In October 2006, you came into my life as a tiny little puppy with flopped over ears and a curly-q tail. You showed me so many traits of myself by being those things yourself. You mirrored to me so many things that I am. As a result, in loving and caring for you, I learned to love and care for myself.
Your name means surrender. A Sanskrit scholar recently informed me that Sukha also means happiness. You brought me both, surrender and happiness. And now, as I surrender to your death, I realize that you taught me how to surrender to happiness. Before I met you, I was stubborn in my belief that "life is hard" and "shit just sucks sometimes." So you waited. You waited very patiently for me to learn, as I said your name over and over and over again for over 14 years. I repeated the mantra of surrender to happiness without even fully knowing what I was saying to myself as I spoke your name.
Dear Sukha, I get it now. Surrender is Happiness.
I liked to dig in my heels and do things the hard way because I didn't want anyone else showing me how. I had to figure it out for myself. You dug in your heels, deeper, and waited. Somehow you managed to shift your center of gravity when you happened upon something really important to stop and smell and experience that your 25-pound body stopped my 125-pounds of intention dead in my tracks. You taught me to stop, breathe, and be mindful.
You slowed me down to a pace where I could notice and be mindful of all the things I would otherwise miss about life.
You meandered, you wandered, you criss-crossed and fluidly flowed through paths and curves and twists and turns of your journey until I surrendered, and then we found a journey that neither one of us could have mapped for ourselves.
You walked me. You walked me every day through so many places I never would have thought to go myself.
You waited patiently with me in the dark and scary places until we found the light. You knew, there is always a light. The sun always, always eventually rises.
You helped me feel safe because I can trust myself, because you trusted me.
You let me hold you, even when you didn't want to be snuggled. Showing me that I didn't want to be held, but I needed it anyway.
Like me, you didn't really understand that concept of play, and you were too stubborn and very good at digging in your heels to do things very seriously your way.
You picked at your food, refusing to eat when the mood wasn't just right. Showing me that atmosphere and company and intention matter as much to the gut as nutrition.
You sat at the table with me, with the most proper manners, and showed me that every meal is better when shared with someone you love.
Whenever I was hurting, you would place yourself nearby. You'd just hold space, being in my space, but not ON my space. You held me without holding me, showing me that I can really hold my own.
You taught me boundaries. You knew how to lean-in to what felt good and right and true, and how to walk-away from what felt off and wrong and false. And when something or someone chased you after you walked-away, you even snarled, or growled or snapped. You showed me how to defend myself, protect myself, and stand-up for myself.
You soothed me, not just with your presence, but with your breath. Your steady puppy purrs not only calmed me, but taught me how to breathe softly for myself.
You took away my hunger and a really bad case of the hangries. Your voracious appetite for anything meat woke me up out of a six-year vegetarian stupor with a good steak. After sharing that steak with you, bite for bite, I'll never go back to vegan again. But it wasn't just meat. It was the MEAT OF LIFE. You taught me to EAT the MEAT of LIFE!
You survived lyme disease, and lepto, and a week in the hospital with IV fluids and a feeding tube down your nose. You survived attacks from other dogs, multiple times. And each time, just shook off the trauma and went about your life like it never happened. You showed me resilience. I am resilient.
When I look back at all the things you showed me, all the things you taught me, I realize that you are now in me. You can never die, because you live inside me. I have surrendered to you. To your Love. To the Happiness inside that Love.
Your love for me IS my love for myself.
My love for you IS my love for myself.
Love is Love.
You are Love.
I am Love.
Love is all there is.