Choices, Power and Gifts

HelpingHandsThe last few weeks, since I came home from TNNA, I have felt life converging on me. I was so busy before and during the show that I ignored everything except the tasks at hand. Things are now weighing on me because I’m finally in a position to process them. I want to share my new mother/daughter activity with you all, because right now, it seems particularly relevant.

The nightclub shooting in Orlando happened while I was in Washington, DC, as did the death of a former coworker/friend whom we all thought had beaten a particularly vicious cancer. I also have to say goodbye to someone who has been an immense source of wisdom and good advice throughout my time here in CA, and whom I will miss more than words can say. On the other side of the friendship coin, I have also lost what I considered a very close friendship with someone who has tossed me aside for some inexplicable reason.

These things are all part of life, and everyone deals with similar losses at some point or another. I think whether it’s a national tragedy or a personal loss, what most of us struggle with is trying to make sense out of things that simply don’t make sense. We try to understand why it is that some individuals think the only answer is to start shooting schools and nightclubs and, in the case of a friendship that randomly ends, we try to sort through every conversation and detail to figure out what went wrong.

Kittens!
Kittens!

There is power to realizing and accepting that we don’t have to find a reasonable explanation or have the answers for the “why” of everything. Our power lies in holding on to our right to choose what we put out into the world and to not let pain and loss dictate that choice. Power also lies in embracing our gifts, because we all have them, and channeling our bad feelings into doing good. We may still feel our pain and need time to grieve, but it is empowering to know that we always have the choice of what kind of person we want to be.

Catherine_TuttiFruttinewborn
A puppy named Tutti Frutti who was still nursing with its mother. My daughter got to hold it while the mother was out for a walk.
TuttiFruttiGrowing
Tutti Frutti a few weeks older after weaning.
Catherine_kitten
Cuddling the kittens is the best reward for hard work ever!

One of my daughter’s biggest gifts is her love of animals, so I am doing my best to encourage and nurture that gift. Several months ago, I found a pet store that operates on volunteers, works with all the local shelters to fill the store with rescue pets, and accepts younger volunteers. The only time we can do it consistently, especially during the school year, is the early Saturday morning shift. As you might guess, it was hard for me to give up my only morning to sleep in. But in turn, it’s the only morning I don’t have to drag my daughter out of bed to be on time – she’s ready to go with time to spare. With that said, I am always happy I made the effort. She loves it so much, and always works hard throughout her shift without prodding from me.

Cuddling a sick kitten is the best reward for cleaning kitty cages!
Cuddling a sick kitten is the best reward for cleaning kitty cages!

I hope this volunteer job will be something we do together for a long time to come. And I hope it will teach her how to focus herself when she hits a rough spot in life. It has taken me awhile to help her figure out her “thing”, and besides the fact I could never complain about being surrounded by puppies and kittens, it is very rewarding to see her so fulfilled. And I realized that it has been a good lesson for me in accepting things as well. There is nothing wrong with the animals, no reason they deserved to be abandoned, and instead of wasting energy on that side of it, we are all there of our own choice to take care of them and help them find new homes.

The photos I’m sharing with you always put a smile on my face, even on the worst days. I hope whatever is going on in your life, and whatever happens on a national level, you will hold onto your power and find that thing in life that never fails to make you happy at heart. And if you’re already doing it, please comment and share!

 

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