Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Samhain Thoughts

A Blessed Samhain to you my friends!

It's the end of the Harvest...the beginning of a New Year. As I look back on the last year, it wasn't quite what I expected!! My path curved a little bit and I had some big challenges with my emotional and physical health...but today I am excited. I'm excited for what the next year will bring! I have great goals in mind, great ideas and lots of motivation. I'm also a little bit wiser. :)

One thing that stood out over the last year was that I put my own happiness aside for others. It's a slippery slope to fall into that trap. You may think you're being a good person, generous, empathetic...but when it starts to affect your own happiness, then there is a problem. This year I'm putting myself first. I have a clear vision of my path to happiness and it revolves around my home and family.

My biggest goal over the next 12 months is to buy a home. Having a cozy Hygge home, filled with love and comfort, Alex, the dogs and cats...that is all I need. That's my happy place and I'm focused on it. 

I know that this isn't the traditional new year for most folks out there, but do you have any goals you want to reach over the next 12 months?

Sunday, October 21, 2018


Pavlov and his mom Stella

Hi Friends,

I have been feeling nostalgic lately. It's been just over a year now since Stella and Pavlov were "dumped" on us for nine months.

For those who don't know, we have three dogs and three cats. We had a friend whose father passed away and the morning of September 23rd 2017, he called us. He told us he had to immediately fly overseas for the funeral, and asked us to take care of his two dogs, Stella and Pavlov, for a weekend. Of course we complied, we love those dogs and he was a good friend. We got into the car and drove the 4 hour round trip to the city to pick them up.

A weekend turned into a week, then two weeks, then the possibility that he was never coming to get them...then it was January...then back to not coming back...then March...gosh it was an exhausting emotional rollercoaster not knowing what the heck was going on!

Last winter was very tough. Caring for 8 pets in our cottage rental was a challenge. It was a lot of work, personal hobbies were put on the back burner, stress and anxiety was a way of life. A few times they both had to go to the vet. Though our friend did regularly pay us for their food and any vet bills, it didn't seem like enough compensation for all of the time we were putting in. 

Shoes were chewed up, our couches were destroyed, fights between the two alpha girls, the cats were freaked out, lots of laundry, cleaning, grooming, walking and poop-scooping. But on the bright side, there was SO MUCH LOVE in our home! Basically our time was consumed with pet care but...other aspects of our lives were neglected.

The five dogs obeying for cheese! Marlene, Charlie and Jack. Behind them are Pavlov and Stella.
In April of 2018, our friend told us he'd be back in August to pick them up because he wanted to make a vacation out of it. Really? A vacation...NO WAY. We'd been hearing excuse after excuse since September and we were finally fed up. Our patience and empathy were exhausted. At that point, our little hound dog Jack had gone through a rough winter with injury and illness and I really thought I was going to lose my mind if that guy didn't come pick up his dogs. We loved them too much to put them in a shelter and we couldn't imagine if we were in a position where we may have to keep them. Anyway, he got the angry ultimatum from us; and in mid-May, he flew back to pick up his dogs and bring them home with him.

It was an awkward visit and didn't last more than an hour. It was hard saying goodbye to the dogs! We've only talked to this guy a few times since then, and the dogs are doing just fine. I miss them!

Every time I see a photo of those two dogs, it brings a little tear to my eye. I really bonded with them - especially Pavlov - he became a "mommy's boy" just like Jack. Those two boys never left my side. They were so sweet...

Without getting into detail, there was a history of this guy shuffling Pavlov and Stella off all the time to suit his own whims. In fact, in the summer of 2017, we took Pavlov in for 6 weeks while he was looking for a new apartment. He gave Stella to someone else. The poor dogs were separated/abandoned so often that they were severely anxious and lacked confidence. This contributed to the empathy we felt for them and the reason why we allowed them to stay so long.

Near the end of their stay, all eight pets were getting along and things were getting smoother - which made it all the more difficult to say goodbye.

The feelings of resentment, distrust, betrayal and disappointment that I felt for a long time had to be dealt with too. This guy was oblivious to what he was putting us through. I often felt guilt for my resentment because I was confused, I mixed up my feelings of missing those two sweet dogs with the bitterness I felt for their owner. To be brutally honest, the only word I can think of to describe what I was going through was a mind-f*ck...(sorry for the bad language, but it describes it perfectly!)

When I suffer anxiety, my "eating system" fails. I have trouble swallowing food, if I can swallow the food, it often gets stuck at the base of my esophagus and I either have to wait it out painfully or try to bring it back up. It's traumatic. I have digestive issues and often lose my appetite. This problem I've had my whole life but it comes and goes depending on how much stress I'm dealing with. 

Well, it came back right before Christmas of last year and just recently eased up about a month ago. Despite the fact that I tried really hard to work through my feelings, they lingered for nearly a year.

Alex and I have built ourselves a nice, cozy, comfortable life together. When we got stuck with two extra dogs, it threw us for a huge loop, but we tried our best to deal with it.

I don't purposely hold on to pain and anger because I know the damaging effects of it. But my mind and my emotions seemed to be on a slower schedule.

How do you deal with pain and anger? If someone wrongs you or "dupes" you, how long does it take you to get over it completely? Do you have physical or mental side effects?

I spent the summer in the garden and outside enjoying Nature to try to heal myself further. I journaled a lot. I meditated, did breathing exercises and yoga; and read a lot about healing and forgiving. I didn't put any pressure on myself to write blog posts or join painting challenges, or even plan dinners the way I used to. I just couldn't do it. It's weird because I had an underlying exhaustion and depression that I hadn't felt since the early 2000's when I was going through a burnout. 

I'm doing a lot better lately though. I feel like my old self again. I live by routine. I'm able to manage anxiety and depression (mostly) through natural methods. But when I'm thrown for a loop, my gosh, I feel so out of control! If it's something like...the car needs a repair, or I get an unexpected bill, or I hurt myself or pull a muscle...or suffer a migraine...I have no issue finding a way to deal with it and manage life successfully. But when another human is gosh that hits me to the core. If the loud weekenders are especially annoying, it throws me off my routine. When I go grocery shopping, I'm useless for a few days afterwards. I need to recover and rest and restore myself anytime I'm anywhere near people. Funny huh? So when someone I trust wrongs me the way that guy did...I feel like I can never get over it. Of course, I can eventually, but it's a long healing process for me.

At the beginning of the summer, I wrote this Tarot spread, that I did often, to help me get past my healing block:

I think my inability to cope with human-related life stressors contributes to my desire to live life as a hermit, to live more isolated. Alex is the same as I am and I guess that's why our relationship works so well. We are safe with each other, and very content too. We both enjoy and value our online friendships, blogs and a little social media, but that's about it. Truth be told, if we didn't have to interact with society in person ever again, I think we'd be okay. I used to feel wrong about this. You know how it is...we are brainwashed into the belief that we MUST be a part of society in order to be healthy. Well, for us, it's just the opposite!! And I'm really okay with that.

Don't fix it if it ain't broke right? :) We tried to do a good thing for those dogs and we don't regret it at all. Would we do it again? I doubt it. But as Ijeoma Umebinyuo says about the Three Routes To must learn from the pain. Because after all, anger, resentment, feeling betrayed...all stem from pain you are feeling and cannot seem to resolve. I think once you're able to get to the route of the pain, it starts the healing process. Otherwise you are just putting a band-aid on the situation by avoiding it or not delving deep enough into the issue. But you know...pain has an terrible way of popping up in your life in other ways - usually as illness. Have you found a good way to heal from the pain/trauma that you've suffered in life?