Goodbye, dear friend.

Omitting names to veil the identities…

I became friends with J. during the summer of 2014.  Timing is everything, right?  A few years prior, when I was in search of an acupuncturist, L. gave me J.’s card… but I never called.  I don’t know why.  Then, in the summer of 2014, I started practicing yoga at the studio which was in the same building as L.’s massage/Reiki space.  There, I befriended D. and J.  Besides adoring them both in a professional capacity, D. a vivacious teacher of yoga and meditation and J. a skilled, attentive acupuncturist, we bonded in a sisterly way—my spiritual sisters.  J. is the one who also introduced me to Young Living, the oils that have at some times saved and at all times enhanced my life; D. and I are Reiki sisters, training under the same master.

Last summer, J. and her husband adopted two wonderful rabbits from the Long Island Rabbit Rescue.  They couldn’t have picked two more different rabbits.  Lilah, now Laila, is a diminutive white rabbit, tiniest ears I’ve ever stroked.  Rupert, now Rufus, is large in size and personality, brown in color.  They were to be bonded, but J. stopped bonding sessions early last fall.  I didn’t know why.  Sessions were going great.  Inconsequential now.  Rufus and Laila happily live side-by-side.  They are healthy.  They are gorgeous.

As fall and winter 2015 chugged along, contact with J. was sporadic.  I sensed she was “going through something” but when I asked, offered an ear, a shoulder, whatever, I was quickly shut down.  So I minded my business outwardly and inwardly created some stories as to what was going on.  Bottom line though, we hadn’t known each other long.  Maybe this was just her way.  I’m used to people floating in and out of my journey.  I’m used to be the connector, the initiator, so this wasn’t all that alarming to me.

When the calendars turned to 2016, the disconnect ramped up.  D. and I would joke: “Is she mad at you? Is she mad at me?  Who pissed J. off and now she’s not calling us back?”  I still had my acupuncture appointments.  We would still talk during the whole treatment.  Sometimes, J. would cry.  But again, she would not let on, not even a morsel, of what was up.  I had no choice but to shake it off.  It wasn’t about me.  And no matter what angle I tried, she wasn’t letting me in.  I respected that and minded my own business.  I did, however, squint when she wouldn’t take pre-payment for treatments anymore.  But, as we often do in our egos, assumed it was something I did—maybe she was hoping I’d stop making appointments?

On June 29th, I got a message that changed the game here.  M., who manages the space where J.’s office is housed reached out to me, asking if I’d heard from J.  She hadn’t been at work for the entire month.  Now I knew for sure the lack of communication wasn’t anything I or D. or anyone said/did/whatever.  Something was up.  I called D.  We hatched a plan.  After D. taught her class that evening, we would show up on J.’s front steps.  And we did.  My heart was pounding so profoundly as D. rang the bell—I imagined it bouncing out of my chest, cartoon-style.  J.’s husband answered the door.  I held my breath.  D. did all the talking—I think.  Moments of silence until we heard J.’s voice from inside the house say, “Let them in.”

Turns out, J. was battling a recurrence of a cancer that she had a few years prior, before I knew her, over this year of slipping away from us.  By the time she let us in, which I firmly believe she had no intention of doing until we ambushed her, the cancer was winning.  She couldn’t walk, sit up or smile.  She was embarrassed, angry, tired.  She shared some of her journey with us that evening, as D. and I sat on her kitchen floor (after I checked on the bunnies, of course.  They are both doing wonderfully.  J.’s husband is a saint, for her and for their animal-family members).  No one knew what was going on.  It wasn’t just D. and I shut out.

I firmly respect that choice.  I saw glimmers, as people started to find out what was going on, of the “You have to try…” or “You should be…” well-intentioned input from others that J. and her husband simply did not want.  And I don’t blame them!  These are two smart, well-researched, capable people.  They knew what they were doing and choosing at this point.  And sure, there are some who think it was “wrong” for J. not to tell even siblings of hers what was going on.  But I think she was right, as long as that’s what she wanted.

As the summer bounced on, I saw J. a few times.  I texted her every other day but rarely got a response.  On Thursday, my text read, “Would you like a visitor today?”  On Friday, J.’s husband responded and we decided I would come visit on Saturday, yesterday.  I spent a nice chunk of my day there.  It was as lovely as it could be.  We laughed.  It wasn’t all laughs though, but I’ll respect my ultra-private friend and keep those details to myself.  While we were on the couch, J.’s husband mentioned that the rabbits needed their nails cut.  My outstanding mentor and rescue director dropped everything she was doing and drove the 45 minutes there to give Rufus and Laila a little spa day, nails, grooming, snuggles.

I left, saying I love you and I’ll see you soon—all intentions to drop by Sunday or Monday.  An hour or so after I left, I got incredibly tired.  I attributed that to being drained from the day, an energy dump from an emotionally-trying afternoon.  Shortly after that, I got a phone call from M.  J. passed away.  Somewhere over the rainbow…

We shared dinners, lunches, yoga classes, Young Living meetings and knowledge, bunny stuff, acupuncture sessions… and above all this, love.  J. is a true trailblazer, an inspiration.  My lesson, one of my many treasured take-aways from our short, yet deep friendship: Follow your bliss.  If you aren’t happy at your job, in your relationship, in the chair you’re in, whatever, get up and change it.  Don’t wait.  Don’t “but what if…”  Don’t do what anyone else thinks you should do.  Do what makes you feel alive.  Do what makes your heart sing and your soul crave more of that thing.

I just love you J.

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Sugar and Spice

On Tuesday afternoon, we received an email whose subject line read “Urgent.”  We often get emails with that same subject line.  Like many words in our language, the connotation of urgency varies from user to addressee; what you deem urgent, I might very well deem frivolous.  This time, however, the usage of the subject “urgent” was apt.  I might have called it “ULTRA URGENT.”

Sugar and Spice, formerly Oregano and Thyme, were adopted in February 2014.  They were rescued along with their sibling Sage as tiny babies.  Sugar and Spice have never been apart.

Monday night, Sugar began bleeding from a mass on his rear.  His parents rushed him to the vet.  He had to have emergency surgery, costly in financial, physical and emotional ways.  That’s where the urgent email came in.  Sugar’s parents turned to us for support.  And that’s what we are here for.  We aren’t a business from whom you purchase a product; we are a family who connects you to your furry family members.  The LIRRG family hopped into action, readying all the support Sugar, Spice and their family may need.

As 2016 hasn’t been logical or easy for many, it followed suit for dear Sugar.  In recovery from his surgery, Sugar suffered a compression fracture.  Now the ultra-urgent label was apt (my hyperbolic speak comes in handy sometimes).  At this point, it remained unknown if Sugar would have the use of his back legs.  Gratefully, the LIRRG family pulled together even stronger to help Sugar’s family.  I am forever in awe of the people I’ve met through Rescue.

On Friday evening, Mary Ann, our resident expert in special needs care, and I went to Sugar’s house.  While Mary Ann worked with Sugar’s mom and dad on special needs care strategies, I had the opportunity to share Reiki energy with both Sugar and Spice.  I started with my usual lavender oil, for my own connection, as well as to support calming throughout the home.  Spice, the feisty protectorate of her brother, called me to her first.  She communicated the number 11 to me.  Almost immediately in our session, I felt turmoil in her heart chakra—not surprising as she’s been separated for the first time in her life from Sugar.  I did all I could in our session to ease her anxiety about their physical separation.  They will remain side-by-side but not in the same enclosure for now and Spice misses their cuddles so.

When I started my work on Sugar, he showed me the color purple.  I later realized that the litter box in Spice’s enclosure, which will be their enclosure together again someday, is bright purple.  Sugar wants to heal and he has the most loving energy.  He told me that he will get stronger.  I chose Highest Potential oil for him before I left my house that evening, which proved to be the perfect choice for supporting Sugar’s desire to reach his highest potential of strength.  I am grateful that I can be a part of his healing journey.  After our session, I shared a few drops of Believe with Sugar and Spice’s mom and dad to support their belief in the healing and strength of their little boy!

I’ll read every email marked urgent and I’ll be relieved when they truly aren’t urgent.  But, when situations like this crop up, I’m comforted and empowered by our supportive team and family.  I will return to work with Sugar and Spice as often as I can over the next few weeks.  Sugar is on multiple medications and needs to be fed Critical Care food three times per day as he is not fully eating on his own.  He will get acupuncture treatments and tons of love and support from his family and of course from the LIRRG family.  Sugar and Spice… and everything with love.  Keep getting stronger, little guy!

Alexa and Josie

I’ve admired Josie and Alexa for a while via social media, so of course I was excited to meet them in person when their mom and fellow Rescue volunteer Kim asked me to give the girls a Reiki treatment.  Although they are sisters who live side-by-side, Josie and Alexa are very different girls when it comes to personality and energy.  After Kim introduced me to her bunny-daughters and went over the basics of their dynamic, I anointed my palms and third-eye chakra with lavender oil and began our treatment.

I started seated in front of both pens and let the girls guide me as to whom to treat first.  Josie, with her beautiful up-ears and spotted fur, invited me into her area first and with loving excitement.  I added 2 drops of Envision oil, one of my newer favorites, to my palms to help open the channels between Source, me and Josie. The first message she communicated with me: “When mom is happy, then I’m happy!” (a common theme from our companion animals—really makes you think about how much our energies and experiences influence those around us).  Josie is a curious girl, active and in love with her toys (she has a lot of them!).  Her energy is that of pure love.  If she could talk, she would never stop—in a bubbly, endearing way of course!  The hands-on parts of our session were extra nice as Josie’s fur is unbelievably soft; I’ve patted soft fur before but NOTHING like this.

Lop-eared Alexa may have soft fur too… but I wouldn’t know, because she did NOT want any hands-on treatment!  Alexa has a guarded energy, so I chose Peace & Calming, another oil blend, to hands for our moments together.  Although she loves and trusts her family, she is very hesitant around those she doesn’t yet know.  I did my best to connect to her; despite her reservations, she was reception to the energy, just at a distance.  She quickly communicated with me that she’s the “older child,” which I later confirmed with Kim.  Alexa knows her beauty and doesn’t share the young, curious energy that Josie has.  She’s more refined but none-the-less comfortable and loved!

I closed our session back where I started, between the two girls, thanking them, Kim and the rest of their family for allowing me to share Reiki energy with them.  A truly beautiful family… I am grateful to know them.  And I’ll get to treat Alexa hands-on one day!!

lav pc env

What’s Important…

2016 has been cleaning house (in the metaphorical sense. Literally, however, my house is a mess and my desk is back to its disastrous state).  We (the collective We) lost Bowie, Prince, Chyna, Eli Weisel (potential the first time they’ve been listed in sequence anywhere)… I’m so parenthetical today.  We (the rabbit We) have lost far too many fur-babies, celebunnies and local loves, most recently Sylvia, beloved diva-bun and one of my first Reiki clients.

So here I am, contemplating what is really important, in my classic Type-A ways, organizing what matters and what doesn’t into definitive categories in my overly-active brain.  I keep telling myself that social media and the phone, other than for calls and texts, don’t matter… but then I continue to check them constantly (unless I lock the phone away in a drawer. Seriously).  So it must matter.  It must be important to some seeking part of my existence, checking for updates, change, news or something.  Searching for something, I guess.  Every minute I spend with the screen I think I should be doing something else, usually something simple like snuggling the boys, but definitely something else.  Important or not, I think about it like this: if this were my last moment, my last breath, I doubt I’d think or say, “I wish I checked Instagram one more time.”  So it’s time to get focused.

And why all this searching for substance?  I can’t seem to let myself be. Be present.  Be here now.  Just be.  My meditation coach and dear friend Debbie says, “Start where you are.”  And that’s a powerful message for me in this moment.  There’s no use beating myself up for checking Facebook 74 times today.  There’s no good to come out of wishing I visited Sylvia more often.  There is power is remembering the magical visits we did have though.  And there’s even more purposeful power in:

  • Doing what’s important to you (not by someone else’s definition, definitely not by society’s definition).
  • Allowing yourself to change which things/people/ideas/etc. are important to you as often as you need to.
  • Being as present as you can be, but not beating yourself up when you drift, or worry or obsesses. Just come back to now.

So what’s important?  What’s important is whatever you want it to be, in that moment.  It can change, flex, bounce back, reshape, flip, disappear, whatever.  For me, today, in this moment, it’s family.  I spent the afternoon with the extended family, the Originals as we call ourselves, two of my very best friends, celebrating family.  I’m spending the rest of the day and night with boys and their father.  I’ll try to stay off the phone.  I’ll read my book (loving Tyler’s The Accidental Tourist.).  And no matter what, what’s important is my inner peace, so I can, in turn, spread that peace around.

Peanut
And a random baby picture of Peanut for your enjoyment!

Budgie

Budgie probably doesn’t remember it, but he’s the first LIRRG rabbit I ever met.  It was February 2012.  Budgie and his mom and his aunt were representing LIRRG at a local Petco for an education event.  Bunny-daddy and I had just brought our boys into our home a month and a half prior.  (We found out that a local rescue existed after that… but we’ve more than made up for it since!  When you know better, you do better.)  I went to Petco with my mom and the uncles to meet the Rescue people.  We met Budgie there that day and I exchanged contact information with Budgie’s mom, hoping to find out more about volunteering.  And the rest is history-ish.

I visited Budgie this week to share some Reiki and check in with some out-of-his-ordinary behavior that his mom is concerned about.  I’ve treated him and his brother Snoopy before.  I started my session with a drop of lavender oil on my third-eye chakra and 3 drops of T-Away (the Animal Scents equivalent to Stress Away) in my palms.  I don’t typically put the oils directly on my bunny-clients; I rub the oils between my palms and do hands-on treatments, sharing the frequency of the oils.

I started Budgie’s treatment from outside of his pen, giving him some time to acclimate and invite me in.  I soon joined him on his play rug and worked hands-on for the majority of our session.  I connected strongly with his solar plexus chakra and the desire to assert power… which aligns well with the behaviors his mom is concerned about.  I sent lots of calming and peace to Budgie there, reassuring him that his power in this realm is recognized and strong.

He licked my right hand about 5 or 6 times during his treatment, each time in a series of 8 licks and the final time, 16 licks.  In our discussion after the treatment, I asked Budgie’s mom if the number 8 has any significance to her.  Nothing jumped out at her—but we did talk about 8 as the infinite energies and love.  We rounded out our treatment with an exchange of loving energies and I focused my Reiki on reassuring Budgie of his strength and power in his loving family.  All in all, Budgie thinks he’s the boss… and I’m not arguing with that face!

Much gratitude to Budgie’s mom for inviting me to share my love and light with her sweet boys.

Something to Share

In this oversharing climate, it’s pretty jarring when someone is legitimately keeping something private—not even “Vague-booking” about what’s going on.  (Vague-booking is a term one of my colleagues either coined or stole, to explain those clandestine social media posts that feign privacy when they really just intend to incite a clamoring of concern.)  So to find out that someone is actually keeping a secret, actually keeping something to herself is one part refreshing and one part scary.  Then, when you find out what the secret is, the parts converge… and sometimes it’s all scary.

In my quest to spend less time checking social media, I’m down with the concept of sharing less.  I was raised in a private family and, although I’m more open with my business than my parents are with theirs (a hallmark of my generation for sure), I don’t think of myself as an oversharer.  But that’s definitely a matter of perspective.  Maybe I’m moderate when it comes to sharing.  But I’m definitely an over-checker.

Enough about me.  Gone are the days (or decades) when you didn’t hear from or about someone for a period of time and that was just normal.  If there’s no evidence of your existence, a Snapchat, a “Jennifer reacted to…” or something of that nature for even a few hours, some consider that a cause for alarm.  When you don’t hear from someone for weeks, maybe you don’t notice.  Maybe you invent stories, modest or grandiose, about their whereabouts.  Maybe you take inventory of yourself (What did I say or do to cause this disconnect?)… but don’t be selfish.  It’s probably not about you.

Call me vague now (I’ve been called worse by better) but I’m not getting into further detail—though I’ll give you the lessons.

  1. Reach out. Reach out often. Don’t be afraid to send the first (or fifth) text.
  2. Trust your gut. If you feel like something is up, it is.
  3. Let people be there for you! You know who the true and pure ones are.  Open up to them.  We aren’t meant to hop this entire journey alone… especially not in the most difficult times.

For those of you keeping me accountable, my desk is cleaner than it was last week!  Small victories.

My intention for this week, very much inspired by the lessons above: Reach out and connect.  In real life. A “like” just isn’t enough sometimes.

Make It Count

All this self-imposed pressure to make the days count, to make them epic (and how overused is that word lately? I actually saw a sign, affixed to a telephone pole last week, that read “Epic Garage Sale.” I’m sorry I missed it), to make use of the days off while simultaneously enjoying the freedom and ease of vacation…

One of my B-isms: “Don’t count the days; make the days count.”  I didn’t coin it, but I use it.  Often.  Since I’m not counting days, here are some things I will count for you.

  • Rabbits have 18 toes. Of all of the rabbits with whom I come in contact, I only know one who is missing a digit.
  • I have 3 friends that I’ve had since high school.
  • Domestic rabbits need 35+ hours of exercise time per week.
  • I have 2 friends from college.
  • Tater Tot has chewed 2 holes in our living room couch.
  • Bunny-daddy and I have been together for 6 years.
  • Peanut has bunstructed 2 coffee tables.

Things I can’t count…

  • How many rabbit friends I have.
  • How many pairs of shoes I own.
  • How many bottles of Young Living essential oils I own.
  • How much I love my boys.
  • How many hours I’ve spent answering Rescue emails.
  • How many books I’ve ever read.
  • How much my soul is enriched from Rescue and my Rescue people.

I vow not to put too much pressure on myself, to truly give myself a break during these weeks off from the day job.  However, some things need to get done and I’m using you, my readers, as my accountability.  This week’s goal: clean my desk!  Simple, yet seemingly insurmountable at this time.  Cheer me on.

desk

Now, get off your device (after you like this post, of course) and go make today count!