My goat, Ghost, taught me about the process of dying. I knew he was uncomfortable, struggling and I wanted to help him. I wanted him to no longer be in pain. I wanted to “fix” it. But when I asked about helping him cross over with our medicine he refused the help. He wanted to experience the process of dying. He taught me a great lesson…to be with the experience rather than to avoid it. For him this process was as much a part of living as when he was playing with his buddies, jumping from rock to rock.
What I realize now is that living through the process or struggle applies to much more than dying. In our lives we tend to want to jump right to a future place without the process. We want to get somewhere, be something, do something without honoring the journey. And yet it is the journey or process that holds the honey that gives sweetness to our life. Even when and maybe especially when, the process involves struggle.
Let me share a very personal example. Last summer Doc, my beloved Maltipoo, began exhibiting signs of a potential illness. He was drinking excessive amounts of water, panting and losing weight. Initially, I did an essential oils work up on him which in the end did not correct the issue. I knew clearly that what was going on with him was connected with me emotionally and energetically but I wasn’t ready yet to traverse this. He went to the vet for all the appropriate tests to check kidney function and a panel of other typical health indicators. Everything was normal except for elevated liver enzymes. I switched foods, added herbs and oils to support the liver and still the symptoms persisted. We went on to more tests for adrenal function and by now I had worked myself into quite a state. The vet had diagnosed him with Cushings disease and recommended an ultrasound of his adrenal glands at the UW vet school.
And then it happened. That little voice inside my head said “stop”. This has gone too far…this is not the reality I want to create. And so I went back to what I had known all along, that this had to do with our relationship.
The next morning I had a very honest communication with him about how he didn’t need to take on my stuff and how I was taking responsibility for my feelings and energy. And I did just that. Then I spent about 20 minutes doing energy healing for him. It was one of those sessions where the energy coming through was so powerful that my hands trembled. I was grateful to be able to pass that healing onto him and in the process I received healing as well.
Later that day I noticed he was not drinking vast amounts of water. He stopped panting. And within a week you could tell he had gained weight back. He has not exhibited any signs or symptoms since that day.
At one point during this journey a colleague offered to “fix” this for me with a process she had learned. I declined. I knew we didn’t need “fixing”. I knew exactly what needed to happen for us both to heal…but I also needed to go through my process; to honor the journey. The real lessons and healing for both of us came to me through the process and the struggle. There was a very powerful lesson for me. If I continued to focus on what was wrong with Doc, he continued to have problems. When I let go of the need to have something be wrong, when I went back to what I knew about our connection and how it needed to be different, the situation completely reversed.
I have a favorite quote about struggle from Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations with God. I keep it on my computer monitor to encourage me when I am wading through debris in my life. It goes like this…
“It is okay to be at a place of struggle. Struggle is just another word for Growth. Even the most evolved beings find themselves in a place of struggle now and then. In fact, struggle is a sure sign to them that they are expanding; it is their indication of real and important progress. The only one who doesn’t struggle is the one who doesn’t grow. So if you are struggling right now, see it as a terrific sign—and celebrate your struggle”.
Admittedly, if all you have in your life is struggle, it might suggest something other than a period of growth. Constant struggle is usually a good indicator that you have veered off the path of your soul; that your life is incongruent with who you really are. But if you find like I do that struggle, while not a permanent resident, does sometimes move in, embrace it. Celebrate the struggle knowing that somewhere under this pile of horse manure is the pony you have always wanted and you are on your way.