Posted on Sep 23, 2016
Those of you who read my book, My Gentle Barn, know how connected I was to my first cow, Buddha. She was more like a mom to me than she ever was a rescued animal. She was my witness when I cried, she gave the warmest hugs, she helped me with every group of children we hosted, and she helped me remember who I am. Those who believe in reincarnation say that Dudley is my beloved Buddha returned. Those that don't, say that God loves me so much that he brought me another cow exactly like Buddha for me to love. All I know for sure is that I feel like I'm with Buddha, when I'm with Dudley. Dudley has the exact same sense of humor and curiosity. He has the same intense intelligence. He wraps his neck around me to hug me exactly like Buddha. When Dudley sees his guests coming when we're open to the public, he lies down, closes his eyes, holds completely still, and gives everything he has to his fans, just like Buddha.
When Dudley went into surgery this week I was a nervous wreck, fearing the worst. We have had some unexpected losses in the last few weeks so my mind went straight to fear. I knew that the procedure was easy enough but I worried about the risk of losing him under anesthesia. I kept saying in my mind, " I'm not strong enough to lose you, please don't leave me!" I had to get a grip, I was in so much fear I could barely breathe. So, I closed my eyes and took three deep breaths. Then… I sat still to see if any wisdom would find me. I heard these words, "there is nothing to fear. Open yourself up.” I opened my eyes and realized that sure enough I was all hunched over. My shoulders were rounded forward, my head was tilted downward, and my breath was shallow and uneven. "Open yourself up.” I raised my head up and looked forward. I put my shoulders back and opened up my chest. I breathed deeply. Then, with much effort because it wasn't easy, I forced myself to focus on Dudley's repaired leg, back in his prosthesis, playing with his bovine family at home out in pasture. Every time my mind wandered back to fear I would straighten my posture and bring my thoughts right back to a repaired residual limb and successful surgery.
Before I knew it, the surgeon came out and said that the surgery was a success, all the bone spurs were removed, and Dudley would be fine. I felt so relieved that I could not stop crying happy tears. Even going into surgery Dudley/Buddha is still teaching me important lessons. I learned that when we open ourselves up to life, life rushes into meet us, support us, and bring magic to us. Half the battle is the one raging in our minds - the fear, doubt, and pain that runs rampant in our thoughts. Controlling our thoughts is sometimes all we have to do to find happiness.
When Dudley woke up from anesthesia I couldn't stop kissing and hugging him and thanking him for not leaving me. Thanking him for staying with me, with all of us! We all still need him, so much!
The Gentle Barn