Tag Archives: struggle

Furry Love

choc lab

I must share a story about Nora and her best friend, Monty. Monty, you see, is a dog, a chocolate lab who has lived a full life. He’s twelve, which I hear is equivalent to age 89 in people years.

For several months, Monty’s health has been on the decline. And because he requires a great deal of care, Nora is drained emotionally, physically and financially—costing her money she doesn’t have.

Her vet has suggested that it’s time to consider putting him down. Others have given her the same advice—including me. But despite the burden and despite the suggestions, Nora  has adamantly refused. Her stance has been a mystery to me, so at one point I simply asked her, “Why?”

“He’s never been so happy,” she said. “He’s full of life and doing everything he did when he was a puppy . . . only slower. When I take him for a walk, he smiles and wags his tail at everybody! When we cross a street, he drags me over to a stopped car and stares at the driver as if he’s expecting that person to roll down the window and give him some attention. It’s hilarious! I can tell he’s a day-brightener for a lot of people.”

“And what’s he doing for you, Nora?” I asked.

“I love being greeted with that happy spirit,” she said. “He expects nothing from me. He accepts me the way I am, and I’ve had very little of that throughout my life.”

Ahhh, now it was all beginning to make sense. Monty is providing something for Nora that’s priceless—something that only the heart understands, something the practical mind misses. It’s called love, connection, acceptance and joy.

Let’s face it, as life happens, such gifts make it all worthwhile no matter how burdensome our load.

My heart was touched that day, and my capacity to see grew a notch. I thank Nora for that . . . and I thank Monty, too—a real day-brightener.

 

Let me know your insights. I like reading them! 

Names are changed to honor client confidentiality.

(c) 2014 Salee Reese

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Filed under Contemplations, General Interest, Get Free

Life’s Hidden Agenda

zen proverb cropped

The soul wants growth and that doesn’t translate into a smooth ride.

I think life is akin to climbing into a canoe and paddling down a stream that’s rife with challenges and uncertainties. Yes, it’s risky and stress-provoking—to say the least. But if we hang in there, we get really good at navigating obstacles. Call it “personal evolution.”

Frederick Douglass, the slave who became a highly admired writer, said: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

One of the first obstacles we encounter in life entails our physical body—it’s limitations. As babies, we stretch to reach a brightly colored toy but our body won’t budge. We haven’t mastered crawling yet.  And when we do, we move on to tackle walking.

But what if someone rescued us from that particular struggle and just carried us everywhere? Would that person be doing us a favor? Not at all. Our muscles would remain soft and our potentials would come to an abrupt halt. Not only that, life would become rather beige.

It’s unlikely that someone would actually rescue us in such an extreme way, but rescuing in the form of overindulgence happens everyday. Click here to read a column I wrote on the subject and how it impacts us no matter what age we are.

Here’s an excerpt:

Overindulgence stifles personal courage. Consequently, adults who were overindulged as children tend to avoid taking personal risks. Even if their current life circumstances are miserable, they’re too mortified and paralyzed by fearfulness, and they feel too incapable of trying out different possibilities or options.

So despite our irritations with life’s bothersome problems, they benefit us. I like comparing it to garbage and manure. Both are nasty but they do fertilize our gardens and make things grow.

We need to be asking ourselves: Who are the people who possess wisdom, courage, stamina, flexibility and an understanding heart? We all know the answer. It’s those who have encountered and tackled countless obstacles. They’ve suffered losses and disappointments, endured mistreatment, experienced frustration, abandonment and betrayal.

Eckhart Tolle, author of A New Earth, expressed it well: “The challenges of our life situations draw out that which is deeper in us.”

So let’s grab our paddles and go out a bit deeper, shall we? 🙂

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Filed under Contemplations, General Interest, Get Free, Parenting