Syncronicity

Honoring the Goddess IxChel

This Mother's Day it will be 3 years since I visited the island of Cozumel with my son to celebrate his birthday and the day I became a mother. The island of Cozumel was sacred to the goddess IxChel, the jaguar or moon goddess of fertility and medicine. Each year the Mayan women would make a pilgrimage to honor her. That year I made mine. It seemed so appropriate to celebrate the day of my son's birth and also remember my mother who had died less than 2 months earlier that year. A lot of time had passed since I had traveled internationally and the world had changed. My own life had also changed immensely.

According to the legends, the Goddess IxChel wreaked havoc on the earth because she sought the admiration of the Mayan sun god, Kinich Ahau, who paid her no attention. In her attempt to be noticed and receive his love, she created all kinds of natural disasters until finally she realized her self-worth and power, as they united and the earth became calm once again.
~Clarissa Harison
— excerpt from Simply Color for Everyday Living

The same red hibiscus flowers that I used as part of a mandala offering for the goddess IxChel during the time I spent on that island, are the flowers that were given to me on the day of my son's birth. A friend had gifted me a small hibiscus tree which bloomed for several consecutive years and then suddenly stopped when my life became chaotic and unmanageable. Last winter this tiny tree bloomed once again after more than 7 years of not flowering. Two flowers appeared after so many years of absence. I knew it was a clear sign than my life was back on track and balance was being restored. Now in May a new bud has formed once more. I wonder what day it will bloom. There's always a reason for the timing.

This year I celebrate my 15th year of motherhood and all that life has taught me. Our mothers and our children are always our greatest teachers. The most important thing that I have realized is what they came to teach me in this lifetime. Sometimes it takes the loss of a loved one and the challenges of a child to reveal your own shortcomings and patterns. 

Happy Mother's Day to our blessed Earth and all women around the globe as we honor ourselves and our life giving power. I trust that is our own capacity to heal ourselves, our environment and our family lineages that will ultimately heal this planet and our future.

 

 

2017 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.

Keyna the Brilliant Jewel

Keyna was one of three sisters that I rescued from a high kill shelter in Brownsville, TX. All three had been abandoned by a woman who gave permission for their euthanasia. They were probably leftovers from a puppy mill breeder as the woman was not interested in any more females. I will never know the whole story. Luckily a caring volunteer intervened at the right moment. They eventually made their way to Western New York to find new homes after weeks of sleepless nights. While I arranged everything, I also worried about finding the right transport for such a long distance and that time might run out to save them.

I had originally searched for a rescue dog for my son's birthday. This eventually led to considering a second dog for my mother when I found a picture posted of all three dogs on social media. However, I simply could not leave the third behind. Her name would be Keyna. At the shelter they had named her "Lovely" and that she truly was. I gave her the name Keyna because it means "jewel" in Welsh. The name suited her just fine as she truly was a diamond in the rough.

All three dogs were extremely unruly and skittish when they arrived. They were quite a handful and I quickly became overwhelmed by their high energy levels and lack of discipline. The dog I had intended for my mother was way too much for her, as were all the sisters, so I quickly realized I would have to find homes as soon as possible for two of them. Keyna was the most shy and anxious of the three so I had to place the other ones first, including the one that had been intended for us. It was not an easy decision.

As time went on I realized that although she had come a long way in social and obedience skills, Keyna's anxiety issues were not going away and they were linked to our suburban environment. Anything new and unknown intimidated her and yet she was confident and obedient off leash on our property. She acted like she had a job to do guarding all perimeters of our property and never venturing anywhere near our busy street and rarely straying over neighboring boundaries. There was no need for an electrical fence. Yet our walks in the nearby park even on the wooded trails often left me stressed out. On a leash, she repeatedly looked behind her as though something or someone were constantly lurking nearby. 

It was because of her inability to adjust to public spaces, that I kept trying to find a new home for Keyna in a more rural environment where she could feel more comfortable. It seemed that her stress levels were just increasing and because I am also highly sensitive, it added to my own stress. I had found potentially great homes for Keyna on two occasions. The first was a home in a very rural environment in the southern tier. The day of the home visit, a severely injured woodchuck crossed my path on the road to her potential home. I was helpless to do anything to alleviate its suffering despite being a wildlife rehabilitator, as the wounded animal ran off and buried itself in a hole. It nevertheless remained etched in my mind as a sign of this potential situation not being right and the couple we met commented that "there was always something going on" which left me feeling unsettled that day. There was something about that particular rural area that didn't feel right, as it had developed quite a reputation over the years for tragic things happening to these once Native American lands. Ultimately this potential home fell through when the woman never followed up after our meeting and in the end, I actually felt relieved.

About a year or so later someone contacted me from Canada wanting to know if I would consider an adoption in the Toronto area. I said yes for the right person and I would be willing to do the home visit despite the distance. While we initially met at a dog park in the city of Buffalo and everything else was going smoothly, the final home visit where I expected to leave Keyna with her new companion, also did not go so well. Upon our arrival, it was clear that this potential situation was nothing like what I had been told. The backyard photos were misleading and the home was way too small. The home was also located in an extremely busy suburban area that is similar to our city streets and the woman was clearly not as active as she had led me to believe. So despite an extremely disappointing and uncomfortable situation, Keyna came back home with us that day.

The years went by and while Keyna became a devoted and attentive member of our family, it was clear to me that this situation was not getting any better. Long periods of time would go by and I kept thinking she was adjusting, but she would quickly rebound during her walks in the park and become extremely anxious. I began to realize that the chronic stress which caused her to pant heavily and become skittish could eventually lead to long terms health issues if not resolved. So I made one last effort to place her. Initially nothing seemed to be happening. Just when I had pretty much resigned to believing that Keyna was going to remain with us permanently and we unexpectedly adopted a second shelter dog, an opportunity presented itself.

I received a call from a couple who were looking for a dog just like Keyna. They had a home in a rural area of the Finger Lakes on top of a mountain with 55 acres of land and two ponds. They both worked out of their home, although the woman had largely retired and was looking for a companion to accompany her during her daily activities. Over the course of several weeks we got to know one another better and it seemed this would be an ideal situation for Keyna. I was thrilled. A visit to their beautiful, secluded mountainside home confirmed my feelings. Yet despite this perfect home that had finally appeared for Keyna after almost 5 years, it was with great difficulty and sadness that we gave her up.

I have received periodic reports on Keyna's progress which inevitably validated for me how this very difficult decision was undoubtedly in her best interest. I think a part of me always knew Keyna would be leaving, but there is no doubt in my mind that she was meant to be saved that day, the sister who would have been left behind. On Earth Day, April 22nd would have been 5 years since all three sisters first arrived. Looking back, I don't think I would have done things any differently. Throughout the years Keyna taught me about my own sensitivities and how easily I become stressed. She mirrored to me my own instinctive behavior, intuition and my keen awareness of my surroundings. 

As the months have gone by, I have heard about how well Keyna is doing as she listens to her new female companion and never strays far despite the vast expanse of her new territory. It is as if all along I had been grooming her for the perfect behavior for such a home. She now loves swimming in her ponds and exploring her new territory, always careful to sense this new environment that holds a myriad of new adventures with someone who is completely attentive to her needs and well being. The situation is so much more than I could have imagined for her and only in my own selfishness, could I not have allowed this transition to take place. Animals often come into your life for a reason eventually moving on just like people do. I've realized now how timing in life is everything. Sometimes a brilliant jewel must go through quite a process before it can shine. It seems appropriate I honor Keyna on this Beltane, a day of celebration and new beginnings.

 

2017 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.

Saving Goliath

For many years now I have been wanting a Staffordshire Terrier for some reason. I think because they have such a bad reputation and are so misunderstood. And for years I would see pictures of rescue pit bulls and read their stories and in my mind I kept seeing a grey one that I knew I would have some day. In the mean time, I rescued and adopted several of the wrong dogs for us, but in the end I knew they were meant to be saved and eventually ended up in wonderful homes.

About a month ago my niece contacted me about a Shiba Inu named Max that was at the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter. Being familiar with the breed and intrigued because he had the same name as my son, we went to see Max, but he was adopted that day. Somehow I felt we were meant to be at the shelter and look around to see what other dogs were looking for homes. After two separate visits that week, we couldn't agree between two completely different dogs- a female pit bull and an adorable Chihuahua mix that looked like a tiny fox. I decided to look one more time. There happened to be a handsome grey and white pit bull that drew my attention initially but did not seem to want to come out, so we went to look at him again.

The day of Goliath's arrival with sadness and fear of his past still lingering in his eyes..

The day of Goliath's arrival with sadness and fear of his past still lingering in his eyes..

Goliath was caged between two other dogs that were huge and very loud. I could tell that he was stressed but we tried one more time and no sooner was he outside in the fresh air, he affectionately jumped on us and gave us all his attention. This had not happened with the other two dogs in question. They had seemed to be more interested in everyone and everything else. Goliath chose us despite his fearful surroundings and in that moment we immediately felt a heart connection to him. He was the dog I had envisioned so many years ago and he immediately fit in when we got him home. It felt like he had been with us forever.

No sooner did Goliath arrive than the right home opened up for our other dog that I had been trying to place for 5 years due to her anxiety issues of being in a suburban environment. Her new home on 55 acres was ideal for her. Everything seemed to be falling into place unexpectedly just because of another dog named Max.

It took several days, but we decided to name Goliath "Dawson". It was my son's choice. Later I found out that Dawson means "son of David, the beloved". I couldn't think of a more appropriate name. He is a sweetheart and filled with love. He is so grateful to be part of our family.