The Truth About What's Keeping You Stuck

If what you seek is Truth, there is one thing you must have above all else.”

“I know. An overwhelming passion for it.”

“No. An unremitting readiness to admit you may be wrong.
— Anthony de Mello

Our dog, Anna, has frequently been an inspiration for these blog posts. This time she's really outdone herself.

Anna started getting sick on Friday. She is such a hound dog and very indiscriminate in her tastes. (Someone discovered her in a dumpster when she was only seven weeks old so she comes by it naturally.)

Anyway, we figured it was something she ate and she'd get over it in a day or so. But by Monday, she couldn't keep anything down. A trip to the veterinarian resulted in an overnight stay so they could watch the mysterious mass in her stomach, visible on the X-rays. If it moved or changed then it was probably something she ate.

Tuesday morning, it had not moved. Whatever it was, it was stuck.

The vet recommended an endoscopy to get a closer look, and by this time he was fearful it might be something serious. He even mentioned the C-word. Our other option was surgery, so we transferred her to the emergency clinic for the endoscopy.

Now we had gone from feeling irritated that she had eaten something rotten to feeling anxious and afraid that we were going to lose her altogether. I spent the day trying not to think about it and crying when I did. Anna has been with us for 12 years and the thought of losing her was, well, you know...

So the emergency vet took one look at the X-ray and said, "Hmmm… it looks like a gum ball."


Yup. That's what it was. The kind that falls off a tree, not chewing gum. And it was now a $1700 GUM BALL!

Fortunately, they were able to remove it during the endoscopy, without surgery, and Anna is back at home feeling much better than she did with that thing in her stomach. After three days of fasting, she was starving when she got home and so grateful for the chicken and rice awaiting her. (And she was able to keep it down.)

But dogs are not the only ones who swallow things they shouldn't. People swallow ridiculous things whole all the time. They swallow "gum balls" like:

"I'm not good enough."

"I'm a failure."

"I can never get it right."

"Nobody likes me."

"I'm not lovable."

"I'm ugly."

"I'm stupid."

Etc., etc., etc....  This list could go on for pages but you get the idea.

These "gum balls" get stuck inside you making it hard to take in anything nourishing, like kindness or love or self-acceptance.

Just like with Anna, you need to be able to identify the "gum balls" inside before they can be dealt with. One doctor had said "possible tumor" and the other had said "gum ball." The ability to take a closer look made all the difference. 

When you notice yourself being reactive or frustrated or angry, take a closer look inside. Notice your thoughts. What are you telling yourself? And are you telling yourself the truth? Can you be absolutely sure you're telling yourself the truth? If not, what could you tell yourself that would be closer to the truth?

Often people are afraid to look inside because they believe the lies and they think they will find that something is seriously "wrong" with them. They are afraid they will have to "undergo surgery," or worse, that all is hopeless. But a willingness to become aware, to take a closer look inside, can lead to a wonderful, freeing truth. Gum balls are just gum balls. 

All is well.