I woke abruptly and my first thought was that it was Charlie’s thirteenth birthday. I immediately felt brighter than the last few weeks which had all been a shade of grey. I rushed to find him and was flooded with a wave of affection, like I’d been injected with a dose of joy and the warmth was permeating every aspect of my being, each hair and fibre. I found him all cosy on the sofa hidden beneath the duvet in a little cocoon, content in his sleepy daze. Pulling back the cover he cast a glance my way and our eyes met. ‘Morning birthday boy’ I said as I stroked him, he stretched to make the most of each touch and I sat for a moment letting the energy of our connection intermingle with my deep gratitude, it felt restorative and beautiful.
As I looked for the journal that covered eight years ago I wondered if I’d paid so much attention to Charlies birthday back then, my life and it’s priorities were confused. I was a heroin addict, sex worker, abuse victim, criminal, traumatised, reckless, bereaved but I was also Charlie’s dog mum and I’m sure he’s remained a priority throughout, in the ways that really matter. Here’s what I found:
10th October 2012 – Wednesday
Charlie’s 5th Birthday!! Happy Birthday Boy!!! xxxxxxx
I am so thankful to have Charlie in my life, he is my best friend, my family. I owe him so much, I would be lost without him and his little ways. He’s my calm in the storm, my reason in the madness. My wonderful little boy! Thanks cosmos, I’m eternally grateful for Charlie, may he be with me on this journey for a very long time. xxx
No more ‘To Do’ lists, they don’t help, I just feel bad when I don’t do things, it’s a reminder of what I’ve not done. Instead I will write down notes when I complete things, Done List.
I booked an appointment at the drugs centre for next Wednesday.
Booked to see the doctor later today.
Worked this morning earning some pennies!
Updated my profile
Nice long walk with Charlie last night got soaked up in nature.
Arranged to see Ruby later for a walk with the dogs and tea together, Charlie’s birthday celebration walk and we can discuss moving in plans for rehab.
Did some housework and sorting.
Paid the bailiff to catch up, should be able to pay off next week.
Reading in Spirit and Destiny, an article about Spiritual Paths and the daily routines that reaffirm interconnectedness and connection with higher purpose. It discussed how practicing compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, generosity and meditation and following a self-care practice can all be part of this spiritual path.
It made me think of my mum and my spiritual practice at the time around her death. The Ambrosial hours called to me at that time and I would share them with Charlie, his animal spirit joining my human spirit in recognition of how we are one. We would delight most in the hours before sunrise, that special time where the worlds merge. As we walked at this time I would feel connected to all beings, to mother nature herself.
When mum passed away I felt the pull of this time even more, during the Ambrosial hours I felt mum was with me, walking with Charlie and I as the day started to unfold and this world of beings began to wake. The joy of birdsong, the warmth of the rising sun and the beauty of the rippling sky…bliss!!!
Moments of the Day!
Charlie was so happy, he was spoilt for his 5th Birthday!! Lots of treats, he was given special treatment, extra special, he was full of character and full of life, I love it!
At the doctors a lady of about 80 yrs spoke to me, she remarked on my brown cloth bag and said it was nice. We talked for a while about Appledore, she married an Appledore man, said with a tone that suggested I knew what she was talking about, I didn’t but I could guess. The lady told me how they were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, the Diamond Anniversary! ‘Wow!’ I remarked, ‘what a journey you must have shared’. The lady paused when I said this as though seriously considering the question, her eyes seemed to glaze a little as though lost in memory. ‘Indeed’ she said, ‘Indeed we have’. I can only begin to imagine what stories lay in her thoughts at that moment, but they appeared to be ones of deep affection and happiness. I’ve no doubt made more valuable by the struggles endured and challenges faced.
Whenever I read my journals from this time I always smile a bit at what’s not being said, and how on the surface the lists I make may seem quite regular but a little more detail casts a whole different picture.
My writing is quite blunt and note like in places, I’ve most likely just injected just under a gram of heroin into my groin and I’m relieved to feel motivated and well. I’ve done things because I sorted myself out, it was a deal I made with myself, I’ll do everything once I’ve had a hit!
I worked as a sex worker and updating my profile had no connection to Facebook or Twitter, it was my sex working profile where I could advertise services offered and connect with potential clients. It took organisation and attention like any business requiring excellent customer relations!
When I mention seeing Ruby I don’t express how horrible it is to not be truthful with her, to have to hide my addiction and manage the growing shame this brings.
I’m pleased about paying the bailiff because I’d let life get out of hand for while on a massive self-destruct phase that resulted in hospitalisation and a near death experience. I was making an effort to control things a bit and manage some routine and order and that was a good sign.
When I read the notes about the lady in the doctors I feel a warmth for myself, I still pay attention to things like that, I notice people and consider their lives, I’ve always enjoyed other peoples joy and happiness.
On World Mental Health Day this journal entry reminds me of how much Charlie has supported my mental health, he’s helped me to develop self-care practices. He’s kept me walking and communing with nature, he keeps me present and connected to something bigger than my little existence. He helps me to get perspective when I start to unravel, he’s shown me the value of attachment in a way that feels safe and stable. He’s helped me to be responsible for myself and him. He’s shown me things I’ve come to like about myself, the playfulness, the loyalty, the sensitivity and creativity. He’s helped me to embrace my true needs and with him I can be free. I know what authentic me is, I found it with Charlie and that’s been the greatest gift to my mental health; authenticity and connection.