Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Power and the Price of Love

 "Mom. They took Tux off the shelter site." She was crestfallen.

"Really?" I tried to look surprised and concerned at the same time. 

"I'm really glad I went to meet him in person."

"So am I sweetie. So am I."

What she didn't know was that I had gone to the site and put in an adoption form for this cat she fell in love with from his picture and his story on the site, right after we went in to see him, "to prove to myself," she had told me, "that there won't be a connection with me in person."

But there was.

He was about 4 months old, and he had been at the shelter for two months. He was so shy and fearful that nobody wanted him. But my cat-whisperer daughter saw something in him. And we had just lost our older cat - perhaps to an eagle, we couldn't be sure.

His back story was heartbreaking. He had gotten stuck in the fan-belt of the engine of a summering snowmobile ... at just eight weeks old. His mom couldn't get him out so she abandoned him there. A neighbor was out walking and heard his cries, so she set about trying to get him out. The rescue process was long and tedious, and many hours later, the woman called the PEI Humane Society. An Animal Protection Officer came and helped free him from the belt. But the damage was already done: with so many hands coming down from above, the pain of being stuck, and the sight of work boots and sound of raised voices, he was traumatized and was a black and white bundle of hissing and spitting. 

They put him in a crate to transport him to the shelter. Then they transferred him into a cage in the receiving area, where they assessed him. After his quarantine, they transferred him to another crate to go to the vet to be neutered. Another crate to get back to the shelter. Then transferred into his cage, then to another cage to be available for adoption. Nope. A foster family took him in (more crates to and from) as well as another kitten about his age. He and his foster brother lived with a couple of large dogs and a couple of cats; he liked another cat that was there. When he was four months old, they took him back to the shelter (yet another crate). No method of transferring him to a crate worked. It just added more things to be afraid of: blankets, towels, clothing, you name it. 

But then my daughter saw his pic and read his story. And she fell head over heels for him. We went to see him (as I mentioned, above) and she had resigned herself to leaving him there. So unknown to her, I got the adoption ball rolling, and the conversation happened, the one I shared at the first of this post.

A few hours later, she got an email. She opened it and started to read. It was from a friend of hers at the shelter, who was thrilled that this cat would go to her and who was congratulating her! When the realization came that he was coming to live with us, and that was the reason they took his profile off the website, she was so happy that she cried.

We picked him up the next day. Poor kitty - still another crate experience.  My daughter took him to her room, where she had set up a litter box and a feeding station, and spent the next few weeks doing nothing else but teaching him that people were okay, that it was safe here, that he would be fine, that he was loved and that it felt good to get petted.

We all changed his name to Callum - which means peace - and it soon got shortened to Cal.

I remember the first time she allowed me into her room to give Cal someone else to interact with, to teach him that it wasn't just ONE human he could trust. She told me how to sit, what to do, and how to talk. Within minutes, his terror ebbed away, and I had a tuxedo-clad kitty rubbing up against me and purring. He drooled, but we figured that he had been rewarded with food for letting people handle him, so he associated being stroked with receiving food. He never got over that habit. After a while, it was one of the endearing things about him, as he got to know us all, including the other cats and eventually, last year, the dog. (Well, okay, he never really enjoyed the dog, but you can't have everything.)

There was a one-sided 'bromance' between him and our black cat Loki, who was about six months older than he was. The first time he saw Loki, he ran right up to him and head-butted him so hard it knocked Loki into the wall!! Loki was taken aback, and gave one short hiss - out of surprise more than anything else! 

He never knew his own strength. The largest of our cats, he was the resident scaredy-cat. So he let Loki rule the roost. And he and Eris (our female cat, around his age) played together. They'd play chase, take turns running after each other, and sometimes Loki would join in. When he finally stood up to Loki (after Loki had been picking on him too much), the fur flew, but Loki respected him more after that. 

And so did the dog - he had to swat at Bullet a few times before the dog got the message.

Cal at about a year old, 2015
Cal was a big fella. He was gangly and big-boned, clumsy and a little lumbering, but his heart was as big as all Texas, as the saying goes. 

His favorite piece of furniture was our bed. He would sprawl out on the bed and lay on his side and his older (adopted) brother Loki would lay within three feet of him. They would stay there all day. And when they weren't there, they were on the cat tree (the ledge of which he is laying down on in the picture provided.) Being up high increased his confidence. He learned that he had a right to take up space, and we saw him slowly heal from his traumatic kittenhood. It was so inspiring to watch! "This," we would mutter, "is what love can do. So powerful. Just love. Pure and simple." 

Last Friday, he started to have a hard time breathing. We thought he was trying to cough up a hairball, but he was doing it more and more often. By yesterday morning, we knew we had to call the emergency room vet. They took us right away. Apparently (we had no idea) breathing problems are equivalent to an animal being hit by a car when it comes to deciding which cases are most urgent.

They calmed him with medications, did an X-ray, and then showed us what the problem was. His chest cavity was filled with fluid, which was compressing his lungs and making it really hard for him to breathe. We saw two little black blobs on the X-ray ... the size and appearance of prunes. The vet explained. "Those are his lungs. All this white stuff in the rest of the chest cavity is fluid. It's pressing in on his lungs and there's not enough room for him to get a full breath." So she recommended taking a good bit of that fluid out to make his breathing easier, and testing the fluid to see what the cause of his problem might be. Not all of it, she said, because the risk of a collapsed lung was more if they took it all out. So we consented. They gave him some intravenous liquids and put in some anti-nausea medication. We brought him back home around 4 pm. Dr. Marlene is AMAZING. Just saying.

That night, after he had found a hiding spot under my side of the bed, Cal managed to eat some tuna (his favorite), and drink a little water. He stayed there all night. The family gathered in the living room and talked. We all knew it was just a matter of time. If he got worse, we couldn't keep subjecting him to that crate and to the interventions of strangers.

There were many tears. Nobody got much sleep that night.

I checked on him in the morning. He had stopped panting, so I thought he was doing better. I petted him; he purred. His breathing was still too fast, but I went forward with my plans for the day, which included meeting a friend for an early-afternoon coffee nearby. I took my phone with me "just in case you guys need to go back to the vet with him." I made it clear that I wanted to be there too. All they had to do was call.

I got that call around 2:30, while I was finishing up coffee with my friend. "I'll meet you there," I told my daughter. 

When we got inside, I checked on him inside the crate (again with the crate!!)  He was in clear distress, panting open-mouthed and slavering. Strings of drool hung from the sides of his mouth. I saw panic in his eyes. The vet met us shortly and immediately took him back into ICU. They started an IV and put him on oxygen. 

That's when we had the "quality of life" conversation with the vet. 

The next hour or so was a blur. Lots of waiting for medications to kick in so he would be more calm. Long minutes of petting him and saying our goodbyes. Tears. Hugs. More pets. Then the vet came in with the needles - 3 of them (sedation, an agent to stop the heart, and saline solution to go into the vein after the deed was done to avoid blood leaking out when they took out the IV.) Everything was designed for maximum comfort, minimum stress for both us and him. The vet was great: respectful, compassionate, and knowledgeable.

While we were waiting for them to do the paw-print, the vet from the previous day, who had dropped by because she had 'forgotten' her notes, came in to see us and express her sadness at how things turned out. What a blessing! We had the unique opportunity to thank her for everything she did to ease his discomfort and make him as calm as possible. She had been his vet when he was younger, and that made it easier to talk to her about him, and to share memories ... the scene reminded me of a funeral home in a way. 

Yes. Yes, she cried. It meant a lot to her for us to thank her. I'm so glad we got a chance to do that. Vets don't get a lot of thanks. They should.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Summer Daze

 I passed in my last assignment (revised per my prof's instructions) on August 6, 2021. Four hours later, she emailed me and told me that I was done and congratulations, and to enjoy my summer!  Just like that!

It took quite a while for the fact to sink in that I was done my Masters degree. Done homework. Done writing papers for marks. Done. It's still sinking in that I can enjoy a vacation for what feels like the first time in a very long time. Not an enforced one, or taking time off to do self-care, but a real, honest-to-goodness vacation! I had almost forgotten what it felt like ... so for the last week or so, I've been enjoying that feeling.

But I'm not done learning. That never ends.

The summer has been muggy, and the last two or three weeks has been super hot for this part of the country. One day the "feels like" temperature, or humidex, was 41 degrees Celsius (about 103ยบ Fahrenheit). That was brutal. Plus, the mosquitoes! We have been so grateful for any breeze strong enough to blow those little suckers away ... pun intended. 

The garden has grown in leaps and bounds, with regular watering from the sky or from the garden hose if there's no rain in a week. I have harvested peas and radishes, and watched corn, winter squash, and cucumbers grow. Beets? Beans? Not so much... A few came up but the beets are scrawny and the beans are few. We have potato plants, but I think the high heat really scorched them. Plus there were some caterpillars helping themselves to the leaves. No blossoms yet. But all in all, it's coming. And oh yes - one of our young apple trees actually is growing an apple! It's maybe 3 years old so we weren't expecting any fruit this year. So in September, we'll be able to harvest this one lone apple from our Red Nova tree. 

Free pic by Jessica Bolander at Pixabay:
Cucumber growing
Right now, it's really easy for me to stress out about the future. I sent in my application to the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) for a designation as a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC), but these things take time. (I hate waiting, just in case you forgot.) So it's been an exercise in self-care to let go of my obsession with getting everything done and getting moving on opening an office, because I really can't do that before being certified. So, I take one step at a time. One day at a time. I've even made an agreement with myself to NOT check the status of my application this weekend, but to enjoy what is, in the present moment, and not to fret about things I cannot change. 

So, I have been spending time in my veggie garden, learning from Nature, reminding myself to be patient and let things happen, and doing things I enjoy doing. Like blogging for example. ;) And feeling free enough to watch a movie on Netflix with the family from time to time. 

Part of me feels like I'm in a daze ... in limbo ... on hold, and I rail against it, wanting the next part of my journey to kick in. And another part of me says to myself, "So...this is what it feels like to be on vacation. It feels kinda good!" Well, I suppose that within a few weeks or so, I'll be busy enough ... so I guess I had better enjoy these summer days while they last. One daze - er - one day at a time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

That "new car" smell

 You know that experience where you go to a car dealership and they have a nice model in the showroom, and you open the door and sit in the driver's seat? You remember that smell? That new car smell? 

I remember it. It makes me want to drive the car. It's new vinyl, new leather (if you're that rich), clean air conditioning vents, no dust, no smudges, clear windshield ... and the list goes on.

Now, translate that into the experience of a person who is almost at the end of her Masters degree, itching to get out in the world and help people. 

That's me.

Yesterday, as an example of my impatience, I went to see three different spaces that could serve as good offices for a counsellor. Well ... they LOOKED like good spaces. Two out of the three were pretty well duds. But one ... it showed promise. I told the lady that I couldn't  make a decision for at least a month. So if someone came in before she heard back to me, it wasn't fair to make her wait for me. "Go ahead and rent it to that person who gives you the first deposit," I told her. 

Free image by RitaE at Pixabay
Well, at least that scratched my "new car smell" itch. I get it once in a while, mostly when I am impatient or tired of waiting for the next thing to happen. God knows I have this tendency ... and so does my family. I had strict instructions from my daughter NOT to make up my mind that day, that this was just a dry run for the real thing.  

I am so glad I had that thought as I went looking. It took the pressure off. I was able to ask my questions, and hold a mild curiosity instead of an all-encompassing inner push to get it all done in one go. 

I guess I just needed to take my fact-finding skills out for a test drive. And what I found is that there are a number of offices out there that are unsuitable spaces, but you do find that odd gem. If it's still available next month, it would be really nice to practice there. 

However, I'm not in that position quite yet. I still have to finish my degree (2 more weeks and then another 2 until I get my marks!) and then, I will have to apply for  my CCC designation at the same time as I apply for my registration from the soon-to-be-opened College of Counselling Therapists in PEI. One step at a time. 

Part of me still wants to order business cards and such, but I know that I will need a business address and phone number before doing that. I guess that I will be opening sometime in October, not sure exactly when. I will put a rush on my application for my Canadian certified counsellor designation (CCC) so I can at least practice. And I have an action plan for when I receive that. 

It's all laid out, but I'm just waiting for someone in authority to press "Go" ... and at that point, I'll just have one thing to say: 

I'm Open! 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

On My Way

 I've been on this journey for a while now. And now, I'm one course away from finishing this program. I'm within sight of beginning a career in counselling. 

After I get my credentials from the soon-to-be-opened College of Counselling Therapists of PEI (CCT-PEI), I will be able to call myself a Counselling Therapist. Until then, I will be finishing my studies, applying to obtain my credentials, and searching for an appropriate office from where to provide services.

I feel as though I have started the last leg of my graduate studies journey, and at some point, that last leg becomes the first leg of my second career. 

I have no rose-coloured glasses here. I know it will be difficult. I know I will struggle at first. Most new business owners do. However, I have my training, I have a few people who want me to contact them in the fall of this year (after I get my credentials) and who will be happy to come and see me as paying clients. And I have word of mouth, which in this province is a powerful thing, for good or ... not. 

Plus, I also have the support of family, friends, colleagues, professors, and the most amazing supervisor. That means that if I have a question about anything to do with the counselling business OR about getting myself unstuck as a therapist, I have someone to mentor me. 

Thinking back to when I first started this blog, little did I know then where that journey would lead me. Random events converged to funnel me in to a decision that I initially made as a back-up plan in case I got fired. (At the time Stephen Harper was the prime minister and public servants were in his cross-hairs!) That back-up plan quickly became my ultimate goal, something I lined up for me to walk into after I retired. 

I retired near the end of September 2020, after the pandemic had ravaged the world and we were heading into the second wave. However, since the Emergency Measures Organization had identified counselling as an essential service, I was able to do my practicum at a local church (thanks to Grace Baptist and Pastor Jeff Eastwood and the elders' board!) for the past 7.5 months. The day after tomorrow, I will see my last client as a student.

It all seems so surreal to me. The idea that in six months, I will likely have my own practice and be seeing clients there ... boggles my mind. Six months! 

I have very little idea what lies ahead. The stepping stones of this journey lead to the other side, but what that shore will look like is a mystery to me. All I know is that this is what I was meant to do, what I was made to do. 

And I will relish every moment. Even if I get my feet wet. :D

 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

What's THAT feeling?

 I was sitting at breakfast with hubby yesterday morning. We had been talking about everything and nothing, one of my favorite times of the day. The dog was laying at our feet, chewing on a bully stick. And I noticed it ... inside of me. 

What's that feeling? I thought. It's ... different.

I tuned into my emotions and it was then that I realized what it was. As I did, my eyes opened wide ... and I turned to my husband. "I'm ... happy," I said.

He blinked slowly. "You're what?" he queried. 

"Happy." I smiled gently, gently placed my elbows on the table, and cupped my chin in my hands.

"Wow," he responded, eyes wide. "It's been a long time since I heard you say that." 

"I know." My attention turned inward, and I held the feeling close to me like one would hold a little bird: gently, lovingly. I was silent for several seconds. An indulgent smile crept onto my face.

"It's all this," he said, gesturing to my tote bag where I carried my clipboard and my appointment book back and forth to my counselling office. "Isn't it."

I nodded. 

"I am so happy for you," he said, softly. "And I am so proud of you." He took a sip of coffee, and looked me in the eye again. "You were made for this. You've found your niche." 

I smiled and nodded as my eyes stung with tears. "It feels so good.  And I'm learning so much!" My mind drifted to all the neat things I was learning from my experiences as a counsellor, from my clients, and from my supervisor. I shook my head slowly in amazement. 

Happiness. Who knew?

I remember one day, after the umpteenth time in three years when this one person asked me how I was and I responded, "Okay," she said to me that one of these days she was hoping that I would be able to answer by saying "Great!" 

Well, I guess she got her wish. It took a while, though. 

This feeling - this happiness - is reason enough to stay in the moment to enjoy it. I like it. It's good.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

SSS-KSS-KSS-KSS-KSS

No, it's not a typo.

The title that I chose today is the sound my little dog's nails and feet make on the floor when he races around the house doing what little dogs do when they are excited (or just before bed): "the zoomies."

We had a snow last night. As always happens in the morning when the dog wakes up, he wants to go out. So I put his harness and leash on, and carried him out the back door onto the deck, and put him on the deck for him to choose a place to do his business. But as soon as he had emptied his little bladder, he put his nose into the white stuff on the deck, and jerked away. COLD! And then his nose melted it. He cocked his head. "Wuff," he whispered. He put his nose on the white stuff again. Cold! He pulled his head back and peered at this strange substance.

 

Bullet, September 2020
 

All of a sudden, the lightbulb came on over his head. He started doing the zoomies right there on the deck! SSSS-KSS-KSS-KSS went the little feet as he turned tight corners and slid around ... over and over again! Mouth open, tongue lolling, snapping at the flakes he was raising, he was the picture of pure doggy joy as he lived each and every nanosecond in the moment. 

It made me laugh out loud! Literally! Even when he left snow crystals on my Crocs (and melting into my bare feet inside of them) I couldn't help surfing on the waves of joyful puppyness that emanated from him. 

No fear. Pure joy that comes from confidence - which comes from knowing he is loved. I am slowly learning that I am loved unconditionally, and that gives me confidence ... and joy. My heart skipped and skidded around with Bullet on that deck. Though I hate the cold, somehow it didn't matter to me, and I laughed -- no, giggled -- like a child at play.

It feels good.  SSSSS-KSS-KSS-KSS-KSS-KSS-KSS.....

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Releasing

Since I last posted, I put a notice in a local Facebook group and within 48 hours I had 25 clients lined up to see me. Today, I have 31. 

I've been seeing some of these folks the last week and a half. At times I feel like a green rookie; at other times I feel confident and calm. But always I strive to be present for my clients. And if I could pick a theme for the last ten days, it would be Releasing.

There is such freedom in realizing that I am not put on this earth to save the world, to rescue the people that I care about, or to protect people from the consequences of their own choices. When I release the weight of all of those duties (which don't belong to me) and decide to show up for my own life, when I decide to simply be present for people who ask me for help, and to let go of the burden of taking responsibility for other people's outcomes, I experience peace, and I can sleep at night. 

It sounds selfish to put it that way. However, by releasing my grip on things that are not mine to fix, I gain the energy that I need to look after my own needs, and then reach out to help someone else look after their needs.  I remember saying to someone this week that it's like what the flight attendants say in their safety presentation about when the oxygen masks fall from the ceiling of the cabin. They instruct us to put on our own masks first, before helping someone else put theirs on. The reason for this is simple: you can't help someone else unless you have what you need to stay safe - otherwise you'll pass out and both people are in trouble. 

Free pic from www.pexels.com
I've been cultivating this lifestyle of letting go or releasing since I first became aware that the opposite was happening in my life, and that it was driving the people I cared about further and further away from me. I held onto the people in my life with a tight-fisted grip that didn't allow them to feel free or comfortable around me.  When I stopped trying to rescue them, and when I let go of the reins of control over their thoughts and behaviors, I gained a new sense of freedom, and that releasing saved those relationships.  In essence, I allowed them to be who they were instead of trying to make them into copies of me. Rather than feel threatened by their differences from me, I began to celebrate those differences and be grateful for the opportunity to grow as I got to know them better. 

It's an endless journey. I can't say that I have arrived, but I'm better than I was then, and I expect to continue to grow and to show up in my own life, so that I can be there for others.  I'm committed to this process of growth in my own life, and I hope to be able to convey to others how it has changed me for the better, and continues to change me into who I am becoming.  

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Annnd GO!

 I'm less than 38 hours away from my orientation at my practicum site. Normally I would write this on my student counselling blog, but I wanted to reflect on my feelings as I start to turn this corner into a second career as a counsellor.

I've done similar work to counselling before: six years as a La Leche League leader (breastfeeding support via telephone and in monthly group meetings), six months as a mentor to an at-risk single mom, and of course face-to-face practice counselling of my classmates in my grad program. 

But real-world, real-time clients? I would be an idiot if I were to not feel some trepidation. And I do!  

I have the feeling that once I get into seeing clients, things will come together. I have the training, I have the practice, and I know how to use the theories effectively. I just need to calm my jitters and take one client, one day, sometimes even one moment, at a time, and things will all come together.

Photo from http://www.pixabay.com

I do know that I feel a strong sense of gratitude for all that I have been given, not the least of which is my family and their support and encouragement. The same goes for my close friends, my work colleagues, my former and current classmates, my profs, my supervisor, and my on-site mentor. I have been (and am) thoroughly blessed by my higher power. 

The reality is that I don't have any clients booked yet. Other than times booked to observe my supervisor, my appointment book is empty. I'm trying not to panic, and I've been getting the word out, but it's hard not to worry that I won't be able to get the number of clients I need to satisfy my university's expectations for the first couple of months of my practicum. So here's where the rubber meets the road. Do I trust God? Do I trust myself? Where are all these people who keep complaining that there aren't enough counsellors in my province and they have to wait for months to see one? At what point do I ask for help? 

My emotions are in a bit of a jumble, as you can imagine. I am both confident and unsure, excited and terrified, happy and nervous, hopeful and discouraged. I believe I have done all I can, but I wonder if it's enough. 

Time will tell. 

I truly hope that three months from now, I will be able to be confident with no question marks in the back of my mind. 

So, here goes!

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Face-plant

I fell down yesterday. 

It was totally avoidable. I wasn't watching where I was stepping. And I landed face first in the dirt with a skinned knee, a bruised elbow, and a bump on my right cheekbone. 

The reasons for my fall (I could call them excuses) were that someone left the garden hose in a high-traffic area, I was distracted by trying to focus on the dog who was anxious to make his way to the yard to do his business, and the path was fairly narrow. However, I could have avoided the situation if I had just been more careful about where I placed my feet. So, I take full responsibility for my error. 

The end result was that I was flat on my stomach with my face in the dirt, pebbles and grass, about 2 feet from an outdoor garbage can, and I felt helpless to right myself. 

The dog did his best to help. Unfortunately, his version of helping was prancing around my head and licking my face until I could hardly breathe. 

No help there.

I'd been in that position for about 2 minutes (it felt like longer) when I heard the door open and someone step out onto the deck above me. He told me later that he didn't even know I was down there until he moved closer to the railing and saw my white Crocs upside down on the pavement (my feet still in them.) Then he saw my legs and oh-my-gosh-are-you-all-right? he was there in no time flat. "Can you get up?" he asked. "I think so," I stammered, "but the dog wants to help me and I don't want to hurt him ..." 

He laughed, "I can see that," and picked up the leash. He held the dog back while I got to my hands and knees and then got my feet under me and stood up. He offered his arm to lean on as I pulled myself to my feet.

Without his help, I would not have been able to get out of my predicament. So I was (and am) extremely grateful for him coming to my aid.  I made sure to thank him sincerely. After that, we started joking around about it. Laughing privately after the fact helped me not feel so embarrassed.

Sometimes, whether by their own fault or not, people need help and not judgment or criticism. That was one instance.

My would-be hero. NOT!   ;)
When someone makes a mistake and needs help to get out of a jam, it could be very easy to ridicule or find fault. "You should not have done that" can be reserved for after the crisis ... or not said at all, how about that? My benefactor was more interested in whether I was hurt than whose fault it was that I fell. I like that. It confirmed to me the fact that he cares about me. When an examination revealed that my glasses were also bent in the fall, he drove me to the optician's office to get them fixed (which they did, thank you very much!) 

So in spite of the aches and pains I had later in the day, and in spite of the embarrassment of the fall, and the vulnerability, and the silly behavior of the dog, and the extra trip to town, I could look back on the day and call it a good one. Why? because in spite of it all, I knew I was loved, cared for, and appreciated.  I was not angry at the dog for preventing me from getting up or for distracting me. I was determined not to let my attention wander like that again, and grateful that I didn't sprain my ankle, and that's it. 

That's all. A fast fall on the hard-packed, dusty ground, a bit of road rash on one knee, and the helping hand of my best friend. What could be more simple than that?  

Perhaps the next time I see someone in a helpless position, whether by accident or not, I will not be so quick to judge, and quicker to just lend a hand. 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Quiet

It's quiet in the house. The dog is sleeping, and the only sound is the faint whirring of fans as they cool the room, our computers, and occasionally, the fridge. Plus the sound of my typing. And of course my ever-present tinnitus.

When it's quiet, sometimes my thoughts race as I wonder or even worry about what is to come. Sometimes I do something to fill the void: write a grocery list, play music, anything but be silent in my own thoughts. Other times, though, like this time, I tune into what I'm thinking about and set it aside in favor of experiencing this moment, this one fleeting experience, and enjoying it. I feel the rhythm of my breathing, and I remain present in that rhythm, being grateful for the breath of life. I see patches of sunshine come in their brilliance, and pass behind clouds, hiding the sun's rays in a cloak of water droplets. I marvel at how everything seems so still when the Earth is actually hurtling through space at thousands of miles per hour; it is a miracle that we do not fly off the face of the planet. I tune into my spirit and notice that today, it is content. I am grateful for that contentment.

Photo "Sun Ray Behind Dark Clouds"
by Sura Nualpradid at
www.freedigitalphotos.net

Sometimes my husband will comment on something that he has seen or learned, and we discuss it. Time with him, when he is truly present (like now) brings such peace and joy to me. I enjoy his company, which, although it sounds trite, rarely has need for words, but we talk anyway.

I hear the footfalls of my daughter as she awakens to another day. I wonder if she will be in more or in less pain than she was yesterday. She is never totally without it. Once, that realization troubled me deeply, because I had an unhealthy need to fix it; now, I am amazed and inspired by her courage and tenacity. She has taught me about so many things just by living them in her life: acceptance, tolerance, maturity, friendship, and more. I am grateful for her quiet, indomitable and yet vulnerable spirit.

I think about my friends. I am amazed by their patience with me as I have been so busy juggling career and school that I have rarely had enough (sometimes not any) time to spend with them as I would like. I know they support me in my chosen path - which means a great deal to me - and I hope to have a bit more time to spend with them as my work life comes to a close and I can concentrate more on school without that added burden of making a living. I have missed our times of fellowship together. With COVID-19 restricting our movements the last few months, I have become acutely aware of the effects of prolonged isolation even on a confirmed introvert like me. How awful it must be for those who need social contact to feel complete! They must feel like they are running on empty all the time! It firms my resolve to reconnect with my friends, one at a time, even though the chief health officer has deemed that it must be at a distance... so no hugging. ๐Ÿ˜ž

The puppy has awakened now, and is letting us know there is a delivery person at a neighbour's house. The silence is broken, but I am left with a sense of calm and peace that remains with me.

I like that feeling.