Well, I ended up taking Dali to the vet because I felt like she was walking slower than she should even with aging. Maybe she had arthritis that could be relieved with pain medicine. I noticed her being careful about walking up and down curbs. I watched as she chose to walk down where there was a gentle slope to the street for wheel chairs. The vet said Dali is experiencing some lumbar pain and we’re waiting to get blood test results to see if the discomfort is associated with some other problem.
I decided to make an appointment with the vets after a particularly slow walk. Oskar was pulling me to go faster and Dali was clearly doing the best she could. Oskar turned around a couple of times to see what was going on with Dali. Interestingly, after a bit, Oskar retreated from the lead and chose to walk side-by-side with Dali. I imagine he recognized that Dali was not just being obstinate, as she can be, but picked up on her discomfort. How astute and kind of Oskar. And I sensed Dali took in his support.
I don’t know how much of an active choice Oskar made to give up his desire to go at his pace and instead be compassionate, but we have a choice. Research shows our first instinct, as adults or children, is to help others, not compete with them. Unfortunately, cultural factors get in the way of our innate desire to be compassionate. Research also shows that when we are kind to others, we are mentally and physical healthier.
I know for myself, whenever I choose the Golden Rule, whether it is with nonhuman animals (animals) or people, I always feel better about myself. Just this morning, my husband, Irwin, and I started to get into an argument. I thought he was being ridiculous. And I thought of this quote by a child that I read recently. I can’t remember it exactly, but it is something like: When I’m acting badly I need your compassion the most. So I put my arm around Irwin and said I knew he was tired and had been working so hard and done so much for the family. He hugged me back. Compassion turned a moment of disconnect into a moment of connection. I’d say we both felt better.
What is a time when you acting compassionately and you noticed feeling happier or good about yourself?
(professional website: http://www.bethlevinecounseling.com)