Learning From The Master: My Dog

Sadie the three-legged wonder dog, and resilience.

In January of 2013 my beloved rescue hound dog, Homer was killed by a car in front of our house. It was the first time in nine years he had left his yard which had an invisible dog fence. My wife and I were devastated. I still get choked up remembering seeing him lying still on the road and picking him up to carry him home. Homer went on to become a best-selling author and I wanted to give him the proper amount of time and mourning before getting another dog.

Sadie at 6 months old in her new home.

Sadie at 6 months old in her new home.

In June of that year, the animal shelter my wife often volunteered at (and where Homer came from) posted a video and photos of Sadie – a treeing walker coonhound/mutt missing her right rear leg. Sadie had been there a couple of weeks and nobody had taken her home. She was full of such exuberance. I don’t think she ever noticed or thought about her missing leg, which she lost at a few weeks old and then spent months in the hospital as they attempted to save it. The bills became too much for her owners in West Virginia and she ended up in an animal shelter and eventually was rescued and sent to a no-kill shelter in Massachusetts.

As soon as I saw that video on Facebook, I knew that beautiful, bounding beast of resilience was the dog for me. She was the model of perseverance I needed in my life. I called my wife to ask what thought of getting a dog with three legs. As soon as she heard the “d” of dog, she said, “yes!” She called the shelter and as a volunteer, they told her to get here today and we’ll hold her. We arrived as a family was looking at Sadie and we both said, “she’s taken!” at the same time.

Sadie has been one of the most fun-loving pets I’ve ever had. But, in June of 2017, she began having grand mal seizures, actually clusters of them. I had never heard of this in dogs, but I guess it is rather common. Despite multiple hospitalizations, vets, neurologists, chiropractic, acupuncture and more, the seizures haven’t stopped for good.

Sadie Collage

A Sadie Collage. Two in upper left was as a puppy in the shelter.

99% of the time Sadie is happy and healthy. A joy to have in my life. 1% of the time, happening on a monthly basis since June – it is terrifying, distressing, and brings feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Feelings I’m all too familiar with. I’ve been prepared to have her put down on multiple occasions. Recently it hit me that again she is a model and reflecting what I need to see. My own periods of depression and suicidal ideation are very much like her seizures. My down times are a small percentage of my life, but when I’m in them my life feels like 100% shit show.

At times this past summer the fact that my dog was suddenly having seizures with no known cause and despite intense efforts, specialists, energy work, meds, and supplements they haven’t been cured, was just another reason to be depressed and miserable. At other times it seemed like a blessing. It was as if Sadie was helping me by making me focus on her. When she starts having a seizure, nothing I’m thinking about or feeling matters. Whatever thoughts I’d been thinking – good, bad, or indifferent – vanish in a split second as I’m desperate to help her.

I’m writing this following a long night of five seizures for Sadie and one hour of sleep for me. The first sign of trouble is that Sadie starts running around anxiously like something is wrong but she isn’t sure what. Then her mouth begins to tremor, opening and closing very fast and all her facial muscles twitch (on rare occasions it stops here).

For the grand mal’s (which all five in the last eight hours were) she falls to the ground and has full body spasms; legs racing as if chasing something in a dream, head slamming in all directions like me at a Metallica concert, she usually pees, sometimes poops, and always drools up a river of thick smelly stuff from deep within her frightened little body. These seizures usually last about a minute. If they don’t stop, she’s in danger of overheating and having permanent brain damage. While they go on, my wife and I hug Sadie, tell her she’s OK, and try to protect her head. Sometimes she slams it against walls or the floor and gets a bloody mouth. Once the physical seizure ends, she enters a state of panic and tries to get up. It is quite a battle to keep her down, but her limbs don’t cooperate and if she gets up she staggers and falls, risking more injury. When home I’m holding her down at this point with everything I’ve got. This can last 5 – 10 minutes. She seems to be blind and perhaps deaf at this stage. Roughly 10 – 15 mins after the seizure ends she suddenly recognizes us. This is my favorite thing about the whole mess. It is like she sees me for the first time. Sadie’s tail goes back and forth at a mile a minute; she wants to smell and lick my face, and I let her even when she’s covered in a wretched slime. She is still very wobbly on her feet. Sadie darts around the house like she is discovering it for the first time. It can take up to 30 minutes before she seems normal.

Usually, her seizures come in clusters. Tonight it was three separate full seizures between 1:20 and 2 am. We give her meds, hemp paste and after a 2nd seizure some Valium (rectally, so it’s a lot of fun). Tonight was the first time that I recall her having additional seizures even after having the Valium. Her final seizure of this month’s cluster (I hope) was at 10:40 am.

Fortunately, or perhaps, unfortunately, we’ve gotten rather used to this scenario. The first few times I would have sworn her seizures lasted at least five minutes and took an hour to recover from. They still are terrifying, but we just hug her, keep her as safe as we can, get peed on and hope each one is the last. Luckily each episode has ended on its own.

September was the worst – she had 10 seizures in 48 hours. One in the back seat of a car while we were racing down a highway. Not fun. We haven’t found a pattern, trigger, or cause yet. So far they happen at some point each month, anywhere from 3 – 5 weeks from the prior cluster. Her vet told us today that Sadie is officially not under control, meaning they acknowledge no treatments have worked yet.

There have been multiple times this summer I thought we were going to lose her or have to put her down. Much like I’ve often thought of having myself put down. But my three-legged sweetheart continues to teach me the fine art of resilience and to fight on. The good times are worth fighting for and vastly outnumber the moments of terror and life peeing on me.


See Sadie Action Practicing For the Tripawd Soccer League.

Spirit Activation: Before and After

Okay Spirit, you are officially activated!

This is my first blog post in 6 months. Not coincidentally, those six months were a period of withdrawal and depression triggered by financial challenges, business disappointments, physical injuries, family illness, pet illness and much more culminating in the death of my Dad in July.

Included in the many things I stopped doing in my summer of misery were daily rituals and practices I learned as an Initiate in the Modern Mystery School. I recommitted to my daily practices in early November and within days I was feeling better than I had in 7 months. To continue my rebirth, I opted for another healing called, Spirit Activation. This healing is meant to awaken the soul and the eternal blueprints of my higher mind. Results may include allowing a higher perspective, clarity of choices, and letting go of patterns for several weeks to months.

As I like to do when I’m embarking on new experiences that I can’t really describe, I’ve done before and after videos for the Spirit Activation. Enjoy!

After shooting the 3rd video and with less than 2 hours of sleep, I did indeed make it up 3,166 feet to the peak of Mt Monadnock in New Hampshire.

Mount Monadnock, 3,166' high.

It was a gorgeous, clear day and I was flooded the entire day with memories of the many times I hiked this mountain as a kid with my dad. Once, when I was about 10 years old, we flew all around the Monadnock region in a small four person plane. On that flight we saw a square dancing group dancing on the mountain peak. The next time we hiked up the mountain, I was all bummed that we were there on the wrong day as there were no dancers.

During this ascent, I even shared a few stories of my dad with strangers hiking the trail. It was very cool and I had to pause and step off the trail a few times to let my emotions flow. I could definitely tell that a lot of negative energy had been released during my Spirit Activation. I look forward to seeing how this all unfolds.

If you are interested in more of my experiences with the Modern Mystery school – check out the videos for my Life Activation and Galactic Activation.

Galactic ActivationLearn more at:

Dark Night of the Soul

I don’t recall when I first heard the term “dark night of the soul.” It is most often used to describe a spiritual crisis. It goes all the way back to a poem by the 16th-century, Spanish poet and Roman Catholic mystic, and priest, St. John of the Cross. The poem narrates the journey of the soul to a mystical union with God. Over the years, it has often been used to describe any challenging time, period of depression or questioning the meaning of one’s life.

I’ve experienced a few dark nights in my scariest, most fearful, depressed and suicidal times. Periods where I’ve given up, and have no idea what to do next. I’m in torment; questions spinning and racing through my mind. I beg, plead, and pray for help, for support. I cry, sob, rant and rave. Eventually I fall asleep exhausted.

In the past I’ve interrupted these releases by attempting to end my life. Frustration and impatience boils over as my desperation does not get an immediate response, answer or change. After a suicide attempt, I would get support. Sometimes it would be in a hospital but my needs were met. I could fully exhale and surrender. It took me years to realize I could be supported without attempting to end my life, and years more to see I could have emotional releases, feel sad, angry and fearful without having suicidal thoughts or impulses too.

Three days ago I had a self-induced dark night of the soul. After three weeks of fear, sadness or tears showing up each day I was now furious and in a rage. I screamed at my wife over our finances. I was completely out of control and I hated it. So I isolated myself in a dark spare bedroom and I prayed. I meditated. I did energy work. I cried. I repeated Ho’oponopono over and over (I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.). I surrendered to the Divine, to whatever support, guidance and assistance I have. I asked for Archangels, Guides, Masters to help me release this torment. Dying crossed my mind, but not in any sort of ‘that is what I want to or should do’ way. My wife came and tried to talk with me. I ignored her. I tuned out the little whisper I could hear/feel that said just talk to her, stop this act. But I didn’t. The old part of me, my ego, was louder. Old patterns insisted that I be quiet, isolated and feel tormented and that I ignore my wife so that she would feel a bit of this pain too. I wanted to punish us both. Looking back, I believe it was the feelings, energies and tendencies that I’ve been releasing making their last stand.

I had a similar experience the last time I felt suicidal. In December, 2015 I had suicidal thoughts and even did some planning, yet there was a bigger, clearer part of me, a newly more powerful and louder aspect of me, that knew I was not going to take part in any self-harm. I felt and believed it was this old suicidal energy and identity showing up again so that it could leave me – hopefully once and for all.

Since this experience I’ve researched how other people define the Dark Night of Soul. Eckhart Tolle says

“It is a term used to describe what one could call a collapse of a perceived meaning in life…an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness. The inner state in some cases is very close to what is conventionally called depression.  Nothing makes sense anymore, there’s no purpose to anything.  Sometimes it’s triggered by some external event, some disaster perhaps, on an external level.  The death of someone close to you could trigger it, especially premature death, for example if your child dies.  Or you had built up your life, and given it meaning – and the meaning that you had given your life, your activities, your achievements, where you are going, what is considered important, and the meaning that you had given your life for some reason collapses.

“It can happen if something happens that you can’t explain away anymore, some disaster which seems to invalidate the meaning that your life had before.  Really what has collapsed then is the whole conceptual framework for your life, the meaning that your mind had given it.  So that results in a dark place.  But people have gone into that, and then there is the possibility that you emerge out of that into a transformed state of consciousness.  Life has meaning again, but it’s no longer a conceptual meaning that you can necessarily explain.  Quite often it’s from there that people awaken out of their conceptual sense of reality, which has collapsed.”

Pastor and therapist, Chuck DeGrout, states what he sees as three truths about the Dark Night of the Soul:

  1. Dark nights provoke deep questions.
  2. Dark nights are spiritual and psychological.
  3. Dark nights provide opportunity for growth.

I could not agree more and I’ve felt a deeper acceptance and validation since reading about the experiences of other people.

I encourage you that if you encounter this sort of dark and heavy emotion coming into your life, find a way to embrace it. Be willing to feel it. Be willing to ask your deep questions. Question everything. Allow your own Dark Night of the Soul. Don’t expect immediate, instantaneous change, but KNOW that every thought and feeling that you allow to show up is leaving you. Don’t fall into the trap that I have many times that the pain and shit you feel IS you. It is not. It is your system working wonderfully to release what you have outgrown and what no longer serves you.

I’ve spent months, intending daily, that I was willing to let go of all that no longer serves me. I feel rather dimwitted to admit that I didn’t think such a process might bring me discomfort. I learned that some things that no longer serve me are things I’m still very much attached to. They are identities, patterns and aspects that I see are part of my uniqueness that truly don’t support me, yet I only let go with a fight. I was only able to let go of them after a Dark Night of The Soul. I used to think that I needed to die, but the reality is I needed to be willing to let part of my die. I had to let my “egoic sense of self,” as Tolle puts it, die. I can kill the illusions without killing me.

When I first woke after my recent “Dark Night” I didn’t want to start the day. I didn’t experience any miracle. Nothing profound happened during the night. But as that day and the next unfolded I began seeing that all I had been asking for was showing up. The synchronicities of people reaching out, my own elevated mood, days free of fear and with much more peace, as well as inspired actions, and new clients and opportunities. It slowly dawned on me that I do indeed get what I’m asking for. I don’t need to rely on being depressed or suicidal. I’m not served by insisting on my perceived uniqueness or my egoic identity. My healing, my power, my service comes when I surrender all that I think I am (the obvious bullshit and the things I think are wonderful) when I am willing to let all that go I can truly connect to Source, God, the Universe, Faith… whatever you want to call it, and it makes a difference.

Dark Night of the Soul

Life is Like a Guy in Step Class

Mama always said, life is like a man in a step class. You never know where to put your feet.

Well, actually my mama never said that, but it sure felt true when I found myself in a step class recently; which is healthier than eating a box of chocolates even when it is frustrating and challenging.

Do your best. Follow your guidance. Accept and realize that your best will vary from day to day.

I hope you find your next step class that pushes you beyond your comfort zone.


Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

Today has not been my best day. Luckily, I’ve been holding on to some old treasure for just such an occasion. In this video I read some notes from other people for the first time in almost four years.

Don’t hesitate to throw your knapsack over the wall, and keeping filling people’s buckets.

Happy Knapsack

This is the children’s book that inspired the bucket filling exercise. Have You Filled a Bucket Today?