“Love, love, kiss, kiss!”

Sophia

My Better Endings story for June’s question of ‘Why Am I/ Are You Here?’ is about moving forward with love and an open heart. I look to my pet companions Sophie and Emily for my inspiration, as they give constant, unconditional love without ever having to think about it!

Emily

Emily has her purr mantra that I am blessed to receive on my chest in our favorite chair most mornings and at night before going to dreams.

Sophie has developed a special gift as a Greeter when we go walking in our new community. Sometimes when she sees a person coming in our direction even halfway down a block, Sophie plants herself on the spot, refusing to budge until the person comes closer or until I take her to greet them. She gives them welcoming wet Shorkie kisses. “Love, love, kiss, kiss!” I often say to her while she extends her greeting ritual, especially when there are kids involved. People love it (mostly), usually commenting on how sweet Sophie is. She lifts their spirits with her loving gift, as both Emily and Sophie do for me always.

image from pixabay.com

Sophie and Emily’s unconditional blessings of love which evoke reciprocity while never demanding any return, are my strong waking dream for stepping forward in a new home with Love and an Open Heart. It is a selfless service they naturally share with trust and faith in the basic goodness of life. My next month’s question (re. the yearly Quest of attaining True Happiness) will be to explore ‘How May I Serve Thee?’

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

What Really Is Love? Part One

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I’m going to give voice to my inner Lover archetype for this and the next post. We had an internal, “active imagination” dialogue while I was driving from Denver to Colorado Springs last night around the topic of Love.

I mean, really, who am I to speak of love? Apart from spiritual, unconditional love, which I do have abundantly from many decades of spiritual practice and positive relations generally, this is a topic that most would see in the context of romance, marriage and family, and I consider myself “post” relational, except nowadays for deep Friendship with my dog and cats, family, and close friends. I “did relationships…” but I have relinquished that pursuit for over 13 years—as I mentioned in the last post I have a Shadow Lover facet of Self going on…

Anyway then, Part One (this week) as an expression from my Inner Lover to the page is a Better Endings story that She/I like a whole lot and have never forgotten. Part Two (stay tuned!) will be an open expression from my Lover persona archetype about ‘What Really Is Love?’ that we will subtitle: ‘If I could live but only in the Moment.’

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A Better Endings Story about ‘What Really Is Love?”:

One of the best love stories I have ever encountered was in a late night movie I happened to catch some 30 years ago on TV. It was titled “The Man Eating Tiger” (or something close to that). It was about a mercenary sharp shooter during WWII who was hired by an African village to track down and kill a Bengal tiger that was terrorizing the community and had already killed many residents. Now as the story goes, there was also a female nurse serving the village who just happened to be a woman the mercenary had been in love with before his best friend and war buddy had married her instead. She was the person who had recommended him for the job of taking down the man-eating tiger. As a plot twist, this nurse’s husband had gone Missing in Action from the WWII  front lines as an Army infantry soldier, and it had been months already since anyone had heard of his whereabouts so that he was considered to have likely been killed.

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Now then, the plot thickens as the Mercenary is once again stricken with feelings of love for the nurse, his missing best friend’s wife that he now sees daily but only for so long as he will stay at the African village to complete his mission and take down the Tiger.  He becomes deeply conflicted—as does she but less so—about whether to act on his feelings in his friend’s absence (and probable death). Should he proclaim his love?

The scene I like so much and that I will never forget from this story involves an evening walk that the Mercenary takes with an Indian woman he has befriended, also a nurse in the village. He is able to open up with this wise Indian woman about his deep feelings of love he has for the Nurse and how conflicted he feels about being in the village without being able to declare his true feelings. He WANTS her; he sees the condition of her missing husband as an opportunity to have what he most desperately wants in his life: Her.

But the Indian friend speaks to the Mercenary about the true meaning of Love.  She tells him she has observed Americans and other Europeans to have gotten the reality of love all mixed up and topsy-turvy. She points out that to Europeans, what they—including the Mercenary—think of or speak of as love is much too often little more than possessiveness. They pursue one another by wanting to possess the love “object.” That is wrong. Instead, if they truly were meant for one another, if they truly held genuine and authentic love for one another, they would want ONLY that which would be the very BEST for their beloved. They would be willing and happy in fact to LET GO, to detach from any relationship less than fully conducive to the total freedom and happiness of their beloved.

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images are from pixabay.com

Maybe I shouldn’t tell you the rest of the story as it was portrayed in the movie. I will tell you that the husband does come back and that in the jungle whilst the Mercenary is about to catch up with the Tiger, his MIA friend shows up (not yet having arrived at the village to present himself to his wife) and the Man Eating Tiger is about to pounce on him! What do you believe the Mercenary will do? Will he shoot the Tiger and save his rival friend? Has he yet learned what Really Is Love?

Can you relate to this story metaphorically?

I welcome your Comments and Stories!

What Do You Stand For?

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When does your Warrior archetype show up for you in your life?  Is this a primary archetype for you, or situational? Remembering that all persona archetype characters have potentially both positive (Strength) and “negative” (Shadow) modes–and masculine and/or feminine forms, too–could you look back over your Life Story to trace times or situations when you have relied on the Warrior to help you move forward, or perhaps also when your Warrior nature may have embroiled you or held you back?

Let’s focus of the Strengrth mode of the Warrior. This is a facet of your Self that will step forward and stand up for a worthy cause that is dear to your Heart.

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So, what do you STAND FOR with your Warrior spirit? What is worth claiming, worth defending or striving for?  I invite your Warrior nature to step forward and communicate. What do you stand for, Warrior?

I welcome the reader to go within by active imagination, and/or to journal from your Warrior’s perspective. As a sample, I feel my Warrior ready to declare some of what I stand for and have stood up for in my life.

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I STAND FOR:

We (Self & Warrior) have always stood up in this lifetime for FREEDOM: Freedom of thought, choice, and action. For a long time as an adult this has meant standing up for “diversity,” defined in terms of minorities or underrepresented peoples. We pursued this with our degree in Anthropology–specializing in Native American studies, global gender studies, and the inviolability of indigenous peoples’ rights, cultures, choices, languages. More recently, however, this CAUSE has shifted its focus. Now, we stand up to proclaim:

“ALL LIVES MATTER!”

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free images from pixabay.com

Spirit and Soul matter, along with all positive, freedom-granting, life affirming beliefs and spiritual practices.

“All lives matter,” as a new banner credo for my integrated Self, comes from a recent Mystic realization that: “All are cut from the same cloth.” This brings unconditional love.

I/we still care about diversity; variation is the palette of Divine love and reflects or may be a measure of the health and well being of the Cosmos Itself. But the divisions people devise to divide are, ultmately, illusory. Experience differentiates by community or culture, class, subculture, ethnicity, race, or religion; whatever. But underlying all that beautiful spectrum of diversity:

ALL ARE CUT FROM THE SAME CLOTH.

I oppose, then, only divisiveness or threats to the full expression of life affirming freedom.

What do You Stand For, Now?

Be a Magnet of Love, for Love to Show the Way

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For October we are conjoining the archetype of the Lover with the postulate, Live Your Dream, Now. With love all things are possible. This is especially true of unconditional love, the sort that the Divine or the Creator or Grand Designer–however we relate to that principle in our own lives–has for Its creation.

Here is a favorite passage of mine about love, from Stranger by the River, by Paul Twitchell:

Speak to me of love, O Master!”

…” Love is not a matter of belief. It is a matter of demonstration. It is not a question of authority, but one of perception and action.

“The requirements of growth demand that you exert the greatest degree of love for what is perfectly in accord with Soul. Our highest happiness will best be attained through our understanding of, and conscious cooperation with, the divine law.

“It is love that imparts vitality to our minds and hearts and enables it to germinate. The law of love will bring to you all necessity for your spiritual growth and maturity.

“Therefore, if you desire love, try to realize that the only way to get love is by giving love. That the more you give, the more you get; and the only way in which you can give is to fill yourself with it, until you become a magnet for love.

“God love has for its goal the creation of the highest form, and you must know that the individual love is likewise forever attempting to express itself in form, and to give Soul the highest architecture of spiritual attainment.

 

 

 

Be the Healing You Seek

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As you—all of us—embody the HEALER Archetype Ally within you, you also may be a healing influence for others.

Allow your Healer to be available not only to you but also through you!

This sort of healing influence that you might naturally bring to a relationship or situation is more often than not indirect and non-directed.  I am not endorsing “laying on of hands” or anything of that nature, as these forms of “healing” can actually be quite invasive or controlling, and I do not support that. Yet being a vehicle of unconditional love or impartial positivity is natural and often may be a helpful agency in itself, even if it is only to lend a shoulder to cry on or in your caring to provide a helpful hand.

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Being a calm, centered, patient and positive presence in any situation or circumstance can lead to healing effects on yourself as well as bringing peace or balance to conditions around you. Non-directive prayers of surrendering a situation to Higher Wisdom or the use of centering and uplifting mantra chanting or mindfulness meditations can help you to achieve and maintain the balance you wish to achieve.

I remember a prayer I learned when I was exploring the Baha’i faith many decades ago. I am not sure if this may be from Rumi originally (though it is perhaps more likely from Bahau’allah as it is a Baha’i prayer); its reference to a hollow reed instrument has always reminded me of Rumi’s Song of the Reed. Recently I have found this prayer coming back to my heart awareness, and I am finding there is a reason for that within my life.

I provide a version here from my memory which is very near to a version you can read at www.bahaiquotes.com  :

Oh Lord, make of me a Hollow Reed

Through which the pith of Self hath been blown,

That I may become a clear channel,

Through which Thy Love may flow to others.

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)

Freya Norse goddess riding chariot cat boar

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.

Cats on Samos

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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The Blessings of Family, by Rev. Lee Ireland

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Elizabeth (my Mom) with Santa and Donner, 2013

So, you asked me to explain family to you.  Below are my reflections this night.  I’d be glad to rewrite a part if it comes across stilted.  Love to you, Lee

For me, my family is a collection of people who are at the core of my understanding of life: people with whom I have grown up or who have helped me to grow into the person I have become.  Some are my natal (birth) family members and some are my selected family members, i.e., the Wendell’s and a few special friends along life’s journey – who I can turn to in times of joy and questioning, because I know I am loved unconditionally, and they will listen and not judge and offer input or reflect back to me what I am saying or feeling.

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My family is spread out across the US and though we can’t visit with one another very often in person, we do stay in touch all the time now through e-mails, phones, Facebook, and other means of communication – to stay up to date with one another’s activities, but mainly to just stay in touch and see what is unfolding through time for each other.

I have learned how to navigate through challenging moments, and moments of deep love and gratitude.  I would not be who I am fully, without my family connections and having had the freedom to explore life in the context of those who will love me through no matter what and with whom I don’t have to explain everything.

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The internet means of communication have certainly helped us to ‘see’ one another more frequently than our traveling time would allow.  I am most grateful for my siblings and my mother and my extended family through whom I have deepened in my understanding of the various aspects of love, forgiveness, and compassion.

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Rev. Lee Ireland is a pastor for the United Church of Christ near Hartford, Connecticut. She is my big sister, too. I am blessed to share family with Lee, whose compassion and keen insight on life has been…as with all Family, “priceless!” Thanks with Love, Lee.

I welcome your Family Better Endings insights, Comments or stories.

Enduring Solidarity

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“It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens

(Alice had once made the remark)

that whatever you say to them,

they always purr.”

    ― Lewis Carroll (http://catsatthebar.org/)

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My mother Elizabeth, with her grandpup,

my Shorkie companion Sophie

I have been pondering all this week what is a First Principle of Better Endings associated with Family relations? And I have found the answer, at least for me; it is:

Enduring Solidarity

So I’ve been asking also, how does a family accomplish the principle of Enduring Solidarity? That’s where the above pictures are helpful.

Family is Forever. We know that from the start. It is unconditional love in action. This is what our pets also know; that we love them, no matter what. And they don’t even have to think to offer us the same, from the beginning.

Family members may not always be on the same side of some political or ideological issue. They might practice different religions, live in widely separated geographical locations, and vary in their unique experiences and extended family ties. I rarely get to even see my immediate family together any more at any one time, and my intensely busy life keeps my focus more on my life in Colorado than on keeping up adequately with my family, especially my cousins, aunts/uncles, and nieces and nephews. Nevertheless, Family remains a core value and when it is possible to visit or to speak on the phone, enduring solidarity is immediate and lasting.

How does a family achieve this level of solidarity despite diversity and change in our individual lives? In my family I think it has been mainly a matter of Acceptance. Beyond  expressions of well intended care or concern, neither of my parents nor my siblings have ever tried to influence the choices of their children or siblings, about careers or beliefs, lifestyles or relationships.  We have known from the beginning and somehow understand that a family encompasses diversity in the very Nature of things. Relating this to yesterday’s post, this value of acceptance of diversity in a family, I would say, reflects the underlying awareness that a Family is an archetypal asssemblage to begin with.  We expect to see the growth and development of diversity within a family; in fact we welcome and value the differences that only serve to expand the greater whole of our collective experience.

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Enough said. I am deeply Grateful for the Enduring Solidarity that has nurtured my own and All My Family’s individual and collective unfoldment. This includes All My Family at every level and offshoot of connections.

Family Better Endings

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Ah, Family! What a blessing, in whatever form we share with those in our innermost circle.  Families come in many forms around the world in various cultures or conditions. Universally, families serve vital functions: raising and caring for children, providing economic support for one another, providing a nurturing living environment.

In our post-modern condition, sometimes families are composed of social relations including but also extending beyond our genealogical connections; “families we choose”.   In my own experience, though I have lived 1000’s of miles from my core family for most of my adult life, family is bedrock; those whom I return to every opportunity there is. Family carries a value of Acceptance which truly is deeper than blood. It is where unconditional love can be relied on, no matter what ‘outside’ conditions you might  face. I also live with a home family of other-than-human animal companions; we share that same total reciprocity of unconditional love, acceptance and mutual caring as with siblings and mother (my father has passed).

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My mother is in a nursing home now, 87 next month, suffering from late stage Parkinson’s and arthritis.  Her children and grandchildren and sisters visit her at every opportunity, aiming to bring the best possible Better Endings her way.  She deserves the best, too, as she gave of herself and continues to give of herself to all her relations, always.  I dedicate this week of Better Endings blog posts to my Mom, Elizabeth, in upstate New York.

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Better Endings in my life have often come through family ties.  Whether it was my mother always somehow knowing exactly when I might need a phone call from Buffalo to Phoenix, AZ, or catching up with all the activity in my brother and sisters’ busy lives and families of their own, family time is an uplifting balm for the Soul.

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One quick memory to share of Family Better Endings in tribute to my mother; I would not be alive today—nor most of my siblings—had this not occurred.  Cincinnati, Ohio, circa 1961. (I was 6.) We had a swimming pool in our back yard and my brother, sister Lee and I were swimming.  Mom was in the screened in back porch, attending. Very quickly, gray clouds amassed. Suddenly, my mother came out and yelled urgently at us all: “Get OUT of the pool, NOW!” We did, not knowing what was wrong. We all scurried with Mom into the porch area, and no sooner had we reached the porch when, WHAM! A huge bolt of lightning struck the water!

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We have asked her for years, “Mom, how did you know?” All she can answer is, “A Mother just knows.”

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My Mom, with my sister Lee, her daughter, Daughter-in-law, and grandchild (by Lee Ireland)

I invite your stories and insights, in any form (e.g. poetry, photos, or prose) about Family and Better Endings. I’m sure we all have plenty to tell!

P.S.: Thank You to everyone reading this blog, either regularly or for your first visit!  What a new world we live in where we can all share like this!

A Quilt of Unconditional Love–a Principle We Learn from Our Pets

Today’s post will be composed like a quilt, a pastiche of images and expressions.

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Above picture and poem below From http://tvkapherr.wordpress.com/about/  Cats at the Bar (Everyone has opinions, especially cats):

Stressed by deadlines,
Oppressed by bills,
Depressed by the cruelty of the human race.

Battling traffic,
Fighting the flu,
In arms against the world’s frenetic pace.

All washed away,
A breath of relief,
Innocence, love, in a sweet little face.

By E.J. Geras

 Dogs and Cats, oh yeah!

We opened this week with the topic of “Pets ARE Better Endings“. Why? Because of their capacity to give and to receive unconditional love. Is there anything more important? Our animal companions bring the energy of love into our lives and hearts, daily. We can learn so much from their example.

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The simple act of maintaining caretaking routines (feeding, grooming, playing, litter, walks) helps to keep us humans engaged in giving love daily, and what we can give and receive from this is immeasurable. Even the heart rate and blood pressure of ourselves and our animal friends harmonizes in a healthier pattern from such interaction.

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http://tvkapherr.wordpress.com/about/

As a pet parent without children, a caring relationship with my pets is a life saver, a Godsend. For it allows me to be in the world as a loving companion. With today’s increasingly computer oriented technology and cyber-focussed reality, touching base with the purity of a pet’s unconditional love and acceptance is a healing force in itself. It is restorative, transformative, reminding me  of why we are truly here.

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The Secret of Life, by Roxi St Clair

http://roxistclair.com/2014/02/09/the-secret-of-life/comment-page-1/#comment-7869

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http://rachelmankowitz.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/thunder-shirt/

Pets ARE Better Endings

Little Girl Cuddling Soft Toys

Animal companions are, to me, Better Endings incarnate. How can they not be, with their amazing capacity for unconditional love and acceptance? A pet is for Life, with the only hard part being that, as humans, we tend to outlive them.

My pets certainly bring Better Endings to work days or basically to any time away from and then returning to our house. They make of our household a Home, just by being there. Coming home to my beloved pet companions lightens my load and helps me more than just about anything else to keep an open Heart.

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Sophie en route to New York to see her Grandmom

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Loki (with Arthur above)

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Arthur and sister Emily

Currently I live with four animal friends, three cats and a dog.  Cats include Loki (8y), all white with golden eyes, and Emily (4y) and Arthur (4y), orange tabby siblings. Emily is petite and short-haired while her brother Arthur looks like a Lion. Sophie (3.5y)–or, Sophia Grace Jade Wattsida [that’s Zuni for ‘dog’, and a pun on my name]–is my Shorkie (Shitzu-Yorkie) buddy. She is small of height but huge in her energy and a totally loving character. I have driven cross-country 3 times already with Sophie. She is a magnificent, all-round companion who loves to vacation at “La Quinta!” hotels. I am humbled to think of how these Souls (Animals are Soul, Too) have sacrificed other possibilities to live with me; especially my “indoor cats” whose whole ‘outer’ life anyways is in our house with one another, me, and our sometimes housemate Gianmichele.

Kitten on Samos

Okay, so there you have a narrative slideshow of my family (the  3 photos together above are They). Pet stories abound in my life. I invite you to send some of your own along, too, so we can swap some Better Endings pet tales this week!

Together, We Are Love…Early Childhood Memories

Happy little girl

Thursdays are Guest Blog days at Better Endings. On our weekly topic of Childhood Memories, I found a Daily Prompt set of posts from December 2012 all about peoples’ “Earliest Childhood Memories”. Reading through them I realized that the vast majority of early childhood memories, like the one I posted from my own life on Tuesday here, are about Best Friends or Best Pet Companions. Mandi’s comment Tuesday reinforces that (reposted as #1 below). And so I re-blog three “Early Childhood” memories.

(1) Comment from Mandi of Caged No More (on betterendingsnow.com, Jan. 27,2014):

I love your story of true friendship! It sparks many memories from days long ago, when Renee, my bff, and I met in 5th grade homeroom. I will never forget the first thing she said to me! “Do you want to arm wrestle?” I could not have found anyone more different than me to connect with, but we absolutely clicked! My best friend and I are still going strong, 18 years later! Wow…that seems like forever to me. There is no one else in my life outside my blood relatives that I have known for such a long time! I think its wonderful that we have these precious childhood memories of our dearest friends to reminisce upon in our lives today.

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(2) Re-blogged from Vandysnape (Daily Prompt on “Earliest Childhood Memory”, Dec. 9, 2012)

Thanks to The Daily Prompt‘s new blog post idea, I get to write about my earliest childhood memory.

Before I begin with my earliest memory, there is a bit of a family history that you should probably know. When I pose the same question to my sister about her earliest memory she’d tell me some stories about things that happened when she was just 6 months old. I think that’s an elaborate cock and bull story that she always pulls off on me. My father’s told me that his Uncle could remember things that happened when he was in his Mother’s womb. Well,…Let’s just say that I’m reserving my judgment on that. So, in a family with such ‘history’ of good memory I seem to lack that skill very much. See that little baby in the left side of blog’s banner [picture not uploaded-LW]? That’s me but I have no memory of that phase of my life.

My earliest childhood memory is in my kindergarten classroom. In the first few months of school I felt very homesick but was fortunate enough to have a sweet classteacher Mrs Ramathilakam who put with a whole class of cry babies. I was also quite lucky to have a kind girl for a classmate. I remember her face vividly. She was a very fair and chubby girl with a coconut tree hairstyle much like mine and she brought the coolest set of goggles to school everyday.

Every time I cried, she would put on the goggles and give me a big smile. Then, I would stop crying. If she put down the goggles, I would cry. This went on for sometime but never once did she stop being cheerful. I don’t remember how we both talked to each other. She spoke Malayalam and I spoke Tamil and neither of us knew much English to have a lively conversation. Yet, we both laughed and smiled at each other. She was also the first person to teach me a Malayalam word “Vellam”(Water). I don’t remember much of my kindergarten though. I think she left the school in UKG. It is all very vague right now. I try hard to recollect her name but I guess it has just left the realms of my memory.

Yeah.. Vague it may be but thinking about all those good memories brings some warmth to the heart and I hope the girl grew up to be a kind person as she was the day I met her. So, what’s your earliest childhood memory ?

About vandysnape Hi ! Welcome to my blog… I’m Vandhana. what about me? I’m a huge Beatles and Ilayaraja fan. As my friends say I’m always 15 – 30 years behind in music .. I love reading books ..Well,actually Harry Potter introduced me into reading ..So , I’m trying to catch up with as many novels as I can.. But non-fiction is a strict no-no for me 🙂 🙂 My blog is a reflection of a few strands of my thoughts.. Very random.. I don’t stick to a particular genre. But Hope you find it interesting 🙂

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(3) Re-blogged from keiththegreen on Daily Prompt (“Earliest Childhood Memory”, Dec. 9, 2012)

Childhood Revisited:

My first memory was my mom catching me sharing cookies with our dog. Truth betold it happened often enough, that it probably imprinted itself on my mind. Saturday mornings my parents would take me along, and do the rounds of Woodwards Department store, the buthcher and bakery. Upon getting home, Sargent our German Shepard would happily greet us with tail a wagging. While lunch was made, and dad did some of the outside chores, I would play with Sargent, who was my best buddy back then. Wherever I went, he was beside me, the faithful sidekick. After lunch I would take my Thimbul coookies, homemade by mom, and either eat them in the back yard, or some quiet spot in the house. Sargent of course was beside me, and what little super hero would deny his partner in keeping his world safe, a just share in the rewards. So it was a regular occurence, of my getting caught with my hands on the cookies, in the act of handing one to Sargent.

keiththegreen

Unconditional Love and Acceptance for Better Endings

king

“The Little Prince and the King” illustration by Carrie Neumayer

As a child, I was intrigued when I read the chapter in Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince where the Prince visits the planet of a king who has no subjects. He invites the Prince to become his subject and declares him to be his Minister of Justice. The Prince declines, asserting that he is a traveler and he must be on his way. The exchange continues:

“I,” replied the little prince, “do not like to condemn anyone to death. And now I think I will go on my way.”

“No,” said the king.

But the little prince, having now completed his preparations for departure, had no wish to grieve the old monarch.

“If Your Majesty wishes to be promptly obeyed,” he said, “he should be able to give me a reasonable order. He should be able, for example, to order me to be gone by the end of one minute. It seems to me that conditions are favorable . . .”

As the king made no answer, the little prince hesitated a moment. Then, with a sigh, he took his leave.

“I make you my Ambassador,” the king called out, hastily.

He had a magnificent air of authority. 

I was impressed by the king’s flexibility, if not by his idea of dominion. So, let me relate this to a sample Better Endings story from my own life, about this week’s topic of Changed Relationships:

We grew apart. My spouse was a global traveler by nature, with parents from Italy who raised their family in Venezuela. It had only been a matter of time. I returned to Colorado from a road trip to visit my family in New York state. The forest home we had bought together and nurtured together for over three years stood silent and empty, over half of the furniture removed. I knew this would be happening, but still it struck me like a stone.

I was not alone. My two dogs and three cats cuddled around me that night on the bed, as if to show they understood their own relationships with me had taken a major turn.

That was over twelve years ago. I have not sought any human involvement since and genuinely feel I will be happiest never going that route again. That was ‘the One’, or so I had believed. Yet, in retrospect so many amazing opportunities have come my way since then; opportunities I would probably not have been free to fulfill as I have, had that relationship–or any romantic relationship–lasted. I have a stepson, also a global traveler, who spends nearly half the year as my housemate, so I have companionship and help with the house I moved to after leaving the forest.  Four pets remain my closest family at home.

My story reminds me of the Little Prince’s encounter with the ‘reasonable’ King because my spouse and I needed to accept each others’ needs to pursue our own dreams in our own ways. It also reminds me of a black and white movie I once came upon on late night TV several years ago, called “The Man-Eating Tiger”. A mercenary during World war II was hired to rid an Indian jungle village of the threat of a man-eating tiger. A nurse at a clinic there had once been the undeclared love of the mercenary, but she married his best friend. This friend was now missing in action. The mercenary felt conflicted; he wanted to pursue the woman, to rekindle a flame between them, but he knew his friend might yet return. The scene I recall strongly involved the mercenary taking a long walk at night with an Indian woman, a servant or another nurse he had confided in about his conflict. The Indian woman said she had observed Americans “in love” before. She found that our concept of love was what she would call possessiveness rather than true, unconditional love. If one genuinely loves another, she told the man wisely, then one desires no more than the total happiness of the beloved. If that beloved’s life calls him or her away from the relationship, then one must accept that with humility and send the beloved on their way with gratitude that they will be achieving a greater happiness.

Like the Little Prince‘s king, we can establish relationships that are not solely constructed on our own terms. With unconditional love we can promote a win-win situation, bringing Better Endings for all concerned, so long as we are open enough to accept each other’s dreams and the necessary means to achieve those. Certainly the more desirable pathway to many peoples’ better endings is from staying in relationship rather than in separation, so I am definitely not advocating a quick release from your deeply established relationship. But life/divinity/spirit or the Universe brings us circumstances and reveals to us over time what is required for all of our advancement. We can grow and learn from all life’s lessons and benefit from each of the beautiful connections we forge along the way.

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Practice your own Better Endings this week by journaling or writing about, or talking about or contemplating Relationship Changes and all that you have learned from them. Please feel free to Comment with your insights, or send in your story to be included as a Story of the Week (with your author’s byline, bio, and website info).

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