Hi Ayal, greetings from Ireland, I hope this email finds you in the best of health and spirits.
Seven years ago we purchased a black cocker spaniel pup. My wife, not a great dog lover, agreed that myself and the 3 kids could get the dog if it was kept outside and only be allowed inside the house occasionally and in cold weather. Anyway, our dog Ali died recently of liver disease, he was sick for 3 weeks and we brought him in the house and really looked after him before he died. But previous to this, because he was outside all the time, he was neglected a lot by everyone in the family. We always fed him and walked him, but in winter he got wet a lot and we could not spend much time with him.
Over the last 2 years, I felt really sorry for the dog and suggested that we try to get him a new home, possibly with a retired couple who would give him more time than we could afford. Sometimes I felt so sorry for him that I wished he was dead, now I feel really guilty that I did not fight my wife more to get him in the house and fully accept him as part of our family. Because we sort of did not have a lot of time for him I did not get him his booster jabs at the vet last year. Now that he is dead, myself and my family are wrecked with guilt because we did not care for him better. When we took him in the house 3 weeks before he died we really cared for and loved him, and my wife even got close to him and she said if he made it through the illness we would keep him in the house for good. On his last week I tried qi healing on him, gave him flower formulas and used crystals on him but to no avail.
Some mornings I wake up with a sick feeling of guilt which can last for a while. We just wish we could bring him back so we could give him the love we had for him when he got ill. I suggested to my younger daughter that we get another dog but she said it would not be fair on Ali to give another dog the love we were going to give to him. How do I resolve the feeling of guilt, that I should have looked after him more and got him his jabs? Now I know that I really loved this dog like one of my children, but I did not get the chance to give him it and now it's too late. How do I live with this ? Reply soon. Love and light,
This is a sad letter to read, and I hear how difficult this has been for you and your family. This is a powerful lesson about Loving that you have all been given, and the degree of pain that you are all feeling tells me that through this experience, your hearts have been torn open. Sometimes, we have to get to that point in our lives when something HAS to come to tear our hearts open - that way we learn that we cannot let any more time go by when we are NOT Loving, or thinking of the needs of another. Our self concern and self absorption gets torn away, and only by something we love deeply.
Although we do learn from these lessons as we go through life, we still remember where we could have done better, and we feel the pain of not having loved or taken care of another as we could have. So, although what has happened cannot be undone, it will not be wasted if you and your family continue to keep your hearts open, and give of that love. Guilt and shame however, keep us from loving, so my suggestion to you is to bless Ali often for having been willing to be a part of this life lesson for you - to thank him for his love, his willingness to go through a difficult experience in order to bring to your family this most important gift of learning to Love more deeply. As you thank him, your guilt will begin to lessen, and, as you commit to taking this ability to love profoundly into your hearts, and as you do your best to be aware and thoughtful of the needs of another from this point on, you will continue to open to Love, and you will have it to give to others.
Guilt only hurts the spirit, and there is no way it heals anything. Now that you understand what this has brought you, if you choose to, you can, every day, every moment, and in every situation you are in, (taking a deep breath) ask yourself: "What would Love do here?" And then do it.
That is real courage: to be present to Love, instead of hiding from it. It takes courage to Love, for we must face and do away with whatever stops us from Loving. I don't think withholding love from another animal friend is the answer. It sounds as if your daughter is feeling so much guilt and shame too, that she is denying herself the chance or right to love, by saying, in effect, that she doesn't deserve it. This is a misunderstanding of what Love is all about. Love is about giving, not denying. This is what you are all learning, isn't it? And this is what you can teach your family. By example. To continue to deny is to continue the old pattern. It will not harm Ali to see you loving another. In truth, it will make his life worthwhile: that you all learned about Love, through him. Love in hindsight teaches us something, but loving in the PRESENT MOMENT is what Life is for. To stay in guilt and shame is another way to continue to stop yourselves from loving. You've done that already, and none of you feel good about having done that. In fact, you all feel terrible. So Love NOW, in this and every moment, and give thanks that you have been given the chance to love with more compassion and understanding.
We all must grow into our ability to Love, and often we learn through painful lessons. However, once you learn to Love, and you extend this Love not only to others, but also to yourself, you will not hurt yourself anymore by having to learn through pain. It sounds as if your family has the great opportunity to make a quantum leap in evolution together, and that is a beautiful thing. To be able to forgive yourselves, to love yourselves, and comfort yourselves with your own ability to be kind (which is exactly what Ali taught you, isn't it - to take the time to be kind?), then you are well on your way to Loving.
We all do the best we can until we learn better - and once we learn better, then we must implement that learning with our deeds. Love yourself, comfort yourself with kind, loving thoughts, comfort your family with Love, and give thanks for all you have learned. And bless Ali that his next life will be full of Love and caring and kindness and warmth. And hug yourself and tell yourself you did the best you could with what you had at the time, and now you will do better, for you have grown. Give THANKS!! Many other families might not have cared at all. Yours was touched to the heart. That tells me you are all souls climbing the path of Love. Just don't let anyone get lost or left behind in the swamps of sadness. For that is not being Loving to yourselves. Ali has taught you much!
With love, Ayal
Thank you very much for your very prompt reply. I really appreciate the time you spent replying to me. I cried like a baby after reading it. Bless you and thank you for all you've said. I am now inspired to live in love, and you helped me to realize the gift to us from Ali's death. Like you said, I do think we did our best with him at the time given, where we were at with regards to love.
When you said, "Don't let anyone get lost or left behind in the swamps of sadness," were you referring to my daughter who does not want another dog? Do you know any practical exercises or rituals which will help to clear the sadness and guilt? Actually, I feel healed and feel much happier after reading your reply and crying. Thank you for this. I feel you have touched us in some way. Yesterday, Louise, my daughter, said she would be ok with another dog!
Where are animals with regard to reincarnation? Do they reincarnate as the same animal again, or can they cross over to the spiritual/human dimensions? I've often wondered about this, any ideas? Why do we find it so hard to forgive ourselves? Again, thanks for the great reply. I cannot believe you spent so much time on us with your reply. You are truly a blessing. Thanks for the healing.
Thank you for letting me know that my response to you was appreciated and useful for you and your family. I am so glad that you were able to release your grief and thus make room for love to come in.
The ritual for releasing sadness and guilt is doing just what you did - feeling it, and releasing it. We have to release whatever poisons are in our system, whether it's physical, or emotional, or mental. Our systems are made to release - we release every time we breathe out, or eat, or feel something. I like to sit somewhere quietly on my own and ask myself what I am feeling. Then, I just let myself get into it and FULLY feel it, and let it flow out of me. You can also imagine or ask that the violet flame, or ray - which is the vibration/energy of transmutation - surround you, and you put into it all that you need to release and transmute. Then you just let it go.
Clearing your chakras everyday is an important way to stay clear as well. Like taking a shower, except on the non-physical levels. When you find yourself thinking any thought that offers you or anyone else anything other than love, you know that you are not aligned with Truth in some way. When we feel sadness or guilt, we are not aligned with Truth, but are believing that something is "wrong" or "bad". When this happens, ask to be aligned with Truth, and allow yourself to perceive what is happening from a different place, one that comes from love, that allows you to understand from a higher place.
This leads us into your question about forgiveness. Why do we find it hard to forgive ourselves? Becasue we have a belief that we are separate from God, the Creator, All That Is. We think that we are bad, or flawed, and from this perspective, we cannot give ourselves love. Actually, there is a higher place than forgiveness, and that is acceptance. To forgive something, one must first believe that something wrong happened, and that is coming from the place of being a victim - that bad things are done to me, etc etc. Acceptance says rather that I open to the fullness of who I am, even if I did not see it a moment ago. I accept who I truly am.
When I mentioned not letting anyone get lost in sadness, I was thinking of both your wife and your daughter. It sounds as if the energy is shifting already, as you mentioned, however. A little Truth goes a long way, doesn't it? Once we hear it, and get it, our beings can really run with it.
As far as to dogs reincarnating, there are varying thoughts and philosophies about this. I believe that we are all made of the divine spark, and that spark continues to take different forms to experience many things. So, I do believe that although a soul may take on the body of a dog or cat or person, or anything else, it is a constant changing and shifting of form in order to gain knowledge and experience. Others may believe differently.
Thanks again for letting me know that things are feeling better for you. That is my reward for doing this column.