The Crying Man

One day on my lunch hour I went to a large hardware/lumber store. I was in the garden section looking for a pot for a plant. Along comes a tall white haired but hearty looking man. His curly hair and build made him look younger than I suspect he was. He towered over me, a profusion of white chest hair spilling out of his shirt. As he approached me his lovely Aussie accent came tumbling out of his mouth, “Hey you look like you might know something about plants. I got a question for ya.” In fact, I do not take after my mother, The Tomato Queen, who can grow anything. I have ten brown thumbs. I said “Well I am not sure about that but I’ll see what I can do. What do you need?” He proceeded to tell me… “I need something drought tolerant. I am making a memorial….. of sorts…. for….” At that point he burst out crying on the spot! Large loud crying, wracking shoulders, bent over his large garden cart. He continued walking this cart forward all the while crying and bent at the waist. I think he did not know where to go or what to do.

I stood there for a long while so as not to abandon this man in his pain. I wanted to take action in some way to help. In a moment like this you can send love so I did that for a few minutes. Eventually he made his way to the checkout with bags of soil, a container, but not plants. After giving him some space I gently went up to him and told him colorful mums might be a good choice. He apologized for crying, still sniffling and dabbing at his eyes. Apparently he lost someone two weeks ago and the pain was still fresh. Oh my heart went out to him.

IMG-3779

For a long time now, I’ve been experiencing a great deal of cleansing and purging in the form of physical problems. I am out of my element, a fish out of water. This does not make the Capricorn mind sit easy. We need to know what’s going on so we can figure the best way forward. It is hard to simply surrender to what is. For most of my life I have enjoyed excellent health, and suddenly all sorts of things were upsetting my applecart. Problems with the body is a good indicator that Spirit is trying to get through to you. I’m a very firm believer that the body presents you with physical challenges because there is something non-physical that needs addressing. However I also tend to over think things—I am my own worse enemy. I observe, analyze, research, take action, modify, rinse and repeat. To be too action oriented and not go deeply inside enough can block spiritual progress.

I want desperately to break out of this tailspin. I am tired of not having fun. Tired of being tired, of going to the doctor, tired of being sick. My doctor moved across the country in the middle of a months-long diagnosis, but forgot to tell me she was leaving. I was furious about that for a time. That old feeling of being invisible and abandoned, presented at the same time. I thought those old ghosts were long gone. So why was I being shown this man so…in my face? 

Now is the time for me to sink into my heart, forget the outer, trust, and have complete and utter surrender to outer circumstances. I get to the verge of tears and the feeling goes away and I miss my chance to let go. I want that purge. I want to have a watershed moment where I cry and let it all out. But life ebbs and flows, and today I feel better than yesterday. Dang! I was so close a few days ago. I know that sounds counter intuitive, you should feel good that life is better today than yesterday. But I want to be able to move on to the next level. (There’s that action-oriented mindset screwing me up again. Getting in the way of the purge.)

The takeaway for me is, what a beautiful example the Universe has given me in the form of the Crying Man. Someone larger than life, just giving in and letting go, in public in front of strangers, no holds barred. Now, to surrender and find my true north, through the eyes of the Crying Man. I know it is easier said than done, and you cannot force such things to occur. I give thanks to the Universe for showing me one beautiful example of letting go. Life is about ebbing and flowing, ups and downs. Every time there is an ebb or low spot, I feel closer and closer to a breakthrough. It’s just not here yet. As life ebbs and flows, so it goes. Maybe next time.

Comments and dialogue are highly encouraged and welcome. “Likes” tell me someone is out there listening. 

Animals do say ‘hello’ from the other side

The following is a letter I wrote to a local artist last January after my horse died unexpectedly. Eight months earlier I lost my first horse, and three months before that, my best ever dog. 

Dear Debi, I wanted to tell you about how much your painting of a white horse in moonlight, Dancing Moon, affected me when I saw it in a gallery the other day. I had to make the decision to have my white horse put down the day of the Blue Moon on Tuesday.

I believe animals give us the ‘all okay’ after they are gone. Yesterday I went to the vet to see my ‘sleeping’ Silver before he was taken. On the way back my friend and I were spent after two emotionally hard days. Since we had not eaten yet, we stopped at the Range Cafe. After the meal my friend wandered into the attached art gallery. He said “Hey Patty, look at what’s on the wall!” It was a painting of a gorgeous white horse in motion, neck arched and mane flying, blood red ribbon in his mane. He looked almost exactly like Silver would have in his prime. Same shape of the face and nose. We admired the painting, were a little amazed at it, and went home to get some rest as we felt like zombies after the two-day ordeal. 

It’s Wednesday morning 5:40 am and I am standing in my yard watching the full lunar eclipse with deep red moon. I have the image of a beautiful white horse jumping over a blood red moon. Your painting touched me very deeply. I thank you for painting it. I know it was a sign from my horse. Respectfully, Patty.

Three months after Silver left me during a blood red moon, a baby foal was born at my riding partner’s home four houses down. We had teased him about how fat his horse was getting, little knowing she was pregnant. Niña Surprise was born the day of a blood red sun! My heart rejoices! This is Niña on her birthday and she is only an hour old. Today she is a young lady, growing like a weed at six months old. Heart still rejoicing!

IMG-2740

 

Losing a horse helped heal my heart

My horse Silver left the morning after a blood red moon this past January. I had to make the difficult decision to have him put down after two days of pain, confusion, and chaos. His leaving had me totally spent physically and emotionally. I was gutted. My goofy, silly, drama queen horse and loving friend was gone. He was 22 years old and I only had him for four and a half years. I expected him to live to see 30 and be a gentle old bag of bones wandering around my property keeping me company in my upcoming retirement. My soul dog Google died in March 2017 and my first horse, Scar, died three months after that. Only seven months had gone by. This was heavy. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.

door

Horse people will tell you that they cannot imagine a day will come when they lose a horse, much less don’t have any horses. It does not seem conceivable. It is a way of life that gets into every pore. My horse dream was not realized until I was in my mid 50s. This was so rich and beautiful a life! I recall every morning before the sun was up I would walk out of my home in the darkness with the yard light on. My two large horses would be standing at the bottom of the steps waiting for me. I’d throw my coat on and walk down the four steps and reach out my arms and run each hand along the side of my horses tracing a line all the way to their rumps. I would think, and sometimes say out loud, “I am such a lucky lucky girl!” I could not believe my luck and my life, with these two huge galoots as partners in crime. Scar, the 1400 lb. overly muscled quarter horse who I referred to as an old war horse, and Silver the 900 lb. skinny but fast off-the-track thoroughbred. They had spent much time together before they came to me. Scar always protecting Silver. They were without a doubt brothers from another mother. Horses are the best of companions! I can tell you, it’s not about the riding, it’s about the companionship and the horse soul you get to share.

A week after Silver died, I was still in shock. Walking to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee I heard myself say out loud, to no one, “I feel like I was slammed to the ground again. Unexpected loss can hit hard. I started writing this post in January and needed until October until I could even look at it again. In fact I quit blogging altogether. The feeling of abandonment over losing him is there, but muted with some distance now. Time is your ally when it comes to loss. When I think of him I still feel a stab of pain. I wish I didn’t feel so vulnerable. So hurt. There are friends of mine that have lost people, and all I lost was a horse. Who am I to grieve so much? So deeply? Why am I so hurt at being left here, feeling abandoned? That is sometimes how the mind thinks, trying to minimize the loss of a pet. No, not a pet, a companion, a kindred soul. Matters not if it be clothed in fur or skin.

This reminds me of a chant to honor the animal kingdom. Citing: Sable Taylor in her interview in Ellen Evert Hopman’s “Being A Pagan”. You can listen to a lovely rendition of it here. 

Fur and feather and scale and skin,
Different without but the same within,
Many of body but one of soul,
Through all creatures are the gods made whole.

When I lost my dog Soul Dog Google, I knew he was leaving for many months. Over time his aged body would freeze up with arthritis. He wore neoprene hock braces and took pain meds. He would not eat unless I cooked him something soft and hand fed it to him. He gingerly took the offering and politely nibbled it. Then that look of “Gosh I sure do appreciate the home cooking darlin’ but I just can’t do it no more.” Since his decline was natural and slow, there was time to plan his last days. I would snuggle with him in his den outside, a 10×10 enclosure filled with straw under my porch. On his last day many friends came over to say their goodbyes. I had him from almost day one, to the last day—his entire life! Losing him was a natural part of his life, and our time together. Everything about it felt good.

cup

My heart and body have been bombarded with physical challenges, losses and change for many months. It is a time of great personal change. Constant pressure is part of making stiff leather into something soft and pliable. Another example is a caterpillar in its cocoon magically transforming from a worm to a beautiful winged creature, resembling nothing of its former self. Humans and science still marvel at these transformations shrouded in mystery and magic. We don’t know what is going on inside that cocoon. This time of personal change is a time of transformation and opening for me.

Through Silver, I learned that I’ve had a closed off heart to protect myself, and I didn’t even know it. Now I understand I no longer need to protect my heart. But you can’t open your heart by wishing—it is a process. Silver knew exactly what he was doing by leaving how and when he did. He timed his exit just right to be part of helping open my heart and my transformation. You can still see the hoof print and cracks on my heart from his dramatic exit. That reminds me of Leonard Cohen’s lyrics,  “… There is a crack, a crack, in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”  

There is much more in this that I would love to explore. Many more paths of healing have opened for me and this excites me greatly! Imagine a lotus with a thousand petals. There is magic yet to come! Silver was a gift I treasure on my path to living much more openly. What a great message and parting gift from my friend Silver. What a lesson! Long may you run!