Month: May 2018

Tethered by Love

This morning when I stooped to fasten the leash to my little dog’s harness as we prepared to leave for the day, I wondered: “Does a leash make an animal feel imprisoned, trapped without freedom?”  But his tail was wagging and the same expectant look was on his face as he knew an adventure was about to begin– a walk, a car ride to work or some other destination.

Instantly a phrase come into my consciousness, “tethered by love,” for the leash is a bond that connects us to keep him safe and close.

If we take time to reflect on our life journey, we realize how many strands of love have connected us to others.   Some of these connections are broken over time by disagreements or misunderstandings.  As life goes on, if we grow at all, we realize that in the end, only love remains, and love out lives all hurts, arguments and the illusion of being wronged.   The more our hearts open, the more strands of love flow from us and to us.  We truly are tethered by love in both visible and invisible ways.

Over time we learn that the tethers of love don’t limit our freedom, but rather love enables it.  For it is love that releases the bindings of our hearts and minds to soar on wings of inspiration, joy, and well-being.  Isn’t our purpose here to be bound by love to others, to a vocation, to a spiritual search, to nature, to life itself?  Isn’t it love that leads to self-discovery and the discovery of the other?  When we find love in our own heart, then we are close to discovering where the heart of God is, where man seldom thinks to look.

 I am reminded of the old saying, home is where the heart is.  This usually is used to refer to the physical home, the place that represents family and a sense of belonging.  But the greater truth is that the heart is where home is, for it is the heart that reveals the seat of Self and enables us to see the Self in others, and to become aware of the tethers of Divine Love that bind all of life.  Only then do we begin to feel at home, wherever we are.

There is an invisible cord of love that can never be broken, that has existed since our advent into the physical world of experience, and has sustained us lifetime after lifetime, through all of our forgetting and denial.  At some point when we tire of our loneliness and search for meaning, we become aware of a persistent, gentle tug on the leash of our life, that which tethers us here, and we begin to recognize the call of Soul.  Then the journey to true spiritual freedom begins.

It is reassuring to me to know I am tethered by love to a creative source, by whatever name one wishes to call it, and that through this eternal umbilical cord of love, I am fed inspiration, guidance, healing, creativity, dreams, wonder, and the freedom to live as I will.  The only requirement is that I pass the fluid of this life-giving flow on to others through love.  I have learned that I control the valve that controls this two-way flow.  Happiness, gratitude, and joyful expectation open it, and fear and worry close it.  It took many years to realize I held the key to the amount of love and happiness in my life.

On the days that I forget, I feel a gentle tug on the leash that reminds me I am going the wrong way, against the flow of life.  And I say, “Continue to walk with me.  Where you lead I will follow.”  Love always knows the better way.

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Befriending Fear–Lessons from a Little Bandit

During this past year, a new family moved in next door, bringing with them two small dogs.  Even though their yard is enclosed with a tall privacy fence, these little dogs have found ever new ways to escape their yard and run into mine, barking constantly.   You know the sound, yap yap yap. I nicknamed them the little bandits, because of their ability to escape and their humorous attempt to instill fear in myself, my little dog, and my cat.

This morning my dog and my cat and I were enjoying sitting outside, enjoying the warmth, listening to the birds and other nature sounds, and watching the two geese at the edge of the yard.

Our peaceful reverie was soon disturbed by little Bandit, the smallest and loudest of the two dogs  His barking soon chased the geese into the lake.  He then stood yapping at the three of us.  I looked at him and had a realization.  He was not barking in an attempt to frighten us, he barks because he is afraid.

He longs for the freedom to run and explore beyond the boundaries of his own confined yard, yet this freedom brings him in contact with an unknown person, dog and cat.  He escapes only to find a new prison: fear of the unknown.

So this morning as I watched him standing there, barking, I began to silently speak to him.  I told him that he was welcome to visit our yard, but only with his owner’s permission.  We wished him no harm, and wanted him to be safe at all times.  I told him how cute and adorable he is, and that the barking was a distraction from his preciousness.

He became very quiet and looked directly at me.  Then very quickly he darted back under his fence.

From my experience with him, I realized that many of the people we encounter who are “barkers,” loud, complaining, threatening, are really hiding an unconscious fear.  If they are loud enough, no one can see their fear, and they don’t have to confront it themselves.

In my experience with little Bandit, whose real name is Duchess, I saw love cancel fear.  Love and fear cannot occupy the heart at the same time.  In our day-to-day lives, we may at times experience times of great love and  also great fear.

There are many things that create fear–  fear of illness or death, loss of a job or financial well-being, loss of a friendship or relationship, and so many others.  When we are facing the unknown and fear arises, can we befriend it?  In our imagination we can address it, much as I did with little Bandit.  We can imagine the fear as a little yapping dog, and usher it back to its confine within a fence labeled love.  Then replace the thoughts of fear with something that we love, an image of a loved one or a spiritual ideal.

 I do know from my own experiences that love opens doors and fear closes them.  It is not easy to face the unknown, but we can make an effort to choose to face what we do know for sure.  I chose to see little Bandit as a frightened yet resourceful adorable little dog, rather than a nuisance.  He can now see me not as a threat, but perhaps as a friendly neighbor.

Perhaps he has taught me to see all annoyances and problems as lessons, that once learned, disappear under the fence of consciousness.  And when they return, it will be as a blessing and lesson.

Isn’t life grand?