Ignore the little man behind the curtain

      Most of my life I lived like the wizard in the Wizard of Oz, showing the public the awesome author construct, survivor, and single mom philanthropist, while at home behind the curtain I cried, stormed and generally  felt like a flim flam man. I spent many years afraid that if you really knew me, you wouldn’t like me. Not so much anymore. Now I know that what you think of me really isn’t any of my business, I probably like you, and if not then I appreciate your being in my life as a lesson. 

     The one real weakness I still have is knowing how to behave when my ass is really falling off.  My new coping technique, while more honest than my Wizard facade, may still need some fine tuning. My coping style goes like this. Crisis hits. I joke. I respond. I keep going. Second crisis hits "I’m fine." I wax philosophical. The full ramifications of first crisis begin to settle in as third crisis hits. People offer support which I push away. "No really, I am doing Ok. I’m handling this, doing OK"…..a small inconvenience or expectation is placed on me…long pregnant pause..I shout at whomever is closest ..I’m really not doing OK!I "

     The people in my triathlon training group know this now cause I had a melt  down at swim practice this week, very akin to an adolescent temper tantrum. The drill Phil gave us seemed twice as impossible as the previous homework I still had not completely mastered. I yelled at him. "This stupid training is just like life, just when you think you might be able to handle it after all, it heaps on twice as much more." My grammar is not impeccable when I am acting thirteen. I also learned that crying does not improve swimming technique and that I really do want to do this triathlon; I just have no idea how I am going to manage it now financially, physically or anything else. I not only want to do it, I still believe I can do it. This is just the chapter in my life story where the conflict and the tension builds.

     
     Not posting much this morning because I need to go get ready for work, but also because my struggle with grief this week makes it hard to not just give up on all my struggles, and self-pity never needs a forum. Why I am sad is the impending loss of my best friend, my dog.

     Noien, like all long time canine companions, has been the very model of selfless support through a very tough decade and a quarter. Now it is her turn to accept my selflessness. Only I am helpless to make it comfortable and unfrightening to her, with her current medical problems, except by ending her life. Each time I come to peace with that decision, she rallies again and I unmake the decision, partly in fact because of a medication that alleviates symptoms but whose long term use will have its own side effects. The emotional burden of both having run out of money, options and time with Noien is big and it mimics too well other losses and decisions I have made in my life. My knees buckle at each stride these days. Luckily, my job is one where I have practiced leaving myself and my burdens at the door. Although it is harder this week, my work is a break from a reality I am not handling well.
     
   My plate is full and the grease is smoking hot. In addition to spending my recent extra earnings (that I meant as bike and gym and bill money) on big vet bills that produced the unwanted diagnosis, and recent health setbacks in the ongoing battle reconfiguring a body that is old, slow and fat, I have a few new fish in the kettle.

 
    Thanks to internet and the universe, people are coming back into my life from out of my darkest times, including my adolescents.  Intertwined with the amazingly beautiful memories that are surfacing involving these people and places are all the dark threads and knots of secrets, shame and fear that I have avoided for 40 years. I asked the universe to help me resolve my debts this year; karmic-ally. emotionally and financially so that I can overcome my ego and truly achieve a heart filled with "Ahimsa" instead of fear, and I am getting my wish!
 
      Like the author James Owen says, "Pain is only weakness  leaving your body", and I have a lot of weaknesses to overcome. I struggle with attachment, impermanence and  I guess, acceptance and forgiveness. The loss of  Nam, and now my dog in the same year, are really kicking me through the first two. The past will be my teacher for the second two. The universe is giving me both what I need and what I asked for but it is definitely painful right now. My psyche is kind of like my glutes and what ever those little back and leg muscles are that feel like they have broken glass in them at my Backfit massage. (OMG, Now I have John Cougar-Mellencamp in my head…hurts so good…da da dum da..)
 
    Anyway, to massage my spirit the way Jackie and Dr Vogel fix my muscles and skeleton I have "Drawing Out the Dragons" on my android (in an email cuz I can’t figure out how to get it in my Kindle ap, LOL…) that I have been reading repeatedly when I am out and about. In my bathroom reading I just finished Ghandi’s "Experiments in Truth" and I am about to start Mandella’s "Long Walk to Freedom"> My kitchen book I am starting Charles Williams and just finished Macombers"20 Wishes". All the books have the same message, they just tell it different. 
 
    It is the same message I have been living and telling since I gave writing presentations to would be authors and seminars for volunteers-in-training in the late 1980’s and 1990’s.  Some of the books have been with me since childhood, others are recent additions but they can all be boiled down to the afterword page in James Owen’s Drawing Out the Dragons,  which begins with my favorite quote "If you really want to do something, no one can stop you;  but if you really don’t want to do something, no one can help you."
 
  By the way, there is the kickstarter program to get the e-book of "Drawing Out the Dragons" into print. It is am amazing book that will join my Ghandi, Tolle, Emerson, Armstrong, Frankl and Lewis on the read and re-read shelf so if you can help make the print version happen, I thank you, better yet I am pretty sure the universe thanks you too, and the pledge swag is pretty cool too! You will probably need to cut and paste the link. 

 http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1401678214/james-a-owen-the-drawing-out-the-dragons-project}

   
Anyway my alarm has sounded. Must dress for work. I will go practice tonight as my choices and responses are truly all I can control at this time, and choosing to press forward with the Triathlon is important on a multitude of levels. 
 
Addendum: I didn’t go practice tonight. Noein’s increased dose of medicine reaped miraculous results in this now, so I stayed home and tossed a squeaky ball and fed her bits of scrambled tofu, and she and Cozi and I pretended like everything is normal. Love and loyalty are always my highest  priority. It has been two weeks since she was able to play at all, it was awesome. I was a hospice nurse, so I am well aware of the miracle of the rally, its potential implication, and took it for all it was  worth. She is sleeping now and breathing very shallow. My practice will be there tomorrow night and my dear blog readers please expect some boring practice schedules and what I ate today blogs as I keep myself moving forward through the undercurrents of grief. 

What I did for love, and more importantly what I am about to do for love…

     Love is a BIG UMBRELLA. of a word; it’s a noun, a verb, sometimes an entire story.  

 
     My current trip into triathlon land is motivated by love. I love a challenge, I love my friends and family and I really do love my life. Participating in an event that is comprised of swimming, biking and running in precisely another 110 days is a challenge to say the least especially since I still can’t ride a bike.  Getting healthier through exercise and its concurrent weight loss extends the time I can be around to hug the people I love and improves the quality of the life I live. So the first thing I am doing for love is swimming, swimming swimming. This morning I did four lengths of the pool in my poor form breast stroke, not consecutively mind you, spread out throughout Phil’s (our trainer from Inspire Fitness) homework assignment, which incidentally my daughter-in-law and I both finished.

 
     Tomorrow evening I will be attending a party whose main food feature is gourmet steak and I am making and bringing red jello with pineapple in it as a side dish. Why am I doing this? Love, of course. It is my sons 28th birthday and that is what he wanted me to bring.

     Those who know me personally, should get the humor of this without explanation, but for the rest of you I will add a few salient facts.  My cupboards are well stocked with twelve different kinds of organic flours. I make aspics from scratch. My baking, including gluten-free, is renown for its moistness and flavor. I spend hours researching and perfecting old recipes, tweaking new recipes and sometimes just making things up on the spot because I love to bake and cook. I am also vegetarian. But when I asked Rick what he wanted to eat on his birthday, he wants red jello with pineapple. I bought some. I will make it in the morning and place it in a glass bowl with a plastic lid and pick up a big tub of Cool Whip, because tomorrow is about my son and what he likes and not about me.

 
The third and hardest is that my little Noiene is in congestive heart failure. She is 11.5 years old and has been quite perky up until this past year. She is coughing and tired and yesterday I came home from work to find her lying in her own mess whimpering. I gave her a bath and her symptoms are under control for the moment but I know that it is time for me to do the loving thing and help her cross the rainbow bridge. I wish I could get the medicine and just give it to her here, at home with me and then bury her at my friend Regina’s property so she can chase (and not catch) the spirit bunnies to her hearts content. She always loved visiting Regina’s. Just don’t know if that’s even legal. Better than that, I wish the Goddess would take the decision out of my hands and take her home tonight while we are both sleeping. If not I will do the loving thing.
 
I will bathe and groom her again tomorrow (she likes it as long as I leave the paws, butt and tail alone) and my sons will come visit her and take some pictures Wednesday. I hope its a good day for her. I am still a bit in denial because I keep expecting to wake up and have her bouncing around me again, I believe in miracles. But I also believe her being in my life for 11.5 years was really more miracle than anyone can ask for and so what I will do for love is very soon, I will let her go.