Two weeks ago I posted the first chapter of my dog story in a post called Keeley.

Today I am posting the last chapter.

If you are interested in reading the pages in between you can access the short story at the end of this post. The story is embedded in the online course link. You don’t have to enroll in the course…just scroll down the sales page to course curriculum and click on the preview button for Keeley.

Here is the last chapter:

love exists.

I was just beginning my new journey toward love when Keeley died – loving myself enough to recognize that love was ever present, an energy. That’s not really true. I think we begin the journey back as soon as we come into this physical space.

When I practiced skills, tools, and strategies that aligned with the expansive energy, it felt good. It felt right. I had to care about myself (self-care) enough to be curious. If I could get curious, I could get to the next step. And then the next step. I can assure you that the space grows.

Keeley and I were on Sixth Avenue for two years after the Breckenridge summer. I wrote about the Breckenridge summer as a prologue to the first course, self-care. Life events happened that led to a bankruptcy, moving, and Keeley dying all at the same time.

That was six years ago. I know this because Smoosh just turned six this year. Smoosh was just a puppy when I met her the week after I moved to Dakota Ave.

When I walk out my door the sign across the street reads, ‘Unique’. Down from there is a dispensary, ‘Livwell’. The corner across from Unique is a sign, ‘Goodheart’ – a veterinary clinic. Another sign: ‘Sally’ (beauty supply).

In looking back, it seems a painfully long process to get to my ‘shift’. At present, as mentioned in the conclusion of self-care, I haven’t had an episode in maybe close to three years.

I had the intention of creating online courses the school year AFTER the Breckenridge summer. I quit the full-time job the following school year and was certain mindfulness was going to be a hit. I was going to create online courses and facilitate workshops.

I got a part-time job at a virtual school which, to me, was all the evidence I needed – ‘it’ was happening. The virtual school didn’t need, nor want, a social-emotional course creator – they wanted a school social worker.

I posted early videos on YouTube of the Check IN that I used at Virtual Academy – my first…technique?

I also created Movement.Breath.Kindness. for elementary classrooms.

My original idea was solid – online course creation and mindfulness as an effective tool to grow social and emotional well-being was not lacking in potential. What I didn’t realize was that the idea was just that – an idea. A seed. I planted it and like a nieve gardener, expected results much too soon.

My PhD, or my culminating experience in this particular developmental stage, came in the form of Kung Fu Panda. I was Po. I’ll give the five year old (when we met – we hung out for three full years)…I’ll give him Master Oogway. Shifu was a beast. We went hip to shoulder for most of his third grade year into half of fourth. A master teacher. The furious five round up all lived on my caseload – each with superhuman powers that transcended common understanding. The setting for the projection of this Kung Fu Panda live action play was Westgate elementary school. It was exactly what I needed to grasp the broad view of not only what it meant to be a school mental health provider, but what it meant to trust love.

Po was chosen to be the dragon warrior. The chosen one to bring peace back to the valley. We are all Po. Po was out of tune. Po didn’t fit in. Po didn’t know his story. Po was clumbsy. Po was ‘extra’.

But Po was really good at one thing: being Po.

We are the only one who can bring peace back to our valley.