Drew Rozell, Ph.D. partners with a select number of dynamic individuals who understand the value of raising their level of awareness to deliberately create the coolest version of their lives.
"This stuff works"
Well, it’s still winter here in the upstate New York. It’s cold out and the snow keeps falling to the ground. But as I look out the big windows from our great room each evening, I notice the days are getting longer. There’s still more skiing to be done, but it’d be cool if it would warm up a touch.
If you keep up with my blog, you’ll have an idea of what this month’s feature is about.
Last week, after a sudden decline, we put our older dog down. Thai, my Lab-Shepard mix (at least that’s what the pound told me), has been my constant companion since 1994. The beast brought a lot of joy in my life and the lives of people who spent time with him. His death hit me hard and this month I reflect on what I’ve been learning from the experience.
I hope you find it valuable in some way.
Also, a gentle reminder and warm invitation. Conscious Conversations, a small community of people interested in discussing the fundamental components of living a very cool life, meets virtually every two weeks. All are welcome to join us. A video and more details below.
If you’re really ready to make a breakthrough in your life and willing to learn more about yourself than you can imagine… please contact me. There are many different options to choose from to accomodate your desires. I guarantee you’ll be happy with what you discover.
Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts —
P.S. Thanks for sharing this with your like-minded friends and family. You can always point them to www.drewrozell.com.
My friend died on Valentine’s Day.
The chart on the wall said he was 88 years old. True, he lost his hearing in recent years, but he never lost his athleticism until the last week of his life. His great heart and pure spirit never faded.
Dog writer Jon Katz discusses the concept of “Lifetime Dogs.” Katz defines a Lifetime Dog as “a dog that enters your life at a critical juncture and sparks change, often dramatic change. Sometimes dogs join us when we are young, sometimes when we begin our careers, get married, get sick. These dogs intersect with us in powerful ways. We always remember them.”
Thai was my Lifetime Dog.
He came into my life when I was a 24-year-old graduate student, paying $200 a month to share a dump with a couple of housemates. As I look back upon the photos of our start together, I barely recognize myself. The shots remind me that while I was an adult in terms of my age, I had not yet become a man.
At the beginning of his life, Thai’s arrival thrust me into a higher level of awareness of what it meant to take responsibility and the nature of love — fundamental aspects of being a man. And now, at the end of his life, I am beginning to see how Thai’s death is calling me to another level of awareness, further deepening my understanding of myself and the nature of love.
Thai’s death rocked me.
I cried more in the aftermath of his death than I had at the deaths of my parents. I am not trying to equate dogs to humans or imply that he was more important to me than my parents. I am just sharing the truth of the feelings that emerged in me. In those moments when I could step outside the situation, I found myself surprised at the depth and power of my emotions toward this creature.
After all, I had imagined Thai’s death in my mind many times. Of course, I knew it was coming. On our trips to the vet, I’d cast a quick eye to that chart on the wall. I’d do the math. One day would be that day. This dog led a long, happy, leash-free life, and my rational side told me his life would end before mine. So why the bottomless well of emotion after he died?
Dogs are the physical embodiment of unconditional love. In the fourteen years of living with Thai, each morning when I rose out of bed, he greeted me with a furious Thumpthumpthumpthump! of his tail and a lick of my hand. Whether I ignored him for the day or left him for weeks while I was on vacation, it did not matter. Thai was incapable of being resentful or petty; his whole body lit up with energy whenever he saw me.
And energy is contagious.
If you are not a dog lover, perhaps it’s easier to think of Thai (or any Lifetime Dog) as a generator of pure positive energy. Like one of those ion machines that clean the air, a good dog is continually filling the air with good vibrations. Of course, with those ion machines, you need to clean the filter periodically. The same is true for dogs, though this maintenance comes in the form of dealing with hairballs, vomit on the carpet, and the occasional disappearance of your lunch should you need to leave the room suddenly. That’s just the deal with dogs.
I stood next to this generator of positive energy for fourteen years. And now, with the power suddenly turned off, I found it hard to breathe deeply, like something essential for my well-being had been removed from the air.
I gave myself the space to grieve over the past few days. In the quiet moments, I kept seeing the image of an old bumper sticker flash through my head.
“I’m trying to be the person my dog thinks I am.”
Whenever I’d see this on a vehicle, I always thought it was a cute message. I have dogs. I love dogs. I could relate to the sentiment.
I still was not clear why this message kept coming to me, though. As I began to jot down some of my feelings and memories of Thai (writing is how I tend to get clarity for myself), I made the connection.
Just as we see unconditional love in the animals (and people) we hold most dear, those beings that we hold closest to our heart are not truly separate beings. It looks that way, but it’s not the greater truth of things. We really are all connected. We really are all one.
When you fall in love, the illusion is that you are falling in love with something and someone separate from yourself. The greater truth is that you are really enjoying the resonance with the qualities in yourself that the person or animal reflects back to you. That’s why relationships are the ultimate vehicle for our spiritual evolution; they are the ultimate arenas to teach us about ourselves.
Remembering this, I realized that much of my sadness stemmed from my belief that I had lost this source of unconditional love, this oasis of total acceptance. Living in that illusion is sad indeed, when love becomes something that exists outside of you, that you are dependent on others to provide. This is not love. This is need. And there is a world of difference between the two energies.
The bumper sticker flashed in my mind again, this time with some editing.
“I am the person my dog knows I am.”
I saw Thai as being the source of unconditional love. But –- and this is what dogs do so brilliantly for humans –- Thai was simply a perfect mirror, reflecting back to me my true self, my highest self.
Each one of us is unconditional love. At our essence, that is what we are. This is how each one of us came into this world and this is what lies beyond our experience here. In the course of our lives we take on the beliefs and fears that lead us act in ways that do not honor that greater truth. We forget and we live in the illusion that we are somehow incomplete and that love comes from outside ourselves. Our work is to remember our essential nature (wholeness) and live consciously from this place.
My friend died on Valentine’s Day.
He chose this day to remind me that the true nature of love is the unconditional love of self. That’s easy to forget.
In those moments when I forget who and what I really am, I just need to remember the image of him as I walked through the door. And the sound of a tail swishing at the joy of being alive.
A couple memories of Thai
My dad died over 7 years ago, but he knew Thai well. I remember being at our camp when Thai was just a puppy. My dad set his drink down on the porch and left his chair. Thai ran over to his drink and started slurping it up.
"Dad! Thai’s drinking your beer!" I said with some alarm in my voice.
"Oh, that’s not beer. It’s scotch…" he calmly replied.
A good laugh. And Thai was fine, of course.
Thai swam in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Most people cannot say that.
CONSCIOUS CONVERSATIONS — with Drew and Jenn continues
This on-going group for conscious people will next meet on February 28th.
This is a place for like-minded folk (conscious creators of very cool lives) to connect with each other and dive into some meaningful conversation. More details on the linked page, but if you’re of the sort who like to learn, share, and laugh, I hope you’ll join us.
On February 28th, we’ll explore the nature of death. A topic relevant to everyone…
Two reasons why most people do not spend any time in reflective conversations…
1) It’s not always easy to find the right community.
2) It’s easier not to engage in this kind of conversation.
For fun, I spent some time creating this promo video. Take a look and I hope you’ll join us!
Listen to a 4 minute excerpt from our last call…
Read more about the group here.
The Reserve by Russell Banks
I’m only 100 pages deep so far, but Russell Banks is one of my favorite writers. Karin and I got to see him do a reading on a snowy night in Vermont two weeks ago. Just listening him talk about his writing process filled me with more inspiration than just about any speaker I’ve ever heard. Seems like a very cool dude and I am enjoying the book so far.
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
Finished this at the beginning of the month. One hell of a writer. Makes me want to write a novel. I have the idea… A
Knocked Up – When this came out it, I remembered it being reviewed as a modern day version of The Graduate. Like it marked the culture in some significant way. If it did, I missed it completely. Could have edited an hour out of this and I don’t think anyone would have noticed either. C
|Why We Fight – Scroll down to an earlier post on this blog about this film. See it. A|
|There are so many films I’d like to see right now. No Country For Old Men. Juno. There Will Be Blood… Alas, these films do not make it to the sticks very often…|
RANDOM NEURAL FIRINGS
|Thai is survived by our other Lab-mix, Tasha. She’s doing fine and soaking up the extra attention. The adventures continue.|
|I am amazed at how few music CDs I buy these days. I used to buy a couple a month. Now it seems like I buy a couple a year. Sirius satellite radio is the bomb, though. If you try it, you’ll love it.|
|Into this presidential election more than any in my lifetime. Feels that important. Of course, I think all of the candidate bring a distinct energy to the fray. Will be interesting to see what America chooses for herself now. As a people, what do we resonate with now? Cast your vote on the right hand side of the page!|
Valentine for life. On our wedding day.
Th-th-that’s all folks! Check this page for updates throughout the month…
ISSN: #1530-3101 Library Of Congress, Washington D.C., USA
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