Monday, May 30, 2016

Guided by Ahnung ... and the fire of Ishkode

Baby Ishka up at Leech Lake Reservation
October 11, 2013
In 3 months it will be 3 years since Ahnung crossed over into the spirit world. August 25, 2013 is a day I will never forget. I journaled, I blogged, I wrote and I wrote as I walked and I learned from my precious Ahnung, on how to live life fully; to embrace every moment ... to stay in my heart and not be taken away by the fears of my mind and all the 'what ifs'. I wrote because it was all I could do to diffuse the pain of  shattered glasses that drove right through my heart at the thought of not having Ahnung with me. I wrote to let go of the anger of the injustice I felt that I would only be gifted with 5 short years of a soul who touched not only my life, but the lives of so many others. How do I live without her? How do I breathe? How do I learn to walk without my Ahnung, my north star?

And guided by Ahnung, I wrote and learned to make friends with Grief, with Anticipatory Grief. I learned to not be afraid. I learned to walk into the deepest and darkest places of my heart, and I trusted Ahnung would hold me and guide me and lift me up. And just 6 weeks after she crossed over to the spirit world, she led me to an 8 week old puppy from Leech Lake Reservation. My head was telling me 'NO I do not want a puppy!' I was tormented on what to do, and an elder said, 'Ask Ahnung what to do?'. and so I did. Another elder said to me, 'Marilou, sometimes it's not up to us.' It was clear Ahnung had brought this puppy to me, and when I walked around the lake we used to walk together I asked her for a name. The word 'Fire' came to me. I could hear Ahnung telling me, you must name her 'fire.' And so this 8 week old puppy came home with me, and she was named Ishkode (Ish-ko-day, means 'fire' in ojibwe). Let's just say, Ishka was not the calm dog that Ahnung was :) .... she had 'fire' alright and she brought laughter and joy back into my heart with her antics and her spirited way. And as she has matured, I see more glimpses of the wise spirit of Ahnung coming through.

Ishka has been my bridge to Ahnung. Ishka has also become the glue for the rest of the pack at home (Missy, Mister and Legacy) ... a wise girl in her own unique way.

So for the past couple years I have had sprinkles of joy and laughter with the adventures of Ishka .... I realize now it was Ahnung at work. She gave me 6 weeks to be swallowed by grief; to not run from the pain (and boy, am I an expert in ways to avoid dealing with pain) .. i wanted to remain in that dark space but I guess my Ahnung felt like it was time to bring a little Fire into my life, and to step back into life ... and so I did. I was learning to live again. and Ishka was the bridge to Ahnung I so needed to keep my heart open. I didn't think I needed; i especially didn't think I needed a puppy but Ahnung felt differently, and as always, she was right.

I continue to feel Ahnung's presence and spirit in so many different ways. In the past 5-6 months, I have felt her presence in cardinals that have been visiting me almost every day. Most of the time they come separately .. sometimes I am blessed with a male and female cardinal at one time. The time I feel Ahnung's presence most is when i have a single cardinal visit .. perched on my wooden fence outside the window of my writing/meditation room. Often the cardinal just sits there .... and often I get a glance.

It has been hard for me to write for my blog. I don't know why ... i just know it has been difficult. But in recent weeks Ahnung has led to an amazing person, and he is opening up my heart in a new way. For the past 5+ years I have intentionally chosen to be single and to focus on my healing. Again, I wasn't looking to meet 'someone'; quite frankly, I have been very happy with my life. But I believe Ahnung is asking me to consider the possibility of once again sharing my life with someone. That is a possibility, and a chapter in my book my life, that I had wanted to simply keep closed. Now... a new chapter .... 2015 was a year of many learnings and stepping away from an organization I co-founded (Leech Lake Legacy) and stepping into an organization more in alignment with my heart and soul (The Native America Humane Society) ... of learning and immersing myself in community work and tribal nations. On a community level my heart opened up in so many ways in 2015. It appears Ahnung is guiding me to explore opening up my heart in the most personal and intimate way in 2016. It is scary and exciting all at once. An adventure as I step into a new chapter, and learning more about myself in this new possibility ...

Ahnung, I am listening to you. Thank you for this new chapter ...