Our little dog, Kali, is a constant source of inspiration for me. The other day, after I brought her in from a walk, I noticed she was quietly licking her paw in the corner of the room. When she saw me looking at her with concern, she quickly averted her gaze. She clearly didn’t want me to notice something was wrong with her. Being a good mommy, I quickly and thoroughly examined her paw pads. I found several little burrs hiding between her delicate pads.
Why didn’t she want me to know what was going on? Those burrs must have been really uncomfortable for her. Because, like you and me, when something is “off,” we know that it means change is inevitable, and… change can be painful. The unknown can be scary.
“What if it hurts when mommy tries to remove the burr from my paw?” Kali might have been thinking. “What if it hurts when I leave this unhealthy relationship.” Or, “What if I can’t find a better job when I leave this toxic one?” Or, “If I acknowledge my faults, I might have to do the work to change myself.” Perhaps even, “Who will I be if I’m no longer defined by this ego and personality?”
Accept change as life’s only constant. Our lives are an endless procession of gains and losses, of joys and sorrows, of hopes and disappointments. At one moment we find ourselves threatened by the storms of trials; moments later, a silver lining brightens the gray clouds; then, suddenly, the skies are blue again. Life is change. Remain ever calm within. Be even-minded. When working, be calmly active.
—Paramhansa Yogananda, How to Face Life’s Changes
Other times, while walking Kali, she stepped on something seriously painful and came to a complete stop. She can’t take another step. At those times, she sweetly lifts her paw and looks at me, saying, “Help, please.” It may still be painful during the extraction of whatever she stepped on. Still, it is a lot better than the alternative of continuing forward!
We, too, come to the point when continuing on as we always have “assumes a certain anguishing monotony,” as Yogananda described it. When we are so fed up with our little self guiding our daily decisions, we can pray to God, as Sister Gyanamata so beautifully put it, “Change no circumstance of my life. Change me.”
So what is the best way to deal with change? Follow the example of the wise: Give up fear of an unknown future. Don’t resist or run away from change, or pray that circumstances be different. Instead, try to embrace the only change that is lasting: personal transformation. Once this becomes our goal, we can stand with steadiness on the shifting sands of time, and find the purpose and joy behind God’s will in our life.
—Nayaswami Devi, Touch of Love
In either of the above circumstances, when the burrs are removed from Kali’s paws, she dances around joyfully in her newfound freedom. Let us, too, lift our paws and embrace the change of becoming our brightest, lightest selves.
In Kali’s Love,