Finding sunshine in a cloudy life - Mental Health

Fundamentally connected

I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite fictional people. Meet Dirk Gently, né Svlad Cjelli. The London phone book in Dirk’s story contains the following entry:

We solve the whole crime 
We find the whole person 
Phone today for the whole solution to your problem 
(Missing cats and messy divorces a specialty) 
33a Peckender St., London N1 01-354 9112

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Douglas Adams

A holistic detective agency? What does that even mean? Fortunately, Dirk explained this very thing to a frustrated client.

The term ‘holistic’ refers to my conviction that what we are concerned with here is the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. I do not concern myself with such petty things as fingerprint powder, telltale pieces of pocket fluff and inane footprints. I see the solution to each problem as being detectable in the pattern and web of the whole.

Dirk Gently: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Douglas Adams
My well-loved copies of the Dirk Gently books

The good detective and I are remarkably similar. True, he is a fictional man, while I am an actual woman. Svlad, or as he calls himself, Dirk, is a rather shady person. And I? Well, I’m called Sunny and that’s not an attempt at irony.

Mr. Gently is a chain-smoking, reluctantly psychic guy. He skates along the fine line between being critically broke and paying his rent. I, a life-long non-smoker, routinely fail to win the lottery, but my credit score is fine just the same.

In all other ways, we are exactly the same. Okay, perhaps it is in most other ways. Well, possibly — just possibly — there is only the one similarity, but it is a critical similarity!

We believe in the “interconnectedness” of all things.

Despite how it may appear, this is not a book review (although, if you enjoy British humor, I highly recommend both of the Dirk Gently books. I happen to prefer The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, but both of them are very entertaining).

The reason I provided you with the premise of the Dirk Gently books is that I really do find Dirk to be a kindred soul. We both believe everything is connected to everything else. We agree, Dirk and I, that this connection leads us to important happenings in our lives, often in the most unexpected ways.

In last week’s newsletter, I gave notice that I would not be writing anything new for a time. I am taking a hiatus to help my mother recover from her upcoming hip replacement. During this time, I also want to evaluate my entire blog for cohesiveness. One might say I’m going for a holistic view.

One would absolutely say that if one were me.

Hey, I promised not to change my intention to help people live more happily. I never said anything about promising not to write a whole new post.

If things had gone according to plan (does that EVER happen?) this post would never have existed. Yet, here it is. In case you are a TLDR* person, I’ll sum up the whole thing. All things really are connected to all other things. Finis.

I find the summary very boring, and the story very interesting. Therefore, I shall also tell the tale in its entirety.


This past weekend, in celebration of our 27th wedding anniversary, my husband and I spent a weekend in a B & B a couple of hours away from home.

Before we took off for our getaway, I took my dog out for a walk. I felt it was the least I could do, as we were bailing on her for two days. (Dog people! Amiright?)

Our house is more or less in the middle of two connected streets. Usually, my girl and I walk either to the end of one street or to the end of the other street. On this particular morning, we had walked all the way up to the corner and back, and she hadn’t taken care of her doggy business.

In the interest of not having any exciting discoveries in the house when my husband and I returned, I started walking the dog toward the other street. I didn’t get far.

Just on the other side of the bend, I encountered a friendly couple who often walk in our area. Upon recognizing me, they said, “Hey there’s this big light-colored terrier that looks lost. We tried to catch him, but he’s skittish. He ran off in the direction of your house.”

I’m a dog rescuer from way back. I have “rescued” dogs from their own yards when their owners were not around, thinking they were lost dogs. (Dog people, amiright?)

Naturally, I was going to look for the lost dog. For the second time, we turned back around. Though we went all the way back up to the corner looking for him, we didn’t find the poor boy.

My short dog walk had gone longer than I had intended, and we needed to get on the road. I had heard someone in the distance calling a name I couldn’t quite understand. I desperately hoped they found him as we headed off on our trip.

Monday morning found us home once more. To my great delight, I spied a beautiful boy sunbathing on a neighbor’s driveway. He matched the description of the lost dog!

When he trotted over to say hello to my dog, I seized the opportunity to, uh, seize his collar. There was no tag. I sent a brief text to my husband requesting backup. It was no mean feat to text while holding a dog by the collar in one hand, and a dog on a leash in the other, but I managed. I loaded Mr. Lost Dog into my car and headed to our vet to scan him for a chip.

No chip.

Time to implement Plan B. I drove around through nearby neighborhoods looking for lost dog signs. A few blocks away, I saw a woman (I’ll call her Anna) chatting with someone over a low fence. I pulled over to see if she recognized Lost.

She didn’t, but she took my name and number, vowing to text her neighbors in our noble quest to return our boy to his people.

Here’s where the story starts to get a little Dirk Gently-esque:

Anna called me and shared an astounding realization with me. It turns out that Anna, who I encountered well away from her own street, is my back-door neighbor. She literally lives on the other side of the tall wooden fence along our back yard.

We had met once before, years ago, but only very briefly. At that time, Anna was going through a hard time. Circumstances had left her extremely stressed and on a shorter fuse than normal. (Of course, I knew nothing of this at the time.)

Our windows were open that day, and my mother’s parrots were making parrot noises (screaming, for those of you who are not familiar with parrots). The “lilting birdsong” had gotten on Anna’s very last nerve. She stepped around the edge of her yard, looked through the chain-link fence on the side of our yard and basically said, “Make the noise stop.”

Not wanting the police called for a violation of the sound ordinance, we closed the windows, and they have stayed shut all these years.

When Anna called this week, she apologized for her uncharacteristic demand. “Open your windows. Let the birds make whatever noise they will. It will not bother me.” My mother was so happy, she actually cried. Her birds are once again able to enjoy the fresh air and the sounds of nature — all because two acquaintances mentioned seeing a loose dog.

Returning to the main story, Anna’s neighbor (I’ll call him Bruce) texted the new kids on the block. Mrs. New Kid, here-forward called Christina, then called me. The New Kids had lost their dog on Saturday morning.

We had found Lost’s people.

Because Christine and her spouse both work, I volunteered to keep their big boy until Christine got off of work. By the time she texted that she was on her way, I had fully fallen in love with Lost (now found) Boy. Tears sprang to my eyes. How could I let him go, never to see him again?

Plot twist!

Christine lives around the corner from me. The morning I found Lost Dog, he was sunbathing on her driveway. I had, once again, rescued a dog from his own yard.

Lost’s accidental dog-napping wasn’t a bad thing, though. He had been lost for two full days. He got a yummy breakfast (courtesy of our vet), a dish of clean water, and a house to lie around in while he waited to be reunited with his family. Win.

Christine spent her workday knowing that her fur-baby was safe. She also found a dog sitter (yours truly) for an upcoming trip she and her family are taking. Win.

My mom’s parrots have their open window back, and I have the opportunity to get to know Anna as she really is. Win.

My heart is not broken after all, because Christine’s dog lives in easy visiting distance. Win.

Everything touches everything else, my friends. As Detective Gently put it:

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, Douglas Adams

Follow your instincts. They will lead you right where you need to be.

Brightest blessings to you all, Sunny

*TLDR means Too Long, Didn’t Read

Let’s keep in touch!

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