IMG-20150706-WA0001 (2)So, here is the situation. I have coffee every morning in the same café with a group of French friends and since the beginning (about 5 years ago) I let Salomé roam at her will around the café visiting all the tables and receiving caresses and small titbits. Most people seem to love her and ask me politely if they may give her a morsel of the cookie that comes with the coffee or a small piece of croissant. I say yes, always making the sign of a tiny bit with my fingers. Salomé seemed happy, I felt happy and I didn’t see any problem.

However… there is a member of the group I have coffee with –I’ll call him Joe- who began to give her the whole cookie or a really big share of croissant. I asked him not to do it, to just give her a little bit and he reacted as if this were some sort of a game of tease or torture me. What ensued was a struggle (on my part) to try and get this man to understand that so much sugar is not good for the dog and stop giving her what I consider to be too much. I have pleaded, begged, reasoned, lied (I told him she had been diagnosed with diabetes)… used about every trick in the book to get him to lay off, but for some reason –that obviously goes beyond my comprehension- he continues to think this is a fun game (him overfeeding my dog and me trying to get him not to do it). Finally, yesterday, after asking him twice not to give her too much, upon seeing him take a wad of the cake someone had brought to share with the coffee and give it to her, I blew up. I don’t remember having gotten that mad in a long time. I stood up, leashed Salomé and stormed out.

This morning, when I arrived at the café, he wasn’t there and I sat with my usual group. I mentioned having gotten mad and said that, as far as I was concerned, Joe was dead. I was hoping he wouldn’t come (he does not come every day and sometimes goes for a week or more without showing up), but as I took the last sip of my coffee he appeared at the door. I said ‘Uh, oh’ and stood up. One lady in the group (who is very fond of Joe) asked me not to go, said he wouldn’t feed Salomé, made all kind of conciliatory gestures on his part, but I was determined not to stay. Joe himself asked if I was leaving because he had arrived and I said ‘yes’; he then asked if I was at least going to say good morning and I said ‘no’. My tone of voice left no doubt as to my feelings towards him. I’d had it: I found the man despicable!

As I walked out, I had the thought: “If you do this you are going to lose”, but I couldn’t go back, so I began my morning walk around town with Salome. It wasn’t long before I began crying. I felt like a little girl and the memory was of exactly the same kind of teasing-torture from some boy or other in primary school. In spite of my tears, I was pleased with myself for having gotten furious. I realized it was ok, I mentally hugged myself and told myself that it was about time I had gotten mad and defended my right to be respected in that way; I understood how childish (and cruel) it was on his part to give a small dog so much sugar just to get a rise out of me. I was very kind to myself and it felt good. By the time I arrived back at my small apartment, I was calm and I knew what I had to do.20150319_103437

I took out a Judge-your-Neighbor worksheet (available on Byron Katie’s page http://www.thework.com) and began filling it out, allowing my mind to revisit the scene of the previous morning as I answered the questions.

The first question is “In this situation, who angers, confuses, saddens or disappoints you, and why?” I closed my eyes and replayed the scene at the table where he broke off a large morsel of the cake and gave it to Salomé right after I had politely begged him not to. That specific scene was the situation and I wrote: “I am furious at Joe because he doesn’t respect my wishes; because he uses Salomé to ‘tease’ me; because he is cruel to my dog; because he is harming my dog.”

By the time I had filled in the first question there was a disturbing realization niggling at the back of my mind, but I wasn’t ready for it yet, so I continued filling out the sheet putting what I wanted Joe to do in that situation; writing out longhand my advice to him in that situation and enumerating what I needed in that situation in order to be happy. Much of what appeared in number 1 reappeared only slightly changed in numbers 2, 3 and 4: I want him to stop feeding Salomé, he should be respectful, I need him to stop playing games with me, etc.

In number 5, where I am asked to make a list of what I thought of Joe in that situation, practically all I could think of was “he’s stupid, stupid, idiot, stupid” but I managed to complete the list with “infantile and disrespectful”.

Question number 6 on the worksheet asks me what it is about that situation that I never want to experiment again and I wrote: “I never again want to have to lose my temper in order to be respected.”

The niggling in the back of my mind was still there because my mind now plays the game of The Work and races ahead of me before I even start questioning. I Ignored the niggling, took a deep breath and decided to give myself some off time before questioning anything. Putting the worksheet aside, I read my e-mails and checked out a few things on Facebook before coming back to it. Then I was ready.

I re-read number 1 and chose the thought that I wanted to start working on: I am furious at Joe because he doesn’t respect my wishes. I removed “I am furious” because The Work does not question my emotions, and asked the first question: Joe doesn’t respect my wishes… Is that true? Closing my eyes and breathing deeply, I replayed the situation (scene) in my mind’s eye: Joe is breaking off a large morsel of cake and giving it to Salomé, laughing and casting a glance my way. My answer appeared. It was Yes, it was true. Once again, I closed my eyes and watched the scene: Joe doesn’t respect my wishes… Can I absolutely know that it’s true that he doesn’t respect my wishes? Again I waited for the answer to rise within me: it was Yes once more. There was no way that I could find Joe respecting my wishes in that scene. Yes was my honest answer.

20120711_103100I went to the 3rd question: How do I react, what happens, when I believe the thought that Joe doesn’t respect my wishes? I closed my eyes. I didn’t have to guess. It was all there right before me and my body –as if it were once again in that café watching that man give my dog a large piece of cake- reacted exactly the way it had reacted the morning before: stress, stomach tight, throat closed, shoulders pushed forward, jaw clenched. How did I react? I jumped up, I roughly leashed my dog, I called Joe stupide not quite loud enough for him to hear but feeling the pleasure of the insult in the pit of my stomach. I stormed out of the café. Did it end there? No. All the way home, I was replaying the scene, reliving the fury, submitting my body to the stress of extreme anger over and over again. Between yesterday and today I must have replayed the scene at least fifty times, probably more, each time reliving my anger. That is how I reacted when I believed the thought that Joe doesn’t respect my wishes. There could be no doubt in my mind as to how I reacted because every time I replayed the scene I re-reacted the same way: my body didn’t lie.

So then I went to question 4. I love question 4 but in this situation, found it difficult question to ask. Who would I be without the thought in that same situation? The only reason I asked myself question 4 today was because I wanted to know the truth; I have to live with myself 24 hours of every day and only the truth allows me to do that in peace and gratitude; only the truth allows me to be happy today. So I closed my eyes, breathed deeply and watched the scene play itself out exactly as it had, while removing all thoughts from my mind. Katie says ‘this is meditation’ and meditation is removing thoughts from the mind, so I looked; I allowed my eyes to see, to observe as Joe took the large piece of cake and gave it to Salomé while using my breath to remove the thought, to remove any story that might have appeared in my mind. Without any thought what I saw was a man giving a dog a piece of cake: it wasn’t personal. There was no ‘my dog’, no movie of ‘my dog dying from too much sugar’, no interpretation of ‘disrespect’, just a man giving a dog a piece of cake and my body had no reaction whatsoever. So who I was without the thought was a-woman-watching-a-man-give-a-dog-a-piece-of- cake. You might say it was ‘a piece’a cake!’Salomé en Portugal

It was in that moment that the niggling realization finally surfaced: what I understood was that Joe was giving my dog a piece of cake because she was asking for it. And she was asking for it because I had allowed her to roam freely around the café asking all and sundry for whatever it pleased them to give her. I didn’t like this truth, but I couldn’t deny it and once it had appeared I couldn’t ignore it either: I had seen my part in the ‘problem’, be it large or small, it was my part.

Does that make Joe right and me wrong? Absolutely not! Does it excuse or justify what is probably his stupid ploy to get attention? Of course not! But it does give me the solution, and a solution that had existed from the very beginning if I had not gone to war trying to control another human being’s actions, in other words: trying to control reality. I don’t like the solution, I would have preferred it to be his fault and to have succeeded in controlling him; I would have loved for him to bow to my wishes from the very beginning… but then I would not have had this opportunity to do The Work and learn about my stubbornness in wanting things to be the way I want them to be. I would not have had the opportunity to feel how absolutely rabid I can still get even after so many years of The Work. I would have missed the peace that comes with accepting reality as it is and not as I would have it.

There was still something to be done with this question before I moved on to the next: The Turnarounds. My thought, Joe doesn’t respect my wishes, turned around to:

  1. I don’t respect my wishes. Immediately I found examples. I am not seeing what others are giving Salomé and they could be feeding her just as much as Joe. It is my wish that Salomé not eat a lot of sugar, but she is probably getting too much already by going from table to table during the hour or more that I spend at the café. And I don’t respect my wish to continue with my coffee group by making war with one of its members. I am not respecting my wish to be a kind and respectful member of the community when I let my dog run free and beg from all the tables without asking if this might bother someone (ouch!) My wish is there be no war in the world, and I am making my own war in the café!
  2. I don’t respect Joe’s wishes. Right! He wants to give her the cake and I am not respecting that (this doesn’t mean I will, I just notice); he is trying to be funny and I am not respecting that by laughing (that doesn’t mean I will, I just notice); and yesterday and today I was downright rude (disrespectful) to the man… Oh boy and I notice how disrespectful I was in my mind insulting him up and down for the rest of the day! Oh, yes: it is obvious that Joe doesn’t want a woman telling him what to do in front of everyone else and I am not respecting that: I am not respecting him by making him choose between giving my dog cake and obeying my orders.
  3. Joe does respect my wishes. Hmmm, this was more difficult. Oh found one: Yes, perhaps he could believe he is respecting them because he can’t know what a small amount is in my eyes (this is a bit contrived, but I’ll let it serve). Ok: it is obvious that in letting Salomé roam free I want everyone to like and be kind to her and he is doing that in his way. One day I asked him if he would pay for my coffee and he did, respecting my wish. I always wish I could find more opportunities to do The Work (and free myself) and he respected that wish giving me the perfect opportunity.

The turnarounds are thoughts too so they are no more true or false than the original, but they can also be indications of how I can better lead a peaceful and happy life (which is all I want in the long run) so I will take them into consideration. This is a grand opportunity to take a good look at where I am not respecting myself and where I am not respecting others and to remedy that to the best of my ability. It is a chance to see where I am not respecting Salomé (her needs which are my responsibility) and remedy that. I do this for me, only for me; because it makes me feel good, it gives me peace, it makes me love myself and therefore others.

Thanks to doing only one thought on this worksheet, I have looked at the reasons that I let Salomé run loose in the café. They are the usual ones and don’t surprise me one bit: It gets me attention; I like being seen as the owner of such a cute little dog; love my dog, love me; I fool myself thinking that I am making her happy but if I had never let her loose she wouldn’t know the difference… In other words: I, I, me, me, I, me! Nothing whatever to do with Salomé’s happiness or wellbeing.

Someone might be asking themselves if all this apparent guilt and self-blaming is really good for me, but I have to say that I am not feeling in the least bit guilty because my actions were (and always will be) completely innocent. I just believed what I was thinking and as long as I believe what I think, I have to act in accordance with that. I am not to blame for believing what I believe in each moment. However, today I am responsible for doing The Work with thoughts that produce war or pain or suffering of any kind in me.

With The Work I see what it was that I was thinking that made me act in the way I did; so now I have the power to change what was causing the problem in the first place: my thought that another person should change to make me happy. There can be no self-blaming or guilt: quite the contrary, I am filled with love for myself for being so clear and so brave. I love my mind for participating in this game called The Work which I do only for my own freedom and happiness. And I love my body for being my faithful ally in this Work and showing me always when I go to war with reality by manifesting the feelings that wake me up.

And what do I do with the rest of the worksheet that I so carefully filled out? Well, I continue to go through each thought one by one. I can take my time. A worksheet can last me a day, a week, a month, a lifetime and reveal every single problem that I am causing in my life by believing my thoughts.

In the end, I can turn numbers 2, 3 and 4 around to myself and find the path to my own freedom and happiness. For instance, number 3 –the should’s– says: Joe should be respectful, he should understand that he is doing harm to Salomé, he should stop trying to play games with me, turns around to I should be respectful (of Joe, of Salomé, of the group I belong to, of the people in the café, etc); I should understand that I am doing harm to Salomé by letting her roam the café begging for goodies and overeating; I should stop playing games with me (believing I have no part in the problem), I should stop playing games with Joe (continuing the push-me-pull-you of tease/control) and I should stop playing games with myself (thinking I do something for Salomé’s pleasure that I am actually doing for myself, like letting her run free).

Eventually The Work is done: It’s a piece‘a cake!P1010581[1]




685402     “And you know that we are so interwoven in the web of life that even the smallest act,      with clear intention, has repercussions through the whole web beyond your capacity to see. But that’s a little cool; maybe even a little abstract. You need the heat of the compassion – the interplay between compassion and wisdom.” http://newstoryhub.com/2017/09/joanna-macy-on-the-relevance-of-the-shambhala-warrior-prophecy-for-our-time/

Someone shared the Shambala Warrior Prophecy on Facebook and this part of it seemed to me to hold the key to all the world’s problems. When I look at the size of the ‘problems’, they seem so large that they produce a feeling of helplessness. But I’ve taken to asking- “What can I do?”- and waiting for the answer. It always comes. It might be making a donation, or buying a product to help a foundation; sometimes it is changing a habit (not buying any more water in plastic bottles, for example), others responding to a community request like the day I went to help a local team pick up cigarette butts around town.

Occasionally, it might be picking up somebody else’s dog poo (I always carry extra poo imagesM841JRMDbags), or the empty bottles and plastic cups found on my walk to coffee and putting them in the bin. It is not much, but I think of ants: each one does its best, puts the effort it can into a small piece of the job and they build cities that marvel us (https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/ants-natures-secret-power/). Each bee brings but a small amount of honey back to the hive, but between them all they produce enough to feed the next generation of bees and a whole lot of human beings besides. And, if it is the imagesAA3REBX8bees you are worried about just type ‘how can I help save the bees’ into google and you’ll get a ton of ways (http://www.queenofthesun.com/get-involved/10-things-you-can-do-to-help-bees/).

So yes, I do believe that a small act has repercussions, that the beating of a butterfly’s wings on this side of the globe might cause a hurricane on the other side. I may never see these repercussions or even know of them, but today it fills my heart with hope to notice people doing small things to change what is ailing the planet or humanity and this shows me the way. I can’t imagesVGRXVOCIclean up the ocean; I can’t even clean up Salies. But I can pick up one plastic bottle and put it in the recycling bin; I can pick up a piece of carton and put it in the paper bin.

And as far as cleaning the ocean, it seems that a 16 year old boy –Boyan Slat- came up with an idea that is actually being tested and is going to go into operation sometime next year (https://www.theoceancleanup.com/updates/). And then there is 4Ocean (https://4ocean.com/) which to date has removed 92,892 pounds of garbage from the ocean; if you donate, they send you a bracelet made from the plastic that has been ocean projectremoved. So the next time you are on the beach, why not pick up some trash and put it in a bin? Every piece you pick up is one more piece that won’t be washed away by the next high tide. And that is just the oceans.

Maybe it is air quality you worry about. Well type that into Google and up come a dozen or more things every single one of us can do to help. Will it actually make a difference if I walk or bike when everyone else is going in cars? I don’t know, but it is the contribution I can make and it feels good to make it. Good for my health too (https://sk.lung.ca/protect-your-lungs/air-quality/10-easy-steps-cleaner-air).

If you type “Save the rainforest” into Google, tons of associations working on just that are available for you to donate. Maybe it isn’t the rainforest, but just planting a tree in your garden is a contribution to the air we breathe. There is I Give Trees (Rainforest ECO,rainforest Enterprises https://rainforesteco.wordpress.com/about-us/) started by Alana Lea who –through crowdfunding campaigns- manages to buy organic trees from small rural associations in Brazil and give them back to the people who live in the degraded rainforest. It just takes one person with an idea.

LORENAInterested in helping children, type it into Google and lavish in all the possibilities (https://www.children.org/make-a-difference). I have been sponsoring two children (Lorena and Milton) through ImageKhanimambo in Mozambique and get regular reports on their progress in school (https://fundacionkhanimambo.org/la-fundacion/) plus photos and information on the activities of the organization.

A drop in the bucket, but drop by drop, the bucket fills up. Every time I am confronted with information about the enormity of a problem we are facing, it is another opportunity to ask: “What can I do?” And there is always something. Yes, I would prefer to go off and work with Doctors without Borders, but I understand that, at my age, I would be more of a hindrance than a help, so I send money when I can, I pick up dog poo and plastic around Salies, I do The Work over Skype for free when someone can’t pay (it lessens suffering on this planet) and I serve in an association that provides food for families with low incomes in the Salies area. And, yes, I do it for me: it makes me feel good, it makes me feel useful; it feels like giving back something of all that life has given me. My friend, Carlos Nagel from Tucson, says it better: “Helping others is the rent I pay for my stay on Earth” appears at the bottom of every e-mail he sends.

But above all, I do my part by not adding more stress and worry to the world, torturing myself with problems I cannot solve. If the answer to my question (What can I do?) is “Nothing”. I figure it is not my problem and immediately stop worrying about it. If worrying solved anything the world would be paradise today.

arthSo if you are worried about the state of our planet, our oceans, our rainforests or just the world in general, do something. You might think that your contribution is so small it won’t make a difference, but remember the ants and carry your fragment of leaf for the rest of the human colony (https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/ants-natures-secret-power/).



20160517_210338When I was an adolescent I discovered what is still called “reason” and, in my innocence, I made the mind all powerful; I enthroned Reason as my God and commanded it to lead me to understanding and wisdom and a good life. I came to worship the mind and the mind drove me crazy. I had believed the lie that I was the intellect, that I was that voice in my head that told me, incessantly, the story of my life. I had identified with the “I” the mind created and, henceforth, the I-mind -as cruel and selfish and frightened as a five year old child- had become my torture chamber.

I had moved into the mind as one moves into an enchanted palace with dreams of happiness and love, success and recognition only to find that behind the gold trimmings and beautiful hallways lay unimaginable torture chambers, dark and sadistic beyond my worst nightmares.

By the time I was 25 –married and a mother of two- I began longing for a way to shut the I-mind up, to medicate it, meditate it, drug it or drink it into silence. Nothing seemed to work. I strapped it into religión, drank it into oblivion, lay it on Freudian couches and picked it apart to see if finally it could find the way to happiness; I put it through Gestalt and Fischer-Hoffman and Family Constellations and uncountable therapies so as to change its hell-bent intention to torture me to death. But the I-mind couldn’t do that: it couldn’t be silent, it couldn’t be happy, for it truly believed that then its worst fears would surely come to pass. The I-mind had been born in fear and arrogance, wrapped in powerlessness and the desperate need for control, nourished in anguish and want and the sense of never-enough, contorted with nightmarish scenes: it was a horror movie. When it didn’t get what it wanted it attacked everything and everybody including itself; when it got what it wanted, it was terrified of losing it or found it lacking still. Enough was never enough.

It took me years and years and more years to realize that in the process of identifying with the mind, I had forgotten the body; I had pushed it aside, denied its feelings, scared it to death with my thoughts, tortured it with my supposed needs, satiated it beyond belief with my insatiable wants. I had judged it, stuffed it, dieted it, exercised it, operated on it, dressed it, undressed it, but I had never really seen it, sat with it, listened to it or  held its hand. I had never inhabited it.

Yet as the I-mind raced painfully towards the past lamenting what had happened or missing what had gone before, and projected itself fearfully towards a terrifying or hopeful future, the body sat in the present and waited for me to come home. When I finally did, I found that the body is truthful: it cannot lie. It is constant: it cannot leave me. It is obedient: it has no opinion, it doesn’t care. It will live or die, whatever, without complaint; it doesn’t worry about anything. The body just is, as it waits for us to come home, always present, never judging, patient beyond all measure as it inhabits the IS.

Today I know that both are gifts and that I am neither. But I had misused the gift of the mind and abused the gift of the body forgetting that I was but their joyous receiver.

Today I am home where I want to be, living the privilege of this incredible body that has waited so long for me to descend from the frightening nether regions, from the flights and fights of the empowered I-mind and live in it. It is a brave body –this one I have been given- and a sturdy one that stood up under so many onslaughts of thought-produced horror. Its heart fills me with love as mind settles in the present and observes, becoming a loving instrument too, that serves me when -for instance- I want to write about my beloved body.

This morning as I walked home after coffee I felt my body wholly and, realizing that nothing hurt, took an extra turn around the block rejoicing in the pleasure of an effortless stroll. Neither a twinge in the ankle that is badly formed nor an ache in the hip that sometimes acts up interrupted my stream of pleasure. My body felt so light it seemed to glide over the earth and I walked in gratitude for its patience, its fortitude, its faithfulness; for the joy it gives me to finally sink down and feel it living and vibrant and innocent.20160625_135831


HURICANE IRMABetween last night and this morning I was shown how delicate, fragile and precious the web of life actually is. Irma (the hurricane) is hurdling towards Florida where two of my grandsons live, one with his girlfriend and the other in college (they are in Tampa now in the house of a friend which is supposed to be very safe). Mexico City, where my daughter and two more grandchildren live, was shaken out of its sleep by an 8.4 earthquake (oscillatory) in the middle of the night (the 1985 earthquake was 8.1 and claimed over 10,000 lives). My son and his wife (in Los Angeles where wildfires raged a few days ago) had to rush their dog to the hospital yesterday to have melon-sized tumor removed and waited most of the night to see if 1) she survived the imagenes NIKON (July 2011-Sept 2011) 014operation and, 2) if there were metastasis in which case the dog would not be woken up from the anesthetic (fortunately the big black labradoodle survived the operation and showed no metastasis). And last night I lost Salomé in the dark. I’ll start with that.

It was 8:30 and it had just gotten dark… I mean dark. The full moon would not come up for a couple of hours and the blackness was left to a couple of feeble stars that managed to shine in spite of the clouds. We left the house and –as usual- I allowed Salomé to pick our evening route. She decided on the ‘around the corner and out towards the vineyards’ way, so I took her leash off. There are very few cars on that route at night and only one street to cross so she goes on her own.

We’d had a very nice walk –lots of smells for Salomé; a gentle breeze and peaceful quiet for me-, had turned around to come back home and were just arriving at the far end of the vineyards when Salomé decided to go into the 2-3 meter wide grassy patch between the grape vines and the corn field. As she often does this and then catches up with me, I continued walking slowly. When I had almost gotten to where the vineyard ends (about 20-30 meters on) I turned to look for Salomé and saw that she was just coming round the last row of grape vines and heading in my direction along the grassy strip between the vines and the road. I continued walking slowly waiting for her to catch up. About a minute or two later I turned again to see how she was progressing and she wasn’t there. My gaze swept the whole grassy strip up to where I was standing and the street down to where we had separated and the sidewalk on the other side of the road. Nothing. The area was well lit, so it was obvious she wasn’t there. I began to walk back calling her name, something that generally gets zero response from her but that I hoped might work this one time. Nothing. I got all the way back to where our ways had separated. Nothing. I OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwalked into the grassy space a bit turning on my phone flashlight in order to see between the rows of vines. Nothing. I knew she wouldn’t go into the corn field because the stalks are too close together, so I walked back up the whole length of the vineyard. Nothing. Thinking that perhaps she had crossed over and gone around the other way which sometimes we take to go home, I walked back and around. Nothing. I repeated these now desperate steps another three times, calling all the while with a voice every moment more pleading and desperate. Nothing.

The moon was coming up, but it wasn’t the lack of light that was causing the problem; the problem was that Salomé was nowhere to be found. ‘Maybe I missed her when I was going around the other way and she is waiting for me in front of the house’ I thought, trying to give myself hope. I walked all the way back to our building. Nothing. I did the whole tour twice more and then scoured one of the streets leading into town that we take sometimes at night when I need to put the extra steps on my phone’s Health App. Nothing. I was beginning to feel panicky: my little dog doesn’t just disappear into thin air! But she had.oznor

I was becoming quite tired from walking as quickly as possible back and forth, and there was a hollow feeling in my chest and stomach. How could she have just vanished? By this time I had been searching for over an hour. I went back to the house and took out the car. Now I drove, slowly, going down the wrong way on the one way street we had been on, searching both sides and the middle. Nothing. She was gone. My mind kept saying over and over: ‘How could she have just disappeared like that?’

I kept telling myself that everyone in town and nearby areas knew her and would definitely bring her back if they found her, but the thought of little Salomé spending the night alone wandering around and me spending the night alone looking for her with all the terrible images my mind could produce weighed like lead in my chest. It was getting near 11 o’clock. I decided to do another round with the car.

dic 31 2011 027Just as I was entering the one way stretch of road the wrong way again, I saw her. She was trotting rather rapidly (she probably noticed I was nowhere to be seen) in the direction of home so it seemed that she knew where she was even if I didn’t and it was a relief to see that she would have gone to the front gate of the building where we live if I hadn’t found her.

I stopped the car, opened the door and said her name as if we had just spent months apart. She came towards me as I unbuckled the seat belt and I just scooped her up into my arms. I don’t know if she was trembling or it was just my own trembling but in order to not add insult to injury, I imagined that she had been just as frightened as I had been and held her tightly for the next ten minutes.P1010581[1]

When we got home, she went straight to the cupboard asking for a treat. I couldn’t help myself rewarding her despite my hour and a half of emotional torture, so she got her treat. On the positive side, however, thanks to her I racked up over 14,000 steps on my health App (around 9 kms) for the day instead of my usual 9-10,000. Salomé went to bed immediately and fell fast asleep; I took a while to finally put the dread of loss to rest and find my own path to dream world.

And all the rest… well, that was this morning. I awoke to find 42 messages on the family WhatsApp group. My daughter-in-law wrote about Zuka’s tumor and operation; pictures and lamentations went back and forth until Zuka came successfully out of surgery. Everyone relieved. Then my eldest grandson announced that he and his brother (both actually living on the Atlantic coast of Florida) were in Tampa to wait out the storm; again messages back and forth urging them to stay safe and sending lots of love. Then my grandson in Mexico informing everyone that they had just had an earthquake and everyone was fine, although he had been very scared. Apparently it was oscillatory (side to side) and not trepidatory (up and down) which was why damage in Mexico City was at a minimum. I found my daughter still awake and we messaged back and forth a couple of times more (it was past 2am in Mexico City and she gets up at 5) and then I sent her a goodnight kiss.

oznorSooo, now it is past midday and I am wondering at life which can produce so many near disasters in one night without anything really serious happening. For the moment, my world seems to have survived lost dogs, dogs with tumors, hurricanes and earthquakes and –as the song goes- the sun is shining/ oh happy day/ no skies are cloudy/ and no skies are grey/ oh happy day/ oh, oh, oh, oh lucky me.