TEACHING AN OLDER DOG

Last week started off decently enough… Got my blog and newsletter in the can and sent off a client project on Monday. Taught my Legacy Writing class to my group of 50+ writers who want to share their lives with their loved ones on Tuesday, and procrastinated (as usual) on starting a writing project that was due Thursday.

Wednesday morning I woke up, feeling fine. I didn’t feel my usual stiff neck, which surprised me. I felt so great I did a few luxurious wake-up stretches while lying in bed, wondering what time it was. When I heard my hubby in the bathroom, I knew it was time to get up. I rolled over onto my right side and sat up in one graceful movement.

Then, my world went spinning and I went spinning with it.

This is now a soundworm in my ear. Oh well, it's better than vertigo...

It was as though I had no control over my body; it felt like it arced in a counterclockwise circle and suddenly I was flat on my back with my legs hanging over the bed. I lay there and let the spinning pass. When my head felt clear again, I slowly pulled myself semi-upright and let the minor dizziness it caused, to pass.

By this time my hubby had come into the bedroom and I told him what had happened. I have the best husband ever; he’s kind, thoughtful, and very helpful. He sat on the bed beside me while I very slowly got up into the sitting position, and then stood up. A bit dizzy, but it passed very quickly.

I went about my morning — making coffee, checking emails, trying to get myself into the shower, but failing. I even heated up a delicious bowl of pumpkin pie oatmeal, practically wolfing it down.

When my hubby came home from work at 10:00 to get the drill to fix something at the printing plant he manages, I was fine, still in my pajamas, but feeling pretty okay. There were moments of minor wooziness, but nothing serious. I was seeing a client I was helping to write letters for later that day, and because he is in precarious health, I cancelled, just in case what I had was the stomach flu.

Even though I was dizzy, I still found the humour in the ridiculousness of my hair...

Even though I was dizzy, I still found the humour in the ridiculousness of my hair...

Even when I finally got in the shower I was fine. After drying off, I sat on the bed to apply moisturizer to my feet. I leaned just a little too far back after finishing, and WOMP! Suddenly I was freefalling on the Tilt-a-Whirl, then  flat on my back again, looking up at the fan spinning the opposite way my head was spinning, and suddenly I was ready to vomit — something I hadn’t done in at least a decade. I crawled up to the pillows on my bed and laid in the semi-reclining position, with my still-wet hair in a towel. For hours.

That is where my hubby found me later that afternoon when he came home from work, feeling absolutely horrible until I finally vomited later that night.

And I’ve pretty much been dizzy and nauseous for the past 5 days as I write this. Now I know that it’s not the stomach flu, but something called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BVVP). It happened to me once before but didn’t strike with such severity. I even had to cancel the Writing Hangouts I had planned for the 5th and 6th. Love may have been in the air, but not in my tummy.

Sorry for the LONG introduction to the lessons I’ve learned this week. I promise I’m almost there…

I’m one of those people who happens to believe that everything happens for a reason, so I’ve been checking in with myself to try and make sense of it all. I’ve come up with a few insights that might help you too.

 

SOMETIMES SPIRIT/GOD REALLY WANTS US TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE LESSONS

I’d just finished The Desire Map workbook in which I developed my Core Desired Feelings (CDFs) for 2016. (Yes, the very thing I’ve been working on since late December and what I had to complete in order to do my 2016 feelingboard.) The next step was to develop my Goals With Soul for 2016, which are:

  1. I will pay attention to, feed, and move my body towards health, everyday
  2. I will host at least one live event each month.
  3. I will play each day by doing at least one thing that makes l’il kath happy.
  4. I will triple my 2015  income in 2016.

Number 1 and 3, I’d already let myself down on. And I think that’s one of the reasons Spirit whammied me with dizziness so strong. I really couldn’t do anything else except find my way from feeling sorry for myself to realizing that if I was wanted change in my life, I was going to have to do the changing.

I spent a bit of time this past Sunday doing monthly intentions and goals for how I’m going to do things that make me feel my core desired feelings (full, sensuous, inspired, openhearted, thankful), and then drilling down to how I will make it happen with specific actions this week. As I was doing this, the wind was picking up in the beautiful sunshine, blowing freshly fallen snow off the trees and making me want to go outside for a walk so strongly, I knew that l’il kath (that’s what I call my inner child) was getting pretty darned impatient.”Might as well get 1 and 3 out of the way,” grownup Kathy reasoned.

As soon as I said to my hubby “I think I’m going to go for a walk,” my girl Lulu bolted upright from her previous snoring position; looking at me expectantly. Off we went.

 

OLDER DOGS AND NEWER TRICKS

I have one of those flexi-leads that allows Lulu to reel herself out and me to reel her back in. I stopped using it because she started to pull too much as she got used to the freedom. I decided to give her her head today because I knew I couldn’t walk fast enough to give her any real exercise, so I might as well let her sniff longer. We set off and I guess either she’d forgotten about how a flexi-lead works or the days and days of me not walking her made her less inclined to want to run.

Oh my goodness, the dazzle of new fallen snow on a sunny Sunday at +3 degrees Celsius  in Moncton in February is a little piece of heaven! Both Lulu and I settled into a companionable walk, with no pulling. I began to realize that just because Lulu had pulled the lead too far in the past, it didn't mean she couldn’t relearn to walk without pulling. It’s why I’d started using the flexi in the first place. She’s never been a puller. And because I was at the business end of the flexi-lead, I was the one who was in control; she just had to learn to follow my lead.

And then I knew that this was a deeper lesson for me too — just because I had lived my life avoiding goals, it didn’t mean I couldn’t learn to create goals that suited me. I just had to accept that I was the one in control.

 

BECAUSE SHE TOLD ME TO…

Walking along, and feeling fine, I pushed myself to walk further than we usually do, because neither of us were ready to turn back. As soon as I turned onto the little path, I could feel l’il kath’s excitement start to bubble up. And I soon understood why; I was struck by the irresistible impulse to get off the path and make a snow angel.  “No, I can’t do that,” grownup Kathy said. “It’s in broad daylight, people are out walking everywhere…” But remembering my promise to play every day and do something to make l'il kath happy, I gingerly stepped off the path and walked into the fresh snow. I zipped my jacket so the snow wouldn't seep inside, silently praying that the jogger I saw in the distance wasn’t coming up this path.

I plopped myself very ungracefully into the soft snow. It felt cool and refreshing for about 2 seconds until I felt it begin to melt under my bum. “Let’s get this over with,” adult Kathy muttered in my head and I lay back. 

Immediately the awful dizziness whalloped me again, and I shut my eyes. And then it happened… Lulu gave that little preemptive “woof” that told me someone was approaching. I couldn’t really open my eyes because my head was still whooshing. When she woofed again, I gingerly raised my head, expecting to see the jogger, but instead it was a woman. As she got closer, I greeted her in English (I live in a very Acadian French community). She smiled as she got close, and a little sheepishly, I said, “Just listening to my inner child… Heh, heh,” She smiled and said, “It’s a beautiful day,” (hopefully not understanding me) and kept walking.

I lay back until the dizziness passed and realized how beautifully blue the sky was and how much I was enjoying this. So I did a wee bit of flapping of my wings a la Snow Angel, before, once again very ungracefully, getting my dizzy self on my knees and up on my feet.  The immediate feeling of a wet, soggy bum greeted me as soon as I faced into the wind. “How come this didn’t feel like this when I was a kid?” I asked l’il kath. But after a few steps, I felt the sun on my face, the breeze in my hair, and the crunch of snow under my boots, and it was all right again.

 

SAY HELLO TO EVERYONE YOU MEET

Back on the sidewalk to home, Lulu and I once again settled into a companionable walk. Up ahead there was a couple walking towards us. Normally Lulu prefers to step off the path and wait to let people pass, as she’s quite introverted, but with all the snow on both sides, it wasn’t really possible. We had to  turn sideways to let them pass. The woman stopped and said, “Wow, an old-fashioned poodle!” took off her glove and let Lulu sniff her hand before touching her head. Lulu graciously accepted her greeting. “Oh my!” she exclaimed, running her fingers through Lulu’s topknot once again. “Doesn’t her head have the softest hair?” I agreed. We wished each other an enjoyable walk and parted ways.

As we walked along, I mused, it’s the little things that often bring the greatest pleasures. A simple walk on an unseasonably warm winter day, the unexpectedly exquisite softness of baby-fine hair on the head of a curly-haired dog.

And then I understood why play is so important. This is really all that lil kath wants from me; to stop and take the time to appreciate and explore and see life with the wonder-filled eyes of a child. Tears of gratitude pooled in my eyes, and I began to revel in the feel of my wet bum.

If it weren’t for the vertigo and being forced to be still most of the week, I likely would have found something else important to keep busy at, not finished the work for my feelingsboard, and likely ignored my inner child’s imploring to go out and play in the glorious sunshine and wind.

So, my friends, I implore YOU, try this, just as I will try it myself (and post in this week's newsletter): listen to your inner child and ask her/him, what she/he would like to experience more of in your life.

 

LISTENING IS EVERYTHING

In her book, The Story of Your Soul: Recovering the Pearl of Your True Identity, Elizabeth Clare Prophet says that our Soul and our Inner Child are actually one and the same.  

As you know, I believe that when we listen to our Hearts, it is our Soul that speaks to us. So, perhaps your Inner Child and your Heart ARE your Soul! See how beautifully this all ties together?

 

WRITING TO YOUR INNER CHILD

Here’s another way to hear your heart/inner child/soul… Try writing with your non-dominant hand. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start a fresh page in your journal, put on some writing music if you wish, and take some deep breaths to still your mind. (Or you can use this guided relaxation I’ve prepared for you.)
  2. Write an opening question such as “What can I do for you today?” or  “What do you want to tell me today?”
  3. Now, switch the pen to your non-dominant hand (the one you don’t write with) and LISTEN. When you hear your Inner Child/Heart/Soul speak, start writing what you hear (just like in Writing From the Heart). It won’t be easy at first because it feels very unnatural, but start scratching it out, and keep going!

You may find yourself bursting into tears because she/he is so happy to be heard. Or she/he may be angry because you have shut her/him up for so long. That’s okay, just allow whatever happens, to happen. Have a conversation, switching between your dominant and non-dominant hand.

Remember the Go Deeper Question and ask, “What do YOU mean by ______?” when you hear something that stands out for you and you want to explore further.

Eventually, you may not even need to use your non-dominant hand to have a conversation. You will simply trust and allow.

And really, isn’t that what it’s all about?


February Writing Hangout is rescheduled

Due to my illness last week I had to postpone our Writing Hangout. If you want to attend, simply follow this link before it begins. If you'd like to appear on camera so that you can read what you wrote, please contact me directly. I will need your email to invite you. 

Friday, February 12 at 7pm EST

Saturday, February 13 at 11am EST