It's another one of those "hmmm...where do I begin?" posts. It's early, 5:30 am, to be exact. I'm not usually up this early, but I must say, it is beautiful outside. The water in the little kiddy pool out in the back yard for the dogs to cool off in is completely still--a glassy mirror of the pre-sunrise sky--beautiful enough to make tears threaten and sting my eyes (much more beautiful than my photo was able to capture). Birds chirp in a layered symphony from the still new-to-me canopy of green that creates the park in the opposite direction of the pool. Such stillness, such life. These sorts of things make my heart want to burst.
You see, there's been a lot going on in my life these days. My aunt, who has been battling leukemia since this past January, has just received news that the none of the treatments worked. She is being sent home--but going home, on these terms, is a hollow victory. This is a hard reality to swallow. Even as I write this I feel a firm belief in hope rise in my throat. I believe in miracles. And so does my aunt.
Miracles or not, this has been an intense experience--for her, for her husband and kids, for me, for all of us. Ever since hearing the news, there has been a part of me asking that old cliched question: but why her? It doesn't seem fair. I feel something akin to a pang of guilt. I mean, I've lived almost my entire life doing what I want. If I were to die tomorrow, I could honestly say that I have lived a full and deeply satisfying life. I am fully aware of the ridiculousness of this thinking, but why have I been graced with this fierce devotion to living an authentic life and not someone who deserves it as much as my aunt? It's difficult to craft a sentence that makes sense around a thought that doesn't make sense. But maybe you know what I mean? Granted, I hope to live to be 500. But, in getting sick, my aunt has come to see life in a new way. She has opened up to the notion that right now is all we have--and so we better make the best of it. She has realized her priorities...and it is not the incessant work that is so much a part of her past. Her new priorities are the sound of rain, birds, her family. I want to see her be able to live out this new vision/version of life. Whether or not she is able to, I guess the best I can do is love her and learn from her. I feel profound heartache over the matter. And a plastic pool full of water is all it seems to take to cause it all to rise to the surface.
Yesterday I ended up at the doctor's office for several hours because of a migraine. It was the worst one I've ever experienced--even so, I would not have gone in if V. wouldn't have made me. I had nausea that wouldn't quit and I think that part of my problem was that I was getting really dehydrated. I don't remember the last time I felt so miserable. I worked in the too-hot heat all day Thursday and this, compiled with too much stress (some of it from recent successes that I have yet to tell you about), was enough to temporarily do me in. I should tell you that I have a strong aversion to doctors because, in my experience, they have never done anything positive for me. I've always felt like a nuisance to them, like they were too busy for me and, more times than not, I have been sent home with nothing, feeling just as bad as when I arrived. My attitude towards doctors has become: "Why bother?"
Yesterday, however, I went to a new clinic and, there, I was taken care of by the most healing group of women that I have ever met. 1 doctor and 5 nurses, to be exact. I felt cared for. They were so kind and gentle. And they were not going to send me home until I felt better. It didn't feel like a place of "medicine"--it felt like a place of healing. They turned the lights down low and made sure I was comfortable, checking on me often. Their voices were soft as well as their touch. I am grateful for this experience because it gave me a newfound positive perspective. By the time I got home at 8pm, I was finally able to think coherently, eat something and slept deeply.
I am supposed to work again today at the garden shop (I am now working there 2 days a week and will be there for only a short time longer)...but it is going to be another atrociously hot day. I still have the remnants of a headache and I do not want to go through yesterday all over again. And so I've decided to go in as late as possible. Why go at all? Well, that is part of some good news that I have not yet had time to tell you
(I realize that this post is getting incredibly long, please bear with me)...
Lately I've been reading a lot of books about the law of attraction and wealth and, over and over, I keep reading stories about people who didn't experience success until they were forced to take the leap. These are people who lost their jobs for one reason or another. And every time I read a story like this, I kept thinking: I wish that would happen to me! Because then I wouldn't have to make the decision, it would be made for me!
You see, despite successes, there is still a very large part of me that worries that the money won't be there if I quit my job entirely. There's another part of me that feels like it is because of my job that money has lacked the flow I am wishing for. I have been hanging on to my job by a very painful thread. Anyway...to keep a long story short: my boss informed me a couple weeks ago that they will be CLOSING!!! The going out of business sale began this week and it has been crazy there (hence, the working too hard in the heat migraine thing).
Can you believe it?! I feel like Mother Universe is gently knocking me out of my safe little nest! In the past month I have been offered two other jobs--one as a dog walker and the other in a high end home-interior boutique. I said no thank you to both jobs because, although both would be wonderful in their own way, I know in my bones that the universe is offering me a chance to fully invest myself in Stray Dog Arts. And, for this, I am beside myself with gratitude, excitement, and (yes) even a little bit of nervousness.
To add icing to the cake, in the past week I have also been asked to be featured in an Australian publication (Urban Animal), was offered space for TWO exhibitions (when I only asked for one), was invited to be a part of a dog-lovers gourmet dining event (yes, this stuff really happens) next Wednesday (which I originally could not afford to do, but was graciously offered a huge discount just because they wanted me!), and was asked to be included in an upcoming book being published by Harper Collins (and it looks incredible!).
Needless to say, I have been fluctuating quite profoundly between deep happiness and deep sadness. Singers often strive for a broad vocal range. When I think of life in terms of a singer's voice, I feel very lucky and very much alive. I feel love, sadness, gratitude, excitement, fear, joy... and, these days, I feel it to the nth degree. I suppose it shouldn't come as any surprise to me that I should end up with one doozy of a headache.
Anyway, congratulations if you made it through this post in its entirety. I wish for you a beautiful day filled with enough love to make you feel as though you are brimming over the edges.
I am thankful for you. I am thankful for this platform, from which we are able to share our stories.
The cloud photo was taken from the parking ramp of the
hospital after visiting my aunt before she is sent home.
This is what love, sadness, life, death, and gratitude looks like.
A deep breath of infinity.