Jon Katz has written an amazing series of books that chronicle his transformation from dog loving city dweller to dog loving farm owner living in the Vermont countryside. He talks about our amazing relationship with dogs, his own quirky, loyal, smart-as-a-whip dogs, and how the dogs and his move helped him deal with a lifelong battle with anxiety and depression, and eventually, a divorce. This man was suffering, and had health issues besides.
In order to find a link for you to Jon Katz in the last post I found myself on his beautiful website for the first time, where he journals (sometimes many times a day) about farm life and displays his stunning photographs. (You can also see more about his books and his dogs here.) I ended up spending most of the evening reading his posts and discovered that he has gone through an amazing transformation. And even found a new love. He writes:
"My own experience with fear began many years ago, but came to a head when I broke down a few years [ago], an experience I partially shared on the blog. Since then, I have gone many miles and to many people and to a lot of different places in my search to understand fear and move beyond it – therapy, medical doctors, analysts, pills, music, friends and family, meditation, massage, Quaker Meeting, Presbyterian Church, Zen Centers, poetry, acupuncture, spiritual counseling. I am getting somewhere. I am going to see myself. It’s inexpensive and effective.
Through spiritual counseling, I have come to understand how my mind works. How it evolved into a fear-scanning and anxiety machine which sometimes served me well, sometimes not. I have lived in lament and drama. No more drama. No squawking about snow, whining about bills or the state of publishing, living out of fear and anger to the normal exigencies of life. When you stop telling that story out loud, the mind calms down. That is what is happening to me."
Jon Katz takes extreme delight in his dogs and the many walks they take each day in the Vermont countryside. I was especially taken with this sentiment about this magical and private time:
"As I work my way towards a spiritual life, the morning sky, my daily walks, are my Church, my mass, my call to awakening. Each day I say my prayers, when I look up at the sun soaring over the Vermont hills, and receive the call to life and my story. Love, not loneliness, empathy, not anger, calm, not fear, hope, not despair."
Beautiful words. Beautiful website. Check it out.