I met and walked a three-legged dog named Duke with a friend a few evenings ago. He is a cool “dude.” He had lost a leg that had to be amputated a year ago. He would move by skipping forward with short hops. I was amazed by him. Despite the loss and challenge in walking, he seemed completely immersed in experiencing the environment. He would sniff an area of grass or bushes as if getting high on it, saunter off to a new area nearby and then repeat this two-step process. And periodically, he’d roll around on the grass. He seemed happy and I wondered if the loss of his leg ever registered in his mind.
Duke reminded me of the expression “Heijoushin” (平常心) which means an “always calm mind” [Yaegaki-kai Heijoshin] [Kendo-guide Heijoshin] or “normal mind” [BudoBum_Heijoshin]. A very important concept no matter what the situation according to many teachers. He seemed to be a living example of Heijoushin. Having that calm mindset when and when not experiencing life’s challenges and tough circumstances. He apparently walked right away after the surgery and the loss of his leg. What a trooper!
How many individuals could have such a mindset given a similar loss or tragedy? I doubt if I could. Yet there are those who somehow managed to. They include Bethany Hamilton who lost her arm in a shark attack while surfing, Joni Earckson Tada and Brian Sternberg who sustained neck injuries and lost the use of their legs and arms as detailed in [Yancey_Hurts]. Their stories, Duke’s and those of many others help put my life and the adversities into perspective.
A “Thank you” to my friend for sending me the pictures to post in this article and for the opportunity to walk with Duke. 🙂
May all be well with you!
[Yancey_Hurts] Phillip Yancey, Where is God When It Hurts, Zondervan Publishing, 1997.
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