When last I wrote for the newsletter, I summarized, VERY briefly, 51 years of aspiring to transform my “special” relationship with my husband Rich to a “holy” one. Now, as we approach our 51st anniversary (August 16), I am deeply grateful to report that my “vision” of a “holy relationship” is manifesting thought by thought, choice by choice ((love or fear), and day by day. This vision has now expanded to include all of my relationships. I am a “happy learner” experiencing a “miraculous life.”
That being said, the past year has been full of opportunities to practice and exercise my spiritual muscles. I have learned, i.e. “unlearned,” countless “false beliefs that no longer serve.” After last year’s anniversary, I relaxed back from my daily practice. I took a “vacation” from beginning the day with reciting my contract, setting my intention for the day, dedicating the day to love through prayer and meditation, reading the daily lesson in the ACIM workbook, and returning to love hourly to clear the shadows of the preceding hour. That lapse was painful. I learned that doing my practice with Rich was actually an “attachment.” I was setting myself up to be “upset” because we were not on the same time table, so I let it go. I remember the moment I chose to discipline my Self to do “my practice” in “my” time, with or without Rich…..no judgment! No resentment! What happened? He spontaneously began to accompany me without my asking and often initiated “our practice” just by beating softly on his prayer carpet drum.
Then 2020 arrived, bringing with it a completely unexpected gift: Angela’s decision to YouTube her daily reflections on the workbook lessons with Justine by her side. Now my practice appeared even more attractive and rewarding, like putting a cherry on top of the best ice cream sundae I’ve ever eaten. Next came the pandemic and with it the unimaginable life of self-imposed quarantine. Rich and I stayed home, except for essential errands, developed our own yoga practice, and created a new schedule. All of the fear, sorrow, and judgment the pandemic seemed to represent stoked the temptation for us to become irritable, act out well-rehearsed patterns of arguing, and even create a “thunderstorm,” as one friend called it. The Divine Alarm Clock struck twelve and I/we both heard it. My/Our dedication to practice met the intensity of the invitation and I/we were rewarded. When tempted to judge, I replaced the judgment thought with, “May he be blessed. May he be happy. May he be loved.” Sometimes I said this aloud and other times I whispered it through clenched teeth, always choosing to remember that the Deep Desire of my Heart was to Love not to judge. Every request for help was rewarded.
During these same months of continuous confinement, we got to enjoy each and every day with our beloved
14+-year-old spirit dog, Anna. She was demonstrating how to age miraculously with Grace and Ease. She modeled unconditional love, never complained, and always spoke gently to each one of us. Although she was barely able to walk, when we carried her outside, she breathed in deeply all the scents filling the air. She would stand and let the breeze wrap around and stroke her body. She looked at the steps by our door to consider daily whether she wanted to go up to them for the sheer pleasure of the achievement. Some days she did; other days she didn’t. Recognizing the inevitable, Rich and I had to come to an agreement about if, how, and when we might euthanize her. Previously this might have been challenging for us, but the discussion flowed and we developed a plan we were both comfortable with. We found a vet who would come to our home, and then we asked Anna, “How will we know?” She responded, “When I have lost my appetite, stopped drinking water, and my back legs can no longer hold me up.” Father’s Day weekend our mask-wearing, social-distancing family came here for the first time since February. They swam, picnicked, and played. They said their good-byes to Anna, not knowing when/if they might see her again. She had grown thin from her loss of appetite, was sleeping a lot, and Rich had taken to giving her syringes of water. The following Wednesday she could no longer stand and had no interest in food or water. On June 25, her spirit left her body but not before she told me, “My job here is done. You’ve got this now. You are safe. I’ll always be with you.” It has been three weeks now, and, while we feel sad, we also feel her spirit in every part of our home. Anna has shown us that “death changes nothing” and “all relationships are eternal.” And we find that deeply comforting now in our “holy relationship.” The invisible string connects all our hearts forever. Trust. Gratitude. Repeat.
To read Part 1, click here.
Karen Carothers is a participant in the Masterful Living Ascension Pathway class and resides in Wakefield, Rhode Island.