I’m feeling really apprehensive at the moment. We’re coming up to one year since our little Lola suffered severe liver disease and we nearly lost her. It was an awful time. We’ve also been in and out of the emergency vet for the past month for other reasons that have kept Owen and I on edge.
I’ve managed to keep myself together for the past few weeks, knowing I need to be strong for her. But this last emergency visit, last Saturday morning at 5.00am, was the final straw. I broke down. I couldn’t stop crying. Devastated by the awfulness this little girl is going through. I can’t stand seeing animals unwell. It breaks my heart to see something so precious, so vulnerable unwell and at our mercy to help them.
As we waited for the vet to return with some medications (Lola was given anti-nausea medication for chemotherapy patients!) I stood in the consultation room sobbing. I was desperate for Lola to feel better. It’s been awful knowing she’s had such a terrible life being neglected and abused, bred for her puppies before being palmed off because she was no longer valuable to the breeder (re-think where you get your animals from people). My dream for her is to have a happy, healthy rest of her life, putting that trauma behind her. And so seeing little miss still unwell was so upsetting.
As I sat with tears in my eyes and a feeling of being completely hopeless, Owen said to me – “Jessica, remember to breathe.” He was using my words to remind me of my own teachings. And he was right. I needed to slow down and breathe. As I did this, the thoughts began to slow, the panic became less and my mind became more rational, logical.
This got me thinking. Yoga is not going to fix everything. It is not a band-aid solution for the troubles we have in our lives, nor will it mean we no longer have a care in the world. Not at all. Rather, yoga is a tool to help us get through these difficult times. To be more present in every moment of every day – whether that be a ‘good’ day or a ‘bad’ day. Yoga can help us to pull through when we need that extra bit of support. In short – yoga wont stop the experience or event from happening, but it will change how we deal with that experience or event.
Thinking back to the very first time I sat in the emergency room as Lola was rushed into the hospital, I sat staring at the photo of these four flamingoes up on the wall. A black and white image of these elegant birds all perfectly aligned. My breath was out of control. I was on the verge of hyperventilating because I was that scared and upset, until I remembered. Breathe. Whilst the tears still streamed down my face, with my breath under control my heart began to slow, my thoughts became clearer and I was able to calm down. The situation hadn’t changed, but I was dealing with it better. What happened next was out of my hands. I just needed to be strong for her and accept that what will be will be. To be patient and wait, and do my very best not to fall into the darkest corners of my mind – where I naturally wanted to go.
Pain will always exist. It is a fact of life which is why we can appreciate beauty and the special moments so much more. We waste so much time worrying about the things we cannot control. The petty things that, at the end of the day mean nothing.
Yoga taught me to let go of the petty stuff. To cultivate love, kindness and gratitude. Why? Because this is all that matters at the end of the day. Stress, worry and anxiety is only life taking. I use to take my life for granted but yoga changed that. It taught me to see the world as it is. To appreciate every little detail – the good and the bad. Whilst seeing little miss unwell is awful, it is a reminder to appreciate every moment we get to spend together. Every little snort she does, the snuggles at night, the walks at the park, taking her to the toilet in the middle of the freezing cold night. This is all special. Why? Because she is alive and healing, and what more could we ask for.