From my January 31, 2011 blog post:
To love ... and not lose myself
Part of my lesson for the next stage of my life's journey is to learn to love, and not lose myself. It begins with simply really finding out, discovering and creating who I am ... and once I am able to do that to be solid and centered enough to truly trust that my own voice matters. We learn from every experience, every friend, and every relationship.
There's a beautiful quote by Rilke I love:
"To love does not mean to surrender, dissolve, and merge with another person. It is the noble opportunity for an individual to ripen to become something in and of himself. To become a world in response to another is a great immodest challenge that has sought him out and called him forth."
I learned so much from my trip this past summer swimming with wild dolphins in Bimini, Bahamas. I had no idea how life changing and transformative it was going to be for me. Early in 2010 I had also met with my astrologer ... she said something that has remained with me ... she saw death (and surgery) in my chart and thought that my relationship had ended. I said no, everything was great. I was more concerned with my ongoing health issues. She was relieved to know that my relationship was doing well. My session with her was the impetus for my booking the wild dolphin trip. She told me "you better learn to play, to save your life." She asked what I have always wanted to do ... I said "swim with dolphins ... wild, free dolphins." The dolphins gave me the courage to find my voice, and then to speak my truth.
As I reflect back on the year, she was right about both things ... the ending of my relationship and surgery. I am going back to see her tomorrow. When I called to schedule my session with her about 6 weeks ago I shared with her that she was right after all, and in tears I shared with her that my relationship had ended. Compassionately, she said "i'm so sorry. Marilou ... walk the earth." It was exactly what I needed to hear at moment ... walk the earth Marilou ... stay grounded. And so for the past 6 weeks I have walked the earth and I have placed one foot in front of the other, doing the best I can to keep moving forward.
I have walked through grief, loss, fear ... and some major health scares. I have reached the edge and in the end I have learned that I am much stronger than I thought I was, but most importantly I have learned that I do not have to go through the difficult times alone. I have God, my faith, my furkids (Ahnung, Missy and Mister) my family, my friends and an extremely supportive and loving community. Thank you all for loving and supporting me through some very difficult times.
And so today, January 1, 2015 I find myself reflecting back on my journey. There is no doubt in my mind Ahnung came to me to help me heal and to walk alongside of me on this earth so I could move forward and into the next stage of my journey. In January, 2011 I moved into my current house in Bloomington.. the first home I ever purchased and owned on my very own. It was house with a massive yard and one that Missy, Mister and Ahnung all loved. So much space to run and explore.
Little did I know what 2011 had in store for me.
My health challenges continued but in May, 2011 I learned I had a rare heart disease with poor prognosis and one that would lead to heart failure. How much time I had was unknown. In fact, a lot was unknown. It was also in that month that I was beginning to venture down a new path ... the beginnings of a non-profit I co-founded, Leech Lake Legacy, an organization serving reservation animals and the people who love them. It was a cause I was extremely passionate about but one that would consume my every available waking hour. I found myself asking the question, 'if my time is limited, is this what I should be doing?' And with guidance from my spirit dog Ahnung, my answer was YES! And then in July, 2011 my sweet Ahnung was diagnosed with cancer.
For two years after Ahnung's initial diagnosis with cancer we walked side by side. Through surgeries, diagnostic and medical tests (for both of us) we vowed to embrace every moment we had together and to celebrate life as if there was no tomorrow. If I could blink and bring Ahnung back, in physical form, I would do it in a heart beat. I know she is always with me, and she has given me the gift of Ishkode to remind me she is here with me and that my work must continue. Ahnung taught me not to run from the pain ... to embrace that which scares me and to fall into it. I also believe I am alive today because of Ahnung.
I don't know what 2015 has in store for me. I don't know what Ahnung has planned for me :)
But dear sweet girl, this I know ... whatever journey I am meant to walk; whatever path I am meant to walk, or to create; whatever window I am meant to look out into; whatever rock or crevice I am meant to lift, or move, or simply stand or stay with ... whatever my journey is meant to be for 2015, whether it is to keep walking this earth and continuing the work you began (through me) with Leech Lake Legacy, or to do some other work, or to be with you, I am with you sweet girl and I am listening to you. Continue to guide me Ahnung as together we step into a new year!