Reincarnation? Mulligan? Deja vu? Do overs? They all have a common theme of recognizing you have been here before or gone through a similar experience somewhere in the past. I would like to think that in this life I am having the opportunity to reincarnate at an accelerated speed. You may say that the theory doesn’t work that way and yet, here I am, knowing that I have had many opportunities to “do over” a scenario I didn’t get quite right the first time.
Here is an example.
When my dad was alive he lived in an apartment that allowed pets. The deal I had made with him was that in order for him to keep his dog he had to agree to take him for walks and look after him. At any time if that became too much the dog would be given away. He agreed with those terms in theory. The reality of it was something quite different. My dad became ill and struggled to get up and walk. He had lost his desire to engage in the responsibilities of life let alone owning a pet. He wanted to keep his dog but he was unable to manage the dog’s needs.
I don’t pretend to be a dog lover. I know that I am not the right kind of person to own a pet of that level of involvement. I only thought of the inhumanness of keeping a dog stuck in an apartment. Having pee stained carpets and curtains and poop on the rug for days. It grossed me out when I would come check on them both to discover the mess and my dad’s lack of caring to clean it up. I never stop to consider that perhaps the dog was one of his only senses of companionship and unconditional love he had.
I arranged for dog walking and it seemed to be going ok until my dad had to be hospitalized for an extended length of time. He wanted me to take the dog home with me. My son is allergic to all pet hair and even though my son doesn’t live with me anymore I have never had pets in the house. It’s to keep the house as dander free as we can. I put the dog in a foster home but it was getting expensive as time went on and a more permanent solution had to be made. The dog had to go. I couldn’t see any other way to manage the situation. My dad was able to see his puppy on occasion as the new owners were ok with me coming and taking “Pogo” for visits. It wasn’t the same for my dad though, he had lost his closest friend.
My dad and I have always had a rocky relationship. I have been mad at him for most of my life and felt he took advantage of my kindness at every turn. He didn’t bring out the best in me unfortunately. I am sad for that fact and my inability at the time to recognize how it affected my treatment of him and his needs. Through much therapy and meditation I have come to terms with those feelings and worked through forgiveness and understanding of my dad and his behavior.
Fast Forward to now. My sister has a sweet puppy. She is in the middle of a divorce and is transitioning back to full time work outside her home. The dog has had to stay alone for the first time ever for a few hours a day. He started using her downstairs living room as a bathroom. I had a few minutes of Deja Vu. It triggered memories of my dad and the ultimate decision I had pressured him into giving up his dog.
I had a choice here once again. She is getting back on her feet and can’t afford doggy daycare right now. I regretted not helping my dad more with the dog. Now, it seems that it wouldn’t have taken much for me to have walked the dog and made sure it was being looked after. Not to say my sister isn’t looking after her dog, that is far from the truth. It’s just a shadow memory of a similar scenario that hits home for me.
Part of my own mental health is getting more exercise and fresh air. I love to walk in the canyons and parks around my home. It doesn’t take too much effort to go and pick up the puppy before exploring. This time around I choose to change the outcome. I have recognized I needed to learn something from this scenario as I have seen it played out before with less than happy results. I am getting a second chance to try a different way. The dog is such a good dog. He makes me smile and is eager to go as soon as I open the door to her house. He is smiling and excited which gets me excited. They are such loving creatures, so eager to just enjoy whatever you give them of yourself.
How many times do you stop to ponder a situation you know has happened to you before? You find yourself going “wait, this is familiar and I didn’t like the results”. What if you recognized that you could change the outcome by selecting a different path this time around? I challenge you to watch for your second chances. I am not sure you get third or fourth chances in one lifetime. I will have to reflect and see if I recall that happening to me on any given occasion.
In the meantime I am grateful for the awareness and opportunities the universe keeps sending me to learn and make peace with my past, present and future.