I’m a smart woman with a good head on her shoulders, as my mother would say. I pride myself on being observant and objective. I am committed to leading a spiritual life and teach motivational courses to assist others in doing the same. I stress the concept of choice, that in all instances you have a choice on how feel or act.

I know this stuff inside and out. So, it was shocking to me to be shown that I really didn’t believe it applied to me.

It started with a conversation with a friend about my dog, who had a degenerative condition. It was, at the time of the conversation, in a manageable state, but was never going to get better. My friend pointed out to me that I had a choice as to when to let her go. I smiled sadly and nodded. But inside I thought “Well, maybe you would, but not me.”

But the conversation wouldn’t leave me. As things got worse, I still clung to the belief that I had to stay the course. Every so often I would dare to consider other choices, but quickly set that aside. Finally, something clicked and I realized that this was MY issue. It wasn’t that I needed the dog to let me know anything – her body was clearly doing that. It was that when I thought of letting her go I was flooded with all the old beliefs to which I still cling unconsciously, tucked out of sight. Things like “my life is less important than yours” or “who am I to make these kinds of decisions” or “what would people think of me?” It brought back other times in my life when I did not believe I had the right to make a choice – like about leaving a career or a relationship. There was always someone else whose needs came before mine and it was never the right time.

Trust me, decisions like this are NEVER easy! They are heart-wrenching and agonizing. But when I can both mentally accept that I have a choice in the matter hand, and emotionally believe I am worthy of making a choice, whatever it is, then I can move forward with grace and ease and without the crippling guilt.

My dog has taught me so very much in her short time with me. It is just perfect that the lessons from Lily continue to the very end.