We got Charlie from a border collie rescue—the funniest looking border collie pup you’ve ever seen. The black and white markings unmistakeningly border collie, but the long, long legs and pointy nose, the dancing energy tempered with an un-border collie mellowness…well, he’s not purebred.

We believe he’s a lurcher—part border collie, part sight hound. He looks a lot like the border-greyhound crosses I googled and while he creeps and herds like a border collie, he runs and lounges like a greyhound.

A strange cross, but we love him. 

I was walking him this morning through the arbolada and thinking about all the lessons I’ve learned from my animals. My first dog, an Irish Setter, was a reflection of my teenaged emotions. The Danes I’ve had in the past were protective… I entrusted my children, my home, myself to their Nana-energy…reflecting my fear of coming out in the world. The shepherds and border collies were so focused on the task at hand—the ball, the chickens, the agility course—that play was secondary…reflecting my intense drive to accomplish. Most were so attached to me that they let very few others in. 

Charlie is different. He engages with everyone. 

I have never had a dog that got along with everyone and everything. Not a territorial bone in his body, Charlie is friends with all creatures. Never submits to aggressive dogs nor does he fight. If they’re cranky, he just goes on his way. He plays with everyone willing to romp, getting low for the little dogs, holding his own with the big ones. He respects the cats and the wildlife and most of all us. He heels so well, I can ride through town on my spirited mare and he only attends to us. 

He loves hikes, runs, and most of all water. The best beach dog ever. Not a great fetcher, no, he just adores the ocean, the waves, the sand, the seabirds, the fishermen, the other dogs, the surfers, the children digging immense sand caves…never a nuisance, always respectful, yet no one can resist his sweet face and wagging tail.

Watching Charlie check his messages along our walk this morning, I realized just how much he has taught me… 

* Keep in contact with your friends. Check your messages and answer every one, if only by tweeting.

* Smile at everyone. Hug those who need it. Gently press against those not quite ready for a full body hug.

* If others are grumpy, let them be. There’s always more friends to be found.


 * If you’re hot, get wet.


*If you’re cold, cuddle up.

* Don’t enter unless invited. But once invited, thank your host profusely.

* Respect cats and other creatures different from you.

 *Just hang out and relax, even if you have to wait a long time for your loved ones to return.


* Enjoy the ride, the run, the day, the sun.

* Laugh in the rain. Romp in the mud. Take your bath lightly.

* Be patient with caregivers, they’re only trying to help.

* If you can, figure out things on your own.  If not, ask for help.

 *Be ready to go at a moment’s notice.

 *Love your family

 *Love your friends

 *Love everyone you meet

* Listen carefully to your higher self. She has your best interest at heart.

* Remember Life is Joy.

Charlie seems to be a reflection of where I am now. I love my family, my friends, most everyone I meet. I try to attend carefully to my higher self. And I know without a doubt that life is joy.


13 Remembering Mary Magdalen: Family Ties

Dec 23rd, 2003  Off to Utah for the family holidays. Anxious premonitions of my beloved Santa cup breaking. After 20 years of keeping them safe for my sisters, I tried to pack them carefully, but one tumbled out of the car, so I traded my unscathed cup for the fractured one. This trip is about breaking attachments, perhaps to things, but yet deeper, as Yeshua says, to what I believed my sisters to be. As I am coming to know myself as joyous passion I shall recognize who they are as love. So many sister dreams lately. Since childhood, I have flown in my dreams stringing them along like Peter Pan, barely able to get them off the ground. Lately in my dreams, I do not hold their hand, but try to teach them to fly on their own, but they resist. I feel tired, saddened. Will my sisters throw me out like Yeshua was thrown out of Nazareth? Strangers can be more accepting than those closest when you change too rapidly. 

  Dec 26th, 2003 A snowstorm traps us in the house, playing games, memories abound. On Christmas Eve, I experienced the power of the loving-kindness prayer. The family gathered around my sister’s large kitchen island arguing about the Cody Bank’s rape charge. When the manner in which the victim dressed was blamed, I felt the urge to jump into the fray, yet stopped and silently asked that my fear be lifted and I be filled with light and love, then asked the same for each and every one of them. When I got to Kyra, she looked up and mouthed, “What are you doing?” “Blessing us” I silently replied. The tension melted. The brothers-in-law about to engage in fist a cuffs, laughed at another’s joke and all was well. This morning my youngest sister hugged me fiercely claiming she thinks about me every day. Lately I can say the same. I wish I could see beyond the possessive love in this family, the competitiveness, the criticism, the ego…especially mine—my ego is much too overwhelming. My muse is on holiday, but lots of purple around me, my aura brilliant whenever I close my eyes. Torn between gluttony and deprivation, defenseless in the face of my family without bulimia to protect me. Trapped in a house of mirrors. One: reflecting unforgiving close-mindedness, one: emotional, temperamental, quick to strike, yet a core of love, one: distant, shallow immersion, non committal, one: lost in a world of self, one: poor self esteem, critical of all, not knowing when to hold her tongue, my brothers-in-law, my nieces and nephews clueless bystanders, my husband supportive, policing my behavior. This journal my only escape…