Saturday, January 25, 2014

Letting Go

Nugget looking into a spectacular sunset this past October

One of the things my friends have noticed today on my Facebook page was the change of my cover photo.
To many of you, that isn´t a big deal, or anything worth mentioning, because everyone does that and rather often, right?
Well, in this case, it has a whole lot of meaning to me and a lot to do with this blog post.

My Facebook cover photo featured my beautiful beloved boy Nugget, who passed away on December 28th after a six months long, very brave battle with cancer. It broke my heart. Maybe it hurt extra more painfully, because we lost Nugget´s brother Granite, my soul mate dog, just a half year ago, basically few days before finding out Nugget got ill too.

It was an incredibly sad summer, and I found myself fighting to find joy in my life and getting lost in endless, depressing thoughts about the meaning and purspose of my life, getting caught in the web of regrets and trying to hold on to whatever I could, mostly memories, being stuck between the past and the present.

Honestly, I don´t know how I survived the year. Lack of kennel help, lack of finances, debts to be yet paid, and Jachym´s frequent absence due to his work far away from home, including the breaking down of our only reliable vehicle with a costly repair, all those were painful extra stabs into my aching soul. 
Spending most of the past year alone with the dogs, watching Nugget get thinner and losing his muscles, yet being happy and pain free, I was truly stuck.

And I had no time nor chance to really grieve. Hard physical work along with the search for many answers, often caused by loneliness and sorrow did not allow me to look forward to the future, be happy for those little things I usually love, appreciate and enjoy, or take action in the direction of my goals and dreams.

I was a wrack.

I could hardly find joy in anything, including the newly signed contract for operating sled dog tours in one of Sweden´s most excuisite ski resorts.

I have even no idea how Christmas, otherwise my most favorite holiday and time of the year, passed.

The increasing pain in my right writst and arm, that I have to learn to understand as chronical demage of nerves from injuries and years of hard work with the dogs in the cold climate got to the point where I could not use my right hand almost at all, after I pushed it over its limit while removing the disasters a hurricane storm left behind at our kennel and home.

Everything seemed to be going in a downward spiral. Or it simply was.

But now back to that cover photo, featuring Nugget. Together with my profile photo, showing me with Granite, these two images were there over the time, becoming something like an oltar. I´d look at them and the boys were there, alive, happy, healthy, and we were together. I became dependant on those images. I felt that when they were posted there, Granite and Nugget were still alive, still present.

I became unable to keep my blog updated, writing stories, sharing anything from our life had become extremely diffiuclt. I found no joy nor meaning in writing articles and information on animal nutrition, health and care.

I didn´t realize it then, but I was getting myself stuck even more. I didn´t want to let go, did not allow myself to accept fully the fate, and very importantly, I did not allow myself to try even with baby steps to move on.

I gradually stopped focusing on the good, positive things and stopped writing my victory log and gratitude journal. I felt there were no more successes in my life, despite the huge significant fact, that I was alone in the wilderness, single handedly taking care of sixty dogs and the entire household and kennel, driving Nugget to his numerous, distant veterinary visits, and facing the scary hurricane and its disasterous epilogue, hauling water from the lake, cooking it on open fire and being days without electricity, phone and internet. I did not see those accomplishments as success, but as another challenge I had to face alone.

Granite running lose in the woods during our vaccation in the south of Sweden

Couple of days ago I got up, and everything was the same as usual. I got dressed and steped outside our rented cabin to spend some time with the dogs. The cold air hit my nosetrills and I subconsciously turned toward the thermometer. It read twenty five below.
The sun was shinging and there was this large amount of light all around.
It struck me, as if someone knocks on your shoulder. I turned my face into the sun and felt its warm rays gently touching my face. The dogs all instinctively found their own sunny spots, exposing their bodies, eyes closed, noses high up, pointing towards the sun.
We were all, synchronically, intuitively enjoying the returning sun, now standing pretty high on the sky.

It fed us with its energy, it gave us warmth and smiles. It felt like re-birth. Like a start of something new. As if someone or something new is born, the same feeling when you get a dream in your heart and set a goal in your mind, and you are standing there, on day one.
Everything felt possible. Everything you set your mind on reachable, every single idea doable.

I enjoyed the moment with my whole body and felt how the energy spreads into my mind, my thoughts, my heart and my entire being. It felt like a message. The Universe was sending me this clear message. „Everything will be alright. You will be alright“, it said. I could feel it resonate throughout my heart, arms, finger tips, feet, and head.

And then I felt it. I felt that I was letting go. For the first time in my life, I was not afraid to let go, afraid that if I do so, I will dishonor those I am keeping in my heart, that I will forget about them or love them less, or stop thinking about them. That if I replace thier picture on my Facebook page, it will mean that I no longer care about them.
I finally understood that letting go and moving on has absolutely nothing to do with all that.

The moment Granite slipped into his final rest, and I hugged him, while soaking his coat with tears, I knew something is going to change in my life. I did not know what it will be then, in June, I just knew that a change was coming.
As things got hard, tough and even more heartbreaking during the rest of the year, I still could not see that change, although deep inside I knew it was on its way.

And today I finally understand it. I became stronger. I grew more confident in my abilities, in my intuition. I stopped careing what others think about me. I became more grateful, indipendant and humble. I know that we (Jachym, myself and our dogs) can get through a lot, and that we need a little to strive. I learned what is important and stopped stressing over much of the stuff I used to. I also brushed the dust off my dreams and things I belive in and remembered what I stand for and why. That no matter what others might be saying, my life with the dogs, in the nature, will always be what makes me alive, what inspires me and feeds my soul.

And of course, last but not least, the change that came also brought me the feeling of relief, that comes hand in hand when you learn to let go and move on.

I love you Granite and Nugget, as well as I love all of my fur kids, those who passed and those who are physically present here. You all have and keep making my life full, rich and meaningful.
Regardless of how many of your pictures are hanging on my walls, or are being shared on the internet, the memories of all the time we had together – the ordinary moments along with the extraordinary ones, will be the food for my soul and will make me rich and happy.

And to you, my dear readers, I would like to say that I hope my sharing will help with your own sorrows and griefs and overcoming of heartbreaking or challenging times.

For letting go gives us all the chance to open up for more expriences, love and feelings.

And a person´s strength rises from overcoming challenges and going through heartbreakes, and that no one can motivate us and help us move forward as much as ourselves.

And that Happiness, in its true meaning, is, after all and without any doubt, a state of mind.

With love,

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