Doggie-Style

I am a big dog lover. I see dogs, and I stop to talk to them, touch them, and gaze deeply into their eyes so that I may have the pleasure of touching soul. It’s a special connection, and I know a lot of other people who are like me in this way. They trust dogs more than they trust people. Dogs have become emotional stabilizers for people. We see “Emotional Support Animals” and have created laws around protecting people and their dogs. I am glad for it. I love seeing doggies being well-treated by their owners. It makes me happy.

It’s been about a year and a half since I left my little chihuahuas at my ex-husband’s house so that they could have a big, grassy yard to play in and not be pinned into a tiny, vinyl-floored apartment on which they would continually have to alleviate themselves while I was away at work. I miss them every single day. However, I’ve lived in homes where dogs piss, and it’s not healthy breathing. Not for the dogs, not for me. When they can’t be properly looked after in a home, it’s best they move to a home where they can be properly cared for.

What’s the point?

Dogs are vessels of unconditional love, provided that they have not been mistreated in their upbringing. Sometimes, they can be loving even after being mistreated, but they tend to be dangerous. They may be loving one minute, and full of biting venom the next if you touch them the wrong way and trigger a memory of abuse. Their behavior might be coming from the energy of past contained trauma rather than the energy that is in their immediate, present-moment space. It’s conditioning. What’s cool is that we human body-types actually have the same thing going on. I see people who are so friendly, kind, warm and open. As they meet a new person, they’re totally excited to make a new acquaintance. As they get to know the new person, they begin …  wait, let me put this in first person since I’m guilty of what I’m pointing out.

I meet a new person. If I happen to be in a good mood when it happens, I am warm, friendly, bright, open, curious, kind, and compassionate. My highest self knows that all humans have value and beauty in them. I have the ability to see good in every body, sometimes so blindly that I overlook the pain and disease completely. Each body is a gem in its own way. It contains knowledge and experience and understanding that has been illuminated through pain, sometimes. It doesn’t matter how misshaped, abused, or broken that body/person is. It may be that the more difficult a life a person has had, the more beautiful the gem of a human they are.

Then, I find out that they smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and occasionally drive while intoxicated. Suddenly, I’ve got a wall up. “Oh hey, nice to meet you, gotta run.” Some people might say I’m judging. In fact, people have said, “You’re judging.” The fact is, yes, it is a form of judgment but I’m protecting myself from behaviors I’ve had to fight really fucking hard to overcome. I can’t stand being in bars. I hate the smell of alcohol around me. I dread being around someone who is intoxicated. That hatred comes from a place of feeling injured by being a part of the behaviors to begin with. Having experienced alcohol abuse through out my life in many capacities, I have a major aversion to booze and being around the enjoyment of it. I’ve come to see that if I am busy destroying my body (with cigarettes or booze or reckless behaviors), then I am not choosing healing. I want health, peace, contentment – so I choose to steer clear of alcohol and cigarettes and people who use them. It is self-protection. If I get tired of life as it is, I may start looking for a way out rather than embracing the journey – I may choose to smoke cigarettes and drink ridiculous amounts of booze and then, I’ll want to hang out with other people who are doing the same so that I know it’s perfectly okay to do what I’m doing. That’s my view on it and where my negative reactions to it come from. To step off the treadmill of self-destruction, I had to adapt a no-tolerance policy for things I know are destructive.

This is not limited to booze and smokes.

Here’s an example of how my walls go up. A friend of mine covered up the fact that she was having an affair with a person we both know. I couldn’t see what was happening until someone else told me. When I found out, my heart was crushed because I’ve lived through the pain of a cheating parent and I’ve lived through the pain of a husband who didn’t want me. I lived through the pain of watching my husband grab another woman’s breasts in front of me in drunken playfulness, I was miserably ashamed. I had a friend’s husband grab my ass and tell me how delicious I looked. I wanted to punch him dead on the spot. Later, after judging him, I lived through the pain of falling in love with another woman’s husband. I felt the horror and disgust of my boyfriend not coming home at night because he was with another woman as I waited around missing him. It’s the foundation of a lot of deep-seated anger and rage in my body, and I’m still in the process of working it out and burning it up through Tapas and other yogic concepts for purification. The process is working, and I know it because now I can see it. For years, I was blind in my own anger and rage and held no compassion for my own awful experiences or the way my choices impacted others. I even used to take comfort in the idea that God was going to punish sinners by sending them to Hell. “Oh, he’ll get what he deserves!”

What traumatizing life experiences have you had that you’re not allowing compassion for? 

When my friend finally admitted to me what was going on with her and this man who I admired *until I found out about his guilt/weakness/need to be loved by someone other than his wife*, my eyes welled up and I told her in a choked up voice that I feel for her because I know her heart (or someone else’s) is going to feel so torn up and awful over it. It made me physically ill to accept her news, and I had to remove myself from her presence. I could no longer be close to her. I wanted to protect myself from experiencing the pain again, and yet… I did experience the pain again upon finding the truth. Then, I recognized the pain as a universal human experience, and I forgave her. I forgave all the others who have hurt my life with their ignorance. I forgave myself for my over-dramatic emotional responses. These people don’t engage in cheating behavior because they want to hurt others, they do it because all they can see is their need, their desire, their right to be loved or needed or….  they’re hoping for that magical connection that is going to finally make them feel complete. Or whatever. Jesus said, “Forgive them father for they know not what they do.” Buddha also suggests compassion and forgiveness. In fact, I think all religions probably point to this same truth, that harmful behaviors come from a place of ignorance and should be forgiven. Sometimes it’s just impulse that you believe will improve your life and help you out of the stagnancy you feel. I am sure that a lot of people who engage in this type of behavior are turning a blind eye to the part of the truth that they don’t want to see, and it’s because they’re truly trying to escape the misery they are already in. Perhaps some people actually engage in harmful behavior because they do want to hurt someone. I’ve been there. I’ve acted in ways that were designed to cause someone else pain, but only because they’d caused me pain and I was seeking my vengeance – an eye for an eye (which is not grace, mercy, or forgiveness). This behavior of vengeance, harming others, and harming self is absolutely contrary to doggie style.

I’m committing to doggie-style. 

Doggie-style means seeing the weirdness, the painful outcomes, the suffering and then understanding that you can’t understand all the reasons for what’s happening, and wagging your tail in love, anyway. Accepting that you can’t control or fix the catastrophe in front of you. Seeing through the bullshit to see the love, and knowing that even with all the pain, the suffering, the death and destruction… it’s really all okay and you can connect with your own inner peace – that seat of great wisdom and beauty – where gratitude for the journey resides. If you are caught up (if I am caught up) in the maelstrom of emotion, the best thing I or you can do is to remove self temporarily to find space and breath through all the harsh feelings – cry, do sit ups, run 10 miles, climb a mountain, sit in a hot tub. Work through the feelings (just be with them and know that they too shall pass) and get super honest with yourself about the experience, rather than covering the pain up with more self abuse. If you need to talk to someone, give me a call. I’ll listen and do my best to never judge again. I’ll be working on being able to stay comfortably in places where people are blind to their own self-destructive behaviors without allowing myself to react in anger, hatred, or judgment.

It is my sincerest wish that all beings be free of suffering and make choices that represent their own greatest joy which in turn spreads compassion, love, joy and kindness like wildfire through the thick forest of humanity. May all beings see the truth and be set free of their hatred and rage. May all beings vibrate with the energy of a well-treated, well-fed, well-loved doggie.

Namaste

Credits:

Dog Photo 

Resources for working with your own emotions / issues:

Pema Chodron

Yoga

Emotional Support Animals

Meditation

This blog represents the information and teachings that I needed at age 12, at the time my parents split. It took decades to find what I needed. I hope that by sharing my very personal thoughts and experiences, some young women will benefit and look for the healing instead of more destruction. Perhaps you, the reader, know some young women who struggle. Had I begun doing yoga under a teacher at a young age, I’d have been more likely to make choices in my life that were healing and informed rather than creating more pain and suffering in my own and others’ lives through the aggression that arose from my own sense of social injustice. Learning to operate from the energy of love and forgiveness rather than the energy of anger, aggression, frustration, and disgust will make all the difference in the world. It takes a desire to heal, a desire to make life wonderful, and a desire to stand in the face of what ails you like a strong, courageous warrior. Should you have words to add to my story, I openly invite your commentary.

In love & light

Laurie

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