DOGS.LIFE

It’s a DOGS.LIFE. We just live in it.

I’m coming up to the anniversary of my aunt and Godmother’s death. The only way I see fit to honor her is with a post about the exceptional love a dog brings it’s owner. She wasn’t just a Godmother. She was a Dogmother.

Judy meant the world to my family, and her many friends. She was a free spirit, a brilliant intellectual, and often misunderstood. She went through a lot. It wasn’t always smooth sailing between us. But we had (still have) an unbreakable bond. That bond was especially important to the many dogs that she had rescued over the years.

A dog’s love.

Any dog owner can tell you just how special the love shared with their dog can be. When they are just a puppy, they bond with their mother. If a puppy is adopted out, they form a new bond with their owner.

My dog Layla immediately bonded with me. Her first night at home was spent sleepless and successively walking her until she fell asleep on my stomach around 4 AM. Sure, she’s not a human baby. But she is my baby.

Why Judy loved her dogs.

Judy bonded with each and every dog that came into her life. Every birthday, she gave me a card especially from her dogs — signed “love and licks.” There is no better way to honor her memory than to mindfully appreciate the way a dog protects, needs, and cherishes with loyalty their owner. Layla the poodle is my special girl who will forever remind me what Judy taught me about treating animals with kindness and compassion. Anyone who tries to tell you that animals cannot feel emotion is wrong. So wrong.

Wild instincts.

One of the reasons I felt close with Judy was that we shared an otherworldly instinct. Our sense of intuition was so strong that we would go on emotional rollercoasters. That instinct comes fairly close to how dogs can sense their owner’s sadness, joy, depression, frustration. They feel what you are going through, and do everything in their power to loyally make you feel better. They love you unconditionally.

Judy, I love you unconditionally.

Rest in peace.

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be —

— The Beatles

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Layla the poodle.

TRUE.LOVE!

Oh, how sweet true love is. As I watch the Royal Wedding of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry, and get ready to attend another “royal wedding” of two lovebirds tonight, I have love on the brain, as Rihanna would say.

What makes love so special is the mysteriousness of it. Why do we feel love? We can’t quite pinpoint it with a science; I would say that love is more of an art. Love isn’t objective — though I believe love to be the objective and ultimate goal of living life. No, I see love as subjective — the thing that makes love so great is finding someone who feels the way that you do, has coinciding morals and values, otherwise we would all fall for the same people! Yes, the thing that makes love great is the art of finding the person that is the last puzzle piece to your jigsaw of life.

I believe in the science of love’s lusty needs, impulses, and desire to be in a conventional healthy and happy relationship. Though, what I also believe is that there is more to it than we understand; a part of our brain that we haven’t fully tapped into understanding just yet. And to be honest, I hope we never do! It makes love exciting and exhilarating.

So what do we know about TRUE.LOVE!? What can we deduce and explain with science, and what can we leave to inexplicable heavenly forces at work?

The love formula

Does love, actually, have a formula? Can we pinpoint a process of love? According to research led by Rutgers scientists, the short answer is yes.

Love follows a formulaic process in the form of hormones released to the brain as you fall in love. The three steps in the process are defined by Lust, Attraction, and Attachment.

Lust is actually testosterone and estrogen driving the biological force behind why we feel “love” in the first place. Love at first sight may be these basic needs at work: hormonal and evolutionary “Me Tarzan. You Jane.” type feelings.

Attraction comes next after the basic need of Lust. Here, we see a release of the “happy” hormones: dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.  These hormones will release when you start to feel joy around your partner. After all, they are the hormones keeping you from feeling depressed (in cases of depression, you need SSRIs and other antidepressants to provide this hormone release). And elation and elevated feelings ensue in the form of Attraction.

Finally, there is Attachment. The hormones associated with Attachment are oxytocin and vasopressin. These are hormones that create a habitually good feeling that you biologically seek; in the case of love, it is an attachment to your sweetheart. You want to be around them as often as possible. And so, Attachment follows.

However, I am not completely sold on TRUE.LOVE! being purely a science.

Who wrote the book of love?

If you are a God-fearing follower of a religion, you may see all the science behind love as a bunch of hootenanny. And I have to agree with you there. I believe there is a greater reason for why we fall in love and stay with our partners. How could it all be scientifically explained away as coincidence?

In a world of chaos and entropy, I think finding your TRUE.LOVE! is the driving reason why we go on living, growing, and succeeding as a society. I joke about following Pythagoreanism and the presence of a mathematical pattern to the meaning of life: for instance, why do we see Fibonacci so prevalent in nature? I also see the beauty in love being disorderly, fantastic, and yet, greater than us. There is a beautiful unknown to love.

I think our brains contain the answer to the age old question, why do we fall in love? The thing is, we may have millions, or even billions of years before we use our entire brain function and solve the problem. For now, I relish in the thrill and fun of not knowing why we fall in love.

I hope you do, too.

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love — Mother Teresa

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Photo by Katie Salerno on Pexels.com

DEAR.MOM,

DEAR.MOM,

Today is the day that I realized just how small life really is. We see our lives as these long, drawn out periods over the course of many decades. When in reality, life is quite short in the grand universal scheme. If I were to map my life, and even many ancestors’ lives passed, it would be minuscule when compared to the weight of humanity as a whole.

I think about this often, particularly when I am going through depression and feeling like I can’t keep going through life. But today, I am recognizing why each of these short lived lives matter — every one of us. It is because it is our opportunity to contribute to the larger picture. And there is no greater contribution to the all-encompassing path of civilization than bringing another life into this world.

The job of a mother is to shepherd new life, physically and through passed on teachings, into the world. The hope is that they have a better, easier time of life than themselves. And so on, and so forth comes evolution.

Until I become a mother someday, I will not fully feel the sense of love, worry, and joy a child brings to her mother. I can only empathize, with the little wisdom I have in my young life, the connection a mother feels to her child, and the pain it must bring to see her son or daughter going through hurt, sadness, and depression. There is a reason we hear stories of mothers gaining super-human strength to save their children from car wrecks, or why we have to remind them to put their oxygen mask on first, and then their child’s. This is the epitome of motherhood — babies first!

When I feel low, angry, hurt, fearful, suicidal, it’s Mom that I turn to first. When I am proud, joyful, elated, excited, thrilled, it’s Mom that I want to share my happiness with. On this Mother’s Day, I thank you, Mom, for being the one I can turn to when I’m at my high point, or at my low point.

I want you to always know that I am happy, healthy, and safe.

I want you to know that I want to live an even better life than you. I never want you afraid for me. I want you to always know that I am happy, healthy, and safe. And I want to share all of your teachings with my own daughter, someday.

Mom, you are the reason I want to stay on the map and continue my journey in this grand design of life. Thank you for always shining the light of the moon on my darkness. Happy Mother’s Day.

LOVE,

JOANNA

A mother’s happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories. – Honore de Balzac

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