It’s incredible how much love you can have for animals (for me it is dogs in particular) when their language is expressed mainly in body language that you have had to learn through attention and time.
Even more incredible is that you know they love you too. As they sleep next to me, and press both their paws into my side (doesn’t always feel pleasant) I feel their contentment and trust. I’m honored that of all the people, they picked me.
Nature has its way of clearing stagnant energy I carry around, emerging clear and reconfigured. What I hold in my heart, so often heavy and sharp, is lightened and dulled…sometimes even made smaller, by the rich colors and earthy smells.
The people in my life all have either brought something in or have taken something…& if I were to take a bird’s eye view of it, might see it was an equal giving and taking, cyclical much like nature…however I’m too deep in the woods and the taking seems to acquire more attention.
Being off of my medication has caused this influx of emotion…& the stinging words and actions of others cause such a painful reaction that I have retreated into this shell of protection. Familiar to me from before I started my zombie-like state of existence. However my shell is boring on the outside on purpose…no one likes boring. In fact they leave it alone…and for someone with a mental health illness, sometimes being left alone is as necessary as it is painful. We don’t want to be lonely, but loneliness keeps you from getting hurt from others at a time when you don’t have the energy or strength to process it.
Getting older is kind of awesome in a way. Things take a different shape, and I hold value in gentleness. Being here at 32 is eye-opening. So far into being an adult that mistakes are less-forgivable, mainly to myself.
The vincibility of life, and the shortness of it helps to rid myself mentally of things that really have no stake in life at the end. That being said, I still really like shoes.
These thoughts, now written have made some room so I can let the interrupted sleep take over once more…..
Lately I’ve been spending as much time as I can outdoors. I’ve found that after a hike or even a short walk on the beach with Kona, I’m a little lighter and my mind is less crowded.
My most favorite are the longer hikes through the quiet woods. I feel safe, mainly because of Kona, but also the peace that lives among the trees. I imagine the ancient wisdom that lives in the trees and how with each falling leaf, they pass on their magic to the growing plants below.
In Japan, doctors actually recommend some patients to visit the woods in what has become Shinrin-yoku or, “forest bathing”. The concept, talked about here, speaks of restorative benefits to body and mind.
After my time outdoors, I feel myself having shaken free the tough encrusted layers of the days and weeks before, like a snake that shed the skin that feels too small.
I’m ready to let myself feel all the emotions that will come, and that I’m better prepared to handle them. I know the anxiety and depression will return from it’s waiting place on my horizon…but I know a place to come back to that can help.
I’ve breathed in, and saved some of the peace I’ve found to carry with me.
I hope others can find a way here to shed some of their weight…and let the wind through the trees carry it away.
As nice as it is taking time to be thankful on this particular day, I feel it’s important to be grateful every day for all of the little things that sometimes go unnoticed:
The moments in between dark times…where I can breathe freely with none of the static in my mind and chest;
My husband that listens without trying to fix things and knows I need to just be;
My sister that allows me the opportunity to share things I’ve learned, and to learn more;
My few but close friends that are precious gems in my life…bringing their own facets of light;
My furbaby Kona, that has given me the best therapy a life could offer.
All of these things I know I have taken for granted on many occasions but without one, I’d most surely fall apart.
Every day, I need you guys.
And for every day, I am grateful.
This past week has been a battle of will and inner strength. I felt at times my strength was as useless as tissue paper…frail and so ready to tear at the slightest bit of pressure.
The days seemed to prolong itself and I lived in this state of a perpetual rewinding of my fears and playing them back to myself again.
I managed to push them back far enough to laugh and engage with others, but like oil I’d watch it ooze back and surround me in its suffocating grip.
I haven’t been willing to exercise or been able to keep an appetite, which are the things you WANT to maintain in times of dark depression. Things just seem to slip away from me.
This weight is so unbelievably heavy…I feel for those that carry things too…because there is no one else who can.
Today, as I write this, I have Kona asleep on my lap. Listening to her sleepy breathing and watching her side rise and fall in a calming rhythm, I am almost transported to a place of future promise of peace. There is peace for me beyond this past week.
Maybe not next week, or the next…but soon.
Listening to Crystals by Of Monsters and Men…
Anyone who knows my dog, Kona, would laugh if I ever told them she was a therapy dog. She is fiercely protective, and only trusts a select few humans and dogs. She’s not your friendly, neighborhood pet. She growls at the mailman and the cats in the neighborhood know to steer clear of our house. That’s Kona.
Kona was rescued by my husband 6 years ago, and then 4 years later I would join their little pack. I have loved dogs my whole life but I was nervous to meet her…I wanted her to love me. It took a while, but finally I won her trust and it was one of the best things that has happened.
Kona encourages me to live in the moment and to appreciate the every day, which is so difficult to do. The days where I’m under my shadow, she curls up next to me and sighs deeply, and I can’t help but feel this warmth in my soul. When I run my hands over her fur, I’m engaging in the best form of therapy life can offer.
I don’t know how it works, but I know that my love for Kona, and her affection towards me helps keep me grounded and balanced.
I think “dog people” can understand the indescribable connection we have with our dogs.
She’s my soulmate. A conduit to help express my emotions and a strong source of positive energy. I need her a hell of a lot more than she’ll ever need me.
Dog Medicine by Julie Barton is a book I just finished reading that talks about this very relationship. It’s amazing.