We do our best. We have all the intentions, all the habits, know all the strategies. We go through the steps and feel so confident and then; life happens. We are brought to our knees and sometimes the thing that takes us there is surprising. This most recent time, it was my new puppy.
People say, "This work is non-linear" all the time. We have a sense of what that means and then, we live it. We think we're done and then we're reminded that there is no done. There is no destination. There is only more practice.
So if you're finding yourself saying, "I'm here again?!" I'm here with you.
Specifically, this little pup is what brought me here.
Broadly, the risk of sharing my heart with this little pup is what brought me here.
Generally, this cycle is inescapable and (spoiler) life will always bring us back here.
So without further ado, please allow me to introduce, Ulap.
Ulap means "cloud" in Tagalog, my paternal grandmother's native tongue. To the touch, he is as soft as a cloud and to witness, he will soften the hardest of hearts. The youngest of his litter, he loves meeting and playing with new dogs (although he isn't fully vaccinated so we need boundaries). Ulap wants to chew on everything and doesn't understand, "No."
Ulap brought me to my knees. Experienced-parents may laugh as a I lament our first week: waking throughout the night training him to pee outside, helping him learn where to sleep, where to eat, how to walk next to me, what not to put in his mouth (he wants to put all the things in his mouth). I felt like I could never leave him alone. I still feel that way sometimes.
Of course, with all my focus on him, none of my focus was on me. That whole "balance" thing people talk about wasn't really a thing. And in my self-abandon, all my old protective thought patterns came back. The ones that doubt every decision. The thoughts that are sure everyone else can do it better. The anxiety about whether or not my new puppy is happy in his new home. "Does he even like me though?"
Here I was again. I circled-back to old taunts that have been with me for decades and worked so hard to calm. And it doesn't mean I failed. Just like Ulap will walk to the door, signaling a need to pee, and then moments later I find fresh urine in the kitchen. My return to old, destructive thoughts and his continued practice to pee inside doesn't mean we're broken. It means we have been given the chance to practice again. And again. And again.
There's a framework for this; of course there is. But I'll save that for another post. For now, this is where I am and if it's also where you are, we can breathe through it together. We can be on our knees and slowly, with patience and dare I say; a little help, we can practice getting back up.