I love discovering situations around which I have some practiced thoughts and beliefs that are not helping me be the person I want to be, or create the life I want to create. Because if you don’t know the negative catabolic thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are there, you can’t change them.
Saturday morning provided me the opportunity to come face-to-face with negative expectations, fear, and prescribed beliefs—and to make different choices.
For those of you who know me or read this blog regularly, you know that my husband and I have two dogs and two cats who truly are our children. Buffy, the oldest of our two Keeshonden, will be turning 10 on July 13.
Buffy is a bit of a trash mouth, meaning if something hits the floor, she eats it. As we stroll through the park, she’s trying to grab bites of weeds along the path. She’s a dirt connoisseur.
So it was a bit surprising, but not terribly unusual, to wake up Saturday morning and find some evidence that she had expelled something nasty in the night. We cleaned it up and didn’t think more of it.
While I was writing my blog, she threw up breakfast. While I was upstairs working out, she threw up again. When my husband found that she had thrown up yet again, I discovered her having dry heaves and shivering. We knew something was seriously wrong and called the emergency vet who said to bring her right in.
What’s the best mindset for heading to the emergency vet—or dealing with any difficult situation? While it’s probably the most common reaction, I would suggest that it’s not fear and jumping to the worst case scenario.
You might be thinking, “Come on. You were at the emergency vet. Of course that’s scary.”
As Bruce Schneider says, “Normal does not mean necessary.”
That was my opportunity. To shift how I responded to the situation from fear to being more focused on my compassion for Buffy, my confidence in the care she was getting, my allowing the situation to unfold, and my responding to what was rather than what might be.
I’ll admit that it was a bit of an internal Ping-Pong match all afternoon. Fear and worry was shifted to consciously choosing to be present and compassionate in order to give the best possible support to Buffy. Anger that it was taking so long was shifted to compassion for the more serious injuries that were being seen ahead of us, and gratitude to the caring and professional staff.
How we show up in every situation is a choice. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, particularly if we have some long-standing beliefs about “bad” situations. But thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are made of energy, not marble. If they are not moving you where you want to go, you do have the power to change them.
I know that it was better for Buffy, David, and me when I was being present, confident in her well-being and in the veterinarians, and appreciative of the care and service we were receiving compared to the moments when I was fearful, doubting, and worried.
We don’t know for sure what Buffy got in to. All the tests they ran turned out to be negative. After a massive shot of antibiotics and ant-nausea medicine, we were able to bring her home, where she’s been enjoying some TLC and a special diet that she seems to think is a treat. In this instance, all that stress and worry truly was unnecessary.
If this happens again, my goal is to stay present and optimistic, and to choose my responses based on what is happening, rather than what I fear might happen. Each time I show up in a challenging situation a little more like who I want to be, the more I will be that person.
What can you do to let go of fear, doubt, and worry in a situation where you might automatically have those responses? How does your making a different choice impact those around you? What’s the benefit of your showing up more consistently as the person you want to be?
Together we can do it!
Photo by Hansje Gold-Kreuck