I saw it one afternoon.  About 4 inches long head to tail in the room I use for my 5 Tibetans practice, meditation, and afternoon typing.

I had seen larger versions of it in the evening light on the outside wall of the house.

In the US, I had only seen geckos on TV as part of insurance advertisements.  Here…in Italy…they are scurrying everywhere.  One way to distinguish them from lizards is the by the rounded ends to their “toes.”  Little foot-pads that help them scale walls… and adhere to street lamps.  Geckos camp out on street lights until the bugs come.  In so doing they get their dinner delivered.  On its own wings.

I had not done anything to detour the baby gecko crawling around the office area that day.  The double glass doors stay open all the time.  Even though I am on the top floor these guys are everywhere.  One or two are bound to make their way through the minimal barrier provided by the structure of the door frame.

In fact…there is a type of gecko called a “house gecko” because it lives in the house with its chosen family and helps rid the place of various “bugs.”  Quite the little helpers, they are.

This morning as I was gathering my shoes for my first official day at the sea…I had a thought.  I had not seen that baby gecko since the afternoon a few days before.  My shoes were all lined up on the wall near where it had been slowly crawling under the little cot that lines the wall of the room.
Could it have taken refuge in one of my shoes?

I don’t know if you have ever encountered a squishy trespasser in a shoe.  In my days of camping, the crunch of a cricket or a June Bug underfoot in the morning was not unexpected. And in the summertime is rural Oklahoma…the occasional scorpion might also make its way into your shoe.

I found a lizard in my laundry bag at Walker Creek Ranch in Marin County California in my days as a naturalist there.  That one scared the beejeezies out of me.  I dumped out my laundry to sort it for a wash…and there was this foot-long, thick, spiny, red thing blinking up at me.

So this morning.  I checked my shoes   Shook then out.  Before I put them on.

As I was going through these preventative measures I was thinking…of course…this is how the emotional stuff we don’t deal with works.  We know it is in there.  Somewhere.  Or we have forgotten it.

And then one day we step into our life and there it is.  Squishy and spiny right between our toes.  More likely…it stings us right in the heart.

The work of Recovery in the Loss to Life continuum depends on our willingness to…

1.  Clear what is in the space right now.

2. Be aware when old stuff crops up and clear it when it does.

If we thought there was a gecko in our shoe, we would at least turn the shoe over and give it a look.  No different with the old emotional trauma of the past.

We are aware.  Thus, when we see it lurking around we take the time to check in, look the shoes over, and clear them out, if needed.

In my own work with loss I found that sometimes the older hurts can be harder to deal with than the newer one.  The pieces that I didn’t take care of in the beginning.  Or, to be fair, the parts I could not have even known I needed to deal with back in the beginning.

I remember one day while I was working on the chapter on “Survival.”  Writing about not making any big decisions when you are in shock and denial.

I was hit hard by the fact that my own loss had been caused by someone else being in the grief of loss and making one of those decisions. And I was the thing that got jettisoned.   After all…when the Dino Brain is at work…it’s easy to make short work of destroying anything giving your life any value.

The unfairness and frustration of the realization drove me to the mat.  For two hours I did the 5 Tibetans. Prayed.  Released.  I cried more in that two hours than I had in months.  I was a year past the event at that point.  In the beginning of a new relationship.  And it still cut me so deep I struggled to return to the present.

When you see a gecko near your shoes, you pay attention before you put them on.  When you are recovering from the pain of a loss or major change, you shake out your memory and your heart regularly.  Just to be sure some little spiny hurt is not in there making itself at home.


Note…Gekoes are not lizards…for more details check out this link…


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