Unsteady

Ooh, Summer.  With all your distractions.  Some Good.  Some Challenging.  Where have I been?  In avoidance?  Or, in A Void Dance?  Probably a little of both. (more on that later).

But today I am in the midst of one of life’s little challenges.  Dealing with the illness of an aging pet. Our Dog showed up in early 2002 as a young pup.  She was found by a neighborhood friend just running along the side of a Chicago city street.  No collar, skinny, sun-faded fur.  She was about 2 months old.  That put her birthdate at about 1-1-2002.  She was adorable, but what would she turn into?  We had no idea of her breed or origins.  Could she be a menacing, agitated fighting dog in a few months?  She sure seemed sweet.

You see, the summer and autumn of 2001 were particularly challenging for our family.  We lost our first dog, Molly to illness at 11 years that July.  I learned much from my relationship with Molly.  She was supposed to be our “practice child” to see if my husband and I were ready for parenthood.  But, I mostly learned from her that you can struggle with the personalily of someone in your life and still really love and miss them when they are gone.  This was an important lesson for me at that time.  She was a “high-strung” border collie/belgian sheepdog mix who liked to bark (a lot) and as we got her a few years before having our children, she always seemed a bit jealous when they came along.  Not really the “family pet”.   Then a few weeks after we said a sad good-bye to our Molly my husband’s grandmother passed away.   And in August the death of my father-in-law was a huge blow to our family.  Followed of course, by the event of September 11th of that year that rocked the reality of the entire nation.  Yes 2001 was a tough year for many (most) of us.

So then that following spring, some brightness and joy bounced into our life.  Was I ready for another puppy?  My kids ages 7 & 9 at the time were ready.  They named her Lucky after a story they had read about a stray dog, but we were truly the lucky ones.  She has been the ideal dog (well if you don’t mind a lot of shedding fur).  She is calm, patient, great with the kids and topped out at 40 pounds, just like we like!   She has been lucky several times over the years too.  Once, when she was young she bounded out of our back gate as my son left it open just a moment too long.  She ran into the street and bounced off the bumper of a passing car.  She was stunned, but nothing more.  And she never did that again!  And 2 1/2 years ago at the end of 2013 we noticed a change in her behavior.  She quit jumping up on the bed, and seemed a bit off.  This again came at a very difficult time for us, just 2 weeks after we lost my mother-in-law to cancer.  A trip to the vet and an x-ray revealed a tumor on her spleen.  We were willing to do whatever we could for our Lucky.  We had the tumor removed, all 5+ pounds of it! (a stitch in time saved!!!)  And she recovered to be as active as she had always been.

I realized today that at 14 1/2 years, sleeping next to my side of the bed, and under my feet everyday, I have spent more of my “life minutes” with her, than with any other being. Probably more than with my husband of almost 29 years.  And now the last couple of weeks she has been struggling to walk up and down our stairs.  She is just not “herself”.  We went to the Vet a few days ago and they gave her an anti-infammatory that seemed to improve her movement, but she has been “up and down” every day this week.  I can’t tell which direction this is going.  And at her age, I’m not sure what to do.  So,  I’ve been bringing her into my work studio the last couple of days with me.  I want to spend as much time as possible with this sweet baby, and I want to watch how she is feeling.  This morning she was in the backseat, trying to lay down for the ride.  As I turned on the radio this song came on the radio.  I believe she was singing it to me.

X Ambassadors:  Unsteady

Hold, hold on, hold onto me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady
Hold, hold on, hold onto me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady

Mama, come here
Approach, appear
Daddy, I’m alone
‘Cause this house don’t feel like home

If you love me, don’t let go
Whoa, if you love me, don’t let go

Hold, hold on, hold onto me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady
Hold, hold on, hold onto me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady

Mother, I know
That you’re tired of being alone
Dad, I know you’re trying
To fight when you feel like flying

But if you love me, don’t let go
Whoa, if you love me, don’t let go

Hold, hold on, hold onto me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady
Hold, hold on, hold onto me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady

Hold, hold on, hold onto me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady…..

So for now, I will hold on to you Lucky.  

We are both a little unsteady.

And I’m not ready to Let Go.

My Lucky Dog
My Lucky Dog

Update:  Lucky closed her eyes for her eternal rest on August 20, 2016.  See Lucky.

 

Fungal Bouquets

20160628_113414I just returned from several days of camping in the hills of Pennsylvania, outside of Pittsburg.  Each year from the time my children were 2 and 4 years old until they got through high school I met up with 3 other women friends and our 10 children to go “Chick Camping”.  We travel to places within 2 hours of home for the first few years and then as one friend moved out East we traveled a further distance each year to meet up more centrally to all of us.  So, much fun.  So many memories.  But as my children are now 21 and 23 (and as are the others, moving on into adulthood), we had not camped together in a few years.  Until this past weekend.  This time just the four “moms” went.

On day one of our adventure we set out on a 7-mile hike through the woods in the heat and humidity. As my friend Kate stopped to take yet another picture of unusual fungi she remarked something to the effect of “how interesting that there are so many (beautiful) ways for things to decay.”20160626_122243

I am turning the page to a new chapter of my life. I am bringing some long standing parts of my life to a close over the next couple of months (if plans continue on the path I envision).  I know it is time.  Yet, it can be hard sometimes not to look back and yearn for what once was.  Camping with kids (like life in general) had both it’s joys and it’s challenges.

This is currently a time of great change for many on this planet (and for the planet herself).  I think it can be helpful to see the Fungal Bouquets as a symbol and a reminder that what “used to be”, can be “food” for something new and beautiful.  Decay?  I prefer to think of it as New Growth.

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Please Don’t Listen To Me

(This was written a few days after the Orlando nightclub shootings and not posted until now.  I was still feeling a bit like my words just weren’t adequate for the situation at the time.  Not sure if they are now, but do feel called to share this)

Don’t Listen. To me.  Especially this week when there are so many other voices making noise.  Making noise about guns, noise about hatred, noise about religious beliefs, noise about sexuality, noise about safety, noise about protection, noise about government leaders, noise about laws, noise about politicians, noise, noise, noise….

Why?  Because, my words, no matter how they are written or spoken are going to divide us.  You will either agree or disagree and I probably won’t change that.  Or you may not even understand me at all.  My words are written in my first and pretty much only language (American English) that only a segment of the people of the world can read and comprehend.  And even if English is your first language, you may still mis-understand the intent I hope to convey.  So, I won’t.  Try.  To Convey Thoughts or Ideas. Now.  When we need most to be reminded of our Oneness.  And words just won’t can’t do that.

A few years ago I was a visiting teaching artist for several weeks to one of Chicago area’s “alternative schools”.  When I took the “gig” I really didn’t know what that meant exactly: “alternative”.  Well this was a school for middle school aged children (young adults) who had been “kicked out” of regular public school for “mis-behaviour”.   I was told going into the position that I could not use “gang affiliated colors”.  What were those?  Well, black, red, grey, silver, blue, yellow, green, and on and on.  How do you do art projects without the three primaries and black, I ask?  Well, I had them dyeing yarns and weaving with pastel shades and got very creative in resolving this issue.  At the same time I was working with a 2nd grade class in a suburban elementary school and we were learning about “symbols” and creating art that “symbolized” who we were.  Soccer balls, baseball bats, flowers, rainbows all played into their imagery.  Words, symbols, colors, flags, songs, manifestos, all defining who we are individually and collectively in our small groups.  All very important at separating us.  What is important to utilize when working to unite us?

I want to believe that if there were no words, if there were no language you could feel my intent.  I want to be like our bright sun as it came out from hiding behind the cloud or the tree.  I will share my Light.  I will share my Vibration.  I will share my Love.  Please see the Brightness.  Please feel the Tingle.  Please embrace the Warmth.  But please don’t listen, there is nothing here to hear.  Please just FEEL IT.  2014-01-06 16.02.08

Mountain Top

Mountain Top
My view on a camping trip to Shenandoah National Park circa 2007.

This morning as I transitioned out of sleep I heard that Voice that whispers to me before my head gets cluttered with the thoughts of the day.  (I am not a person who likes to jump out of bed at the sound of an alarm. I linger and listen. I get my best guidance in this liminal space.)  The Voice said, “We are so pleased, Pam. You made it over the mountain top.”

What do  I see from the mountain top?  I expect to see a beautiful fertile valley below, but it’s still “early in the day” and the fog is hiding the view.  So, I will linger here for a while.  I will wait for the path ahead to clear. I will enjoy the beauty as it gradually appears through the mist.  I know the trek ahead will become so much easier. I have made it over the Mountain Top!  Thank you, Guides for helping me get here and for celebrating my arrival.  I couldn’t have done it without You.

 

 

Quieting the New Mo(o)nkey Mind

image

Saturday, June 4, 2016. New Moon. Card of the Day (for me). The Hanged Man XII.  Well, I should have seen that coming! That is exactly the energy I am feeling this morning. This new moon energy has a feeling of sadness and a little grieving as I try to release “the old”. But that is the message of the hanged man: “Waiting, Surrender, Release”.  So easy to say. So hard to do.  The “monkey mind” just wants to know ” what’s next?”.  The hanged man just answers, “take this time of waiting as an opportunity to practice being present with yourself.”  The new moon says, “the answers will show up with the light of the full moon. Just wait.”  And so I let go of yesterday and sit with TODAY.

Dead Wood Metaphor

20160601_142841One of my first thoughts this morning as I was putting clean dishes away in my kitchen and frustrated that I didn’t have enough cabinet space for everything was, “You must sacrifice some things in order to have other things that you want or would like”.   Whoa, where did that limiting belief come from?  Yes, I know it’s been hiding in the dark corners of my thoughts for at least 3 decades, possibly all 5 decades of my life!  Why is it there?  Why can’t I believe that “I can have it all”?  It may feel like my truth.  But, it isn’t a TRUTH.  How do I shift that into a thought pattern that serves my highest good, changes my personal path to abundance and is aligned to the belief that as a Spark of the Divine I am worthy of “having it all”?  No sacrifices needed.

Yesterday a fast-moving thunderstorm moved through our community.  Many branches and even whole trees came down around town.  They called it a microburst.  A tree came down across the street from our home landing on the neighbor’s house, severed at the base of the trunk.  Today the village tree service is making fast progress to clear the debris.  As I was meditating this morning and listening to the wood shredding going on nearby I realized that my limiting beliefs are like “dead wood”.  They need to be blown away periodically.  Sometimes it takes a pretty strong microburst to do that.  We may inspect our thoughts and “prune” little bits of beliefs that are no longer needed, no longer feel TRUE.  Ideas that may have served us well in the past, but are now holding us back.  Thoughts that may have kept us safe, or were commonly held by our family, friends, community.  But now they no longer work for our current situation, our continued growth.  Pruning can lead to better health, greater vitality.  But still, like the tree across the street from me, we miss the fact that the trunk has a huge portion that is rotting.  And until a strong microburst comes through, it stays hidden.  Buried deep.

Yes, we can prune and blow away the dead wood, but there is one more hidden lesson here and it came from the humming of the wood chipper.  You must transform that dead wood.  Mulch it.  Make it something new.  Something that aids and nurtures the “further growth”.  Make it block the weeds.  Make it feed the roots of new growth.  Rotting wood is necessary.  Don’t just blow it away and pretend you don’t need it.

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Work In Progress:  “Can You See The Forest for the Trees?”  (c)2016-Pamela Penney

So, today as I work to finish a piece I’ve been creating for quite a while I contemplate what needs “pruning” from my thoughts and where, if anyplace, am I hiding “rotting wood”.  (My maiden name was Wood, so this feels “real” to me)  How can I examine and transform the thoughts that no longer serve my continued growth?  How do I use them to feed the change and transformation of my life?   What needs a bigger storm to push it out? The “working title” of this piece has been “can you see the forest for the trees?”  How do my little thoughts keep me from seeing the big picture?   How do I mulch my little thoughts and beliefs to create fertilizer for my growth?

I believe that I will weather the storms and time will tell.  

New Belief of Transformation:  I am Worthy and Can Have It ALL!

Flight

Well, I knew this day was coming.  My baby robins left the nest this week.  Today it is suddenly very quiet in my studio.  I did not realize how frequently I heard the babies chirp, chirp as Mom and Dad Robin flew in with a meal.  I found great joy in seeing the reaction of people as they walked down the street and noticed them so close to the sidewalk.  One evening a family watched for several minutes asking each other if they were “real”, and yes, “I think I saw one blink!”.  And  I found it facinating just how many people walked by oblivious to the miracle of nature just inches from their face, because they were too busy on their phone to notice.  On Monday the four little robins had gotten so big they barely fit in the nest and I knew the time was near.  I also could tell that Mom and Dad Robin knew it too.  They became pretty aggressive at “dive bombing” anyone who came too near or lingered for too long.  I was not in my studio when they took their first flights.  But I don’t believe the Mother Robin pushes them out of the nest.  No, they spent many days stretching and testing their wings.  They just finally got too big for the nest and had no other option but to fly.

I too am feeling a little like that.  Like my current nest doesn’t quite fit anymore.  So, what to do?  I just keep testing and spreading my wings.  When the time is right, I have faith,  I will be ready to FLY!  Enjoy this little video on my Facebook Page of my babies the day before they left me.  See it HERE.

And, I urge you to slow down, stop and enjoy the miracles of nature just inches from your face everyday.  It puts things in perspective and teaches lessons about life you just can’t learn on your computer and phone screens.  For a great way to learn how to do that I recommend my friend Sallie Wolf‘s book, “The Robin Makes A Laughing Sound, a birder’s journal”.  It has great lessons for watching, documenting and enjoying birds and the natural world around you.  Perfect for children (and adults!).

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The Robin Makes A Laughing Sound, by Sallie Wolf