It has become a popular practice these days for the self-help people to do “mirror work.” The late, great Louise Hay initiated this practice and chronicled a lot of success stories about people who routinely used it. Years ago I was at a Byron Katie retreat, she called “The No-Body Retreat” where they passed out paper bags to everyone and told us to go back to our hotel room, punch a couple of eye-holes in the bag, strip down naked and stand in front of the bathroom mirror. Then, we were supposed to listen to what our mind says and write it down. It was truly an eye opener.
You might be saying, “What the heck does this have to do about pet health care,” but if you know me, I cannot separate pet health care from the caretaker. There is so much that we don’t realize about the relationship with our pets and the real purpose of the relationship. So, be patient and just contemplate my ideas.
Years ago I walked into the exam room where there was a middle-aged couple with a Yorkshire Terrier. In just a short while, it became obvious that the wife was very attached to the dog and over-reacted a bit to the dog’s problem. The husband sat quietly in the background, saying very little. After my examination, I told the couple that their dog had a simple problem that should be resolved easily. The wife was elated. The husband was quiet. They thanked me and left the room. About the time that I started to walk out the other door, into the hospital, the exam room door opened. I looked up to see the husband entering the room. I asked if there was something he needed. He nervously asked me, “Hey Doc. How long do these dogs live?” I could tell that his interest in the dog was not the same as his wife’s. I responded, “A long time.” He shook his head, turned and walked out of the room.
This is a classical example of mirror work. The little dog is a little dog. But, we humans attach a story to it and in doing so, we move away from reality. What was one reality for the wife, in regard to the dog, was a different reality for the husband. Neither one was real. Both were subjective and the story that they created about the dog affected the relationship not only between the dog and the person, but between both of the people. I have seen many times over the years where it was apparent that the husband had little interest, if not animosity, over the pet.
In these situations, the husband is obviously irritated that the dog appears to receive more attention, care, etc. than they do and in time, there comes resentment. This resentment is energetic in nature and not only affects the person that is resenting, but the other person and the pet. In time, this will certainly alter the dynamic of the relationships both emotionally and physically. In both cases, each of them has a story that they need to take a good look at. The husband needs to address why he feels under-appreciated, which is obviously a self-worth problem (go to the mirror), while the wife, needs to possibly look at her over-attachment to the pet. This might be a psychological need for something “out there” to feel complete. Instead of letting this opportunity blow up and create stress and destruction, it should be seen as an opportunity to address some underlying problems. Our pets often act as vehicles so that we may have these situations in order to learn more about ourselves and grow. We certainly don’t want to use the pet’s role as a source of conflict.
A major difference in our reality and our pet’s reality is that when they look at us, they see us. When we look at our pet, we see our story about the pet. This is what caused the diversity between the husband and wife with the little terrier. The little dog is incapable of attaching a story to their reality of the caretaker. So, they see reality in the moment. Sure, there are habits and conditioning, but no story that will have a psychological impact. This ability to see reality as reality minimizes the suffering that people often have as they attach stories to most of their experiences and distort reality. In time, we humans see very little in our outside world that is real. The picture that comes from the outside and into our minds, quickly is distorted by past experiences, untruthful thoughts and attached emotions. This creates much suffering and unfortunately, robs us of our present moment experiences.
Give this some thought and begin to see how little out there is real. Be like your pet. Drop the stories, clear the mind and let reality show itself.