Tag Archives: faith

Chasing Bliss

"Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option." -Maya Angelou

“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”
-Maya Angelou

She’d been in the back of the truck outside the bar for hours. He would come out at some point, drunk. It smelled like snow was on the way, and Dahlia was cold. She had always waited in the truck; her job was to guard the truck.

It was not a loving relationship with her master. He loved his truck and beer, not her–she could be any dog.

Dahlia felt uncertain about her future as she stood in the bed of the truck, shivering. She was getting older; the situation was very predictable and never going to get better. She could have felt hopeless and full of despair, but Dahlia’s imagination was her best friend. Suddenly she was gripped by an unexpected urge that excited her so much, she almost couldn’t contain herself. So she didn’t. Dahlia looked around. The path was clear. She jumped out of the truck and ran. Dahlia felt there was a better life waiting for her, somewhere.

When her master had brought her home after picking her from the litter seven years earlier, she felt so special. She got bored when he was at work and began to chew on some things to pass the time. He was angry when he got home and found the dissected TV remote control. Then he saw the barely recognizable cowboy boot in the middle of the living room rug. He yelled at her and kicked her until she yelped in pain, before throwing her outside, forever. He didn’t understand her new teeth hurt and she was bored. Dahlia never saw the inside of the house again. He was always mean to her, even though her chewing days were long gone. He paid no attention to her other than giving her some dry food and water. He considered “play” to be taking her with him to watch the truck while he drank with his buddies. She wasn’t going to wait for him to be happy with her.

Being outside had its benefits. She heard all the dog gossip in the neighborhood. She got to chatting with the other neighborhood dogs while he was at work. Everyone had a story to tell. Walks, road trips, naps on the couch, toys and table scraps—especially the food the kids didn’t like. She discovered she had not lucked out in the lifestyle lottery. She had grown to enjoy the outdoors but would have liked to have a choice to go inside when the weather was bad. She was happy for the others—it gave her hope. She wanted to feel loved and appreciated for who she was too. She had a lot of love to offer in return.

After traveling for hours, she was thirsty, hungry, cold and exhausted. Even a bit afraid. It was getting dark. Dahlia found a nice soft place to sleep under a large bush that barely sheltered her from the chilly wind. Before she closed her eyes, she looked up at the moon. She asked that she be shown the way to a joyful life—one meant just for her.

Dahlia awoke to a light dusting of snow surrounding her. It was beautiful and very cold. Her immediate goals were water and something to eat. She walked until she reached a bay where the calm water had frozen over. She ventured out onto the smooth surface and licked the ice. She surveyed the scene, still full of exhilaration over the adventure that awaited her, but worried about food.

A small black thing bouncing through the ice distracted her. What was that little thing? She watched it bounce up, each time a cracking sound. Then, down it went. It moved rhythmically up and down through the ice again, now several yards away. She wanted to chase it, catch it and perhaps eat it! Chasing it was great fun! She never knew where it would pop up, and she became happily lost in the challenge of it all. She did not remember when she felt so blissful.

At the edge of the bay she was confused as the little black thing sped out to deeper water. She was mesmerized as it rose up, exploding out of the water in a spectacular display of power and grace. A whale! She had been chasing a whale! It crashed down into the choppy water and swam back to where she was pacing excitedly on the frozen bay. A gigantic head poked through the water.
“Hey, that was a lot of fun. I bet you weren’t expecting that! What’s your name?”
“Dahlia. I was having so much fun I lost all track of time chasing you! I even forgot how hungry I was,” she said, a little dismayed he was not food.
The whale blinked his enormous eye at Dahlia.
“Wait here,” he said.

The big head was gone. Ripples of icy water sloshed at her paws as she stood on the edge of the frozen bay. She watched the spot where he’d disappeared, having no idea what she was waiting for. Up he came with a burst, spewing a mountain of wiggling fish onto the ice for her to feast on! And feast she did, until she could hold no more. She burped.

“I’m so sorry; you have been so thoughtful and kind! Thank you for the fish. I don’t even know your name.” Dahlia hung her head in embarrassment.
“Tahi. The pleasure has all been mine. I hope we can play again soon!”

With that, he turned and disappeared under the water. Dahlia smiled as she wandered off with her bulging belly. What a difference a simple act of kindness made, she thought as she felt her spirits buoyed. Now she needed to find better shelter than the bush she’d slept under.
She spotted a grouping of rocks a short distance away and walked with new energy to investigate. As she walked around the huge, grey boulders she saw nothing that could be considered shelter. She spied a small opening near the bottom of one of the rocks. It looked barely big enough to fit her and her full tummy. She squeezed herself under it, burying her claws into the ground to pull herself inside. Dahlia was amazed to see that once inside the rocks, there was a cavern. A perfectly sheltered, hollow area where she could stand up easily and walk around. An ideal new home. She promptly turned three times, laid down and took a long nap.

Tahi and Dahlia grew very close over the months; they were inseparable. Tahi would take Dahlia for exciting rides on his back and bring her bounty from the sea. Dahlia would lick his salty face with loving kisses of gratitude. She’d run in circles on the beach, barking while he frolicked in the waves, putting on a show for her.

One night, nestled in her cavern, she was struck with how easily things started to go right, months ago. It was only when she decided she deserved better that she found better. When she followed her happiness, it grew into something unimaginable. Her happiness was her guide; it pointed where she needed to go next. All of her needs that she had worried over had been fulfilled in the most remarkable ways. She’d put forth effort, but it was enjoyable. She couldn’t explain it. She laid her head down to sleep as Tahi wished her a soulful good night off in the distance.

Respond to every call that excites your spirit.

-Rumi

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The Stuff

"You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen." -Paulo Coelho

“You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.” -Paulo Coelho

Georgina worried. She worried about her friend Frank. Frank was a blackbird with a very cavalier attitude toward life. Frank didn’t even have a five-year plan for his life. “Life loves you!” Frank always said.

Georgina grew up under the constant threat of, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” As a result, Georgina actually had a 30-year plan for her life. Her life would not be a failure. But that was before the tsunami.

Georgina sat on a Styrofoam board and watched her ruined belongings drift by her, one by one, taunting her presumed control over every aspect of her life. In truth, not one year ever went according to the 30-year plan. Something always interfered, and her control over her life seemed to mostly be limited to damage control. This year was no exception, and she figured it set her back at least 10 years.

She looked up at the sky and watched Frank soaring high then low. He was having a great time looking at all the debris. Each a valued possession of his good friend Georgina, only a day before.

She needed to replace her stuff. All of it had taken years to accumulate. She was wearing her beloved red cowboy boots when the wave hit, and she was grateful to still have them. She was mostly grateful both she and Frank were okay. She would start anew, yes, a plan to replace her stuff! But then she was gripped with an uneasy feeling. She looked at the items that identified her life, floating by, mocking her. She realized all her planning and controlling made her so attached to the outcome of everything and how it would come to be, that she actually felt like a failure when it didn’t work out as she had planned. Her life was a failure.

Frank took a playful swoop by her.
“It’s just stuff!” he shouted as he climbed high into the sky.

Georgina spent so much time trying to control Frank, trying to get him to worry enough to make a five-year plan. She wanted him to live more like her and stop living moment-to-moment. Until now, she had never realized that Frank had never wanted for a thing. He looked at it all as a great series of events, meant to happen. He never worried about anything, and worry was her middle name. There was always something to worry about. Frank saw everything that happened as a game to find the hidden gift in it all. He always enjoyed Georgina’s friendship and company—he never gave advice. As far as he was concerned, nothing had changed. They were now sharing this great adventure together.

The thought of replacing her stuff was tiring. As she drifted, her eyelids heavy, her red boots full of water—turbulence was suddenly everywhere! She sat up on her board and watched in amazement as a stunning, chocolate brown horse galloped across the surface of the water. She had a saddle made from the shell of a sea turtle and an ornate harness of butterflies and branches. She trotted in a circle, eyeing Georgina on her Styrofoam float. Frank watched from above in awe and zoomed in to hear the conversation.

“Well, as I see it, you have two choices. Stay here, or hop on my back,” the horse said in a sweet and calm voice.
“But where will you take me? All my stuff is here. I can’t just leave—this is my life,” Georgina said, infuriated at the suggestion she leave her stuff.

In a not-so-sweet voice, the horse said, “Okay, Georgina. You can stay here with all your stuff and watch it deteriorate. Or you can learn how to really live. You never actually own anything in life, except what is inside your heart, of course. We tried to get you to see how it’s done by giving you your good friend Frank. Unfortunately your ego decided since he lacked his own stuff, he had nothing important to share. You needed to make him more like you. Thereby creating more stuff. The way you have been living life leaves no room for serendipity, the spice of life. Planning is fine, if you leave it at that. Controlling, worrying, manipulating others simply blocks life from happening as it should. Now, are you ready to hop on before your toes shrivel?”

Georgina was a little miffed at being called out but knew it was absolutely true. Frank took a swoop by her head. “Life loves you!” he laughed, as he perched between the horse’s ears.
The Horse spoke again, this time with compassion.

“Ask the Universe for what you need. It will always answer, but only when asked. What you need is not always what you want, so don’t be attached to the outcome. Always ask to be led to your next step. Take steps you feel compelled to take toward what you want, and surrender yourself to the serendipity of life. If you don’t think the outcome is a gift, then it isn’t over. It is beyond your imagination and is constantly unfolding. If you look back later, you will see the perfection of it all. How the events of your life have been woven into an absolutely perfect tapestry. Now please, it will be dark soon—hop on!”

Georgina paddled over to the horse. The horse got down low so she could climb on her back. They were immediately back on the surface of the water for the most extraordinary ride, galloping faster than Georgina thought possible. Frank kept up easily and thoroughly enjoyed the situation. Georgina leaned over to the horse’s ear.

“I’d really love to have this cool saddle of yours.”
To which the horse replied, “Georgina, this is a process. The stuff you seek is inside you, not outside. When you no longer want the saddle, we’ll talk.”

With that, she galloped with Georgina and Frank into the hazy horizon.

 

“If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more.  If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.” -Oprah Winfrey