The Gift From Gus. The Place of Love and Forgiveness

There’s a place inside of me that is wiser than my brain and more loving than my heart.

It’s at the bottom of my belly, in my gut.  It’s as expansive as the Universe.  It’s my place of knowing.  When I go there it’s like I’m  looking at the earth from outer space.  It’s a big picture perspective that allows me to see the truth.

I know this now, because I went there when we were thinking of euthanizing Gus.

It was from this place that clarity came to me.

The weekend before Gus died, I couldn’t stop crying.  Jon and I were talking about when it would be best to euthanize him.  From one moment to the next I would be certain it was the right thing to do sooner rather than later, then I would doubt myself.

And my heart just ached at the thought of it.

It was Sunday night when I realized I had lost my spirituality when it came to  Gus and what was best for him.

So I sat down to meditate and when I did, I could see that I was stuck in my head and in my heart.

So I dropped down, into my gut.  With that,  came a calm.  My mind was finally quiet and my heart felt as if it was respectfully waiting for me to return.

From that place deep inside of my belly I could see Gus from a great distance.  Not from the narrow view of my own existence.  I could see him as his own being, on his own journey.  Intertwined with mine only in that I was a part of it.

From that place I could see clearly that my role in Gus’ life was not just to love him selfishly, but to love him unconditionally.  Which meant, me getting out of the way and  doing what was best for him.

In that place, I had no doubts.  Gus was suffering and needed me and Jon to help him die.

There is a Hindu story about Krishna when he was a boy.  His mother looked in his mouth and saw the whole universe inside of him.

That’s what it feels like I when I drop down to that place deep in my belly.  It feels like the whole universe is inside of me.

There, the chatter of my mind is silenced.   In that place I feel a different kind of love than I feel in my heart.  It’s an unconditional love. There’s no need or desire. No aching pain.   There’s understanding and empathy.  It’s a detached kind of love.  An expanded, all encompassing love.

And it’s from this place, from this kind of love, that forgiveness comes from.

I could never grasp the idea of forgiveness.  I would hear people tell stories about parents, siblings  or spouses who were abusive to them and they were able to forgive them.  Even to say they loved them.

When I’m in my brain and in my heart, this idea is anathema to me.  My whole being protests.

But when I drop down, in the universe of my belly, I can finally forgive.   This is the place where forgiving comes from.

I can’t live there all the time.  I don’t even think I’d want to. But now I know it exists inside of me.  And I can go there when I need to.  When I need clarity and knowing.  When I’m looking for forgiveness.

I found that place, of unconditional love and forgiveness inside of me,  because of Gus.  Like Dorothy’s ruby slippers, it was there all along, but it was Gus and his disease that led me to it.






13 thoughts on “The Gift From Gus. The Place of Love and Forgiveness

  1. The universe of my belly. That is a wonderful phrase. All the loving, nurturing, fecund, instinctive, creative good in the universe. How wise. We can go there and nurture and comfort ourselves when we need to make wise, caring decisions. I am glad you returned to this place.

  2. A beautiful and inspiring piece. And the most precious photo of Gus I have seen. Thank you for your honest writing.

  3. Through my tears thank you for that. Your love for that little creature Gus is undeniable, and your dilemma so difficult. He could not have asked for a better, more loving caretaker.

  4. The sacred space that makes us human and divine…so aptly expressed.

    Your writing is a poignant reminder that core is always there for us, thank you Maria.

  5. That first sentence…such wisdom there.
    One of the hardest things in life is knowing when and how to let go. I am so sorry for you and Jon, Maria, because there was so much joy in Gus and what he brought to the spirit of Bedlam Farm and the essential spirit of the work you and Jon do. But, it is in that spirit, I think, that you also had to let him go. I don’t believe in god, but I do believe that each of us is here to do work that is bigger than who we are (or who we think we are) – whether we are human or some other species capable (as animals often are) of what we think of as “humanity”. I love your concept of what forgiveness might be, and also the idea of unconditional love. It’s children and animals who lead us in the most sure-footed way towards both, I believe. I am sorry that you are grieving…Gus was a beautiful spirit, and I’m sure that your joyful memories of his presence in your life will bring you comfort in your grief.

  6. So beautiful and so true. You have put into words things that I know in my deep parts but struggle with at times. Being truthful without having to defend yourself must be difficult at times. You and Jon both teach me that often. Thank you and Blessings on your family for loving Gus the way you do.


  7. I’m so sorry for the loss of your Gus, though I agree that the gut is a magical place of clear intuition. Blessings to you both.

  8. Dear Maria, Thank you for this insight on the revelation that can come from our “gut”, which is different than either our heart or our head. Both Old and New Testaments call that place of revelation and inspiration “Belly” and say “Rivers of Living Water flow from your Belly”. I think your art often flows as Rivers of Living Water from your Belly, also. Your art is more than your head and your heart. It comes from a deep place. My Head, my Heart and my Belly all grieve with you; and anticipate the good to come for you. Annie

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