Monday, December 8, 2008

The Leap of Faith....First ya gotta let go...

by Cassondra Murray


There is something new in our house this Christmas--the patter of little feet …..and the flutter of wings….both from the same creature. If it’s an angel, he’s a feisty one--in a black and white coat.

The end of this particular year—2008-- and the turning to 2009 are special for me a little more than usual—it's both hard and good at the same time.

You see, If I can get past the rush of the season, Christmas and the New Year is a good time for letting go of the old and embracing the new—in all sorts of ways--releasing old habits and shifting to new kinds of thinking—or letting go of old traditions that no longer serve, and creating new celebrations that work for who I am now.

None of this is easy or natural for me. In particular, the "letting go" part. The new creature with the feet and the wings is a part of the change this year, and he’s become a symbol for my own journey.

Some of the Banditas already know about the new to our family, but I think he deserves a formal introduction here in the lair.

His name is Thor, short for Thoreadore, and he’s a four-year-old, African Pied Crow. He's 18 inches tall, with a wingspan of nearly three and a half feet.

Here’s a picture of Thor on the night he came home to us. We took all the back seats out of the van to fit his six-foot-tall, wrought-iron cage in the back. He rode in a large cat crate on Steve’s lap all the way from Atlanta.

On his first morning in our home, I got up about 7 a.m. and was on my way to the bathroom. I walked by Thor’s cage where it was set up in the dining room and he came over to me and leaned his head down and said in a soft, purry whisper, “H…h…..hhhhh….hiiiiiiiiiiii.”

“Hi Thor,” I said, and went back to bed.

Apparently, “Hi Thor,” was not adequate response to his sexy bedroom voice greeting, because as we were lying there trying to sleep a little longer, we heard a series of loud meows coming from two cats fighting (neither of ours—it was all Thor) and then a string of obscenities that would make a sailor blush. The eff word was included without restraint. Steve and I were holding our sides and trying hard to not laugh out loud at the bird cursing in the other room because he’d been dissed.

Later that morning, Steve was making coffee, and making an effort to include Thor by engaging him in conversation from across the counter.

“This is the coffee grinder, Thor. Don’t be scared, it’s just noisy.” (Insert sound of beans grinding).

“This is the paper filter, Thor.” Thor liked that part.

“Then we put the coffee in the filter,” Steve said, in a voice you might use when speaking to an interested toddler. “Ooooooone……twooooo,” Steve continued, counting scoops, all the way to, “Seven. Seven scoops, Thor. That’s how much it takes to make a pot of coffee.”

Thor tipped his head sideways, took a long look at Steve holding the coffee scoop, then stuck his beak into the air and said, in a snobbish tone, “I already know.”

Here's cool video from you tube of a Pied Crow named Cuervo. Thor doesn't trust us quite this much yet, but one day we hope he'll get there.





Thor and I have a few things in common. We both curse a lot more than we should. But there are other things too.

Thor had come to his original family, and his most beloved, favorite person—we’ll call her Dee—when he was a fledgling chick in 2004. If you’re not familiar with large birds—and Pied crows in particular—you may not know that they live for 20 or more years, and that they are deeply social creatures. They love their flock. They NEED their flock. And when they lose their flock—their family-- they mourn. He’d bonded with Dee and her husband, and he loved them with an intensity that might surprise people who don’t know birds are capable of this. This is Thor when he was still with his former family.




Because of life changes, Dee and her husband couldn’t give Thor the social interaction he needed in order to be healthy, so they began searching for a new home for him. Several people were in the running to adopt Thor, and to our good fortune, he came to us.





Thor had already survived adoption as a chick, a move from Los Angeles to New Orleans when he was almost a year old, then after only one month in that home, Katrina hit. Yes, Thor lived through Hurricane Katrina. Everything in Thor's home was lost except for the people and animals. So Thor and his family landed, refugees, in Atlanta.




Then, three weeks ago we appeared and took Thor from the only family he’d ever known.


Three years ago--when Thor was just a young bird-- a series of events happened in my life—one of those Jerry Springer-esque, stranger-than-fiction things...

You know the ones--you hear about them or read about them, but contest judges and maybe even editors would say, “No way. I don’t believe that would ever happen to a real person.” Well, it happened to me about the first of November. The end result was that I lost my entire family except for my husband. I didn’t lose them because of death, but it was very nearly as final, and in some ways, more painful because of how it happened. I was devastated. Inconsolable. It was the winter that would not end—a time in life that forced me to the essence of who I was—to look closely and decide that I was—or was not—worth the space I take up on the planet--even without the approval of others. I took the leap of standing up for myself and I hit the ground hard.

Almost three years to the day from when I lost my family, Thor lost his. Neither of us really had a choice in the matter. Sometimes we don’t get the chance to leap. Sometimes we get thrown.



It’s a good lesson in life I suppose. Some things we can control, others we can’t. If I let it, it could keep me holding on to the safety of the known, too afraid to leap into the void.





Thor talked a lot the first few days he was here, but he didn’t eat much. Grief does that.





Dee told us he likes bubble baths, so a few nights after his arrival, we tried for his first bath. But we put in too many bubbles and he couldn’t see the bottom of the tub. He freaked out and went under water. Then he was wrapped in a towel for his nail trim. He was wet and cold, shaking and afraid, biting at the nail clippers. Then when he went back into his “house”, he fell off of his perch and landed in the bottom of his birdcage, still wet, unbalanced, unable to fly. Thor is a proud bird. It was hard to see him so helpless and afraid, nothing like his former glory.





I felt just that way when I lost my family.





In an ironic twist, I feel a little of that angst that right now—though just a tiny bit. I’ve made a decision to leave my present job —one that’s good for me financially, but very bad for me creatively and personally—for another job—less money, but more flexibility. It’s hard to say whether it’ll be better for me creatively—for me and my writing—only time will tell. It’s a leap of faith, and I’m afraid. What if it doesn’t work? In a difficult economy, I’m walking away from security to (I hope) gain sanity.




Sometimes you let go and leap, and no net appears. Sometimes you hit the bottom of the cage. For me, that’s scary.




We helped Thor onto his perch that night, and he dried off and spent the rest of the evening fluffing his feathers until he was gorgeous again. He was sad still, we could tell, but after a couple of hours he got back most of his sass.





Three years ago I learned that sometimes family has nothing to do with blood. When you’re in the ditch, you find out who your friends are, and I learned that having nothing can set you absolutely free—free to find who and what you are, and what celebrations and love mean to you. We actually enjoy the holidays more now than we did before, but that didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of letting go—scary, painful growth and change.




We made new Holiday traditions for ourselves —with people who love and support us.
Of course, I had someone to love me through my loss three years ago. My husband was there for me and supported me as I went through that. I hope we can be there for Thor in that way too.




Letting go and leaping is a little easier if there’s someone there with you, saying, “I believe you can fly.”





We’ve begun to let Thor out of his cage to fly around the house now. He flaps and glides and soars through the rooms, and to be such a huge bird, he is astonishingly agile and quick. He turns on a dime. When he’s ready to go back in his cage he takes a turn around the kitchen, glides over to the cage, tucks his wings in, sails through the door, air brakes, and lands softly on a perch.
But it’s when he takes off that he’s most impressive. He leaps, spreads his wings, and is carried on air as though the air is there just for him---to take him on a glorious ride. He flies the way I breathe—without even thinking--effortlessly.





I watch him and wonder if I’ll ever be able to do that—to trust the universe and leap in that way. Will this new job be a good choice? Will I be adept? Will this change at the turn of the year—the letting go of the old and the embracing of the new—be a positive one? Or will I hit the bottom of the cage and have to dry myself off again—maybe have help getting back up and onto the perch?





I’m writing a character right now who has hit bottom and is having to claw her way back to who she is. Which I guess proves that for a writer, no experience is ever wasted.





Thor is adapting. We hope he’ll come to love us as he did Dee and her husband. But that will take time. He’s become a symbol for me—of the things that are happening around me and how I’d like to be able to adjust and adapt—and trust and maybe, every now and then, fly.



I’m not much into resolutions, but this time of year is a good one for changes. New beginnings.



What about you?


Have you ever chosen to let go of the old or embraced the new in your life, to good result? Has it ever been forced upon you, as it was upon Thor and me?


Have you ever taken a leap and had the net not appear? How did you get yourself back up onto the perch?


Do you have a favorite character from a book--one who haunts your memory because he’s been taken so low you thought he’d never fly again? One who’s lost everything and still found her way to a happily ever after?


In your own life, how do you know when it’s time for a change, and how do you work up the courage to make it? Do you listen to your heart, your gut, the people you love, the voice of the Divine?


Do you use the turn of the year to make changes, let go of the old, take up the new?


Is there someone in your life who fluffs your feathers and says, “ Let go. Leap. I believe you can fly!”

43 comments:

Helen said...

Is he coming to my place

Have Fun
Helen

Cassondra said...

I believe his is!

Congrats Helen!

Helen said...

Well the grandchildren are here so he has some playmates maybe he will occupy Jayden and Hayley for a while I am sure they enjoy him.

Cassondra I love your posts they are so beautiful.
I love Thor what a wonderful friend to have. I agree the old saying is so true you can choose your friends but not your family I have been blessed with a wonderful family and am thankful everyday for them and all of my friends and know that any of them would be there to help and encourage when needed.

As for a leap of faith just about everything we try is a leap of faith marriage having children changing jobs. I remember when I went back to work after having the children I had been a stay at home Mum for 10 years and I must say loved it but money was needed just to make ends meet so I took a job washing dishes I had worked in a bank before the children but along the way I have moved up to superviser level and have done a lot of courses in the mean time and struggled through some of them but with help and encouragment I got there.

Cassondra I wish you well in your new adventure I know you can do it and if it gives you more time for writing this has got to be a positive thing because I really want to read one of your books you have a magical voice Way To Go Girl.

Have Fun
Helen

Donna MacMeans said...

Congrats Helen and I agree. Cassondra has a magical voice. If her new job gives her more time to write and be creative - when I can't help but think that's a good thing.

I love your bird, Cassondra. (Somehow that just doesn't sound right *g*) I think you and he will make a great team.

I took a leap of faith to marry my husband. We'd never been in the same city for more than a weekend. After the wedding, I moved to Cleveland which is at the opposite end of the state from my home in Cincinnati. No family up there. No friends. No job. Just this guy I believed in. Then later, as Helen mentioned, when we decided to have children it was a leap of faith. Nothing prepares you for that and the important decisions that follow. I faced another important decision when I decided to leave public accounting and go into industry. It may not seem that way - but that was a major decision. I had to do a bit of journaling and self-examination to determine that was the right choice for me.

I think you made the right choice as well. A few years from now, you'll look back and know this is true. I think it's neat that Thor entered your life as you crossed this threshold. There has to be some significance to that. Time will tell.

jo robertson said...

Oh, Cassondra, what a heartbreakingly beautiful post! You have this incredible ability to touch people with your words. Don't ever let that go, girl!

Thor is beautiful. I know you've talked about him on the loop, but I had no idea he was so huge, so gorgeous, so powerful. I love the way you described his flying into his "house."

I've taken many leaps of faith in my life, seems like one after the other. Some have been hard, others very rewarding, but we have to take what life gives us.

Sometimes you don't know you're going through fire until someone brings out the fire extinguisher.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Wow, I am almost speechless and I have to tell you that takes a lot. This was a very moving post Cassondra and your Thor is a very beautiful bird, I would love to see him in flight.
I have taken several leaps of faith and sometimes there was a net but most often there wasn't. Most of my family is gone and I didn't have that much to start with.
I relate to death sometimes being easier because you know they are gone, when they are still there but not available, that is hard.

Cassondra said...

Aw, Helen, Thank you so much for saying nice things about my posts.

I think everybody struggles with letting go of the old and reaching for the new. Just like when you needed to go back to work, you did whatever you had to do. But still you worked at moving up and changing. Maybe that's why it's universal in the books we read--we relate to people's fears---because everything new is a leap.

Cassondra said...

Donna said:

I took a leap of faith to marry my husband. We'd never been in the same city for more than a weekend.

Donna I love this story about the way you found your soul mate. I'm moved every time you talk about it.

And I've done the same things--journaling and soul-searching to see if this is the right move. Sometimes I think any movement is good since I felt kind of stuck where I was before. And yes, I think Thor's arrival is not coincidence either.

Cassondra said...

Jo said:

Sometimes you don't know you're going through fire until someone brings out the fire extinguisher

So right JO! Sometimes you don't realize the significance of what you've been through until afterward either. There are days I look back and think "I can't believe I made it through that and I'm okay now." Maybe it's good we don't necessarily see it at the time.

Cassondra said...

aka Diana said:

I relate to death sometimes being easier because you know they are gone, when they are still there but not available, that is hard.

It is, isn't it? I thought a lot about that before I put it in the blog, because it sounds so harsh in some ways, but death is a natural part of life, though painful for the living who've lost. Other kinds of loss--well, not so much sometimes. I think we're better equipped--maybe taught better from childhood--how to deal with the natural loss of death than we are the other kinds.

I applaud you for leaping without a net. I know I SHOULD leap, but I always seem to spend inordinate amounts of time looking around to see if I can find one, just in case.

Cassondra said...

I've gotta go to work for a couple of hours this morning--but I'll be back asap. Y'all pour some hot chocolate will ya?

BABY IT's COLD OUTSIDE here!

Inara said...

Beautiful blog, Cassondra, both heartbreaking and uplifting. I can see the story of Thor in print now -- and the exceptional woman who gave him a home.

I don't know that I've ever had to take such a leap. Having a loving family underneath me, I felt like even when I was making big moves (across the country) or from one career path to another (outdoor education to law school) I always had a safety net.

Writing is probably my biggest, scariest leap. Putting words out there for people to see (and critique). Its fabulous, but terrifying. But with each little leap, I think you do become stronger. I just hope I can someday be as strong as you, Cassondra!

Cassondra said...

Aw, Inara! I swear I didn't write this to make people say nice stuff....y'all are making me blush.

I don't feel strong. Maybe nobody does when it's their own stuff they're going through.

I think maybe the leap of putting your writing out there is the hardest of all for me. That seems to be a universal theme for writers--to sell, you have to "get naked" emotionally, on the page, but letting other people see that...well...I can't think of anything scarier.

Isn't it interesting that life brings us continually to this point--whatever it is--the thing that's hard for us? Maybe the "letting go" is one of the important lessons. I'm not good at it.

MsHellion said...

I have to agree with what everyone is saying! Cassondra, this is a beautiful post! You really do have a voice that when it speaks, everyone listens. *HUGS*

And I love the bird that cusses like a sailor! Too funny!

Cassondra said...

Thanks Hellion!

I'm trying to tweak the blog a bit. Some people are having trouble viewing it and I think it's the embedded video. I'm trying to put in a link, so if you don't see the video of the pied crow, or a link to it, hold on...technical blogger difficulties. grrrrr.

Virginia said...

Birds do make awesome pets because we have had a few over the years and they do get attached to you.

Our leap of faith would have been a few years back when my husband and I lost our job of 20 years and had to start over again. We lost 2 other jobs after that to plaints closeing. My husband has a good job now but I haven't had much luck but we are doing ok the way things are. Believe me starting over sucks.

Cassondra said...

Virginia said:

Our leap of faith would have been a few years back when my husband and I lost our job of 20 years and had to start over again.

The security of a steady income is a frightening loss isn't it? When I was younger I was actually less afraid of that. I guess because I had fewer financial commitments (mortgage anyone?). Now, even without kids, the loss of income is scary. I can't imagine the pressure people feel when they have a family to provide for.

And I think no matter how many stories I hear that end "it worked out in the end" it's still a leap when it's your own situation. I'm glad it's working for you, Virginia.

Cassondra said...

Okay the video's back. Lessee if it's better now. We've had reports of at least three people who couldn't view the blog today. I don't know if it's blogger or something I did in the post!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Helen, a rooster and a crow! I think your life is for the birds! Ha ha.

Cassondra, I LOVE your posts. Thank you for this one. It was amazing. And you're so lucky to have Thor. He sounds so special - I kacked myself laughing about his sexy voice not getting the right reaction and him responding accordingly! Ha!

Good luck with the new job. I REALLY want you to have more time to write just so it's that much closer to me getting a whole book of Cassondra writing rather than just the occasional blog! I know, I'm greedy! Sic Thor onto me! ;-)

Cassondra said...

Anna Campbell said:

Good luck with the new job. I REALLY want you to have more time to write just so it's that much closer to me getting a whole book of Cassondra writing rather than just the occasional blog! I know, I'm greedy! Sic Thor onto me! ;-)

Ha! You don't want me to sic Thor onto you. That beak can do some damage! We're learning to read his moods, but every now and then we still get nipped. He's biting a little less like he actually means it now though. Not so hard.

Thanks for the good wishes about the job. It's interesting because my present job actually allows me time. But it's hard on my mental state. And apparantly that's detrimental to the writing craft--perhaps even more than the lack of time. I wouldn't have thought it, but I've come to understand that it's true. There has to be time to write, but there has to be space in your soul to allow for writing as well, maybe?

Cassondra said...

Oh, and as for the Aussie Buddies...what sorts of crows or ravens do youall have down there? Our native crows are solid black. But it's illegal in the States to keep a native crow. So that's why people have Pied Crows from Africa as companions. Do you all have the Pied Crow down there as well? Or just the solid black kind?

Helen said...

Cassondra

We only have the black ones as far as I know that is the first I have seen of a Pied Crow and I gotta say he really is beautiful.

When I was young we had a Galah the pink and grey birds as a pet who talked a lot and would follow us around the yard when he was out of the cage he was actually a pet of my mothers when she was young galahs can live to be 100 years old I lost him when I was about 8 but my mother had had him since she was about 12 and they had found him so he was already talking then he was a good friend always had me laughing.

Have Fun
Helen

Cassondra said...

Helen said:

galahs can live to be 100 years old I lost him when I was about 8 but my mother had had him since she was about 12

Wow, what a cool thing! To have a bird like these you're talking about is a real lifetime commitment. They often outlive their "humans" I think. I've seen several of the larger parrot-type birds in pet shops or rescue organizations because their companion person had died and they had nobody. That has to be, for the bird, a lot like losing a spouse. I think their hearts must break.

Helen, what all did yours say?

Cassondra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elyssa Papa said...

I'm agreeing with all the others who've already posted before me...it was a beautiful blog. Thor is a very handsome bird, and I didn't know that crows could . . . cuss. I only thought parrots could speak and mimic; it's always cool to learn something new.

Congrats on the new job! Everything does happen for a reason, though right now, I'm questioning that cliche, too. Sometimes something that happens horribly to you can lead to a brighter future, although at the time, it sure doesn't feel like it.

Helen said...

His name was Cocky and he used to call my mothers name over and over Betty Betty Betty then he would say bloody girl this was because my grandparents were always calling her apparently she was always up to some sort of mischeif LOL and you would swear you had a cat in the yard most times not a bird the best thing I thought was if a female walked into the yard he would wolf whistle but only at females he also had my grandfathers cough down pat.
If you didn't watch him when he was out of the cage he would chew things my grandmother told me a story once that she was planting seeds in her vegie garden walking along the first row and when she got to then end he had followed her and taken every seed out he could be very naughty when he wanted to be LOL. But I will always have fond memories of him and often my sisters and I talk about him.

Have Fun
Helen

Cassondra said...

Elyssa said:

Everything does happen for a reason, though right now, I'm questioning that cliche, too. Sometimes something that happens horribly to you can lead to a brighter future, although at the time, it sure doesn't feel like it.

Oh, you're darn right it doesn't feel like a positive step when you're going through that horrible stuff does it?!

I wondered if some others were going through changes. I can almost feel a shifting in the air the past few weeks--and I know SO many people who are changing jobs, moving cross country, or making other major life changes.

I know one or two people who can take that in stride and say "it'll all work out for the best." They embrace the change--even the scary changes--and look forward to it. I admire that.

Cassondra said...

Helen said:

the best thing I thought was if a female walked into the yard he would wolf whistle

Oh, I was kind of hoping Thor would do this. He hasn't yet, but I always think it's funny when a bird whistles at you that way. I love hearing about Cocky. They can make a lot of mischief. Some crows apparantly love tearing up the house--throwing things onto the floor and making a real mess. Thor, however, has much better manners than that, which is one of the reasons we thought he'd fit with us. He doesn't throw his food and he doesn't pull things off shelves or any of that traditional "bird mischief."

Deb Marlowe said...

I can see the blog! Yay!

Gorgeous post, Cassondra, as always. I think we've all bonded with you and Thor. Best of luck to both of you! I hope you'll keep us updated regarding his progress--and yours!

Cassondra said...

Hi Deb!

Thanks for stopping by. I'd heard some folks were having trouble viewing the blog today. It seems to be internet wide. I poked at it, but I don't think that's what did it. I think it was the magic of the ether.....(cue twilight zone music).

And I'm glad you like Thor. I will have to do updates.

Louisa Cornell said...

He is back with you, Helen. You obviously have captured his beady little heart or perhaps his tummy with the Tim Tams!

Cassondra what a magnificent and truly insightful post. I am with La Campbell. Anything that gives you more time to write is A No.1 with me. You have a way of seeing through to the heart of the matter and weaving it into a wonderful tapestry of thought and words.

Thor sounds like quite a character! I believe crows are related to the mynah family and therefore can be quite talkative. I owned a raven for years who was an excellent swearmeister and mimic. His name was Edgar (what else would you name a talking raven?) and yes he was taught to say "Nevermore." Unfortunately he usually added "mf" to the end of that - my students loved to teach him naughty words.

It is sadly true, you cannot pick your family. However, the blessing is that you can create a family that more often than not is stronger than the one nature saw fit to give you. You definitely find out who your friends and real family are when you hit rock bottom. I found out quickly when my DH died who the people were who really loved me. I lost much of his family and it hurt for a long time, but my own family and the friends who stuck with me made it easier.

The thing about hitting rock bottom is you have nowhere to go but up and the only limit as to how high you soar is how wide you're willing to stretch your wings. I've worked with birds of prey and when they are just coasting they tend to fold their wings in to make altitude adjustments. When they spread their wings as far as they can that is when they soar. The funny thing is they are often surprised by how far they can stretch. Just as we often are.

It took ten years for me to let go of my DH, to let go of the hurt and anger I felt at his death and those who caused it. He's still with me in many ways, but not because I am holding him here or wrenching him back from where he has gone. When he is with me now it is because the memory is sweet and the sorrow is just a memory.

Going through the fire is an act of will. Looking back into it and saying I'm not afraid of you. I beat you - that is courage. Sounds to me like you've got that in spades, Cassondra.

You and Thor are going to be just fine. Now go teach him some dirty limericks. All comedians need new material and he sounds like a real joker! The most important thing to do is to make him feel a part of every minute of your lives. Let him know he has found a final soft place to land. It'll be smooth air sailing from then on out!

Cassondra said...

Louisa said:

You and Thor are going to be just fine. Now go teach him some dirty limericks. All comedians need new material and he sounds like a real joker!

I think he IS a joker at heart! And I suspect he knows a lot more words than we've heard. Dee and her husband told us after the cursing incident, that they suspected he had a much larger vocabulary than they were aware of--because, partly, I think he'd been left with the tv and the radio in recent months while they couldn't spend a lot of time with him.

And that's what I want for him. I want us to be a soft place to land. Everybody needs that. I think he'll need a while to adjust. Grieving and adjusting takes time--more time than the world often likes to give us.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Cassondra,

About a year and a half ago, I did the same thing job-wise. A friend whom I really respected took a job at another hospital as the nurse manager for a brand new, not even open L&D unit.

At the time I had no intention of leaving my then current hospital. I had four weeks of vacation built up each year and lived all of 3 minutes down the road! (A major perk when you work at night!)

So when she told me the only problem she was having at the new place is not having my resume yet, I was surprised and told her I didn't know I was sending her one.

Her reply. "Yes, you are and I need it now."

After creating the most enjoyably readable resume they'd ever seen, she and her boss hired me when I walked in the building. Her, because she knew me and my skills, the boss, because she could read them on paper and trusted my friend's judgement.

So my friend was the one saying, you can do this and I trust you to do a good job. I'd opened a unit in Florida once before, so knew the learning curve it would take. But financially, emotionally and clinically, this was the best leap of faith I've ever taken.

Kate Carlisle said...

Ah Cassondra, I have to "ditto" what everyone else has said. This is such a beautiful post, and I pray that your new position gives you lots more time to write because we need to read more of you!

Thor is magnificent! I know he'll grow to trust you very soon and recognize you as that soft place to land. :-)

Congratulations, Helen. Our boy does love to visit you and the kiddies!

Cassondra said...

Suz said:

So my friend was the one saying, you can do this and I trust you to do a good job. I'd opened a unit in Florida once before, so knew the learning curve it would take. But financially, emotionally and clinically, this was the best leap of faith I've ever taken.

You know, if I hadn't had my husband there--someone to say, "yes, you do have worth," I probably would not have made it through my low point. Someone around for support is SO important when you're leaping.

I know Inara has done outdoor education, and has probably seen the power of emotional support to lend strength in a time of fear. On a ropes course, it's only a pole you have to climb. If you do it, great, if you don't, that's okay. In life, it's a much bigger deal sometimes. Stuff like this--leaving a secure job to open a unit--it's kind of sink or swim. And it's scary. The emotional support of one person can make so much difference.

Cassondra said...

Kate said:

Thor is magnificent! I know he'll grow to trust you very soon and recognize you as that soft place to land. :-)


I hope so Kate! It's interesting to me that my husband, Steve, was my emotional support through my low time. And he's also better at going right back and loving on Thor even when Thor is in a "bitey" mood. I think it's a gift--to be patient while another soul goes through something hard.

You know, the Banditas have that gift in spades, as a group.

Caren Crane said...

Helen, good thing you took the chook! I'm not sure how he and Thor would get along. I have a feeling the GR would spend most of the day cowering in a corner. *g*

Cassondra, you and Thor are so lucky to have found each other. It sounds like a match made in Heaven - each just what the other needs. I'm sure he will be a boon companion to you and you will have company every day. What a treat!

I have been in low, low places at times in my life. I only recall once really pulling back and thinking, "Wow, this is about as low as you could possibly be - time for a change." I have a history of pulling myself up by my bootstraps. I don't recall ever really needing external help - not when it was really serious.

I have had exceptional friends kick my my arse at times (like Deb Marlowe, who can be fierce when she needs to!), but it was usually just me in a slump and not the pit of despair. Of course, I don't think anyone else COULD pull me out. Believe me, I can sustain a wallow! But my mother would do her best. I have the best mother evah!

I am so far from my lowest now that I can't envision ever getting quite so banged up again. You never can tell, though. I'm sure life has lots more yawning chasms in store for me. At least now I know I have Banditas to dive in after me!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Congrats Helen on the chook! Watch out for the TimTams...

Cassondra, I love the pix of Thor. Wow, he's gorgeous!

Louisa said:
The thing about hitting rock bottom is you have nowhere to go but up and the only limit as to how high you soar is how wide you're willing to stretch your wings. I've worked with birds of prey and when they are just coasting they tend to fold their wings in to make altitude adjustments. When they spread their wings as far as they can that is when they soar. The funny thing is they are often surprised by how far they can stretch. Just as we often are.

Wow, Louisa, this had me near tears. Its so true that you just have to have to somehow find the strength to take that first horrible step on the climb back up. Sometimes, like not just lying down in the snow and giving it up, you have to make yourself go on.

About 18 years ago now, I hit the bottom of the well. Somehow, like you, Louisa, with friends and some of my family, I managed to wobble to my feet and take one step. ONce you take one, you think, "okay, maybe I can manage another."

Sometimes you still sit down in the snow and cry, but hey, that's part of the climb too. :>

Go YOU Cassondra for taking those steps, those leaps of faith - net or no net - and spreading your wings wide enough to fly.

You soar on, girl. You're a Bandita now and we have your back too. :>

And tell Thor we said Welcome to The Bandita Lair! :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

BTW, a huge DITTO to everyone who said, YEAH that you have a new job that may allow enough mental space to free up your writing time. I'm so happy about that I could jump up and down. Grins. Isn't THAT a picture? Ha!

Cannot WAIT for more Cassondra Murray Masterpieces.

Susan Seyfarth said...

Cassondra--

As usual, your post leaves me sniffling & wondering when I'm going to find your oeuvre on the shelves of the nearest Barnes & Noble. Becuase, dang, you always get me right in the heart.

Thor is exceptional. So are you. Nuff said.

I think I'm with Nara on this one. I haven't had a lot of cause to be brave in my life, but one of the things that took the most courage was telling people I was a serious writer of romance long before I ever sold a book. It was a leap of faith to publicly own up to a goal I might never reach. Especially the longer I went on as an unpublished author. Those were tough holiday dinners where I had to keep smiling & explaining that things move slowly in publishing & it could be years before anything happened, if it ever did.

But exercising courage is never a waste. It always makes us stronger & better & more compassionate. I'm rooting for you & Thor to both soar in your new lives.

Joan said...

Every blog by Cassondra is a Cassondra Murray Masterpiece.

Poignant....

19 years ago, my hospital merged with another and all the orthopaedic units were being transferred there. It was heartbreaking. But ortho was my forte and so I went.

It was rough but I gained so many new friends.

I admire everyone with the courage to try something new. Sometimes I think my roots are so darn deep I could never pull them up.

But....when an editor calls?

"Riiiiiip"

Beth said...

Cassondra, congratulations on the new addition to your family! Wonderful post!

I totally believe in taking a leap of faith whenever it's called for *g* I've taken several in my life and luckily, most of them have worked out. The ones that haven't were all learning experiences so I can't complain :-)

flchen1 said...

Cassondra, I'm not sure I've much to say today, but just wanted to say again how much I always enjoy your posts--they always move me and leave me thoughtful and sometimes speechless. Thank you!