by Douglas Green
Another Valentine’s Day is upon us – a day when it often appears that everyone else in the world has a perfectly happy committed relationship based in deep, abiding, and playful love.
In other words, a day when most of us writhe in disappointment.
It’s not that we’re saying we’re not loved at all, or that we don’t love, or that we’ve never tasted love. The frustration I hear most (in my office, in the media, and from friends) is that, “No one loves me the way I need to be loved.” And sure enough, as spring blooms, scads of those happy couples around us will break up, and even divorce, for just this reason – at least one member didn’t feel adequately adored.
As an interesting experiment, if someone in your life is saying this, ask them if they’ve ever felt loved in the right way. Even by an animal.
“Oh!,” you’re bound to hear, “Well sure, my dog loves me unconditionally! But no person can do that.”
Really? Ask a four-year-old how they feel about their mother. You won’t hear a lot of conditions. Or, more relevantly, ask a parent how they feel about their teething six-month-old at 3:15 a.m. after the brat screams bloody murder in their face for two straight hours, completely ignoring their soft urging to “shhhhhhh.” Do they think about trading this life for their pre-baby freedom and scream-less sleeps? Absolutely.
Would they actually make that trade and give up their bundle of joy? I’m sure any new parent would say, “No way!”
Why not? Because their love is unconditional.
Everyone reading this has experienced unconditional love from humans in one way or another. And most of us have felt and given that love too – to babies, to children, even to whiny demanding teens.
So why are we so damnably bad at giving it to each other?
From what I’ve seen in my practice, it’s because of a lethal mixture of two curses: Scoreboards and Entitlements.
From the time we turned about five years old, we started caring enormously about whether any peer relationship we’re in is “fair.” This extends from how long you’re allowed the handball on the playground, to deep hurt about grades on seventh-grade homework, to an enormously complex Scoreboard in romantic relationships, where, “Did he respond to my text within three minutes?” equates to “Did she clean up after her dinner last night?” equates to “Am I the only one who wants to become a parent?” equates to “Does this person love me?” And all equate to the timeless query, “Will you still love me tomorrow?” (Note, I emphasize that this only applies to peer relationships. When that infant is screaming in our arms, we accept that our relationship with said baby will be a one-sided deal for at least a while – or that a cheerful smile or hug is payment enough.)
This Scoreboard mindset would be bad enough, but then throw in Entitlement, and things get far worse.
Imagine a couple, with a woman who always returns texts immediately but is a bit messy at home, and a man who’s a neatnik in the house, but sees no reason to respond to a question until he has some convenient time for it.
Now, she doesn’t see her promptness as anything special, while he feels the same way about dishwashing. Therefore, both feel egregiously insulted when the other doesn’t naturally do the same as they would. They consider their behavior “normal,” and believe that anyone in any relationship should be entitled to their partner behaving this way.
These two concepts – the Scoreboard and the Entitlement – added together, create a mindset that could never allow unconditional love, because each partner is constantly fighting to be treated fairly, by someone who puts a different value on every action either takes.
The best that can happen in this situation is compromise. This occurs when each partner communicates well enough to come to an agreement, such as that a clean kitchen “equals” swift texting response time. And this certainly makes for a calmer home. But in a compromise, neither participant feels that they’re being loved unconditionally. Peace, but no rapture.
If only each could learn to love so unconditionally that both believed it all the time, imagine how happy and secure the relationship would feel.
Is that possible? Of course it is. We just need to consult with an expert on unconditional love. Someone who understands it so deeply that they can’t imagine living any other way.
In other words, let’s look at what we can learn from a dog.
1. Never take anything your partner does for granted (within the relationship)
When you feed a dog, it’s thrilled. When you pull out a leash, your pup will dance to put Gene Kelly to shame. When you come home after a long day away, your dog will celebrate the Second Coming.
Yet we hardly ever give our partner the same honor. If your lover brings you flowers, or a case of the flu, do you regard it as a gift, just because it’s from them? When they make mistakes, do you thank them for having tried? Do you thank them for going to work and making a living? Do you thank them for grocery shopping, for taking care of the kids, for just being yours? Do you thank them for eating well, taking vitamins, buttoning up their overcoat, because they’re then taking care of the thing you value most?
Love is an active word. Dogs do “love” all the time, while we do a lot more analysis, scoring, judgment, resentment, and taking-for-granted. Whichever anyone does, the more they’re likely to find themselves getting the same in return.
2. Know that when your partner acts in a way that makes no sense to you, it makes sense to them.
The core of “unconditional” is in not judging. We don’t look at a dog chasing its tail as doing something wrong, and a dog doesn’t look at us spending hours staring at a glowing box as stupid.
If Jane loves to shop while Jim loves baseball statistics…so WHAT! Why complain? Enjoy their quirks, habits, obsessions for what they are! Or, as the old Sinatra tune crooned, “I’ve got some habits even I can’t explain…why try to change me now?”
3. Always try to give more than your partner can ever return, and let them do the same.
The Golden Rule says to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Any mutt would hear it and scoff, “Amateurs! That rule still has a scoreboard!” How about treating others better than you would ever treat yourself?
A dog devotes herself to protecting her family, giving constant love, entertaining them, and yet offering them full and consistent obedience. How about using that as a role model, instead of the latest Cosmo questionnaire.
Now the Golden Rule does imply that the ideal is to do this to all sorts of others, not just the significant variety. But when it comes to your nearest and dearest, the Golden Retriever Rule begins where the just-Golden one ends.
4. Forget your shame!
The greatest advantage dogs have over humans is their lack of shame. Their smaller brains lack self-consciousness, so Fido will never judge himself the way you will.
Think of how it felt when your teenage crush rejected you. I’m sure it felt like you’d been pushed off a cliff and, as you fell, you relived every awful feeling you’d ever had about yourself. The closest a dog gets to that is, “Maybe I can’t trust them anymore.” They don’t absorb a single belief about themselves! Their brains just can’t go there.
So how does that affect their ability to unconditionally love? It enables it by making loving so much easier!
If you’re beloved says they’re too busy to talk to you right now, see that as their issue; maybe they’re working too hard, or are too stressed. And maybe you can do something to help them through that. If you curl up on your partner’s lap and they push you off, just know that they can’t deal with you right now and try again later. Maybe they’re in a terrible mood, maybe they’re ill, maybe they’re in pain. Whatever it is, your making it about you will only make things worse!
Feel free to be annoyed at your beloved’s behavior (any mutt would), but always fight against any voices inside you telling you why they did it, especially if that voice says it’s because of something wrong with you.
5. Last but not least, always remember, even a dog will run away from a human who abuses it too much.
Unconditional love means that you love fully and with an open heart. When someone takes advantage of that, or simply treats you too horribly, you don’t need to stay. Even if you still love them unconditionally. Love doesn’t equal taking abuse. And you need to treat yourself with unconditional love (as dogs do) before you can truly give it to someone else.
Love isn’t easy. At least not for us homo sapiens. Our self-conscious, oversized brains make it an endless trial. But if you just follow these suggestions, you can gather a bit of “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn,” as promised in the old song: “Just to love, and be loved in return.”
And, if you need further Valentines coaching, your local animal shelter should have some great professors. They’re just begging to help you all they can.
About the author:
Douglas Green is a psychotherapist, specializing in helping kids and teens build lives they can be proud of. He is also the creator and writer for AskShirelle.com, which helps kids, teens, parents, and others around the world with advice from the point of view of a friendly dog, and is the author of The Teachings of Shirelle: Life Lessons from a Divine Knucklehead. Learn more about Green at www.CavalleriaPress.com, and connect on Facebook and Twitter.
This is the story of a healer who convinced skeptics of the power of healing. A healer who opened people’s hearts, took away their fear and changed their attitude. This sounds pretty amazing – especially when you find out that this healer is a boxer dog called Telsa.
As a result of what she witnessed, Telsa’s owner Rosemary Stephenson was so moved, she decided to write her experiences and create a beautiful book called Telsa – The True Story of a Dog’s Extraordinary Healing Powers.
This is not just another book about animals’ spiritual gifts.
This book tells the story of the bond between a family and this remarkable dog; a bond which flows much deeper than usual between man and his best friend. Telsa had been blessed with the rare gift of healing, and this gift becomes more and more apparent throughout the course of the book.
Telsa was a playful, beautiful, all-knowing Boxer dog who shared her amazing gift willingly. She showed Rosemary, her guardian, and all who came into contact with her, that animals are eager to help us and all of humanity. She continues to do so after her passing in 2009.
This book teaches us that if we open our hearts to animals and recognise what they have to offer, we are able to share amazing and life-changing experiences.
This is a heart-warming true story, where the author’s love for her dog shines out of the pages as she describes how Telsa was able to convince even sceptics of the power of healing.
Published by Findhorn Press, Scotland
Order Telsa, the True Story of a Dog’s Extraordinary Healing Powers from www.celestiallighthealers.com
Here is what the publisher has to say about the book:
Through this touching account of the life and work of a boxer named Telsa, the powerful relationship between humans and animals is explored, and the unconditional love shown by a pet is demonstrated as a force that can improve the emotional, mental, and physical well-being of the people around them. The beloved pet of a spiritual healer, Telsa became instrumental in amplifying healing energies throughout her life and even after her passing. Her connection with others and the world around her was unique and immensely positive, and the book follows her story, from her life as a puppy and her invaluable service to nursing home patients to Telsa’’s connection to her owner in the after-life.
By MyShell Howler, RScP, OAC
After many years working with Animals, especially Pets, I arrive in St George, Utah at the Unity Church to do a ceremony called Animal Companions as Oneness & Animals Blessing that is a part of AHOWAN’s Ministry. (Now AHOWAN stands for Awakening Humanity to Oneness With All Nature and is a 501c3 NPO). Just before the closing Spiritual Mind Treatment (an affirmative prayer) and a Blessing for the Animal Companions, a lady and her golden retriever arrive late. She shares that she just saw this in the paper and that I must bless her retriever because this is her third one with severe bladder stones. She does not want to lose this Golden too. I share that I would be happy to bless him; however, I would like to share with her what is going on first, and ask her if she is willing to listen.
I ask the participants that based on what we shared, what they felt was happening. The class suggested, based on what we learned, that what her Dogs were experiencing was related to her consciousness. We look up bladder stones in Louise Hay’s book, Heal Your Body and the lady begins crying because she realizes that it is her “undissolved” anger with her husband that has contributed to the illness’ of her companions. As we move her past the initial guilt, we all move into deep gratitude of how much of a blessing all Animals really are to us all. When we say, “Man’s Best Friend” it truly has a much deeper meaning than one can realize until they begin to capture this heart connection of our Oneness with the Animals. This is just one of the examples of deep healing aha’s that I have witnessed around the USA and India over the last 5 years.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” states the Bible, and later tells us that all the animals, including human, are made in the image and likeness of God. According to Gary Kowalski, in The Souls of Animals, “The word ‘animal’ comes from a Latin root that means ‘soul’. To ancient thinkers, soul was the mysterious force that gave life and breath to the myriad of the earth’s creatures.” Science of Mind, Buddhism, Taoism, Native American, along with many other traditions, teaches that there is only One Life, One Spirit, or One Presence that makes out of Itself everything that is, even science has now proven that there is only One Energy when we break any and all atoms down.
That means, all the animals we see around us, are Spirit made out of Itself. This includes humans, dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, ants, flies, and even mosquitoes. We are all Spirit, the mysterious force or energy that gives life and breathes through and as the Earth’s creatures. Spirit being in, through and as human makes us a Creative Spirit that “speaks the Word” and creates. Hence, we are creative beings, which means the animals around man are going to reflect the thoughts that the man is thinking. These thoughts, desires, and beliefs human is placing into the Law, whether consciously or unconsciously, are being reflected through the animals. Knowing and understanding that all of our surroundings are a reflection of what we think and desire in our hearts, mean that the animals around us are a mirror into what we believe.
Regardless of the breed, or even the species, humans with pets have certain beliefs, or “Words,” that will create different behaviors and/or health manifestations in their companion animals. If one truly wants to know what one believes, then observing their pets by taking an objective view of the behaviors, and health of the animals will provide a really good starting place. Ernest Holmes in the Science of Mind affirms “Animals are purely subjective, or almost entirely so. They have very little objectivity or choice.” They reflect only Truth. Looking at our pets can bring us to a deeper understanding of what we truly believe and hold in our deeper unconscious – which, of course, is the “Word” we are placing into the Law.
Now in alignment with the Law of Attraction, which is where we attract exactly what we think, feel, believe and vibrate at, however it may seem to us and whether we believe it to be good or bad, it is exactly what is in alignment with our energy. Because of this, we will continue to bring to ourselves that which we believe until we no longer believe it to be true.
Fortunately, however, our pets share with us that which we really believe, through their characteristics and health. Animals do not have the capacity to demonstrate falsely or to put on a false face as many humans do, and I find that to be a most wonderful integrity that is a pure quality of Spirit. In his book, Your Way to Train a Well-Behaved Dog, Cesar Millan wrote, “The owner’s own behavior is contributing to the behavior of the dog.” Our dogs respond to our energy, so if we are very nervous, anxious people, then our dogs will reflect back to us our nervous, anxious energy. If we have a calm, serene energy, the dogs will reflect this by mirroring that calm, serene energy. Therefore, if we want to have balanced, happy dogs, we must find within ourselves the balanced, happy Self and allow that to express as our lives. If there is any suppressed energy or belief; whether you are conscious of it or not, it will be mirrored to you through your pets. Therefore, at the same time, all the qualities that we call “Good”; like unconditional love, joyful, playfulness, cuddliness, loyalty, independent, confidant, peaceful are also mirrored to us. Many of the humans that I have shared this with tear with joy as they realize how beautiful they really are through seeing their animal companions.
In Creative Mind Ernest Holmes states, “We must take the responsibility for our own lives. All must awake to the facts that they have absolute control over their lives, and that nothing can happen by chance.” So if all of our life is a reflection of us, it stands to reason that our own pets are included, especially since they are often our closest friends. This means that whatever our pets do, we are fully responsible for. Their actions, behaviors and health are a reflection of our thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and energy.
Science is now finding the connection that the great metaphysical teachers have known intuitively through their hearts. An article on the Live Science website states, “New research, detailed last week in the journal Anthrozoos, finds that people with argumentative personalities are more likely to choose bull terriers and other aggressive dogs than their agreeable counterparts. The finding, along with other research, suggests the dog breeds we choose act as mirrors for ourselves. For instance, research presented in April at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference suggested individual who own dogs (Paris Hilton and Isaac Newton to name a couple) are more likely to be open to new experiences, a trait called openness.” This suggests that we attract and love those that are like us. We unconsciously or, for some of us that are awake, consciously attract those that reflect what we believe.
For example, if one attracts a Dachshund, one is giving off similar energy. Dachshunds are defined as working in packs, being tenacious and keen-nosed in pursuit of their quarry. This implies that the person with a Dachshund is good at working in groups, has a tenacious personality, will not give up when trying to reach their goals, and has a good retentive memory.
Now perhaps this Dachshund displays obsessive compulsive behavior with playing ball. This behavior may reflect the owner’s energy field, perhaps suggesting unbalanced addictive tendencies in the owner. The owner may work too much and not play enough, since the dog is forever trying to get the owner to play and become balanced in life. “Ask now the beasts and they shall teach thee,” we read in the Bible.
On my travels in India, I am at a beach resort on the Bay of Bengal, where I notice there is a man whose only job is to keep the wild dogs away. Stray animals in India are of the norm; be human or non human. I begin asking my Spirit, why is it there is suffering in a culture that seems to be so spiritual. I found myself walking down the beach and come to a pack of wild dogs. Having come from the lunch buffet, I have food with me. I call to the pack leader and toss him some food. He sniffs it and then tosses it to the others and proceeds to move aside. I continue to toss as the pack leader comes closer to me allowing me to pet him. I sit with this pack for an hour as they all take turns with me. This pack shared with me what is missing in their lives; compassion and empathy. In Indian culture, everyone is on their own Spiritual path and one does not interfere in another’s journey. However, this is changing as the Indians, as a whole, are now beginning to embrace that compassion and Love to the other Animals. They are now embracing Animal Ashrams and allowing the Dogs into their homes.
In knowing that all Animals, whether human or non-human, share in our Oneness and mirror exactly what is in our thoughts, beliefs, and desires; and we take a fully honest look at them as a reflection of ourselves, we give ourselves the power to change what we believe and begin allowing ourselves to create the world that we want to see. Take a look at your pets, the animals around you, and be willing to just observe them without judgement and know that, as you “be the change that you wish to see” the Animals will reflect that change. What change would you like to see?
About the author
Myshell Howler RScP, OAC is Co-Founder & President of AHOWAN. Her personal journey & 18 years of animal rescue gives her clear precise Vision and Truth of any situation. As an Awakened Being she has shared and witnessed her Vision & Truth in all 50 states and India over the past three years. Myshell Howler has been working with pets, especially dogs, for over 18 years. Dogs have been her passion whether it has been a pet shop, veterinary clinic, training, or rescue work\including tracking dogs living in the wild and gaining their trust, rehabilitating, reforming and rehoming them. She published her first book in 2012 “I Crow Speaks” her insights on the Human Animals relationship with all of nature (available Amazon Books). Myshell began her Inward Spiritual Journey aggressively in 2007, becoming a Licensed Practitioner with the Centers of Spiritual Living, an Ordained Animal Chaplain and a Reiki Master/Teacher, A Karuna Reiki Master, A Deeksha Oneness Blessing Giver/ Trainer. She is currently an Outreach Religious Science Practitioner for the Center for Spiritual Living Greater Dayton, Ohio.
“You are successful at whatever you choose to think about, I choose to be successful at helping Nature awakens us through the animals.”
Myshell can be reached at AhowanSpirit@gmail.com, www.Ahowan.org or at mailing address 9915 West Bell Road #190 Sun City, AZ 85351