And so it goes

I keep telling myself that I’ll get used to the face she makes, but it isn’t true. Or at least, it hasn’t happened yet.

Twice a day now, since October, I have given Jade “treats”, and by treats, I really mean treat-coated pills. We’ve dropped her meds down to cipro, pred, and pepcid, twice a day. Back at the beginning, or even a month ago, I could trick her into eating them: I’d prep the pill pocket, then give it to her. When that stopped working, I’d prep the pills and then wait for 30 minutes or so. She’d forget the noises I’d made with the pill containers and gobble the treats up. I could gauge how she felt by whether or not she’d go straight for the treats. No more.

For the past month, what used to be an irregular occurence is now my every day. Well, twice my every day. I prep the pill, I catch Jade (who has now begun to sprint a bit when she sees me coming), and then I hold her in my arms, one hand over her body, propping open her jaw, and the other, tossing the “treat” down her throat. Have you ever had someone throw something down your throat? If so, I imagine you’d make the face Jade makes: her eyes bulge and she gags, because, well, she’s choking. On days that I’m lucky, she’ll let me hold her afterwards, and in those moments, I apologize and I stroke her belly, scratch her head, let my hand rest on her chest. I believe she knows. Those moments we remember and just are. I hold her tight and pour all my apology into our connection.  Other days, she hops away from me faster than fast, and stumbles to catch her footing, just a little bit more each time.

I know, it sounds dramatic, but really, it isn’t as bad as it sounds. See, she’s teaching me about this whole dying thing, and more than that, about this loving thing.

I dated a girl once, and she was diagnosed with cancer. Her diagnosis thrust us both into the future, so much so that neither of us were really present to what was actually going on in the moment. I can see that now, with time.

It’s different with Jade. Maybe it’s ’cause she’s a cat. Maybe it’s because I’m older. Maybe it’s just that we’ve been together longer than I’ve been with anyone else. Or perhaps it’s a combo of it all.

What I know to be true though, is that I learn every day about being present to the every day with Jade. She calls me to sit, to hold, to be with the discomfort or the frustration or the anger or the sadness; the truth is that it changes all the time. And today, the gagging and choking was harder for me than it has been. But she let me hold her and so I’ll cherish that for now. And what will come will come, but not today.

3 ways to kick Fear to the curb

fearYesterday, I conquered fear.

Given a moment of confrontation, I didn’t allow the story inside my head to take over my day (it was only 7:30 am– it would’ve been a really looonnggg day if I obsessed over the single text message that overwhelmed me with fear).

Saturday, I lost out to fear.

Instead of dancing with a woman whom I love, I worried about how I’d look. I LOVE to dance; if you ever pass me on the highway, you’ll see my moves. But anywhere else, where I might be seen? Forget about it. The real kicker– it was just the two of us, in my home. That’s right, I wasn’t even in public.

I’ve been thinking about fear a lot these last few months.

Fear of the unknown
Fear of the uncontrollable (in nature, in others’ choices, of dis-eases)
Fear of loss (of loved ones, of clients, of myself, of friends…)
Fear of judgment (from others, of others)
Fear of lack of income (even though I have an abundance of work)
Fear of betraying myself (even though there are lots of folks who keep me honest)
Fear of broken (or breaking) relationships
Fear of speaking secrets

Some days I dwell in the fear and forget that it’s a little voice, a voice that’s there to inform me, like a telegram, saying “hey, pay attention, what’s going on down there?”

In those days:

I draw inward to stay safe.
I grasp instead of letting go.
I spin in the stories in my head and don’t step out into the present moment.

Other days I lean into the fear, especially when someone calls me on it, asking me “what type of person do you want to be?”

And in those days:

I choose love over distrust.
I choose expansion and openness over constriction.
I choose Monica over Monica as-perceived-needed-judged by others.
I choose the moment, rather than living in the past or the future.
On those days that I choose not-fear, how do I do it? Here are ya go:

Top 3 ways I move through fear.

1) Amazing folks who remind me of who I am.
Seriously. This is probably the most important one for me. I have friends who I run stories by, healers who work on me (and speak to me in a direct, no-bullshit, I-know-your-light-Monica way), colleagues who know my character and remind me.

2) Meditation prayer in the morning.
I go through cycles of remembering and forgetting this one. But, when I remember to set an intention for the day, without fail I am more grounded and better able to stay present rather than leave the present and live in fear.

3) Get outside and connect to the bigger picture.
I live near beautiful woods and an incredible lake. Getting out and moving reconnects me to the natural world and helps my blood and energy circulate and recharge. How can you look at this and feel anything but awe?

A blue heron at the lake near my home.

4) Bonus method! When all else fails, I scream it out. 

What are some ways YOU’VE found of bypassing fear when it stops you?