Monday, December 9, 2019

Dharma Dog

 Dog Dharma 

Dear Ian,

 An evolution has happened.

Saturday I left Henry at home and took Phoebe to Luckenbach for your Aunt Nita's jewelry show. I thought I did it because she is a young dog and gets restless at home with old Henry sleeping most of the time. I thought I did it to get her out into the sway of the world and to give her some novelty. Also to feel her presence in the back seat makes me feel safe; makes me feel more whole.

It was a really lovely day; one of the best since you left....much to my surprise. Of course there were scores of happy families clustering heads together...sticky handed toddlers. There was familiar country music playing all day long and people were drinking beer. I heard the occasional chinking of empty bottles hitting trash cans. All types of humanity walking by looking at my sister's art, joyful and fitting.

All the stuff that I now seem to loath to my core. Determined goings-on of happy connected humans, something that is no longer real for me. It is where I used to live too, in that zone of belonging.

Before I lost you, baby; before I became a former Mom; before my life turned a different way with a sudden groan and jerk.
Before the stillness.
Before grief.
Before my bell was silenced leaving me to sit mute as others clang and ring with life.

The thing is, dearest boy, that a small stubborn part of me still wants to be a part of the din.  Driving through Fredericksburg Friday night, I noticed the first tug of it. A detour through town lead me to a parallel side street to avoid the downtown Christmas parade. One street over, I stalked from the dark, seeing glimpses of twinkle lights, people dancing about, colors and forms moving in and out of the canopy of decorations all in a colored tapestry of symbolism and merriment. I felt a moment of yearning to join them; to be there too, but the pull to not be there was stronger, as it so often is.

...and that is the crux of it. I both want and don't want to be a part of humanity in equal measure.

So why hoist myself back up the next morning and go to the festival? Perhaps it was the pull of my sister Nita, who has the remarkable ability to coax me back toward life. Nita accepts me half alive,  filling in my missing pieces with remembrance of my former vibrancy. She grounds me and believes in my coming back, when even I have lost hope myself. There is a confidence and quiet calm in her patience with my wracked and railing grief. 

Often since you left, I have turned to her in desperation. I have turned to her in despair, and occasionally in hope. Nita is one of those rare people with enough love and strength to transfuse others without ego or judgement. Only a day before, Nita had finally released the creped hand of a dying woman to the Universe. She witnessed her light fading, never once looking away from the miracle or the horror. Now she was out in the living world again, going on with her art.

Showing me how to live, without speaking a word.

For shits sake, if she could do that with grace and mirth,  then surely I could dredge up the nerve to go, too. I dreaded all the happiness that might wash around and never touch me, but I went anyway.

Deepak Chopra was also on my mind as I drove, reminding me that there are no binaries in life, only one unified consciousness. Evil and good are one; life and death exist in mutual interdependence. We are all acting both with limitless freedom and complete predetermination.

It is either-and, not either-or.

God or the Universal Creator uses us to recreate reality every moment. I love this idea, because it allows me to imagine that you acted both in freedom and within a chosen, thoughtful plan when you  leaped  away and gone. 

As Phoebe and I walked around Luckenbach, I noticed that tickle of newness when thoughts and experience mix in a different way. I sort of felt myself both becoming one with her and also feeling transfused with her essence. She is such a pretty and friendly dog, and people are drawn to her sweetness everywhere we go. Oddly,  I found I could tolerate people more because she was my buffer. Such a magnetic girl she is.

As I am sure you know Ian, I cannot look at a young boy anymore without sadness and panic. Every little face is your face; every soft pink hand is yours, too. Every innocent expression and matted head of hair takes me back to you. It is anguish. Jealousy and rage populate my heart and I feel  a terrible shame in it. Most days I literally look away from them, as if from a car crash. But not this day.  found that I could squat down really close and let a little boy rub Phoebe's coat with my hand over his, and I felt nothing but the joy of it. I could witness without pain as he explored her exquisite celestial spots. I also found love for the Mom, looking down in adoration at her little boy the way I once looked at you. through the insulation of her, I could then watch husbands, grown kids, couples and all sorts of tribes being together (something I suspect I will never have for myself again). It was ok. Phoebe was my conduit and shield, as she endured patiently the hundreds of hands, hundreds of hugs. She was the totem, completely in the moment and being her lovely self.

Things shifted a bit, just as Chopra promised happens when we expand ourselves to recognize Dharma as it happens in real time. It wasn't perfect, I still needed some beer to take the edge off, but I felt the certainty of an evolution in me.

Then, on my drive home, there was the shocking awareness that I felt good.

Now at home, I am thinking of my sister again; of how she has managed to build bridges in her life through her lust for wonder and courage to connect. I am understanding that we have been together since the beginning and before, just like you and I, Ian. 

We are all from the same star, I guess.

And Ian......I am thinking of all the dogs you and I have loved....Benjie,  Bailey, Ollie, Henry, Paisley, Skyy, Tiger, and lovely Phoebe. The miraculous way we find just the right ones. The free will and predetermination of all this.

And I have a soft knowing that I saved her so that she can save me right back.



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