Meet Blossom. At first, I thought she was simply the newest member of our family. But less than 24 hours later, I was ready to give her back to the shelter. I know this sounds horrible. But it’s true. You see, I didn’t yet know all she would go on to teach me.
In case you’re wondering, this photo was taken in Blossom’s first few days with us after spending a month in the shelter. Her nervous system was so revved up that she climbed into her crate at night and fell asleep…with her mouth against the bars like this!! 🤣🤣🤣 Needless to say, this gave us a lot of laughs! And a tenderness for all that she’d obviously been through.
But let’s get back to the story!
On her second day with us, she ran away…TWICE! During her initial escape, I chased her for an hour and a half, practicing what is only appropriate to call a ‘sprint sob’. I sobbed as I ran, terrified to lose her, upset she was feeling so scared, and mad she wasn’t giving us a chance. It also made me miss the hell out of our beloved Lexie, our dog who died a few months earlier.
Each time I arrived at a new street, I looked both ways, not to see if there were cars, but to see if there were other people! If no people were in sight, I continued my sprint sob. If people were around, I stifled my sobs until the next coast was clear. I mean, I’m talking LOUD SOBS, peeps! It turns out I’m a closeted sprint sobber. Who knew?! 🤣
As I ran, I frantically chattered to our beloved Lexie’s spirit, asking her to help me know which streets to turn down, etc. I informed her that this new gig with Blossom was definitely not going to work out, but Lexie kept telling me to give her more time. And she repeatedly told me, “Don’t worry. She’s gonna come back home.” To which I responded, “Yeah, right.”.
After a couple of hours, a lovely couple in town found her, coaxed her into their backyard and called me. Well, I was in no shape to drive anywhere because, well, it turns out sprint sobbing is more draining than one might guess! 😂 So I sent my wife to retrieve our new dog. As she walked out the door, I called after her in a desperate tone and cried, “Please ask them if they want to keep her. Ok? Please? Maybe they’ll want to. I don’t think this is gonna work for us.”.
Not so surprisingly, the lovely couple didn’t want to keep our dog so home she came. After another hour of recovery from my sprint sob, I headed to the office to work on my book. I was surprised by how well my writing flowed after such a draining morning, which DID make me wonder if I need to build more sprint sobs into my life as a writer! 🤪
And then I got the call. Blossom was gone again, after dashing past our daughter when she walked in the front door. I headed home and we continued our search to no avail. After some time, we returned home feeling terribly disheartened. No more than 15 minutes passed before our girls came running in, screaming, “Blossom’s on our street!!! Come quick!”
We all took off in a sprint, gathering additional neighbors and strangers along the way until we had at least 12 people on this Blossom-chasing mission! And guess what? Blossom ran…and ran…and ran. For a long time. We finally trapped her in some random person’s backyard that was fenced on three of four sides. They weren’t home, which is probably good because I can’t quite imagine coming home to find 12 strangers in the yard!
I threw pieces of food to her and slowly edged closer. The closer I got, the faster my heart raced. When I finally went in for the grab, she got away!! ARGHHHH! After 40 minutes of this, I finally had nothing left in me. Literally, folks! I laid my body flat on the ground in total surrender, simply giving up while 11 other people stood around and watched.
Of course, that’s exactly when Blossom walked shyly over to me, licked my hand and face and let me take her collar. I mean, PEOPLE!!
Has it been all roses and joy since then? No! Why? Because it turns out Blossom has the need-to-run coursing through her body! And you know what I did each time she ran away over the first two months? I made it wrong. All I saw was how wrong it was each time she ran away. And I searched for how to stop it from happening again. Did this work? For just long enough to trick me into thinking we’d mastered her need-to-run. Until she ran again.
Isn’t this what we do about so many unwanted experiences in our lives? We automatically make them wrong. And then we work like hell to fix the wrongness so things can be right again. Maybe it’s our anxiety, a relationship, a job, or our bodies.
The last time she ran away, the stress hormones flooded my body again. I kicked into solution mode, working hard to figure out how to lure her back home, feeling stressed as all hell. But then something stopped me. It was a question that softly floated into my mind. “Emily, what if you don’t make her running away episodes wrong?”
My initial thought was, “Come on!! Are you kidding me?! How the heck could this be right?” But then I remembered the millions of other times I made things wrong, but only found relief when I changed how I was viewing and labeling them. My experiences with anxiety and cancer are only two of those billions of times (Click here to read more: https://dremilycolwell.com/what-if-this-is-happening-for-me/ and https://dremilycolwell.com/what-if-anxiety-can-transform-your-life/).
So, people, I’ve been over here updating my perspective again. I’m accepting that this sweet Blossom girl’s need-to-be-free adventures aren’t wrong. Maybe they’re leftover from her days as a feral puppy before she ended up in the shelter – twice. Perhaps it’s simply that she loves the feel of the wind in her face and freedom in her feet. All I know is that she returns home from her freedom jaunts incredibly happy as if her soul got exactly what it needed. And the less we chase her, the faster she comes home to her family.
You see, Blossom has blossomed since joining our brood. 😍 In her first month with us, she was utterly terrified. She avoided us at all costs and didn’t let us near her. Now she’s incredibly affectionate and loving and we’ve all fallen in love with each other.
You know what else? She’s teaching us in ways I hadn’t anticipated. Since that first day of sprint sobbing, she’s been reminding me that when I automatically deem the present moment wrong and fight against it, things only feel harder. Sure, there’s still room for ALL the feels about the present moment, but inviting curiosity onto the scene, too, rather than only seeing what’s wrong? That’s a game-changer, folks, making it possible for relief to slip in with more ease. And maybe, just maybe, these lessons from Blossom will help you, too. ❤️
P.S. Know a loved one or friend who is looking for relief in THIS moment? Share my free MICRO-MOMENT RESET with them so they can move into relief, feel more ease, and find more clarity without having to work so hard to make it all happen.
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Emily Colwell, MSSW, ND
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