Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Four Legs, Slurpy Tongues and Living Breathing Hearts

As a girl, before India, my father was the minister of a church in Concord, New Hampshire. During that time we had a labrador retriever named Teddy. We called him 'Ted Puss' because he was a dribble puss. In the family's attempt to train him not to beg while we ate he was required to sit outside the dining room, so he sat in the doorway watching us and drooled. My parents laughingly referred to him as a 'Thurber dog' and though I didn't know exactly what this meant I knew it was a compliment. Teddy was simply doggy, he would woof at the cupboard where the dog biscuits lived, and wag his tail so that everything coffee table height flew, and he was very much in the center of our family. Every evening Mom and Dad rallied the four of us children to the living room for what we called family worship. We sat on the floor supposedly for a short bible story and prayer and attempted to be reverent. This was too much for Teddy. We were at his level, doing nothing. Slithering in like a little black seal (Teddy was the runt of the litter so he was a small lab) he wriggled his way around the circle licking everyone's face with wild enthusiasm and when he had each of us at his mercy he'd climb into one lap after another. Great hilarity all round and breathless laughter. This was family worship. When I turned seven, we found out that we would be moving to India for a long time. Mom and Dad found a close friend to take care of Teddy but none of us could bare to think of leaving him. A few months before we left Mom began packing our trunks as they were going to be shipped by sea. She had lain her clothes out on the bed and then left the room. When she came back the clothes were gone and of course she thought that in the chaos of planning she was losing her mind. Teddy had taken them out into the back yard and was fastidiously burying them. He thought that if he did this we would not go. When they were discovered and the trunks were sent, Teddy quietly died. This was my first experience with a soul knowing that dogs are devoted to us and to our journeys and selflessly position themselves to serve and love in the best way that they can. Teddy's life on earth was over when we were no longer going to be 'his' but the joyful footprints that he left on those innocent years of my birth family live forever.

Three of my friends have had to say their final good-byes to their furry beloveds in the last two weeks. So many beings leaving the planet; do they know something that we don't? My Obie lies here watching me lazily out of the corner of his eye. He understands every word that I say, and every feeling that I have. Oberon, are you Julius reincarnated? You might be, but it doesn't matter.

Ahh. Julius. Julius was born on the bed of my daughter, Melanie, on the Ides of March when she was 12. Melanie had wanted Julius' mother Lily to do just this but when it actually happened (complete with Melanie screaming and Nina, her younger sister reading the vet book of instructions)the overwhelming facts around birthing being a messy business and thirteen golden retrievers puppies dropping all over her room in little sacs, was just too much. This was how Julius entered the world, and in spite of the frantic chaos he was a solid, mellow boy from day one. When he was 3 months old he had an accident which combined with Hurricane Hugo, ultimately resulted in a hip replacement. Through all of this Julius became accustomed to 'staying put' and being with humans. In those years I was a professional massage therapist, and baby Julius would sleep under the massage table while I worked on clients, absorbing all of the floaty energy. We moved to New York City when he was three and as my career morphed into counseling, Julius morphed as well and now met clients at the door and led them into the living room by the wrist, then lay down and zoned in and out while they shared. He was my partner through and through. I was single and as my daughters grew and flitted to and from the nest, Julius was constant. During this chapter I was badly injured and EMS'd to a hospital. Before I could be released to my home the hospital required the name of a responsible party who would be tending to my needs. 'Julius' was the name that I gave and yes, he was perfect. When Julius was thirteen, my daughters now finished with college and on their own, his hip began to cause him excruciating pain and our fourth floor walk up was too much for him. My destiny was calling me to head west so I loaded him into a rented car and we headed for Boulder, Colorado. Julius had one year being 'Ferdinand'; he would sit in mountain meadows and sniff the flowers and the wind. After slipping away in my arms one night I sprinkled him in this meadow thus allowing my future husband to enter my life. Julius knew that a new chapter lay just around the bend for me and that he needed to go to make room for it. Julius was my companion through the entire single mother years of my life. What would we do without these creatures from whom we learn love and loyalty and forgiveness beyond the imagination of human capability?

One year later I googled 'golden retrievers.com' in the state of Colorado and found that a litter had been born in the mountains nearby. I wasn't ready for a new dog but was drawn. The roads twisted and turned and I finally drove through the gates of what looked like a rustic wonderland. Three golden retrievers, a wolf and a woman greeted me. I was ushered into a barn peppered with puppy litters, each meticulously cared for and some too young to go home. Tustling balls of golden retriever fuzz. I turned to ask the woman a question and was met by the gaze of a single blond three month old with a curly chest and soft eyes sitting straight up, all alone and looking directly at me. 'Who Are You?' I asked to him. And the woman answered "This is Baby Grunt. His father won best of show at the Westminster and we were keeping him and his brother for three months to see which one to show oursleves. This morning we decided on his brother as goldens must be the color of a copper penny and he's too light" I was spellbound, starstruck, in love with royalty, but his soul is what shone through. I felt that I knew him. I drove home. The next morning I drove back with my husband. For the first two days that the puppy was with us I kept slipping and calling him 'Julius' and he spontaneously responded each time. We named him Oberon, which he adapted to quickly but as a baby his response was to his former life name (just as with humans, we forget our former life once we get going in the present one). Obie is purely Obie now and he's been with us for seven years. My relationship with him is totally different than mine with Julius, largely because it is Obie who rounds the coupledom of my husband and me into a true family unit. We three are a family, hence our relationships overlap. My husband is the alpha of the tribe ( there was no alpha when I was single), and Obie and I are litter mates. Obie is well trained and quite perfectly obedient with my husband; Obie will sit for hours and stare at him in adoration of his leader, where he and I play and cuddle. We twinkle and wink at each other and when I sing to him he transcends this planet. This year has been strenuous for my family as we have been without a home. Obie has rolled with every variation on a theme, from sharing the nest of three tiny doglets who did not truly want him there (at first), to having to curb his bird retrieving instincts while living with eight designer chickens, to midnight scuffles on the Venice Boardwalk, to trying to find a place to breathe in the heat of Palm Springs. For Obie? Who once upon a time lived with us in a little blue cottage by the sea and ran with the wind every evening while the sun set, home is where we are. No matter what. His love and sweetness never falter. Ever.

Love and loyalty is what these beings are about, what they embody for us and where they become our mirrors and our teachers. Amen.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Daughter's Child

Is alive and well and living inside her belly!
What must this be like?
This baby has been blessed with a pitta vata mama who acts like a kapha. The culinary morsels, aromas, nutritional components balanced and rationed so that every few hours a delectable, usually home-made exquisite experience floats in.
This mama is a yogini, hence one never knows where one’s feet or head will be from the get go! And the sweet ohms, soft voices and soothing caresses that go with.
The bubble baths that add outer slosh, the wide and wild array of music whilst driving and cheffing, the hours of sitting and hearing sounds of actors’ voices ramble and explode, and her own mama’s as she is one of them!
Ahhhh, yes. Before we are born, we are indoctrinated in the ways of our mamas.
And this little being will appear with a wide range of knowing and feeling, and a breath-taking abundance of love and beauty from a woman who I know quite well, and has consciously been present for this chapter.
And in two months?
Oooooooh lala!!!!!!!  Music,  choreography, visions, explorations, inspirations, passions, creations! That have never ever been seen before.
Look out world!
And over here? A grandmama in waiting, whose lap and arms are already primed.

The Fifth Broken Toe

How can this be? One might ask. And one does.

Obie. Prone in agony. The vets closed as tis the weekend. Breath coming sporadically and glass covered blank eyes. Where is the strength and joy and life in that golden body that we’re used to? Gone.
Channeled into dealing with the moment, all because another tennis ball was tossed and how can one not charge headlong, with might and power to fetch yonder orb? One cannot.

Therefore, five broken toes later, Obie is on ball restriction.
He has been to the vet, his paw is swathed in royal purple, he has pills to swallow and behaviors to adhere to. The frisky wind and salt air beckon as he stands sniffing and grinning, but he’s going to have to find another passion, because five toes and you’re out.

The Cocoon Cracks Open!

Pop! Oh joy! I’m still here!
Oh! Not still…newly.
Yes, all of these months of solitude, introspection, mulling and mucking about with the inner world, delving into dark damp places, finding ways to bring in the light, believing it was a need to create but in all honesty it was a need to clean house on myself, so that the creations that were yearning for wings but grounded, could glide and slide and lift off and become.

Yes. Thank you, God for this time of upheaval, chaos, discomfort, sorrow, and transformation. You and I have many miles and many worlds to share in this new skin. Look at those cute feet. Ready, set go!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Springing Winter

Oh Tigress Tales! Where oh where  have I been?

Right after my last entry, in mid December,  I was thunderstruck by a bolt of divine creativity that peeled away layers of with-holding that had grown around my screenplay writing. Prior to this I had completed and fine tuned several scripts and was basking in a hiatus when suddenly, my butterfly wings were dry and off I flew to begin anew; fresh stories and new magni opi!

I have missed my blogging, as each entry is a spontaneous  joy-filled adventure, but alas, the way my mind and energies work, I cannot create two different offspring at once. For now, the screenplays are front and center, consuming and generating, throbbing and delighting and BECOMING!

When this flow has quieted, and the ebb is at hand,  I shall return, with a basket of treasures to share! And now? With joy and wonder I am off! 

Blessings, blessings, life and love.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winter Solstice and The Frisky Moon

Yesterday, a day of darkness and light, quiet and wild, rain rain rain, jarring turns of events, mechanical malfunctions, meowing cabin fevered cat, more rain rain rain, communications from afar, internal upheaval, internal silence, and in came winter. A time for Bear Medicine and introspection. A time for hibernating and planting internal seeds. A time for infusing those seeds with energy and expansion. A time for growth.

This world of ours, that we have co-created, needs every one of us to become the blossoms that were twinkles in God’s eyes when he dreamt us up! We need to shake our feathers and extend ourselves to each other in new ways. We need to plant our feet deep into Mother Earth and reach reach for Father Sky and sing while we do. We need to stretch to the east, where illumination inspires and lean to the west where our goals are realized and touch each other all along the way. We need to shilly shally along, with thanksgiving for every breath, in our hearts, and smile at the young and nod to the old as we do.

If every single one of us, would leap off a cliff into the unknown every morning, by springtime, oh what a garden we shall be!


Monday, December 6, 2010

The Messiah

Last night my daughter, Melanie took me to Los Angeles’ Disney Hall’s annual Handel’s Messiah Sing-a-Long, as a pre Christmas gift.  I have so much to say!

I grew up in household where music played an integral part of every day. My mother’s piano playing was our rising bell. During non holiday times she would alternate between hymns and Chopin. During Christmas were we roused pre dawn by every Christmas carol you can imagine and usually my Dad’s voice could be heard singing along in the background, slightly off key, while he brushed his teeth and got dressed for work.  As the English muffins and marmalade began to take center stage the ‘victrola player’ was turned on and we would swallow our toasty morsels with either Benjamin Britton’s 'Ceremony of Carols' or Handel's 'The Messiah' as background, but in actual fact we were all humming and singing along.

During my prep school days, by some miracle,  I sang in the highly respected girls’ chorus. I say ‘miracle’ not because my voice was at fault but because I sang  the way that I played tennis: wildly, with no restraint and no plan. For graduation the chorus presented our long rehearsed ‘The Messiah’ with our brother school, Mount Herman. I never really did know if I was an alto or soprano but it wouldn’t have mattered if I was a bass! My best friend, Samm, who sang next to me had to plant herself firmly and periodically lean over and say “ This is not a free-for-all, Plum, you must sing your part!” I could not. I knew this music, not the words necessarily, but the music,
and I sang to my heart’s content whatever part was happening.

It has been years, decades! since I have officially sung “The Messiah”, and now my parents are gone, the victrola player is no more, my friend Samm is gone, and here I am, being invited by my daughter to this dream of a gift in the most acoustically  acclaimed music hall on earth, to sing ‘The Messiah’. Pure enthusiasm filled my soul at the thought. This music, this daughter, this moment, the depth that it touched, the memories that it evoked, the passages that it punctuated, my throat  constricted with emotion and my eyes blurred with tears  before we even arrived in our seats.

And then ‘Comfort Ye My People’. Comfort. Comfort. And the tears poured forth.

Melanie and I together sang our hearts out, were moved to tears, laughed until we couldn’t catch our breaths and sang some more. This evening ushered in Christmas for both of us. The greatest gift that I could ever imagine was this evening.

My advent is alive and my heart sings thanks to God, the story, Handel, the conductor, and Melanie. This year I could not find my expansive, joyous, Christmas self and connection to the true spirit that birthed it all, prior to this evening and now I have.