Kaity Kasper

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Old Dog ~ New Tricks

“I.  Am.  Here.  Now.”

*Lick*

“Shhhhhh.  I.  Am.  Here.  Now.”

*Plod* *Plod* *Lick*

This is meditating with a one-year-old puppy who still has the energy of a five-month-old.  I’ve decided that Hope saved up much of her puppy energy while I was sick and is currently running on those reserves.  Meditation is like a battle of the wills around here.  She cannot, for the life of her, figure out what I am doing on the floor if I am not playing with her.

I figure it still counts as meditation. 

I try not to wish her puppy time away as I work at keeping my breath steady and not let her puppy breath and puppy paws completely distract me.  But I wonder how many years it will be before she lets me sit for 15 minutes without a fuss.

They say it takes 5 years to truly learn to quiet your mind.

I am guessing it will take her at least that long to learn to quiet her body.

*   *   *

My therapist and I spent about two months talking about the television show “Glee” a few years back.

I had put the show in my Hulu queue, and although I enjoyed absolutely nothing about the show anymore, every week I made myself watch the new episode.  It was a manifestation of one of my most frustrating traits – the inability to leave anything unfinished.  To let go.  To say goodbye.  This trait has shown up in all manner of areas of my life.  I was always afraid I was going to jump ship just before the show finally got good, the book finally became engaging, the relationship finally turned healthy.  I couldn’t let go because of what I had already invested – never mind what it seems I still stood to lose.   

So my therapist gave me the homework of going home and deleting Glee from my queue. 

It took me several months to actually do it. 

*   *   *

They were mocking me, I could tell.

Every time I snuggled up on the couch to read, the two shelves of books comprising my “to read” stack mocked me.  They knew it would take me forever to read them.  And I think they knew I didn’t really want to anymore.  The vast majority of the stack grew before the last year happened and are no longer very well fit to this new version of me.  But I was bound and determined to make my way through them.  Even as my Amazon wish list became laden down with the books I really wanted to be drifting through.  I would read each page of that stack.  Every.  Single.  One.

That is, I was bound and determined until last Sunday night.

When something in me snapped.

I was staring at those books staring back at me and realized that I don’t, actually, have to read them just because they are shelved there.  If they no longer fit, that is okay.

Before I knew it, I had retrieved an empty box and was sorting through the “to read” stack, carefully selecting the ones I knew I just didn’t want to read anymore.  Sifting them out and into their temporary home until they found their way to Goodwill.  In the end, the two shelves had become one.

But it didn’t end there. 

Surprisingly, I felt pulled back to the shelf the next day. 

And this time, the ruthless weeding began.  It was painful and sad but nonetheless felt right.  Necessary.

In the end, only 7 books remain.   

It seems somehow in the last year its become easier to let go.  To say goodbye.

*   *   *

While the books were not the first place where I’ve come to notice this new superpower, they were the most obvious.  For all of the joy purging and paring down gives me, I have always – always – spared the books.

But I am coming to learn that sometimes in order to be true to myself – to preserve my serenity and my joy and my health – some pruning is required.  It is never easy.  But its necessary.

Rose bushes and all that. 

*   *   *

“Come on, girl.  Its time to meditate.”

I shut the back door against the cold just after her furry body comes flying back in.  We both make our way upstairs, I say some morning prayers and then set the timer before settling in cross-legged before my altar.  I lower my eyes, take a deep breath, and suddenly it happens.

Hope nestles in next to me.

And lies there quietly for the entire 15 minutes.

I guess I’m not the only one learning new tricks around here.