“The moment I let go of it, was the moment I got more than I could handle
The moment I jumped off of it, was the moment I touched down.”
– Alanis Morisette (‘Thank You’)
That beautiful guy sitting up on that hedge, in the picture above, is my daughter Dakota’s best-friend and pet, ‘Paws’. Paws was a present from Santa, received when Dakota was about two years old. He has been her constant companion ever since and goes EVERYWHERE she goes: The shops, Granny’s, ‘Stay and Play’, visiting with friends, holidays abroad… even the bathroom. Paws is also usually next to her whenever she takes a nap.
So there we were… on holiday in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, enjoying the sunshine, the beauty and the wonderful people. Then, one evening, as we were walking back to our accommodation, we realised that Paws was not with us. It was too painful to think that we could have lost him (though my wife Shani and I did entertain the thought for a while) – he was practically a member of the family – so we hung on to the possibility that we hadn’t brought him out with us that day and that he would be at home, waiting for us.
So here was a challenge … as a couple, we are just beginning to understand that we create our own reality, that things are always working out for us and that anything is possible … Now that there was a very real possibility that Paws could be lost, could we place our trust in these ideas and more importantly, could we use them to find Paws? How would we go about it?
Lately, we have been learning to practice letting go and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to do just that – let go. Letting go, as we have come to understand it, is about trusting that our desires will materialise and relaxing into it, in order to bring it about. We don’t let go of our desire, but we do let go of our need to control how it comes about. We stop fussing and fretting over it and trying to make it happen. Instead, we learn to trust – in God, the Universe, Source, our Higher-Self, our Subconscious-Mind or whatever word we feel comfortable in using to describe the powerful Force that has been making Itself increasingly evident in our lives.
Shani and I flowed more or less automatically into ‘letting go mode’. It was fairly easy to do for one thing, because we had experienced some amazing things recently to convince us that this was the way to go (at least for us) and also, because there was the possibility that we hadn’t brought Paws out with us that day and he was safe, at home.
We didn’t make a fuss over it and simply told Dakota that we didn’t know where Paws was and that he might be at home. She seemed quite satisfied with this explanation.
When we got home we looked for him, but there was no sign of Paws. When we went over the day’s photographs on Shani’s iPad, we noticed that he was in a couple of pictures that were taken on the road, fairly close to our accommodation. We then knew that we had taken him out with us and that we had probably lost him that morning.
Again, we decided not to make a big deal over it. We told Dakota that we seemed to have dropped Paws on the road somewhere and that we’d find him the following day. Again, she didn’t fuss or fret and seemed to be happy enough with the explanation. Shani and I kept this up with each other too and just casually talked about finding him the next day – as it if was a done deal.
I have to say that privately, I did catch myself beginning to go down less comforting roads in my mind: imagining that Paws was out there, alone at night (and it is amazing that for a supposedly ‘grown-man’ thinking about a stuffed-toy, how powerful the feelings of sadness and despair were that wanted to take over me). I knew that going down that road wouldn’t help Paws or I, but I also knew that trying to ‘fight it’ was going to make these thoughts multiply… so I did what any self-respecting self-help junkie would do: I distracted myself. And it worked a treat! So much so that I had to be reminded the next morning that we should look out for Paws!!!
So it was, that the next morning, we set off on our four-mile walk to the beachfront, with a fair bit of hope that we’d bump into Paws on the way. Dakota seemed fine and chirpy and Shani and I both focussed on enjoying the sunshine and our time together. We agreed that we would go about our business as usual, but we’d keep an eye out for our friend. It’s worth mentioning that we took more or less the same route to get to the beach every day, so we would in effect be ‘re-tracing’ our steps of the previous day.
Before long, just as we were getting on to State Street from Vallerio Street to head downtown, my eye was drawn to that beautiful and sweet sight that the above photograph can hardly do justice to: there was our old buddy Paws! He was sitting there, high up on that hedge, (outside a chiropractor’s office – if I remember correctly). It was such a thrill and a relief to run up to that hedge, grab Paws and place him in Dakota’s arms.
As far as Dakota was concerned, Daddy had found Paws! But Daddy knows that it was the kindly Universe that had restored Paws to the person who loved him the most, and that at least one kindly stranger had been instrumental in picking him up and putting him there on the hedge – so he would be visible without being in the way. Daddy also knows that countless other kindly strangers had walked past Paws and seen him, but left him there until his rightful owner would return to reclaim him.
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