I am especially blessed these days by my father’s powerful teaching and modeling. His most strongly held spiritual belief was that boredom was a sin, and an insult to Mother Nature. He taught us to always look for that big surprise. He believed we were constantly surrounded by miracles and could find one anywhere, anytime.
Nothing cancels out boredom better than a miracle.
Being trapped in my rooms for so long has been mostly OK because of this exact philosophy. But I have to admit, I almost get to the point of boredom sometimes. When I find myself feeling that, I know it’s time to get outside. Even if just in my country-like, suburban neighborhood. Rain or shine, day or night, peopled or not, the miracles abound.
Here are some recent Surprises!!!
First, water, early morning sunlight, and shadows…a great combination for surprising beauty.
Next, the bunnies are still around, which means the Coyotes, Owls and Hawks are probably well-fed elsewhere…for now.
Surprise! The baby Apple Tree has its first baby apples!
Next, very early sunlight sometimes messes with my mind. At first I thought these lovely plants had been attacked by some strange blight, only to discover on closer examination, was surprised to see it was the sun slipping through the cracks in the fence!
I love experimenting with things that close-up, are mysteries….but a step back reveals the origin of the surprise.
And this one surprised me because I didn’t notice until writing this post, the shadow, light and colors from the Hummingbird feeder look remarkably like a Hummingbird!!
And lastly, though I’m not sure it will actually work to post this, I had a long-awaited surprise just this morning.
I love my local crows and have been feeding them everyday for many years now. I wait each year for early summer, hoping to capture the Teenage crow “Feed Me!!” phenomenon.
They put on quite the show for me today!! The video is long-ish, and kind of bumpy, but if you listen closely, you’ll hear the reason for the camera jerks.
You can hear Miss Lucy, purring her competitive little heart out, and see the results of her head-butting my camera.
What a wonderful, surprising challenge today!!
Go here to see others’ creative interpretations of “Surprise”!
So, I got tired of depending on what I could find online to share as Spirit Lifters and decided to really focus on finding things closer to home!
Look what I found!
Our newest family member is Milo, a 5 month old Border Collie/Golden Retriever mix, and is he ever a sweetheart. If you know both breeds, you can see them very clearly in Milo’s demeanor, looks and behavior. He has a ton of Collie energy and is an absolute lover of everyone, people, dogs, and cats, like a Golden.
We had been looking for a playmate in the neighborhood for Milo, for play/training, as well as to burn some of that Border Collie energy…since we don’t happen to own a herd of sheep. 😋
Milo already adores his personal cat, a gorgeous Maine Coon kitten about 8 months old now. Instant friends, but mostly indoors.
So Milo needed an outside playmate too.
A friend who visits us regularly got a puppy a couple of weeks after us, also named Milo. This Milo is supposedly part Pit and part Shepherd but we sure can’t see it. Maybe Pit bull in the face and in loyalty, but to us he looks more like a tall, lanky Black Lab mix.
Here’s their first meeting!
You can see our Milo wanting to “herd”.
It was so cute! They each took a turn bringing their favorite stick to the other one.
Come on! Let’s PLAY!
They are so uplifting to watch together!
Two Milo’s…hopefully life long friends.
If you have discovered surprising and uplifting things around your home, will you please share in Comments?
This is my second departure from my recent attempts to be uplifting and entertaining.
Well, I think this is still entertaining, but then, I crack myself up all the time with internal jokes no one else gets when I say them out-loud…
50 days into being sequestered, I’m thankfully still coming across wonderful things people are sharing to get through this time, and I will get back to those, but I am also being reminded of some of the more difficult lessons too.
Years ago a Trainee of mine asked me a question…
What are the three or four most important things you can learn in therapy, and then teach as a practitioner?
That’s what this four part series addresses.
(Disclaimer: this is a very shortened, very concentrated version of my answer.)
Three basic Human Hungers
People. You gotta love ‘em. We fight with each other over our perceived differences but really, underneath all the bravado or sugar or dark clouds, aren’t we all just looking for the same things?
Basically, what all human beings yearn for, cross culturally, is in essence, identical. It is not cultural but innate to our species. These are natural, normal cravings.
From the moment we arrive, we have 3 basic hungers that need to be fed throughout our lives. And if they are not addressed adequately in certain stages of childhood developmental, we will walk (or tip toe…or bulldoze) through our adult lives searching, scanning for opportunities to get these needs met.
The hungers are: Recognition, Stimulation and Structure.
Building on the idea that Scarcity is at the core of all issues (addressed in Part One of this series), what happens if there is literally not enough available for each new child in a family, enough for these essential hungers to be met.
In over forty years of private practice, I have yet to meet the Perfect Family, the Perfect Parents, who could perfectly meet these needs. Each child will be shortchanged somehow, even by the most loving, dedicated, well-intentioned parents, who simply do not have enough time, energy, or support for themselves.
But we are creative beings so even as toddlers, we will figure out how to substitute for what we are not getting.
Unfortunately, what we learn to settle for can be shallow and unfulfilling and can begin a life-long habit of frantic searches for a tiny taste of fuel to feed that original, still growling hunger.
Defining the Hungers
If we get our needs met developmentally, during the time our brains and bodies are best suited to learn experientially, we’ll still have these three natural hungers but in relatively benign forms….just like everyone else.
Recognition-is about being seen, heard, touched, held, known, claimed, remembered, and held in high esteem. It is essential for a baby, from birth to 6 months old, to receive love and caring treatment that is personalized for them. A baby this age is supposed to be the center of the universe for a while. Plenty of time in later development to learn about the rest of how life works. Babies who do not receive this can fail to thrive, or sometimes, even survive.
Little ones who receive this kind of care can know, at their core, they are lovable, and welcome here on the planet, and they can give that to others without fear of Scarcity!
Stimulation-is about being physically touched, stroked, and inspired intellectually. A toddler needs to be supported for their curiosity and motivated to explore and experiment. This stage is the beginning of being “moved” in all it’s definitions, especially to feel, to be affected, to be excited, and to develop intuition before intellect clutters the brain with words!
When this hunger is satisfied, a toddler can grow to become a confident child, and then person, who is not afraid to try something new, not afraid to fail, excited about learning… and who will be able to trust the non-verbal signs and signals that make up such a large part of our communication with others. The seeds for will power, self-motivation and creativity are firmly planted when this hunger is fed. Freedom to experiment means believing that there can always be enough.
Structure-is about certainty, predictability, a plan, a format, control, knowing what to expect, and the confidence of knowing how to do something.
This internal experience will be essential to one’s future self, believing you have the ability to solve problems and can make your life work.
If left too hungry…
When one or more of these hungers is not satisfied while we are developing as humans, the unmet need can show up later in our adult lives with a vengeance!
Then we have the “Audrey Syndrome” on our hands.
It can create a craving, or even a sense of starvation in our adult lives. In other words, a constant state of Scarcity.
Now, we are so hungry, we are at risk for settling for something really unhealthy, maybe even dangerous, mistakenly believing we are simply feeding ourselves. (Lots of dieting metaphors fit here but I’ll let you play with that.)
Getting each hunger met in healthy and unhealthy ways.
Here are some very over-simplified and extreme examples of how these hungers could be fed throughout one’s life…in healthy and unhealthy ways
Recognition-you could become a teacher, a leader, an executive, a bestselling author, an Olympic Gymnast, the head of the PTA…or a mass murderer
Stimulation-You might be a downhill skier, a sky diver, a world traveler…or a drunk driver,
Structure-how about joining the military, becoming a scientist, working in academia, or at Boeing…or you could get yourself locked up in a prison. (Can’t get much more structured than that.)
The Covid 19 Pandemic
If you, like most of the world at this writing, are living in some version of isolation, think about how this is messing with your three basic Human Hungers!
I personally have been in virtual solitude for 49 days, on my doctor’s orders. (I am apparently in way too many high-risk categories to even go a grocery store.)
I live with James, and a housemate, and my son and grandsons, but I am living in the completely separate, self-contained, downstairs part of my home. I know they are all there because I can hear them!! But I have not seen anyone, except through a window, or had any physical contact for the whole time.
I’m good at being alone and can mostly entertain myself, so Stimulation and Structure are mostly not a problem for me.
But oh, that Recognition Hunger…I feel like I am starving to death, like parts of my spirit and psyche are atrophying.
The logical part of me knows this too shall pass and that James and I will be fine, but the Mom/Grandma parts of me are screaming for contact with all my boys!
And here’s the worst. There is also a little kid part of me that is really suffering. They have a new kitten upstairs I have seriously bonded with, and a now, also a new puppy, and I have been restricted from contact with them also.
So which Hunger are you most affected by in your life these days?
Meet our newest family member…long awaited (a couple of years)!
This puppy is very special, bred by Crooked Rooster Farms in Snohomish, WA. He is a Border Collie/Golden Retriever blend, bred for the Collie’s intelligence as well as the temperament of the Retriever. He is already exhibiting both those qualities.
And we think he will probably grow to be more Retriever size (he’s a little CHUNK!) than the Border Collie.
We are all so in love!!!!
Even Loki, the Maine Coon kitten, who has had the run of the upstairs house…until now. He can’t wait to be done with his silly cone so he can romp with the puppy!
If THIS doesn’t bring a smile, the Virus has already WON!!!
Fight it! Fight back!! Don’t give in!!
And if you need even more “uplift”, read (or re-read) this!
Warning: Cuteness Overload! (first published in January, 2016)
Well, it all started early last June…..
1) This guy starts visiting outside regularly and riling up Phineas and Zorro (our indoor Cat Bosses).
We think this is an “Evil Wild Tomcat”, just stirring up trouble.
2) Then James has a big surprise. He sees movement under the wood pile, just beyond where we sit on our porch swing to look out over the valley. He literally drags me dripping out of my shower to come and see!!
It’s a close call but, after a while, I convince him to put this baby back where he got it as it is WAY too little for humans to mess with. 3) Then later that day I see a different ,but regular visitor in our yard and she is glowing in her bulging state, so I have to take her picture.
(Can you see why she is “glowing”?) 4) James, uninterested in my Mama Deer, has stationed himself by the woodpile, you know, just in case….
5) And sure enough, look who he finds!!!!
We already have two “very bad cats” (aren’t they all?)
So I am screaming, “NO, no! For god’s sake, don’t FEED them!”
I had a hard time getting James to put them back. I’m afraid we may have three new residents if I don’t watch him (James) closely! 6) Speaking of watching closely, apparently “Evil Tom Cat” is actually “Protective MOM!” Here she is guarding the woodpile.
7) And as if this was not enough “cute” for one day…as we arrived home from a quick trip to town, look who we nearly ran into!!! Our Glowing MOM!
She is still licking them off.
We watched as she led them off into the woods for safety, and no doubt, so she could have a rest.
She’s not so Robust/rotund anymore, is she?
8) Had enough Cuteness for one day??? Not so fast! We get home and have to check on our 3 new little “guest” kittens, right? And guess what!!!
We discover this white one!
Now THERE ARE FOUR!!! So far, anyway……..
I’m exhausted from delight!
As Paul Harvey would always say “And now, the rest of the story.”
Any guesses as to which one we kept??
We eventually found homes for 3 of them, with folks who were committed to socializing these terrified feral kittens, but this little tough one, the smallest, would just not leave us alone. She would bound out of hiding to see us, even as her siblings would scatter and hide.
Meet Lucy, named by my grandsons who wanted her to have a strong (super hero) girl name. (The movie Lucy had just been released and though they were not allowed to see it, they got the idea from the previews.)
(parts of this story were published previously in Pacific Northwest Green Friends Newsletter)
I disappeared again. Not that you would necessarily notice, but I am house sitting for three weeks and it has turned out to be more time and energy consuming than I expected.
I thought I’d be writing beautiful posts and taking amazing photos to share, but I am exhausted!
It’s a lovely home in a beautiful (and surprising) setting…a bit of country right here in the city!
My primary charges, two wonderful dogs, are a huge handful of sweet, with more energy than hummingbirds!
Even though this property is unusually big for the area where we live, besides playing in the yard, the dogs require a lot of additional walking every day, especially the small Setter. Even though he only has three legs (a recent change for him), he could run for hours, like a full size Irish Setter!
I discovered on my first day here, because of my ailing hip, I have a hard time even making it up the hill (driveway) from the house to the road, so have had to take the dogs in the car to find some flat land to exercise on.
Then there are the fish…I have no idea how many there are but their huge tank needs cleaning…badly. The schedule says not until Wednesday, but I’m going to have to break down and do it today…which requires remembering all the faucets and hose nozzles and twists of valves and different positions and, and. and…
Day one vs Day six
Even as my temporary employers were demonstrating the process before they left, the tank overflowed all over the floor. (Hmm, I wonder where they put that huge, clever twist-able mop…you know, just in case…) And the big tube they used to suck the water out, they almost lost a tiny fish up that tube, right in front of me!
Maybe I’ll just fill the bathtub and let the fish have a leisurely soak while I’m cleaning their home.
Lastly, but actually first each day, are the 7 chickens and 3 ducks! I panicked the first day as I could have sworn they told me there were 13 chickens. I knew they had had a recent Great Horned Owl incident and were down one duck so that first day when I only counted 7 chickens, I lost it! My people were still en-route to their destination so I could not confirm poultry numbers for 36 hours!! Stressful to say the least.
Then, on my second day, I had to quickly learn the difference between a chicken that is almost dead, (unmovable, head lolling to one side, stuck inside the laying house) and what’s called “broody”.
I finally found this article which helped immensely with my panic and guilt! Interesting read, whether or not you ever care for chickens. I moved her yesterday so we’ll see if she stayed moved this morning. (Nope, she was back!)
The whole thing was strangely poignant, until I remembered all those years in my late thirties and early forties when I would have done obscene things to be able to have another child!! And, I have “adopted” countless adult children over the years.
I understand “broody”.
The next issue with these chickens is a plethora of eggs! I’ve carried 2 and 1/2 dozen eggs over to my nearby home to share with my neighbors.
All in all, this has been a wonderful, enlightening experience.