How often do you look up at the stars?
Do you wonder why dogs howl when they see the moon? Perhaps they are sending encoded messages to the Universe or God, reporting on the happenings here on Earth...As a vet, I have seen the stories of life unfolding and have dreaded witnessing the end of life more often than I would like.
Recently, I had an interesting talk with my friend. She shared her frustration with me because her friends could not understand that natural, wholesome raw food is much more suitable for their dog than a fancy bag with stale kibble inside that is made in China. As I was listening to her, I realized that most people living on Earth go through similar frustrations. First, we don’t know something and resist when others try to teach us. Then we learn through making mistakes and, because we know how uncomfortable or painful the mistakes were, we want to tell everyone else to prevent their suffering - and guess what - they resist, just as we ourselves did at first!
I am a vet who is passionate about teaching people how to prevent disease and naturally, I had to come to terms with this strange phenomenon. As time progressed, I created my own theory and explanation as to why, more often than not, people resist someone else's advice. I imagined that Earth was the place where souls came to experience life and learn through the mistakes they made and I also came to believe that animals came along for the ride as our generous teachers.
Does suffering have any purpose?
In summary, to make sense of all the suffering on Earth, I now believe that if we didn’t experience hardship and pain, we would not be able to evolve and grow. In a way, seeing life this way has made it easier for me to witness people and animals dying. Before, I felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff watching others blindly stepping into an abyss, and whenever I stretched my hand to prevent them from falling, they refused my help.
I have seen many other people going through the same frustrations of helplessly watching others falling. When I decided to share these thoughts with you, I was looking for a good example that would bring a little humour and lightness to such a challenging topic as life, disease and death. To my surprise, I found a good example while skiing; I came to the conclusion that life is like a ski lift. I can only imagine some of you thinking, What? Life? Ski lift? C’mon, let’s play the game.
What has a ski lift to do with life and death?
Let’s imagine that the length of the lift is the length of life on Earth, where the beginning is birth and the end of the lift is death. Wondering what happens on the lift? At the bottom, there is a “liftie” who will help you hop on and then the chair glides on the cable from tower to tower - and each tower is numbered. If life was a ski lift loaded with people like you and I, this is what would be happening:
- The people at tower 7 would be wondering, why the people at tower 3 are not at tower 7. (This is the frustration of why they don’t want to learn what we are trying to teach them).
- The folks at tower 3 would be really frustrated that they are not already at tower 8. (This is the impatience that we experience).
- Those at tower 8 would sometimes act arrogantly because they forget that they once were at tower 3. (These are the people who think that they are better than those at towers below them).
- Most of the folks on the lift would be comparing themselves with the skiers down below. Are they skiing better or worse? Do they have better skis? How about their helmets or goggles? (They are the people who do not think that they are perfect the way they are).
- Some would even have a good laugh watching others wipe out which in the ski world is called a “yard sale”. (They are the people who need to make fun of others to cover up their own feelings of inadequacy).
- If life was a ski lift and we had never skied before, most of us would be terrified of the end of the lift because we wouldn’t know yet that the ski run is the most fun part.
Throughout the years of working with people, their animal friends, and sharing my life with my dog Skai, I know that the biggest fear we all face is losing those we love. We often worry that we are not doing enough or are concerned that we have missed something important to keep our loved ones happy and well. Most of us are also afraid of cancer and do all we can to fight it while, in many cases, it refuses to go away.
I am also not immune to these fears despite my years of experience and knowledge. I learn to cope with this by believing that life on Earth is a theatre and that life after death is the ski run that starts at the end of it! Of course there is no solid proof, but I hope that when we get to the end of the “ski lift of life" that's where the fun for our souls begins.
Last year, one of my dearest friends who lived in Europe was dying at the age of 93. After a few days of not knowing what to do, I got up in the middle of the night and booked an overseas flight to say goodbye. When I arrived, I was surprised that despite the struggle of her physical body, she looked peaceful and unafraid. I held her hand and she died only an hour after I arrived. I gave her the gift of my presence and she gave me the gift of being much less afraid of death.
While we can't make our dogs live to be seventy or ninety, I can responsibly state that feeding natural, raw or cooked diet and giving them essential supplements will add years on average. Life is shorter than we wish and I am terribly sad seeing loved ones go. What I want to say here is that we can help support each other during those difficult times by trying to live in the present, believing that the end of the lift is where the most fun begins.
This article was written in memory of all those who are missed and loved.