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    Relationships and Romance

    People love romance, being romantic and having life read like a romance novel or play like the lastest love story movie.  We love the adrenaline rush of new love!  The high of feeling connected to another living thing.  We also love the idea of having things be easy.  We can drive up and not even get out of the car and have dinner in a bag in minutes.  We now have a concept called "speed dating" where we don't have to go out to a club or dinner but can have a quick date set up and be quick about getting a relationship "hit" without a lot of effort.  We have many things that we have put in our lives to make jobs and tasks quicker and easier as well.  We live quick and we like easy! 

    Relationships for many are complicated and hard.  They start off fun, exciting and romantic but for many soon turn into hard work.  Our love for quick and easy has really affected our relationship lives probably the most I believe.  We don't have the mentality of hard work really pays off.  We give it a try and if it isn't easy we often give up and move on to the next best thing.  I have always known that if I see a really good and healthy relationship that both people are working hard on themselves and the relationship.

    Relationships are an institution where we have the best opportunity of learning the most about ourselves.  My background is counseling and in my 15 years in this profession have decided to stop calling relationships "relationships."  That is because this topic is laden with shame, judgment and memories of hard things gone by.  This relationship ended because......I don't seem to have good luck with........etc etc.  If we rename relationships with the name of schools it totally changes the feel of it and opens the door for us to look at it in a whole different light.  We can now possibly look at what it is we are supposed to learn about ourselves in this relationship with this individual and try to understand and look at it from this new vantage point.

     This perspective can also be hard as many people spend more time focused on what is going on or wrong with others instead of tending to their own issues and areas for growth.  It is much less painful to point the finger and say well it's her/his fault because......or if only they.........Nonetheless if we are able to view it from this different perspective that we are to look at ourselves and are offered information to see what we need to work on in ourselves we are offered  the opportunity to grow, heal and become more of who and what we really are.

    This concept is powerful in our human interactions but also applies to our relationships with our animal companions.  The difference though lies in our perception of who we think our animal companions are.  I have to say that I think that I have learned just as much and more from my relationships with my dogs and my horse than I do with my husband.  Animals are teachers in much the same way as our spouses. They provide us with unconditional love and if we are open and feel deserving we are afforded a beautiful opportunity to see ourselves through these wonderful clear seeing beings. 

    They are present, kind loving and unconditional.  This is a state of being that we as humans often have a hard time mimicking or returning.  We are good at it in the beginning romance stage but soon are disheartened when the hard work part comes in.  Yes horses are romantic to think about riding off into the sunsets with.  A puppy or kitten seem to be a great opportunity to distract ourselves from our stuff or to just feel that unconditional love.  But all too often these animals are discarded or thrown by the wayside when the hard work needed on our part is put to the challenge.  When the romance is over.

    The horse, cat or dog is great when he/she behaves and does everything we ask and want him to.  If he/she happens to have a bad day or not feel good or mirrors back something to us about ourselves that we don't want to see we quickly loose interest.  We cut out on our part of putting in what it is we want back out of the deal.  We do this with people and we certainly do this with animals. 

    What if we believed and knew to be true that we are attracted to and end up with the animals that we need to help us heal and grow?  What if we loved ourselves enough to go there and see what it is all about.  Animals offer us that opportunity.  They come into our lives for us.  They come to help us see the parts of ourselves that need healing and are more than willing to hold us up as we do that work.  We humans oftentimes do not offer that same thing back to the animals.  We see them as property and items to be used for our benefit and entertainment, maybe even for a quick romantic fix. 

    Too many animals are abandoned every year.  They are cast out, destroyed or re-homed.  They haven't done anything wrong.  They have been present, loving and offer us up a mirror in which we can view ourselves.  Did you know that our animals behaviors and quirks are really not theirs but a mirror of ourselves clearly imaged back to us.  Animals show us ourselves and we often don't have the heart or stomach to have a look.  We project our self reject on them and cast them out of our lives.  We give up on them and us when we do that.

    Think about this the next time you have a pull to get a puppy, kitten or pony.  Ask yourself why you want one.  No different than if you were looking to get into a new or different relationship with another human.  What is it that your soul is seeking to know about itself?  Then when you have a sense about that, ask yourself if you are willing to do the hard work and really walk through that door.  If the answer is no or you are not sure.  Think again before inviting an animal into your life.  They take this relationship very seriously and commit to the long haul.  Do you? 


    Boundaries of responsibility

    I was just putting the finishing touches on getting my horse comfortable and prepared for the 90+ degree weather coming for the afternoon.  I had to be at work and was unable to come back out to the barn to bring him in later when the day would be sweltering.  They have no overhead shelter in their pastures where I board him so I have to make use of his indoor stall and blowing fans to temper things for him.  I passed one of the other woman at the barn who has horses there and she was doing similar things for her horses.  We were exchanging conversation when she says to me...."my goodness I guess we have to remember that they are just horses for goodness sake!"  This statement kind of hit me right between the eyes.  What does that mean?  Horses are not feeling, are not affected by weather issues, are not important enough to be cared for?  What I realized is that if these horses were not our pets and considered "our property"  they would be out in the wild able to find a grove of trees and a pond of water to cool themselves if needed.  They would be very astute in caring for their own needs.  When in our possession, we OWE it to them to help them assimilate their environment to the best of our abilities since we have taken that freedom away from them.  It is funny how we feel like because of the common mental attitudes about some animal species that are "for our use" seem to not be extended the same considerations as our adorable lap pets that can sometimes be honored as much as or not more than our own children sometimes.  We have to change the attitude that extended care concern and common courtesy and decency to these animals is really within our boundaries of responsibility.  They are very sensitive beings, very much affected by their environment and we need to be mindful of their experience to help them take care of themselves.  It is not being sissy or too soft to think about their needs and make accomodations.  It is basic consideration!