a short, soft stubble of fresh fur is just beginning to grow back. fur that will cover up the nakedness and vulnerability so easily seen when it was shorn for his surgery. his “soft spot” is showing … “In each of us, there’s a lot of softness, a lot of heart. Touching that soft spot has to be the starting place.” (Pema Chodron) I know I am not alone in the ways I berated myself, I am not alone in sharing this story.

i was taken (mostly) by surprise at the depth of emotions surrounding this procedure that jax badly needed. there were the emotions of upset over the years i delayed — i delayed taking care of jax because the kiddos needed something more, first. bob needed more, first. our relationship, my career, the mortgage, the business, the list goes on. i forgot my own rule; sentient beings first, money second, things last. Beings always come first. i lost connection with my own true self, with my priorities.

then there was the FEAR. dad’s second surgery resulted in the stroke that loosened his grip on his own personality, words and behaviors and unloosed the events of the last two years of his life. jax is too old and may not survive the anesthesia because i waited too long. if jax dies now, I’m not ready (a big HA from life on that one, as if this is my choice at all!).

there was the RECRIMINATION of self — jax who has been the one to stand loyally by me through all the saddest and most difficult moments of my life, how dare i delay a procedure that is critical for him and place him in harm’s way. i waited too late and jeopardized his health. his aging issues, seizures and his kidney failure, all exacerbated, perhaps even caused by, my negligence.

yes, hello GUILT. and with SHAME gripping tightly on guilt’s heels because i wasn’t making enough money to take good care of my faithful friend who gave me the biggest gift in Life — unconditional love. The guilt and shame I would feel looking into his eyes that only reflected back love and trust.

through observing the thread of these emotions i receive a gift. i can see how i always had a different choice. i could decide differently, then and now. i choose to drop my role of VICTIM, for all time. the beauty of taking ownership of my life means i get to experience the full range of the “stuff” of which life is made. i can stay stuck in yesterday’s stories of guilt, shame and recrimination, or i can lean in and practice resiliency. i can get creative about solutions in the here and now, and respond differently. i can create anew.

finally today, REDEMPTION. life smiled and bestowed a favor. forgiveness shifting through the mess of feelings, like those god-rays of sunshine fingering through deep and dark sunset cumulus clouds. jax is healthy. whole. still here, and he still clearly loves and trusts me. what did i do to deserve this gift? i am so blessed.

and so now, ELATION! so bloody lucky to have come through this, a little older and wiser on my part, a lot more longterm health for Jax. carry on sweet canine friend!

sandyjaxLOwhat a gift of gratitude that i get to pay tribute to. i am honored by the vulnerability of this life. i accept the fragility and pledge to protect however i can. i am humbled by the courage we each have to get up and face our days — looking life squarely in the eye and saying yes, I’m ready.

namasté.

ps: “the process starts with being willing to feel what we are going through. it starts with being willing to have a compassionate relationship with the parts of ourselves that we feel are not worthy of existing on the planet… “there is a more tender, shaky kind of place where we could live. This place, if we can touch it, will help us train ourselves throughout our lives to open further to whatever we feel, to open further rather than shut down more.” Pema Chodron

today I commit myself anew to my meditation practice and to mindful awakening. I commit myself to compassionate relationships with myself and with others.