Life is tough. And very often we feel disappointed, let down and beat up. Good things can and do happen, but life can throw you a curveball, then a breaker ball, then a drop pitch. You can come to terms with a bad situation only to find another one is hiding right behind it ready to latch on to your heart.
My family has always had two labs. They are a litter apart and have been able to grow old together. Their birthdays are October and December - turning 12 and 13 this year. My husband got them the first 2 years we started dating and my six-year old has been with them all of his life.
13 days ago, we were all together when our oldest lab, Levon, stopped breathing. My son got to feel his final heartbeat. When his body became still, we surrounded him and all mourned together - in awe that we were there in his final moments; feeling terrible sadness that he was no longer with us.
He wasn't in any pain and he lived a very full life, as memories and photographs remind us. This year, I began to prepare for this sad day - his 13th birthday was a few months away and I knew we had been lucky to have him this long. We talked about it as a family; trying to prepare for the inevitable, knowing that we would dearly miss him. In the hours and days that followed, it was hard to imagine our life without him; my heart was breaking.
I can't talk about what happened without tears streaming down my face, like they are now as I write. I never expected it to be so hard. And then it got harder.
During the next week, his surviving half-brother, Dylan, started exhibiting separation anxiety. Last Saturday, when we were gone for the day, he blew the doors wide open - or at least that was what he was trying to do in his crate. He injured himself trying to escape a space that he slept in almost every day while we were away from home. But he use to be next to his best friend.
All of a sudden, I was panicked that Dylan couldn't be alone which would require substantial changes in our day-to-day lives. I know we are going to get another dog, but my heart hurts too much to make room right now for a new family member.
He started on puppy Xanax last night to take off the edge. I made it a priority to take him on a walk this morning. We both needed the exercise for our anxiety. I spent most of the walk being anxious about work; playing out difficult conversations I would have to have with clients once I started my day. With the personal and professional stressors gaining strength, I felt exhausted and couldn't see the forest for the trees. The day had barely begun and all I wanted was for it to end.
I was rounding the corner to head home and decided to look up.
In the sky was a bright yellow and electric blue hot air balloon. Through the tall trees, contrasted against the clear blue sky, the amazing image took my breath away.
Reviewing your surroundings from a different perspective can provide a clearer picture of how you feel right in the moment and can provide a sense of peace. Lying on the floor with Dylan is different than petting him from the chair. Sitting on the floor in my office is different than being at my desk. Being eye-to-eye with my child when we talk is different than hanging out side-by-side.
In addition to the physical perspective, you can "look up" in a spiritual sense. Look skyward during prayer or focus your third eye upward during meditation.
Peace can be found anywhere, in any moment. Try looking ahead, rather than right front of you. Lye down to realize how big the world is around you that you keep up with every day. Keep looking - and remember to look up.