Tag: Connection

Searching For a Miracle and A Dog Named Dug

With all due respect to dogs, I’m totally a cat lady. I love cats. I can’t help it, I feel connected to them. But I also have quite a soft spot for most all animals. Both wise and helpful to their humans, animals are special.

And they’re also somewhat dependent on us. Which is why I kicked into gear for a dog named Dug. Dug, a black Labrador retriever, is our neighbor. We don’t know him, or his human family. But last week, that didn’t matter.

I was just getting ready to leave when I thought a bomb went off in my front yard. BOOM – car alarms blaring – people screaming. I have never heard that sequence of sounds in real life, and didn’t know what was happening beyond noticing a speeding parade of first responders appearing out of nowhere, zooming down my street.

We live inches from Boston’s city line, although inside a woodsy oasis of urban conservation land. It’s still the city, where scary things we try to ignore happen every day. But bombs going off? I was nervous, I couldn’t see beyond our tree-lined property and wondered if the BOOM came from the small private college across the street.

In spite of searching for any breaking news, it took hours before we learned what happened. An 18-wheeler had taken out a car, throwing both its driver and a dog into the road. Although the hit shredded the car, the driver was miraculously ok. The ambulance took her to the hospital, but the dog…where was Dug?

Neighbors, the police, animal rescue – we all searched for a dog we didn’t know, dredging through the muddy woods running alongside the busy road, batting away mosquitoes, removing brush and woodsy debris along the way. But nothing.

Was he injured? Dead? Lost? They said it would be a miracle if he had survived. My heart was breaking.

So I dug deep and tried to conjure up my best psychic abilities. We’ve all got intuition – surely I could locate Dug. I tried, without success, until dusk. So I gave my phone number to the police and neighbors, and tried to let it go. If only I could.

After dinner I stepped outside to shake out my kitchen rug, and that’s when I heard it – barking, loud, big-dog barking coming from the woods behind our house. Sir Husband quickly ran into the woods with our neighbor. The two of them called and called, hoping it was Dug.

As I stood at the edge of the woods trying hard to wait, my cell phone rang.

“We have Dug! He just came home,” said the unknown woman from the accident. “I don’t know how he got here but your search must have somehow directed him home, and he seems just fine. Thank you so much, thank you.”

I’d say maybe that was a miracle.

Everything is connected. Everything.

 

 

 

 

Fresh Start In A Familiar Place and Hopefully Familiar Faces

bdayA long time ago I ran away from my life when I could not take one more second of Mr. Ex’s absurd gambling addiction. His personal turmoil left our whole family in a shredded heap on the floor. It was ugly. I needed safety, sanity and peace for myself and my children.

When I left to set up in another state with my high school best friend and soul partner, I also left people who mattered to me back home. All the people I was close to – friends who were like family, neighbors who were friends, everyone in my personal orbit from my handyman and car repair guy to hair stylist, even milkman.

IMG_2019It was hard. And despite my situational amnesia brought on by the trauma and drama, I never forgot one of them. But they seemed to quickly forget me.

It’s not uncommon when people are going through personal difficulties for those around them to distance themselves. Humans can only take so much before they turn away from strife and turmoil.

IMG_1464But let’s back up – when we are going through crazy times, we can also change, sometimes drastically. Our temperament, vibe, even personality can morph into an unrecognizable state. So I don’t blame those who disconnected – they were essentially saving themselves from the mess both my life and I had become.

That’s not to say it didn’t hurt. We count on people to be there for us in our time of need. But it’s not always in sickness and health ’til death do us part like the saying goes. So seven years ago, I lost most of my tribe, except for the ones I could count on one hand, and for whom I am eternally grateful.

IMG_1522-1One of the best things about being human is that we have these opportunities for fresh starts. Sometimes we take them over and over until we feel like we got it right. Other times life gives us the chance for a do-over, or a magical portal opens.

I recently walked through that door with Sir Husband, and am back home. This time the view is quite different. The past is revealing itself – so much has not changed since I lived here years ago…but so much has.

10417018_10201470902129241_3006093295010639328_n copyAnd I want to reconnect with people who mattered to me. So I got brave and cautiously took the leap with a few I left behind. It took some guts, some faith and the tricky skill of not having any expectations.

By the way how do we not have expectations? I mean come on. I missed these people, I would love a big, happy reunion. How could I not? I’m different. Life is different. All is right with the world now and then some.

IMG_1434The point is, I did it. Cautiously. I started with a benign text to the numbers that were still in my phone, I sent emails to the old email addresses I had, I even called and left a couple of messages.

And it happened. Not right away, but I heard back. With open, welcoming arms. There are many others, but I will baby-step my way down memory lane and see how it goes.

People are people so you just never know. But that’s the allure of friendships and the enchantment of human fresh starts.

 

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From the Pen of The Fairy: A Mea Culpa

It’s rare that a person not only values your friendship, but totally honors your history and perceptions when you assume something about her that isn’t at all true. And so much so, that in spite of the hurt she is feeling from your assumption, she shows up at your door to sort it out with a meaningful two-way dialogue that lasts for over an hour.

They say that you will know when someone is real or authentic, and that may be the case. But when your own sordid past clouds that reality, it’s human to make a mistake. Like I did when I thought our friendship was based on my success or failure in a business venture. It wasn’t. And shame on me for thinking that.

I didn’t really think that, but I let that dark place inside – the one that has suffered over and over from the loss of people I trusted – take over. And what I wrote in yesterday’s blog was my own misinterpretation.

Through the years people close to me have wandered away because they could not handle the crap that went on in my life. And when I thought that was happening again, my history rose up to the surface and chirped in my ear that I was not worthy of maintaining her friendship because I was a pain in the ass.

I could not have been more wrong. But it has happened so many times in my past, I didn’t trust that she was different. She is.

Beyond understanding and compassion, I get that drama and chaos is exhausting and tough for people to endure. But when you put your faith in relationships with people you trust that end up going south from too much one-sided tragedy – and they tell you that – it leaves some pretty deep wounds.

My friend understood that.

That’s not to say I didn’t deeply wound her from my belief that she was like the others. I did. And she let me know with a knock on my door, tears, and that imaginary stabbing your heart action. Only I was the one holding the metaphoric knife.  <OUCH>  I hate that. I have been stabbed enough in my life to recognize it.

But even in her own woundedness brought on by me, she honored my sad history, comforting me empathetically that she could never, or would never want to, walk in my shoes. She reminded me that everyone has stuff in their life and when people turn away it’s because they are uncomfortable with their own stuff and don’t want to see it in themselves.

She is not one of those people. Kindred spirits in facing pain and conflict with resolution or closure, she wondered why I didn’t reach out to her directly and ask her what was going on.

She was right. That would normally be my first step of action, but I’m worn down, just worn down. When we moved here under advisement from clinicians and police a few years ago to get away from a dangerously hostile person who put us at risk, we have not had the opportunity to heal as we had hoped since that person is still at it from afar. But I should not have let my exhaustion override the reality that my friend here is a rare gem.

And for that I’m sorry – for both her and for me. This is my public apology although we’ve already hugged and made up. Thank you for understanding, and for helping me change my life.

angel friends

 

Even A Life Coach Needs A Lifeline

Noooooo don’t quit! I woke up in the middle of the night feeling jolted. I had a dream that my longtime life coach/therapist was leaving her 20-plus-year post to become an administrative assistant. Actually it wasn’t a dream, it was sort-of real for a few minutes, it just took a while to sink in.

A few days earlier she had mentioned that she was in the market for new work, after feeling some burnout. Not uncommon for healers of any sort, I just prefer it not happen to mine. Truth be told, I’m fine. I already crossed the line from client-coach attachment to flying on my own quite some time ago, I just wanted to retain her safe net. God forbid my life falls again, who would help me heal?

Her news definitely got me thinking about the way we lock onto lifelines when we are in the thick of hard times. It makes perfect sense, we plug into whatever feels soothing. Her support was medicinal, and helped me land back on my feet. We all need support in our lives, it’s just a matter of when.

But it’s also a matter of who, it takes a long time to find the right match with a healer you trust with your soul. So I pondered the relationship change to come, which brought up a whole bunch of stuff. When any relationship we come to rely on shifts, it can feel like a pretty big deal.

My higher self totally respected her personal path. She is a life coach after all, she must know what she’s doing with her own life. Those words “it’s a journey” are real, and sometimes the road hits a fork. So I cheered her on in her pursuance of something that felt good to her.

But my human self was different and had some thoughts of its own. Seriously? You are giving up your successful practice, the one you spent so long building? And what about all of your clients – the ones whose lives you save? Not only are you helping them, you are changing the world for the better. That’s a serious gift.

So when I woke up in the middle of the night, I decided in my half-awake state to telepathically communicate some thoughts to her. There are still mysteries in the ether, who knows if she could hear what I said.

The people who depend on you for solace, you are soothing to their souls…I get your need for change and reconsidering your life’s purpose, but don’t forget the extent of your worth…your role as a lifeline saves lives…yea, people hand over their power to healers, but sometimes that’s the only way we can get back on our feet….nothing in life is forever, but a change like you’re considering…well…

I felt like a voice for the masses in the wee hours. And maybe a little bit for me. Change isn’t easy ever, especially when it’s someone else’s idea. There’s nothing to do but accept it, and trust that it’s good for us too.

I think she heard me. Because the next morning she called to tell me about her decision to stay in the game. I know I had nothing to do with it, but maybe on some level I did. We all need support in our lives. It’s just a matter of when.

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Just Go Page by Page

A blog can be like a story, little chapters building on each other day by day. Each post peppers the story a little bit more, a little bit more, until all of a sudden you have chronicled a life, even a legacy. Sometimes I wonder who I am writing for in this context. My children? Sir Husband’s? The world at large? Maybe myself.

This chapter goes something like this…

We had a glorious weekend planned with a dear friend who lives far, far away. Near Sir Husband’s children actually, although she does not know them. But she was unable to take her planned getaway due to an unexpected serious circumstance in her neck of the woods. We understood, but were quite disappointed.

She texted to check in at a time we would have been together. “How are you two?”

“Not so good,” I told her. “Hard day. Turns out the princess dress we got my step daughter did not make it into the bag for their Disney trip. And the gift we sent to my step son for his 16th birthday was misplaced. Yea right.”

The two events coincide, and like always, our attempt at participation, even from afar, was discarded. Sometimes having contact with Sir Husband’s kids is hard, because reality sets in. The reality of the physical and emotional wall and attempts at severing our existence that their mother has worked to achieve is real. They know it and feel it too.

I realized when you don’t connect with people in real time, you can feel whatever you want in your heart, think whatever you want in your mind, and it can be happy, good, and in fact be anything you want it to be.

Our friend texted me back and asked, “What benefit do the villains think they’re going to get by doing this?”

Good question. But not one I can answer. What I can do is keep on keeping on in spite of them. That’s not to say it doesn’t hurt. I will  try to lighten my burden and my load, and remember what matters in my heart. I will focus on what feels good, not what feels bad. Happiness takes less energy than anger or sadness, and naturally feels much better.

There isn’t much to this chapter, sometimes the story must simply go on. Plans change. Life changes. It’s when you practice feeling good even when you don’t, teeny bit by teeny bit, that you can handle things with more ease I suppose, navigate your course with more confidence, and embrace the mystery as it unfolds.

Some spiritual traditions say we write the stories of our lives before we get here. If that’s the case then I suppose I don’t need to worry, I must already know the ending. In the meantime, I’m not sure what the next chapter will reveal, but I’m ok with turning the page. And really that’s all that matters.

When You’re A Stranger

I’m just going to say it. I am not a fan of Open House night at school. Never have been. I may be in the minority, and this reveal may elicit a cringe from other parents. Like with everything, I try to figure it out, if I need a reason at all.

After a certain point in a growing child’s life, I am not sure it’s necessary. Say, after freshman year of high school. You aren’t really going to get to know their teachers unless there’s a problem. They have a lot of teachers over two semesters. And at some point the kids become more responsible for their own education, and that’s asked of them by that age. But there’s more.

When we recently went to our sophomore’s parent open house night, I realized what it was. I’m a stranger in unfamiliar territory.

I stood on the periphery of the hallway and watched the sea of parents move like a swarm to their child’s next classroom, buzzing amongst themselves, sharing the camaraderie, the memories, the familiarity. I just stood there, like a wallflower and let them pass, watching and listening to the vibe. I was uncomfortable. It wasn’t old home night for me.

We have moved a lot, from town-to-town and state-to-state, maybe not by choice as much as by circumstance. Although everything is a choice in life. But the impact of those choices became clear to me in a slow-motion video in the hallway. The faces of these strangers morphed into faces of people I knew back in the day of my former life, shadowing the image of the present facelessness. I watched myself in the swarm, buzzing along with my friends, the parents of my children’s friends, the members of my community. I remembered them, not there.

I’m an outsider.

It’s easy to change that you may say, and maybe so. But it will not replace that all of these families came up together, and ours is way out of the cycle. Sure we have a small circle of new friends, but it’s not these people, the collective group of rooted souls sharing their families’ circle-of-life growth experience together.

Plus, the youngest is not social. He doesn’t participate in much of anything beyond being a straight-A student, maybe feeling a bit like we do about a disconnect from the past. His brothers were the opposite, throwing themselves in to whatever they needed to to become part of whatever scene they found themselves. But this one, not so much. Not only are we lacking the ability to be a longstanding member of the school community, we are also lacking an avenue.

The same thing happened in New York, when I relocated to be with Sir Husband, and my children started at new schools. I tried, oh how I tried, to feel some sense of connection to the swarm. But it never matriculated because of the extreme circumstances from Scary Mrs. Ex’s antics. I know it sounds impossible to be blacklisted from a community that is not contrived in some television parody, but it can happen, and did.

No blacklisting now. But no familiarity. No shared memories. Nobody to relate to. No identity. Nameless and faceless. Sounds a lot like high school to me.

Step Away From the List

“I know what I’m going to write about,” I told Sir Husband as we were enjoying a little pre-dinner cocktail after a busy day.

“My really short hair?” He answered, scrunching his eyes up as if I would really write about that.

Yes, it’s short, he got a haircut by my stylist and she really took it down. It’s cute. That description also made him scrunch his eyes up.

Instead I was thinking about a couple of other things – entrenchment into our community, and the A-list.

While Sir Husband was at his haircut, I was waiting on my nails to dry after a quick toe polish. As I scrolled through my life on my phone, I heard from someone I know who got special information before it went public, because she is on the A-list. I have spent time with these A-listers, I felt welcomed into the group, I thought I was part of it, but there is evidence to the contrary.

Which then made me think about whether or not I can – or even want to – try to entrench into this community. By entrench I mean hunker down and give it my full gusto – work hard to find my group, my niche, my people, my tribe. Because this was yet another reminder that I’m pretty much an outsider, something I have become accustomed to after leaving my home base almost seven years ago. Although not for lack of trying.

Let me cut to the chase. It’s hard and I’m tired of trying. The irony is I never cared about the A-list when I lived in my other home. I didn’t even know what it was. I had my own list, a circle, a community, and it didn’t matter who they were or what they did or where they lived or how much money they made. It just didn’t. But where we live now, it matters and it shows. I wish it didn’t.

We live in a very small town, this pretty little village by the sea. The entire coastline is small, in fact, the whole state’s population is just over a million. This is a teeny, weeny fragment of people compared to what I was used to, and the A-list is incredibly visible when you live in a small community. Not to mention – and I say this with some evidence now – the competition and wins appear to be based on who you know and how much money you have. I prefer living where you can just blend in.

Of course this all gave me huge pause for thought about what’s going on inside of me. Either I’m just homesick, or I am a more urban-girl personality. But when I dug deeper I realized that I always felt on the outside growing up, at school, on the fringes of the popular-clique, and the everybody-wants-to-be-them group. And like then, when I try to mesh in now, I guess I’m like the crab in a lobster trap. But I’m truly not a crab.

When I was about to throw in the towel on this and simply surrender to my reality, a good friend who lives where I used to live, texted me and told me what a wonderful impact I have had on her life even though it is from afar.

That actually changed everything for me in that one moment. I even got a little weepy. Yep, I’m homesick. But it helped me feel connected. A sense of connection, and a cute haircut, is maybe what it’s all about, no matter what.

If The Shoe Fits

Last night we were invited to a pot-luck dinner at the home of someone sort of famous, who I have admired for a very long time. It’s not often that we can break bread (around the living room coffee table on the floor no less,) with people we see on TV or read about in national magazines, who write books and do important things that the world notices. There were actually a couple of well-known people there. It was a dinner for a group of locals who work together via Usana Health Sciences.

Being part of this team of healthy-thinkers who are involved in this nutritional supplement biz I recently joined is adding an interesting dimension to my life. I use the term interesting loosely. First, because I never thought I would do sales of any kind, it’s not really my thing. Second, because I never thought I would have the opportunity to connect with these particular people beyond sitting in an audience and hearing them speak. Let alone be sharing salad.

The pedestal I had them on was removed a while back, but my desire to be a successful participant on this team lingered, especially since these people who I admired for so long are now colleagues of sorts. But the longer I have gone without success while watching so many others succeed, my verve has dwindled and my confidence has waned. And I feel like I am letting people down. It’s making me uncomfortable.

So I went to the dinner and pretended that I’m feeling ok about it, when in fact, I’m not. I want it to be as easy as they say, it’s not. I want to be able to afford to do the kinds of things they do together as a group and a team, I can’t. I want to receive the acknowledgements that they offer for those who kick butt in this group, I’m not sure I will. I hope I will, but who knows.

This path came quickly and I followed it, but I’ve gotten caught up in the comparison model – they are doing it right, and I must be doing it wrong.  Sure, that feels good. Not.

But in the spirit of continual evolution, soul growth, and attempts to navigate toward bliss, I started to examine the comparing. First in hopes to stop it, second to learn something from it, and lastly of course to try to overcome it.

I shared this with a friend for an objective opinion, she is not connected to this group. Her lifetime of spiritual schooling has paid off, she carries this incredible ability to articulate insight on the spur of the moment. She reminded me that we as human beings are wired to size ourselves up to others. It’s our primal instinct to assess how well we are doing in the world.

Ok great, I’m normal.

She went on to say that when we see people whose external measures of success seem to come effortlessly, it can be disheartening at best, even maddening.

Yes, that’s true.

Then she reminded me that there’s nothing wrong with me, I’m not defective, or a failure, and there really isn’t one standard.

I believe I’m not a fail fundamentally, but I am not measuring up to the standard of this particular endeavor. Maybe it’s not about fail, maybe it’s about fit. I want the job to be a good fit, I’m not sure about that yet. I also want to fit in. I thought I did, perhaps I do, the evening was quite fun. But I still have that internal quagmire to be exuberantly successful, which circles me back to the words, I must be doing it wrong.

Nevertheless, Usana I’m sure will soon take over the world as the premiere vitamin and nutrition company. It’s on a massive roll, and has earned its polish. I think the supplements are great, and think the people who welcomed me onto this team are great.

Time will tell where I land with it, but in the meantime as my friend says, “Life is too short to wear shoes that don’t fit.” For now, I’ll just enjoying trying them on, even if they are a little uncomfortable.

A Real Friendship Realized

We stood in the train station at sundown, chatting with our friend who was waiting on his departing train to arrive. The small utilitarian station was busy late in the day, people weighted down with bags, some meandering, some hurrying to buy tickets before the train arrived. A woman sitting near us looked forlorn as the man standing next to her stroked the hair off her face. I watched their exchange, no words, just expressions.

It wasn’t the hustle and bustle, or the glare of the sunset through the long office-style windows, the announcements on the overhead speakers, or the people and their good-bye stories. That was all a blur.

It was our good-bye story that took us by surprise. We were sad, and while that may sound normal, it’s not how it appears. This is about a couple of old colleagues who worked together for a decade or so, more than 10 years ago, and then fell completely out of touch.

Sir Husband’s desk was in the same cluster as his friend’s when they were beat reporters at a metro daily newspaper in upstate New York. Work acquaintances, they did not really socialize outside of the newsroom. And then his friend suddenly took a retirement, left the paper, and ventured out on his own.

More than 10 years later, Sir Husband stumbled across his friend’s Facebook page, and they reconnected online. That story of course, is commonplace. But for Sir Husband, their reunion meant much more. And it did to his friend as well.

When people’s paths disconnect and then reconnect, sometimes you wonder why. Not that it matters, but you ponder if an unplanned reunion is arranged in the cosmos for a reason you may not understand on the surface, or even need to.

After a few email exchanges, it was if time had not gone by. The relationship endured the years, but the reunion brought forth a deeper connection. Perhaps it was serendipitous, perhaps it was a continuation of an unspoken camaraderie. But for Sir husband, who has lost so many connections from a nasty and ugly divorce, it was a beautiful and priceless re-discovery, seemingly out of nowhere, and the same for me.

His friend actually lives a couple hours away, but the miles have not seemed to matter, until now. He took the train to see us before he ventures away again, this time to the West Coast. We knew he was going, we have been in touch with him frequently, Sir Husband re-establishing a friendship, and me forming a new one.

We spent the whole day together as old friends, the missing gap of time meaningless. We don’t really understand it, we just feel it. But we didn’t realize how much until we said goodbye, a deep sadness flooding to the surface in the train station’s lobby. The space and time of distance was suddenly palpable.

So long dear friend, perhaps unknown to us at one time, now important. Our paths have crossed with wonder and with gratitude, our lives more because of it. So long.

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