Sitting down and taking the time to be with your pet and just stroking them to feel the connection with a part of your own family can bring you comfort. There are so many moments in life when we choose to do something, but we’re not present with our surroundings. There are so many moments in life we want to do something, but our mind says: “No, be for a moment. Take a break.” Although sometimes taking that break becomes more of a question we don’t know how to answer.
Somehow we know so clearly what to do/be when we are young. A baby follows their inner being completely. They are hungry – they cry; they’re happy – they laugh; they’re hurt – they tell everyone. It is all so natural and completely healthy and normal to be who we are.
As we get older, we are influenced by the outside world without realizing it – our parents’ vision (how lovely and well-intended), television, school, social media. Even if you think something is not valid or doesn’t feel right, when we read/hear/feel it over and over, we begin to adapt to it. We start to adjust ourselves to what we think is expected of us – to be part of the group, our community, our family, to fit in and not feel lonely for being different. It’s a pure survival instinct that kicks in and our lives have depended on it for centuries.
It is not something we do on purpose; we even think that we are doing the right thing. We are following guidance from outside, the direction that seems to serve others. We see what happens when we follow the rules, the guidelines – we do well. It seems that life is what it should be; life is what we can expect of it and it’s okay.
But then, there is a moment when we realize it is not okay anymore. Sometimes it is not even on a conscious level. Many things can stop us from doing all the things we were planning. The party is too noisy. We have too many appointments on our schedule. At work, you are asked to be responsible for too many projects. Your body is painful and your mind rushes 100 miles an hour. You want to say “No,” but you hear yourself say “Yes.” It sounds compelling because no one is feeling the pain in your stomach, or your shoulders freezing up. No one is listening to that soft little voice inside going “No, no, no more. Let’s not go to this party. Let’s not go to another noisy family dinner where I will be the one cleaning up everything again. Let’s not go out and drink too much to numb all my feelings. Please let’s go to sleep and rest, let’s go and sit outside, cook healthy food. Let’s give our body and mind a rest this time around.”
We have entirely forgotten how to slow down and just relax. At some point in our lives, we forget what it is like to feel and nurture our body and mind. Everything is entirely out of control. We have no idea what our problem is; and we don’t understand our emotions or even our thoughts. There is no space for anything that is ultimately ours. We’ve adjusted everything to what the outside world is having us eat up, literally and figuratively. We have converted to what others tell us we should feel, think, eat. Our community and environment have rewired us. We’ve erased ourselves, in a way, and replaced it by an outside norm.
This is when you realize something has to change or when life pulls on the emergency brake. By getting physically sick, your mind breaks down and stops functioning. You know what I mean – that point of no return. The day that you run out of options and change is your only alternative. Trying to adjust to the outside norm is not an option for you because you cannot keep it up. You’ve given it all away and there is no reserve to take from to go another round.
The courage comes softly to you, but with it comes support. It comes in a way you probably don’t recognize at first as it is so different or because it feels in a weird way so familiar and comfortable. The light starts to shine in a different direction. The sun begins to warm you up and the noises outside invite you to follow them. Nature is reaching out and offers you a hand to come and play. The smells start to show you that there are different choices you can make. It all starts slowly and softly, but it is a motion that is unstoppable.
You start to pay attention to what is already in your life. You are surprised by the enormous amount of love there already is. Your fun-loving dog is ready to play, sleep and point all the places you should come out and sniff. Your cat is ready to show you exactly how to say “No” and to ignore all the non-essential things that you should definitely not care about. While stroking your pets, you realize that one stroke at a time, you start to connect with yourself again. One stroke at a time, you find your footing still, and make steps into a new journey. One stroke at a time, new people join you on your journey. You reconnect with dear loved ones who see the benefits of helping you be happy. Your mind is slowing down and the painful aches are leaving your body. One stroke a time you are taking back your own life.
I’ve created a Meditation to go along with this article for you to try.