Appreciate What You Have NOW – Day 326 of 365 Days to a Better You

My apologies for being away, my friends. We’ve been traveling in Hawaii. Enjoying the incredible natural beauty here is not always conducive to blogging.

Yesterday my wife and I made one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever had to make. We had put our beloved black lab Mia to sleep. She was 151/2 years old. She’d fought the good fight,including a cross country move back to Kansas City this year.

To say that Mia was loved would completely understate the truth. She and I had a special bond formed when she was a puppy and I was her one constant while my wife traveled for her job. Our whole family and many of our friends knew and loved Mia. She returned that love in abundance like the kind, gentle soul she was.

Death, damn you, is the constant affliction of the living. The relationships – human and animal – we form here in these brief years or decades belie the cosmic journey every living thing is on.

Despite the fact I saw Mia as my true companion for these years, she’s on her own journey and so are all of us. We touched for a few moments of this game of time and space. We formed a bond that will be forever, but we are all spinning along this path like stars swirling around a galaxy.

We live with the memories of that wonderful time together. Now, we go back about the eternal journey we were all on before we “met”this time.

Saints and philosophers have sought cures for the death that separates us from those we love in these time and space encounters. Some have proposed to stop the process of craving that manifests into these lives where we experience pain. Others have suggested that a special being or beings can save us from death.

Death defies reason or belief’s ability to comprehend. It can feel painful and unfair.

All of I’ve come to in these many years of pondering the fate of living things is this.

  1. Enjoy every moment while you have it. Don’t take your family, your friends, or your pet for granted. The time together in this place in this form is short.
  2. There is a reason and a purpose in it all. There was a reason Mia came into our lives and we came into hers. Now that momentary reason has been satisfied. It’s time for a new combination of variables so that we can all complete the path we’re on.
  3. Nothing is ever truly lost. We’re all manifestations of something all wise, all knowing, and all encompassing. As Marianne Williamson has often said, “there’s really only one of us here.” That one has a reason for the roles we each play and it’s a bond, a connection that can never be broken.

Yes, Mia’s consciousness has left the form we cherished and gone back to the great recycling bin of life, as we all one day will. Yet, we didn’t just meet 15 years ago. These forms aren’t who we really are. We’ve been bubbles on the ocean of life sticking together for a passing moment. But, you, Mia, and me are all made of ocean not bubbles. We’ve been together forever on this path.

To my sweet little girl, it’s not goodbye. It’s until we play the game together again. Thanks for being an awesome friend on this go-around.

In case no one else reminded you today, you’re awesome!

Ray

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Monday Morning Motivator – 108 and Still Going

This our beautiful black lab, Mia. She’s been my daily shadow for 15 human years.

Mia says, “Good morning.” She also says, “I’m 108. If am still trying, so can you.”

#MondayMotivation #mondaythoughts #MondayMorning


Ray

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Things I Learned from My Dog Part 1 – The Affirmation Spot for Friday October 19, 2007

mia_snow.jpg

Today is the first in what will become a recurring series on things I learn from my dog. We humans may have the opposable thumb and a larger brain, but animals can actually serve as very good teachers for us.

 

I’ve always been a dog lover and I especially love Labrador Retrievers. They just seem to be the ultimate optimists in the dog world. They are fun, playful, and affectionate.

 

Take our three-year old black Lab – Mia. The whole world – me included – can be against me on a bad day, but Mia is still for me. When we need to feel better about ourselves or other people it always helps to take a dog’s point of view. Dogs teach by example and then there are those things we can learn by observation.

 

One humorous thing about Mia, though, is that she is a ferocious Squirrel Warrior. In fact, I’d have to say she is a little neurotic about squirrels. We are very fortunate to have a house with a significant number of windows. Mia – when she’s not sleeping – can usually be found patrolling the windows…waiting…watching for movement in the yard or a gray bushy tail in the grass that might indicate the presence of a squirrel.

 

She takes this very seriously and she can drive herself crazy over the squirrels. Some of the older, wily squirrels will do things to really annoy her like sit on the deck rail or the patio (in full view) and munch on a nut. While inside Mia is having a conniption fit, the squirrel is calmly watching.

 

They also seem to have a very good idea of exactly how far her chain will reach in the back yard and they love to sit just beyond it. Sometimes when we let her out she will sit up by the door for half an hour or more waiting for one to wander too close and then she is OFF. Chasing the squirrel for all she’s worth and almost catching it, but not quite. She is the Wylie Coyote of the neighborhood. Another brilliant trap foiled.

 

Much of Mia’s day is consumed with the pursuit of squirrels she’s probably never going to catch. She just cannot relax as long as there are squirrels around. They torment her and she lets them.

 

You know, we all have our squirrels. We all have things that drive us up the wall and refuse to let us have peace. It might be a habit of your spouse, e-mail spam, traffic jams, the project at work, or, well, you fill in the blank.

 

Even the language we use to describe our “squirrels” is backwards. We often say, “That traffic really annoyed me.” Did it? The traffic was just sitting on deck rail munching a nut. You were the one in the car losing your sense of peace.

 

There was a story I remember reading once about a young man who had decided to take up meditation. He was working with a teacher. The man lived in a big city apartment. He was explaining to his teacher that he could not meditate in the apartment because there was a bus stop right outside his apartment.

 

“The constant noise,” he complained, “will not allow me to meditate. It’s too distracting.”

 

The teacher leaned forward and smiled, “Ah yes, but is the bus coming into the apartment and bothering you or are you going outside and bothering the bus?”

 

The teacher’s point, of course, is that it is not the things that bother us; it is our thoughts about them that create the stress.

 

Today, make a list of your “squirrels” – those things that really annoy you. Think about how each can be addressed. Is there something you can do to change the situation and make it better? Or, is this something you just have to accept and get better at dealing with it?

 

Don’t try to take them all on at once. Work on one or two at a time. Over the course of the next few weeks or months –depending on how many you have – you will have more peace by setting them down.

 

When you encounter something really annoying you remember Mia. If it’s a real problem that needs to be dealt with, deal with it. If not (and so many things we get worked up about are not), visualize yourself as Mia going crazy and the source of your annoyance as the squirrel calmly munching the nut and enjoying the show.

 

I promise a smile will come to your face and you will recognize how silly it is and let it go.

 

Have a peaceful and prosperous Friday!

Ray

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