The Chocolate Again

It was Forrest Gump who coined the now famous statement:  “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.”  And so it is.

This is a personal story I’ll share with you today.  There is a miracle woven into the experience, although we couldn’t see it at the time of its occurrence.  Ours is a family that believes as many do, that things happen for a reason.

Back in October, we made the decision to find a new home for our dachshund Brady.  We got him five years ago to be a companion to our son, who was 11 at the time.  As Cliff and the family have grown, the time dedicated to Brady was becoming less and less, and we felt another environment might offer him more.

Letting him go was heartbreaking for all of us.  We had taken much time to sort out the pieces and make this choice.  The family who adopted him had to be just right, hand-selected by us.  When the exchange was finished, we were left with a lot of emotions.  We did our best to work them through and allow ourselves to move on with our lives.  When we thought or talked about Brady, we always felt a fusion of love and sadness in our hearts.

And then, at 10:17am yesterday, everything changed.  The family emailed and it wasn’t working out.  We had agreed that should anything like this occur, Brady would come back to us.  The initial feeling was a wave of emotion; but the underlying response was the same for every member of our family:  go get him.  NOW.

Brady’s here with us now, and life looks much different than it did in the quiet calm of early yesterday morning.  We are not who we were when he left, nor is he the same dog.  All of us have experienced a different side of life, and been changed for the better.  The “box of chocolates” turned our world upside down, for just a moment.  We had become used to the quiet of not having a dog to “worry” about.  This was going to reorder our lives yet again.  And for all of us, this love for Brady as our boy began to sing again in all our hearts.

Our “box of chocolates” is a very positive one indeed.  We are making a fresh start with Brady.  And we can love and appreciate him in ways that were impossible and unknown to us before.  He has a loving home where people are happy to see him.  No matter what has transpired to get us to this point, where we are today is filled with love and hope for what can be different because of what we’ve all been through.

There is purpose in everything.  We may not always know why, but there is a design for the order of our lives.  Brady is meant to be here, today, right now.  He chose to be with us, and we are choosing him too.  I believe we have all learned something about ourselves, individually and together, in this process.  Our hearts have felt enormous pain mingled with and overshadowed by the depth of love.  We have learned to be better humans because of what Brady is teaching us.

And so, although we had no idea what Saturday’s “box of chocolates” held for us, the filling was delightful, with unexpected sweetness.  Had our hearts not been through the last three months, we couldn’t have savored the joy we were given.

I believe we followed our hearts the whole way through.  What a unique perspective on how listening to its whispers brings unexpected joy into our lives.  We couldn’t have appreciated Brady the way we do now.  For we were not here.  The whispers of our heart brought us to this place.  And there is a box of exquisitely wrapped chocolates for you too, if you but listen to the whispers of your own heart…..


On Being a “Good Girl”

At a quiet moment in my day yesterday, I had one of those AHA! moments.  The kind where something that has always been part of your life changes its meaning and form, a light bulb goes off and you become enlightened to a rich awareness.

We all have the dialogue that goes on in the “back” of our thoughts.  That voice that can be our mother, our judge or another archetypal presence.  In this particular instance, it was that “mother” voice within my own consciousness that came to the stage.  I heard her say “that’s right, good girl” in support of what I was doing.  And in that exact moment….the switch flipped!

I really could feel the energy within myself change.  We’ve all experienced these moments, and really, they’re quite stunning are they not?!  In my younger years, I soaked it up every time my mom said out loud or even hinted at me being a “good girl.”  This meant I was loved, and as many of us do I took on that to be a “good girl” – to be loved – I had to be pleasing in my actions and my words.  A rigorous code of conduct began to weave itself within my subconscious, driving me to always be pleasing to others in order to be liked or loved.

But here’s the AHA! moment, my friends.  The entirety of my being realized in the space of a nano-second – this is not true!  The goodness of my “good girl” is love, kindness, joy.  That was what my mom could feel.  THAT was why she said “good girl” to me, filled with loving sentiment.  I didn’t have to get A’s, make sure my mom was happy, try to hide any perceived flaws or mistakes.  I just was me….and that was enough!  I was a “good girl” and indeed am a “good girl” just because I am Jackie.  Just because I love to love, respect people where they are, offer kindness and caring.  And even in the times when I struggle to find this place in myself, the good does not go away.  I don’t have to earn my goodness….it just is!

What a liberating, exhilarating and incredibly uplifting realization!  This changes the whole order of your existence, an AHA! such as this!

You too are GOOD.  Not because you have to be, but because you are.  I love the first line in Mary Oliver’s poem WILD GEESE:  “you do not have to be good.”  What she conveys is you do not have to try to be good by human standards.  You are good in the eyes of the Universe.  Take a pause, and let that sink in.  You ARE good.

Your heart will tell you so.  When you pause….listen to its whispers and feel the goodness that is you.

Cheryl Richardson~Happy New Year

I love this post from Cheryl Richardson’s Facebook today:

Happy New Year!

Today is a day of wonderful new beginnings – 1/1/11 – a perfect time to think about ONE small daily habit you could put in place to support you in listening to and honoring what your soul most needs at this time in your life.

I’ve started a new dream journal and have decided to spend this year keeping track of my dreams in order to hear the voice of my soul more clearly. How about you? In celebration of 1/1/11, choose one, manageable thing you could do almost every day to say to your sweet Self “I’m here! I’m paying attention! I care about you! Your needs matter!”