Double Dog Dare

(Song Dedication: Split Stones by Maggie Rogers)

…If you would only move like you had nothing to lose…

It was a BIG weekend. Like if you could measure the level of commitment to growth in tear-volume and muscle tension, this was the biggest of weekends for me personally.

This may sound harrowing and just completely appalling to some, but for me, the layers of fused together filthy band-aids of years past were removed from my soul. This is not to claim all begrimed skin patches have been disposed of, but several patches were taken off in what began as little, tentative extirpations that consummated in a bunch at once, because that’s how band-aids work…if you layer them together…they are best removed together.

Ew, David. enough with the band-aid metaphor…what the F are you actually trying to say here?

What I am trying to say is I did my work, some of it, and it was hard work. Some of the hardest work I have ever taken on emotionally and spiritually in an independent way. I feel as though my soul ran a marathon Saturday and then it took a day of recovery to follow, and here I sit two days later, ponderously at my keyboard wondering what my fingers will say next?

So Tapping. Yes that again. I have been using the Tapping Solution App regularly, sometimes a few/serveral times a day as I tune into my body’s language. Sometimes the language is emotional; read as anxiety or frustration or plain old anger, other times the translation is physical sharpness in the neck, spikes of rigid plates deep in my shoulders and sockets, migrating down to mid back or vacationing way south in my hips, north to a headache or Antarctic to the arches of my feet. My Body has soooooo much to tell me, when I am willing to listen!

The Tapping along with my other knowledge of stress response, unresolved trauma, epigenetics, compassionate inquiry, yoga practice and a billion other things to consider from my buckshot approach to solving my health problems the past three years has really accelerated my rate of release and recovery. As Dr. Edith Egar puts it, “…you are not in recovery, you are now in discovery…discovery of who you truly are.” The context of this statement was made in relation to addiction recovery, but when I get really real about my thoughts and actions, I have many addictions to negative thoughts and actions and embodiments that very much read as adaptive dependencies in response to perceived threats my nervous system has implemented to keep me safe. (Big-sentence-Sarah alert…sorry)

The past few days, has lead me to Louise Hay’s work and it was another puzzle piece to integrate into the tapping and other resonant ideas and philosophies. Resonant meaning that which works for me because I feel and believe it at a deep level…which means this may not be what you need if it doesn’t resonate with your frequency.

After a pain treatment with my Naturopath who also uses meridian points to bring my body systems out of fight or flight and into balance (just like tapping), she had shared how we can use nature to transmute the release of negative energy. I liked the idea of that. Because if I was releasing all this toxic energy from my body, where exactly was it going? Was it gonna latch onto another host and suck the life force from them…that sounds like a horror movie I never want to watch.

She said simply giving over the negative thoughts and feelings when out in a natural setting or even offering it to water or another natural force will accept the energy, just like our plants take our carbon dioxide and convert it back into oxygen…thanks by the way plants, kinda a big deal what you do without asking for any type of medal or appreciation. So my release of toxic feelings and emotions (yes different things…feelings as in body…emotions as in thinking…but very much intertwined) could be metamorphosed into something beautiful, rich and healing for everything, not just for me. Cool shit.

Saturday morning I had a little emotional release with my husband as I shared how I was working to change my need for perfection and the negative thought patterns engrained deeply from a young age about my appearance, specifically my skin. Intellect knows I am not ugly and can hide imperfections with makeup, emotionally I do feel ugly without makeup. Plain and simple. This is a thought pattern I wish to desperately release, to deeply feel accepted by my own self. 30 years of bandaids all gummed together coating the largest organ in my body. Go big or go home. Or at least start with the admission of these thoughts so I could begin to untangle them from myself. I cried gently as he returned my gaze and accepted my truth so I could too. No fixing or telling me I was crazy and shouldn’t think those things. He gave me the space and I moved on.

As I was making waffles for the nine-year-old, he mentioned an old friend who no longer goes to his school. He was reminiscing about how this kid, at only 7 years old, use to stick up for Jack when other kids were making fun of him. This made me recall the time they were playing lego in the basement and proceeded to shred every lego instruction booklet they could get their tiny first grade boy hands on, like giant hamsters, they managed to cover the rec room floor in under 10 minutes with a decent amount of rodent bedding. I chuckled and reminded Jack how I asked them all to clean it up.

Jack got kinda sad and said, “…ya but remember what happened after they left?” I couldn’t recall. He continued, “…it was the first time you said the S-word at me, you were so mad and told me how disappointed you were that I had let that happen to my things.” He was really sad, 3 years later. That made me take pause. This was a growth opportunity he was offering to me.

I poured some more waffle batter and sat down to face him. I asked him how he felt when I said those things and acted that way. He said he still felt embarrassed about it. I could see the shame colouring this memory that was innocuous to me. I asked him where in his body he felt those feelings when he remembered this incident and he was able to show me where. As I watched him speak his truth and tune into his body, my eyes filled with tears of guilt and gratitude.

He looked alarmed, oh-man-mom’s-leaking-again-eyes met mine. The guilt asked me to apologize, so I did. The gratitude told me to share why this was important that he spoke up. We smiled together and hugged. I kissed his forehead and took the waffles from the iron.

He is without a doubt, my greatest teacher.

With two easy cries under my belt before breakfast, I was ready to face the day. After I shared privately what had happened with Andrew, I may or may not have cried again, but again this was well received by my husband and we moved through it again. Andrew sharing his gratitude for this moment between his son and his wife.

For your reference. 180 lbs of double dog in the back of a Subaru Outback,

Preface for context: My friend owns Scout’s sister Zoe. Through a turn of events, the dog I had planned to bring home…the runt…was not the dog who chose me, that was our Scout. However, briefly after my friend met Scout and learned the runt was still available, their family too got sucked into the Bernedoodle love trap and made Zoe theirs.

So she and her family were going skiing Saturday and told me I could pick up Zoe for a play if I wanted. I did. I wasn’t sure if I could get 180 pounds of Bernedoodle into the back of the Subaru. I wasn’t sure I would have the energetic strength to wrangle double dogs. But I did know, if I didn’t try, I wouldn’t find out.

As we made our way up into the forest behind our house, the girls bounced barkless through creaky, untouched snow. We broke trail, the three of us. My smile reflected in my heart as I watched their natural connection for one another.

I listened to Louise Hay convey so many wisdoms from her book You Can Heal Your Life, I could barely contain my joyful recognition in her words. After 45 minutes of intense slogging through a winter beach of sandy snow, I decided to turn back, and the girl’s paws were packed. I suddenly felt the need to turn off the audiobook and turn on a carefully curated playlist I had recently made. As Split Stones seeped into my ears I came to a stop in an open section of trail, a trail only I had cut with the help of the dogs minutes before.

In my refrain, I was flooded with emotion and feeling in my body. There was gratitude for this specific moment, there was grief for loss, sorrow, humiliation, hatred, rage, love, so much love and it didn’t want to be let out in fits and spurts any longer. I faced the tree line and gave their branches and needles and the sky and it’s clouds and the ground and it’s snow, ice and frozen soil below everything I could. I sobbed aloud. The mighty dogs laid down to lick at their paws and I wept. (Zoe like WTF, Scout all Here she goes again)

All the tears I had been bandaging beneath my skin. The cruddy band-aids were no match for the powerful outflow that was transpiring.

Then I did a weird thing. I wanted to face my shame and fear of emotional revelation. So I took out the only mirror I had. Yes. I took a selfie. I needed to see myself in this state of vulnerability to prove that I was capable and it wasn’t as ugly and unsightly as my Ego had been telling me this behaviour was all these 40 years.

A beautifully orchestrated culmination of events, thoughts, feelings and emotions clashed together in a wide open space of natural wonder and I had finally arrived. I was born anew and just as the torrent of emotional stagnation rose it equally fell, appeased by this graceful honouring. When I looked at my surroundings to ground my body, I noticed Scout had inched herself at my feet, still working at her paw pads but anchoring her body to mine, perhaps to keep me from dissociating completely. I looked down and she looked up, fearless. I bowed to meet her forehead with mine, honoured by her presence.

What would you do? If you had nothing to lose? Would you allow yourself to feel? Would you allow someone to see you raw and vulnerable? Where would you go? What would you do? How would it feel, if you had nothing left to lose?

I double dog dare you to allow it. The sheer thought of possibility. The brave dalliance with hope. The freedom of choice is within us all, especially when we allow ourselves the framework of nothing left to lose. But only if it resonates.

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