Gryphon is next to me on the couch, sleeping underneath a quilt. This is his favorite way to sleep, completely buried in covers, preferably with a warm body next to him. Earlier this evening he was lying alongside me with his head resting on my belly, and the baby was kicking more than I've felt in days. (Either the baby has had a mellow week, or the kicking has become less novel, so I notice it less.)
Earlier still today we took a walk through a beautiful, spirit-filled state park. The leaves are turning. There was no one else around, so I let him spend some time off leash. It's so fulfilling to see him begin to enjoy himself more, bounding in the dead leaves, or even walking on leash beside me, his head alert but relaxed, his tail lifted, a spring in his step. It's like joy is seeping into him. That capacity for joy after all the hardship in his life is a basic spiritual lesson for me. It's a holy thing to witness.
We spent my lunch hour on a quilt in the backyard (how grateful am I that I live in a place where I have a 5 minute commute to work? incredibly grateful). He wandered the yard a bit, and rolled in the grass on his back, and sat next to me to share my apple. I had a magazine with me to read, but I spent most of my time watching him and rubbing his head and belly.
In many ways it's been a hard week. I've felt dissatisfied and unsure of what I need. I've been weepy. I've felt lonely and isolated. My job is mostly boring me. I've had a couple of minor disappointments. I've been anxious about the state of the world. The equinox was particularly intense, energetically. (The penumbra of Mercury moving retrograde, perhaps?) I've felt spiritually disconnected. And yet. I've been blessed by this wonderful new relationship with this sweet dog. My spiritual practice has been to spend time with him.
Today while we were walking and I was watching him and thinking about his blossoming, I thought again of one of the most important lessons for me of the last several years. I credit Lugh, my first dog, largely, as well as the mystery school and my ever-deepening relationship with my beloved life partner. The role of care and loving attention in enabling a being to flourish cannot be underestimated. It is crucial, as essential as clean water. It's such a simple thing, so potentially abundant, something any of us can do. Cruelty, willful ignorance, and neglect sadden me more and more as I grow older; my willingness to tolerate those things diminishes. To care for one another in simple ways; to offer respect, love, attention, and a spirit of nonjudgment to this person, this animal, this tree, this soil...I'm tempted to say that that is all we need.