I've Just Gotta Say... Can My Dog Be Any More Gorgeous!?!!! But Really This Writing Is About Much More
I wasn't planning to write about Nava today. My gorgeous-and-perfect-and-oh-so-high-energy-ball-obsessed-but-it's-ok-because-I love-her-so-much dog was not what was in my mind when I sat down to write this writing. I was actually very reflective as first thoughts whirled through my head. And I was thinking to look back to what was going on a year ago and do a sort of a scan of the year and my state of being and the state of affairs in general - mine and the global affairs of this great earth and all of us in it as we navigate through the human experience that we call our lives.
This was the plan anyway.
I even pulled up the writing I did from last year at the end of January. It is a good one - Balance, Boundaries And Bone Broth - and my thought was to start with those things in this last year's post and then integrate in with where I am now. Put it all in alignment. Make it all make sense.
But then, ah, I got stuck on my pup. As I went through the photos on my phone, to find the best one to top this writing with that would inspire readership, I came across the one of my beautiful and smart and always perfect Doberman when she was small.
How friggin' cute is she!!!
And I just couldn't resist. I had to share this picture with you. And then I thought hey, why not put a now pic alongside the then pic.
I was still, at this point while I was posting the puppy then and now, thinking that I had kinda abandoned the introspective and more mindful piece and had truly moved on to some serious puppy prose but then I saw it. For, in keeping with my original thought theme of reflecting back and integrating in, the image of my before and after puppy so captures not just my perfect pup as we all know she is, but also so perfectly captures my original theme: the before and after of things. The scanning and reflecting and seeing where the changes lie.
The funny thing about photographs that capture the changing of things is that this is not really as accurate as we want to believe. While the outward manifestation of change certainly shows over time and is capture in stillness as the photos we keep, the true movement and moments of change are internal. We can't see them but we feel them and often times they do not line up with the physical changes that we see when we look at our form.
Things don't always match up.
Often the outward change we see so clearly do not mirror the internal beings we are. Think of our grandparents, the old and wise woman we maybe aspire to become someday, the elder of the tribe and the teachers from our youth, and how they say - time and time again - that they still feel like their twenty year old self even while their body is old and perhaps ready for sleep.
I feel this. My sixteen year old me is this me still in so many ways. And though certainly I have grown in maturity and wisdom and mindful intention, the essence of me is the same as I was then.
Like my perfect pup. She looks totally different in her before and after shots. But her spirit, her essence, her drive and her focus and her soulful connection to me is the same. She, in so many ways, is that pup even while she is this dog. And though she has grown and matured and is so fully herself now, the self that she is was there all the time.
She, like our younger selves that are ourselves still, is the same in her spirit even as her body as grown big and strong.
But then other times the change that happens is the exact reverse of this.
Especially now I feel this. Not just within me but within us all. Just as the shifting that is happening in the universe is hard to see but we feel it in our bones and our heart, the changes that are happening within us come fast and sure and don't show up on our faces even while they sit solidly in our souls.
And so we look in the mirror and see ourselves looking just as we did yesterday as our eyes shine back at us from a new place. We are collectively coming alive in new ways. We are connecting in as we create community. Women's circles and New Moon dancing. Men's collaborative and mindful meditation. Common causes and constant conversation. We are shifting and changing and adapting to the world fast and true. And so what doesn't match up is the reverse. Because we look the same. But we are totally different now.
I love the balance of this.
That sometimes it is the soul's turn to shift and the stability is in the constant of our bodies as the familiar place we live in. And other times, the change is physical and the constant that we hold as the place that we land is our internal knowing that we are still ourselves.
I jumped deeply, with both feet and even the tip top of my head submerged, into a beautiful workshop this past weekend. It brought forth a rendering of my life's journey - this one and those many that I danced in before. And then, through a deep, earth based magic, those things that were stuck in my body and held firm to my mind untangled.
But it was not easy.
When the emotion is stored in a physical form of both current day trauma and ways of past lives, it nestles in as though our friend and we think, because it tricks us, that our feelings are right and true. And so we burrow in with our stories to keep them there.
But these false friends are really fiends of ancient times and other places and do not serve, no longer teach, and need to purge outside of us so we may then see clearer days.
And so we look for dirt and tools to journey in. Meditations and deep ritual, dancing and ceremony, and the taking of the elixir that tastes like earth and is familiar. And then, in chanting and rhythm and community nurturing we see ourselves go in and watch as we let go.
And though old tales hold hard and tight in shadow play and darkened spaces, in the distance angels come to move these stories fast along. Until we are here, in this new form from going through and sitting still.
And this is when our grace appears.
The moon has been funny shaped these last couple of mornings. And nights, too, it is the same moon after all. But I notice it when I am out walking the grove, the sun slowly rising while the moon hangs in the early morning sky. And so I see it. This funny shaped morning moon. I see it and I like it.
I like that that one edge is not quite right. And that the bottom is a bit off, somewhat oblong instead of staying perfectly round like it usually looks even when it is no longer the full moon and the completely perfect roundness is part of our imagination as we only see a portion of what is really the whole.
But this, this funny shaped moon is not that. It is not the seeing of the still illuminated part of the moon and having it feel full and round in it's part-ness. This moon is off. Funny. Imperfect.
Now I know that you knew that this is where I am going today. I gave it away in the title. But even if I hadn't, this analogy is just too good not to run with. Really, how can I not talk about us - as in the humanness of us - while talking about imperfection. Because we are.
I've been thinking about this lately. The off-ness of us. I've been thinking about how this not quite right is what is perfect in the imperfectness of being alive. That things are supposed to be off a bit.
And here is why I think this.
Because balance, that subtle movement back and forth whether in our gait or our growth or our greatness, is moving all the time.That's why balance exists. Why the idea of balancing is there. Because there is movement and so we need to shift to compensate for where we are in that exact moment. If we don't we topple.
This shifting - whether in our gait or our growth or our greatness - is the growing and the changing of our being. And because of this, the movement of it, it can't be perfect.
Perfection is stagnant. It stops when it reaches the place where it is perfect. It has to because any movement in it's perfectness will change what it is. And we are not this. We are not stagnant.
We are constantly moving and shifting and growing and changing and becoming and shedding and cycling through.
And so we are messy. Perfection is not messy. And we are complicated. Nope, no perfection there. And we are unpredictable, which is definitely not perfect.
I like this. That we are not perfect, nor expected to be. A big thought - expected to be. Because we - the collective we - were kinda maybe raised to think that we maybe are supposed to be. That we are supposed to strive for this. This ideal. The perfection. And we never quite make it. And then we're bummed, disillusioned, depressed and disappointed.
And what a lousy place to be.
I don't stand in those negatives anymore. I haven't for awhile. I've shed the expectation and adding an I'm to perfection.... god how perfect is that!! Imperfection = I'm perfect. In it's not perfectness.
So back to the moon. It really is so perfect that this funny shaped moon showed up to give me a visual for my imperfect thoughts.
(Of course nothing I've written above negates the perfectness of my perfect and brilliant and smart and gorgeous Doberman puppy. Just saying....)
This is a typical Doberman sleeping position. Ask any Doberman owner to show you pics of their pups snoozing and I can pretty much guaranntee that they will have something like this in their infinite assortment of photos. I say infinite because, like me, most Doberman owners are Doberman lovers in that obsessive way where, well... there is really nothing better or more perfect or beautiful or perfect. Did I say perfect...
Anyway, this post really isn't about Dobermans, or specfially my perfect puppy, but about... nothing. I've got nothing.
I was thinking about this while I was at the park early this morning playing ball with my perfect puppy. That today is my Monday morning writing day and there is not much brewing around in my mind. My mind is kinda empty, I thought while I was tossing the ball up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down the green-and-wet-because-of-the-rain-and-thank-goodness-we-are-getting-some-rain lawn that is part of the beautiful park where I go with my beautiful and perfect dog.
And then, after acknowledging that my mind was (is) pretty empty, I sat in the thought that this is ok. This is good. This is exactly what this is. And the beauty of my Monday morning writing is that I can write about anything I want. There is no theme to this blog of mine. No agenda. No expectation. No nothing. It is just what I gotta say. And today, I don't really gotta say anything.
Hence the photo of my dog. Just because she's perfect.
On New Year's Eve day, late afternoon, I caught this rainbow. Full and sweeping as it took off and then landed again on Earth.
At first It looked like this:
Because, from where I stood, on the deck outside my home, I could only see this one part. Vibrant, with that rainbow range of colors that we learn about when we are little and that I often forget the order of when making rainbows of my own.
So this is how I saw it first, in it's half formed form. But I could tell, by the height that it held as the curve ran up into the sky, that there was more to this rainbow than first met my eye (sorry, that rhyme just slipped out!)
And so I stood a bit further out, away from my house and nearer to the railing of the deck, and there it was, the fullness of a complete rainbow, shining down upon the land in all it's New Year's Eve day glory.
I love that this rainbow, showing up on my New Year's Eve day, landed back on the ground for me to see. I love this because it celebrates the earthliness of me.
This past year has been one of great shifting and changing for me. A stripping away of patterns that no longer serve and a stepping into myself honestly.
I nurtured both younger and older memories of me from when I was small and some from now, too. These memories are smart. They camoflaged themselves and held me tight in a way that felt safe, But they held me down also, stuck in a belief system that did not let me grow. And so, after thanking them for keeping me feeling nurtured in that familiar way when that is what I needed, I let them go.
I examined habits - physical, mental, and emotional, too - and reached out to practitioners to support me as I create new practices to serve this wiser me.
I stopped drinking alcohol - that not so often but when I indulged I really indulged vice - as a way to explore how that would feel. What did alcohol do to my body? To my mind? To my abilty to connect in to my spirit and to that great Spirit above.
And I woke up.
And through it all, I walked. Each day. Taking in the warm and sweet air when I was in Ojai, and bundled up against the coolness of the New England fall when I was back east. I walked, my dog and I, and as I walked I felt the earth, and smelled the dirt, and touched the leaves and took in deep air breaths so that I would not forget that I am part of this, too.
So that, while soaring high in my soul's journey, I also deeply settled into my earthbound body. Still part of this thing we call life. Still part of the human experience.
There is this idea that we can only soar as high in our spirit as we are grounded in our bodies - in the being of being human. This belief is symbolized in the image of the balance tree.
That our roots, nestled deeply in the earth, allow our souls to grow full and free. And that we need this. This balance. The grounding into who we are in body while we nurture our souls awake. I think sometimes we forget this. That the being human of it all is why we are here. And so, as we travel down our roads of tranformation, searching for peace and understanding, for wisdom and enlightmenment - for the love that we forget we already are - we often give ourselves a really hard time when the earthly bound stuff comes up still. When the humanness of being alive on this sweet earth manifests as those very emotions and physical ailments and struggles and challenges that we think we will overcome in our quest to reach the pure state of spirit oneness.
We need both. Spirit and Earth. Our soul's work and the honoring of our human selves.
And so the rainbow. We don't often see a full arch, taking off and landing back on earth. Because where we are standing does not allow us to see. We see the colors extend out and up into the sky rather than land back down where we are. But if we take a step, move a bit, shift our gaze, the possibilty of seeing more is there. Seeing that the magical colors of sunlight on raindrops is landing back on the now wet soil. Landing back on earth.
Just like us.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Dog and Cat lover.