Let me tell you a story about a dog.
My dog. Monty.
My dream dog I called him.
Because that is how he came to be with me.
Through a dream.
At the time of this dream I was having a twenty-something ‘mid-life’ crisis. I had just decided I would stay in New Zealand, which meant my best laid plans to return to Ireland and complete a Masters degree in Environmental Management where now defunct.
Instead I was serving chocolate & coffee and getting hat hair from a faux chocolatier hat.
With designs on completing Masters degrees and saving the earth, needless to say my chocolate selling job, whilst it had undeniable benefits, didn’t really match with who I thought I was supposed to be becoming.
So, I started to panic. And stress and worry about not just the state of the world (without me to save it), but my own world and what on earth I would do with myself now.
Until, I awoke one morning feeling gleeful and happy. I had had a most vivid dream of working with animals. Caring for them in a vet facility. I felt clear and sure and excited that yes, that is what I could do, find a way to work with animals.
Now that I had my future all sorted out, I set off to my chocolate shop picking up the paper to read on my lunch break.
I opened the job section.
“Receptionist for Local Vet Wanted”
I couldn’t believe my eyes —- WHAAAAT?!!
OMG THIS must be my job. IT’S a sign.
I was convinced.
The add instructed candidates to pick up applications at the clinic.
Off I went with a spring in my step and hope in my heart.
Two adorable black lab puppies came bounding up to the door as I walked in.
I was immediately distracted from what I had thought was my purpose.
I had always wanted a dog.
And now, despite the fact I was in a relationship only a few months, I was living in NZ on a visa and no guarantee of staying long term, I knew one of those puppies was my dog.
Just like that.
In terms of where getting a dog was on my radar at that time, it went from zero to certainty in 2 seconds.
There he was. My black guru angel.
Of which I had no idea at the time, just how much he would be there for me.
And I left that clinic with the only thing I was meant to find.
Not a job, not a purpose or a future that wasn’t mine, but a dog.
A very special dog, who would have the capacity to hold space, absorb and simply BE in such a way that led me to believe, he in fact was my caretaker, not the other way around.
When I finally let that twenty-something ‘crisis’ (aka early stages of awakening) have its way with me, Monty was there for me through my break-down and tears and feeling lost, unsure, depressed and hopeless. Those steady, knowing brown eyes were there.
When I stepped into new worlds of personal development and self-empowerment, Monty was there to run alongside me in the forest while I yelled ‘All I need is within me now’
When the glow of awakening wore off and I was sick & desperate he was there to sleep with me on the carpet.
When we worked too hard building a business, he got naughty to remind us of what mattered.
When I sat to meditate he would rest his head on my arm, gazing up to me, reminding me of deep truths that needed no words.
When I pondered the mundane-ness of life, he would launch himself into the lake fetching a stick with such exuberance for the millionth time, that I understood the potency of now presence.
When we got another puppy he played, guided and taught him with tireless patience, love and gentleness.
When I slowed down and started letting Being-ness IN, he would walk with me, slowly in the forest, exploring, listening, looking, like two friends searching in awe for signs of the fairies and elementals.
And when he knew I was ready to go it alone, that I had let it in, that I finally could begin to KNOW what it is to rest into BEing, he showed me one last teaching.
The ultimate in letting go.
Death, release and moving on.
Changing with grace & joy and peace in ones heart. Letting life move, evolve and releasing the need to hold on so tightly.
Because once I let him go, he left another even greater gift for me.
Grief. Yes, grief.
The thing we run from, hide from, shame, bottle up and resist.
It’s beauty, it’s terror, it’s visceral wrenching pain, it’s loss and fear, and ultimately it’s relenting ability to open our hearts.
To soften with a deep compassion. To open to ourselves. To cry like a baby and hold oneself with the care of a mother. To allow ourselves the deepening of feeling. To let the sensory nature of living through. To look deeply into ourselves and receive the love, and tenderness we are aching for in our lived experience.
And so it is, the gift my dream dog was ready to give me.
When I so innocently thought my heart was open, he gracefully showed me there was more.
That I wasn’t in fact losing anything, I was gaining something more precious.
I was gaining more of myself. More of my own compassion & love & care.
And Monty, well he is not lost to me, he is now more present for me, clearer in his communication and more able to show me freedom, independence and grace.
Exactly what I was looking for all along.
And all those years ago I thought what I needed was a new job……
Well thankfully Monty knew different.
Monty – Slipped through the veil on New Years Eve. To allow me to welcome 2019 with arms & heart wide open, tears streaming and sweet surrender pouring through.
What a dog.