Saturday, January 25, 2014

Listening to the spirit of Ahnung: Pay attention to my heart

On my drive home from the Animal Humane Society around 5 pm last night I was hit with a blast of fatigue. We were having a day of warmth in Minnesota … temperatures in the 30s versus the sub-zero temperatures we’ve been having, and are due to have again today. It was also snowing and the roads were getting slick. As I sat at the stoplight on highway 55 waiting to turn left onto highway 100 south, fatigue hit me surprisingly. I remember thinking momentarily, I need to just close my eyes for a minute. Then I shook my head, turned up the radio and rolled my window for a blast of cold air to wake me up. I could also feel a heaviness in my heart, a physical heaviness. It’s been 2.5 years since my diagnosis with  left ventricular non compaction, a rare heart disease .. no cure, not much known, and ‘the main target of treatment is prevention of heart failure and thromboembolic events.’ Just a couple weeks ago, I received a pamphlet in the mail from my health insurance company titled ‘Managing heart failure.’ Last night, I wondered for a moment, ‘is it my heart?’ And returned to the moment of staying awake and directing everything I had to driving in congested traffic and snowy conditions.

I made it home and after taking care of the pups, found myself on the couch unable to function. I just wanted to sleep. It was as if someone had given me a shot of anesthesia to knock me out.

I woke up early this morning to another vivid dream. I had a dream of a mother deer and her 2 baby fawns. I was in a forest and they were keeping a distance from me; something had scared them and the mother deer skipped off, into the woods followed by her babies. But then they stopped, and their eyes were fixated on me. Seconds later, the mother deer galloped towards me. I feared for a moment she was coming directly towards me. She ran past me, barely missing me, and off into the woods again. It was clear she had no intention of harming me – she simply wanted to get my attention. Her 2 fawns followed her, but they stopped. One of them came up to me. The baby fawn turned into a wolf …. She came up to me, pawing at me. I was mesmerized I was interacting with a ‘wild’ animal. And then I woke up from my dream.

The vivid nature of the dream caught my attention this morning. I could feel Ahnung’s presence. She’s communicating with me from the spirit world. Listen Marilou. Listen.
Karl waiting for treats!
Is it a coincidence that I experienced debilitating fatigue after leaving AHS where I was meeting my friends Barbara and Sharon who are going to foster and provide hospice care to Karl, a 5 year old big black dog from Leech Lake Reservation, who was diagnosed with heart failure? Is it a coincidence that just yesterday, I finally got my estate planning in order to ensure the legacy I want to leave behind is all in place and I sent an email with directions on what needs to take place to the Leech Lake Legacy board?

Ahnung lived her life with purpose and intention. She guided me when she was here in physical form. She continues to guide me from the spirit world. I don’t know where my path is going to lead me … or how much more time I will be blessed to have walking this amazing planet. I have been able to put my diagnosis of ‘heart failure’ in the background for the past months. Maybe Ahnung is trying to remind me to bring it back to the forefront … to at least be aware of it .. to notice …. to listen. Maybe she brought Karl? Maybe her spirit is sprinkled in Karl, a gentle giant who showed us yesterday when we picked him up, that he is VERY treat motivated, and will even shake for treats … hmmm, that was a special Ahnung trick too!

Thank you Ahnung for continuing to guide me and for bringing Karl, and the deer (and 2 fawns) and the wolf to my presence. The deer symbolizes gentleness, unconditional love and kindness .. and Native American and Celtic custom regard the wolf as the way of finding the deepest levels of self, of inner knowing and intuition. I hear you sweet girl …. I don’t know where this path I am on will take me, but I know that you will guide me. You are my guiding star sweet girl … my north star, and I am okay with wherever our journey takes us.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Ahnung comes to visit me in my dreams

Ahnung - July, 2013
We are going on 5 months since my precious Ahnung crossed over into the spirit world. Yes ... there are days where I see the light and I feel joy again in my heart. When I see Legacy leap in the air, and Ishka tear around the back yard with her brother, or drag snow shovels, dog beds and pooper scoopers around the yard, I smile. I believe Ahnung picked Legacy in August, 2011, out of 13 puppies from Leech Lake Reservation who found temporary refuge in my studio till they could move onto the next stage of their journey. I believe Ahnung led me to Ishkode/Ishka, the first surrender at the October 2013 spay/neuter clinic at Leech Lake Reservation - the first clinic without Ahnung physically by my side. There are days I admit when I ask my sweet girl ... did you really think I needed a puppy in my life? A puppy with lots of fire and energy?? :) What happened to bringing a puppy into my life with the same calm presence you had? .... There are days when the pain in my heart is still so fresh, when the tears feel like they will never stop, when I ache for just one more day, one more moment, one more touch. And lately, when I re-read the blog pieces I have written on Anticipatory Grief, I ache too for the days and the months when there was a lot of uncertainty of when the time would come, because in that uncertainty, I still had Ahnung. That Sunday afternoon (August 25, 2013) when I held Ahnung in my arms as we set her spirit free, yes, uncertainty left, and in its place came a feeling so heavy, a pain so deep and a desire to run from the sensation of my heart being shredded into a million pieces.

But the gift Ahnung gave me in our Final Walk together was a chance to prepare for this moment, and how to walk through the journey of grief in a new way. I could hear her telling me, 'Stand. Four feet on the ground. Let the tears flow through you ..... I am in your tears; i am in the rocks, the squirrels, in Legacy, in Ishka ... and in every animal you bring down on transport from Leech Lake and Red Lake reservations."

I have wanted Ahnung to come visit me in my dreams. As we approach 5 months, she finally came to visit me in my dreams last night. She came with Ishka and we were at Lake Harriet Vet. Ishka was busy getting lots of attention from the staff. Meanwhile, out of the side of my eye I saw Ahnung opening up a file cabinet. She used her mouth to grab the knob and pulled the cabinet door open ... and stashed in front of files was a big bag of chips! I called over to her, and she turned around and looked at me. I walked over to her and she plopped her body down and leaned her body against me. She looked up at me with those eyes that would just pierce through me ... those eyes that spoke to my soul and made us one; our eyes connected, and I held her. Together. We were together again ... and then I woke up.

Shadow and Light Source Both
~ Rumi

How does a part of the world leave the world?
How does wetness leave water? Don't try to

put out fire by throwing on more fire! Don't
wash a wound with blood. No matter how fast

you run, your shadow keeps up. Sometimes it's
in front! Only full overhead sun diminishes

your shadow. But that shadow has been serving
you. What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is

your candle. Your boundaries are your quest.
I could explain this, but it will break the

glass cover on your heart, and there's no
fixing that. You must have shadow and light

source both. Listen, and lay your head under
the tree of awe. When from that tree feathers

and wings sprout on you, be quieter than
a dove. Don't even open your mouth for even a coo.

Legacy and Ahnung
Joy Session by Sarah Beth Photography - August, 2012
I decided to see if there was something symbolic about why Ahnung appeared to me in my dream last night ... I went through some old blog posts. A year ago today, Ahnung woke me up with a blood curdling cry ... there is intention and purpose, once again as to why my sweet girl appeared to me in my dream last night.

Blog post from a year ago: