I decided to do what I affectionately call a ‘mama groom’ on my dog, Benson, before we headed off to a family gathering.  Typically this includes him getting a bath, a brush, and me taking an electric razor and thinning shears to tidy up his fur.  As I’d been trying to brush him out, I discovered that because his fur is so thick, and he has to now wear a belly band (dog diaper) due to his age related incontinence, that he had some serious dreadlocks going on.  As I began to trim, I thought I might just try to shave out a bit of the snarls.  This ended with his one leg shaved and me calling the groomer.

The groomer informed me there was no saving his majestic, highly-matted coat, and that he had to be shaved.  I suspected this would need to be the solution, but as she began, I felt my heart drop and a panicked feeling of shame and despair.  These emotions subsided as this tiny little shaved pup, whose eyes and fluffy tail I still recognized, came strolling over to me and we made our way home.  He is so little under all that fur.  His movements, that always seems so obsessive when fur-covered,  now seemed so delicate and necessary for this tiny creature to maneuver himself.  His fatty-tumors that felt pronounced under his fur were now obvious masses protruding from his body.  He seemed fragile.

And as I allowed myself to take in who he is from this new perspective, I felt a deeper sense of empathy, tenderness, patience, appreciation, and even love.  Seeing him in this more vulnerable state created a deeper sense of dedication to my love and actions toward him.  A few days later, I began to wonder, what if I could do this towards people?  What if I could allow myself to strip away all the extraneous of who they presented themselves to be, and view them as the emanating light of love that lives within each of us?  What might my life be like then?  What would grow?

I think the more challenging aspect of seeing individuals, from this place, is that you have to be willing to allow, or find a place of acceptance, for their actions, and look on them from the perspective of finding connection.  Ultimately, look on them without allowing our beliefs to create judgment, but rather, hold that perspective of vulnerability within ourselves, to consciously seek to find understanding, and dare I say, love.

I think the first step of this is to be able to take a step back and not take the actions of others personally. Even if they are directed at you!  How’s that for challenging?  What if we could pause and reframe their actions towards us from a more tolerant and accepting place?  We were traveling home from a wonderful family gathering in Ohio recently, and I was in a super fun dress as it was my birthday.  As I came out of the rest area, I overheard a group of women laughing at my festive garb as I walked by. In that moment, I did not feel hurt for myself, but rather allowed myself to appreciate their need to feel belonging within their group.  Their belief that they had to conform to be accepted in the life that they had chosen for themselves.  I felt empathy for them.  You see, if you boil it down, it wasn’t me they were laughing at, it was their belief of how things should be.  Their beliefs really have nothing to do with me, do they?  I went on my way, happy and festive in my bright colored dress.

We like to shame each other for behaviors we deem unacceptable.  It’s interesting, and also a bit sad.  Typically, nothing is going to come of it but raised emotions and hurt feelings.  However, if we, as individuals, would make time to focus on ourselves, and recognizing those negative intentions, and where they are coming from, think of how much more peaceful a world we would live in. 

I welcome you to look upon something or someone that you love.  I encourage you to try to see them from a new perspective; from a more vulnerable awareness within yourself.  What can you awaken, or re-awaken in your love for them?  Now, I ask of you to please do this with something, or someone, that you don’t particularly care for.  What can you allow yourself to see?  What will you focus on to recognize them as more than their actions?

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