Mary Oliver Died…And I Wept

Mary Oliver died…and I wept.

I did not know her, but acutely knew her words and lyrical poetry. Her story was well known – growing up in a dysfunctional family and finding solace in the outdoors, writing and exploring. I knew about some parts of her life…but I only knew her through the poems.

My grief was ignited by the realization there would be no more words from Mary Oliver. My thoughts rolled over the tremendous gift she was and that often the words were taken for granted, like they sprang from an overflowing well. But, she was a treasure and had a limited engagement with us…as do so many.

For me, poets live closest to the soul. I wrote poetry as a child and younger person, but found I had to scrape so close to the core it burned me raw and I didn’t want to live there.

Oliver’s poetry inspired me on many occasions. Particularly, when I was working in corporate America, desperately searching for my true self – I discovered this one: Continue reading “Mary Oliver Died…And I Wept”

Poetry, Purpose and Pushing Up Daisies

Cairns in Oak Creek 2                   I Will Not Die an Unlived Life

                               “I will not die an unlived life.

                           I will not live in fear

                              of falling or catching fire.

                              I choose to inhabit my days

                                 to allow my living to open me,

                               to make me less afraid,

                             more accessible,

                               to loosen my heart,

                                  until it becomes a wing,

                                a torch, a promise.

                                  I choose to risk my significance;

                                   to live so that which came to me as seed

                                     goes to the next as blossom,

                                      and that which came to me as blossom

                              goes on as fruit.”

                    ~Dawna Markova

A special thanks to Dawna Markova, Ph.D, CEO of Professional Thinking Partners and author of the book “I Will Not Die an Unlived Life” for the nudge, nay, shove, to re-examine how we are spending our precious lives.

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Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who champions others to follow the path less traveled; the path that leads straight to their joyful hearts.♥

Find her on Facebook or Twitter

My Dog’s Life

If you’re a regular reader, you know – nothing really surprises me. I’m very open and confessional. And here, you can be, too. What I like most about life is the imperfections in mankind…and that includes me. Enjoy my confessional…I find it liberating. When you do it, I find it endearing.

 

Nutshell my lifeI’ve always felt things deeply. To cope, I’ve devised a mechanism of sometimes simply observing the feeling, rather than reacting to it. This goes not only for the bad stuff, but also for the good. I’m really enjoying life this way, observing others and blessing them on their journeys. It’s a good thing I’ve figured this out, otherwise I’d be more a more cracked nut than I already am. So here is my story about something I KNEW would be a  cosmic 2×4 and how I came to build with it, rather than let it be used as a weapon against me. (Click to Tweet)

In our family we have 3 dogs. One of my main challenges, a pinnacle point of my internal contention, is one of our dogs. Our family has a terrier who’ll be14 years old next month. I’ll be upfront and admit she has not been my favourite dog. In fact, I don’t even really like her. I feel I’ve been tolerating her the whole time. She tends toward willful disobedience, isn’t particularly bright and she gets quite dirty of her own choosing – like rubbing along the fence outside after a bath. For someone like me, a former obedience trainer with deep relationships with my dogs, she is “a different breed.”

In our family we’ve always brought our dogs into the fold. They are part of our tribe and they receive proper respect, thoughtful feeding, are expected to have good dog-manners and we love them unconditionally. Well…except for this one – except for this one with me, to be more precise.

Mystic 4The main issue in this canine relationship is not with the canine at all. It’s all me….I know that. I feel bad about myself because of how I feel about the dog. I should be the bigger person, after all. But ,in my humanity, I’ve been waiting for the dog to “go.” Yep, I said it out loud. Dog, if you go, I’ll feel better about myself, because I won’t be struggling with negative juju involving YOU! It’s your fault anyway. NOW, before I start getting raving reply posts, let me say, I know this is wrong. The intellectual and spiritual part of me knows I’ll be dragging this distain like toilet paper on my shoe into the afterlife. Hey, I get this. But I’ve spent years trying to reconcile it, and can’t. I can’t come to terms because as soon as I let go and accept her, she goes off and does something so canine imbecile that I’m right back to square one. LOSE, LOSE!

She’s been getting frail. She’s slower. She doesn’t eat well. I’ve sworn not to spruce up the house until she’s gone. She rubs against the furniture and leaves whatever was on the fence on the sofa, after all. She has recently had “accidents.” I would be silly to invest in new furnishings…I’d be guarding them…like she guards her food she has no intention of finishing.

Mystic 5So, you get the picture. It’s a bad roommate with a 14-year lease. (click to Tweet)  Well…it could be longer…but after yesterday, I don’t think so.

Yesterday morning she wouldn’t get out of bed. She would barely hold her head up. She doesn’t seem to be in any pain, just winding down. Kind of like when my grandmother passed. Truly, the sadness and guilt flooded over me like a tsunami. I went to yoga and afterward spoke with the woman who owns the retreat center. They’ve lost 2 dogs in a short time. The dogs went naturally, in the grass, under the trees.

I came home and spoke with the dog. I asked forgiveness for my inability to move into a meaningful relationship. I. Did. Not. Know. How. I am a flawed human and I’ve missed the lesson entirely. I played gentle music in the house for her and watched her breathe. I stroked her. I cried. I ached. I gave her a little Reiki. I prayed for her peace and comfort. Her last visitors paraded through the house, to pay their respects.

It was so heart wrenching that when I could cry no more tears, I carried her on her bed to the beautiful, warm, light outside. It’s spring. The birds are chirping and the sun is warm. It was what I would want (I think, but not yet, please). When we got outside she got up! She ambled around slowly. She drank some water and ate deli turkey from Whole Foods – no nitrites, you know, because nitrites aren’t good for you. She enjoyed the rest of the day, receiving additional visits, cuddles and sweet murmurs from admirers.

As I write this she is resting peacefully in the other room. Gently finding her way through it all…as I am finding mine. Mystic 7Perhaps, I can’t find that deep connection I have with my other hounds, but by God, I can support her through a sacred  death. I can reach for the lesson, though it may slip through my fingers. I can be open to the outcomes, though they may not be the ones I expect. I can lean into the discomfort of these feelings and just BE with them. I can ask for forgiveness. I can share my story, because sometimes, when the light is shed on shame, it retreats into the shadows and leaves us with some acceptance and peace. (click to Tweet)

 

“You may think you need to find an answer in order to have peace of mind. But if you choose peace of mind now, you will have an answer. On a path of growth, we don’t get rid of chaos. We learn how to dance in the uncertainty, breathe through fire, and discover strengths we never knew we had.”
                                                                                                                                                                     Tama J. Kieves

Special thanks to Tama Kieves who is the author of This Time I Dance, Creating the Work You Love and Inspired and Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work. You can find her at www.tamakieves.com 

Deep Peace,

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Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who champions others to follow the path less traveled; the path that leadsCoaching pic  - Version 3 straight to their joyful hearts.♥ Find her on Facebook or Twitter