"Knowing someone who belongs to another species can enlarge your soul in surprising ways."
How to be a Good Creature
I suppose I should have painted a reflection in water for this blog post, given the title, but I was instead inspired to paint Mocha, a sweet girl we adopted as a puppy in 2005, and who left us in 2013, even though we weren't ready for her to cross the Rainbow Bridge.
I spent the last days of this year reading a beautiful book called How to be a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery. She describes lessons learned from 13 of the many animals she has been fortunate to get to know; not only rescued dogs, but a pig, an octopus and a tarantula, among others.
This book prompted me to reflect on the animal companions who have left us and the many lessons they gave me about living. Mocha was a pensive girl, and very tuned into us. When I brought home another puppy, she barked and growled at it until I burst into tears and told her how much I wanted this puppy. From that day on, she let go of her anger, and accepted - even loved - that puppy. She also knew how to let go of her inhibitions and play with all her heart, as she would grab hold of a rope and jump around in circles with the rope flying through the air.
When she lay dying, and had stopped eating and drinking despite all our efforts to lengthen her too short life, she showed me it was okay to let go - that it was time for her to move on, in spite of the fact I wanted her to stay.
So as I reflect on this past year and look forward to 2019, I find that Mocha has prompted these questions:
What emotion do I need to let go of that might be getting in the way of a new opportunity?
What do I need to let go of so that I can "play" with all my heart?
What do I need to let go of because it's time for the person or situation to move on?
Thank you Mocha, and all of my animal companions, living and gone, for helping me to reflect on how I can become a good creature.
And thank you to all of my human friends too, for accepting and supporting my journey to become a good creature.
Happy New Year!