There’s this little metaphorical room that I created as I began to support pet owners through the end-of-life process with their beloved dogs and cats. As I walked the road with them, initially as their pet sitter, and later as an energy healer and trainer, I began to notice similarities in their stories.
The pathways to their animals’ end-of-life circumstances may have differed—some were long and windy; others sudden and unexpected. But pet owners would undoubtedly experience a myriad of emotions leading up to, and following, their animal’s passing. Many of us have already heard of the stages of grief.
However, this journey often begins even before grief, and then overlaps with it, after their animal’s physical life on earth ends. The common thread between all of the owners is not necessarily the emotions that they experience. It's what they need in order to heal and to access a sense of inner peace. They need the no judgment café.
In this special café, there is, you guessed it—no judgment. But what does this mean?
It actually goes beyond refraining from making negative conclusions about yourself (or others) while you are in the cafe. While that is an integral part of it, I want you to take it a step further. Take the energy that would normally have gone into judging yourself or feeling angry/hurt/resentful about X/Y/Z, and do something else with it. Release it.
What, you ask? How? And it can’t really be that simple. Can it?
Actually, releasing yourself from judgment does not have to be a long or complicated process. And it can be done with or without the framework of religion. If you do follow a religion, then the process of releasing falls easily into various concepts of forgiveness or surrendering to a higher power. But it doesn’t have to. Because with or without a religious backdrop, the act and energy of freeing yourself from judgment IS the release of energetic ties. In the Betty Dog children’s books, Betty refers to forgiveness as the “ultimate release,” and that is no different for us adults as it is for children. Forgiveness IS releasing, and it can be done for yourself as well as for others.
First, make the decision to release yourself from heavy and toxic energy that is tying you to the painful situation you are in. The decision itself is the most powerful step in this entire process. It is this intention, this declaration to be free, that creates healing and the peace that you desire. No, it doesn’t take away the pain or grief, but it lightens it and allows you to move through it. Holding onto heavy emotions will only keep you stuck in a place that does not benefit you long-term. It’s important to feel what you feel initially, but emotions are meant to be temporary. They are experienced, give us information, and when released, they guide us to the next step in our journey.
Healing is not just for you. It is for your animal as well. Although your pet may be “terminal” in the physical sense, remember that their soul, or essence, is eternal. The soul can begin healing before its physical release (what we call death) and will continue to heal and process emotions after its release. You can help your animal with this process by freeing yourself from judgment and guilt. When you are in a place of peace, you give permission to your animal to feel peace.
So please, after you have processed your emotions, allow yourself to let them go with gratitude. Free yourself from limitations that you may have had throughout your journey with your animal and from perceived mistakes. Accept that you did the best that you could at the time with what you knew. Allow yourself to have been imperfect, to have made mistakes. Allow for growth. Allow for healing.