Thursday, June 21, 2012

Appreciating A Single Day and Weaving Our Dreams Through The Hours...

"Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it."

~o~ Elizabeth Gilbert ~o~

Dear Ones, 

It is a day full of blessings. I say that not because it is a "perfect day," none are in the world's eyes. I say it because it is a profoundly beautiful day in so many ways and I am filled with gratitude for every single moment. I have come to "insist" on it as Gilbert wrote, meaning when I "fall off the horse I get back on and keep riding." Sometimes it takes me hours to move forward again, sometimes only a very short time. I keep remembering what my mother said over and over when she was dying of cancer, a very difficult and debilitating cancer that lasted for five years. On the worst of the worst of the worst days if you called her she would say, "Every day's a good day. It is what you make it." Until she could no longer physically manage she got up, bathed, dressed, put on her makeup, made her bed, and had breakfast with her sister who lived upstairs and also had serious health challenges. They both had macular degeneration and my aunt was almost completely blind, and so was my mother toward the end. Neither could barely see and they managed in the most amazing way. I will never forget that as long as I live, and while I have my bad days -- wishing I could be more like my mother -- I hear her words in my head and try harder to remember that "Happiness is the consequence of personal effort."

I have written about some of the personal challenges in my life, and yes they are still in my past, but what I am trying most to do now is to imagine drawing a line in the sand and stepping over it. There was "before" and there is "after," something I am writing about in detail in my book, and I am working at staying on the "after"side of the line. To carry that albatross around my neck, the circumstances and difficulties that were on the other side of the line, is to go through life never being light enough to see all the blessings, the happiness, and the joy that is there even on the hardest days. 

And I am so lucky to live with a "mob," five parrots and four pugs. Not always easy but worth every moment (...except perhaps when the boys pee everywhere...)! And the tiniest pug of all, a little blind girl, sounds the alarm with one tiny little bark somewhere between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. and her tiny little bark has the boys up like a shot. They sleep with me in the king-sized bed which is funny because when I got it I imagined ALL THIS SPACE, and most of the time I am squished in the middle covered with pugs who cling to me like limpets on a rock, all snoring as pugs will, in a chorus of different voices, and many's the night I just laugh and go to sleep with my arms around them. I used to have terrible nightmares. On this side of the line I sleep with four living, breathing teddy bears. That's how I think of them. And when Penny wakes everyone up they bound around the bed and all over me and give me kisses and stare at me right in the face and Mama trudges up, limping on a painful knee, out into the yard as they scatter everywhere.

If I am lucky, if it is very early, I say "Let's go back to bed," and they know exactly what I mean. I have to lift my beloved Sam, near 14 now, and wee little blind Penny, up on the bed because they can't make it on their own, but the two youngsters, 3 and 5 years old, come bounding up on the bed, all over all of us, and try to play. I tell them in a stern voice, "Lay down," and they do. Funny baby Tanner, 3 years old, drops in one second and is snoring before the rest of us are all settled, and Penny gets up in my armpit or ON me, and goes back to sleep, but again she will sleep just so long and then she's up again with her tiny bark and I give up and we go out again, although she's just as likely to want breakfast as anything, but I don't trust the peeing boys so out we go. 

When we get in the door which is in my studio, the first room we come into, I uncover Miss Scarlet and let her out of her cage and we kiss and kiss and say "Good Morning." She is the newest member of the mob, the mostly featherless grey parrot who looks like Raggedy Ann with her stuffing coming out, but she has plucked for 10 years and isn't likely to stop so Raggedy Scarlet she is and she gets her breakfast first. The pugs have learned our routine and Scarlet eats while I move on to the puglings. Except for Penny who is a little lady despite the circumstances, the 3 boys practically do backflips while I get their vitamins, medicines, eyedrops (two different kinds for 2 different dogs) and then they bark and cry while I get their breakfast. People who have seen this routine say, "How do you DO this every morning," but I just smile and say, "It's such a joy. There were the days I was so depressed I could barely get out of bed. With 9 animals to take care of you don't really have a choice! And they have me laughing every single day." Tanner the 3 year old cries like a human baby as if he is being tortured having to wait 3 minutes for his breakfast. 

Then the little pee-er's  get hustled out again and they always go which amazes me when they've already been out twice, but I got tired of cleaning up after them when I didn't get them out. The Princess of course has done her business and is too much of a lady to have to be hustled out with the boys, and when they come in I still have the other parrots to go.

Into the front bird room I go to the other 4 parrots. Every single one of them give me kisses and chat at me as I turn on all the lights and their radio (They listen to public radio, they are very cultured parrots!), get their breakfast and fresh water and and finally, with the 9 of them taken care of, I head back into the kitchen and lean against the counter kind of worn out, but happy. The pugs are racing all about with toys, except little Pugsley, the 5 year old, who has abandonment issues and will not leave my side until I head into the studio, looks up at me with such love and devotion it touches my heart every single day. He watches me make my coffee and head on out. It's a good hour before I sit down, all the animals always get taken care of first, and then as I turn on the computer and sip my coffee yet another joy, one of my favorite times of the day, is watching the wild birds at the 3 feeders just outside my studio window. The chickadees and cardinals too many to count, the blue jays and the woodpeckers, and so many more delight me with their antics, and the thick stand of trees, the backdrop to the deck, sway in the breeze, the sun glistening on the leaves, and I relax into my chair and sigh a happy sigh. We've begun another day and while there may well be bumps along the way I start out very happy, a near naked parrot just 2 feet behind me, 4 pugs settling in their beds and going back to sleep, watching the wild birds, and thanking God for this multitude of blessings. 

Every day's a good day, it is what you make it, and if I don't make it all the way through the day, I do try, and this morning routine is one of the biggest helps for me. As I settle in tiny Penny comes to my chair, stares up at me with her huge puggy eyes, barks her tiny bark, which means "pick me up, NOW" and they only way I can manage this is to turn completely sideways, put my feet up on a small table next to me, scoop her up and throw an afghan over my lap and get her settled. She goes right to sleep after a kiss and snuggles in for the next 2 or 3 hours of work. I am now sitting sideways with the computer completely turned askew typing with one hand. I can't not do it because she is irresistible and the many mistakes I make are a horror. I try to correct them but I have to read through the piece several times and still I miss some. If I'm doing a longer piece of writing I put her in her bed and she is somewhat indignant but after a few little barks gives up. She seems to understand that this is not a lap time.

 Penny on my chest at the computer...

The rest of the day is going in and out with the dogs, working in the garden, feeding and caring for the animals and somewhere in there getting my own meals, praying and meditating, and yes, dreaming my dreams. I am a great proponent of the law of attraction and do believe that we create our own realities. I weave these dreams throughout my day and do affirmations on the computer along with pictures and positive thoughts. They are going to come true, I firmly believe that. 

And so they day goes on. Scarlet says and sings 300 words and might be singing "Ole McDonald had a farm, ee-yi-ee-yi Ooooooooooo" or chatting away and though I hadn't planned on having her she is such a funny little person she has added a new and delightful dimension to the family. 

And so why did I write all of this? I wrote it because despite the fact that the past entries have been about the hard times, there is far more joy and loveliness about my days than the reverse, I wanted to encourage you to look to your life for the little things that bring you happiness and contentment and when you do, when you open that door, you draw a line in the sand and step over it and work at continually moving forward, and yes, you will forget, but you try your best to get back on track as soon as possible, you make way, more and more, for better days, filled with gratitude, and if you go back to Gilbert's quote at the top of this entry, which I have written down and taped to the top of my computer along with other quotes to help me remember, you increase your chances of coming out of the difficult times a little easier and quicker. Of course I would also recommend a pug or four and a few parrots but I know that's not everyone's cup of tea!

Be well dear friends, look to the joy, or create it, in your days where you can no matter what your circumstances may be, and remember that our days are what we make them, every single day. I hope you can hear me Mom, on the other side of this physical existence. I'm trying, I really am. You taught me well, and I try to remember. 

Warm beautiful sweet regards to one and all, and blessings and love to you...

2 1/2 pugs piled on Mom. The third is on my feet!


Joyce Lansky said...

It's good to see the world as a positive place.

Maitri said...

Thanks Joyce! :o) And I love your blog. Keep kickin' it sweetie! (And with 4 dogs I love the doggie stuff!)

Best and blessings to you,


Tat @ Mum in search said...

I love your line in the sand metaphor. I might borrow it and use it, literally!

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