orange sunrise

"Courage comes from experiencing inborn fears." - Gregge Tiffen

I danced with a fear this week. It wasn’t a very graceful dance until the experience neared its completion and I was able to breathe in a breath of understanding and gratitude.

The dance began with an observation about Luke. He wasn’t his normal playful, snuggly, loving self for a few days and I began to ‘worry’ about what I should ‘do’ about this ‘problem’.

Over those few days I hovered over him as we went about our normal routines. I gave him some extra care and, along the way, began to think and worry that he was detaching. That’s when the fear kicked in with a force I could name: I was afraid of losing Luke.

I hurt deeply. The memory of another pet loss four years ago when Ellie, another precious dog that I cared for part-time, was hit by a car and killed showed up front and center. I trembled. I wept. I smothered a resistant Luke in love.

And, then I remembered.

I remembered that even dogs have days where they need their space and distance.

I remembered that consciousness has no idea of this thing we call death, even though the body’s journey is a finite one.

I remembered that all I experience in life benefits my learning – the learning that lives on in consciousness after the body is done.

I remembered that every experience of the deep and the dark holds the potential for light to follow.

That’s when I could smile, look back with a dab of understanding, and be grateful that, perhaps, I’d added a dollop of courage to my consciousness. Now, with loving, playful Luke curled up at my feet, I think that one dollop may be two.

Perhaps the fear was only at the surface and deeper reflection or another experience will reveal something more. That will come if and when I need it for my growth. Then I can call upon those dollops of courage to support me as I engage in the dance once more.

In the past I’ve been hesitant to call fear by its name. I needed to be ‘brave’. I avoided the dance. Now that I see fear as essential for developing courage, the tempo of the dance picks up and I’ll keep my dancing shoes nearby. Satisfied! And, Grateful!