Disappointments

Disappointments. We all experience them. They hurt. They can be a blow to our self-esteem. Yet, we can manage how we react and respond to them. That is key to lessening their impact and moving forward in a positive, healthier direction.  As this image so eloquently states, “Disappointments are just God’s way of saying I have got Something Better”.  I believe and know this is true from first hand experience.

I would like to share a couple of examples of recent disappointments, small and large, I have encountered.

Just this morning I was getting ready to put on one of my necklaces when I had a case of the fumbles and it hit the floor.  We have concrete floors and often say, they are not forgiving.  I heard that high pitched ‘tink’ sound, indicating the demise of the item.  That’s right, a rather long slender oval shaped stone in its setting cracked.  It was a piece I had made, worn and enjoyed.  Fortunately, the crack isn’t readily apparent to the naked eye.  However, it is noticeable to the touch, but since it is mine, no one will notice it.

At first I was disappointed that one of the pieces I made is now flawed.  Visions of my childhood years rush past my mind’s eye of all the many items glued back together at my parent’s home.  It seemed like each of us was always breaking something!  Fiesta-ware, crystal wine glasses, gravy boats, china figurines…..that was the norm.  My Dad would sit at the kitchen table and painstakingly glue the broken bits and pieces back together.  Now a beautiful Sonoran Sunrise stone I have in my art jewelry collection is cracked.  Could I brood about it for the rest of the day, week, or longer?  Sure.  In this case, I thought, oh well.  It happens.  I can’t go back in time and prevent it from happening.  Can I still wear the piece? Yes.  Will anyone know when they look at it?  No.  In the grand scheme of things, it is no big deal.  I have chosen to not let this ruin my day and I have accepted it.

Sure the example of a broken stone in a piece of jewelry is really minor compared to the situations we encounter every day.  At least that is my take on it.  The proverbial “Why cry over spilt milk?”

This next example of a recent disappointment is a bit harder for me.

People.  Friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers, even strangers can disappoint us.  Actually I find it is their behavior that disappoints.  These situations are where I find managing my expectations of others to be key to shrugging things off and not letting my perception of their bad behavior have an adverse affect on me, my outlook, even my day.

Someone entered my life a few years ago and we became friends.  Almost from the start, I noticed this person had a tendency misrepresent truths about their activities and their life.  Their spin on these misrepresentations, “just a little white lie, they don’t hurt anyone”.  Really?  Not in my book.  Noting the behavior, I became cautious in my encounters with them and eventually had to distance myself.  The last straw, if you will, was the most blatant of deceptions about their personal life and current job.

As a very elaborate story was being woven and told to me and others (including people I know), something just didn’t ring completely true and factual.  Having been a former investigator, when the puzzle pieces don’t fit together correctly, something is up.  I was wondering what was really happening.  This person had spun some fanciful tales in the past, what are they doing now?  It has been my experience that the truth does eventually surface and it did the beginning of this week.  The real story is out there for all of us to see.   Public knowledge.  I think because my mom always told me to tell the truth, when someone intentionally deceives me (let alone some of my friends), well, I am done.  I no longer want to be involved with anyone who I cannot trust.  I think I knew the day was coming when all ties would be broken, yet I think it’s part of our spirit to hope people will change.

Initially I was disappointed by this person’s behavior.  Yes, it hurt to think that someone thought so little of me or others that they intentionally deceived all of us.  Then it hit me.  There are toxic people.  It’s ok to walk away from them.  In fact, it is imperative for your own health and well being to remove anything toxic from your life.

In the true spirit of synchrodestiny (the ebb and flow of the Universe giving guidance) this blog post came to me 2 days after the incident.   There’s a lot to Appreciate in the Very Moment by Marc and Angel Hack Life  .  This post spoke to me about this very situation.  I’d like to share some important points from their post:

  • You don’t have control over the things people say about you, but you do have control over how you decide to internalize it.
  • When you come across a challenge, it means you have reached an opportunity for growth.
  • Give your best to life, and life will return the favor many times over.
  • Your journey will be much lighter and easier if you don’t try to carry your entire past and future around with you.

The bottom line, life will have its moments of disappointments.  We can choose to go down a dark path of despair, woe is me and throw a huge pity party…..OR….we can choose to let it go.  Move forward.  Learn from the experience and view it as an opportunity for personal growth.  I work at this every day.  I can tell you that I am happier and more content when I let go of the negatives and give gratitude for all the wonderful people and experiences in my life.  It’s not easy, but it is worth it.  I think you will find this to be the case too.

Namaste.

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The Beautiful Girl with the Red Velvet Ears

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Nocturne
May 26, 2000 – June 26, 2013
The Beautiful Girl with the Red Velvet Ears

Our beautiful Little Miss Nocturne left us on Wednesday, June 26, 2013, to be with Bueller and her sister, Sydney (formerly known as Eventide).  It’s the time in the lives of those of us who love and care for pets that we dread.  Simply heartbreaking.  Yet, my husband and I are willing to endure this pain and grief because we cannot live without the joy, love, and companionship they bring to our lives.  We know we are richer and have such a full life with them sharing it with us.

I knew the day would come when I would write this tribute to Nocturne.  After she had crossed the rainbow bridge, all I could think of was “the beautiful girl with the red velvet ears“.  I had never thought of her in those terms until she was gone.  She had always been that gorgeous little basset with the perfect red circle on the top of her head.  But as I reflect on her, the red velvet ears seem more meaningful to me now.

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The perfect red circle on the top of her head

Dan & I first saw her in the fall of 2000 when she was with her owner/handler, Doug Taylor, showing both Nocturne and her sister, Eventide, in a show ring.   They were just 6 months old.  The girls were in a category called “brace”, which means 2 or more from the same litter who looked almost identical.  They were beautiful together.  My eyes and my heart were drawn to Nocturne.  I think it was love at first sight for both of us.   Throughout the years, Doug has let us hold his dogs on lead while he was showing another in the ring.  He handed their leads to us and there was an immediate connection with Nocturne and me.  At the end of that day, I felt comfortable to bend down and kiss her on that sweet little red dot.  She reciprocated with a lick to my chin.  Doug’s wife Missy said, we have found a home for Nocturne.

2001, the new year.  I got an email from Doug saying that Nocturne’s bite had changed to a rather severe underbite, which was the “kiss of death” for the show ring as he termed it.  If we wanted her, she was ours.  Dan remembers that day and said I shouted “Nocturne is ours”!

We kept the name Doug and Missy had given to her.  We could never find anything that suited her better than Nocturne.  We had our terms of affection, “Little Miss”, “Sweetheart” and our friend, Kendra, would call her “Pumpkin”.

For a basset hound, she was very fast.

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Dashing through the snow…ears flying

Logistically, arrangements were made for me to pick her up in February at the Denver Dog shows.  The day came and I made my way to Denver, found a parking place close by thanks to a very empathic parking lot attendant.  I entered the ‘back room area” of the show where handlers are grooming and caring for their dogs.  My first time to see the behind the scenes of a dog show.  As I met the woman who had brought Nocturne to us, when I said Nocturne’s name, I heard huge tail wags vigorously bouncing back and forth from the interior of her transporting crate.  I was convinced she recognized my voice.  She was also in her first heat so I was extra protective of her welfare.

What a trooper she was.  The trip home from Denver was a piece of cake.  We introduced her to our first basset, Bueller, who was also 7 months old.  They were instant buds…not because she was in heat, as Bueller had already been neutered. But the bond they shared lasted a lifetime, until Bueller left us a little over a year ago.

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Bueller & Nocturne

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One of her favorite spots to be in the sunshine.

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Nocturne loved to sun bath; here with puppy Newton.

Once she sunburned her tummy; this happened right after she had been spayed and there wasn’t a protective layer of fur.  That never dissuaded her from enjoying her spots of sunshine every where around our home.  This picture is one of her with Newton as a puppy.  While it wasn’t in the cards for her to be a mother, she was great with Newton from the day we brought him home.

She was very proud of her bark.  Once we moved to the country, she became convinced that she kept coyotes and even horses at bay from being on our property.

She loved her Greenies and did the happy dance, tossing them in the air.  There was a sheer joy when she did this.  Don’t tell me animals don’t have emotions….I witnessed it every day with her.

She would flirt with the boys to get them to play.

She knew how to wake us up if, in her opinion, we slept too long.  Positioning herself to allow her tail to hit the door handles of our dresser, which make a clanking sound.  If that didn’t work, she would adjust to hit her tail against the corner of a wall.  Thump, thump, thump.  Basset Hounds are very smart.

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She thought she was the alpha dog and during Bueller’s reign, he allowed her to think that.  Occasionally there was a mild correction by Bueller, but in general Nocturne, was the matriarch of the basset clan.

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Her post.

When we built our house, we knew these windows were perfect basset height.  This was her post where she would watch for anything that was happening out back.  Some days we think she saw phantoms, other days she actually did see a coyote or two and out the doggy door she went with a fierceness to thwart their attempts to linger.

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She considered herself a lap dog.

She took over the role of head studio mascot when Bueller left us a little over a year ago and at that time she became the true alpha of our pack.

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She taught Newton and Quorra the ropes around the Krucoff household.

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Those of us who are fortunate to share our life with dogs, especially the comedic Basset Hound, know the bond that is shared for a lifetime and beyond.

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CouchTime

She followed me everywhere.  Her presence was quiet, yet undeniable.  Every morning she would sleep on a dog bed in my bathroom as I got ready for the day.  If my bathroom door was closed, I would find her there waiting for me when I opened it.  She found her spot in my studio where she would sleep while I worked.  There was an immense love that radiated from her and now that is absent from my life.  Ah yes, but I can still feel it in my heart.

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Friends

She was my friend, confidant and companion.  I am so very grateful to have had her in my life.

She had the cutest little red dot on the top of her forehead.  In her 13 years and 1 month, as she grew more and more white, it continued to be her beauty mark.

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She was our beautiful girl with the red velvet ears.

Make the Decision to be Happy

Embrace Happiness

Sunflowers make me smile.  They symbolize happiness for me.  I cannot tell you why, it is just something I feel.  I believe happiness comes from within, a conscious decision.  I know from personal experience this is true. I believe The Art of Being Happy is as simple as Making the Decision to be Happy.

Yes, every day we are bombarded by external factors that influence our happiness. BUT, once we make the decision to be happy, it is much harder for those things outside of our control to affect our happiness.

Let me give you an example that happened in my life just last week.

Friday morning, my alarm goes off at 4:25 AM. I’m tired. It’s been a long week between work, exercise, life in general. My feet hit the floor. I hold my hand to my head, wishing desperately that I could just change the alarm to 5:30 and get another hour of sleep. Yet I get up at this hour because I’m committed to going swimming with my husband.  This year I’m signed up for my first swimming event and Friday is one of our regular swim days. A negative feeling started to come over me and I was working very hard to shake it off as I didn’t want it to affect my day or me!

We’ve all had those mornings where a number of mishaps occur as the day starts and we just let it snowball into a bad day and feeling terrible.  I recognized the signs that morning and decided I was going to ignore all of them.  This is how my morning unfolded.

Heading out to the car, too many bags to wrangle between my purse, my lunch bucket, my messenger bag for work and my workout bag.  It felt like I was fighting with all of them, including myself, to just get out of the house.  Straps slipping off my shoulders, thermal coffee mug balanced in one hand, keys in another.  Sigh.  By the time I got everything loaded into the car and I plopped into the driver’s seat, I was exhausted. Yet, I told myself….and this is key here, I wasn’t going to let this perceived effort and feeling affect the tone of my day.

The swim was good. I did my normal meditative swim and did my best to shake off some of my perceived negative feelings from the moment my alarm went off. I wasn’t going to let any of this turn it into a bad day. I made a conscious choice.

Fast forward, I’m in the locker room getting ready to head to work. The last step in my routine is to fire up my flat iron for my hair. With a flick of the thumb, the switch ended up popping off,  flying through the air (with the greatest of ease)….sort of slow motion now with a nice little cartwheel movement.  You know how that is with your eyes following the trajectory of the fragmented object.  My jaw drops open, I look at the flat iron in my hand with the now missing switch mechanism….  that little component that will turn it on/off and think, now what? I’m pretty sure my shoulders slumped in disappointment. I looked in the mirror and saw a bit of a horrified look on my face because of what happened. I assessed my hair and thought, well, I can live without the final flat iron finish today. And then I smiled and thought, I’m not going let this affect my day either. Another conscious decision on my part to have a good day, be happy and not allow any of these very minor outside events alter my day.

Now here’s the beautiful thing. The events of my day started to turn around. I started to laugh at all those silly little things that really didn’t matter. I was happy. I was having a good day. I made a choice to be happy and have a good day.

Here’s what happened next.  My husband got tickets for Iron Man 3 after work. We thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Went out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. Had a great date night.

Because of the conscious choices I had made early that day to not let things outside of my control get to me, I ended up having a perfect day and I was happy. I felt happy.  It’s internal to me.  It’s part of who I am.

You see, I like being happy. It’s a choice. I think I was able to understand and grasp that concept fairly early in my life. Have things affected me adversely? You bet. Have I allowed them to fester and rob me of my joy? Sadly, yes. But, here’s the great part, I never let those things, those setbacks, last very long. I need to be happy. I want to be happy. It’s something that comes from within and I can make the choice to be happy and I do. How simple is that?

It seems like many of us search for happiness through things, events and others. The “I’ll be happy when this happens” or “when someone else does something”.  No, that doesn’t work and only makes happiness all the more elusive.  The secret is realizing where happiness resides. It lives within in you and is waiting for you to ask it to be a part of your life.  Make the decision to be happy.  Once you do, it just becomes effortless. Now that’s priceless.

Namaste.