Heart in the Family

Once you have developed a good sense of centering your life on the positive emotions of appreciation, gratitude, caring, loving, contentment, calmness and peace you probably notice that people around you are also more positive.  You may experience yourself as a beacon of positive heart light energy that seems to spread organically outward.  When you are in heart coherence there are fewer obstacles.  Without giving it more thought, your life flows more freely as do your relationships.

Nannette

Nanette has had a very difficult time with a very self-centered mother.  She struggled over the years thinking that if she just pleased her mother enough she would finally get the love that she was so desperately seeking.  But this has not happened no matter how hard she tried.

She had just learned the heart-centered meditation.  This meditation is based on research done by the Heart Math Institute on heart coherence.  The first step is to establish a breath pattern of 4 or 5 counts in and 4 or 5 counts out.  The second step, while continuing this breath pattern, is to focus on the center heart.  The third is to recall an experience or imagine one that makes you feel good.  The fourth step is to express a deep sense of appreciation or gratitude for this experience.

Remembering the wonderful times she and her family had at Thanksgiving dinners, she thought of a particular picture of her whole family.  Her mother was included along with her husband, children and grand children.  She felt wonderful, which immediately changed her never good enough feeling, to one of deep love for her whole family.

The next day she was taking her mother for their monthly hair, nail and pedicure appointment.  This was always an ordeal because her mother was never satisfied and always complained.  This time however it was radically different.  Nanette greeted her mother pleasantly when she picked her up.  She told her mother, “We are not going to discuss the tip I gave the hair dresser.”  What had happened before in a previous appointment, Nanette rounded up the amount that her mother was paying the girl to the nearest dollar amount, which meant that her mother paid a few pennies more for a tip than was necessary.  Since that incident her mother had berated her, every time they went for their hair appointments.  Now Nanette had had enough and was finally brave enough to make a clear boundary.

Her mother seemed to respect Nanette’s request and the trip proceeded pleasantly.  In fact the whole experience with her mother that day, which included their usual lunch afterward, went better than ever.  When she dropped her mother off, her mother hugged her and said, “I love you.”  Nanette was astounded.  She told me later that she could count on the fingers of one hand and have some left over for the number of times that her mother had not only hugged her but also told her that she loved her.  Nanette attributed the success of the day to the internal shift in her feelings and her new found courage to set good boundaries, which helped her feel love for her mother.

Lucy

Lucy, age 7, was having a melt down.  The popcorn bowl had fallen.  The popcorn that she had been sharing with her brother was all over the floor.  Their father told them both to pick it all up and not fight about whose fault it was.  “Work together you two!”

Her meltdown came because her brother kept accusing her of spilling it.  “It’s your fault,” he taunted over and over.  As she ran to her mother the flood of tears came quickly as did the waterfall of words.  She wanted her mom to understand the truth.

When mom said quietly, “We’ll get through this.  I am here to help you.  I love you and we’ll do it together.”  The tears stopped.  Her red face cleared and Lucy smiled.  She knew mom was in her corner and that she was loved.

Sharing your heart with your four legged friends

Marsha was on her phone flipping through horses on dreamhorse.com. She had decided on a whim that she would look up horses that were sired by her favorite horse who had died a number of years ago. They had had a unique bond. She could walk out into the thirty-acre pasture and her horse would immediately come to her. He and she had won all sorts of ribbons and metals for their performances in a variety of venues. People had always asked her how she had trained him so well.

Training had been so easy. She would see in her mind what she wanted him to do or she would talk it through with him and then together they would go through their routines. It was as if he could read her mind. She was a little embarrassed to say that he felt like a soul mate. Their connection was so joyful and intimate. “Horses have such big hearts so if you connect heart to heart there is nothing more magnificent in the world,” she would say. She has had lots of horses in her life but none had been like this one. Could she find this kind of connection again? She longed for it.

On dreamhorse.com she found a fairly long list of horses that had the same sire. She looked at each of the pictures one after the other until suddenly she stopped. This was the one. Instantly she felt a connection with the horse through his picture. Was this crazy to feel so drawn to him? It turned out he was four years old, lived in Michigan and was being auctioned off next weekend. She called the owner and had several conversations with her. The horse was going to be sold at this auction and that was that.

There was no way Marsha could get to Michigan that weekend. She had a prior commitment that couldn’t be broken. “Oh well,” she thought it was a nice dream. “There is nothing I can do about it.” So she had one more conversation with the owner to say she couldn’t do it and was told, “phone bids are allowed.” Marsha’s heart jumped. Maybe it would be possible after all. But how would she get the horse from there many states away to here. “I’ll just have to figure that out when the time comes.” Oddly enough the whole thing just felt absolutely right.

Saturday came and her anxiety rose. A thousand questions whirled through her brain. Am I crazy to try and buy a horse sight unseen? Why do I feel so drawn to this one horse? I thought I was done with horses. I haven’t had good luck with them recently. What am I thinking? This is so much money for a hope and a dream. What if it completely bombs and I lose thousands and thousands of dollars? On and on her brain went until…“I won the bid!”

It just so happened that the owner was transporting several horses to a location that was several hours away from her husband’s family. So they drove up there the night before. All night long she couldn’t sleep. Her teeth chattered. Her anxiety was through the roof. It felt so right but now the proof would be in their meeting early the next morning. Would he be the right one?photo 3

The moment they met all of her doubt all of her anxiety disappeared. How right it felt. It was even a little spooky for he felt so much like her former horse that she wondered if horses reincarnated and if this could be the one who had died twenty years earlier. What a mystery!

When she brought him home it was so much the same. When she went out into the pasture and he came immediately. She felt the bond growing stronger with each day that they spent time together. Her heart was exalted. She looked forward to going to the barn every day, mucking the stalls, brushing him down, just to be with him. There was a deep sense of connection and familiarity between them. They began to build a relationship of trust and respect.

Carol Whitaker of Royal Grove Stables describes in her blog that “Having a spiritual bond with your horse is like nothing on earth…It awakens one’s heart and soul to new heights and brings joy and immense inner peace deep within. Knowing that your horse loves, trusts, and respects you unconditionally is a feeling that words cannot adequately describe…it is absolutely priceless.” The way this relationship develops is by being centered, “living in your power and loving and respecting our horse as you would your best friend.”

Many of us feel this way about a special dog or cat we have been privileged to have as a companion. Personally I have a great fondness for Border Collies. I love their intelligence, their spirit, sensitivity, attentiveness and unbounded energy. A few years ago my dog Moon died right after his 13th birthday. He was a lovable large white Border Collie who would engage in a game of ball endlessly with whomever was willing. At the time Sureya my other Border Collie was six. She had always been a little jealous of Moon so I had decided that this was now going to be her time alone with me.

Shortly after Moon’s death in April the woman who had been treating him with acupuncture and chiropractic manipulation said to me, “There’s a puppy coming to you in August.” I replied, “That’s nice but I am not looking for a puppy.” “Well” she repeated, “There is one coming to you in August.” That was nice but I did nothing to look for another dog because this was Sureya’s time.

On August 4th I received a call from Sureya’s human mom Leslie saying, “Lilly had five week old puppies and one of them wanted to come to me.” Lilly was Sureya’s sister whom Leslie had kept. She lives far away in Canada and didn’t even know that Moon had passed. I was taken aback. “Well I need to have a conversation with Sureya to see how she feels about having a puppy around. I’ll call you back in the morning.” That night Sureya really surprised me when we had our conversation. It was fine with her. I suggested that she sleep on it and we would revisit the topic again in the morning. I needed to think about how I felt about it. The next morning it was the same so we called Leslie. The little boy’s name was Orion, which happens to be my favorite constellation. It is very visible all winter long. It felt clear to me that it was meant to be.

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Several months later Leslie arrived to do a felt making workshop and brought Orion with her. What a sweetheart! I fell in love immediately. He had the endearing quality of leaning into me when I held him or petted him. He was immediately my little shadow who went in and out with me. At three he works with me as a therapy dog. It has taken him a while because he was very shy and has had a hard time with new people. He had to come to you on his terms. My clients couldn’t look at him directly but let him smell and lick them but once he’s done that he is very attentive. He and Sureya, who much to my surprise has been very accepting of him and tolerant of his puppy behavior, are a great treatment team. Sureya is the greeter. She helps make people feel comfortable while Orion hangs back. Sureya goes to sleep. Orion hangs back and comes up is to comfort people when they are emotionally distraught and to let them know when their time is up.

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I want to make it clear that I am very sensitive to my clients. Most people are very comfortable with the dogs, a few have allergies and a few are afraid. The dogs are not in the treatment space with those who are uncomfortable in the least with them. My office is in my home so the dogs easily go to a separate space where they are comfortable.

Orion is my heart to heart dog. He brings me joy. He is handsome, attentive and exuberant. He listens well for the most part and definitely has a great spirit. He is a great companion. I have never experienced a Border Collie quite like him. I’ve been told that he was a human who committed suicide in his past life. He is in need of healing and is also a helpful healer. I am not sure about all of that but his is certainly unique and we have a deep connection and commitment.

Animals have so much unconditional love to share with us. They are great models for heart centered living especially when they are treated with respect and care. They can be great teachers for us. The following description comes from a client of mine who had a very difficult childhood.

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“I don’t want to live without my companion animals. They keep me going every step of the way. Specs crawls up beside me when I’m crying or having an anxiety attack or after a flashback. She nudges me with her nose until I pet her, leans against me and gives me kisses. Instead of saying ‘Hey stop crying,’ she’s just saying ‘I’m here for you. You love me and I love you.’ And that means so much to me! When I’m having a nightmare and I wake up in a panic she is usually snuggled up close to me. She let’s me cry in her fur and pet her until I fall back asleep.

Leo, my cat, is always very needy in the morning, which is always a hard time for me. Sometimes I don’t want to do anything but what feels good to me, like sleep! It’s a bummer to have to have other responsibilities. And it’s an extra big bummer if I had nightmares all night, but Leo follows me around all morning until I feed him a can of wet food. He eats a few bites, which takes him as long as it takes me to make my coffee. Then he jumps up on the counter while I’m getting my bunnies breakfast salads together and nudges me until I pet him. He will often climb into my arms. I carry him around and cuddle with him while I feed my bunnies.

My bunnies are always so excited to see me and so eager for their salads!! They also really like their pellets. I really enjoy watching their antics. I want to spend more time with them. They have large pens but I want to invite them into my different spaces more. While they need their safe havens (pens) when I’m not around to keep an eye on them, they also need to explore and feel part of my furmily. Hehe (fun new term! Furry family! Furmily!) They’re also very inspiring (like with art stuff!). They never hurt me with words or actions.”

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Carrie has been experiencing a great deal of pain and anxiety at her job in Washington, D.C. so much so that she has filled a complaint to her HR department. The current investigation is revealing that her boss and her supervisor are not telling the truth about her work performance. Luckily Carrie has done a very good job with documentation. Even though she has the support of her co-workers she feels angry and very hurt because she is an excellent worker who has always been given superlative evaluations. All of this was happening before the boss’ girl friend was promoted to the position Carrie had been assign to temporarily fill before the hire. The game is all too obvious but in the meantime Carrie is suffering.

 

Her daughter is away at college so she is now an “empty nester” living alone. This has probably compounded the issue. Carrie “happened” to walk into a pet store on the day that there were a lot of cats up for adoption. On a whim she walked by the cages and (we all know the story) there was that one very cute little kitten who stared right at her, meowed and stuck her paw out through the bars. You know who’s heart melted and ended up walking out of the store with cat food, kitty litter and the sweetest furry friend one could ask for.

 

Carrie was wise. She knew that cats have their own personalities. Soon after she brought her home she began to scratch her, rub her belly, play with her giving her good kitten attention. She loved her up a bunch. Months later every time when she comes home after a hard day at work that sweet companion runs to the door to greet her, jumps in her lap to be petted when ever she has the chance and snuggles up with her at night when they both go to bed. Her friend has really helped Carrie’s mood. She looks forward to coming home as much as the cat loves having her there. What a perfect partnership.

 

The Quilt

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In spite of the fact that she was not an experienced seamstress, the daughter of a good friend of mine decided to design a quilt for her mother’s 75th birthday. She sent out letters to all of her mother’s friends, asking us to make a 9×9 inch square of fabric of our own design that she would then place on the quilt. We were also to write about our square on an 4×6 index card telling our story or memory that inspired how it applied to her mother. The card would be put into a little book that would accompany the quilt.

Because her daughter lived some distance from her mother and was unable to come and present it to her she sent it to us so that we could give it to her at her birthday party. She included this letter to her mother explaining the process she had gone through in creating this gift for her mother.

Becky’s letter to her mother that was opened when she received the quilt.

Dearest Mom,                                                                                         June 3, 2014

Wow! I am writing this note on the morning of your 75th birthday. It is unbelievable to e that the passage of time indicates you are here at this mark. You defy my former expectations of what 75 would be. Now I’m looking forward to it!

To honor you on this day I thought long and hard about a way that could ever express to you my love and gratitude for all you are and have been for me. I knew that if I could somehow harness a mere portion of the love and admiration that exists for you from the large number of lives you have touched, that I would be close to achieving my goal. And so the idea of creating this quilt was inspired. At first, I doubted my ability to pull off such an unfamiliar endeavor. The task seemed bigger than I could grasp at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I imagined that maybe I could pull it off. Once I committed in my mind that I would do this, I knew it would be awesome and that I would receive the guidance and confidence along the way to succeed. And sure enough, that’s what happened!

With Frank’s help in mid-April I sent out an email invitation to all of these women to join me in celebration your birthday. Of course there are more ladies who are would-be contributors but this compilation is pretty impressive, don’t you think?! We didn’t tap into your acupuncture world and for that I am sorry. But, wow, the enthusiastic response I received from all of these women who have known you and loved you for so long gave me confidence that this quilt idea would really work out. It has been fun to connect with many of them individually as they shared their hopes for their squares with me. As they began to arrive in our mailbox, my excitement grew. By May 24th I had received 25 squares and was ready to begin assembling them.

Thankfully, my friend Molly loaned me the essential tools of the straight edge, a pizza-cutter like rolling blade, and a gridded cutting mat. Without them or some of her key descriptions of order/steps for the project, this quilt would have turned out very differently. Once I squared them (squares) all to 9”, I cut lots of 2” strips of blue and began pinning and sewing. It was fun to figure out how best to place them in this final configuration. I knew that two squares possibly four more, were still “on their way” so I let the sashes for the bottom row hang freely in anticipation of their arrival. Thankfully the last one arrived on Friday the 30th, so that I could finally piece the last row of squares together. Deb Z. was so funny: early on she said she’d be lucky to get hers in the mail to arrive to your house in a picture frame by your birthday. Instead, she sent a card, so I was so pleased when her square arrived last week so that there would be 30 total – perfect.

On Saturday May 27th I got all of the top done except the last 5 squares on the bottom row, then on May 31, Saturday, I was able to assemble it all: I had cut and prepped the back, the 4” borders were ready to be sewn on, and I had cut and sewn together a long strip of 2” purple for the binding. So just four days ago I swept the kitchen floor, put the purple back down, placed the batting on top, and then the top of the squares/border. I cut it to leave two extra inches on all of the sides to allow for shrinkage, I pinned with safety pins all of the layers and began to sew the “quilting” vertical and horizontal stripes along all of the sashing.

Amazingly, throughout this project the sewing machine worked very well. A few times I needed to adjust it and there are some lines of stitches on the back where the tension (maybe) wasn’t right. But, oh, I am so happy it worked out so well, for so much sewing!

So by Saturday p.m., I had cut it to size and pinned on the binding, sewing the front of the binding on and was ready for hand stitching the backside. On Sunday as we drove to the Chattooga River, I stitched the binding but all I knew was the whipstitch. I knew there was a way to sew a hidden stitch but I’d never learned it. Finally, after trial and error, it came to me. I was so pleased. Throughout this process I have channeled your sewing prowess. When I’ve gotten stuck, I’ve stopped and imagined you steadily sewing clothing, costumes, jammies, doll clothes, projects of all kinds over the years. I knew I could do it for you! I even looked on U-tube to see how to make the cool, mitered corners of the binding and it worked!

Mom, I have felt so connected to you and all of your wonderful friends as I’ve worked on this quilt. I’ve thought about the steps in bed at night. I’ve grinned in anticipation of you receiving this blanket of love. I’ve felt such pride as I passed each step of the way and I saw that my hopes for creating this piece of love for you would be realized. All along I’ve been able to see that it would come together and be an amazing tribute to you. Your life’s journey has had such significant and meaningful impact on so many people. As I assembled the book of cards for you, I could feel the power of your friendship, your roles as mentor, leader, and teacher, and your place as healer, listener, and supporter in the lives of these dear ones. And there are so many other others who love you! Male, too, of course. We are all blessed to have your elegance, wisdom, and pureness of being yourself in our lives.

I feel so privileged to be the one to create for you this beautiful expression of color, symbol, and meaning that comes from the hearts of many. A quilt is the perfect place for all of us to share our creativity, love, and honor of you as you celebrate 75 wonderful years of life. Of course I would love to be with you as you allow yourself to be wrapped in its loveliness but I am always with you. I look forward to being with you in person to share more stories about its creation. Until then, know you are so loved by your daughter and all of these incredible women around the country.

Happy 75th Birthday, Mom!!

I love you,

Becky