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Archive for January, 2017

When it’s Time

It was on a bench in the middle of the UNC Chapel Hill campus where my ex-husband and I decided to get a divorce.  Though I knew the ending was inevitable, it still surprised me as the words were leaving my mouth.  Diagnosis was loss of love.  It was three days later that I sat in a veterinarian’s office in West Virginia as she told me that my dog was dying. She was 11 and I knew that I wouldn’t have her forever.  The diagnosis was bone cancer.

Of course I choked my way through sobs that evening as friends brought me bottles of red wine and then put me to bed at the end of the night with my beloved Maggie dog tucked beside me.  Of course I was angry at the timing of it all.  But somehow I knew that these two instances of loss were coinciding and colliding with each other for some reason.

Over the next couple of weeks, I talked to three different vets, friends of mine.  There were options to try to prolong Maggie’s life.  They all involved a possibility of more pain.  They were futile grasps at trying to delay the inevitable.  But of course I considered them.

“Have I done enough for her?” “Am I trying everything possible here?” “At what point do I just let her go?”  I said these words through emails and phone calls, looking at the big brown dog laying by my side and wondering what on earth I would be without her.

All the while I was seeking counsel from my friends about my marriage.  “Have I done enough for my marriage?” “Did we try everything possible?” “At what point do I just let it go?”  I had been in my relationship for eight years and wasn’t quite sure at that point who I was without it.

It didn’t take me long to realize that the universe was pushing these two really painful instances together so that I could survive them both in tandem.  Life was offering me the same lesson in two different packages.

In the end I decided that I would not take any drastic measures to prolong Maggie’s life; that the best way I could honor the time that we had together was to know when it had run its course.  I had to fight against the feeling that I was failing her somehow.  I had to come to the realization that the cancer had been present for a long time and that it would eventually just spread to the point where it could no longer be treated.  And so I loved her more ferociously than ever over the next few months and then one day when her eyes told me that the pain was simply too much, I nuzzled my head into her neck one last time and we said goodbye.

During the course of those few months, I was also working with my ex-husband on separation papers.  As we discussed the details, sometimes we would question if we were doing the right thing.  I wondered if we had failed each other.  But alas, a cancer had begun between us a while ago.  And I don’t think that either of us had it in us to fight it any longer.  I cared about him enough to realize that he would be happier without me.  I cared about myself enough to realize I would be happier without him.  Though separation is this super scary thing, our relationship had simply run its course.  So perhaps the diagnosis wasn’t loss of love.  Perhaps it was love that led us to this point of realizing that the proudest thing we could do to honor the life of our relationship was to realize when it had run its course.

I saw my ex-husband for the last time less than after a month after I put Maggie down.  Her last lesson to me was in how to say a graceful goodbye.  My ex and I hugged in the parking lot at a bank in Colorado and thanked each other for the time that we had.  By then, life was already carrying us on different paths, the traces which had been set years before.

Sadly, the lives of dogs are finite things.  We tend to just ignore this fact when they first come into our lives.  All we can see is love and newness.  We don’t think too much about the fact that they might not be with us forever.  No, we love them with everything we have because if we didn’t we would be deceiving ourselves.  And when their time comes, it is not because our love wasn’t enough.   It’s simply because it’s time.

I am slowly beginning to realize that relationships are much the same way.  The life span of some might be very, very long and only be brought to an end when one person passes.  Some are shorter than that.  And I’ve never gone into a relationship thinking about the end of it.  No way…. there’s too much love and newness going on and I don’t want to deny myself that.  So I love with all I have.  I work to be comfortable with the recognitions of when the relationship has run its course.  And at that point, I work to realize that it wasn’t a failure, it wasn’t because my love wasn’t enough.  It’s simply because it’s time.

 

 

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All That Glitters

Today I would like to talk about shoes.  No, this is not going to become a fashion blog.  Nor will it ever.  You’re talking to the girl who tries to avoid wearing actual pants at all costs (this might be one of the top reasons for me choosing to be a yoga instructor; and the invention of the fleece legging is the only thing that makes winter bearable for me).  No… I would like to talk about the ridiculous gold glittery shoes shown in the picture below.  I wore them once to a party until the pictures were taken and I had a few glasses of wine.  And then for the safety of myself and others, I promptly took them off.

That party was two years ago and they’ve been taking up space in my closet ever since.  And it is time to let them go.  Ah, but you know me too well to think that that’s the end of the story.  I’m also the girl who blogs about the meaning behind painting my dresser and buying a red leather chair.

I set upon cleaning out my closet with a vengeance today.  Because I need to.  And because it’s the new year.  And I’m a firm believer in the fact that clearing out and tossing ‘stuff’ is wonderful practice in non attachment and letting go, two things that I had set intention to working on in 2017.  So here are the reasons that I let go of my ‘stuff’.  Feel free to read between the lines here and see what I’m really truly working on letting go of.

  •  All of those things that when I put them on I just don’t feel like I look good.  They dull my colors rather than brighten them. They make me feel ‘too much’ of this and ‘not enough’ of that.  There’s simply no need to hang on to things that don’t make you feel good about yourself.
  • Those things that had simply become too worn or faded over the course of time.  Perhaps they served me well some years ago but those moments have come and gone.  Wearing them, with their pills and their stains and their small little holes is just a reminder that maybe I need to retire them and admit that it’s time for something new.
  • A few things have simply become too big for me.  We’ve outgrown each other.  At some point the waistline of those pants fit the waistline of my body.  But things have changed.  We no longer fit together.  Perhaps someone else can fit into these things a little better.  And I should give them that chance instead of just keeping them in my closet just so I know they’re there.
  • Clothes kinda work like a little memory bank don’t they?  We can put on a dress and remember the music and the laughter from the party that we attended wearing said dress.  Sometimes it’s fun to wear these things over and over and see what new memories they can create.  Sometimes this revisiting of the past just gets too sad.  And while a gentle reflection that might lead to a little melancholy is alright from time to time, there comes a point when you just have to eliminate things that keep causing sadness.

 

So now I return to the ridiculous gold glittery shoes.  I put them on today and walked around the house a little bit wearing them with my yoga pants (see first paragraph).  “These aren’t so bad,” I thought.  “Maybe I should keep them just in case. They are pretty.  And they look good with that one dress.  Letting them go is hard.”

Then I walked into my bedroom, still wearing the shoes,  stepped on something and nearly broke my ankle.  Well played, universe, well played.  I get it.  Letting go is tough and because of that we can try to talk ourselves out of doing so in a million little ways.  Because we see it as a failure.  But canned foods aren’t the only thing with expiration dates (I just figured this one out while clearing my kitchen cabinets yesterday).  Relationships, habits, ways of being in the world…..they all have expiration dates.  And just because they’ve passed doesn’t mean that they have failed you, its just time to move on.  Letting go is not giving up on something.  It’s simply realizing that it no longer works for you.  And if we try to hang on past the point of expiration, then we are just setting ourselves up for broken ankles.

Anyone want these shoes?

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