KEEP YOUR HEART OPEN
" Keep your heart open, your pain can be your greatest ally in your search for love and wisdom"- Rumi
My dog was attacked yesterday. I was on my way home from teaching a class at the women's prison when I got a call telling me that my dog was on his way to the vet and I should meet them there.
I cancelled a lunch meeting and raced to the vet. My heart was in my throat as I sped down the highway. I was totally unprepared for what awaited me. My little dog had cuts all over his body and his ear was nearly bitten off. There was so much blood and so much pain in his sweet little face. I quickly went through all of the stages; fear-grief-anger-denial-and finally acceptance.
I could not help but weep. This perfectly trusting and loving little soul that I had sworn to protect and care for had been viciously and randomly brutalized. I felt so helpless. I felt so guilty for letting him down. They stitched him up and washed his little body but I knew his worst wounds were soul deep. His basic trust in the universe had been shaken.
I needed to feel better so I temporarily latched onto the idea of demanding that someone be responsible. I wanted to have someone or something to focus all of this grief, fear and anguish on and have someone else be held accountable for all of this pain and suffering. As if that would make my dog feel better, as if that would ease the ache in my heart.
It is so human to want to blame someone or something for the bad things that happen in life. In this case it came in the form of an unleashed unaccompanied dog with aggression issues. At other times in my life it has come in the form of cancer or car accidents or mental illness. I have always thrashed around in these kinds of situations looking for someone else to blame- someone to pay for my pain and therefore lessen my burden. But it doesn't work like that.
There is no one to blame for the hardships and suffering of life- disasters of all kinds just come and are inevitable. All we can do during these inevitable sad times is look for the opportunity to grow in love. For me that meant thanking my dog walker for her bravery in getting my dog away from the aggressor and safely to the vet. It meant opening to the sadness and helplessness I felt for my dog. It meant turning to my vet and asking for a hug. Instead of becoming hard and fast and shutting down and demanding answers and accountability I became soft and yielding and opened up. What a terrible time-what a lovely time.
My little dog is sleeping a lot right now while he is healing. He looks terrible. They had to shave him to stitch his wounds and his head is misshapen because of the bitten ear. And yet he is more lovely to me than ever. And we will heal together from this without the added scar of hatred and anger and blame. He will learn to trust the universe again because I still do. And I will be forever grateful for him for this lesson in love and letting go.