441 days. A death sentence, the date set. With the date of pronouncement being the 5th of September 2017, add 441 days and you get 20th November 2018. The finality of an actual date struck me hard. Our vet has confirmed that our little Daisy has a heart murmur and it is more pronounced than it was on the earlier visit about a month ago. Dr Andrea just comes straight out with “441 days is the average prognosis for this condition”. Life expectancy that is, the average time it takes before the condition takes its victory, death. Death will conquer, overcome, the indomitable spirit of our little Daisy with a certain finality. An eventuality we knew would happen at some time, but now that it has a date it is just very hard to accept. Final. Real. No avoiding it. Of course, the 441 days is an average and the good side is that it might take longer than that but the downside is that it could also happen much sooner. Continue reading
Routines, routines, we all have them don’t we and I can be attached to the very point of distraction with mine at times. Over the last few years, I have come to realise that I am not always best served by adhering so rigidly to the routines I have constructed. Constructed is the key that I have come to realise, that these routines I have created are just mine, my own creations, and not set in stone. There is a soaring sense of freedom at times when I decide to break away from a routine, either because I have other things I want to do, or that I notice that one or more aspects of the routine aren’t really useful, or simply just because. Just because a realignment can bring a whole new outlook, a freshness, to an aspect of my daily life.
I had recently changed my “day starter” routine to get back to including doing my journal, my “morning pages” as Julia Cameron calls it, a heads-down non-stop non-edit writing practice for twenty minutes; done as soon as you awake to develop the writing muscles as surely as a calisthenics routine might do for the body muscles. According to Julia Cameron, it needs to be done first thing in the morning, as soon as possible after you awaken; possibly before the brain has time to realise what is going on. So I get up, shower, dress and get straight on to the computer to write for twenty minutes before I do anything else. However, the lure of unread emails and social media is irresistible as soon as I sit at the computer and my journal resolve dissipates as I decide to deal with these first. This leads to conversations with my wife about some of the matters raised by emails which in turn leads to Rosie, who is impatiently waiting for us downstairs, becoming aware that I am up and starts to bark for me to come downstairs. Her repeated entreaty becomes difficult to resist so I go downstairs, leaving my morning pages undone.
I found this image included on a Facebook post by Tara Brach today and it reminded me of a blog I wrote sometime ago called “Daisy’s Kiss”. Tara included the following Dalai Lama quote:
“There is no need for temples. No need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples. My philosophy is kindness.”
— The Dalai Lama
Take a look at my blog post and you will see what I mean.
Look out folks, I am in the writing vibe again and a new year seems like a good time to really get down and commit to getting stuff out of the head and down on “paper”! Well virtual paper anyway. Stay tuned.
The little brown cardboard pet carrier box sat in the middle of our lounge. My wife has returned from the pound with a little eight-week-old kitten. It is not the one that she had picked out online but another who had won her over. This sudden interest in getting a kitten by my wife had taken me by surprise and I wasn’t entirely convinced that this was a good idea. We already had our little cavoodle dogs, Daisy and Rosie, and did we really need a kitten? I love cats however and have had one sharing my life for most of it. The last two had both been pedigrees, a Burmese then a Tonkinese, and my theory then was that only pedigrees have character. This theory was about to be tested. Continue reading
It was just an old Sydney Swans cap, bought at a stand outside the SCG sometime in the 1990’s, where I was attending a Sydney Swans game. I liked it because it had a sort of vintage feel to it, a canvas fabric look rather than the bright red and white caps supplied by the Swans as part of the membership pack. It was also in the days when I was regularly buying Swans kit like shirts and jackets. My need to be identified by this paraphernalia has long gone, the attachment broken, in a process I have written about elsewhere.
The cap had become my cap of choice when I started walking for exercise around the time when I first met Molly in the early 2000’s. Molly’s two daughters were still living at home although there were plans for them to be moving in the near future to Queensland to attend university. Each of the girls had a dog and they had decided that Mum should also have a dog to keep her company when they left home. There was Astro Boy, a beautiful large Border Collie dog; Jack, a Maltese Shih Tzu cross dog and Dolly, a small long-haired Chihuahua-Terrier cross bitch, ostensibly Molly’s pet. That’s right, Dolly, Molly, get it? Continue reading
I am always joined for meditation at home by our two cavoodle dogs, Daisy and Rosie. They seem to love it and are always keen to sit on the mat and then the zabuton and then the zafu as I put them down and I have to chide them out of the way so that I can get them all setup for my meditation practice. I sit and as soon as the gong goes on my timer to start, both dogs settle down on the smaller zabuton I set for them in front of me and mostly just go to sleep. Or what appears to be sleep. Their presence is not as you might think a distraction but provides me with a number of lessons.
Dogs I think are permanently in the “here and now” that we humans strive for in just periods of meditation. I don’t think dogs spend much time, if any, thinking about the bones they might have got in the past, or planning for what they might do later in the day, or week, or month. They are just living for what happens now. They have conditioning that comes into play but no regrets and no planning, it is just what is happening now that matters. Even in the midst of what appears to be deep sleep the dogs will immediately react to any noise that might need to be attended to or indicate a threat. Continue reading
Hurrah! Hallelujah! I have started my daily walk again after a four-month layoff waiting for the wound on my foot to heal enough to allow it. And are my faithful walking companions, Daisy and Rosie our beautiful cavoodle dogs, ecstatic about it as well? You bet they are. The mere mention of the word “walk” accompanied by me putting my sneakers on is enough to drive Daisy into a high alert state and she follows me anywhere I might go as if connected by some string to my heels.
They both take to the walk quite differently. For Daisy I use an extending reel lead which allows her to bounce out in front as far as the lead will allow, then stop to sniff some important treasure that presents itself until the lead reaches its limit again behind us and then she bounces past us again to as far in front as she can go and the pattern repeats itself. I say “bounce” because that is the best way I can describe her “run” with two front feet together and her large cavalier ears flapping up and down. And the whole effect just exudes such pure joy that it brings a tear of deep pleasure to me when recalling it. Sometimes Daisy stops and looks back at me and I swear she has a look on her little face that can only be a big happy smile.