A Story About Spirits

“It has been a difficult week.”

It seems that those words have left my mouth much too often the past few years; there have been a lot of struggles, whether it be through deaths, life changes, concerns for the future… the list really is endless.

This Tuesday marks the week anniversary of Sir William Oliver’s passing. He was our last Golden Retriever of a long line of five dogs. (His legacy will be carried on through Brutus, who is adored by his human, my cousin Jon.) I realized, though, that this was the first time in my life there hasn’t been a canine in my household. It’s a sad thing; no more large scampering paws on tile floor, random barking that signals a potty break, or trying to navigate the kitchen without plummeting to the floor due to the sleeping body right in front of the refrigerator.

I know it’ll be a long time before I have another dog in my life. Our Goldens were just that: golden. They were loving dogs that never asked for anything in return, but we gave it to them because they were a part of our hearts. Yes, there was the random annoyance of cleaning deer poop out of their hair after they romped through the woods, and poison ivy was always a possible side-effect of their hugs, but we did it anyways because we loved them with all our hearts.

It’s been a week and I seem to be coming out of my mourning; instead I am celebrating the lives of Scuttle, Goldie, Jewel, Baby, and Oliver that touched us deeply. They are no longer suffering. Instead, they’re on the other side, their presence always around us, supporting us, loving us, being there when we cry.

If we listen quietly, we can witness their spirits thriving–feel their breaths on our face, hear their scampering paws, and, for a split moment, try to catch ourselves as we almost trip, seeing, for a moment, a large golden body lying on kitchen floor in front of the refrigerator.

Our loved ones are never gone. They’re in the reality that we will, one day, reach as well. This life is temporary and, sometimes, full of pain. But it’s also filled with blessings; furry, fuzzy, human, canine, feline, or other joys that make this journey magical.

Love makes life worthwhile.  It’s why we’re here; to learn, to love, to try, to fail, to get back up again. Love is God, the Creator, the source of the Universe.

I love you, Sir William Oliver. Say hi to the gang and tell them I love them all. And I will try to love others, as you so selflessly loved me.

Rest. In peace.

The Best Journeys

If you’ve ever taken a moment to pause one of my YouTube videos, you’ll find I have a lot of sayings floating around my room.

Literally.

Roald Dahl’s quotation of “Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you…” perches on the wall to my left as I type, while Josh Gates and Tom Hiddleston sayings flash above my mirror in the early afternoon sunlight. And that’s only scratching the surface of my decorated four walls! Whether they’re artwork or sayings from TJ Maxx, paintings friends have crafted, or a mural pieced together by my own hands, each piece of decoration on my wall has its own purpose, its own story to tell.

God, I love being in my room. Some people have told me that it’s too cluttered; that it’s good to clear out some wall space. However, while I have had my purging moments and have been deeply satisfied, my walls are truly a reflection of me.

Heck, whenever I change rooms (or houses), I’ll probably cover those walls with quotes too!

This month, a box quote that occupies the windowsill behind my laptop is particularly reaching out to me. I see it every day; it inspires me not only in adventure but in life.

“The best journeys answer questions you didn’t even think to ask.”

This quote is what I would pick to describe my most recent years. There have been some good, adventurous, life changing moments… and some that have been absolute crap. But all of them have answered questions that I didn’t even think to ask in the first place.

Funny how God works, isn’t it?

This Monday, actually, was an anniversary for me. Two years ago, I started talking to my guardian angel (Zadkiel) and really opened up spiritually. And that’s when things started making sense. It was kind of like a puzzle; I found answers to some weird stuff that happened to me in the past, I gained more confidence in who I was–and in my soul and spirituality–and the pieces all clicked together.

In turn, I started to see the magic in the world around me and I stopped wishing I was somewhere else.

Yes, I did actually have moments in my life where I prayed to God that he would whisk me away to places like Middle-Earth or other alternate realities where I could hang out with characters I loved. Where I could adventure, romance, and just escape the responsibilities of our world. Even at the expense of my own family.

But, now, in the present, I really do love our world, and I’m eternally grateful that I do. I love to explore it, whether through travel or spiritual work. (That’s where I find the magic; the best in human kind.) It’s not solely black and white. You can do something so much deeper than a 9-to-5 job and pay bills. We’re here on this Earth to do important; to love, to live, and maybe even to leave a legacy behind. God has put us all here for a reason, it’s up to us to find it and persevere.

The answers will unveil themselves as long as you’re open to them.

Elton Pope from Doctor Who said it best:

“When you’re a kid, they tell you it’s all… grow up. Get a job. Get married. Get a house. Have a kid, and that’s it. But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It’s so much darker. And so much madder. And so much better.”

There’s so much to explore! There’s so many journeys to be had! We only have one life to live, what are you waiting for?

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Love, Katie

A Year Of Rebuilding; Choy’s Death Day

This time last year, I was a complete mess: my kitty, Choy, whom I had grown completely in love with, passed away unexpectedly. (See: “Coping With Loss, Partnering With Change” and “Normal vs Abnormal; Recovering and Renewing”)

I was not only broken emotionally, but physically and spiritually as well. It took a good couple weeks to stop feeling a pressure in my chest, a good few months until I started exercising again, and only recently have I renewed my confidence in my spiritual practice. Although, the thing is with this kind of loss, it will never really leave. I will carry it until I die, and I’m happy to do so; that’s how much of an impact Choy made on me.

Frankly, I do miss Choy every single day, but I take comfort knowing that he’s in Heaven, pain free, romping and playing with his brother and our other family members. One day I’ll even join him.

But my job isn’t done here on Earth. Frankly, it’s still only beginning. I still have things to do, people to help, stories to write!

Honestly, I’m proud of the growth of strength I continue to see in myself every day. Sure, I’m not invincible; there are still times where my anxiety takes over and I second guess myself.

A few months back, a distant friend of mine offered me these words of encouragement:

Motto #1: “Don’t let the bastards get you down!”
Motto #2: “The tough times are what define us.”

I cannot begin to express my awe and gratitude at receiving these words at that point in my life; they were exactly what I needed to hear. Mom, dad, and I had a lot of challenges hit us all at once in the first few months of 2016. Ones that we never saw coming.

I firmly believe now that, in a way, we needed these events to happen. Too long had we been at a standstill, too long had I been mourning; we needed to be jolted out of our rut and thrust back into living. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I really, really wish that some of these events hadn’t happened. But, like my friend said, they truly defined us… they truly showed me the kind of person I am, what I need to work on, and where my true values lie.

So, don’t let a horrible circumstance get you down. Eventually you’ll find your way out of it–maybe not as quickly as we’d want, but the Universe has a way of sending us what we need. God is always watching over us and just waiting for us to ask for help. I know I wouldn’t have gotten through Choy’s death, these new circumstances, or anything that might surprise me in the future without Him. And Zad. And new friends, old, and family members.

It’s only life after all.

Coping with Loss; Impermanence at its Best.

Let’s see. It’s been:

  • 3.5 months since leaving Dollar Tree
  • 1.5 months since New Orleans
  • 1 month since the work on the property commenced
  • And… one week since my kitty died.

This summer has been a flurry of emotions. Some excitement, some sorrow. Eventful, to say the least.

Last Monday, my bathroom’s remodel was completed… and arborists started to cut down our Blue Spruce trees.

However, the big shocker came with this beautiful boy:

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I still… I can’t believe he’s gone. He was seven years old and full of vibrancy. By 11:30 that night, he had passed on.

The first 24 hours were brutal. I slept, only from sheer exhaustion. I had been hysterical for almost four hours. He was my boy, I was planning on grooming him later that week, taking him to the vet to get a lump checked, cuddling with him every night, seeing him the next morning, and just like that… GONE. No signs. Just a groan and then, like that, he was with God.

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The act of change, of death, brings into question my own mortality. Sure, I’ve lost family members (some also canine, rabbit, and feline). However, never has one hit me this hard. Usually, and not out of disrespect, I say “I know they’re happy. So I’m going to continue. I will one day see them again.” Because I believe that.

Choy was different, though. He was an unexpected blessing to my life, and left so suddenly. He was, in no truer words than my brother’s, “A gentle giant.” He was such a force to my own heart that sometimes I now think “But I don’t want to wait to see him again. I want him back!”

I always understood death. A friend of mine complimented me, when I talked about death in a college lecture, that I “had a maturity about death.” I still believe this is true… but I also believe that there’s that one death that knocks us down — derails us — and we have to fight, for a long time, maybe even every day for the rest of our lives, to keep going.

I still look to the positive.

That helps. It always will. It’s my method of coping.

  • I know Choy is happy. So I will be happy for him and continue on. However, I will never forget him.
  • I loved my old bathroom. However, I’m excited to experience this new one.
  • The Blue Spruces were a tragedy. However, a beautiful Oak was discovered in the middle of the decay. She now has a chance at life… and will soon have a few brothers, sisters, and cousins surrounding her.

Within the last couple days, mom and I sat down and watched a beautiful 1993 film called “Little Buddha” with Keanu Reeves and Bridget Fonda. Basically a movie where this American boy and two Indian children are thought to be reincarnated souls of Lama Norbu’s teacher, Lama Dorje. The plot is woven around the origin story of Siddharta, who later becomes The Buddha himself.

Through this movie, I learned the concept of Impermanence. Wikipedia explains it as such:

“Impermanence is one of the essential doctrines or three marks of existence in Buddhism. The term expresses the Buddhist notion that all of conditioned existence, without exception, is transient, or in a constant state of flux.

More can be read about it here, via Urban Dharma: “The Buddhist Concept of Impermanence”

Death is imminent. Loss is a given. Change is constant. And, for some strange reason, that gives me comfort. Maybe because I know that, in this world, we are always in movement. Even when we try not to be. The world beyond, the afterlife, Heaven, is what awaits. Peace. Adventure. Freedom from life’s restrictions.

Choy, I will always miss you, always remember. I’m glad you’re happy. That you’re playing with loved ones over there. And I am glad you are without pain. Check in on us from time to time, ok? I know I’ll be checking in on you.

R.I.P. Robin Williams

Well, I was trying to think of something to blog about today…

… guess I didn’t have to look too far…

I logged on to Twitter literally five minutes ago. And I saw this:

I thought: “Okay. There’s a chance this could be fake.”

So I Googled: “Robin Williams dead.”

And… well…

Robin Williams Dead: Beloved Actor Dies In Apparent Suicide

Jeez.

He was one of my most favorite actors. I absolutely loved him as Genie. He was my Captain. My Mrs. Doubtfire. And… my Peter Pan. But the remarkable thing about Robin? I continued to love him as I grew. Which I think is the case for my generation. The ones who started with Aladdin and ended with Night at the Museum.

Whether it was a drama or a comedy, I always looked forward to his films. And in college, I discovered his stand-up comedy routines–that were even more hilarious (although for very mature audiences). And he always brought a smile to my face, and a laugh to my heart.

I will miss you Robin Williams. I did not expect this. No one did. And I’m sorry this happened. I was looking forward to seeing your future endeavors. I always did. And I was hoping to meet you, one day, to say how much I admired you. And laugh about how I couldn’t do comedy… in writing or in acting… because you were the King.

… I think you always will be the King. The King of Comedy, the King of Jesters.

You brought magic to our hearts and souls. And you took some of that with you, when you departed from this world.

May you be flying in Neverland. May you be laughing with the angels. May you be at peace. May you have happiness. May you have adventure. May you have love. I pray for him, and for his family, in this very tough time. I pray for the world. We have all lost someone who was remarkable. Rest in peace.

I’m… I’m going to… I don’t know. Maybe finish watching Psycho. Although my taste for it has diminished.

I leave you with this thought: Isn’t it strange? How we expect people we see on television, or in movies, to remain immortal? Forgetting that they, themselves, are also human?

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