Today is the first day of February. A typically atypical sunny, warm day in Denver. In February, it becomes easier to digest the pink and red hearts that show up after the new year.
The wildly creative theme of love was chosen for the February online course…release date…wait for it…February 14.
As I create the course, I’d love to share an excerpt from the introduction. It reads like a chapter of a story. It may end and feel a bit…unfinished. It full-circles in the course.
Here it is….
No prologue goes unread by me. I love a good backstory. I love broad context to give meaning. Every ‘situation’ has a backstory. Every human, every living thing, every ‘thing’ has a story.
When we are consumed, stuck or spinning, and reacting to life we miss the context – we miss the bigger picture, the broad view. Situations become isolated events that we respond to in often very scripted or routine ways. People become the role they are assigned by the perceiver, or perceivers. People become the role they assign themselves, consciously or unconsciously, as the receiver. The roles have rules as to how we act and respond. We become these robots, these vessels of predictable routine and behavior.
This is not living. This is not alive.
Keeley tells a story of love, without conditions attached to the love. Great love. Keeley is a dog. My dog. The dog I received. The lessons she taught me are easy to see now that she has been dead for five and a half years. The story of Keeley represents something more. Something bigger. We all certainly must have Keeleys around us all the time, everywhere. ‘Keeley’ exists. Love exists. We just choose to open up to it.
Love transmits. It has to be received. To turn away from love and possibility is suffering.
I have monthly course themes. I looked at the year-at-a-glance calendar and wrote down the first ‘theme’ that came to mind for each month. I can imagine the theme of love for February is quite shocking, as was the theme of self-care for January.
If you read my blog or have interest in my courses, you will notice a trend: everything makes its way back to self-care – caring about yourself…first.
It‘s fun to have an idea. It’s fun to have a theme to ponder, and to let it be what it is. When I finished the self-care course, I had already begun to think about the February course – love. For the three or four days following the self-care launch, dare I say the wildly successful self-care launch (nine awesome and amazing enrollees to date), I used my morning time to sit and be with this new topic – love.
Keeley for short.
Keeley was my first conscious understanding of what pure, whole, honest love must feel like.
I was living in Hemet, California. When asked about Hemet, I would refer to it as the poor man’s Palm Springs. It was a relatively small (but not small…) and growing town west of the San Jacinto mountain range – the other side of Palm Springs. I had just bought a home. It was in the midst of the southern California housing boom. My co worker friend and I went to look at some new builds during lunch. I found a one story, three bedroom that was being constructed. I walked into the trailer and said I wanted it. I wrote them a $100 check for a home I later received $77,000.00 that paid for graduate school tuition, just over two years later…(and that was after I had refinanced – original price $172,000, sold $310,000…it was a good time to buy a home in S. Cali).
The small housing development was on a river bed. The river bed, which was mostly dry, was observable from an easily navigated ‘cliff’ behind my across-the-street neighbor’s backyard. It was a massive expanse of open land – no buildings or civilization in sight, just the front range terrain of the San Jacintos. I was a runner at the time and the expanse of land was drool worthy. An organic path system had been formed. You could see natural pathways from the lookout on the cliff, they followed the dry river bed. The land was an Indian reservation. The Soboba Indian Reservation had its share of ‘tales’ that I had heard about – what happens on the land stays on the land, sort of tales. The only thing the ‘tales’ did for my naive 31 year old self was suggest that I needed a partner to navigate the land with.
I was playing Bunco with a group of teachers and their ‘others’ from my best friend’s elementary school. Bunco. Teachers. Yep. It was actually a lot of fun. On one Bunco night there was mention of a pregnant dog. A pregnant purebred boxer who stayed in a cage outside – a large cage that was part of a gorgeous fenced in pool and outdoor living space. The home was further away from where I lived, but it was built on a massive expanse of land that also spawned from the San Jacintos. All this land was being developed, the housing boom was in full force, a lot of wild was being disrupted. The pure bred boxer got knocked up. The hunch was something ‘wild’ had shown up in the night.
And then came Keeley.
I visited the puppies shortly after they were born. There were two distinct types – half were big and white with fluffy fur, and the other half were smaller, tan with white spots – not so fluffy. I chose one of the ‘not so fluffies’ with a white necklace marking around its neck. The dog owners had a little boy. I told the little boy which one I wanted. He told me later that he put Keeley in his bed at night. I picked up Keeley at 5 weeks old. Clueless. The puppy still slept mostly, and moved seldom. I had nothing – no blanket, nothing. I laid it on the passenger seat. It didn’t move.
I had no intention of ever writing this story. I suppose I also had no intention of ever not writing this story. It is a story that lives inside of me. It feels emotional to share as I type the words, but not because it’s sad. Keeley isn’t alive and hasn’t been for some time. The emotion dwelling up, as the memories surface, is the emotion of love. The gush x 100.
I introduced ‘the gush’ in the original course. The gush is the inside, felt experience of what I call love. Expansive, open, light, free. A feeling unattached to conditions or outcomes. It exists. It shows up. It just is. We ‘get’ to feel it.
I became quite familiar with the gush when I received Keeley. I didn’t have a name for it, but something was happening on the inside of me that was strong. It was stronger, and got my attention, more than anything else I had experienced up to this time. I realized at some point that what I was feeling must be the inner experience of love in its purest form. There was no transaction between Keeley and I. Keeley existed. The feeling wasn’t synthetic, something I could make more or less of necessarily. I couldn’t hug her enough, give kisses enough, or tell her enough. I had to just have the feeling. I ‘got’ to just have the feeling. I could ‘do’ nothing but surrender to the feeling. Allow the feeling. The feeling was present when I was present with it.
By comparison, I think with other humans or even with other living systems, there is this actionable quality associated with ‘love’. Little did I know at the time, I was entering into a rough ten year period. I say ‘rough’ because I am exposed to other people’s ‘rough’ on a daily, and in hindsight, my ‘rough’ doesn’t seem to compare. But. Feelings are feelings. And dark, empty, obsessive, controlling, hateful energy in motion (emotion) sucks no matter what the story attached reads like. As I went through the next ten years, I ironically – but obviously, so not ironically – got to do it with Keeley. Easy to see…now.
It’s funny with dogs, we think we are in charge. We think our pet is so fortunate to have us. So easy to recognize now that love was ever present during my (what felt like) endless process of undoing and exposing the limiting, destructive stories that I was telling…about me.
(end of the excerpt)
This is a YouTube video clip that is dated February 22, 2014 with me, Keeley, and my niece, Alli, who is now 18 years old. The cool thing in the video is how Keeley regulates over the two minutes…and my niece is pretty funny too.