In the beginning, my beginning, somewhere in the Balkans, I lived in the Garden of Eden. At least that is how it seemed and felt like through my child eyes. There were fields and forests, a brambling brook, a garden, fruit and nut trees, and my dearest and nearest companions, the animals. My first best friend had four rather short legs, wise eyes, a deep soul, a white fur coat, and a distinguished curly white tail. Others said he was just a dog. I KNEW BETTER THOUGH. He may have looked like a dog, but truly he was more than he appeared to the casual observer. He was my angel, guardian, adventure companion, and my first great teacher. He was Džeki the Great.
Others laughed at his curly tail: saying his tail resembled that of a pig’s tail and that no other dog in these here parts was known to have such a tail. Perhaps in his most previous past life he had been a pig and the tail was a remnant of that journey. He however, reveled in his curly white tail. He however, had many and much more important ideas rolling through his mind and Heart than to spend time concerning himself with the opinions of others. What they thought of him was their business. Their opinion of him was their trouble projected. He was focused on more important things. He was focused on his own sparkle, his own uniqueness, and his next great exploration adventure, of which I had the privilege and joy of being his companion and compatriot. Džeki totally and completely and lovingly accepted himself as he was. It is said that children learn more by observing than by their verbal instruction. My observing and engaging with this angel, who come in the form of a dog named Džeki left a deep and lasting imprint on my psyche and soul.
The other distinguishing characteristic of Džeki was his lifestyle. He had total and complete free reign of his coming and going. He came as it pleased him and he went when it beckoned him. Sometimes the beckonings would keep him away for days. But he eventually always returned. His reappearing always included a warm welcome, lots of love, and a bowl of food. There were inquiries as to where he had been and what he had been up to, but he just kept that all to himself. That was his business, and his business alone. The other dogs in that time and those parts knew not such freedom for they were on a tether tied to a post. They had a collar around their neck. The collar and the chain kept their mobility to a very short radius. In contrast, Džeki had free reign and total freedom to come and go as it pleased his soul. At an impressionable young age, this leadership by example left a deep and lasting imprint on my being and spirit.
Life however, would take me far far far away from these two imprints. Life’s expectations would take me on a path that greatly contrasted these two imprints. But such is the way when one lives in tribes. Tribes have and need structure and a line of command. How else can order be kept in tribes. Tribes offer safety, comfort, and a point of reference for one’s existence. This way of life can give definition to one’s being. This way of life can also suffocate one’s being. But like an elephant never forgets, my soul too never forgot these two imprints. They become my North Star.They reverberated in my veins with every heartbeat, however faint they may have become. But nevertheless, THEY WERE THERE – sometimes barely palpable let alone perceptible. It took Great Grace to get me to wake up, pay attention to and stay focused on these two imprints. It is in the journey of returning, remembering, and becoming these two Gifts that Life offered much support and much contrasting resistance. However, the more I let go of the way of the tribe and embraced the Way of Love, the more Love showed up for me. Love was there all along – even in, especially in, the wandering off from my North Star’s course.
When I asked the elders where Džeki had come from, no one could recall. It just seemed that he just “showed up in the yard” one day. Isn’t that the way of angels.
Eternally grateful, Eternally remembered, Eternally imprinted, Irena As I Am