Yesterday morning I woke thinking that all that matters is Love. My mother, who was raised Christian Science, would always say, “All is Love,” and yesterday morning that awakening embodiment filled me and my realm. I understood.
One of the elements that sent me on a trek to the Everest region of Nepal in 1993 was the following quote by Albert Einstein. I had been so focused on family, love of my family, my particular family, that the wider circle of compassion felt illusive, and yet as my children were growing up, and leaving home, I wanted to feel a wider connectiveness, a love less held and focused on a few. I touched this place in Nepal, but then, as we know, we go in and out. We are both human and divine, and the life force guides us to both at the same time.
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Last night, just as we were preparing for our 8:00 neighborhood evening howl, my son called with the latest news on the health of their beloved dog Senna. Senna is a rescue greyhound, and when, despite his racing lineage traced generations back, he not only lost, but came in last in every race he was in, he was dismissed, banished from the track. I thought how smart he was, losing to win. He’s a lover, not a racer.
At one time, that banishment meant death, but amazing people have found their life purpose in rescuing greyhounds and he traveled from Florida to Colorado for neutering, and then came to the Bay area with other greyhounds to be matched with the family just right for that particular dog. That was Jeff and Jan.
At the racetrack he had never been alone, never been touched, never been out of his crate, other than to be walked and trained to race on the track. He was incredibly thin, all bones visible. What a gift and opportunity to be with and guide a fellow creature to immerse in a wider world of the senses, especially touch.
He couldn’t be left alone at first, so when they went to work, I would go down to their home to be with Senna. It was a gift, pure delight.
We bonded as together we explored a wider world than he knew. I touched and hugged him, taught him about glass doors, and showed him how to go up and down stairs. We learned together as I followed his pace and we both saw the world “new”.
A visiting dog taught Senna about toys and play. Watching the dog, Senna ventured in and began to pick up and swing a toy. Who knew we need to be taught to play.
He loves stuffed hedgehogs, and has a basket full, and they’re scattered all around the house. At night he carries the favorite one up to his upstairs bed. I love this dog with his long nose and legs, and when I visit, he lays his head on my lap, and we are one.
Now, Senna, named after Aryton Senna, a winning Formula 1 race car driver, is not well. We’re awaiting the results of his tests but he is old for a greyhound and is clearly very sick.
I sit here now, filled with the wholeness of love for us all, and the beauty and weight of love for certain ones, which in this moment centers on this wonderful spirit who entered our lives through the love and rescuing care and work of many.
I am attached to his form, the spirit animating this form. I can say life and death are one, and I’ve worked and studied very hard to know enough and release, but when it comes to something like this, I want more. I want more Senna.
And here I am, sheltered in place, not feeling like an “artist-in-residence”, but only a very sad human, filled with the weight of grief.
Though I see my sons and grandson daily on a screen as we dutifully and carefully shelter in place, I want to physically be with Senna and family, and I can’t be.
Senna’s human mother is a doctor in Santa Clara, a dangerous place to be these days, so we are especially careful about exposure and sheltering in place, and tears keep coming.
Knowing tears are liquid love. I melt today, a simple task, a melting trust in the bonding and healing power and the energy and strength of Love.