Friday, December 26, 2014

The Importance of Beau

Five days ago while out on a long run I encountered a dying dog. This beautiful and loving chocolate lab had been reduced to wandering, scared and alone. He was staggering and his back legs were no longer function properly. He ribs stuck out and he stumbled around. He was dying. He would die alone, scared, and suffering. I slowly walked this broken dog back to my home and brought him into our family.

The difference is amazing. He is eating and drinking well. He sleeps a lot. Beau, or the more formal Beauregard, is an old man and doesn't have a lot of get up and go. But he is alert and no longer seems to be disoriented. He loves us all so much and his gratitude fills my heart until I think it might rupture.

It isn't all sunshine and rainbows. Because his kidneys were shutting down, he pees everywhere and a lot. I do many, many loads of towels and have mopped more in the past five days than the entire six months preceding. We pulled his water on Christmas Eve  to help with the nightly needs to go out constantly. First thing Christmas morning he gorged himself and vomited half a gallon of water all over the Christmas presents. But these are some of the challenge of rescuing a dog this sick and we were fully aware.

But what I really wanted to talk about is why. I think the why is incredibly important. The reason I took Beau home to nurse him back to health is because in my heart I had no other choice. My husband and I are deeply committed to animal welfare. All of our furry babies are rescues in one form or another. The suffering of an animals is like a knife to the gut for us both. Caring for animals is one of our deep and abiding passions.

Following our passion is one of the most important things we can do in our life.

I have a niggling feeling that each and everyone of us are embedded with specific passions. They are not the same but they each have a purpose of making our world a better place. If we choose to repressed and ignore these passions then we are both denying the world of the good we are capable of doing and we are denying ourselves the opportunity to live in the realm of our higher self. If each of us were to follow our given passions, I believe the world would be a very different place.

We have become so caught up in our fast pace, driven world. Our version of success is often detrimental to our own welfare and relationships. I am concerned many can no longer tune into the small,quiet voice of truth within ourselves. This voice can lead us on the path of truth and wisdom. Following this path will ultimate lead to our higher self and purpose. Living a life of doing good and spreading seeds of truth and love as we move throughout the world.  The path leading to true and non-ego laden happiness.

I believe small incidents in our life are ultimately connected. They are often lessons and teaching moments. In the life of parents they have a dual purpose, they can educated you as a person while serving as examples for our children. Watching us and how act create the most influential moments for our children. Our actions will stick with our children far longer and have a deeper effect than our words ever will. If we follow our passion then our children have a greater chance of ultimately following their own.

It is also important to understand that although you make a difference, there is a good chance you will not solve a problem alone. It is imperative to see your contribution and its relevance. or the chances of burnout is high. Do you know the story of the man the starfish? As the tide went out, there were thousands of star fish stranded to die on the beach. A man was slowly moving along throwing them back into the ocean one by one. Another man discovered him and exclaimed, "It is useless!!! You will never save them all." The first man continued his progression undeterred. As he threw the next one back into the salty deep he quietly said, "I can save this one." You must remember each one you save and help matters.

In the end,  Beau may die very soon. No amount of money spent nor care given can guarantee he will fully recover. We have been honest with the children in case this happens. I want them prepared. But no matter what, he life is worth it. At the very least, he will die surround by love, warmth, and comfort and that matters oh so very much.

If I had not brought him home to care for then I would respect myself less. I would know I did not live up to my ethics and convictions. I would not be honoring my path and passions. I would not be the person I know I can be. I would be denying my higher self.

No, I cannot rescue them all but I can rescue the ones fate brings my way. I can rescue the ones my quiet, inner voice tells me, "This one. This one is for your care. You must take this one into your heart. Celebrate his life and mourn his eventual passing. Show him love."

Besides, how could your turn this face down.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Importance of Fresh Air and Nature

Throughout the years I have tweaked and played with different variations in our lives to find our sweet spot. We all have such widely varying personalities and needs. It can be hard to find the balance leading to harmony in our family. I love harmony. I love peace. Therefore I have pursued this modern day Elysian Field with great vigor.

There are many important factors. We all need good nutrition. I am a huge believer in diet for health and wellness. If I feel off balance the first thing I examine is the foods I have been eating. Spending the time to nurture and grow our family relationships is something not to be ignored. I cannot stress the importance of this. It all goes back to the saying, "Grass is greenest where you water it.". Long story short, there are a multitude of things, small and large, contributing to our family health and wellness.

There is one thing pulling all of these individual aspects together resulting in the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, fresh air and nature. Even more important, physical activity in fresh air.

When we fail to have adequate fresh air the results descend upon us almost immediately. Everyone is cranky and impatient. Learning slows drastically. We are more tired and bored. The restless feeling permeates the house. We all start looking glassy-eyed and distracted. It just ain't good.

Years ago, children were able to get plenty of outdoor exercise with neighborhood friends. It just isn't the case anymore. We can argue about safety versus free range, being over-scheduled versus free play, the influence of technology, or really a myriad of events culminating in the change of childhood as we know it. We can argue it or we can do something about it. Our family has decided to just do something about it.

Summer, spring, and fall is relatively easy. All of the following occurs but minus the factor I am inherently resistant to going out in the cold. I admit it. Winter is not my forte. But for the sanity and health of my I have committed myself to pull on my big girl panties and DEAL WITH IT.

One of the elements that greatly eases this process is we are an active family. My husband and I love to go out and try new things. We love to be active. We are intrepid explorers. The children have just grown up with this being their normal. I truly think it helps a lot.

Trying out new hobbies together gives us a focus. 

The added benefit is many outdoor activities help my children find their inner confidence and competence. Actually, it is the same for me as well.

The exploration of unknown paths is a favorite. 

There is always the option of bundling up and walking around our small town together. It isn't exactly nature filled but it will do this trick in a pinch. Besides, it is always a lot of fun. They usually get hot chocolate at our local independent coffee shop towards the end of our wanderings. 

But our favorites adventures are through the woods alone or with friends. Brief moments in time to get out and listen to the sounds of nature and in the quiet, perhaps hear our soul a little bit more clarity. 

I love how my children are in nature. They seem to be just more, more curious, more adventurous, more engaged, more imaginative. Nature brings out a calm energy in all of us. Laughter comes more easily and love seems to flow more naturally. These moments are terribly precious to me and I am not exactly sentimental. I know when I think back to our early days as a family, these are moments I will remember the most. 

It is out in nature many of the unnecessary layers fall away for me. It is there I can best see the simple and raw beauty of life. Life is messy and painful at times but the ultimate reality is we are here to love each other and connect deeply and truly with at least a few other people. We are here to stand witness to each other's lives and stories. This is ultimately the most important reason being outside matters deeply to me. Hopefully, I am passing on this glorious experience to my children as well. 

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,
 to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, 
and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.