Loving Your Inner Pup

pupThe other day I heard something that hit me like a wrecking ball. Along the coast of California, thousands of baby sea lions are dying. The herring their mothers live on have disappeared, so the mothers had no choice but to leave their babies to starve.

Not long  after hearing this, I had the extreme good fortune of speaking with Byron Katie, who I believe to be a fully enlightened being, and whose work has literally kept me alive (check her out on YouTube if you don’t know about her yet).

“I use the tools you teach, Katie,” I told her. “I question all my thoughts. But I can’t get over the sea lion pups. No matter how hard I try, this makes me so sad.”

And Katie said, in the calmest, most untroubled voice imaginable, “Well, sweetheart, why don’t we start by helping the one pup who’s here right now?”

I came unglued, of course. I’d been trying to embody the pain of ten thousand starving mothers and babies, thinking that somehow this might help. (Right. Because that always works.) The pain had closed me up in a “protective” shell of fear and hopelessness. Katie’s words broke the shell. There it was again, that thing that keeps catching me whenever I fall: Infinite love. Grace. Comfort.

I’ll do what little I can to help to the sea lions. And the polar bears. And the pups of every kind, everywhere. And the human beings suffering various forms of misery all over the planet. But to do so, I have to return, over and over again, to the simple act of allowing kindness to touch my own broken heart. When we do this, possibility and healing replace despair and paralysis.

Today I put out water for the animals who are suffering from drought in my own neck of the woods. I encouraged a sad friend. I let myself believe that though we’re always dying, we’re held by something bigger than death. Right now. Always.

Try it. Give love and comfort to the starving pup inside you. Then let the love and comfort guide any action you take. It’s a simple little practice. It might not save the world. But then again, it might.

Photo courtesy of FerrF

7 replies
  1. whitewolf
    whitewolf says:

    I love your message. I just wanted to clarify (ok a bit picky), that the photo is of an elephant seal who also is being impacted by the diminished food sources but it is horrible how the sea lions are dying of starvation. As a rescue worker it is HEARTBREAKING not being able to rescue them all. The rehab centers that care for them is over loaded. They can use support financially and prayers! Thank YOU for all YOU do!! Love and light

    Reply
  2. Marjorie B
    Marjorie B says:

    Dear Martha,
    It is so helpful the way you expressed the thought – Loving Your Inner Pup…
    Appreciate – All the best –
    Marjorie B

    Reply
  3. kdmi
    kdmi says:

    Byron Katie has literally helped keep me awake. I knew there was something in your writings, Martha, that resonated deeply, and it feels like this willingness to do the work, get to the truth, live it & share its’ messages that comes through what you write for the rest of us. I am so grateful for this.

    I spent years as an activist on the front lines where i was arrested, pepper sprayed, and teargassed for standing up for something i deeply believed in (still do). But oh the anger & rage in me, and the feelings of helplessness at effecting the change I wanted. I never looked inward; my whole world was out there. Doing the work (Byron Katie-wise) has helped me turn my activism into an inner quest, and suddenly I find I am able to stand up for me, to have my own back.

    In the movement I was involved in, we often shouted: “Who’s side are you on?” Recently, in watching an old episode of Downton Abbey, Carson, the butler, expresses concern for the housekeeper, Mrs. Hughes, and tells her: “I am on your side.” That made me tear up. I think, after all these years, I am finally on my own side. It feels radical 🙂

    Reply
    • Vikki
      Vikki says:

      kdmi, thank you for your comment and for the courage to look within. I would like to acknowledge you and add that you are changing the world in the most positive way with your inner quest…

      Reply
  4. Mary
    Mary says:

    Thank you Martha, Your words point to my heart and mind and I feel lik I have been hugged by a most loving , caring mother. Thank you for the message I heard mother ourselves so we can in a healthy way mother the planet and all her beings. Much love, Mary

    Reply

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