My dog, Dali, is a steady presence to all my different ways of being.
If I’m sad, Dali is licking my tears.
If I’m angry, Dali follows me from room-to-room.
If I’m anxious, Dali sits patiently as I pace.
If I’m depressed and lay down, Dali lays down with me.
She is confident and courageous and calm and if she could talk, I imagine she would say, “It doesn’t matter how you are. I am here. I’m not going anywhere. You can count on me.”
I’ve learned from Dali what it means to be present to all my different parts. Through this experience, I’m better able to do that for myself.
Dali is closing in on 15 years of age and she is declining. I am afraid that I am not going to learn fast enough all that Dali has to teach me. But I am present and compassionate to that fear and in that way, and many other ways, Dali’s legend will live on.
(Professional Website: http://www.BethLevineCounseling.com)
“We see you’re hurting, Mommy. And we care that you’re sad. We’re here for you.” That is the message I get when Dali and Oskar rush to lick my tears away whenever I’m crying. Their concern is very comforting. I do feel better receiving their caring contact. They sense my distress even if they are in another room and before you know it, they are there by my side.
There are times when I need to remind my husband not to try to fix things for me when I’m feeling vulnerable about something. I tell him I just need him to hold me and understand how I’m feeling.
And there are times I have to remind myself not to jump to solution-mode with other people. It can be difficult sometimes to sit with someone and be with them in their pain.
I’m reminded of the story of the four-year old boy whose next door neighbor, an elderly gentleman, recently lost his wife. When the young boy saw the man crying, he went over to him, climbed on his lap and sat there. After he returned home, the little boy’s mother asked him what he had said to their neighbor. Her son said, “Nothing. I just helped him cry.”
It doesn’t always take language to soothe. And in fact, sometimes words get in the way. I’ve learned from Dali and Oskar the power of presence. Putting my heart in to being there with someone’s experience is simple and pure and one of the best gifts I can give.
We all need support. Nervous Dogs sometimes just need to hold hands with their owners while riding in cars.