It's a Dog-Eat-Dog World
A few weeks ago, on our usual walk through our neighborhood, my dog was attacked by a pit bull who had wandered from his property to follow us. It took seconds for the stout beast to latch onto my Chigi (a Chihuahua/corgi mix) and maul him before my eyes.
It was a tense few moments.
My instinct was to the kick the attacking dog in the ribs with a force that left my ankle and hip sore for days. Eventually, the offending animal let go. My loud, guttural commands: “Get out!” resulted in hiS eventually walking back towards his family’s open, unattended garage.
My little dog was obviously hurt and was unable to walk home. I carried him to the house with my arms shaking and my blood pumping. All the while, I breathed deeply in an effort to remain calm so my son wouldn’t panic when I walked in the door.
Our vet office was a Godsend. They got our pooch in quickly, fixed up him up with a little surgery, and sent him home to heal. I thought Tanner did surprisingly well under the circumstances. He went about his business with seemingly few side effects.
I, on the other hand, was a little more high maintenance. I continued to see the National Geographic-like attack in my mind – a stout pit bull with tan fur shaking my helpless dog from side to side. It made my stomach a little sick.
Then, I started to imagine what could have happened. What if the pit bull had not stopped? What if Tanner had died? What if the pit bull had gone after me?
None of these things happened, of course. They were just fodder to keep me distracted (and paranoid) for days. My dog, on the other hand, was not dwelling on what had happened or what could have been. He was just annoyed that there were stitches near his private parts, and that was worse, in this moment, than a pit bull, thank you very much.
He acts just as he did before while out on our walks. (I now drive to go walking!)
There is a pizza place we pass that has a freakishly tall, lanky, air-powered stick figure that dances weirdly in the wind. Every time we approach it, Tanner barks with fervor. He is no doubt alerting me to the dangers of the goony dancer – it does look ominous.
For all of our amazing human complexities, the ability to dwell on something unpleasant can really be a downer.
Processing painful or unpleasant events is absolutely necessary, but continuing to relive and imagine alternative outcomes without dealing with reality can keep us stuck.
A dog attack happened.
The dog is fine.
I am fine.
That’s the end of the story.
Does that mean I never walk the dog again? No. Statistically, I have walked the dog MANY times without incident.
Does that mean I don’t walk where I think it’s safer? No. I learn from my experience and walk where I feel safe.
How do I stop my imagination?
First, I release the emotion related to the event.
A dog attack can be scary. The subsequent vet visit and handling my emotions in front of my child were all energy depleting. Eventually, I was able to let down and cry a little, then slept for hours. Sleeping is so healing for me.
When I started reliving this unpleasant moment, I brought myself back to the present and reminded myself that we were all fine. Tanner would heal, and no other harm had been done. I focused on the glamourous tasks at hand like washing clothes, dishes, and cleaning toilets (because that’s my glamorous life).
Eventually, my brain doesn’t go there as much.
But as you know, I’m all about loving life’s lemons.
And this light, lemony dessert may prove to be the perfect distraction if nothing else works.
The Busy Buddha
EMDR – (Eye Movement Desensitization & Restructuring) The goal of this therapy is to process distressing memories, reduce their long lasting effects and allowing the person to develop more adaptive coping mechanisms. This therapy has been proven effective with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). To learn more check out the EMDR Institute.
TRE – (Trauma Release Exercises) This exercise safely activates a natural reflex mechanism of shaking or vibrating that releases muscular tension, calming down the nervous system. When this muscular shaking/vibrating mechanism is activated in a safe and controlled environment, the body is encouraged to return back to a state of balance. To read more about it, check out Trauma Prevention.com. A friend, also a practitioner of TRE, used this method to effectively process and deal with a violent home invasion he experienced while on vacation in Mexico.
EFT – (Emotional Freedom Technique) This technique is based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture to treat physical and emotional ailments for over five thousand years, but without the invasiveness of needles. Instead, simple tapping with the fingertips is used to input kinetic energy onto specific meridians on the head and chest while you think about your specific problem - whether it is a traumatic event, an addiction, pain, etc. -- and voice positive affirmations.
This combination of tapping the energy meridians and voicing positive affirmation works to clear the "short-circuit" - the emotional block -- from your body's bioenergy system, thus restoring your mind and body's balance, which is essential for optimal health and the healing of physical disease.)
To learn more about EFT, check out this information from Mercola.
This lemon dessert is delicious! And it uses an abundant summer ingredient. This version is easy on the waistline and packs a pucker Instead of full-on crème brulee finish, I finish the pudding cakes with whipped cream!
Find this recipe HERE!
What do you notice about yourself when dealing with tough situations?