I Can Heal with Dr. Wendy Treynor

                      

             Self-Love
      Where Science & Spirit Meet































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































 Where Science & Spirit Meet
































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































                                  CA:LL 310-YES-LOVE































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































        
































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































The Little Chipmunk

 

          The Little Chipmunk

                     by Wendy Treynor, Ph.D.

The summer before diagnosis, I mysteriously happened upon a little chipmunk swimming in the ocean. I was tandem kayaking at the time with my friend, and I was so happy to come upon him, because he was so cute and looked like he was happily swimming along. I didn’t think chipmunks could swim, nor did I think they swam in the ocean. Needless to say, I was overjoyed to find him in our company on this warm, summer’s day. 

My friend exclaimed, “Let’s rescue him,” or something to that effect. I didn’t think he needed rescuing, but the idea sounded appealing—for I loved rescuing animals with my friend. Once, we rescued a small turtle crossing a highway by picking him up and placing him in a fast moving river. Now, this time, we had a chance to do chipmunk rescue. So, I dug my paddle into the water and endeavored to lift the little chipmunk up with my paddle.

As I picked him up, I wondered what he would do once in the boat. Run around a bit? Bite me? I had no idea! But when he made it safely onto my paddle, he just sat still.  Once it dawned on me that he was exhausted or hypothermic, or both, he slipped off the paddle—plop—and fell into the water. Still floating, I was surprised that he made no effort to swim away nor towards us. He just floated there. I couldn’t see his face, so I couldn’t infer what he was thinking or feeling. I felt sure he was exhausted and cold, so I dug my paddle into the water once more and lifted him up again—now this time, a cold, wet, cute chipmunk. I decided to place him on the front of my kayak, a safe haven—somewhere he wouldn’t fall off.  As soon as I did this, however, he just laid there. I watched his little lungs breathing in and out, in and out. I imagined that he was happy to be in the sun and rest and that he was ready to take a little nap.

I watched his little body breath and I felt so lucky and happy to have this little creature in our presence and to be able to help him. But then I noticed that it looked like he was breathing shallower now—so shallow that I wasn’t sure I had seen him take a breath in a while. To my relief, I saw his chest rise again, but as it did, foam dribbled out of his mouth and his eye popped slightly out of his head. The chipmunk no longer looked like the little chipmunk we had just rescued.

Transformed, it now looked like a dead chipmunk. I wondered, “Could it be?” His little feet now looked like dead bird’s feet. His body and eyes were completely still. His mouth was white and foamy. I could see his little lifeless body draped over the boat like an old shirt on a washing line. He looked dead. Then, I realized that he was.

Just minutes before, he had been struggling—breathing so hard—his little lungs huffing and puffing. I remembered his relief at being able to rest, and then, the stillness of his body when he was deciding whether or not to give up, whether or not to take another breath. I watched this little chipmunk give up, choose to die. This chipmunks’ death was the first death I had ever witnessed, and in witnessing it, I discovered that death is not what I imagined it to be. I had thought death was ugly and painful—dark, scary, and hidden—but I discovered it to be beautiful and light—awesome, profound, and mysterious.  I discovered that death is not dark, only fear is.

I now understood why people say that the soul leaves the body when one dies, for the chipmunk no longer looked like himself. His body now looked like something you would find on the side of a busy road. Animal skin was all that was left of him.

Where had he gone? I wondered. Would I feel a gush of love? A message from beyond? A thank you? No such message. I did feel peace, however.

Why did he give up?  Did the little chipmunk see us paddling at a distance and decide to meet us halfway so that we could rescue him and help him die in peace, or did he decide to die after we had met? I do not know.

What I do know is this: I had just witnessed a miracle—the beauty of death. Just as we are born into this world out of nothing, entering it in a flash, we leave it in a flash, equally as wonderous and mysterious.