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wisdom of dogs, Issue #071-- Year of Equanimity
August 31, 2022

The past

There is a movement in the United States now to revise our history books to reflect unsettling truths about our collective past. There is also a backlash against this movement.

I understand both sides because I am experiencing the same revision and backlash in my personal history.

It requires equanimity to stay with what is true, even as I must pry myself away from the pretty falsehoods.

The Lies

I know my parents lied to me. About many things. Some inconsequential. Others with big consequences.

I’ve learned some long-hidden truths in the last few years. They come out gradually. Have to be processed gradually. But I refuse to ignore them.

I force myself to face the truth.

I tell myself I am brave enough to do this.

This changes everything

The problem is that when you change one piece of information, it can change how all the other pieces go together.

Innocent stories suddenly reek of falsehood.

Stories I built my life on. Stories I love. Stories that don’t square with the truth I now know.

It’s tempting to cling to the old story, the long held image.

In my gut, I know it is a lie, but my brain fights to keep the pretty picture.

I have been here before

The dog was Huff. A Border Collie-Aussie mix. He was in a bad situation when we met. Through some good people, he was freed and he became mine.

The story I was told by his former owner was pretty. But it smelled like a lie. So I looked for the truth.

The truth hurt my heart.

It made my blood boil. I am not by nature a violent person, but sometimes I want to be. That was one of those times.

Equanimity required

But I needed to be with Huff, not locked in a jail cell. I needed to practice equanimity.

The truth helped the vet heal his body.

The truth helped me earn Huff’s trust.

The truth made it possible for Huff to experience joy.

The truth made it possible for him to feel safe during the time he had left.

When he drifted off to death he was peaceful, surrounded by the protection of my arms.

A piece of my heart went with him. I don’t need it back, it belongs to him. My heart grew bigger to replace that piece.

A bigger heart

Now my heart grows bigger again. This time to replace the pieces my parents’ lies destroyed.

As a nation we can grow a bigger heart, too. That is how we heal ourselves, our country and our world.

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