My dog peed on my bed last night.
It was the second “accident” in two days, and the fourth in two weeks.
She’s almost nine years old, and has been the ONE constant in my life the last several years. Through multiple relationships, countless ups and downs, infertility treatments, a cross-country move, and most recently, the death of my father – my Lillie has been at my side throughout it all.
Like any overthinking and over-analyzing puppy parent would, I freaked out about this relatively new strain of accidents after being housebroken for years. (Not to mention the fact that stepping or laying in a wet spot is pretty gross…)
Like any “parent” would, I researched and Googled, read blogs and forums on “senior” doggie physical problems.
And then I cried.
“Why are you crying?” my boyfriend asked as I stripped the bed. “Because I’m scared she’s old and sick and what if I’m about to lose her!?” I shot back.
“You can’t die yet…I can’t lose you too” I silently whispered.
There’s nothing wrong with having – and loving – a pet. Obviously biased, I’d argue that animal lovers are more balanced and happier people in general.
Where I run into problems, in life and in doggy motherhood, is when I hold on to an attachment to that relationship. Logically, I know that Lil won’t be around forever. At best I’ll have her another three or four years. Emotionally…well…I’m afraid to let go.
There’s a saying I run across seemingly all the time. It goes “In the particular is contained the universal.” As in, how you understand and process one thing is how you understand and handle everything.
I’m a collector of relationships. It’s terribly hard for me to let go of people, be it a business relationship that’s ended, a failed romantic relationship, or even a toxic relationship that I know was no good for me at all. My loyalty to the investment I once made in the relationship means that I continue caring about the other person long lonnnnng after they’re no longer a daily fixture in my life.
I hold on as a defense mechanism.
This scattered attachment to all robs those closest to me of my best most invested self. In short, it could keep me from going all-in in any particular relationship. It means my risk of being alone is spread out over multiple people versus just being 100% THERE for a few close loved ones. If left unchecked, I could remain attached to a memory for years.
This past year, I’ve discovered Mettā meditation as a tool to release that attachment with love. The basic principle is wishing for others as you wish for yourself. As I meditate, I begin by asking for love, kindness, peace and health for myself. I then repeat the process while thinking of a loved one, my mom or boyfriend perhaps. Then I focus on specific difficult people from my past and send them love, kindness, and wishes for peace and health. The final step is to realize that we’re all connected, and to extend those well wishes to strangers around me.
It’s helped me tremendously to move forward, but it’s a lesson I’m still learning. Today I’m thankful for Lillie’s accident. It is but another reminder that I’m still learning, still growing, and still have work to do in this particular area of my life.
What about you? Are there any memories in your life that you need to let go of with love? Are you holding on to a lost love, or holding onto anger and resentment for another? Perhaps you too could find peace through Mettā meditation.