Being in Your Heart vs. Opening Your Heart

Life is fleeting – we all know that and often, there are circumstances that happen to remind us of its tenuous nature. That was true for me on May 30th when my world got turned upside down. What started out as a beautiful spring day, turned into a horrible nightmare when my sweet and sensitive little 6-pound dog Bella (my constant companion), was viciously attacked by a German Shepherd.

As I was being rushed with her to the vet, I got a message so strongly that I must stay in my heart and allow it to remain open. I remember wondering why, or more specifically how… how do I stay open-hearted in the midst of something so traumatic, when all I really wanted to do was go into auto-pilot? While Bella did survive the initial attacks, despite the efforts of some amazing vets she did succumb to her wounds, and  passed away one week later.

The circumstances behind this incident was a perfect storm of unfortunate (or divinely timed) moments. I knew immediately that this was something that was meant to happen. While I don’t know why, I do recognize the number of unusual events it took for this to unfold as it did. Even with that understanding, it is still a challenge to navigate through the lessons and opportunities that are sometimes brought to us in times of trauma, drama or tragedy.

Loss has unfortunately become an all too common theme for me in the past 5 years with the loss of 7 loved ones. In addition to my 2 fur babies (Bella last week and Nikita late last year), I also lost my dad, step-father, an aunt, along with my cousin and her son, who each took their own life within 6 months of each other. “Wow” and “WTF” are thoughts that have invaded my mind with each new loss or tragedy… and this one is no different.

What has been clear for me through this loss with Bella, is that there is something profound within it for me that is still unfolding. While all loss has the potential to open us up, in this situation I have been called (yelled at actually) to fully open my heart and remain open through all of the pieces that are yet to be revealed.

So in my most raw and vulnerable moments, I discovered some powerful hits of clarity and insight, overwhelming love and support, and amazing moments of synchronicity. I have also experienced profound sorrow, deep guilt and regret, shock at an $8,000 vet bill (which I would do again for the chance to save her) and intense anger and frustration at the owner of the other dog that thus far, has refused to accept any responsibility.

Through all of this I have discovered that being in my heart and having an open heart is not the same thing. The first one challenges me to allow my heart to guide and lead me forward. The second and more difficult one requires me to also be willing to be open, raw and vulnerable; to own, feel and allow in everything without pretense, avoidance or denial. It requires my heart walls to come down – and those walls have been up for a long time!

Whew… what a journey. Thank you for allowing me to share. Sending you all my love.