Accomplishments Are So Over-Rated in Pet Heaven on Earth

Beni and Raoul

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Accomplishments Are So Over-Rated in Pet Heaven

By Jane Tawel

October 25, 2021

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When I was about ten or eleven, my mom moved her four kids to Monmouth, Illinois to be near our dad who had left us but we didn’t know it yet. And as I often say to Raoul, this could have been the beginning of my being a heroin addict or a serial killer, but instead I went into acting. Going into theater by way of getting an MFA, is the most expensive kind of psychotherapy a girl can get and it was worth every penny because today I am an ex-English teacher slash secretary slash waitress looking forward to someday having monthly Social Security checks in the high two figures. But then, I got to be a mom for a couple of decades, which is the hardest greatest best paid job in the world, so … Meh! to my dreams of sitting on the Tonight Show riffing about my latest accomplishments. Which brings me to the point – accomplishments.

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This past week Raoul and I got to puppy-sit our only grandpuppy, Beni. Grand-paw and I have several adorable grand-cats but only one grandpuppy. And while this Grandmeow loves all her grandcritters equally, Grandpaw Raoul has fallen head-over-tails in love with Beni. Look at that face and you can see why we both are rather smitten (exhausted but smitten). And let me tell you something beneficial about loving one of God’s critters as opposed to loving one of God’s children. Loving an animal, especially a pet, especially a cute but naughty, tear-up-your-slippers, accident-on-the-floor, wake-you-at-an-unholy-hour, nip-at-your-calves little beastie –being in a relationship with a critter is a giant wake-up call to what I think God and Jesus and all other spiritually minded Beings mean when they try to teach us about “heaven on earth”.  The reasons are many but here are a few I woke up to this morning, as my old girl Daisy and I adjusted to Beni being back home with his Mommy.

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Why Animals “Get” Heaven on Earth More than People “Get” It:

  1. Animals are very forgiving. They don’t spend any time at all stewing over past spankings or harsh words. They encourage their humans to do the same. If you are going to have an animal in your life, get ready to find forgiveness easy, which can be unsettling, because we really should find forgiveness and asking forgiveness much more easy with the people in our lives –like we do with our pets.
  2. Many animals, but especially the dogs I have observed love everything that you share with them and that they can share with you. They love life. Everything is always new to a dog because it is a new moment to experience it. Same walk?  “Let’s explore!” Bad smell, good smell, pee smell, food smell – “Mmmmgrrrr, I Love It!” The Mailman is at the door again– “ Who are you? WOOF! WOOF! Heeeelllllloooooooo!”  Same ball thrown for the five-millionth time? – “This is so much fun! Here I brought it back to you, Mommy. Want to play tug-of-war again? Okay, throw it again!  Isn’t this fun!!! Do it again! Again! Again!” Oh, if I could love living life in just this moment, like a dog does. That alone would bring me a heaven to earth.
  3. Animals have a sure, secure, and content sense of who they are without having any ego at all. Name one animal you have met with an inflated sense of ego? (Well, okay, cats. Let’s just say, cats have an ego, but can we really say it is an inflated ego? I mean, maybe when kitty gives you that look, they really are trying to communicate to you: “Oh, foolish human, do you not yet recognize a goddess when you see one?”)
Justine’s cat Artemis (yes, like the goddess) studying theology with me

But back to the sense of self of animals (probably sans kitties).

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On the flip side of animals having no egos, name one beast you have met that isn’t completely content and at peace with being who they are. It doesn’t matter one bit to your chihuahua that his isn’t as big as the Great Dane’s or to the alley cat on your street that the Siamese in the mansion has a more expensive fur on than hers. Animals exist in the absolute center of what psychologists and spiritual people call the “True Self”, not the “False Self”. And one thing I noticed about Raoul and I during our pup-sitting week, we became more our True Selves – more loving, more giving, but also more needing and more accepting – of the love we each shared together and individually with our grand-puppy. Granted, we would not sustain this if we had him for years instead of a week, and I know this because we have had dogs our whole family life and sustaining the kind of love we had with Beni this week is an impossibility, which brings me back to Thank God! our pets are so forgiving. Living in the kind of world we think of as a perfect world is hard work, just like taking care of a pet, but it is the kind of hard work whose greatest and perhaps only accomplishment is a loving relationship where I know myself as I am and accept you as someone you are and we both are at peace with who we are while also trying to be better together. If we took care of other humans as well as we do our pets, what a heaven on earth this would be.  Maybe for a while we should think of  The Golden Rule as saying, “Do unto others as you would have your pets do unto you.”

  • Finally (for today’s revelations) Animals help us think differently about Time. We didn’t “accomplish” much with Beni around, at least not as much as we could have if he weren’t around and that was wonderful –because we were with Beni –and today we will get to go back to accomplishing more and it will be a bit sad and depressing, and lonely and not as meaningful – because we aren’t with Beni.

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And when I look at my life, so many of the truly meaningful parts were when I wasn’t really accomplishing all that much. I never did accomplish a great acting career, and yet, my theatre teachers, and my experiences when I was acting, were some of the critical ones that shaped and defined me in ways I am still unpacking.

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And my memories of my children growing up? I don’t treasure all the things I “helped” them accomplish or the things we accomplished together, or the trophies or awards they got, nearly as much as I treasure the times we snuggled in the Big Bed reading or singing or just snuggling. Or the times I sat in the yard or by the pool and just listened to them play. Or talks around festival tables. Or traditions we shared. Or bike rides or walking dogs and picking up fallen leaves or pretty stones or shells on the beach. Or the times we splashed in mud puddles or laughed at silly jokes or took pre-technology-kid-coma-inducing long car trips, or….. we just were us together, accomplishing nothing. Nothing but relationship.

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So my mom took us to Monmouth, Illinois to accomplish something with my dad, but it didn’t. It was always a great sorrow to her, which I only understood much later. You know, my mom passed this summer – I keep waking up or being startled at odd times during the day to realize that all over again – she is gone. wow. If you have someone in your life that you deeply loved that died, this year or fifty years ago, you know what I mean. Time changes forever when that person you loved so much is no longer in the same Time-plane that you are. I don’t know what Time-plane my mom is in now, or what any of my departed loved ones live in now that is a kind of  “Heaven-Time”, but I think they must be in something like an Eternal Puppy Time; a Pet-Time when there is nothing more important to accomplish than loving everyone and everything around you. And smelling stuff. And snuggling.

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When someone you love leaves, like Beni left us last night temporarily, and my mom left us this summer, less temporarily; then you realize that it sure didn’t always feel like heaven on earth when you were with them, but that you can, if you try, hang on to the heaven on earth moments that happen in all true relationships and in all True Selves. Because it was really heaven on earth when they were with you because heaven is just another word for Love—the kind of love that loves others with a sense that renewal and newness are in our power to create together, with enjoyment in doing the same things over and over, with the kind of love that forgives and asks to be forgiven knowing that soon you will both forget the bad thing ever even happened. Heaven on earth is simply loving what you are, not what you can do, and loving relationships more than accomplishments.

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Heavenly love is the earthiest kind of love there is because we are all  just critters of this amazing, wonderful Earth, full of smells and accidents to be cleaned up, and sounds, and the same people who can get on your last nerve but keep showing up, and an Earth rooted deep in Time and yet ever expanding, expanding just enough to keep holding on to each other and also allowing each other to run. We are all part of the Earth, revolving into days and nights and if we try hard enough to stop trying, part of the great DNA Dance of All Living Things, things and humans and beasts that can for a little while – maybe even a week — lose track of Time completely because we are caring for a puppy and we are in love and because of someone else, we are loving life so much that heaven is on earth.

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Living like you are worthy of living in heaven forever is really just living like you are the most special person to the most special pet you have ever known. One of my husband’s favorite songs when he was growing up was one that Donny Osmond sang and the famous refrain was, “And they call it puppy love”. 

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Find your “puppy love” today, whether it is in an actual doggie pet, or kitty-goddess, or human man-child, or needy friend, or that other-you that needs you to love her today. Go into the world looking for the messes you can clean-up and the forgivness you can offer. Apologize for your wrongs to others as if you just kicked the dog who wasn’t doing anything other than being herself. Sniff things, and touch things, and enjoy your feed  even if it is the same chow you had every day this week. Look into the eyes of the people you care about and let them know you need them and that also you are there for them when they need you. Take a nap when you are tired and don’t feel guilty about. Take a walk. Take lots of walks. And if love is something you are desperate for, like it was for my mom when she moved to try to find love with my father, but only finally found when she had grandchildren — if you want love — then don’t hang your tail and let your ears droop and give up. Never grow weary as you keep chasing and fetching and bringing love back to lay at the feet of Love. Just keep doing it. Just keep loving and asking for love. Keep the ball in play and you will find heaven on earth. Again, and again, and again.

My Mom: Gram and her grandkids

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© Jane Tawel, October 25, 2021

Published by

Jane Tawel

Still not old enough to know better. I root around and explore ideas in philosophy, spirituality, poetry, Judeo-Christian Worldview, family, relationships, and art. Often torn between encouragement & self-directed chastisement, I may sputter, but I still keep trying to move forward.

3 thoughts on “Accomplishments Are So Over-Rated in Pet Heaven on Earth”

  1. animals sense the truth
    there is no guise nor bullshit with them
    they can be made mean or kind
    by their humans tho
    we lost our noble pure breed wire fox in july
    the hole is big
    and the grief real
    excellent post Jane!

    Like

  2. “If we took care of other humans as well as we do our pets, what a heaven on earth this would be.” That’s a beautiful thought and a reminder of the perfection of heaven. Our moms both fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith to make it there! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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