My Teacher Joe

January 13, 2008 | 18 Comments »

You know how I believe things around us are symbolic of what’s inside, right?  Last night when my best canine buddy, Joe, had his fourth “seizure” since November (if that’s what it is, we’re still not sure) I started wondering if there was a message for me in it. 

Each time it happens (it wakes him up at four in the morning), for nearly an hour he repeats this action where his head swings down and to the left in a sudden motion, and he takes several steps backwards.  It almost looked like he was trying to avoid something dangerous that only he can see.  Whatever it is, it’s so real to him, that it seems he’s no longer in control of his faculties.

I remembered that he came to me as a foster dog from the shelter after he’d been hit by a car, where he sustained serious back injury.  I wondered if maybe he was having flashbacks of the accident instead of seizures.  The more I watched him, the more it looked like he was repeating the traumatic experience of what the accident could have been. 

That that was even a possibility made me sad.  Here he is safe and sound with his whole life ahead of him, and yet he wasn’t.  He may very well be re-experiencing that awful moment engulfed by fear and pain and suffering, for no purpose or reason.

That felt familiar.

I mean, most of us do this every day, don’t we?  Where we imagine past traumas or even create imaginary ones in the future? 

Like that argument I had with Peggy when she said she’d just take her bunnies to Humane Society when the kids got tired of taking care of them – I’ve replayed that one a couple times, both in my head and each time I tell it to others.  Or even that street where me and the dogs got rear-ended – I still think of that awful impact each time I turn on that road.  I’ve gone over that conversation with Russ a couple of times where he refused to consider getting quotes for our house insurance, because his agent was a buddy and he wouldn’t give the business to my insurance company, even if they were lower. 

We know these habits of reveling in the negative stuff are not serving us at all from a law of attraction standpoint.

Regardless of what he’s really experiencing, Joe showed me the ridiculousness of my habit of repeating the trauma in my mind.  He’s helped me recommit to enjoying what’s here right now, and not worrying about past anxieties or projecting fears into tomorrow.

I’ll accomplish that for myself the same way I try to soothe Joe.  I remind him that it’s okay, that he’s safe now.  I scratch his head to remind him he’s not alone.  I tell him that experience is over, it’s in the past.  I remind him he’s a good boy and that all is well.  I ask him to relax, and tell him he’ll feel better in the morning.

I think that’s going to work really well for me, too.

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18 Responses to “ My Teacher Joe ”

  1. Yes, I lost the comments on the last post, but all the rest should be here. (And I think that’s just temporary – I’ll figure out how to get the others over as well.)

    So please feel free to leave new ones now!

    Thanks, everyone!

  2. Martha says:

    Hi, J:

    I love your new home.

    Our dog Faith has these funky nightmare twitches, with little yips, and then Jeff puts his hand on her, and….big sigh. All gone. It’s great to have a dog as your spiritual master, eh?

  3. Thank you, Martha! Not just for welcoming me with a comment at my new digs, but also reminding me our power to help our spiritual masters feel better. 🙂

    My favorite part of your comment is knowing you have a sweetie who not only knows how to but does calm Faith.

    Thanks for joining me over here, my friend!

  4. Robert Higginson says:

    HI JEANNETTE!
    I love the new look. It is SO cool. It looks like the words are glowing! I can’t relate to the dog story, but I can SO relate to feeling lonely. Especially on Sundays, where I can’t help but compare myself with all of the “normal families” at church. But you know that you and I always have each other. (I’m reminding me of that, as well as you) Thank you for being my friend and a creator of miracles.
    Robert

  5. Rick says:

    This is a cool new space Jeanette! Serene yet energized.

    We had a black Staffie named Billy that started to have seizures and when we asked him to get in the car, he would keep walking around it unable to find his way in to someplace that he used to enter with ease. Billy was my sensei for the last years of his life and he, and now Pico, are beloved friends and teachers: so transparent so that I can learn.

    Thank you for posting your Heart so often Jeanette.

    I think I better go hug my dog now.

  6. Thank you for joining me in my new neighborhood, Robert!

    That’s one of the reasons my ex-husband didn’t thrive in the church after he got divorced – he felt very out of place as a divorced guy. As soon as he remarried he felt at home there again. I can feel for what you’re going through.

    Rick, I love your story about Billy your sensei. That transparency is one of the three key elements Martha Beck teaches her coaches to be, in order to be of highest service to their clients.

    They model it so well!

    Thanks for posting, Rick. I am very glad to hear from you! 🙂

  7. Lyman Reed says:

    Wow! What an awesome new look, Jeannette! I love it!

    And I loved this post also… it really tugged at my heart. Our canine friends have so much to teach us about life. Thank you for sharing it!

  8. Susie Beifuss says:

    Hi Jeannette,

    I found my way here from the group, and just wanted to comment on your statement about everything being symbolic….because I definitely believe that EVERYTHING is symbolic……and knowing that makes it so fun figuring out things…..occaisionally, also, some things may seem upsetting, but i think it’s about how we perceive the symbolism…..

    With a seizure or any repeated behavior, compulsive or otherwise, a previous thought or idea would always preceed…but….for me…my current perception and thinking about what’s around me seem to be my lessons…..if remembering a past action seems sad or painful, that memory can be transformed into a more loving (more positive) memory……for my present …..(yeah, it’s a gift, that’s why it’s called the present, remember??)

    I definitely relate to your sensitivity with animals. I can’t watch Animal Planet because even though an animal may survive an accident or illness, I can’t bare to watch through the part when the animal is suffering….and that must be something for me to examine!!!!

  9. Steve Nadeau says:

    Ahh – your new site in my favorite colors – refreshing and soothing. And your first post about the wisdom of our dog buddies. How serendipitous – I Love it.

    -Steve Nadeau (Justin’s “Dad”)

  10. Thanks, Lyman! That means a lot coming from you! And nice to see you on Facebook! Thanks for finding me (here and there)! ha ha!

  11. Susie, thanks for reminding me how we can transform those old memories if we’re not enjoying them. In fact, I’ve read a couple of times (and an experiment that Lynne McTaggart covers in Intention Experiment seems to prove it) that we can change our past.

    What a trippy thought!

    Have you considered you might be a highly sensitive person? I haven’t looked up exactly what that means, but I know from Judith Orloff’s Positive Energy that I am definitely sensitive to energy as well. Loud, busy, crowded places are definitely not my favorite.

    When my ex lived here and we had cable I used to watch that animals cops show .. what was it called? Man, that was guaranteed tears. lol

    Thanks for posting, Susie!!

  12. Steve, thanks for checking in to say hello here! I’m glad you like the colors – I gave the artist free rein and am quite pleased with what she did!

    Have you posted a photo of Justin on the good news group? I’d love to see one!

    Thanks again for commenting, Steve. I hope to hear more from you!

  13. Amy says:

    Regarding this paragraph:
    Have you considered you might be a highly sensitive person? I haven’t looked up exactly what that means, but I know from Judith Orloff’s Positive Energy that I am definitely sensitive to energy as well. Loud, busy, crowded places are definitely not my favorite.

    It stuck out to me because of a conversation that I was
    having with a friend of mine the other day. I hope you don’t mind my asking considering it’s out of the context of the original blog entry, but seems highly serendipidous. So, my friend is a highly sensitive person, but we were not aware that there may be information available to him to be able to understand this better. Do you know of a book, or other information that I could pass on to him that will help him find the benefits of being sensitive/perceptive?
    Also, I found out this morning that (I have a brand new business) I had a customer bounce a check written to me. I got myself in a frenzy thinking about all of the possible scenarios of why, what I’ll do, and how hurt I was. I even started to get a bit of a flight or flight type of response by replaying these imaginary scenarios. I did two things: got busy, and did some self-talk such as “the worst thing that can happen is I’ll be out that much money- what’s the big deal- there’s plenty more where that came from!”
    I was thinking that it may be of value for you to take this dog for a little walk (if you stay up with him anyway at that hour) and carry yourself in a non-worrying way so as not to transfer any of your anxiety to your dog and therefore increase any anxiety he may be feeling. Just a thought. Worry of any kind/feeling sorry for what your dog is experiencing will probably have an exacerbating effect. Thinking of what I’ve seen on What the Bleep I’m thinking that not letting the dog repeat this, if it is an anxious behavior will not let him create a neural net/rut pattern. I murdered that brain lingo, but I hope you know what I mean. Remember the illustrations of how when you stop a habitual pattern of thought enough times it weakens and the neurons shrink up?
    Wow, that was a long one. Hope that’s ok! So glad you forwarded where to find you now! Love the new site!!
    Amy (Woofy’s Grooming)

  14. Thanks for posting, Amy! I love your insights!

    Yes, there is a book I know of, although I haven’t read it: “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Elaine Aron. I liked Judith Orloff’s “Positive Energy” when I read it years ago. I’m not sure she uses that term, but she does talk about people who are unusually sensitive to energy.

    I’ll take your suggestions to heart as to how to handle future episodes – if there are any. And releasing my anxiety if there are would sure be a step in the right direction.

    Congrats on your brand new business! And for finding your way to the thought: “There’s plenty more where that came from!”

    Have you made a perfect client profile? If so, make sure you have on there that they happily and gratefully pay in full up front or something to that effect. And if you don’t already have one: “Attracting Perfect Customers” by Stacey Hall will help you weed out the check-bouncers. 🙂

    Hope to see you again here, Amy! I loved reading your thoughts!

  15. Sarah says:

    Hi Jeannette,
    while reading this post, this particular book came to my mind. It’s called What animals Tell Me, by Dr Monica Diedrich. You can find out more about her at her website.
    http://www.petcommunicator.com/

    I think it will be really interesting to be able to find out what your dog is really experiencing.

  16. Amy says:

    Thanks, Jeannette, for your response, I will pass this information about being highly sensitive on to my friend.

    Also, I ordered the Attracting Perfect Customers book off of your recommended books list from one of your December posts and it was exactly what I needed at the time! Another friend of mine with a business also ordered it after my telling her how much I loved it. Thanks for that!

    Just for fun, take a look at this bumper sticker for dog/LOA lovers:
    http://www.agathaandlouise.com/servlet/the-999/Wag-More-Bark-Less/Detail

  17. Amy says:

    Oops, looks like you already saw that bumper sticker link when I sent it to you before. Sorry to send it twice! I just love it, and love to share it. Hee hee, I have two on the back of my car.

  18. Thanks for the book link, Sarah! Sounds right up my alley.

    And thanks for the reminder of that fabulous sticker, Amy. I had a ton of fun shopping on that site!

    To both of you – thanks for sharing the good resources! Much appreciated!

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