Dogs have mastered the art of unconditional love. Forgiveness, curiosity, and playfulness are just a few of the life lessons we can learn from our beloved pets.
They can also be wise teachers when it comes to a breakup.
I remember the day I got a jolt of wisdom from my beautiful white sled dog, Diva. I should have been happy while walking with her but instead I was in a funk, upset and distracted.
The guy I’d been seeing was back peddling. I knew this move and had good reason to fear its outcome. I was stuck in the thrashing stage; that awful time between clinging to hope and facing the reality that “whatever it was,” was over.
Then, I saw it. So did my dog. A remnant chicken bone had been casually tossed onto the sidewalk. From a dog’s perspective, the heavens had miraculously opened and presented a delectable treat. From a dog owner’s perspective, this lethal piece of garbage was a known safety hazard.
The mad rush was on. We both lurched toward the chicken bone. Diva won. Then, the real struggle began.
As I wrestled it from her clenched jaw, my otherwise docile dog became a terror. She’d just sunk her teeth into the juiciest treat on the planet and was determined to keep it. Cruel Susan was taking it away from her, tearing away the very thing she so dearly wanted.
What I couldn’t tell her (because she wouldn’t understand) was the damage I knew this so-called treat would cause her. I saw the situation from a completely different level. My efforts to protect her (from herself) came from a larger perspective she couldn’t understand.
As I don’t speak Dog, and she’d chosen to forget the language I’d taught her, I could only shout “give!” as I pried the chicken bone from her grasp.
And so it is with lovers.
There are times we’ll sink our teeth into the most delectable partner ever, only to feel them ripped away for reasons we can’t comprehend. We want that delicious experience. We’ve tasted it. Life isn’t fair. Just as we were beginning to savor the exquisite pleasure of our desire, it ended.
Then the struggle begins. We search in desperation to understand the reasons for this occurrence. We hunt for answers; it was bad timing, they were confused, they met someone else, etc. We’re certain we’ve lost the most precious lover we’ll ever know. They were the last bus and there’ll be no more. Our soul screams, “No one will ever love me, excite me, and connect with me as they did.”
What we fail to see is the wisdom in the hand that’s ripped this lover from us.
The Universe always has a plan. Yet in the moment of our loss, we choose to pretend we don’t understand its language.
Like my dog, I was responding instinctively that day to my own struggle with a treat being ripped from me. I wanted what I wanted and that was all that mattered. As desire battled trust, I witnessed my own stubbornness. Shortsighted vision was the root of my discontent, not the back peddling man.
When grappling with a lover’s exit, there is another option. We can shift our perspective. No need to go through the endless loop of “why,” or even to assume that it’s about us. The answers we’re seeking are of little importance compared to the greater intention being enacted.
It’s only in reflecting upon the past that we begin to understand this wisdom. We see the shadow of an intelligent guidance that was working on our behalf. The loss of what we assumed to be the ‘perfect partner’ was, in truth, a benefit. And though we didn’t see it at the time, we now see it now.
In the moments of our greatest pain, we can allow our thinking to move beyond the illusion of the events and circumstances dancing in front of us. We can connect with the guidance being offered rather than battle against it, and ourselves.
We can trust the loving hand that’s taken this person out of our lives, having done so for our greater good. We can relax, and stop fighting. We can look to the future with the knowledge that all things have their reasons… long before we have our answers.