Chapter Nine: Being BraveJuly 29, 2015

be braveI’m almost 2 hours into my 3rd gallbladder attack since Saturday. The doc told me today that we need to get bloodwork & an ultrasound ASAP & in the next breath said she’s fairly certain the gallbladder needs to come out. Joy. Sent me off with a look of pity & instruction to stay away from fatty foods. (And if you’re a client reading this, just know there are some sick days in my very near future, starting now.)

So, it’s like a kidney stone attack (I’ve had 5) but in a different spot. It lasts a few hours and then subsides and you can get some sleep. It’s so fucking painful..makes you cry & throw up & you can’t get comfortable & you cuss a lot. Horribly unpleasant would be putting it mildly.

I was just having a conversation with a friend yesterday about fear. She’s one of the strongest people I know, but with this particular happening in her life, she was frozen in fear. Tonite I’m the one who’s scared. Scared about surgery. Freaking that this thing will burst when I’m home alone. Petrified to eat & have another episode.

In the midst of my cries, I heard, “Follow your own advice.” These are the things I told my friend:

1. It’s new territory. How cool is that? Keep moving, keep walking, keep learning.

2. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be. The Universe has blessed you with a built in lesson to build your character.

3. Do not spend time & energy on what is not within your control. It’s wasteful & has never worked to change a damn thing.

4. Asking yourself “Why?” is of no benefit. The reason doesn’t matter. It’s what you do with the moment.

5. Yes, it hurts so bad. Stay there for a little while. It’s a part of being human.

6. Courage isn’t picky. The same fortitude it takes to win a rugby game is the same you can use to get through a broken relationship.

7. Be still. Listen. Your team of guides up there will know what to do.

8. Be grateful for the crap stuff in life & the mistakes & the failures because it’s building you up to be the person you were meant to be in this world.

9. You haven’t changed. Only your perception of yourself at this moment has. You are still a badass. The guilt & shit talk is making you more scared. Quit it. File those thoughts away to make room for the ones that will pull you out of this thing in a healthy way.

10. There was probably more, but I can’t remember right now & only having 9 things would be too weird.

The episode has ended finally. Wish me luck in the days to come. Yes, my advice helped.

XO,

RA

Chapter Eight: Using My Words.July 23, 2015

Chapter Eight: Using My Words.graymalin

I got distracted.
In your thoughts of me.
At some point they became more important than any of mine.
I took the advice too literally.
They said, “Be nice. To Everyone.”
But they forgot to tell me about the quicksand.
And the ones who had agendas.
And the lies.
And the compliments.
And the confusion, because I never had an agenda of my own.

I gave too much.
Because I had enough.
I put others first.
Because I never saw myself as worthy.
I lived vicariously.
Because my life wasn’t as important. I thought.
I let others choose.
Because I missed the lesson about confidence.

Then one day the distracting dust cleared.
And I saw my gifts.
And I learned about the shades of gray.
Like being nice. It’s not an absolute.
And there are shitty people. Of which I am not.
I can make the decisions.
Choose to not step in the quicksand.
Appreciate the compliments but owe nothing.

I have an agenda.
Not based on fear.
Your opinions of me are yours.
And that is where that ends.
My obligations aren’t based on your expectations.
They are whispered to me.
And now I listen.
Loud and clear.
10-4.

Love,

RA

(Photo by Gray Malin)

Chapter Seven: HeartVisions.June 24, 2015

ozzy 091706Chapter Seven:  HeartVisions.

Statistically speaking, the odds were pretty good one of my dogs would be returned, although I hadn’t considered that prior to receiving this totally unexpected text from Ozzy’s new mama:

“Is there any way you want to take Ozzy back? I feel like I have really tied myself down. He needs a lot of attention and he and Baby really don’t play much now. Don’t get me wrong. I love him. If you can’t take him I will try and keep him. I feel really bad, but I also want to go on some trips and that is impossible. Please let me know what you think.”

There were too many words to sort out, lots of questions, and a tropical storm about to hit Houston. I knew the first thing would be to pick up Ozzy up immediately.

We met in the parking lot of a fast food place at the halfway point to save time driving in the rain. There I found a droopy looking Ozzy and sad Laura. He was unkempt and lethargic. She was worried I’d be angry with her. I asked several times if it was something that Ozzy had done? She told me he was “a perfect angel” the entire month and a half.

With permission, I can tell you that Laura was suffering with severe depression, anxiety, and agoraphobia. She would stay home all day, every day with both dogs and not leave the house. I had no idea. She recently sought medical treatment for these issues and I wish her the best. Something told me she had related to my story quite a bit..and wanted to help me by adopting Ozzy. And for that I am grateful.

Ozzy’s posture and mood over the next few days reminded me of the days that followed after losing his sight. He seemed pissed off and confused is the best way for me to tell you. Then suddenly he wasn’t. He soon was navigating my place, even the stairs, like a pro in no time. Started playing with toys and the other dogs like he had never left.

So, I had to rescue my own dog. Bizarre. This wasn’t a homeless dog in a shelter, this was MY dog of 7 years! Did I feel guilty? No. Was I angry? No. Did I call her names? No. I realized that Ozzy had a quick mission in Laura’s life and then it was time for him to go. He helped her “see” that she needed to seek guidance and get some help. And he taught me some things too:

1. Expect others to be Human. Then you won’t be disappointed.

2. Stress is what we make it. Make it temporary.

3. See with your heart. Your eyesight can be deceiving.

4. No matter what, be resilient. We fall down, but we get up.

5. Dogs are pure love and catalysts for change in our lives.

Ozzy is ready for his next mission now. (That’s his puppy photo above btw.) Here is his adoption page: petfinder.com/petdetail/32065972

XO,

RA

Chapter Six: Dreams Do Come TrueMay 26, 2015

Once Upon A Time, there lived a handsome prince named Diego.

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Who dreamed of living a fairytale life.

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There would be lots of fun toys.

And treats all his own.

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And a bath.

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Not really, he didn’t dream of having a bath. Ugh.

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But he would feel a lot better afterwards.

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Bubbles are always a nice touch but he wouldn’t totally understand the point ?

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A donation to those less fortunate would be in order too.

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Then he would top the day off at a pet friendly restaurant for dinner with his fairy godmother and fairy godfather. Yes!

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And then drift back to sleep again a very happy prince.

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The End.

Chapter Five: Diego’s Second ChapterMay 20, 2015

Chapter Five: Diego’s Second Chapter

Dearest Dennis,

You called me Mama for a moment. Then they took you away.unknown2

Your brother stood in for you. We called him Diego.

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Then you left the earth. Along with the rest of Diego’s 8 brothers and sisters. It was so sad.

We did our best to cheer Diego up. Even entered him in a contest and he won!contest-finals

Diego grew up to be big and strong.IMG_6417

He had a lot of fun too. Sometimes too much.diegosofa

He loved to model for me.design-milk1

He got new brothers and sisters.groupfoto

One day I met these really nice people and their family._MG_2111-Edit

Then I saw them again when they fostered puppies going to Colorado a few months ago with Rescued Pets Movement. They are very special people. Beyond my words.robyn arouty-8591

In the meantime, I started not feeling very well. And I asked God for some guidance and help. So, he sent them back in my life again. They saw Diego on the computer. And had no idea Diego belonged to me. And it was love at their first visit.IMG_4119

It was how love was meant to be. Like how you & I were Dennis. For a moment in time.unknown3

Diego and I sat down for a serious talk. I made sure he knew how much I love him. How proud I am of him. How hard this was, but I was letting him go because it was the ultimate life for him. He was really worried about Mama. I told him I’d hold down the fort here and we gave each other permission to be happy. There’s an open invitation to visit in his new big house just a few miles away. And I will.IMG_0203

They are soulmates. I know this. And it’s ok and wonderful._MG_2526-Edit

Oh my, isn’t he handsome? He’s free to be even more of himself now. I’ve never seen him this happy before. And just like Charlie, Ozzy, and Harriet (Chapters 1-4), he’s moving on to spread our love to a new family. Please watch over your brother Dennis. I love you both.
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XO,

RA