Thursday, April 9, 2009

The sacred art of bathing a dog....

Today was a beautiful day to bathe the dogs. With Lex, my little pekeapoo, she was scrubbed with bubbles in the laundry sink, but with Ruby, my full figured French Mastiff, she was tied to a post in the side yard, while I use the garden hose to rinse her bubbles. There is something spiritual (for lack of a better word) for me when I bathe dogs.

I love to bathe dogs. When I was in active dog rescue, there was little I loved more than to pick up a filthy, scabby dog and lovingly, gently, and soothingly bath it and watch how it thrived with frequent massages and baths.

I think it is the aspect of touch, massage, and water that brings us in connection with each other.

The early kohanim (priests) had to wash both their hands and their feet prior to entering the temple. Jews still have the ceremonial hand washing, while I understand Christians ceremonially wash feet.
Our authors of ancient wisdom understood that there was something special about the act of washing --- besides being clean, whether it be symbolic or spiritually unifying.

I have two delightful friends, Kevin and Joel, and when I used to hang at their house regularly (they were my neighbors), after dinner we would repair to the family room for foot rubs. At first I resisted. It was difficult to accept a foot rub. I would give one, but I had to learn the art of accepting these precious gifts. And boy am I glad I did. What a way to share touch with another person in a way that is healing for both the toucher and the touchee.

The Japanese understand the ceremonial art of bathing. When was the last time you bathed someone -- slowly, lovingly, tenderly? Think about what a gift this is to loved that person would feel. In this hurry up world of showers, and rushing to get "ready, set, go" -- how divine (small d, I think) it would be to offer your beloved a long, slow, steamy bath. Or even yourself, for that matter.

These gifts, by the way, are free! But are rich in pleasure, human connection, and healing.

I think I will now offer myself the gift of a steamy shower before I go forth into the evening and enjoy a second night seder.

pamper yourself my dear friends, always remember to pamper yourselves.

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