http://theflyingyogi.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/People-Woman-Legs-Barefoot-on-Dusty-Road-at-Sunrise-Medium.jpg 998 1500 Olya Glotka http://theflyingyogi.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/logo-300x233.png Olya Glotka2016-09-04 20:16:492016-09-07 20:49:43How a stray dog saved my life...
How a stray dog saved my life…
…sending me off to hitchhike across 2 countries and return home cured and pain-free
I was walking down a pedestrian walk, wide street full of people, taking a late afternoon stroll after their procedures, massages, treatments just before the dinner. I have been here, to this little retreat/sanatorium town in the mountains of Western Ukraine almost every year as a child, trying to heal my stomach illnesses with fresh air and local magic water and there I was again, years later, as a 17 years old, still clueless and still in pain. The gastritis or gastro…something… illness took a real toll on me over the last year. I tried everything I was advised: private doctors, shamans, homeopathy, witches, prayers, spirituality, gypsies and diets. Nothing worked. It still hurt.
The last doctor I had, abandoned me and returned all the money I paid him over the last 3 months and I gave up, I decided to retreat into this little retreat village for old and sick to, if nothing else, at least rest with my pain other than fight against it.
The last book I read was Osho and although it made a lot of sense explaining the source of my pain and I believed him, it didn’t really help my stomach. All he prescribed was meditation and living in the moment and no matter how much I tried to do and be that, I couldn’t quite get a grasp on it. I really struggled until I gave up…
“When you are here and now, sitting totally, not jumping ahead, the miracle has happened. To be in the moment is the miracle.”
Until one night I was walking down a pedestrian walk, a wide street full of old and sick and I felt so strongly that I do not belong here! Not here, among the old and sick.
And then I suddenly noticed a pair of eyes across from me, at the other side of the busy street, the eyes of a dog. He saw me and we had the longest most intense eye contact. He got up and started walking towards me. I kept walking towards him, extremely happy, not being able to believe my luck. Oh my god, a Dog? Chose me among all these people? To grace me with his presence? We kept walking and getting really close to each other. Me? He chose me? “Remember, you always heard, that dogs sense good souls, that is why dogs never liked you.” Every time when people would’ve asked me if I liked dogs, I’d say that even if I loved them, they had nothing to do with me, They didn’t love me, always avoided me, never paid attention. I thought it is an honour to be acknowledged by a dog. They sense good souls. Not me. We almost neared each other, not braking the eye contact for even a second. We were just a foot away from each other when we stopped and he sat, turning his head to the side, just like an old friend, saying, “What’s up?” Oh my god, I screamed in my head, Oh my god! A dog just acknowledged me! A dog just noticed and paid respect! I heard my voice in my head retelling this beautiful story of souls’ reunion to my boyfriend back home, to my best friend, at the next show of my band… “And then, the dogs started to like me” I saw the disbelieving faces of my friends, the dismissive face of my father, loving face of my mother and I even saw this very blog post’s name.
Until it suddenly snapped. The world turned black for a second (I might have just closed my eyes, but that’s what it felt like, as if the world ended and I left my body and saw myself from above) and realized how ridiculous and sinful this all is.
“Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be.”
― Eckhart Tolle
That something extremely important and beautiful just happened and what I did was… I dissected this gorgeous moment into 3 chunks: the past, the future and the present. I compared this situation to countless similar ones throughout my life to understand it’s significance, I heard all this stories and voices in my head, telling me that “dogs sense good souls” and all that other nonsense. And I spent so much in the future, imagining telling this cool story to my boyfriends and new friends to come, I already heard their approval and their disbelief. I spent so much of this precious moment on analyzing the past and savouring the fututre that might never come that I had hardly anything left of the moment to savour in the present. I was dumbstruck, I was so embarrassed I turned red. I couldn’t believe what I just did. I felt as if I was caught committing a crime. And it was a crime indeed. I believed it to be the biggest crime of all, to steal your own life.
“Life is the actual moment. Only this moment is life.”
― Thich Nhat Hahn
I couldn’t waste another moment of my life and I sat down to connect to the dog on a level he really deserved. We had a friendly chat. It was silent. We both really enjoyed it. I told him with my yes “Let’s go. I got something for you.” I got up and went towards the nearest store and I was quite surprised that he followed and he even waited for me outside of the store while I was buying sausages, the best kind they got, fancy ones. I fed him right there on the street and not knowing how to express the significance and the beauty of the moment to him, I decided a pat is enough (a pat is always enough!) and I left him there, happy and present. Not wasting any moment on thinking about the future sausages or comparing it to the taste of the sausages he had before. He taught me so much.
I walked towards my retreat/treatment centre and stopped in a little newspaper kiosk on my way. I pulled out last cash out of my pocket and asked for a road map of the area. Now, holding this unfamiliar bible in my hands I walked into the reception area and asked if they offer refunds in the occasion of cancellation and they said yes, if you cancel within 3 days of the arrival and that I had 3 hours to take this opportunity. I did. I took the money my parents so lovingly saved and handed me in order for their little girl to be cured, packed my backpack and walked towards where I remembered the exit from the city was. I stuck my thumb out, something I have never done before but heard a bit about other people doing.
Almost 10 years later I still fantasize about how much the grass smelled that day, how beautiful the creases of the clouds were, how gorgeous the asphalt looked and how soft it felt under my feet. I didn’t spear a single moment, I committed to taking it all in, right there and then. I will never ever commit this crime again, I believed. I walked and took it all in. The dirt, the cow’s poop on the side of the road, the flowers growing through cracks. Everything was beauty and beauty was everything.
A car suddenly stopped behind me and the window rolled down. A young man lifted his sunglases and asked: Where are you going? I stumbled for I didn’t know the answer and honestly replied: I don’t know, what about you?
The man expressed concern and surprise on his face and honestly replied with a hint of a question mark at the end: Lviv..?
Ok, that works, I said, opening the door and sliding into the front seat.
For the next few weeks I worked really really hard on living in the moment. I practiced it every minute, always coming back to the kind of moment I had looking into that dog’s eyes.
Osho suddenly kicked in and made sense.
“All the Buddhas of all the ages have been telling you a very simple fact: Be – don’t try to become. Within these two words, be and becoming, your whole life is contained. Being is enlightenment, becoming is ignorance.”
I decided to travel to the westest part of my country just to change my mind and follow the momentum other than a plan. I met the most beautiful, most open and welcoming people. I crossed a border and visited the most northern part of my country instead, travelled across a neighbouring country and made a lot a lot of friends, in the forests, in the villages, in big and small cities. I never had a plan, I never knew where I will be sleeping that night. I ran out of money but it always always worked out better than well. I didn’t question, I was there and then. I crossed the border again and safely returned to my city not telling anybody about my adventure for the longest time. In fact, I am afraid, my mom still doesn’t know about it. My friends eventually found out and later on I indulged in telling them the crazy stories and the most important of all, about “How a dog saved my life”.
But the biggest indulgence and surprise was that months later I thought about my sick stomach and realized that I cannot remember the last time it hurt. Not since I arrived into that little retreat town, suffering and struggling. In fact, it will be years until it hurt again, just a little, to remind me the lessons I’ve learned once.
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present wisely and earnestly.”
Nobody could help me, not the doctors, not the witches, homeopathy, gypsies, prayers, nobody helped, but that dog who didn’t ask for anything in return but a pat.