Tag Archives for " Peace "

The Masquerade of Perceived Bliss

Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it. What appears bad manners, an ill temper or cynicism is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen. You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone ~ Miller Williams

Life is hard.

It doesn’t seem fair. And there are days when it’s no fun.

It makes sense that people dip into a deep blue funk (that’s what I call depression).

The Masquerade of Perceived Bliss begins early in life.

Lullabies hushing little ones to stop the tears – don’t cry – we’ll buy you something. Won’t you delight in one more snuggly stuffed animal?

We don’t want to see your tears.

Who called you a name at school? It’ll be ok, have some milk and cookies.

We can’t handle your hurt.

They made fun of your new jeans? Let’s go get the right jeans, then.

We need everyone to approve of you - you can’t be different.

The coach is being rough on you? Don’t worry about mowing the yard or getting your homework done – this is a blow to your self-esteem.

Just don’t cry. Please, don’t cry. I can’t stand to see you cry.

Stop the tears with food, clothes, money, video games, and alcohol…please, don’t be sad! You have no reason to be sad – look at everything you have!

Can we stop hot-wiring happiness?

There is no instant elation.

We are humans, created with crevices of imperfection. Sadness, anger, bitterness, jealousy, confusion, grief, anxiety, arrogance…

Yet, it is faster, easier and not only acceptable – but expected - to throw a cloak over the pain. You had better do just that, camouflage any emotion – you know you only have three bereavement days for the loss of your immediate family member, right?

Stuff all those tears. Take these pills. Read this book. Listen to this song.

We are complex beings and we regularly dismiss the intricacy of our souls for the sake of time-management.

We teach and we learn to impersonate emotional perfection. The childhood grief, adolescent pain, adult anxiety and fear begin to feel less important – maybe even imagined.

But the authentic soul aches to be seen and heard. If you don’t allow it a voice, its desire to be recognized will twist within your body. The pain is determined to be witnessed.

Not everyone has earned the privilege to bear witness to your pain. And that may be one of the most difficult steps of ending the Masquerade.

Your pain deserves to be validated, cared for, and supported and when we expose our emotional rawness to someone who doesn’t hold it sacred, the hurt is magnified.

Living in your truth is risky and takes courage…so, go slowly and remember this is a journey.

Believe. Create. Live.

© 2015 Rebecca G. Townsend

Rest In Peace, Sweet Grechen

No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog.  Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself

~ Dean Koontz

I had no business saying, ‘YES.’  We already had two canine kids – a boxer we rescued and a seven-year-old dachshund who was still angry we had disrupted her life with a large and hyper giant.

But, I couldn’t leave this 6-week-old injured puppy at the veterinarian’s office after they called me to see if I could offer her a safe home.

When I first met the dapple dachshund, she had two drainage tubes, multiple stitches and a tail that was broken in 2 places.  She was nothing less than pitiful – yet, adorable as little creatures with pink paws and puppy breath are.

While being raised in a puppy mill, she had ended up in the middle of two adult dogs fighting over food.  The breeder abandoned her at the vet’s office after being told she would never be able to have puppies.

I’m not sure I had even left the premises before I was calling my then-husband to plea the case for a third dog.  It was a petition that needed no more evidence than a hand to paw meeting.

But, my little Gretchen had a three-week stay at the animal hospital before she could come to her new home.  I visited her almost every day and the innocent puppy, once betrayed, gradually allowed herself to experience devotion, dedication and loyalty.

Her allegiance was with me, when four months later, I was separated and divorced.  I kept Gertie Mae and Gretchen, the dachshunds, and the boxer left with the husband.  It was a sad parting for us all.

Those pups were my healing when I didn’t see the possibility of restoration.  They sat with me through the tears, angst, and doubts of my loneliness.  They unknowingly mended my brokenness with their faithfulness.

Occasionally, I would meet someone who understood the saving grace Gertie and Gretchen extended to me.  The girls were a good test of character – better than any psychological evaluation I could complete.

After almost five of years of living single, I met and married The Engineer.  He was dachshund-approved even though we agreed on a ‘no-kid, no-dog in our bed’ policy.

Gretchen was spunky and sneaky.  She would be the one to find – and taste – things in our 60-year-old home that had gone unnoticed for decades.  A couple of after-hours vet calls taught me that hydrogen-peroxide ingested via a syringe would quickly produce evidence of what “treasures” she had found.

She chewed through plenty of cloth bags and plastic containers for items most would consider inedible.  Gretchen seemed to have a stomach of steel and a determination of survival, which she had learned as that helpless young pup in the midst of an adult dog brawl she almost lost.

Gretchen seemed to age quickly following Gertie Mae’s tragic and unexpected death in 2010.  She was obviously depressed and who isn’t cheered up with a new puppy?  We adopted a five-month-old long-haired male dachshund and named him Hansel.

Gretchen was not amused.

To ensure Gretchen felt loved, appreciated and remained Queen of her domain – The Engineer established a morning ritual.  Gretchen would be delivered with my coffee for snuggles.

She became my writing partner.  Gretchen was more patient with my writer’s block than I was.  I often had to coax her out of the burrow she created beside me every morning.

Gretchen was constant and persistent in her love and protection of me. She snapped at The Engineer more than once when would try to pick her up if the writing and snuggles were not completed.

Hansel adored his older sister and would dote on her and engage her in play as much as possible.  The love was obviously mutual – most of the time.

Gretchen would occasionally vie for our attention with a limp or refusal to eat.  We would obediently take her to the vet, rarely coming home with any diagnosis.  The prescribed remedy typically included more intentional attention from these busy humans.  It was always a good reminder for us to slow down.

Last week, when Gretchen turned her nose up to the gourmet, grain-free, gluten-free beef-stew canine meals, we assumed it was due to the true chaos in our home as we began a huge demolition and renovation project in our home’s main living area.

When she decided to stay in her crate one day, we thought maybe she was experiencing some pain from assumed arthritis.  We couldn’t seem to convince Gretchen that jumping from the back of the couch onto hardwood flooring to greet us was not necessary nor good for her back.

However, by Friday, it was obvious that Gretchen was truly not feeling well and a visit to the vet was warranted.  Kidney failure was not the diagnosis we expected.  And 48 hours of obvious suffering was heartbreaking to see.

Our family rules were broken and Gretchen was beside me every waking and sleeping moment…just as she had been by my side 11 years earlier through my emotional suffering.

We allowed Gretchen to join Gertie Mae in that amazing Dog Heaven on Monday morning.  We know and believe Gretchen is running, chasing squirrels and eating whatever she finds with no belly aches to follow.

Thank you, sweet Gretchen for your unconditional love.  I didn't rescue you - you rescued me.

Believe. Create. Live.

© 2014 Rebecca G. Townsend

Six Million Minutes of War

As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation -- either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

9-11-6It has been thirteen years. In many ways, the calendar has moved so quickly – is it possible there are 676 weeks separating us from that day?

4745 days have passed since horror struck our nation of freedom…ultimately ripping so much from so many.

113,880 hours have elapsed…those hours have held the highs and lows of war for millions of Service Members and their loved ones.

6,832,800 minutes have included 6,830 deaths of our Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines. 4,486 US Service Members have given their lives in Iraq and 2,344 US Service Members paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan.

And so many of our lives continue. Untouched. Unscathed. Unchanged.

Many lives are not unchanged simply because this is all they have known in their lives on this earth.

They were born into war. Have grown up with war. No nothing but war.

It hurts my heart to realize those young hearts cannot even experience peace on this soil – where the war continues amongst ourselves.

The division…the extremes…the assumptions…the arrogance in presumption…the selfishness in deception.

We are fighting two wars.

The war continues overseas with our honored Service Members withstanding attacks and battles. Sacrificing their well-being to protect others from the chaos and pain of bloodshed.

Yet, we struggle in our own warfare on this land of freedom. The conflicts and clashing have ravaged our spirits…disheartening our belief in one another…weakening the bond between all Americans.

Thirteen years after 9/11, I remain hopeful peace will be given to our Service Members and their loved ones and healing the soul wounds of war can begin and continue.

How can they heal in what we have created in this land? If we wish to support our Warriors upon their return, we must be able to offer them peace on the homefront.

How can you create peace in your corner? Calm connections are contagious…but it must start somewhere. Will it be with you?

Believe. Create. Live.
© 2014 Rebecca G. Townsend