Archive for June, 2013


I am experiencing what I call my own Dark Night of the Soul.

Last week I was carried away by unimaginable joy as I re-connected with my teacher through one of her Swamis, a monk who called me, as they say “out of the blue” (a metaphor for heaven, have you noticed?) to say my beloved Guru was saying “hello.”  This contact, by email and telephone, was completely unexpected and so serendipitous as to leave me barely breathing and ecstatic for the entire day.

The very same night, the night of the full moon last week, my beloved cat, Boots, was killed by a coyote right in front of me.  The last and powerful image I have of my 14 year old cat is his limp body being taken down my driveway in the coyote’s strong jaws.  It is a horrendous image, etched forever on my retina.

The sustaining force of having a teacher through the many years since my powerful awakening in 1989 has guided and fed me; kept me going, and I am stunned at the power of my emotional response to this event and to my mind in the last week.  Boots’ tragic death followed closely on the heels of my little dog’s almost certain demise in the jaws of a neighbor’s dog three weeks ago. 

For the past three weeks I have felt as if I have barely survived as I have nursed my small dog back to health, reasonably certain I would be euthanizing my small and wonderful “baby.”  But Lucky Girl, blind and deaf and 16 years of age, has made it, while Boots is gone.

I sometimes wonder why I put one foot in front of another day in and day out.  Of what use are we to one another in this strange and marvelous and horrible sojourn we call “life?”  Certainly I get to complain – who is there for me as I take care of client after client, patient after patient, day in and day out, suffering the outrageous projections of men and women who blame and curse, blame and curse, then return to praise and idealize, day in and day out, day in and day out?  Sometimes I am so tired and ill I do not want to carry on.  Sometimes I want to scream:  why do I have to be the healer? Why me?  What about me?  Why me?  What about me?

As I cried and cried and hurt and my head felt like it would explode again, I noticed I still  managed to see my clients and patients, make dog food, take care of my animals, do my paperwork, write chapters in my book, and take care of the daily business we call “living.”

St. John of the Cross did not pray for his enlightenment.  Christ exploded in his mind when the pain of his imprisonment became unendurable.  Julian of Norwich apparently had a slower awakening, the gift of everyday awareness becoming stabilized in Christ-vision and awareness. 

Turn the same face to praise and to blame, said my teacher.  Learn to cultivate equanimity, that amazing quality of spiritually advanced adepts who manage to treat all life experiences the same.

So, as I attempted to berate myself for my irritability today – tired and sad and filled with a huge grief, I saw equally how I had been successful in my therapy and healing practice, how my animals had been cared for, how I had reached out to my daughter and to my brother, how I had performed my daily chores with a decent attitude; acting better than I felt, always acting better than I felt.

We continue on, I think, because something in us does it for us.  The dream dreams us.  We see our original face, and it is so astonishingly beautiful we search out another mirror, then another, then another.  We call these mirrors the “other.”  And somehow, along the way, as the kindness of the God of our understanding sinks deeper into our brains and bloodstream, many of us are finally struck with the profound realization that we are simply not the doer, we are the done.  We are not the thinker, we are the thought.  We get out of the way and finally begin to understand that even grief is part of the entire plan.  When I lay this tired mind down tonight, I will be with Boots, with every animal and person I have loved, whether actually “here” or not.

This Dark Night of the Soul….it is painful.  It is agonizing.  It is exquisite. 

I miss my Boots.  I miss my kitty cat who was such a love bunny – who let Julie, Chrissy and Lisa dress him up and carry him around in a doll carriage without moving a muscle.  Who equally would go out on the back fence in South Pasadena on every full moon and beat the shit out of the other guy so fully that Thomas and I would have to take him to the emergency vet each time he acted out in those years of his masculine mayhem.  It was so ridiculous that we began to keep antiseptics like Betadine in our bathroom to clean him up each month on his nightly fight- jaunts.

I miss my Boots.  I miss the guy who I let in each night after calling him; his enormous weight causing a bloop – bloop – bloop as he ran to the front door, the pink bell around his neck jingling; my Boots totally unaware and uncaring of the metro sexual collar around his neck, so assured was he of his identity as a cat – only a cat – not a male or female – just a good, good cat.  My cat.  My Boots.  My loving, sweet, sweet cat.

My cat would look up at me as he came in the front door each evening and make a soundless meow.   I would hoist him over my shoulder and carry him around until we could settle for our “scritch-scratch” time.  He liked it hard.  He liked to be combed within an inch of his life, and if I stopped brushing and combing him too soon, I got a little reminder bite on my ankle or hand to let me know there was more grooming work to do.  And this was every night.  Then he got into my bed, and into my arms.  His head fell back and his mouth opened, his pink tongue hanging out, as he slept, content in my arms, each and every night of his life. 

I miss my Boots.  I miss my Boots. I miss my hairy bedfellow.  I miss hot tuna breath in the morning.

Homer snores next to me as I write this.  Lucky Girl’s nose is horrid-sounding, having been broken by the dog next door who bit her within an inch of her life three weeks ago.  They know.  They comfort me as I miss the third musketeer in bed.

I miss my Boots.

This Dark Night of the Soul will pass.  Everything passes away.  I have no idea where it goes, if it goes anywhere at all.  And I have no idea what I just said because I have no idea what all that means.

I miss my Boots.  Wherever he is, whoever he is with, my sweet sweet boy, my darling cat, my wonderful flop cat, my Sunday morning heartbanger.

And the Dark Night becomes the Light Day, and the Light Day becomes the Dark Night, and the Light Night becomes the Dark Day, and the desire for the day is faithfulness to the night.

Everything passes, and nothing moves.  Everything moves and nothing passes.  And the eventual desire for another cat will become a tribute to the memory of my beautiful Boots. 

May 31, 2013

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