Several weeks ago, a homeless man, Ben, and his dog, Roscoe (not their real names), came to Everlasting Health & Professional Center, where I have a Reno office. Hans, the store owner, pulled me aside as I intended to leave to attend an appointment at the Women & Children’s Center, where I offer pro bono coaching and Reiki to help women and their families transcend poverty.
Hans asked, “Can you care for a dog for a couple of days? His owner is homeless and sick, and he might have to go into the hospital for a couple of days.”
I could barely walk through the door because I know how I respond to homeless people, especially when they have animal companions. I’ve seen so many forego food for themselves to care for their beloved animal friends. That kind of caring and devotion opens up my heart to the point of painful expansion.
I gathered my courage, knowing I had some time between appointments, willing myself to be with Ben and Roscoe. I just listened, and following my heart and intuition, I offered Ben what cash I had, along with the green super-food smoothie I brought for my own lunch, which indeed he shared with Roscoe. I also offered an invitation to return for Reiki. I couldn’t take Roscoe home, as he wasn’t friendly with other animals. But with the money Ben could afford a room at the weekly motel where a friend could watch Roscoe. I don’t always offer money or food to homeless people, but intuitively this felt like the best course for Ben and Roscoe, and perhaps this gift would pave the way for Ben to accept Reiki, which would provide a more enduring benefit.
Several days later, Dana and I picked up a stray Austrian Shepherd, fictitiously named Champ here, who had obviously been badly neglected. We thought he had been on the lamb for many months based on his condition. His massively thick fur was matted with sticks, thorns, bailing wire, dreads, and literally pounds of fecal matter. Dana clipped and clipped his fur for hours to clean him up a little, while I held and comforted Champ. His nose peeled painfully from grubbing, a prolonged infection, sun damage, or even cancer. His eyes were badly infected and oozing. During the twenty hours or so that we had him, Champ showed us his gentle nature and inner beauty with loving gazes, kisses, total respect for our dogs and our home (no marking behaviors at all). When his “mom” emailed us, responding to the ad we placed, and came to pick him up, we were aghast to learn that Champ had only been missing for a few short hours when we picked him up about a mile from his home. He lives like that! I know, I know, our dogs are spoiled beyond belief. But the contrast was too stunning and unsettling!
Have you noticed that we live in a society with throw-away animals and people? Not only do we neglect, abuse, and eat many of the animals on our planet, many are kept in absolutely horrendous conditions until they are intended for slaughter. When we see homeless or suffering people, sure we have the tendency to protect our emotions by not walking through the door, not looking, not engaging, and these are all options. But ignoring the problems of people and other BEings in our community, as well as ignoring societal, political, economic problems that we collectively face, serve no one. Denial does not serve our evolutionary journey. We are meant to be awake, aware, to take in information from all our senses, including our intuitive ones.
Yet – and here is the rub – awareness may provoke fear, and fear only serves to perpetuate the negative cycles we witness now on our planet. To fight the negative forces is to feed them. Rather, we may choose to focus on creating the world we do want, with the power of our imagination and of our hearts, by loving what is and who we are, individually and collectively. If that sometimes means censoring what we take in as information, what I call information-management, then so be it! We must take good care of ourselves if we want to release our unique gifts into the world. But it’s true… there’s value in finding the balance.
Ben, Roscoe, and Champ offered me many gifts, such as the opportunity to process who I BE in relation to my community. They helped to open my heart in an even more expansive way. They reignited my passion to imagine and create a world where everyone is honored, accepted, valued, nurtured, and encouraged to share their unique gifts in the world.
When I asked Ben if he would like to share a hug with our goodbye, he stood back and waved his hand over his filthy clothes. “That doesn’t matter to me, as I see the beautiful angel that you are.” He allowed my embrace to comfort him if only for a moment. I felt the grace, light, and love of Spirit, the Divine, embrace us both in that moment. Ben has since called me a couple of times, received Reiki, and his life is turning around, if only in subtle ways. Roscoe left to stay with family, and Ben will follow soon, where they will enjoy more support. After much reflection and research into options for providing Champ with better care, Reiki again proved to be the ideal offering, not just for Champ, but for his family too, that they may realize a better way to love and care for him.
I do not believe in a fixed destiny. I do not know what will happen to humanity as we go through this ever-critical shift in consciousness and social, political, economic conditions. I believe in choice, and this I know: everyone on this earth has a purpose, including, “the stone people, the plant people. The four-legged, the two-legged, the creepy crawlers. The finned, the furred, and the winged ones. All our relations.” (Alberto Villoldo, Shaman, Healer, Sage). The more each of us aligns with our purpose, bringing love and light to All-That-Is, the greater our chances of creating a world where we may ALL thrive. Aho.
What and who are challenging for you to be with?
What does your inner guidance compel you to do? Who are you called to be?
What action will you take to release your love into the world?