You’re Fired

“It is a wise thing to be polite; consequently, it is a stupid thing to be rude. To make enemies by unnecessary and willful incivility, is just as insane a proceeding as to set your house on fire. For politeness is like a counter–an avowedly false coin, with which it is foolish to be stingy.”
Arthur Schopenhauer



Who is the difficult one?  The person that demands a certain level of politeness or the person that never refrains from displaying their lack of civility any chance they get?

Working in a field where skill is involved in handling animals, often times to hurt them for their own good, one learns that calmness and respect go a long way to keeping the situations manageable.  Trust comes from respectful interactions.  Trust is never gained through any kind of force.  Unless it is a polite, emotionless force that is applied.  Which is a zen kind of holding and releasing at the same time (and maybe the addition of some helpful drugs).

My ‘You’re Fired’ story is making me wonder who is the asshole…me or her…and truthfully at this moment in time, I believe it to be me because I don’t care, which is comical and eye opening at the same time.  When you no longer care, you no longer try.   The one thing I cling to without clinging to it is a solid decision to never see this person again.  Three strikes and you are out.  I’m sure we gave her more then three tries too.  The final being added on to the end of a very long day which included a client falling and breaking her arm and her knee cap in our waiting room.

Pink slip, client firing letter, go away forever and never come back run through my mind like a raging river.   No desire whatsoever to make this situation work out.  Ignorance combined with complete rudeness are one ugly combination.

I know this is one of those people that are testing me, and I am choosing failure because I want to.  I don’t believe in rudeness. Ever and if I’ve ever been rude, I try to apologize within 24 hours to whoever it was.  And I didn’t react rudely this time,  she hung up on me before I could get there.  To send a firing letter is to admit defeat (and feels rude).   The inability to make everyone happy flashing in my mind as we discuss it.  Goodbye evilness is the bigger neon sign flashing in my brain.

We have the most amazing office manager, in reality, an angel sent from heaven.  The most giving of herself person I have ever met and only wish I had half of her genuine care and generosity with no expectation of anything in return.   If I learned anything yesterday, it was the complete obviousness of good and evil in the  simple, everyday interaction of people.    Kindness magnified a billion times over and it’s just her nature, she doesn’t have to try  to be this way.  The Mother Theresa gene just a part of her DNA.  So why didn’t we fire this person when she made our office manager cry a year ago?

I think I came to a conclusion that if that was done back then, then it would have been done more out of frustration and anger.  This time it was pretty much already decided.  The calm, ‘that was your last chance’ achieved with really no emotion at all.  It felt right because we were so done.   I’m not really sure if we should have gone farther with her, maybe eventually seen the entire circle of her coming around to being the good person that she must be?   There will always be more interactions, more learning experiences, more ways to practice internal awareness of choices and ego and emotion.    I am always thankful for these experiences because they are there simply for the lesson.  Where one can see and apply this kind of thought by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, ‘We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.’  The human experience being the nitty gritty ego driven emotional rollercoaster that we sometimes get stuck on.

Sometimes we want to get stuck in the moments, that’s why I wonder if I am the one being difficult demanding civility.  When I should just ride the waves as they come and go and not get attached either way.  Maybe next time!


“Are you a Buddhist?”

“No, I’m an asshole. But I keep trying.”
Scott Hawkins













What are you a Master of?


To my mind the old masters are not art; their value is in their scarcity.

Thomas A. Edison


I read that quote and had thoughts of a few people that I’ve had the pleasure of working with and learning from.

If a master is defined as someone who has acquired complete knowledge or skill of an art or a task, what am I a master of?   I think I am a master of being able to find real masters, or getting them sent my way.

One of these people is Repay’s trainer, Richard. Richard is a master of this art of horsemanship.  I know this from only one source…Repay.   I can see it in her attitude, in the condition of her body, in her willingness to be with us.  A wise friend once said ‘you can look at your horse to know if you have the right person helping you’ and she is so right (thank you Crissi!).

The more I learn about Richard, the more I feel a giddiness for my horse.  It’s a strange feeling to have found this kind of treasure (thanks to my friend Leslie).    It’s been 6 months since he has been working with her and it’s been mostly at the walk and trot, sometimes just sitting on her under a shade tree for 90% of the lesson.   Varying from the arena to the trail.   Developing quietness and flexibility.  I’ve had her for almost 10 years and I’ve never seen her so at peace.  The other day Richard said ‘she’s just misunderstood and never been ridden right’…which was such a revelation to me because I’ve been the only one that has ever really ridden her most of her life.     I don’t take offense to that at all.  I just wonder how I got here. It’s one thing to learn how to ride a horse but to train one?  Maybe I thought that miraculously she came trained since she was rideable…and all that was needed was for me to learn to ride better and then we would go together?  I am sure this isn’t news to a lot of people, especially people who grew up riding horses or owning horses that were thoroughly trained by a professional.

I’ve have been fortunate to have had some really great teachers helping me along the way  that definitely got her to a place where I could do a lot more then I could ever do without them.   I didn’t know what I was doing or couldn’t maintain that once I got her back home.  I had just not realized how important it was for Repay to have her own teacher.  I can’t teach her what I don’t know.   Imagine trying to teach a kid calculus when you don’t know calculus and you are learning it yourself and the the kid would rather do other things.  I would surely fail at that, as I have kinda of failed with Repay.

I often  question ‘what am I doing here?’   Lately, as I lose my youthful courage,  I’ve come to understand my goal.  My number one desire is the same as hers.  To stay safe.

People don’t believe me, but Repay is the Chicken Little of horses…The sky is falling even when I am not with her. I’ve been accused of making her like this and I would admit it if that was the case.  I am sure I don’t help her because I am my own Chicken Little at times…but she can be out in the pasture grazing and a tree branch cracks in the woods a few acres away and she is off to the races all on her own.  The sky is definitely falling in her world.    If there is a new limb that has fallen somewhere on the property she will take days to walk by it on her own…she will run (like I use to run through the dark house when I was little thinking there was a monster behind me) as fast as she can all the way around the perimeter of the property to get back to the barn if the tree limb happens to be in her normal path.  I watch her from the inside of the house, so I know it isn’t me giving her these ideas! It is such a relief to feel her lose some of this kind of reactiveness when I am with her, and really lose it, not just being obedient and holding it in, but losing that ‘save myself because no one else will save me’ kind of reaction that would build up in her if the conditions were right.   Really learning to trust that I will save her from these terrifying things so that we can actually progress with both of our learning beyond where we have made it so far.

We all have our own periods of enlightenment on our path of learning, no matter what we may be learning.   I doubt Richard will ever read this or really understand how much I appreciate him and his commitment to putting the horse first.  He doesn’t succumb to the pressure of time to make his clients happy, for he does it for the horse and nothing else. If someone doesn’t like that, he just won’t work for them anymore.  It’s like I have reached a place that is like I was running uphill a long time and now I am on the flat.  It’s so much easier to just run on a flat surface.  To let go of a time pressure (who instilled that pressure to begin with??!!) and just go with what ever needs to be done by someone who knows what to do (as evidenced by the results),  is such a relief.





Kindness, Intent and Peace


Kindness…the definition of which is probably readily known by all.  You can see it, you can feel it, you can verbalize it and act it out.

Intent…such a forgotten idea in the game we play of talking and listening  to words with others.

Peace…when kindness and intent are seen despite what we (our egos) are really seeing and feeling.  A comforting, solid feeling of stability.    At least that is something I can feel.

It dawned on me one day when I was talking to a person I work closely with.  This person has a knack of saying things that I can take the wrong way.  I started to think about who he is.  There is no where inside of him that has bad intent.  Anything I ask of him, he’d be there to help.  I don’t think you can realize that sort of thing without knowing someone for a long time, but I think in general the nature of people is to get along.   The words we use or hear can totally cloud the real stable base of  good intentions.

I think if we could all realize how much we are sensitive, spiritual beings, we’d be way more careful with our use of words.

I really love the filter features on photo apps.  I think it’s because we can see a different view then what is there.   A view that softens or highlights or dramatizes the scene.  Some take colors away, some add colors.   Some add texture or depth.



I often wonder if this is how it would be to be in someone else’s brain.  A different filter of the same scene.  Emotion affecting vision and how that view came about.  If we could do this,  we may see differently but with better understanding of where we each are coming from.  Will anyone ever come up with an app to ‘feel’ what others feel based on their life experiences, their genetics, their addictions?  I’m sure there is a movie out there somewhere with this theme (or is it Spock that can do this?).   We’d probably be flooded with a huge amount of understanding and empathy.

I believe before we open our mouths (or write something down on the internet….or anywhere else),  we should try and see the intent of where it is coming from. What created whatever emotion we have that makes us want to respond.   What our intent is with the response and find out if it is coming from a place of kindness, to reach a place of peace.

Ever since I was little I would look at people and try to figure out what it would feel like to be them.  To come up with that next sentence, to know what they know, to actually feel what they are feeling.  I remember trying this so hard, concentrating and listening to someone talk.  Mostly it was men I was trying to ‘feel’ like.  My father or grandfather or uncles.  And as I watched their lips move when they were talking,  I would try and understand how they were forming their sentences.  I’d start moving my lips when they’d talk to see if  just the physical movement would make me able to spontaneously say what they were saying, or try and feel what the next word out of there mouth would be.  I distinctly remember asking once, ‘do you think the sentence before you are saying it ? or does it just come out naturally?’ (I really think it was because the only thing in my mind was neigh, neigh, neigh…maybe I was a horse in a past life.)  I still will wonder this when I see people lecturing and talking to others so easily.  And even myself if I am on a roll and words are just coming out of my mouth smoothly and making a lot of educated sense, I start wondering how I am doing that…and of course I lose my train of thought and mess up.



Some people can become blinded by their filters but it doesn’t mean their intent is bad.    Our own filters can get in the way of finding peace in a situation, but our intent is most likely good.


Some people would be able to read the above if they really tried, some don’t even want to try.  Some may be able to read it after they saw it without that filter.



There is no doubt one of the greatest feelings is a feeling of inner peace.  Maintaining it may involve trying to see a perspective different from ours no matter how strong our own filter may be.   Kindness to ourselves and others can be acted out by diving deeper into our feelings and removing our own filter to be able to experience the situation through another’s filter.  Realizing their intent and what it is based on.   One would have to want to do that though…It took me a long time (years) to realize my work mate intentions were always good.  Always, even though he will never change in the way he says things or can do things that still can alter my calmness, I am quicker to recognize my own filter and change it to where I see my way to that place of peace.  Calmness always ensues.

Let’s clink our glasses to taking time to think and react with kindness to situations that want to disturb our inner peace.  No matter the situation. Whether we are the one that is being disturbed or if we are about to disturb another, it’s so worth it in the end 10012034_840958552585145_8814796194305663012_o.








No Title (yes, this is the title)

‘Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts.’  Anonymous


I am trying to verbalize something that can’t be verbalized.    This is probably why I am still a student and not a master.  The one who knows doesn’t need to say and really has no questions.  The one who doesn’t know, thinks and asks in excess.

I think my horse trainer is a zen master and I think it is more relevant because it wouldn’t matter to him what he was.  That’s not what he is trying to do, that is just who he is.  I’m honestly not sure why it’s even important for me to write this down. I feel if I can understand it better by writing it down, somehow I will capture it in a way that will stick with me.  I know now after writing most of this already, capturing and clinging to it isn’t the goal.

There are several things that came to my mind on why I started looking at this from such a perspective.

  1.  Every time I assume to think I know what he is saying and repeat it, his response is always ‘no,no,no’.  Ok so I didn’t get it right…You never get zen right in words because zen just is and needs to be experienced.
  2. I took some notes one day when I was riding alone.  I wanted to ask him some questions on things my horse was doing and how I should respond to these things in the future.   He says ‘I can’t answer those questions, that day doesn’t matter anymore.  What happened then will never happen again in the same way, so those questions can’t be answered’.  Much like zen mindfulness and living in the moment… So there went my question asking session. Although he did tell me to go ahead and ask the questions, which I did, which may have stuck me in a place that I shouldn’t be (in the past or in the future and not in the present moment…)  I concluded that he doesn’t want me to think.   It’s better to react to whatever happens in the moment (knowing your aids), not overthink everything.  He would not say he was trying to tell me to do anything.
  3. When I ask him a question he seems to always answer ‘Do what you feel like’.   Is it ok if I ride with the reins long when I first get on her? he responds ‘do what you feel like and pay attention to what she is doing so you can react’ (mindfulness).     Another question ‘when she starts lifting her head really high to look at something should I keep her from looking (knowing she can get really distracted and ‘higher’ when staring at something)?  his answer… ‘you can keep her from looking but after a while she is going to start to resent you telling her what to do all the time’ (I think he is speaking from personal experience)…’Are my old habits going to come back and ruin all you have done?’ (I am spooky which makes her spooky and then we both are spookier…).  His reply ‘no, no,no!’  you can never ruin her, we just make things we might need to fix…It’s about the moments…not about the future or the past.  Just because she did something today doesn’t mean we should expect it’s going to happen tomorrow no matter why she did it.

Thankfully, I have had very similar learning experiences with other horse masters…so that when I hear what he is saying, it’s sinking into areas of my brain that have already had impressions placed.  Hearing the same things in different ways, from different views and life experiences creates an even deeper level of understanding.

I never had someone actually ride my horse at my house before.  It was always about me riding while receiving instruction.  I think a lot of assumptions go into that.  First and probably the worst is that the horse knows what to do and second that I know what I am doing to some extent.  Poor Repay.  Our continuous cycle of staying the same in a place of being inconsistent in our progress (frustrating each other) had a lot to do with both of our ignorance.    The trainer rides her twice a week and I get on her and she responds  consistently and peacefully.   He says he didn’t do any of that, it was already in her with good training from her previous training experiences but what he did was quiet her down so that I could feel all that was already there.  Plus he is so accurate with his requests that when he tells me what his cue or aid is, she reacts in a way that she is teaching me how to be correct as well.    I still have these bad habits of thinking (not zen) she is trying to evade something when it’s really the way I am asking that makes her think I want her to do one thing and she is trying so hard while I get frustrated thinking  (not zen) she’s doesn’t want to do it.

My favorite part  (and something I really never ‘got’) is that getting on and standing under the trees is something she needed.  Not working her was working her.   Being a thoroughbred off the track that was trained from a baby to get up and go when a person got on her back had never really been taken out of her.  Even in my own mind, you get on a horse and go.  Walk, trot, canter.  No matter if it was a trail ride or in the arena, it was always going.  Repay never had trouble going, she had trouble not going.  She had trouble even in her own self of calming down in every gait consistently.  One day she’d be ok, one day not so ok.  Even one of my favorite dressage teachers would say ‘she’s a thoroughbred, this is how she will be’ with such steadfast confidence.  Thankfully for both of us, we have a new way that has finally gotten into my head.  It seems pretty obvious and simple now that I really think about it.   We are still a long way from achieving our powerful quietness, but our path is more obvious to me now.




I love her tail in this picture…It was really, really windy that day!

Moving on

As I sit here trying to do some research on  my most recent critically ill patient with acute kidney injury I’m being distracted by the writing in the notebook I’m using to take notes.

‘Prepare the Honda’

‘Camping stuff’

Mileage to different destinations.

As I sit here trying to read on my most recent critically ill patient…
These lists taking up space on the paper where I’m trying to write about protein losing nephropathy and membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis. I’d much rather be planning a cross country motorcycle trip and writing down all the things I need to prepare for such an adventure then be reading about a disease that will likely never be cured. I can spell the camping stuff much easier too.

The mere thought of a freedom filled adventure with no responsibility, no places you have to be, no appointments to worry about. Just stop and go as you please…I can’t even have a thought about it that is not taken over by the tangles of responsibilities I’ve grown myself into 😦

This notebook, that’s over 20 years old, has a mixture of my ex-husband and my writings. My veterinary school notes,  his violin lesson notes,  his poems, my future landscaping goals and promises to stop eating chocolate and peanut butter.  They randomly take up space on the pages.  In no order whatsoever…a time when we had little money to waste paper.  At least that  is the only reason I could see why we were sharing one notebook for such a myriad of things.  Or maybe it was meant for me to have this one notebook full of so many things written by each of us so I would not forget.

As I sit here trying to read on my most recent critically ill patient…-3

It’s been 20 years since he went on that motorcycle trip. I can’t remember if he ever told me about it but I think that was the final goodbye.       I love my life and feel tremendously grateful for the  growth I experienced on the path I took.    Kirk, living on the top of a mountain, in a yurte he built himself, trying to figure out how to keep his bees alive in the Montana winter…there’s no doubt he loves his life with the same enthusiasm for living that I always knew him to have.

As I sit here trying to read on my most recent critically ill patient…-2

We are separate now and somewhat opposite in our thoughts and ways but we are the same in our contentment with our chosen spaces, which makes me feel like we did right for each other despite the trauma it took to get there.

My mom barely can remember us. The fact that we met in high school and that we were together 15 years and moved to Alachua after we got married. Like the amyloid in the glomerulus of the kidney which ruins its function, my mom has amyloid in her brain ruining its function, starting with the memory. And here, I write in a notebook that has the past, the future and the present swimming around its pages as reminders to never forget.

My mom doesn’t remember being sad and crying when we told her we were getting a divorce…What is reality  ? when one day you may forget it all?

Kirk introduced me to Buddha’s teaching when we were 16 years old. The ‘perfect dent’ discussion. He was so pleased with himself for being able to explain it that I’ll never forget the moment he sat there talking about it. After that I would look at things very differently. Everything you think is broken is not. It’s the perfect version of itself. My mom is one example of that.  Every day she may change a little, but she still is the perfect version of herself in the disease she has.

There are occasions that inspire me to start writing. This one was thanks to amyloid and an old notebook. I never want to forget why or how I got to where I am. The people that helped shape me along the way, whether the experience was a good one or not.   Without Kirk I may not have had the courage to take those challenging physics classes, the organic chemistry, calculus 2…or move to alachua to start the whole application process for veterinary school. People help carry your dreams with you and he carried a lot for me. Once it was achieved, he gently let us go. It’s strange to think of it that way because I was the instigator of our break up but he let it go and moved on. We both moved on.  Hopefully  urine will continue to move on through my patients ailing kidneys too and not become clogged with amyloid.  Sometimes moving on is the gift we forget to be thankful for.

As I sit here trying to read on my most recent critically ill patient…-4


When I look at Sally


When I look at Sally

I see an elderly lady


I see too many cats

A big heart

Trying to save them all

I see a veterinarian

That carries the same big heart

That sees a cat

Stuck in a situation

Seizuring, unable to stand

Skin and bones

Head twisted almost upside down

Ears full of infection and parasites

Feline leukemia virus taking over.

Elderly lady doesn’t comprehend

Just sees a life to save.

Veterinarian. Sees suffering and a life that should be let go. Knowing the home it would go back to would put her in a kind of cat hell where she too would want to live but would cycle through periods of being sick and then sicker, then back to sick again.

Ah but what do I know…

Sally. A constant reminder to not always take the easy (?) way out. To go with your heart.   Giving up not an option every time.

The profession of Medicine is truly a calling and to treat it otherwise is a tragic mistake.

Decisions are made and then you live with them. Good or bad.

You die, you live.

What is the determining factor?

Money can never really be the reason.

I understand it on purely profit driven business level. But what is profit, if not life? At least trying for a really good life in oneself.

There are always places where letting go is right.

Over the years I’ve found two places it’s not. 1. In any young patient. And 2. Anytime there is hope by someone, be it the owner, the doctor or the patient. Hope is the life saver.

I can remember times (countless) that someone comes in for euthanasia and we didn’t do it that day and I see the pet back a year later or even two years later or even five years down the line… and it’s like that thought (euthanasia) never happened and the patient is doing fine.

So Sally, with her head twisted and unable to stand, having uncontrolled tremors, a severe respiratory infection and feline leukemia seemed the perfect candidate for euthanasia.

But she was young and the owner didnt want to give up.

My two golden rules flashing like neon signs in my brain.

So we kept her, treated her with antibiotics, gave her fluids, treated her ears and killed all the fleas and dewormed her.

Every day the owner would call and ask how Sally was doing. And surprisingly Sally was getting better. Despite my poor prognosis. Sally was a tough one.

After 2 weeks Sally could go home. But only if the owner could keep her in, not around any other cats. She still had a head tilt and vestibular signs and wouldn’t be able to defend herself or be able to run and jump or climb to safety. Plus she had feline leukemia which is contagious to other cats and suppresses the immune system putting her at risk of catching every other viral or bacterial disease present in the elderly woman’s colony of cats.

This was impossible for the elderly owner so we offered to keep her , find her a home and not charge her for her time with us.

I love looking at Sally.


For all the reasons why I should fight for them and for myself.

It’s not about money or about suffering or about ego or pride.

It’s about the gift of life.

Precious, precious life.

It’s about the will to live, the desire to help, whether you are the eldery lady with too many cats or the veterinarian that gets paralyzed about what’s the right thing to do at that critical decision point, when you honestly can say you don’t know what the outcome will be with treatment but you know what will happen when you inject the euthanasia solution.

I alone can choose if you live or die.

That’s a tremendous responsibility and one that I love Sally for.

Because she proved me wrong.

‘What ifs’  are crushed by the spirit for the life that is clung to.

Sure she had some very hard days but the worst were before she ever came to us.

I’m confident she does not recall or worry or stress or have flashbacks of being so sick.

Over those mountain tops and through the valley she did go, never looking back, just looking for help and no one to squash her hope.

And we did it! We stuck by her side, helping her along the way, hoping with her and we were all successful.  Sally is healthy and active and getting fat.  The only reminder of her illness is a slight head tilt and a permanent squint from the nerve that was damaged when she was so sick.

I love looking at Sally.

There’s a million reasons why.

One day maybe I will find the words to explain it.



The dirt was moist from the recent storm. Humidity almost 100 %. The second day of December and still no break from the ugly, wet heat of North Florida.

There was a large hole in the ground next to what appeared to be a shallow grave. Sent here on a tip, I took the shovel and started carefully moving the dirt to see what it may have hidden. DSC_0483Sweat started to roll down into my eyes, I wasn’t finding anything so decided to take a break and crouched down at the base of a large oak tree. Mosquitos buzzing in my ears.

It felt like something touched me on my back, I reached back to see if I was sitting that close to the tree, but the way I was leaning, there was at least a foot of space between us. I started to feel a little scared. Why am I out here all by myself, in the middle of the woods with mosquitoes and spiders and now something brushing up against me that I can’t see??…shit, fuck, piss as my ex-husband use to say.

So I decided to take my camera and look around at the scene. I may not be able to find a murder weapon, but I will try to find something to make my time out here worthwhile.

I stood in the middle of aDSC_0360, all beautiful big oaks. Virgin oaks I like to call these, not a drop of 431983_651202204894115_1281380658_n hanging from them. I find that so interesting since nearly everywhere else you look,nearly all the oak trees are covered in spanish moss. What makes this particular plot of land so unique (or polluted) that spanish moss chooses not to come here?

I tried listening to the trees, seeing if they would give any clues. Most of these trees would have been here back then. Two murders. One in 1977, the other in 1989. I was unsure of their connection, but I was certain these trees were standing here and would know something about both of them.

I sometimes feel trees are like elephants. Their memory would be picture like and solid, without ever forgetting. How to talk to the trees… I’m sure most people would think I was DSC_0248 for thinking this way, even I think I am crazy. Crazy is not always a bad thing and I will continue to open my self to receiving anything that may help solve these murders.

As I continued to be quiet and listen, I started to feel sick to my stomach. I didn’t know if it was the heat or the length of time I crouched for (getting too old for that) or if the sickly feeling was a message I was receiving from the energy around me.

Very slowly I walked, observing.

A really beautiful, refreshing, cool breeze came across my face.  Anotherdsc_0957_2.jpg  coming. I looked down and stared at the ground, and saw a DSC_0367 under the leaves. A very tiny bone. I took a stick and gently elevated the leaves. It was a tibia from something very small. Probably a baby rabbit. And then I saw the femur.

So I kept looking for more bones. I didn’t find anymore bones but I did noticed there was a lot of DSC_0376 in this kind of circular pattern all around the final resting place of a tibia and a femur. I looked up. DSC_0378Imaging some type of bird, either an owl, hawk or crow had eaten their meal up there on a big branch.

Ahhh, one mystery solved, maybe the trees are talking to me.DSC_0394