Pause for paws

Over the course of the last week I felt like a slowly growing snowball of irritations. All the frustrations seemed very small and appeared to be quite separate from each other. Obviously, it was mostly just annoying things that other people were doing that I didn’t quite agree with and felt I would do differently. For example, it irritated me to think about the way my dad organizes (or not, rather) his living space. I also didn’t quite like that my husband gently suggested that perhaps adults can do these things as they wished and that I knew all of this was the case before I made the decision to go visit him. A couple of days later, on an unrelated matter, I felt annoyed thinking about a close friend who I thought was being too tough with herself and who should give herself a break from all the self-imposed pressures, relax and enjoy life. Then finally, over the last couple of days our puppy Pepe developed a limp in his back paw which just added the finishing layer of worry on the fat parfait of frustrations.

And what was my response to all of this throughout the week? To keep resisting it all, of course! For each one of the frustrating emotions, I just added another one in the theme of ‘I shouldn’t be feeling like this’, or in other words, feeling bad for feeling bad. As this whole pot continued to bubble, I noticed other not-helpful habits creeping in. For instance, I continued to skip morning yoga and stopped going on daily walks (after all, Pepe wasn’t going to come with me). I decided to stay at home instead of going to a local knitting club where I could have had a nice time and meet some new people. Generally, I started feeling “antsy” and uncomfortable in my skin. Finally, I began to crave and give into things like potato crisps and chocolate (granted, they were all organic and without any “nasties”, but that’s not the point!).

In the middle of this inner battle of irritation, I noticed a peculiar thing. While I was in the fully armed mode of self-irksomeness, our poor limpy dog was doing this.

Pepe&Sofa

Yeah. Really. And ‘this’, my friends, is what the most unashamed version of self-love looks like. He was taking extra long naps and resting even more than his usual 95% of the day. He took every opportunity to be in sunshine. He started fasting and only ate little amounts of the very tastiest treats that I offered him. He became very gentle and calm, occasionally licking his leg in the most loving way possible. The loving licks were not limited to the limpy leg but were also granted to me at every opportunity as if expressing his infinite gratitude for covering him with the blanket or letting him drink water from my bathtub.

So this morning when I woke up and saw Pepe snoring in the same outrageous paws-up position, I knew I had to make a choice – either to spend the rest of the day continuing to feel irritated or to pause and stop pushing it all away.

After a brief meditation, all the links of the seemingly unrelated annoyances became very obvious – everything, unsurprisingly, was pointing back to me. No matter how much I didn’t want to accept it, the simple thing was that everything that I was finding frustrating about people around me, was actually just me projecting my own frustrations outwards.

“What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.” H. Hesse

My dad’s organizational skills were upsetting me simply because I was recently feeling more disorganized at work and at home than usual. The friend who was being too tough with herself and was not taking things easy was simply unknowingly poking at my own growing feeling that I should get done more and be able to fit it all in my daily routines, as well as it being a while since the last time I treated myself to a full day of rest.

To make the long story short, I don’t know about you, folks, but I declare tomorrow a day of self-love and I will be waking up in the same position as Pepe.

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