Tuesday, September 18, 2012

my teacher - my dog

Teddy is 13 years old, a yellow lab mix, and has been part of our lives since he was a puppy.

Now Teddy is growing old. He suffers from arthritis but medication is helping. He also goes through days where he is anxious and cannot settle. On those days he is, quite in spite of me, my greatest teacher! He paces and pants... and pushes furniture out of a path that only he can envision for hours. As I am the only one at home during the day, he paces around me, again and again, and again and again. At first I am compassionate and caring, but very soon I become less so and as my heart rate rises, and my stomach clenches, I start becoming... well, cranky!

Then I remember that, more so than even my children, he is also incredibly vulnerable and I am his main human. So he looks to me for help. Unfortunately, for me to offer him any healing energy or even calm, I need to learn patience and compassion in the face of incredibly annoying behavior! This is when he teaches me... he reminds me constantly that I have not reached a place where I can put aside my needs for quiet to recognize that, whether I can really help him or not, he needs me to be calm and compassionate. For although I might not be able to take away his anxiety, at least I'd better not be making it worse! That is my practice. Teddy is my teacher.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Are you being who you have become?

Am I being who I have become?

This question has been haunting me for a while. Not the thought that I haven't achieved what I set out to do years ago (although I'm quite capable of that!). Not the idea that I could have climbed higher on the corporate ladder by now. Not even the concept that I still don't have my dream house and garden yet.

In so many ways, my life is incredibly blessed. I have a wonderful family, healthy and active. I have a home I enjoy and friends to enjoy it with. I have work that I enjoy and colleagues that make Monday a reunion rather than a horror. And yet...

I wonder...

I wonder if I'm being who I have become over the years. I have changed, but I'm not sure that I'm living those changes fully. Life and its joys and challenges have changed me, strengthened me. They have also awoken in me a longing for something more. The visible representations of my dreams might be similar to what they were in the past, but somehow, there is a voice in me that is challenging me to take on something more... because I can... because I have changed and grown and am not fully being that new person...yet.

So my challenge to myself in 2012 is to be more fully who I have become, to be this stronger, more compassionate and more rooted person, to take on things that previously were too big and scary. To remind myself that I am now able to handle bigger and scarier things with grace and to open myself up to the world just a little bit more.

My challenge to us all then, is to fully face ourselves as we have become and to ask ourselves as we move through this year 2012: Am I being all of who I have become?