Healing, Blind Dates, and More on Dogs

Recently, while undertaking physical therapy for a menu of persistent ailments, I felt the sacredness of healing. And healing – I am just beginning to realize – is surprisingly linked to sharing.

On a blind date at Deschutes Brewery many years ago, I was introduced to the beginnings of this concept. The engineer I met with appeared in biking shoes – a bit of a surprise to me and my less than stellar biking capabilities, but by no means a deal breaker- and we sipped the seamless Deschutes Brewery beers while easily grasping at preliminary conversation topics (work, interests, trying to find commonalities connecting our initial spirits). Before our food arrived, we noticed the locally-famous macaroni and cheese that we had both considered, and rejected, at the table next to us. The family at the table noticed us discussing their desired dish, and they offered us a bite.

“Sharing is caring,” the mother said as we stuck our forks into the spicy thickness. It was a mantra that the parents often repeated to their children, and this moment served as an opportunity to reiterate the lesson. Luckily for my date and I, it also bonded us in first experiences and shared tastes, and served as a heartfelt catch phrase we used during our short-termed relationship.

Sharing is caring.

And caring is healing.

In the safe, open space at physical therapy, there is breath for movement. People and their stories enter, sit, exert, and exit the ….well, the sanctuary.

The sanctuary allows people safety. Safety to share their stories, insecurities, unredeemed plans, and exponential hopes. Clients share how they got there, the challenges in their lives, how they feel, and what they think. Most practitioners actually do the same.

Sharing energy, stories, joys, and disappointments while exercising muscles and stretching spines allow us to heal…and not just physically.

Ok, this is where the dogs come in.

After a week of house sitting the very, very old and sweet golden retriever, I notice that I am talking out loud an awful lot to her (and thankfully not just to myself anymore).

I ask her rhetorical questions (“should we go for a walk”), I verbally lean into my insecurities with her (“I must have sounded like an idiot to him”), and I share with her who I really am before I even notice who that is (“I want to just….”). The very, very old and sweet golden retriever allows me space – which is kindness – so I can unexpectedly be honest with myself. She is the sweetest confessional.

I share with her because I know she cares about me. She stays up for me at night, she wags her tail when I say her name, and she rolls over for an exposed belly-rub whenever I pet her. It doesn’t matter that I get home late sometimes, that I spell her name wrong, and that I don’t always want to reach out to her. But, when I share with her, she is always there to care back.

And the way she shares her love – her always-simple-to-the-essence-love  –  is healing. I share with her, and she cares back with a swinging tail. And it heals me.

Because sharing is caring. And caring is healing. For everyone involved.

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