I bought the October Guide from Little Acorn Learning. With all the wonderful festivals and holidays approaching I wanted a little help with ideas, and some help organizing myself. Nothing beats having it all in the palm of your hand. Our theme for the week is birds, and another great thing is Little Acorn includes a sort of weekly virtue in the theme. They even provide a caregiver meditation to remind you to take time for yourself. I love that! The virtue for this week is showing kindness. Not only are we to help create awareness of the need for kindness in our children, but we are challenged to become aware ourselves.
Mondays are “cooking days”. This is where the girls help me with a cooking project. Today’s project from Little Acorn was creating a homemade pet treat. Our pet is a dalmatian whom I’ve written about a few times here. His name is Lars. John and I bought him as a two month old puppy the month before we were married. He is ten years old. Lars was our first baby. He shared our bed. We took him on special trips and bought him special treats. Lars destroyed our couch and my collection of pewter figurines (yes, the dog demolished a soft metal with his teeth!) and we still allowed him to remain in the house. We were over it in less than a week and carrying on as normal. Unconditional love.
Then, came along Deladis. Despite the fact that I had balked at the thought that becoming a mother would change my relationship with Lars, it did. There was little time to snuggle with him on the couch. He was so rowdy it was impossible for me to walk him while Deladis was with us. His little shenanigans became more of an aggravation than something clean up and look over. Keeping Deladis from eating out of his food bowl was a challenge.
Ivy came along. We found out that Deladis was allergic to dogs, and we moved back to our mountains. We could finally keep Lars safely outside, and we chose to do that, for Deladis’ sake and for the fact that dalmatians shed 24/7 all year around. Their hair is not only white, it is fine. I know (even with him outside) I will be sweeping his hair up long after he is gone.
With Lars outside, it has become even easier to not interact with him. I shoo him out of the compost where he likes to visit and eat egg shells. I peek out the door when he barks. I make sure his food bowl is full. Every now and then, I will pat his back. But, mostly, he’s just there and I’m just here.
Lately, I’ve been doing more thinking about this because I know it won’t be long until he won’t be there anymore. Though he gets around much like an adolescent dog, he has started falling through the cracks between the porch steps and gets stuck. I have to pull him out. I know he has lost hearing in one ear that stays infected most of the time despite our efforts to help him. I’m pretty sure he has cataracts because he has started barking at us when we approach the house until we are right up on him. When I see his legs shake beneath him, I know he has arthritis.
He doesn’t complain. He isn’t sad. He loves my children, and still follows me on walks and around the yard ready to protect me. He lets Ivy mount him like a pony. He cuddles with Roy (our rooster) on the front porch. He is nothing but sweet, gentle, and kind, in spite of my not giving him the attention I once did, and being displaced by our “real” children.
When we gave Lars the treats we made, he wagged his tail like he did when he was a pup and we gave him the gourmet treats from the Three Dog Bakery. Deladis gave him the first one, then, Ivy. I gave him one as well. Then, as I was putting the remainder away, he was standing in the door, and I couldn’t resist letting him have a fourth treat. I’ll be sorry when he is gone from my doorway, drooling over my cooking. I don’t think I’ll ever love another dog as I have him.
A part of showing kindness is recognizing the finite state of our bodies. Realizing that we are all here only as long as the miracle of life continues to allow us to take another breath. The time for kindness is now. The time to release our fear and stubbornness is now. There is no other time.
…patience which is the first condition of real Love. In Love you give without attention to all the mistakes of another as the sun gives light and warmth to all people…
– Yogi Bhajan (on the Shabad Kriya)
I’m finding it harder and harder to even come from that anxiety driven place anymore. It is becoming easier to stop myself from riding the waves of stressful emotion. When you truly let go of expectations, extensive future planning (within reason), and begin to focus on the now, and your blessings, it becomes more difficult to be selfish enough to be impatient. And yet, we are all human.
Kindness is a huge thing. I think in the modern way of life it is too easy to avoid even the simplest acts of kindness.