Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Highs and Lows

This past week was one of really great highs and the lowest of lows. As I try to process everything and make sense of it all, I think writing about it will help. I wonder if any of it will make sense.

Tuesday June 11th my dog Sixto died very suddenly. When I woke up in the morning he didn't seem right, he was definitely off, it seemed like he had a stiff neck. Now I know he was having cardiac distress. I was scheduled to leave for vacation that evening and getting him to the vet became a priority. As my roommate and I were waiting for the vet's office to open Sixto fell over, stiff legged and vomited a world of blood. I knew it was bad, and he died in my arms as we walked into the animal hospital. They were so kind. Everyone was.

Then begins the self-torment. Why do we always torment ourselves, make judgements? How many times have you heard someone say "You are your own worst critic." I have heard that for forever it seems. I don't want to hear it ever again. For that to happen I need to stop certain habits.

Anyway, in grief my brain just went off like fireworks with a million disjointed thoughts, most of them geared towards blaming myself, feeling guilty, feeling selfish. Way to make something awful even worse.

Do I still go on vacation, I wondered? Is it selfish to go away? Yes it would be selfish to go I thought. This trip was set up 6 months ago. Do I stay home and honor Sixto? Is it bad to go away? Is it better to stay home and grieve? How would either option affect the people I was going with? Was there something else I could have done? Should I have noticed something sooner? So many questions I simply didn't have the answers to. I decided to go. That wasn't an easy decision and I definitely felt guilty. I also felt terribly sad and like my heart was just simply broken.

Over the course of the trip though, I had lots of crying jags, but the change in environment helped me to rally as well. Ups and downs.

I squeezed in a couple of guided meditations until my iPod died from lack of power. It helped. Meditation always helps.

While in Havasupai I found the gratitude that alters perspective in many situations. Sixto died while I was still home and in my arms. That is a gift. It is easy to look at the waterfalls, the canyon walls, the sky, the moon, the stars, everything and feel grateful. Finding gratitude in loss was a little more difficult however, even there I had much to be grateful for. I am thankful I was open to seeing it.

That was the low of the week, obviously. Losing Sixto, beating myself up about it, making it worse. Recognizing it, finding the silver lining, that is positive though.

New Navajo Waterfall
One of the highs though was getting beyond my fear of heights and jumping off a waterfall. I think it may be around 25 feet high, but it seems everyone has stated that waterfall to be a different height, as much as 40 feet to as low at 25 feet. Whatever! All I can say is from up "there" it was pretty darn scary and a long way down. Very pretty though from the bottom!

I did it a year before, however barely, just barely. I basically jumped when I realized my legs, that were shaking like Elvis with way too much caffeine, were going to give out at any moment. I plopped into the water, my legs gave out and I was scared to pieces. This year I figured it would be easier. This year I wanted it to count. For some reason because I barely made it off, it just was not good enough for me. That may sound silly but it is the truth.

Well! It was not easier. I bit my boyfriend's head off just before and then lost all my nerve and walked off. Stood at the top of that waterfall for what must have been 5 minutes, turned around, almost fell off, and saw a line of 20 people waiting patiently (ok maybe not so patiently). I felt so embarrassed. Then I started one heck of a nasty internal dialog. Beating myself up. Blaming it on my boyfriend first, then on me. Definitely not one of my finest moments in time ...

Just before biting his head off ...
This was not constructive and I decided to let it go and try some FasterEFT tapping. I'm not sure how long I tapped for, I found a quiet place sitting on a little mini waterfall nearby, alone and somewhat out of sight from people so I wouldn't look like I was completely stark raving mad. Then I worked on releasing that fear of heights and the anger I was directing outward.

Tap away I did. When I felt ready, I walked back to that lovely, scary, high waterfall, found a spot I liked and launched off it. By myself, without anyone holding my hand. Without telling anyone, without asking for encouragement from anyone, and without looking for approval from anyone. Except for my own.

Just before I walked off I had asked my boyfriend to hold my hand and we jump off together. I saw a couple do it moments before and thought, wow I'd love to do that. Knowing my fear of heights he  expressed concern at doing that, afraid one of us would get hurt. Mostly afraid I would get hurt if he pulled me off because I changed my mind. After I did the EFT I could see his side and his concern, I did balk and walk off the first time. He was right to worry. It was not his fault I couldn't jump, so biting his head off was a poor reaction. No reason to get mad at him. No reason to get mad at all really.

However, I am grateful that I put some of my FasterEFT skills to use, was able to let go of the fear and act. Let go of the anger too.

That's me, airborne at last ... 2nd or 3rd time!
After I jumped, when I landed my friend Paul said ... "you have to go up and do it again, I didn't get it on camera." I ran up and did it again. And again. And again. Four times. It wasn't just a fluke. I took that fear of heights and pushed it back a little bit on Saturday.

I think I made some progress this week ... There is something very rewarding in doing something that scares the pants off of you. There is also something rewarding in finding what you can be grateful for in every situation, even if it is the death of a treasured pet. And it feels good when you admit you were wrong and apologize too. I think that is called being an adult, but I'm not sure.


  1. I know you miss your loyal and beautiful companion. I had no idea. I love the good you saw in a bad situation; you were with Sixto. Yes, that was a blessing but still unbearable. I also love how you overcame your fears with heights. Something I would have reconsidered but you didn't. Wonderful. It was for you and no one else. Also wonderful. My fears? Losing anyone special in my life. Like you, I will overcome that fear and carry on. I am sorry about the loss of your beloved best friend and thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you Mary ... your comment was so beautifully said. I do miss him, so much.