Saturday, June 23, 2012

My Way of Thinking: The Greatest Day

Yesterday was birthday #58.  Wow!  Seems like yesterday that I was blowing out a mere 30 candles on a giant birthday cake with a picture of me on stage at the Hollywood Bowl.  That was then.  I prefer now.

My day yesterday began in the normal way.  I was up at 5am for my morning meditation.  Allowing the Universe to fill my tank with light energy is a ritual that I would hate to be without.  Jon, Roxy, and Charlie showered me with some extra birthday hugs and kisses.  We had pancakes with the help of Aunt Jemimah and then off I went to give four counseling sessions.  My day was already perfect.  But you don't know Jon.

At 2pm Jon met me at the center with a van, specially equipped for my power wheelchair, and a driver whisked us off to The Living Desert (one of America's great zoos right here in our valley).  Jon had also called the zoo's director and arranged a super VIP tour of the facility.  We were greeted like royalty and were taken immediately to the giraffe enclosure.  I was amazed at the space.  Acres of open desert for giraffes and camels to play.  Lots of shade and misters to keep them cool.  I was stunned to be invited inside the enclosure.  There I was greeted by three adult giraffes and one young one.  I was in heaven.  I touched them, hugged them, and received a kiss from the little one that knocked my glasses off.  Her tongue was rough and thick and I was hopelessly in love.

We visited all kinds of animals.  I held a young chimp who wanted to come home with us.  I was spit on by a camel.  Heaven.  You haven't lived until a camel spits on you.  I met a tortoise the size of a minivan.  And so many other creatures the Universe has created to make our little planet work.  As if I needed reminding that we two leggers are responsible for being their caretakers.

Okay, enough at the zoo stuff.  I could write a book about that alone.  After getting home, I checked in with Facebook to find dozens of good wishes, took a shower, changed clothes, and we were off to Billy Reed's, my favorite Palm Springs restaurant.  Again, Jon outdid himself.  We had a private room, our favorite server, Carol, and four couples who have been great friends to us.  We had a blast.  I even had two cocktails.  I was given some wonderful gifts including a Disney book that is very hard to find.  We got new leashes for our babies, a basket full of toiletries,  a framed lithograph of an elephant, some blu-rays, and my fave, a gift card for Wal-mart!

It was a day I will treasure for the rest of my life.  We received a letter from our landlord, giving us the permission to adopt a third dog.  We got a certificate from one of the volunteer vets from our animal shelter for a year of free veterinary care.  But the greatest gift was the outpouring of love from close friends and strangers alike.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to those who read my blog, to my Facebook group "Over The Rainbow: Pet Memories and Other Stories", to the two family members who have stood by me, to dear old friends who have loved me when I wasn't very lovable, to all my four legged furry pals, may the light that shines on me shine on all of you as well.  You all deserve the very best.  That is the wish I hold in my heart for each and every one of you!  Now and forever!!!

                                         Peace and Love,



Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Way of Thinking: Birthday Thoughts

Today is Father's Day.  That has always been a day that precedes my birthday by only a few days.  Of course, it is a day to remember my father, William Austin Howe Sr. but it has always also been a day to anticipate the passage of another year.  This year is no different but it bears a bit more significance to me.  My father passed on at age 58 and this Friday, June 22nd will be my 58th birthday.  It gives one pause.  At least it gives ME pause.

Having the same name as my dad is about the only real similarity between us at this point.  I don't see my father when I look into the mirror, either figuratively or literally.  I have had such different life experiences than he had and, because of that, I have a very different take on everything imaginable.  The lessons I learned from my father have no doubt been invaluable, but they have very little real time influence.

As a counselor, I run across certain recurring themes with my clients.  So many seem to look to their parents as the reason for why they are who they are.  I always point out that we can also turn that around and look to our parents for the reason why we aren't who they were.  It can work both ways.  The important thing is to avoid the blame game.  It was what it was but it isn't what is now.  The past can be instructional, but when dwelling upon it causes us to miss the present, we do ourselves a terrible disservice.

I recommend meditation.  There are many different forms of this, but whatever method you prefer, the object is to take a few minutes out of your busy life to reboot.  It is a chance to be still and experience the immediacy of being in the moment.  It is a chance to stop being the hamster on that wheel to nowhere.  Meditation helps you to be still both physically and mentally.  It is a moment to listen and experience the energy that surrounds us.  Hard to experience that energy as intake if you are only expending it.

This is certainly one way I am very different from my father.  He was on that never ending treadmill.  I have learned to take time to be still.  Because of that, I turn 58 years young without trepidation.  I admit it feels a little strange and a little sad that he left so young.  But I am not my dad.  And that is what I remind those who come to me for advice about the effect of ones parents.

                                           Peace and Love,



Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Way of Thinking: Boozer

Sometimes things just don't work out as planned.  This was one of those times.  Jon and I had decided to adopt a 9 year old male dog named Boozer.  One look at those eyes and I was in love.  It all happened rather quickly.  I spoke with a facebook friend who knew the dog's owner.  Then I spoke with the actual owner and it was decided that Boozer would come live with us in Palm Springs.  I was beyond excited.  But the day of Boozer's arrival was a disaster.  Everything that could go wrong did.

It was hot.  Roxy, our 15 year old female decided that this was a good occasion to show dominance.  Our apartment manager decided to display his own kind of dominance by saying we couldn't have another dog.  The people who brought Boozer to us were understandably uncomfortable with the apparent situation.  How could they know that these things were not a problem to me?  I would have called our apartment owner and solved that little glitch.  Roxy would have calmed down.  But they took Boozer away.  For the first time in my life, I was told that mine was not a suitable home for a dog.  I waited until they left to cry like a baby.

All kinds of things went through my mind.  I was terribly hurt and that came out as anger.  For a brief period I forgot all the things that make me sane and became a raving lunatic. But finally, with a lot of love from my friends, I came back to my senses.  I realized that love was the answer.  The Universe has other plans for me.  Acceptance HAS to be the order of the day.

I reread my own words on this blog about Mourning The Loss of a Pet.  It is kind of funny that I ended up healing myself.  It made me aware that we all have that ability.  The Universe gives us all great power if we just tune into the gifts that are right there for the taking.

                                            Peace and Love,