A Wayfarer Tribute for Larry

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Larry is a kind, friendly man who has served as the director of mail services at my university. This past year several times he and I have chatted when he asked me to sign for some mail at my department. Larry was so excited to be retiring this summer. He and his wife have invested in real estate so that they would have a worry free retirement. He encouraged me in my plans to retire next summer, emphatic that sooner rather than later is the best course to take. He was so excited the last two times we talked, with his retirement date and the liberation it represents edging closer and closer.

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Around two weeks ago, though, Larry suffered a heart attack; my understanding is that he passed from this life the following morning. What a turn of events, I thought at first; how unfair his demise after all of his excellent planning.  How precious and fleeting is a lifetime!  As I will soon be 63 and am beginning to have some health concerns, I wonder about what is to come and want to do all I can NOW, in case Spirit calls me home unexpectedly.

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But then a few days ago while I was in a dentist chair trying not to pay too much attention to possibly painful probing in my mouth, I was blessed to see Larry.  Inwardly I had introduced him to my own Inner Guide, and I watched as he and this Master walked forward along a beautiful pathway into the Light ahead. He was happy and conveyed that to me. He was more excited and interested in discovering what was to come than in looking behind to see what he was leaving. He appeared younger and spry of step. I felt happy for him, the Soul of Larry.

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Now I get that Larry HAS achieved a very happy retirement to a beautiful new life, albeit sadly without his wife outwardly. I am sure where he is going will be where he has earned the right to go forward spiritually in all that Soul’s interests and love.

Life is fleeting from the short perspective of a single persona or lifetime. It is also of immense value to Soul, as each lifetime we have a golden, unique opportunity to express our love and gain insights from the specific conditions and relationships we cultivate in the current body state we occupy in that lifetime. I am a strong believer in reincarnation and in the continuation of Soul to higher and higher states of being and levels of service to the whole.

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Larry’s departure reaffirms, to me, that we learn life’s specific lessons and take those gems of wisdom with us ever more, wherever we go.  His joyful excitement and love that I observed in his moving along into the next phase of his own spiritual expression teaches me the value of fully embracing this Life for all of its treasures!

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images are from pixabay.com

What treasures would you take with you if you were called home today?

Cricket and Guber, by Denise Naughton

A Month of the Best of Better Endings, Day 6

CRICKET AND GUBER, by Denise Naughton (From February 23, 2013)

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Where I lived in San Francisco there were many stray cats that came into my care. Eventually they were adopted, and they lived happily ever after. The two that stayed with me the most were Cricket and Guber.

As I was walking home from the subway one day, an orange striped cat began walking with me. It was clear that she was pregnant. I invited her to come home with me, where she could have her babies and then we would find her kittens and her all homes. Others had accepted this invitation, but this one plainly had her own plans.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I fed her and kept an attentive eye on her. One day, as she began walking with me, it was clear she had had her litter. I asked several times where they were, but I was met with only silence. One day I didn’t see the orange cat any longer. I looked for her for days, concerned about her and her litter. Then one day as I was walking home from the subway, out of the corner of my eye I saw movement. It was two little kittens playing in the empty lot where I used to find their mother. As I approached them they disappeared like a cloud of dust. I immediately brought food to the lot and hid.  Instantly they were devouring the plate of tuna.

I decided to get a humane cage from my vet, trap them, and bring them home. It took days of patience, but eventually I captured them. Initially I kept them in a very tall, large box. They were too small to jump out, and I had two of my own cats, and needless to say or not, they were not happy with their new roommates.

Cricket was a little calico and Guber was the color of striped orange sherbet. Anytime I came near without food they were full hisses and growls. I wondered what would be the bridge to abet their fear. It turned out to be toys. Once I began playing with them, all things changed, human and rescues became friends.

It took a bit longer for the feline residents of the flat to warm up to these tiny kittens. In fact, only the other kitten in the house, Rocho, began playing with them. My adult cat, Raj, just pretended they didn’t exist.

Cricket and Guber’s acceptance of human love couldn’t have happened at a more perfect time. Suddenly Cricket became very ill. I immediately took her to my vet where it was determined that she had distemper, and it was touch and go as to whether she was going to make it. She received medicine there and I took her home. She responded quickly to the medication, and it was clear she was going to make it.

However, Guber got sick as Cricket was getting well. My vet gave me more medication since it was clear that Guber had the same disease as Cricket. When I picked him up to give him his first dose I have never held anything so small and so close to death in my hands.

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I took him to bed that night. I honestly didn’t believe he would make it through the night. Rocho came up on the bed with me along with my other cat Raj. Guber was on my bed right next to my head, and Rocho curled himself around Guber. Neither Guber or Rocho moved that entire night. I did because I was constantly waking to see if Guber was still breathing, and also giving him more medication. Raj stayed on the other side. Around dawn I fell into a deep sleep.

When I woke the next morning, Rocho was still curled around Guber, but Guber was awake, alive. I tried to feed him some cat food, but he wasn’t interested. Rocho was there cheering him on as well, but to no avail. Then I remembered I had raw ground turkey in the refrigerator, and tried that. Instantly, Guber was not only interested, but eating like he had the first time I had left food for him in the empty lot down the street. It was clear that Rocho was also excited about Guber’s recovery until he realized he wasn’t getting any turkey. He looked at me as if to say “I need turkey too”, which I gave, grateful that he had saved Guber’s life. I know it was teamwork, but it was Rocho that wrapped his body around Guber and stayed there until morning.

During this time a neighbor that lived in the house next to the empty lot told me that the mother had been hit by a car. She had tried to save the kittens, but she could never get close to them. She fed them, but one by one they had died. The mother had had a litter of five, and a mystery was solved. Their mother had not abandoned them.

Guber and Cricket stayed with me for three more months. I always knew that I was going to find a home for both of them. Ideally it would have been great if they had gone together, but that didn’t work out. I put a sign in our neighborhood pet store. The first person interested was a neighbor that lived across the street. He took Cricket. He had another calico, and felt Cricket would make a good companion.

Because Cricket and Guber were initially feral, they were never going to be extremely social cats with humans, but Cricket, renamed Emily, hid the first two days from both human and cat. My neighbor asked me to come over and be with Emily for awhile. I sat with Emily and told her the story of her life, and how this human was going to love her as much if not more than her mother, me, Rocho, and Guber. I could feel her calm down, and then I said goodbye. A few weeks later the neighbor left a thank you card. He said how grateful he was for the love and light Emily had brought to his house, and that he was so appreciative that I had saved her for him.

A few days later a couple came by to see Guber. The minute they saw him they were in love, and so was Guber. All three of them bonded instantly. The interview went well, and it was clear that they would love Guber as deeply as Emily was now loved. The couple gently put Guber into the crate they had brought, and that night the three of them left.

Of course, I had a great deal of explaining to do to Rocho. Raj was basically saying goodbye and good riddance, but Rocho was sad that his two companions were gone, and perhaps wondering about his fate. Once I sat down and told him their story he seemed to understand; still sad for a few days, but eventually back to his normal self. Of course, part of that story was how Rocho saved Guber.

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Denise Naughton is an author, a public speaker, and an ABD Ph.D. Candidate at Union Institute and College. She is completing her dissertation on Jungian archetypes related to stock characters in Australian film.

 

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Your Pets Lifemap

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For our Better Endings Life Maps Activity this week, you can start by listing all of the pet friends who have shared their life with you. Using your own intuitive guidance, list your pets’ names, the years they have been in your life, and something unique or characteristic about each pet and about the time frames they shared with you. You might use an adjective or a phrase describing each one. Then create a Mapping that shows in a way that is meaningful to you an arrangement of how these pets have ‘patterned’ in your life journey. The Bubbles chart shown here is my own mapping of individual or groups of my pet friends who have been in my life in different time frames. As an example for your own creative mapping–which might take another form for you–let me describe my mapping:

The first time frame shown in the orange bubble to the right represents Special Animal Friends from my Childhood, from about 8 years old til 18. Reviewing the list of some of my favorite animal friends from that time, I see some patterns. I befriended a wide variety of animals, both wild and domestic. I was always bringing animals home: frogs, white mice, a pigeon who flew into my garage and stayed for a year. I rode wild colts with my neighbor friends at local horse farms. I had a parakeet, Petesy, who was a close friend to talk to for many years. There were many cats…most of which I also brought home and only a few of which my father let me keep; and Queenie, a great companion beagle-poodle, who was ubiquitous as my special friend until and even after I left home at 18 for college.  These childhood friends exposed me to my own wildness and unconditional love. Animals were my special family, my Friends.

Reading my Pets Lifemap from East to South to West to North (yes, like a Medicine Wheel!), next came my heart throb of 11 years, my first solo pet away from home in college: Chela. I described her in my pet ‘reincarnation’ story Wednesday. What a great friend and constant companion Chela was. She accompanied me on my Big Move, from East to West; from Buffalo to Phoenix, Arizona. I would say she was a lifeline for me. CONTINUITY has always been one of my most valued and important values in relationships, and Chela was there for me–and I for her–as a thread of continuity linking my Childhood to my later life Journey in graduate school, dissertation research at Zuni,and beyond.

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After Chela left, Ariel, shown here, moved into my Heart.  She was a dear Soul companion (absolutely I believe that Animals are Soul, Too), for 20 years!  Reflecting on her qualities that were a big part of my journey with her and other pets we also had while she was with me, I see attributes of their special characters that mirror archetypal character aspects  of myself: Intelligent/ Artistic Ariel; Freedom loving Skyway (a brindle dog who was an escape artist and loved to run!); Quiet/ Timid Ellie (an orange boxer/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix who was Skyway’s life companion and mine but who was very timid; a one person dog); and Expressive Loki (still in my life; a beautiful, all-white cat who is very communicative; he was quite the mischievous kitty and is such a SOLID friend!).

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All but Loki passed–by their own life stories–before the next Ensemble Set arrived. I now live with Loki-Emily-Arthur (3 cats) and Sophia (Sophie, my Shorkie buddie; shown above with my mother, Elizabeth).  All of them are always there and I am there for them. They are my refuge, the Family I return to daily and spend the nights with between having to be out in the world. As a most naturally quiet and introspective sort of person myself, my pets are my touchstones. I am entirely humbled by their magnificent unconditional love and companionship. They are constant and true, whatever hardships or complexities have come into and gone out of my life among other Humans.

So try mapping your animal friends in relation to your life history. When did which of them enter and exit? What QUALITIES did they exhibit for you; what relationships did you learn about through them? People say we tend to resemble our pets. I would say there are no accidents and each of our special friends has had a special affinity with us; an archetypal synchronicity. Take some time if you would then to pause and APPRECIATE the wonderful LIFE GIFTS each of your animal–and human too, of course!–friends have shared!

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I invite you to compose your own Pet Life Mapping. And do feel free to share your insights–or pictures!–with us!

Chela and Ariel–A Better Endings Pet Reincarnation Story

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I know that not everyone accepts or is interested in the idea of reincarnation. If not, that is fine, but please humor my story today. I want to tell a true, Better Endings story which I associate with pet reincarnation, but you are welcome to interpret the story however you like.

Chela was an orange tabby/calico cat that I shared my life with for 11 years. Chela was an amazing feline friend. She would ride around the house with me, draped across my shoulders. Outside, we would play a game where I would chase her in a big circle around the back yard; then I would turn around, and Chela would chase me! We were very bonded. Chela relocated with me on my “Big Move” from Buffalo to Arizona (see that story here from Feb.5). She also came with me for my dissertation study year at Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico. She was my touchstone there, or should I say a refuge of the Heart.

When I returned from Zuni to Arizona, I spent 6 months as an intern at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Chela couldn’t be with me then, so she stayed with a friend in Phoenix. At night in Flagstaff, though, I would close my eyes while sitting up in bed playing a recorder instrument to the tune of “Greensleeves”. I would imagine that Chela was with me then.

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Chela developed a severe arthritic condition in her spine, so I had to let her go when she was only eleven. She appeared to me about a week after her passing. In a dream just before waking, I went to pull an envelope with a picture of her from my chest (heart) pocket. Instead, Chela energetically walked out from the envelope, as if to say, “Don’t remember me as a dead form; I am here with you now; I am still living, as Soul!” Chela then led me to where she was staying on the ‘other side’. She brought me to a beautiful, verdant clearing in a wooded valley, full of trees on the perimeter, and colorful flowers, and animals of all sorts! There was a small, wooden stage in the middle of the clearing.  Chela jumped up onto the stage and addressed her animal friends:

“This is Linda; she’s the one I’ve been telling you about!”

So, I went onto the stage with Chela and said hello to her animal friends.

Around 11 months later, I had another dream one morning. I was returning in the dream from a castle where I had been visiting a friend who had been a mentor for me before she herself had passed on, my philosophy teacher from undergraduate college, Dr. Antoinette Paterson (Toni). She had been the person who had introduced me to Chela one day when I went to her college office for an Independent Study session.

               “So, do you want to see the most beautiful Being in the Universe?” she had asked.

               “Yes!” I answered, and little kitten form Chela, who had been delivered to the Philosophy Dept. office in a box from a student, slept in my arms during our session and came home with me that day.

So, 11 years and 11 months later, in my dream I was leaving this castle area after visiting with Toni, and I saw at the entrance gateway a beautiful little female, fully grown, black-and-white-with-orange-splotches cat. I knelt down with my heart full of gratitude to greet and pet her as we felt like very old friends.

That very morning, I went to my university in Tempe, AZ  (ASU), where I met with my main mentor there, my Ph.D. advisor, Betsy. The first words out of her mouth to me that morning were:

               “Could you possibly take a kitten?”

               “Only if she is black-and-white-with-orange-splotches!” I laughed.

                “One of them is!” Betsy answered.

Ariel (that kitten-cat) was a Harlequin, tortoise shell, Calico. She had Chela’s orange-white tabby stripes etched lightly on her forepaws and temples! Ariel and I were close companion family for 20 years. Whenever I would play “Greensleeves”—as I often did—on the same recorder instrument I had played on in Flagstaff, wherever Ariel was and whatever she was doing, she would jump up onto my chest and purr loudly, rubbing affectionately. I played “Greensleeves” also on the day she departed again; this time, she passed away at home, in my arms. I felt she was graduating from the Physical plane altogether this time, progressing as Soul to become an angelic spirit-form. I have seen her since, but in forms I shall not venture to share here. As I say often to all of my pets now, our love is Forever, “twenty-four seven, times Eternity”!