What is my morning sadhana like so far today?  Well, I am at my 20-acre retreat in the Shenandoah Mountains with my two dogs.  So the young one has to go out as soon as he wakes up.  They both go out and run around while I get a shower.  Then our routine is that the first part of my sadhana is being outside in the fresh air, with my walking stick and we explore around a bit (the dogs explore and I breathe and walk). Then we come in, they get fed, and I begin my yoga and meditation practice.

Today, however, there are no dogs to be seen.  I call, whistle (and I have a strong sound from years of Kundalini yoga practice!), threaten, etc.  No dogs for 10 minutes.  Occasionally I become aware of the negative scenario that is playing out in my vibration; and when aware, change it to positive expectation. Instead of seeing them lost, I see them joyfully bounding over to me. Still nothing happens.  Even a worrying mind has to have a breather sometimes, so when my mind wanders to another subject for a minute, and I relax somewhat, the dogs appear. But within one minute they’re gone again.  I’m thinking, “What the…?” Over on the side of our property, I see the young one, Zeus, eating something.  Eating faster as I am calling him to stop.  This is never a good sign as Zeus will eat practically anything.

I go over to where he is, and immediately get the whole picture of why they had disappeared, had not come when I called them, and why they were gone again.  Zeus is eating the fresh remains of the spine of a young deer. As I drag him away horrified, I am vaguely aware that this is what animals do, that this would be normal “food” for my dogs if they were not domesticated.  That thought helps me calm down a bit. And now it becomes clear why Annie—usually my loyal subject–is not obeying.  She is off in the woods dining.  Finally I get her back, both in the house, and then my sadhana really begins.

What to do with this piece of deer in my driveway?  If it remains there, or if it is tossed in the woods, the dogs will sniff it out and have a meal anytime they are outside. There is no choice but to get up close and personal with it.

Here I must digress to tell you that I am vegetarian, and have been the only vegetarian member of my family from the age of four onward. At age four I had an epiphany, and with a shock that allowed me to remember that one moment the rest of my life, I realized that “meat is dead animals.”  Since animals had always been my friends because they were true to who they are, I could not bring myself to eat them, no matter how much I was threatened by my parents.

So having never cooked, or possibly never touched meat, I am standing in my driveway, looking at this fresh piece of deer and gathering my wits about me.  My external plan is to wear gloves and use a large plastic bag to scoop up the spine and ribcage, and seal the bag.  My internal plan is to watch my reaction and soothe it into a better-feeling place.

I suddenly remember that sadhana practice takes place at each moment of life.  I get to practice right now!  In between the conflictive feelings, I feel moments of eager anticipation at the idea of meeting a challenge. I am pushing the energetic “edge” of my comfort zone. In catching the edge, I let myself stay there a while with more thoughts/feelings like it. I am feeling some relief.  Feel my connected Self returning,  stronger than before.

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I seal the bag.  It is biodegradable.  I can toss the bag into the woods somewhere on our drive down the hill.  The bag will disintegrate within a few days in the sun.  The food will be there for the raccoons, bears, anyone except my dogs.  It is a good plan.  It was a good beginning to today’s sadhana.