|Jameson of the Heath aka Jameson Irish Whiskers|
Yesterday was a difficult day. It started with two meetings in the morning, followed by my dream group (sandwiched between difficult traffic because of bridge construction on my route; the traffic made me so late I missed my last Tai Chi class). The really difficult part of the day, though, came from working a dream I’d had a few days earlier in which I was very angry, was then confused and frightened by and because of my anger, and ended up feeling disrespected and my needs ignored. All this emotion was experienced in a very short dream. Working it brought all those feelings back in full force and made me realize I still have some unresolved anger about things that have happened in the last few years that I thought I had put behind me. Hurtful things, unfortunately, that have happened through and because of my faith community – both my own parish and the larger Catholic Church. And once again I question why I am still there.
This anger continued to simmer and erupted later when my darling puppy, Jamie, was being an almost-five-month-old puppy (teenage years for puppies) and being defiant, disobedient and just generally a brat, in my mind. He, too, was disrespecting me, ignoring my wants and needs. Of course, I immediately felt remorse for losing my temper and yelling at him but I’m sure my moments of anger and impatience did some damage. His negative energy feeds on mine and it becomes an unpleasant cycle. So I regathered myself, calmed myself and spent time working with him in a more positive way, hoping to counteract some of my negative responses.
This morning things have gone much more smoothly, though he still continues to be way too mouthy and bitey. We’ve been working on this more three months and I don’t feel like we’ve made any headway. He is very well behaved in most other ways, smart and cooperative and willing, but the biting/mouthing can be painful, and he’s managed to put tears in a few of my clothes so it’s destructive. And I continued to feel frustrated, not for the first time, and I’m sure it won’t be the last time. Sometimes I seriously question whatever possessed me to get a puppy; I’m not sure I have the energy or patience for it at this point in my life, let alone the time it requires. I wonder if I can get a “do-over,” as I so often wish for when some of my decisions create challenges in my life. Part of me just wants life to be easy.
I was watching him this morning as he was playing outside. He sat and looked up at the sky, watching something intently. It could have been a squirrel or crow in the tree, or a plane or helicopter or a flock of geese flying over. Immediately I realized why I have a dog: to remind me of the wonder of life. To remember the joy of discovery, of curiosity, of just being in the world and seeing it with fresh eyes. And to realize again the preciousness of everything, the essence of God imbued in all of creation. This morning do-overs regarding adopting Jamie would be soundly rejected, even if they were possible. Truly, I couldn’t bear to part with him, even when he behaves like . . . a puppy!
|Really, mom, how could you lose patience with me?|
So how does this help me deal with those apparently unresolved hurts? How does it help me love those people who seem to have disrespected me, to see the preciousness in them? The Godliness within them? Can I transcend and include, as the mystics tell us? Can I understand that people aren’t always what I would want and hope they would be and love and understand them anyway? Learn not to judge them and let go of their perceived judgments of me? Am I “still there” in this faith community because there is still something I need to learn? Perhaps it could be . . . just maybe . . . to remember that I myself am precious, that I don’t need to have anyone “out there” confirm my worth, my beauty, my value, and that I don’t need to prove that to anyone by being what I think is expected or what will make me look good.
This has been such a difficult lesson in my life. Just when I think I have it figured out, something happens to trigger my reactivity and my sense of not being understood or appreciated or even wanted. I am, after all, a Four on the Enneagram. Why can’t people just realize how special I am? Maybe the first – and maybe the only – thing is for me to accept that I am special whether anyone else recognizes that truth. And, at the same time, to recognize the uniqueness, specialness, and beauty in all others, in all of creation, and to celebrate that. To gaze upon it in wonder, as my lovely puppy was doing this morning.
With a little awareness and introspection, with a little listening to my dreams and the messages from my subconscious, I have come back to a place of peace and of letting go. For now, anyway. Two steps forward, one step back.