That rescue greyhound undid me. I started crying. Her joy of having a yard to race around in, that I came down the stairs so early in the morning and gave her a pad. That I had some attention to spare.
After hanging out with Daisy, suddenly pain welled up in me, I knelt next to her and tears began to flow.
I knew of the dog’s recent misery as a tortured race hound and that friends of mine had rescued her, giving her a lovely home.
And I had met before a few of those tormented gentle souls. Heartbreakingly beautiful creatures.
And to say it upfront, I am not really an animal fan. No, I admit it. I am not a dog (or a cat) person. But that morning I had a one-on-one session with a loving, wise canine, which reflected back a part of me that I often gladly forget. My wounded part.
Wisdom #1 “You can feel pain and still be you.”
As I cried and let my old tears flow, I encountered that miracle, that insight into the nature of stored pain again. By meeting this emotionally wounded dog, she touched a memory, an old, dismissed state of mine, and revealed a pocket of sadness that still hid in my depths. One I either do not notice or don’t want to indulge. That part of myself I am happy to neglect or attempted to heal with inner work (who knows with the many complex layers we humans have, eh?).
Anyway, there I was crying about that wounded part about which I claim not to be identified with because I am no victim.
The dog’s energy was so gentle, humble, vulnerable and open. Hurt, but loving and it cut me open. And my tears were about having been used as a slave in my family and some religious institutions and never been seen nor feeling loved for who I was. I had to function, obey and serve. That was my past role until 20 years old.
I had forgotten about it. Because I made so many changes and healed so much over the years that there are only small pockets left. And Daisy found one.
So I cried, not mentally identified with any state, being fully me, right now, and not losing myself in it, however, deeply moved. A cellular memory about being wounded and mistreated got uncovered and I obviously shared these experiences with the maltreated dog.
The greyhound started licking my hand probably understanding and empathising with me. You good soul, Daisy.
Wisdom #2 “Pain is not a drama.”
That accidental pain, that lingering pocket from old times, appeared to be something ordinary, so ‘normal’ and mundane to me. An old familiar friend. ‘Ah, there you are. I had no idea you still hung around.’ Meeting and feeling it was something rather minor. Painful, but inconsequential. Necessary but insignificant. Why insignificant? Well, I don’ believe pain needs to be a drama.
Sure, I am used to pain. That’s one side of it. Maybe. But even more, I think our society has two strange ways to treat pain or people in it. And both ways go against my take on how to deal with it.
Wisdom #3 “Society has no clue how to handle Pain.”
Scenario A. Society boos pain, making it something to shun, something extraordinary, which we need to avoid at all costs. Because our ‘normal’ state in which we all ‘should’ be in, is happiness, success and joy, right? What? You’re in pain? Well, pain means you’re not whole or functional, so really, you’re worthless. In the world of capitalism anyway.
Scenario B. We celebrate suffering and pain is a trophy to be shown around. Whoever has the biggest sob story and drama going on, the worst loss and catastrophe gets the most attention (and invitations to talk shows or articles for sob magazines). Hey, then that pain is worth something, right?
Well, both ways A. and B. I find are confusing for someone who feels real, authentic pain. Pain is something personal and private. It happens on the inside. And sometimes it is so big and overwhelming we need to involve others to bear it. And sometimes it is precious because we connect with the real ‘us’ again. Touching base with our truth. Ah, there I am.
And sometimes it’s simply meeting an old friend. Nothing dramatic about it. Unless we make it wrong (scenario a) or dramatise it (scenario b).
Wisdom #4 “Feel it, meet it, and then get on with it.” or My Take on Pain
I am a veteran when it comes to feeling pain and working through trauma. Pain doesn’t phase me anymore. That means I am not scared of it. Yes, it’s tough and unpleasant, but I know 100% that it transforms into something else if I keep at it. If I feel and meet the pain, it will rinse through my fingers like water.
My take and Daisy is my witness, is to feel it. That pain? It’s you. It’s me. Meet it. Shake its hands, see it in its eyes and connect with it. You will see what happens: it dissolves.
Then we can get on with life.
No drama in meeting an old part of ourselves, right Daisy? Because now, we are here, and we have grown and changed. We are not anymore tortured or despised, left or dismissed, used and abused. So that pain is not from now. It’s old, just not met yet.
And therefore I suggest we better make our pockets of sadness, sudden tears and pains from the past nothing that they aren’t. Pain often is an echo of memories and experiences, or beliefs we still hold (if those beliefs are true or not doesn’t matter).
It is NOT us, just a feeling that passes through, like a train that takes its route straight through my body but will eventually leave.
And Daisy knew all about that. She created an opportunity for me to met an old part of mine, to let the train pass through, and as surprised as I was, she shared her wisdom with me.
It seems like I like dogs after all.