Choosing Perspective

perspectivecollageWhen I start a novel, I think a lot about point of view before I ever lay finger to keyboard. Should I write the story I want to tell in first person or in third person POV? Each has advantages and disadvantages. The breakout session is available at pretty much any writing conference.

I often make a choice to write it one way, then end up rewriting it the second way, which sucks and consumes about an extra year. The reason, though, is that perspective is key to the story, and it’s not always obvious which is the best perspective to choose. Which view does the story demand?

Such is the truth in life. We have to think about how we want to look at things.

Things happen. People we love die. Pets we love die. People we love suffer. We suffer. Markets go crazy for this reason or that. We worry if we’ll have enough…

Enough love. Enough life. Enough time. Enough friends. Enough house. Enough money. Enough.

We attended a funeral for one of my best friend’s from high school yesterday whose wife died recently. I had been disconnected from him for the past few years, but wanted to support him, and my mom read about her passing in the obits which (disturbingly) she reads daily.

She was 51. I’m 51. She grew up near Salinas. I was born in Salinas. Even though I didn’t know her very well, it was really the first time a peer so close in age went so quickly. I told my husband on the way to the service that my perspective on death is so different than most other people I know and it makes me stop and wonder why…how it got that way.

When someone dies, the first thing I feel is gratitude for any time I might have had with that person. Every person I meet (even the ones that bug me) are such a unique representation of Spirit that I feel I could spend hours in their back story, learning the nuances of who they are and what made them that way. The next feeling I have is excitement for them about their next experience. I suppose that comes from not believing that death is the end, or that a future is bound by this or that religious restriction. It’s my perspective. This POV is not one I sit around and convert other people to or demand is right at cocktail parties. It’s just how I see things.

The beautiful thing is everybody sees things differently. Let’s take religions. There are so many gems to be taken from the various traditions and to be enjoyed by all. In Thich Nat Han’s “Roots of Peace” documentary, he compares religions to fruits in the orchard and how we can enjoy all of them. The apple does not get jealous of tasting the mango or the banana. 

I’ve always believed that. I love the fact that each person can have such different experience, such different perspective, and that we can share with each other what those are. I believe how each person reacts to that exchange really colors the life they will lead.

Let’s take the weather. It’s changing now, the hot days of summer giving way to Autumn. People complain all summer long about the heat, but I guarantee you in no time someone will say, “I’m ready for summer” especially if it starts to rain for more than two days in a row. But it really is always perfect, if you adjust your perspective. It depends on you.

This past weekend, my husband and I took our new puppy to a Redding landmark (the Sundial Bridge) which is really the center of many controversial perspectives. The reason for that is it cost a bunch of money in a town that isn’t rolling in the dough and though funded by private foundations, was thought to be a waste. Perspective number one.

But as we walked our 4 month old little guy across the breathtaking Sacramento River, watching the geese float down and fly over early morning fishing boats as they scaled the river for salmon…as we stopped and talked to friendly locals and out-of-towners alike, bonding over our love of just taking a simple walk with a pet and soaking up the shifting clouds…working our way down the hill to the river’s edge and watching our pup frolic in the cold Sacramento…and wandering through the paths of plants and trees to the Children’s Garden…

I thought, This is such a good reason to come to Earth. Just to soak up these simple, perfect moments. And then, How easy it is to miss these moments, communing with nature and life, because we’re so busy doing this or that or the other not as important thing or worrying about what was or what is to come…

We walked up a path to a water feature and watched Kai just soak up the moment. We laughed at his ability to play and just be present From his perspective, nothing was better than that moment. There was no market crashing in China, no novel to finish and sell, no house to cleanfountain, or bill to pay, or plan to re-evaluate, or future to worry about, or funeral to think about, or religion –anything. From his perspective, it was all about the feel of the froth on his tongue and cold water on his belly. That’s all that mattered.

We can learn so much from our pets if we just listen.

Posted in animals, conscious living, healthy living, Inspiration, pets, therapy dogs, water, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Collaboration, Consensus and Connection

Circle HandsEach child is so unique, so precious. My youngest boy (nearly an adult at this point) is a post-modern leader. He, like Nelson Mandela, leads from behind. He’s all about consensus and the group. He has never been the kid that needs to hog the basketball and make the most points at the soccer goal. There’s a place for those leader types, but that’s not the type of leader he is. It’s a very post-modern/ancient stance.

Because in the West we value the aggressive, take charge kind of leaders–a holdover from pioneering days, no doubt– sometimes his skills go unnoticed in the small rural town where we live that still adheres to Friday Night Light Football. However, there is no single doubt in my mind that he will go on to bring groups of people together to do great things. That’s because I see his unique position in the universe, his gifts to both lead and follow, in an evolutionary kind of way.

That, in fact, has been the theme of my week. Working together and relationship. I see so many groups of people make such slow progress because of two very predictable things: their inability to get along and the lack of passion (compassion) to an overall purpose which serves not just themselves, but all of humanity. They want to be the heroes in the kingdoms they choose–to score all the baskets–because that is what makes them feel best about themselves in their world. They feel they help their team and their egos all at once.

I find this annoying. Yet the truth is, there’s a place for all types of leadership, even the ones I feel are rooted in ego. Because of that, I have made a decision to see the God behind each person unconditionally. I mean everybody. And that’s not always easy to do because some people are just plain obnoxious and mean, and their motives are not always pure.

So what I do is ask myself this question: if I was this child’s mother, what would I see in that child that I loved?  What do I see in this person as a strength that I would want to nurture to make that child the best they could be?

That brings me to this week. Our culture often does this “other” thing with children who have mental health challenges. They act as if their own children shouldn’t play with a child who has mental health issues or they may catch it. They stigmatize the child which makes the problem worse. In reality, all of us have experienced emotions, that had they extended past the current DSM measurement, could be considered mental illness. When this happens to children, and there is no net there to catch them, we have wasted an opportunity to direct another change agent.

Yet many places are doing this right. They believe in (alas, invest in) prevention and early intervention (PEI) of mental illness, getting in right at the beginning signs. Someone explained to me this week that in California PEI  falls at the bottom of the funding pyramid. By the time we get down through the funds for crisis situations there’s very little funding left.

But, California, wasn’t that what the whole Prop 63 (aka Millionaire’s Tax aka MHSA funds) thing? Hundreds of millions of dollars were to be allotted to prevention and early intervention in children and adults, were they not? It seems to me, having sat in a few of these meetings and leaving completely frustrated, that these monies are being taken over by mental health agencies and not being used in the way they were intended by Darrell Steinberg when he wrote the initiative. Am I right, Mr. Steinberg?

I KNOW there are solutions that would work. Let’s take peer mentoring programs. Children with mental health issues have a tremendous difficulty making true friends and developing solid, stable, healthy relationships. Mentoring programs are evidence-based in reading and social development. Why not have the great mental health advocacy groups joint venture to develop strong mentoring programs where children on both sides would benefit? The mentor would develop compassion and understanding, while the mentee would get a taste of what healthy friendship in somebody close to their age range looks like.

It will take collaborative leaders (and world views) like my youngest son. It will take team work without ball hogs out to stroke their egos. We’re moving in this direction in our collective consciousness. I see it in the kids, and it gives me hope.

 

Posted in co-creating, conscious living, early onset bipolar disorder, healthy living, hope, mental health, mental health and children, mentoring, parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Getting off the Red Chair

FullSizeRender (1)It’s nice and cozy in the familiar. I like it there. My favorite familiar is my big, overstuffed dark red chair and my laptop in my office.  When I plan my weeks, I’m very careful to squeeze out as much chair time as possible. I’m selective about coffee dates, phone calls, and social calls. As I near the completion of my second novel, my word count directly correlates to my chair time which makes time there all the more valuable to me.

In fact, it’d be easy just to stay in my big red chair and not go anywhere. I get lost in that spot and in the stories in my imagination. It’s where I’m most relaxed.

But the familiar is not necessarily where we grow. It’s the unfamiliar–the new, the never done–that creates the tension necessary for evolution.  And these are the things that make us anxious and butterfly-y. (That should be a word if it’s not.) When things make us anxious, it’s easy to pull back and release the tension by avoiding the unfamiliar landscape instead of exploring new lands with humans in them as we are meant to do. It’s easy to quickly fall back in the big, red chair.

I totally get it. In fact, I have the dialogue with myself constantly. Yet, when I do the new thing I’m prompted to do, the resources always line up and I find myself witnessing a line of synchronicities that prove how magical life is. I grow.

A few of these new things are going down for me over the next few weeks. One of those is the Parent Cafes I’m hosting with my friend Marcia for United Advocates for Families and Children. Since there’s no money to spend, I’ve been going out wrestling (and I do mean wrestling) donations in a town where many of the vendors are donationed out. I have to follow up 4, 5, 6 times in some cases.

“Me, again. Not here? Okay, can I leave a number?” That’s my line.

It’s tiring.  But we want to put on a nice evening for parents to bond, brainstorm and feel supported–a respite from the confusion of parenting a child with mental health challenges–and you can’t really have a “cafe” without food, right? (I mean, I could, but I’m talking about the rest of the world.)

Getting the grub, laying out the evening, coordinating around two schedules, wondering if we will connect with the people who really need this–all this pulls the tension. Not on a huge scale, mind you, but on a scale strong enough that I feel myself squiggling outside my comfort zone.

I keep thinking, I’ve got to do this every month?! 

That’s when the love/hate thing happens. It’s like going to the gym. It’s hard to get yourself there sometimes, and it hurts to work hard, but nobody ever leaves the gym feeling worse. On the contrary, they feel empowered…stronger. We know that we are co-creating the world that we live in and it is up to us to be an equal partner in that creation. To work our muscles.

Where is your big, red comfy chair? More importantly, where do you need to get out of it and go?

 

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The River

kayak2We’re all just walking each other home.  Ram Dass

…or maybe we’re kayaking…?

I had a dream last week about a river. This is how I would describe it to my dream group.

The River

River winds through a lush green valley. He is wide, and green and beautiful. Lush foliage licks his sides. The sun can hardly compete with the canopy of green. But where it shines through, I see bright, powder blue fading into Indigo shades. River sparkles. I watch it flow. There is no doing in this moment. Only watching, being, feeling the connection of all of it. 

I italicized that for a reason. Even though I’m a Westerner, and know I’m surrounded by so many who don’t value the dream’s place in the world as I do, every ounce of me knows dreams hold vast information that can upgrade our experience individually and communally. I love being around those who know this because the work becomes deeper and does not rest in the cold water of the surface. There’s no getting used to the conversation or funny looks that go along with it. I can immediately drop down into making connections about what matters, what can be helpful.

This is not to say the dream needs to be defined any more than a dip in the ocean needs to be defined. But just as when I swim in the ocean I feel the connection to all that is, rocked to and fro by Gaia herself, I feel this with dreams.

Still, over the years, I’ve developed a dictionary of symbols in my head. They are my own and can’t be found in the back of a dream book. Rivers, for me, are life. Green rivers are paths to grow by. We travel down the river and we can choose to flow or to swim upstream. People join us and they fall off. Sometimes it’s messy and sometimes it’s beautiful. But most of all, it just is.

I think that’s why I like dreams so much. They aren’t filled with bullet points and lists. Hell, I don’t even know if I have clothes on in my dreams. I’m always looking out, not examining my physical being. In waking life, there is so much focus on that, but in dream life, it’s all just taken care of. No laundry. No picking outfits. No meal planning. It just is.

As the Dalai Lama says, “Sleep is the best meditation.”

And dreaming, then, the purest form of visualization. The beauty is in the noticing of details, of listening to the sounds, of integrating all these into the day time. How peaceful life would be if we could just sit and watch the river.

Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination when awake? Leonardo da Vinci

 

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Seeking Solutions

rainbowI had a conversation last week with a consultant who worked in Los Angeles Department of Mental Health for 36 years overseeing children’s mental health services. He’s seen many changes. The most profound, perhaps, is the amount of money available now vs. then in the 80s when it wasn’t believed children could have mental health issues.

People often ask me whether they think too many kids are being diagnosed with this and that, or if we are just learning more about the brain and are not sticking our heads in the sand as was our legacy from the 50s. My experience has been that families struggle to get a diagnosis, and that it can take years to get a correct one. In my 20 years of interfacing with stories involving the mental health system I’ve never heard a parent/grandparent/caretaker say, “Wow they rushed in on that diagnosis.”

Nope. Never.

But outside that controversy, we can probably all agree on one thing: as a community, we are ill-prepared to deal with the amount of children and teens (counting transitional youth, or TAY as they’re known in agency circles) that are suicidal, depressed, or spinning out in some way that is destructive to them, their families, and their communities. This is true across the country, world, and in both urban and rural areas. However, rural areas have their own set of challenges, and I have seen those in Shasta County.

First, there are agencies like Department of Mental Health. I’ve never interfaced with this department personally, but I’ve heard stories. My sense is–and I have no first hand knowledge–that the agency works for those patients who qualify at a certain economic level. In classes I’ve taught, I’ve heard foster parents talk about wrap-around services for the foster kids. I’ve heard people who qualify for Medi-cal talk about services for their kids. But I don’t hear or see too many solutions for the kids on the edge who are still living with their original families, and whose families make too much money to qualify for services, but not enough to fund all the help they need.

For these children, not only are they prevented from services to help their families and themselves on the agency side, but they also struggle to find help in the private sector. Even if they have insurance and can pay the high fees/co-pays for psychology professionals, finding them is a near impossibility in rural areas. Mental illness is not a poor people disease. It is an equal opportunity disabler.

This has been a frustration of mine over the past few years. I hear the parents of children/teens/TAY talk about how they’d like to help their kids (and they know something is wrong), but had no idea where to turn and find their loved ones in prison/dead/run away. Tragic endings where there didn’t need to be.

But this week I saw a rainbow in this cloudy conundrum. Following my conversation with this previous employee of DMHLA, I felt inspired and hopeful. He has been a consultant on a program that USC has been piloting using the Telemed idea of Skyping with patients. They have joined forces with LA County and are on the final stages of joining with United Advocates for Children and Families to set up shop in Monterey County. The families have access to care several times a week via computer and high speed internet. If that is not a resource they have at home, a “suite” is set up near the home that they can use. It is my dream that all levels of income can activate this system at some point.

Why? Because the results have been outstanding. In fact, 75% of families say this has worked as well or better than in person meetings. Some reasons are they don’t have to take their mentally ill child (who have been known to try and jump out of moving cars in an episode) to an appointment. The child’s more apt to show their true colors in their own atmosphere. Additionally, more people can be seen by multiple therapists through this system instead of just having one per county with a list so long there is no possible way kids can be seen.

Early intervention with children is key. Procrastination (either by family or professional services) can cause irrevocable brain damage and emotional trauma. This Telemed system just might be one answer to how we avoid losing kids while we fix our broken mental health system.

I’m inspired.

Posted in bipolar disorder, co-creating, conscious living, early onset bipolar disorder, healthy living, Inspiration, mental health, mental health and children | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Here Now

kai14wks2

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”
Ram Dass

This has been a funny summer. I think it’s because of this guy over here to the left.

Today Kai is 14 weeks. He looks like he’s about 2 years old. Watching him go from fitting in the palm of Mike’s hand to being too heavy to pick up in such a short period of time has really fine-tuned my perspective about time, life in general, and being in the moment.

You always hear people allude to this. Where did the time go? Seems like just yesterday. You blink and it’s gone. Where was I? Nothing like a fast-growing puppy to blow that up in a size 72 font.

Because we feel like the 8 week to 20 week window is the most important determining factor of the dog you will have for many years to come, the summer has been filled with 5:15 a.m. training episodes (don’t ask), weekly handling class, twice weekly puppy obedience class, multiple trips out to places where different kinds of people roam (Home Depot, PetSmart, the mechanic, the hairstylist, the grocery store…you name it), swim class, organized play dates with different breeds of dogs, reading The Monks of New Skete and training handouts, buying abnormal amounts of treats, learning about weird things like beef tripe, getting lots of blood marks from sharp puppy teeth (enter “OFF” and the water bottle) and so on. All this, mind you, while not catching Parvo which our vet tells us is chronic in the North State.

So how exactly does this work? It’s not healthy for the puppy to be in isolation during his key socialization windows, but if you take them out, they could get Parvo and die. However, if they don’t get Parvo and die, and you don’t take them out and socialize them, they can easily become neurotic, interact poorly with other animals and people, and not be as happy and well adjusted as you may hope. This has been a key fulcrum in balancing our summer.

What this has meant is that Mike and I have had to break up swim meets for our competitive swimming teen. This is weird and different because we have all been going together since 4th grade and he’s going into his junior year of high school. Somebody goes and somebody stays home. The person who stays home goes through withdrawals. That’s been me for the first 2.5 meets of the summer. Last weekend was finally my weekend to go watch my son swim.

We hightailed it up to Weaverville where I’d rented a great place 15 miles out in Lewiston on Airbnb. We were going to take Kai originally until our vet said she’d rather us not have his little pre-vaccinated paws out walking around and he’s way too big to carry.  One more time for the divide and conquer.

As we are driving there, my son gets a freaked out look on his face.

“I can’t stay out here, Mom. I only have one bar.” This as we pass through beautiful forest brimming with towering pines and interspersed with green meadows.

“That’s fine. You can find someone to camp with and stay at the pool.”

“K.”

It was settled. He would sleep on the ground and I would sleep in one of the three cushy beds.

So after the day’s races and following activities, I retired to my large 3 bedroom place in the woods, under star-blanketed skies. Nobody was around and the air was still and peaceful. The house looked out over a meadow on one side and up into a forest on the other. I could lay on this one bed that said DREAM on it and look out a high window straight into the trees. After the constant vigilance of having a puppy in training, just being able to lay still in silence and watch the trees was complete luxury.

I never touched any of the TVs. I got more sleep those two nights than I’ve had any night this summer. I had fantastic dreams (about dogs!) And I sunk into each moment, appreciating the fullness of both the puppy reality and the swim meet weekend reality.

As the weekend went by, and we returned to the routine of early morning trainings and liver treats, I brought back the thought that all these moments are precious gifts of the present for which I’m so grateful. Sometimes breaking our patterns is just what we need to be present and remember how special each moment really is.

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Mind the Step

stairsMy mind’s like a bad neighborhood. I don’t like to go there alone. Annie Lamott

If you’ve ever tried to sit and meditate, you know what she means. I talk to so many people who say as soon as they sit to be quiet, their minds go wonky with talk bubbles popping up from The Committee. This happens to me, too.

I use different strategies to settle that down. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. One strategy is to picture a glass of murky, sand-swirled water. I watch as the sand settles on the bottom of a glass and the water becomes clear. I hope my mind gets the metaphor. Most simply, I repeat “in” and breathe in, and “out” while I breathe out until the mind chatter slows.

You hear through ever-increasing portals that meditation can change your life. I agree. It can make your brain bigger, say the scientists. It can increase attention, decrease tension, make you live longer, do your laundry. (Just seeing if your tracking.) And now I’m seeing it paired up as a dance partner to the Mindfulness Movement.

The interesting thing is that in the West we don’t know much about the mind. We throw the term “mindful” around, but there’s not much education on that mind. (I mean did you ever have a class in “What is the Mind?” I know I didn’t.)  I watched a documentary this week called “Spiritual Revolution” which reports some startling facts about our mind knowledge. They speak about how only in recent years has the medical community began to study the brain, and more importantly, the mind. Dr. Daniel Siegel, a professor at UCLA Medical School and Director of Mindsight Institute, teaches over 60,000 mental health practitioners. He has recently began asking these two questions at seminars.

  1. How many of you have ever had a seminar defining the mind?
  2. How many of you have had a single seminar defining mental health?

To the first question, only 2 – 5% of mental health professionals raise their hands. To the second question, only 3 – 5%. That means over 95% of mental health professionals HAVE NEVER had a single seminar defining the mind or mental health.

I find this mind-boggling.

These are the professionals we look to most carefully for answers on these topics in the West. The truth, it seems, is they don’t have the information either.  Other parts of the world look to other philosophies to understand the ways of the mind. For example, the documentary goes on to look at Buddha as the original psychotherapist. His search was for happiness, alleviation of suffering, and ultimate well-being. He was the ultimate “mindfulness” guy.

Today, we see the term “mindful” and variations thereof everywhere. There are mindful snacks, there is mindful eating, there are mindfulness seminars, there are even mindful schools for kids and teens such as Innerkids in Los Angeles that teach kids how to settle themselves in an unsettling world. “Mindfulness” is used widely and hails from Behaviorist Theory. But what exactly is it and where do you get it, this mindfulness medicine?

In my own experience, the best place to understand mindfulness is in my own silence and meditation. I think this because if I am not doing those things daily, my mind is not as present and focused the rest of the hours I’m awake. I can not listen as well on all levels (sometimes any level) to other people.  I lose things easier. I find myself less grateful for the small things that I notice when I’m more balanced and mindful. It’s a key step in what feels to me like mindful being.

When facing a stair, our English friends tell us to Mind the Step. There’s a connection there. By paying attention, and being mind-full, we can get to where we’re going in a better way without falling on our faces.

 

 

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E-Motion

DSCN2361All my life I’ve been told I’m too sensitive. I’ve also been told I’m clairsentient, psychic, and an empath. When I walk in a room, I feel the emotions of each person. I can see what they are carrying internally and often what lights them up. I have always seen my role on this planet to lighten the heavy part by inspiring and highlighting the bliss part of human souls.

It took me many years (like 50) to be able to regulate this. It is important to regulate for both others and for me. For others, it becomes an ethical issue. Not everybody wants another person looking into their very personal emotions. For me, it becomes an issue of preservation as it’s exhausting to feel the gamut of emotions (pain, sorrow, joy, fear, anger) that people feel and feel a strong impulse to regulate that. It’s hard enough handling my own.

This is something I’ve never shared publicly. I’m a very spiritual (and not at all religious) person, but my relationship with the Source/God/Spirit is so magnificent and so ever present that I can’t really keep it to myself anymore. As I move into my third year of metaphysical studies, and at increasing depth through spiritual practitioner program this Fall, I have learned to modulate my sensitivity without using food, alcohol, or distraction to regulate my emotions…to start to look into my subconscious mind and unravel some of the not-so helpful programs that live there.

I’ve come to realize–and feel so much gratitude for–my emotional steering committee that helps me to experience life in the fullest and live out my purpose on this planet which is to lift up and inspire others. In order to do this best, I need to isolate in meditation, spiritual studies, and writing. I seek that balance with all the other life callings on a daily basis. Sometimes things (like a new puppy, for example) throw that balance out of whack and it is my responsibility to reclaim it.

In that reclaiming process, my husband and I were grateful to have a date night on Saturday. We have done that weekly for 17 years and when we miss a few, we really notice. When our friend offered to stay with Kai so we could do our regular movie and dinner, I felt elated and supported. (And, probably we didn’t really need to check in on him remotely through our phone video, but we did anyway.)

We went to see “Inside Out,” an animated film so cleverly crafted and told from the point of view of the emotions themselves. It also delved into memories and how they are affected by various emotions, how they are stored in long term, short term, and subconscious places, and how they all should be experienced in their right time.

It gave me an increased compassion and gratitude for my own set of emotions, and how each has such a vital role in keeping us moving forward, ever evolving. I spent some time just thanking them for giving me the sensitivity that, while it sometimes causes me great pain at times, allows me to help others in a way I wouldn’t be able to otherwise. And the flip side is that when I look at a rose in bloom, my heart opens in a moment of bliss that blocks out anything and everything else in the world as I take in the incredible sensations of that moment and this world of never-ending abundance and beauty.

That’s what I’m talking about. It. (Not a typo. Just something my youngest son used to say that makes me smile.)

 

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Firsts

surferI’ve been thinking a lot about firsts lately. When I was a young teen, firsts revolved around kisses and “I love yous.” As a half-way through adult, I see firsts everywhere. (I was going to say half-cooked adult, but that made me sound a little like I was leaning too heavily on the sauce so I didn’t).

I see firsts through the eyes of my kids. First time joining a board as an almost 30-something in academia; first time flying on a plane alone as a teen; first time buying a king bed on his own; first time falling in love…

I see it through my new 11-week-old pup who I think we should have named “Tank” due to his 24 lb. physique. Absolute fascination with his first ice cube which he skittered all over the floor with glee; his first dive in the pool; his first bee sting.

And I see it in the community, the country. The first time one of my health coach clients realizes the power they have to get themselves healthy. The first time gay marriage is legal in 50 states. The first time certain local mountain towns hit 117 degrees. I marvel at it all.

And that’s because firsts make us keenly aware of the moment we’re in. Whether we like the thing that transpires or not, the Universe cries out for our attention. It reminds me of the name game with my new pup. “Kai!” and his head (ideally) snaps in my direction. That’s what the Universe does. It says our name enthusiastically, with cheese on top, so that we snap our head in its direction. Always. In the hills and the valleys. And it says, “Yes!!”

Look at all that I am. Look at the gazillions of blades of grass in one square foot. Look at the grains of sand in one square inch. Look at the leaves on the trees, the birds in the sky, my special sound and light effects with thunder and lightning during a summer storm. Look at all of it here, abundant and available.

It’s everywhere, not just when we’re traveling to an exotic bungalow in Bora Bora (though admittedly those definitely make it easy!)  But it’s just as present and available when we’re sitting in our own space with our own spirit listening to the silence. Not checking our phone, not making a list of what’s to come, not thinking about what we’re lacking, but just sitting and thinking, “Wow. Just wow.”

We get so busy thinking about what came before and after, we miss the present. Firsts are here to remind us to stop that.

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Through Kai’s Eyes

cat4My people call me Kai after a place they like in Hawaii. It’s called Kailua Kona. They say they’re going to live there one day. I hope I get to go. (Today I got my own Instagram account at Kai Weil if you want to watch me grow. It’s going to be good.)

I’ve lived with my new people for 8 days now. It’s quite different than my other family. For one thing, they don’t like it when I bite them. The weird thing is my other family loved that. As soon as our teeth started coming in, we celebrated by nipping each other’s ears and legs. It was great fun.  But when I nip at my new family members, they yell “OUCH!” really loud and stop playing with me. It’s confusing, but I think I get it. It’s because they don’t have hair like me except for the stuff that hangs down when they play with me. (They don’t like it when you bite that either. So many rules.)

One thing they have here at my new place that rocks: these little chewy nubbins they call Nylabones. They taste delicious. I can hold them between my paws and gnaw away. It feels so good on my teeth. Sometimes I miss the bone and get the stuff below it which is kind of fun to pull on because it tugs back. Then the people say, “NOT THE CARPET” and I look at them to understand because I want to understand. I want them to like me. I go back to my bone because they seem to like that.

“Goooood boy,” they say. Phew. Yes, bone. No, carpet. Check.

I live inside here. I like it because it’s cool and we have DogTV and toys and people to play with, but I get preoccupied and pee which they don’t like at all.  They yell, “NOT THE CARPET!” They really like the carpet. I hope they like me that much, too.

I’m trying to win them over by doing some things they like. I’m very clever so I’ve figured those out. They do so like it when I go to the place they call my “special spot” and they get REALLY excited when I run there and go on my own. But did I mention it’s really hot out there? Today is 112. (I know that because they keep saying it.) To cool off, I jump in my pool and grab my toy. If I bring it to them, they get really excited. They also really like it when I sit or run towards them with my whole butt wiggling.

Back to the list of “don’ts.”

    • Don’t potty inside
    • Don’t bite the people (as already mentioned, but it’s a biggy)
    • Don’t eat the furniture, or the walls, or the carpet (any of the good stuff, really)
    • Don’t go hide behind things where you can’t be seen (can’t a guy get a little privacy?)
    • Don’t go in the mud
    • Don’t dig big holes in the yard (this one’s a real drag, ’cause I love me some diggin’)
    • Don’t yipe…for any reason really
      kaiinmud
    • Don’t dig in the fire pit and make all the ash go up in a big cloud of gray until you look prematurely aged (That was crazy! I couldn’t see anything!)

This is just a starter list. More comes up and I’m trying to learn it all. But it’s tough to remember. I’m doing it, though, because I get perks like these.

  • A family who loves me
  • I get to meet new friends like these pretty ladies
  • I get to swim in my pool, which I adore
  • I get to go “training” and learn sit, stand, stack, leave it (not my fave), here and then they say, “Goooood boy.” (After I get to play with my cousins and bite which I do so enjoy.)
  • Best of all, I get to make my family so happy and bring them joy.remi

crista2

swim3

Mom says I’m going to be a “therapy” dog. I don’t know what that means exactly, but I think it’s going to be fun. Mom says it’s perfect because my name means “restoration” and “recovery” in Hawaiian. It also means ocean and she says we get to go see that at a place called Dog Beach in Santa Cruz. She says I’m gonna love it there.

I can’t wait for all our adventures. I’m going to be the bestest boy. I’m so happy I’m home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in animals, conscious living, healthy living, Inspiration, pets, therapy dogs | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments