“Put some water on it so it doesn’t hurt their teeth…” My grandma likes to remind me how to feed her dogs each time I’m fixing them a meal. I purposefully ignore her though.

About a year and a half ago both of the dogs had to have multiple teeth removed due to decay caused by tartar buildup. We were told to feed them dry food at least once a day because the texture helps to clean their teeth… I have told my grandma this many times yet, she still fixes them their wet food with green beans and reminds me to soften the dry food I give them, every single time I feed them.

What’s going on here? It’s completely obvious to me that my grandma LOVES her dogs. They are so spoiled and cared for… Yet, some of her well-intentioned habits have actually harmed them. Not only that, but even upon learning this, she is still resistant to changing her perspective…

Recognizing Confirmation Bias

We’re all guilty of being blind to things. We each see life through the filters of our own experience… and my grandmother is no exception.

The dogs may have gotten dental issues due to their eating habits, but eventually their dental problems reinforced my grandma’s feeding them only soft food. Their teeth did hurt, she was right – but now that the bad teeth are out, we have to change things or we’ll end up in the cycle of doggy dental decay all over again.

That’s why I don’t listen to my grandmother. That’s why I’m sure to feed the dogs myself at least once a day… Not because I don’t understand where my grandma is coming from, and not because the dogs prefer dry food (not even a bit), but because change is what needs to happen and right now I am able to be its agent.

Benji, our “lil’ old man”

Releasing Judgment and Control

This isn’t exactly ideal. I hate having to ignore my grandma, but what’s the alternative? I have tried to educate her but she’s 85 and in many ways decidedly that “old dog” who doesn’t want to learn new tricks.

It certainly doesn’t make sense for me to force my grandma to change her ways, instructing her with the truth until I’m blue in the face. It also doesn’t make sense to just let her go on feeding the dogs incorrectly either though. So here I am, in the less-than-ideal reality.

All is well. I don’t need things to be ideal, I don’t need my grandma to understand and I don’t even need the dogs to like their dry food. Just as everything is, in all it’s imperfect realness, all is well.

I can do my part, I can be the agent of change, I can take action and simply release control. No, I won’t be here forever, but while I am I can do these special things that I am aware of and therefore responsible for. When I do leave, I will pass on the knowledge and be okay with that.

I won’t ever be able to ensure the dogs are getting fed in a way that helps keep their teeth clean while I’m not around, but that’s a part of it too. Accepting responsibility for co-creating a better world doesn’t mean your responsible for everything, all the time – it means you do what you can while you can.

Paxton, our “silly boy”

Enjoying Life’s Little Imperfections

For now, even with the dogs scowling and grandma chiming in, I feel blessed to have opportunities to provide these little canines with thoughtful nourishment. I also feel blessed to be able to recognize and see what’s going on without judgement.

I am grateful for the opportunities even this little situation gives me to reflect and learn about how humans operate. It certainly helps me to look out for my own biases and ignorance too – or at least remain more open to entertaining cognitive dissonance.

Life will never be perfect. We will never be able to control situations entirely, even if we are “right” and have truth on our side – and that’s okay. This journey isn’t ours alone and we are all learning, but by releasing control we can simultaneously step into our power and subjective truth whilst also allowing for others to experience theirs.

Trembling, afraid
I cower in the shadows

Feeling the booming
of ancient, endless voice

It calls to me in bellows
knocking me off my feet

the tenacity of its power
leaving me to bow eternally 

“Shakti, COME FORTH”
I am called into the magick

“Bhajan, SING!”
My voice emerges, rising –

Surprised by the echos
Divinity pouring from my mouth

Tears fall from my eyes
as all feeling consumes my heart

The pain lifts as melodies
soulful and deep as cavernous wounds

The joy of transformation follows
like the delicate whispers of bird songs

A feeling of expansion emanating
empty space ever growing in my chest

My heart encompassing all of it
even those things I desperately tried to forget

Further still, penetrating my center –
from within the hot, golden will of my destiny

Sounds of purification and laughter
songs of broken, healed and longing let be

The wind and tunes all tumble
escaping finally from their cage of fear

Suddenly, as though forever
I am again as I was always meant to be

“Shakti Bhajan, claim your birthright”
I hear as I am guided into astral ceremony 

To the temple of my own discovery
where mayryanna lays on the sacrificial stone

I see her there, so brilliantly clear
all her conditions and grooming laid bare

Watching as the song I sing
releases her limits into the ether, leaving me

I watch the trauma of little May
her confusion and pain all melting away

I see the hatred and anger of grief
as self-inflicted wounds of youth still bleed

I witness the poison of codependency
festering and fighting against the purge

Singing a song of terrors, all –
at once and again consumed by Love

Finally, her whole being dissolved
mayryanna was lifted into the heavens

Golden-rainbow dust foating
up from where her brokenness let go

No pain, no fear, no justification
simply a returning to sacred bliss

And as I watched her leave
I found within me her memories, reclaimed

I want to wisper
so close, breathing in –

Let your scent linger
on the edges of my lips

Taste your salt
and crave your sugar

Feel hearts beat
quicker, harder, louder –

You remind me –
an old song on breezes

Tumbling down 
your grassy hills of summer 

Looking behind
the shadows of my lonely

Spinning ’round
clouds underfoot, floating 

Lean in close
ebb with my flow

With all your soul
indulge deep and slow

Hush and listen
for lover’s soft quiver

Unfurl with grace
through Divine shivers

My beloved, tremble
every nerve celebrating

Give way to bliss 
all wonder unconsuming

Expansiveness known
we cannot resist our humble

Everywhere our home
after our egos have crumbled 

Witnessing growth
build strength in progress

Do these eyes still look
lost in their thoughtfulness?

I’ve been watching what
happened from different angles

It seems all that could be
are other versions of our tangle

I stopped looking 
and found you

Beneath forgotten
back behind my fear

You were waiting
for me to see you

Patiently ignored 
singing silent songs

I tried desperately 
not to hear you

Fixated on my loss
determining distance

I was afraid to feel
and created a sepsis

Denial of my love
circulating my pain

Ever deeper, digging
even bigger, growing

Until I had to be blind
even deafening myself 

Turning cold, draining
all enjoyment from life

And still, you remained
ever present in my denial

Until today, when gave up
I let myself be, entirely –

And there you were
waiting for my return

It stung to feel you again
after so long running

I collapsed into your arms
losing all strength and pride

It hurt, the gravity
I had been falling up

Such a long way
to come back down

To come back in
to find the truth

Settling into the gaping –
the harsh realities of life

My grief for having lost
for not being able to hold

yet being held in it
I found it was love

Tears fell from my eyes
into your subtle ether –

You smiled, I cried harder
weeping for the chasm

Realizing I pushed you
but you never left me

I was afraid of this
the cost of true love

The mourning that came
watching you struggle

The grief of separateness
exaggerated by death

Yet, here and now
in this beautiful surrender

Reminded of your wonder –
how could I forsake you?

You are worth the pain
Loving you is worth the grief

I cannot have you in my arms 
so I’ll adore you from afar

I’ll find you in my days
in the miracles and majesty

I’ll find you in my nights
comforted by memories 

In the unseeking way
of brilliant synchronicity

I welcome all of you
every joy and every pain

Thank you for your being
Thank you for your going 

Thank you for reminding me
of just how deep love is

No thought
No reason 
yet, I sink –

soft cushions 
fluffy clouds 
sweet company 
on a bed of nails

the fantasy 
includes danger 
leading me on

To fall back 
To let go
carrying on 

There’s bitter 
in sweetness
There is hope
in deepest fear

Paralyzed only
by wonderment
Motivated ultimately 
by devoted love