. It’s such an overwhelmingly enriching feeling that we no longer care so much for who or what others think we should be or do or say. Our soul’s calling sustains and nourishes us, allowing us to grow into the fullness of our potential. We become living expressions of Source; eloquently expressing the unique essence of who we are and who we came here to be, shining our light brilliantly in the world for all to see.
It takes courage, faith, strength and perseverance to live like this. But although it may be the “road less traveled,” it is the one I wish choose over and over again.
I’ve had the good fortune to meet through my blog and elsewhere online a number of fellow journeyers. I’d like to introduce four of them here. These are people who are actively embracing the truth of who they came here to be, and stepping up into the fullness of their potential. People who have honored the whisperings of their soul and heeded their soul’s calling, turning inspiration into action – even when it means putting themselves out there on a limb.
Four people who have stepped up into what their soul-felt desire was asking them to be and do and, in the purity of their response to their heart’s longing, co-created with the Universe a beautiful gift to be shared with the world.
Noelle Vignola has taken her experiences with meditation and used them to write a beautiful and contemplative book Into Your Meditation. A book which is imbued with the essence of the silence and stillness of the sits she loves so much, and offers the reader “a series of daily, bite-sized mediations (a)rranged in thematic sections of seed, root, stem, branch, leaf, bloom and fruit.”
Tony Gilotte has taken his understanding from years of ministership and combined them with his enthusiasm for the mystic’s spiritual path to write an inspirational book, Beautiful Wanderer, that invites us to look into our lives and see how much closer they are to a spiritual life than we may think. His book acts as a bridge between the Christian and mystical, and encourages us to “find the beauty in (life) like never before.”
Reba Linker has condensed her three decades of study with a spiritual teacher and the “spiritual alchemy that takes the challenges of life and transforms them into the purest spiritual gold to be shared with others,” creating an a la carte menu to share alongside her pre-existing programs in her mission to help more people live “more fulfilled, abundant and joyous lives.”
Rozanne Henry followed her intuitive guidance and her soul’s longing to create 100 paintings – “100 expressions of love.” This act opened her up to receiving more of the Divine Feminine energy, and now she shares this beautiful, soft and gentle – yet powerful – energy in the world through her personalized intuitive commissioned paintings and the sacred spaces she creates for women which invite them to “surrender, allow and receive” and intuitive painting classes which teach women to connect to the Divine Feminine as they paint images of the Feminine in intuitive ways.
In the act of following their soul’s most intimate longing, each of these people has sown seeds of beauty, love and wisdom in the world. Seeds that will not only blossom and bloom in their own life, but also in the lives and hearts of all those they have touched.
Our soul calling is not static; it evolves and expands as we do. I am excited to see how these four people I’m honored to journey with continue to blossom and bloom; where their soul’s longing will take them next.
Where will my soul longing take me? Where will yours take you?
Let’s ease ourselves away from our comfort zone into the deep waters of our soul longing. Let’s allow ourselves to be inundated with passion and inspiration. Then, let’s follow that.
Pimo put him in my path, of that I am sure. And – as is the case when divine Source Consciousness is choreographing the events of your life – it happened in the optimum way.
A good night was picked for our meeting for starters. It was the first day of my two-week summer vacation, and I had a little more than usual wiggle room and headspace in my life for dealing with the unexpected.
When I found Toma lying motionless in the middle of road at something-past-ten at night, he was only a few minutes drive from where Pimo had fallen less then three weeks before.
He was so small I actually thought he might be a rabbit and, at first, I thought he was dead.
Half-reluctantly – feeling exhausted after an excessively hot and humid day – I found a suitable place to turn around and drove back; thinking to move him to the side of the road. “If it was Pimo that would be what I’d want for her,” was how my thinking went.
I keep a pair of gloves in the back of my car for such occasions.
When I bent down to move him however, he flailed in my hands and I promptly dropped him back on the road in surprise.
You see I am not a natural animal lover.
In fact, I’ve been scared of them – to varying degrees – since I can remember.
Summoning up courage, I somehow managed to pick him up successfully and get him to the side of the road.
A closer inspection with the flashlight revealed that although he couldn’t seem to move his legs and had excreted in the road in his shock at being hit, he didn’t actually have any visible injuries and there was no blood on the tarmac.
He has at least a chance at life, I thought.
Any true animal lover wouldn’t have hesitated. They would have picked him up in their arms, put him in their car, and took him right home.
But I would not call myself a true animal lover. Nor was I used to cats. I was scared of his teeth and claws even in his tiny and injured state. I hesitated for a long, long time.
I found myself thinking of how if he recovered I would find myself the somewhat reluctant owner of a cat. “Was that really what I wanted?” I asked myself.
Although still mourning the death of Pimo, I had started to think about how I could go on more trips now.
I loved the sense of freedom that came with that.
But then there was this life that I’d found. This life whose heart was still beating, and who had crossed paths with mine.
Even if I wasn’t a firm believer that “we don’t meet people (cats) by accident, they are meant to cross our path for a reason;” the circumstances around this particular meeting were too extraordinary for me to put it down to mere chance.
There was the location and the timing, as I mentioned above.
And then there was the fact that as I was grieving Pimo and integrating the lesson of self-forgiveness surrounding her death, I saw not once but twice – from two different sources in my Facebook feed – the following quote:
No coincidence here.
I knew the Universe was trying to get my attention.
At the time of Pimo’s death if I had only managed to stay calm I may have been able to save her. I knew that then, and I know it now. I’m not saying, though, that that would have necessarily been best.
Everything happens according to the perfect design and timing of the Universe.
Everything happens according to a logic and order which takes into account the interconnectedness of the whole.
It is my feeling that part of the reason Pimo passed in the way she did was to give me the chance to learn these karmic and life-lessons of self-forgiveness and calm.
On the day of her passing I lost my calm in a big way.
Calling people who lived nearish by, I completely forgot to call on any of the help available in the non-physical realm. I also made a bad decision from an ungrounded place that lost precious time on a day in which time was of the essence.
Some good reasons there for mastering the art of remaining calm.
Once I’d acknowledged what the Universe was trying to say to me through the synchronicity and repetition of the quote, the words of Hans King as heard on the Beyond the Ordinary Show came back to me.
Bravely, bravely, wondering if I really dared to do so; I said to the Universe, my guides and angels:
“Please give me this lesson again and help me to get it right this time.”
I must confess I added some conditions.
In no way was the lesson to come in the form of something that I would mourn the loss of or a human life at stake.
I could see, however, that the circumstances would have to be somewhat dire in order for there to be a lesson – a need for me to stay calm – in the first place.
Ideally, I thought, it would be someone else’s pet in trouble. I would be the one to step in with my calm superpower and magically save the day.
Even as I found Toma lying in the road that night, my words to the Universe echoed in my mind. I felt sure this was my chance to “do it again.”
I can’t really say I got it 100% right this time round, either.
I put the injured Toma in the boot of my car for a start, afraid he might somehow recover his strength and attack me. And it took me till we got to the all-night vets (an hour’s drive) to remember to surround my newfound four-legged friend in light and ask the angels for their help.
But I would certainly say that I did a better job of staying calm and taking right action – the fact that Toma is still alive today is testament to that.
The night I found Toma was ripe with such synchronicities.
The death of Pimo had brought up some old regret about a deer with broken legs I’d found several years ago abandoned after a hit and run. Not knowing how to respond, I had called a Japanese friend who had called the police. I stayed with the deer for nearly three hours until they finally came.
At first I was as scared of the deer as it was of me. Keeping a wary distance I put some water in Pimo’s bowl I kept in the car and pushed it close in case the deer needed to drink. It didn’t. But I think it sensed my intention. It stopped trying to drag itself away from me and remained still; no longer afraid of my presence.
As we sat facing each other in the deep of night – the deer seemingly calm and serene despite the severity of his injuries and me entranced by the dream-like quality of it all, I started to notice how much like Pimo he looked with his big brown eyes, long delicate eyelashes, and fur.
In that instant the deer became known, familiar.
Pimo was far more than a dog to me. She was family.
Living with her for years had taught me that there weren’t that many differences between us. We were both sentient beings. Only she walked on four legs and had fur; while I walked on two legs and didn’t. (Or not much anyway).
If this deer was similar to – kindred – to Pimo; then he was also similar to – kindred – to me.
By the time the police arrived, I’d been gently stroking the deer’s forehead for hours.
The policemen were visibly moved. But I’d always wished I had been able to help the deer more. I mourned the loss of this precious life; the part we, as humans, played in it.
After the death of Pimo I found myself thinking of the deer again, wishing there was something more I could have done.
As I left my village that night to drive the injured kitten to the vets, two deer appeared in my headlights in separate places on the side of the road. Two deer honoring my connection with one of their kind. Two deer honoring the life of Toma. Two deer thanking me for my commitment to the faltering life in my car, wishing us Godspeed on our journey.
Like the deer from that night long ago, Toma had been hit by a car and was unable to walk or stand. The Universe was giving me a chance to relive that situation, too; a chance to do the “something more” I regretted not doing the first time around.
As if that weren’t enough, there was also the “co-incidence” that Toma was paralyzed in three of his legs. That combined with the fact that he couldn’t see and had a higher than normal number of white blood cells in his blood work suggested to the vet that he’d been hit on the head by the car that left him sprawled in the middle of the road.
The best course of action she could suggest was hospitalizing him immediately and giving him an MIR when the surgery reopened on Monday. Even then the prognosis wasn’t good. Depending on what the MIR revealed, his condition may or may not be treatable. And the cost – before treatment – was astonishing; more than my month’s wage just for the hospital stay and MIR.
I thanked her for her help, let her give Toma a shot of nutrition, and said that I would take him home with me.
She cautioned that if I did, he was almost certain to die. I had known that was a strong possibility when I found him.
But Pimo knew what she was doing when she put Toma in my path. She knew that I could help him in ways that, perhaps, others couldn’t.
The law of synchronicity says that everything in the Universe is interconnected. Sometimes connections that are unfathomable at the time become apparent later.
Thanks to my experiences with Pimo and her rear-leg paralysis last year, I knew how successful acupuncture can be in recovering the use of limbs.
Following my own recovery from near depression as a result of energy healing, I’d also been setting an intention for Pimo to receive any and all vibrations and frequencies she needed for her greatest and highest good from wherever they may be in the Universe, and visualizing her filled with and surrounded by white and golden light on a pretty much daily basis since the start of the decline in her health.
These were avenues of healing that wouldn’t be open to Toma if he’d been picked up by anyone else.
“There is no such thing as chance or coincidence. Synchronicity springs from the deepest source of destiny.” (The Tree of Awakening)
For me it was second nature to surround Toma in healing light the entire time we were at the vets, holding the intention for the maximum amount of healing possible for him and for the energies and frequencies he needed to come into his body and energy fields. I’d also asked Archangel Raphael, the healer, for help and healing on Toma’s behalf.
Toma was not expected to live. Apart from his paralysis and temporary blindness, his body temperature was six degrees below what is considered normal for a cat. This more than anything, the vet said, suggested his condition was critical. Following her advice to keep him warm, when we got home I put him in a box with a heated pet mat and a blanket. I continued to surround him in light.
He seemed better than the vet’s diagnosis would have suggested by morning. We didn’t get home until about 4am. Toma woke me up only a few hours later with a couple of loud “Meows,” using his one good paw to knock against the box.
The acupuncturist who had treated Pimo offered to come that afternoon, despite it being a Sunday. The transformation after the treatment was nothing short of miraculous. Before Toma could only lie with his back legs twisted to one side. Immediately after he started to drag himself around the room on his belly. By evening, though his stomach was still flat to the floor when he tried to walk, his legs were no longer twisted.
Come the next morning he was able to raise his stomach off the floor and walk around in an almost normal fashion. He even managed to climb up behind some boxes in my classroom. He curled himself up in an upside-down bamboo hat and settled there for the day.
Now – about five weeks on – he is running, playing and climbing all over my house; keeping me awake at night and destroying my curtains and earthen walls in the way that kittens apparently do. When I become frustrated, I remember the circumstance in which I found him. I am able to turn a lot of my frustration into gratitude and joy at how far we have journeyed together and the beautiful gift of life has has received.
I am indelibly grateful to the angels, the Archangels, the acupuncturist, the strength of Toma’s life force. It is thanks to these things that Toma has made such an incredible recovery.
Not forgetting the importance of the compassion for all living beings that my life journey has taught me. A compassion that transcends fear; that allowed me to act from the space of my Higher Self even while I was still locked into my fear of the unknown entity “cats” and doubts about whether I really wanted to step up and take responsibility for this life that I had found or not.
This is the kind of compassion that arises from the recognition that I am you, and you are me. It is a compassion that knows that a dog is not that different from a person; nor a deer or a kitten that different from a dog. We are all interrelated. We are all one Life.
When we access compassion, we access this Truth.
It’s a process. Unlearning the fear of the unknown the illusion of separation has instilled in me; re-learning, instead, our ultimate connectedness. Perceiving that – on the deepest level – my pets are the one same Life that I Am: There is no separation.
I haven’t always been able to act from this place of compassion, either with people or with animals.
(I’m not at all sure I always can now, to be honest..)
Pimo was a throwaway dog in the village, but I would never have brought her home of my own accord. She came to me via a previous partner who – while difficult to be in relationship with – showed wonderful compassion for animals.
I was scared of Pimo at first, just as I was of Toma.
I made her sleep in a cardboard box pushed into the farthest corner of my room the first night, expressing anger at the poor and (no doubt) bewildered puppy when she barked for ice cream.
Yet another important life lesson learned from my pets: conquering our fear of the unknown is, more than anything, about making it known.
Within a couple of days – as I came to know and trust Pimo – she was sleeping curled up against me at nights. I literally fed her from my hand for the first few weeks because she didn’t eat much out of her bowl.
What is known is rarely feared as much as the unknown.
The more we connect with a loving intention, the more this loving intention is reflected back to us. Gradually we learn to trust. As we do, our fear dissolves. (A lesson we would do well to learn around the diversity in our own species, also).
It took me less than a day to get over my wariness of Toma and my fear of his teeth and claws. He may use them in play sometimes, but he is a tremendously loving and affectionate bundle of fun who is addicted to nose bumps and cuddles.
Pimo loved kittens so much. She raised three of them abandoned on a mountain road as if her own; giving them milk though she had never had puppies. She showed me, by her living example of unconditional love, how to grow into more of my own.
If I didn’t open my life up to Pimo, imagine all the unconditional love, the fun, the games, the companionship, the walks in nature, the nights with her sleeping curled against my stomach, the life experiences and life lessons I would have missed out on.
The more we open up to, the more we are able to receive.
Just as Pimo brought so many gifts into my life, I know Toma will too.
He already has.
We came here to evolve and grow, and I am on a continuous learning curve with regard to my pets as much as with anything else in my life.
I may not have been a good pet parent from the start, but I have certainly learned how to grow into one.
I may not have been naturally kind, loving and compassionate with animals, but I am on a journey learning how to be more and more so.
Our pets are our spiritual partners. They are a mirror showing us the places where we can grow into more love and compassion; an everyday reminder of how to be more fully present.
We can always grow into more love and compassion.
We can always grow into more presence.
These are things we can never have too much of. These are things that can help us create a superlative world.
This is both one of the areas around which I received coaching from Reba Linker – a wonderful friend who I met online – on Paint Yourself Into the Pictureand, quite literally, what being on the show and posting the link to it here means to me.
Despite a great deal of personal work on my patterns, and an overwhelming desire to share my story in a public forum so that my experiences can reach and encourage as many others on a similar path as possible, it is clear that I still have some internal resistance to being seen…
Well, as many masters have said, this is a lifelong journey.
And, as the late Susan Jeffers said, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
(Please click to open it in a new window and view, as my plan doesn’t support videos).
In it Reba and I discuss how I can reframe reaching out to people as connecting to make it something that feels more in alignment with my values, and also talk about the process of creating a unifying theme – a “bumper sticker” as Reba calls it in her blog – to aid in the process of writing a book.
I hope you all enjoy the show and get as much out if it as I did. Don’t forget to subscribe on Youtube for more of the same.
What does stepping up into being more visible mean to you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
The universe is an indivisible whole in which all things are interconnected - Eckhart Tolle.
Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep – by Mary Frye
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there; I did not die.
Wednesday saw me clawing my way up a shrub-covered cliff and back down again, holding onto tree branches and clumps of grass to stop myself from hurtling down helter-skelter and out of control.
Walking up the river, gingerly stepping from slippery rock to slippery rock, almost losing my footing on more than a few occasions.
Wading knee deep, grasping onto a conveniently-placed rock to keep me upright and my head above water when I slipped and fell.
It was like something out of an action movie.
Only I didn’t get to play the part of a hero.
To my sorrow I wasn’t able to bring my beautiful and loving dog back still breathing.
My first impulse was to keep this story – the circumstances of my beloved dog’s passing – quiet.
To only tell the few who I had called asking for help – before my phone got wet and gave out on me – what really happened.
Not that I was planning to tell any lies. Just not to tell the full truth.
“Pimo died on Wednesday,” I practiced saying, not filling in any of the details.
At first this impulse arose from an instinct for self-protection.
I knew that in retelling the story I would relive the events and feel the pain – especially the self-recrimination – all over again.
I think there was also a fear of people’s judgement mixed in there.
“What a bad dog owner,” I could imagine them saying. “Who in their right mind would take an aging dog to such a place?”
Well, they may be right. I have mourned my apparent foolishness.
But as my former partner said, as he sat with me by the body and we lit candles and incense, it is that streak in me, that makes the usually sensible and responsible person I am do something so lacking in good sense and judgement that afterwards I wonder what on earth I could have been thinking while – at the time of doing it – being sure that it’s a good idea, that made me the prefect parent for Pimo.
It usually is a good idea to be honest.
It’s just that sometimes they backfire and go wrong.
Maybe what I am lacking is foresight.
But I’m glad I allow myself to listen to the whispers of my heart, and don’t automatically list up everything that could go wrong.
This streak in me represents a love of freedom; for Pimo as much as for me.
It is this streak in me that gave her richness of life; a richness encompassing both good and bad.
It is thanks to this that she spent hours roaming the hills leashless when she was younger. Going where she pleased when she pleased, as I sat with a book open on my lap in the shade of a tree on the mountain road calling her name from time to time to let her know where I was.
It is thanks to this that she got to revel in rolling around in a rotting fish by the river one time and animal feces in the mountains another; completely ignoring my calls for her to come, absorbed in her delight.
It is thanks to this that she continued to get let off her lead at all – even though I knew that she was the one calling the shots once she was out there and couldn’t be trusted to reliably respond to my “commands.”
It is thanks to this that she returned to me once with balls of ice the size of my fist attached to the fur on her stomach, completely unrepentant for having been “missing in action” for seven hours as she chased animal tracks in the snow.
And it is also thanks to this that she fell to her death on Wednesday, slipping on legs that were old and tired and no longer able to fully grasp the Earth.
The day started off in an uneventful way. It was hot and humid and I woke up not feeling inclined to do any of the things I had planned. I’d been missing my time in nature recently and thought how nice it would be to go somewhere and rejuvenate by restoring my connection to the Earth.
Somewhere with water, I thought. What could be nicer than sitting by a river on a hot summer’s day?
For some reason I decided to take Pimo with me, even though I’ve been leaving her sleeping at home more and more in recent weeks.
I thought she could do with the time in nature, too. And maybe I was harking back to former days when we’d enjoying exploring the outdoors together.
So into the car we got, with windows wide open so she wouldn’t overheat. A secluded place where we could get down by the river had sprung to mind, and it was there that we headed.
She made it down to the river on her old and tired legs quite well.
She tripped a couple of times, but I only had to carry her in one place where the steps were gone and there was a steep bank. I carefully made my way down, feeling each step. We arrived at the river edge without incident and I was enjoying the feeling of being out in nature with Pimo again, though it did cross my mind that we were rather unprotected if a bear should chance to come along.
We sat; me with my feet in the river, Pimo cooling down in a shallow pool of water.
At one point a bird appeared from between rocks taller than me, that formed a narrow channel through which the river ran downstream. I wondered if it was a message, and felt a slight sense of unease. But not being sure what it could mean we stayed a while longer until Pimo seemed to get a bit restless and I carried her back to the road above.
If only I had left it there, my day would have had the sated feeling of an afternoon spent in nature I envisioned when I left home. But I thought it would be nice for us to sit a while longer, and we carefully made our way to a rock that overlooked the river. We didn’t stay long for Pimo seemed restless again. I carried her back to what I thought was a safe spot, put her down on the ground and we had hardly walked a few steps when she slipped and fell.
And the rest of the story you pretty much know.
We were too far for anyone to reach us easily, and nobody I managed to call was available to come.
There was only me and the wilderness, and the glimpse of her collar halfway down the cliff.
And that is where I made a terrible mistake.
Instead of trusting myself to be able to get down the cliff to her, I ran down the steps and tried to make my way up.
But I’d misjudged the place and found myself back at the top too far downstream, having wasted precious time. By the time I got to her collar she had slipped through it, and nor could I find her anywhere as I stumbled and slipped the rest of the way down the cliff.
As I continued to search I struggled with blame and self-recrimination:
What on earth was I thinking to bring her to such a place?
Why did I put her down when I did?
Why didn’t I carry her for just another minute? Or all the way back to the car?
Why didn’t I go straight down the cliff to where I could see the red of her collar? If I’d have done that, I probably would have been in time.
Why do I always make the wrong decision at such critical junctures?
Why didn’t I take the time to pause and center and ask for guidance before I decided on my course of action?
Why didn’t I ask my guides and the angels for help sooner, rather than nearly an hour later when I finally came out of the river still not having found her?
Why hadn’t I been more loving with her, more understanding of her condition?
Why did I let her feel my impatience when she stepped in her food and smeared it all over the kitchen floor that morning? Why wasn’t I gentler with her; kinder; more patient?
Why didn’t I leave her safe and sound at home?
How could I have done such a stupid thing?
And so it went on.
In the meantime, someone I had called had called someone else and he arrived on the scene in his truck.
When we finally found her in the river, she was no longer breathing. Her face wore the same gentle and peaceful expression as usual, and if you didn’t know any better you would think she was sleeping.
I brought her home and wiped her down with a towel. I almost expected her to give a little cough and start breathing. But some things cannot be so easily undone.
I spent the first 24 hours blaming myself, interspersed with moments of being more mindful.
I remembered a talk I had listened to only a couple of days before about how animals know they are eternal beings and do not have the same feelings about death as we do. I remembered how fiercely Esther Hicks had told the gentleman in question to stop mourning the “bunny” he had run over, replaying the incident over and over again in his mind. I thought how similar that was to my self-blame and recrimination and resolved to stop punishing myself in this way. I could torment myself for weeks and years, but it still wouldn’t change what had happened.
And I know for sure this isn’t the legacy my beautiful and loving dog would have wished to leave me with.
Finally coming into my Higher Self, I recited the Ho’oponopono statements. “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.”
I just kept on telling my beautiful and precious (dog-)child over and over again how much I was grateful for her presence in my life, for all the many gifts she has given me.
I asked the gleaming full moon to clear both her karma and mine. I asked that this be done through this lifetime and all others; past, present, and future.
I told Pimo how much I loved her, and that that would never change.
I thanked her for continuing to be with me in Spirit.
I took comfort in the fact that if she is one with the Universe and so am I, then essentially we are one even though she is no longer a physical presence in my world.
I messaged a friend and spiritual teacher, Reba Linker , who I know has faced the passing of her own four-legged companions, asking if there was anything I should do to help ease Pimo’s passing. She wrote back to me with these words that continue to help me to frame this in a way that doesn’t make Pimo the victim and me the villain, or even both of us victims:
“The most important thing is self-forgiveness. There often are things we wish we had done differently and that is part of the experience. Self-forgiveness is what is needed and what is – absolutely – deserved. Things could not have been otherwise. All is as it is supposed to be. All is right. All is well.
Pimo left you in a way that felt right to her. Perhaps she did not need to experience, or perhaps she did not want to burden you with a more drawn-out decline of health.
She wants you to be happy, of course. She loves you, forever. And she is with you, always…
Mostly, take care of you. This just happened. It’s a shock, for sure. Be gentle with yourself.”
I have taken these wise and loving words to heart with gratitude. I have been gentle with myself. I have stopped my train of thought each time it heads towards and/or gets caught up in self-blame and recrimination. I have reframed the thought instead.
I have taken strength and comfort in my trust in the Universe’s divine plan. I have assuaged my pain with all that I know of the Universe’s perfect timing, and how everything in our lives is unfolding for our greatest and highest good.
I know that that includes for Pimo’s greatest and highest good.
She is a child of the Universe, too.
Doing this enabled me to stop fighting reality.
There is still a part of me that is in shock and pain, and wishes it didn’t have to be this way. But there is a greater part of me that trusts the Universe and all that has been revealed to me over the past few years.
That part of me tells me that everything is exactly as it should be. It reminds me to focus on all the things I’m grateful to Pimo for and the purity of the love we shared. When I do this I am able to be strong and feel cleansed inside. This is the lesson of self-forgiveness my friend spoke of. This is what I am here to learn: to love myself no matter what.
When I was feeling slightly calmer and more centered in my own energy again, I asked to be able to see the incident with the eyes of Spirit.
How much of it came from Spirit I can’t say for sure, but the next day after I had buried Pimo in my pottery teacher’s garden I came home and felt an urge to lay down where I had laid her the night before and where she so often slept. I was struck by the fact that all I could see were the brown speckled walls of my classroom and the clock ticking on the wall. It struck me that this wasn’t a place for a dog to live out her days or to draw her last breath. I wondered if she chose to go surrounded by beauty and nature. I wondered if she chose to go in such an abrupt and shocking way because she knew that otherwise I would find it too hard to let go.
One thing I am certain of is that she knew how much I loved her.
I am trying not to see her death as tragic. I am trying not to think of how I wanted to hold her to the end and help ease her passing, letting her know that she was loved and safe.
I am trying and succeeding in not letting this moment define me and my relationship with her. I know her life was richer for knowing me, as mine was for knowing her. That helps me not to condemn myself. That helps me not to get caught up in the story of how much I “failed” her.
I am remembering these often-repeated words:
“In the end all that matters is how much you have loved.”
I know that as a result of my relationship with Pimo I have known the beauty of love blossoming within my own heart. I am grateful for the unconditional nature of the love she gave me so abundantly in return.
I am remembering the many times I told her silently in my heart: “Pimo, you go when you are ready. You don’t need to hang on for me. As long as you want to remain here with me, I’ll treasure our time together. But you don’t need to stay beyond when you want to out of a sense of obligation. I love you dearly, but I’ll be okay.”
I’m hoping she chose what was best for her.
I’m certain that even though I couldn’t be with her, she knew in the moment of her passing how dearly she was loved.
I’m thankful for the time we had, and know that we share a bond that reaches beyond this lifetime.
Not only do I love Pimo, I also continue to love myself.
The self-recrimination resurfaces, comes and goes like a wave. But I love myself enough to know I did the best I could, mistakes in judgement notwithstanding.
I love myself no matter what my role in the incident may or may not have been.
I am choosing to actively demonstrate that love by giving myself the gift of self-forgiveness.
I am engulfing myself in love. Giving myself this gift of self-forgiveness as many times as needed, over and over again.
We have all done things that make us afflict ourself with self-blame and recrimination.
Guilt and the heaviness it encumbers us with is not what the Universe, (or our beloved ones who have passed before us), desire us to experience. It is time for us to put down that load; to release it and let it go.
I invite you to put down your burdens of guilt; engulf yourself in love.
Give yourself the gift of self-forgiveness. Wherever it is needed. Over and over again.