out of the compost pile, I bloom

 

Today, the sun is shining in a wild show of spring. The birds have been up since before daylight singing into the world, and I’ve spent much of the morning watching a squirrel scavenging for seeds and nuts below the bird feeder. There are countless blooms in the garden surrounding the patio; multicolored blossoms that beckon the bumblebees with rich and fragrant nectar. It’s absolutely stunning, and I can’t help but admire the natural beauty before me. I am also fighting my inner freak that is screaming in my head that the lawn needs mowing, the garden needs weeding, and the kitchen needs mopping.

She is such a drag to be around.

I know for a fact that the world won’t end if I don’t mow the lawn or weed the garden. These tasks can certainly wait. I also know that, sometimes, lovely things happen when I stop and take in the wonder of the world without trying to change anything. Being content with this and that. I notice the small things that I would have passed by in my hurry to get things done. Like the glorious red poppies that poke brightly out from the compost pile, showing that beauty can grow from discarded garden materials. And somehow the blossoms look more gorgeous knowing that they weren’t planned and haven’t been tended to. These flowers have made their way in the world all on their own, and they serve their purpose so beautifully.

I also know for certain that I miss out on so much with my need to be productive; experiences, pleasures, and personal growth. I forget that beautiful things come from the simple act of stopping and that if I just soften a bit, I can still get things done and my heart will be happier in the end. No need for head spinning or list writing. Just being here. Now.

Even in my (limited) experience of teaching yoga, I’ve noticed that the less I try to plan and control, the more joy and ease I feel. I’m happier, and the class appears to be more satisfied in their experience. I then remember what it is about a yoga class that I’ve loved all along- joining with other people to breathe and move together in community while cultivating awareness in the moment. Everything can wait- the mat is rolled out, the phone is off, the computer out of sight. Practice in being here now and not trying to change or fix or be anything other than what I am.

Out of the compost pile, a flower blooms. A reminder that I can bloom anywhere.

how a wild rescue dog taught me about love

 

faint echo of you
remains everywhere I go
I miss you, old girl

Last Monday at 10:20 am, we said goodbye forever to our sweet old girl Emma. It was a tender and painful day, especially since we had spent the past 15 years making sure Emma knew she was loved regardless of her quirky and neurotic cattle dog ways. And Emma gave us more in return than we could have ever expected.

Emma came to our world in the form of a skinny and skittish coyote-looking rescue dog who was frightened of everything. Emma whimpered and yelped far more than she ever barked and she fulfilled her herding duties by nipping at the heels and backsides of the children in our lives. She was a dog on a mission, and that quickly turned out to be chasing as many balls and sticks as possible and making sure that when we left the house, the garbage and cupboards were given a thorough examination, leaving piles of trash and torn up containers in her work zone. When we were with her, Emma made sure that she was either near us or watching us as much as possible, and up until her last breath, she offered a gentle and trusting presence to our lives.

With Emma’s death, I’ve lost one of my greatest teachers of unconditional love, trust, and the value of free-spirited play. Emma has taught me more about the significance of letting go and the importance of cultivating patience than any spiritual guide could have, and even in her absence, I can feel the pull of her teachings in our tiny little home. I recognize the spaces of time that I filled by kissing, loving, feeding, cleaning, and being with her and her pile of toys sits as a reminder that the floor is as good a place as any to work out unwanted frustrations or negative energy. Just grab a plush toy and shake it wildly and in just a few moments, all worry melts into nonsense and the world seems to be a better place.

So, today, in honor of our sweetest and most wildly unique Emma dog, we will take our time and soak in every moment. The bright blooms of spring and the vigorous flight of the birds in our yard seem to echo our bursting hearts. Every tender moment a reminder to love fully and to live in a way that matters.