Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I've Seen Dead People

I lost my beloved cat about a month ago. She was nearly 18.
Those of you who dote on your furry friends know what that means.

Letting Her Go

The good news for both Lia and I was that she seemed healthy right up until her last 2 days. On a Thursday morning, she couldn't support her hind legs, and all day she looked close to death. I didn't think she'd make it through the night. I spoke with the veterinarian's office that day, but there was no vet in the office that day. I thought she had chosen to go on her own since she picked a day when they were closed.

But she rallied late that night. On Friday, her last day, she howled every half hour or so. I don't know whether or not she was in pain, but it certainly hurt me to watch it. I didn't know what to do for her, and as the song goes "When things go wrong with you, it hurts me too."

I spoke to the veterinarian that morning, telling them what I saw. I had an appointment at the veterinarian at 5:45. I was braced for hearing some medication she would want to try. But when I got there, they handed me the euthanasia form to sign. After watching her for the last day and a half, how could that be a surprise to me? I was deeply grateful that I had asked a good friend to drive me.

So I cried with her and comforted her as they gave the injection. And in a moment, she was gone.

The Kindest Thing For Her

The vet said it was the kindest thing I could do for her. But here's the thing. I have to wonder whether that was the best thing for her. She could not speak to me to let me know what she wanted. And I get the sense that animals are more OK with pain and transition than humans are.

I find it strange that it is illegal in most states to euthanize a human who requests it, but it is considered normal to euthanize a pet when they are suffering. That's because we can generally ask a human what they want. Most have the mental capacity to make that kind of decision.

When It's My Time

Personally, I will choose to go naturally as possible. As a teen or tween, someone mentioned to me that when it's their time, they wanted to die in their sleep. I blurted out, "not me! It's a once in a lifetime experience, and I don't want to miss it! I think that it will be a personally unprecedented opportunity to open and experience the transition from physical to non-physical. I'll use pain meds, but for me, that experience is something not to be missed.

So why did I deprive my most beloved friend that opportunity?

And I have a definite sense that the pet knows what is happening, and that by euthanizing her, I may have interrupted her natural process of letting go.

Did I Do the Right Thing?

So did I do the right thing for my fuzzy sweet heart who had been with me, so connected, for so long?  Always kind, mostly patient (except when she was hungry).

She often understood what I was saying in such an intuitive way. She also understood mirrors. She would watch me in the mirror as I spoke to her, moving around as I dressed in the morning.

Did I deprive her of her natural process of letting go of her physical body and of me?

I know that if I did, that she is OK anyway.
I dreamed of her a few days later - another story for another day.

What About You?

Have you had a pet die? How did you handle it?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I've Looked at Dumb From Both Sides Now

I am in my second semester of piano, and it's not the highest priority in my life right now, but I'd like to learn to play well enough to write down the music I have in my head.

Thing is, right now, I am like a 5 or 6 year old who has learned the alphabet and is sounding out words. It's tedious work. And I love it when I can play a simple phrase and the piano starts to feel familiar. A friend.

A Great and Terrible Teacher

My piano teacher is brilliant, and when he is in teaching mode, he's great. He'll show us how to look for the patterns and what is happening, what chords are there. He makes it look so easy.

He wants us to be able to look at the music, analyze it, think about what our fingers will do, and then play it. Not fast, but accurately. Makes sense to do this before starting to play.

And then I put my hands on the keys and my brain freezes. I can do the right hand fairly easily. The left hand takes more focus and practice. And when I put both together... well, just cover your ears.

His logic is good. When I have had sufficient experience with this kind of transposition from brain to fingers, it will be great.

But then he throws a tantrum when we can't play the music right off the bat. Like somehow that analyzing in my head, my fingers are going to magically do it right the first time I touch the keyboard. And I sit there thinking the guy is nuts. My fingers need to practice it, to get familiar with the territory. And my brain needs to make connections between the geography of the keyboard and the little black marks on the page.

He may be a musical genius, but I apparently am not. At least not on the piano. I have lots of fun singing and improvising by ear.

The Flip Side

In the same month, I got to see it from the other side with people and technology.

I've been doing computer stuff for decades. For me it's a simple matter of reading the instructions and following them. And it has always puzzled me when people have a mental block that makes it so much harder than it is. Like some people are with math. (not my best subject, but i do OK.)

If I want to do something on email, the Internet, or social media, I look at the options and find the one that works. Most of the time I can figure it out. Even though I am "of an age".

So if it's easy for me, why isn't it easy for everyone?

More Than One Kind of Smart

I've heard of multiple intelligence that describe the different kinds of genius out there. Music is one of them. Social skills are one. Logic is one of them. I've got the logic one. I've practiced technology for a long time, and it makes sense to me most of the time. (Just don't get me started on MS Word!)So I expect it to be easy for everyone.

But some people don't. I have to remind myself that for some people, following directions is difficult.

Am I being just as unfair when I wonder why someone cannot follow simple step-by-step instructions either from me? Even when I give them pictures?

And when I sit in that piano class, I get the logic. And I just need to work longer to get the information from my brain to my fingers.

I remind myself that I didn't learn to ride a bike in a day. And I didn't learn to walk in a day either. Even if the teacher thinks we should.

How About You?

What blind spot have you started to see recently?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Healthy Heart For Valentine's Day

Does your heart feel healthy this Valentine's Day?

If it does, GREAT! Let's spread the joy!

If it doesn't, it is a good time to bolster our own self-love, our own knowing that we are a gift to the world.

Did you know that in utero, a baby's heart, and even the stomach and intestines, are formed form the neural tube? That means that there are brain cells in the heart as well as the gut. So it's not just a woo-woo idea that the heart knows a lot.

Did you know that the electro-magnetic field of the heart reaches at least 10 times further than the brain's electro-magnetic field? 

I think it's fantastic that science is starting to figure out how to measure things we couldn't before.

You Have Felt It Yourself

We have all had times when we felt in the flow, felt connected to a person, pet, place, or activity.
That shows us that Love lives in side us.
And the great thing is that we can access that feeling almost any time we want! We can practice it and make it more a part of our lives.

Practice Makes It Deeper and Richer

And the more we let the love inside us express in all we do and say, the more people want to be around us. And pretty soon, someone who was once lonely can have some good friends.
Now I'm not talking about being a doormat, or being nice to people who are hurting you.

I am talking about inviting the love that you have felt in the past or present to become part of your identity, part of your practice, part of your life. Why not?
I mean, has worry worked for you so far?

A Simplified Heart Meditation

One of the most wonderful tools I know for that is Heart Coherence Meditation.
It was developed by HeartMath Institute.

Take a break from it for a few minutes at a time.
1. Choose a safe place when you will have no distractions.
2. Sit down and remember a time you felt love. Pick someone or something that has no negative charge on it.
    For me, thinking of my cat always gets the love welling up big time.
3. Just sit and enjoy that feeling.
4. After a while, you may notice it that you are feeling great. You may notice that your thoughts are more positive, and your worries are not as big as they were a few minutes before.

For more information on HeartMath:

An 11 minute video about HeartMath on YouTube

Sign Up for's Free Services including PDF downloads, Resources for Veterans, Tools for Well-Being, Self-Assessment Tools, and much more

If you are in or near Santa Rosa

Our 10-week Heart-Mind-Body class is offered most semesters. It just started on Feb 3:

Drop in any Monday at 7:00pm for a one-hour Heart Coherence Meditation.

Heart at Work
Presentation at Spirit In Business group
You do not need to be a business person or member of the Center in order to attend.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Love's Calling You

It's February. The month of Love. The month with Valentine's Day. The month of Love.

Love Stinks

A month that, for many people, brings up everything unlike it. Do you think love hurts? That pain must always come with love?

Do you have any unresolved emotions or old beliefs that love hurts? This is a great time to heal them.

If you are single and all the commercial fuss only serves to remind you that you don't like it;
If you are in a relationship and less than fully satisfied;

So Much Expectation

If you dislike all the expectation built up around this holiday;
If you are wondering whether he'll propose. Or even remember;
If you are single and staunchly opposed to letting someone in; If you are sad because you lost someone special in the past year...

This is a good time to remember that love lives inside each one of us.
You know this because you recognize it when you look at your child or grandchild or pet.
You know this because you recognize it when you see beauty, whether it's a sunset that takes your breath away or a hummingbird flitting around a red flower, or a magnificent view of a sprawling landscape.

Love Lives Inside Us

We are consumers in the USA. But love is not something you can go out and get.

 Love is calling to us every moment. All the time.
We need only open our hearts to feel it.
We don't even need a reason or an object of affection, although that definitely helps.

So I offer you a gift for Valentine's month: a song I wrote called Love's Calling You.
This song spontaneously arose (with different words) for my cat when I first brought her home, all ears and paws, at 5 and a half months old. Two weeks ago she died at nearly 18 years old. But the song she inspired lives on, as she does in my heart. 

The new words I recorded in 2009 are a call from Spirit to let love live in your heart.
Mobile devices use You Tube link.

Love's calling you.
Love's calling you.
The love in your heart is calling to you.

The stars above are singing.
The trees dance in the breeze.
The waves play with the shoreline.
Life's full of Peace and Ease.

Love's calling you.
Love's calling you.
The love in your heart is calling to you.

Love's calling you. (Love lives inside you.)
Love's calling you. (Answer your heart.)
The love in your heart is calling to you.

Next week, I'll give you a second gift. I'll describe Heart Coherence Meditation from HeartMath.