Practicing Mindfulness in Hard Times: Don’t Fight the Cone

My precious hound dog had surgery last week. He had this growth on his chest that looked a lot like skin cancer. The bad kind of skin cancer at that. My husband and I thought it looked cancerous. The vet thought it looked suspicious.

So because we love our dog and wanted to do what was best for him in the long run, we had him endure surgery to remove the scary looking growth.

The surgery went fine and it turns out the growth was not cancerous. However, what I thought would be the easy part has been miserable.

Our sweet hound dog came home with seven stitches that should have taken a week to heal. Now I have had surgery before and come home with stitches, so I know it doesn’t feel great.

But our hound dog HATED the stitches. They were itchy and uncomfortable. He couldn’t understand why they were there. He would sneak away and lick and chew at them every chance he got. Even after we put a t-shirt on him to prevent him from messing with the stitches, somehow he found a way to chew at them. He wanted them gone!

And guess what? He succeeded. He opened up a couple of his stitches. But instead of getting the relief he wanted, he ended up at the vet getting staples (without the benefit of anesthesia) and a nice Cone of Shame to boot.

Our hound dog only thought he was miserable before. Now he is uncomfortable and itchy and has a stupid cone around his head. A cone that keeps him not only from being able to lick the stitches, but also to walk without bumping things, play, or do most of the things he wants to do.

He HATES the cone even more than the stitches. He paws at it. Whines. He looks like the most pitiful creature you have ever seen.

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When my hound dog finally gives up and lays down in resignation, I come to my precious one and stroke his fur and comfort him the best I can.

Because I have been there too.

I have been in a place that was not life threatening, but that hurt and was uncomfortable and that I desperately wanted to get out of. I didn’t understand why I was there and if or when it would ever get better. I struggled and whimpered and protested. And often times by doing these things I made it worse, not better.

I so wish that I could tell my spotted buddy that if he would just calm down and endure the pain and discomfort for a few days, then the cone and the stitches will go away. Everything will be good again. He can run and play and cuddle.

But he can’t see that this is a minor and temporary hardship. He doesn’t understand it won’t last forever.

I think it is the same with us sometimes. When hard times hit all we can see is the pain and the difficulty and we fear it will last forever. Not only that, but the bad in our life starts to block out all the good making EVERYTHING seem bad.

But looking back I realize the majority of the time hard things were only part of my story and that they don’t last forever. In most cases, pain and suffering are only temporary, passing things. In some cases I don’t even have to do anything but wait for some time to pass until the pain and suffering naturally resolve.

Yet in my fear and struggling I often make things worse and even prolong the difficulty.

So today I tell my hound dog, myself, and any who would listen, sometimes it is best not to fight the cone.

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Just accept times are going to be hard for a while and try and deal with the hardship as gently as you can. Relax a little. Take a deep breath. Let someone who loves you stroke your head and feed you some cheese cubes.

As Julian of Norwich said, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”

Praying you all find rest in the midst of the hard times.

Dena

3 thoughts on “Practicing Mindfulness in Hard Times: Don’t Fight the Cone

  1. Pingback: Anticipatory Anxiety: The Art of Freaking Out Ahead of Time, Just in Case | Centering Down

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