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My sweet rescue dog is haunted by her old life.

Literally.

She has frequent and terrible nightmares.

My other dogs had active dreams. The feet run, the jaws twitch excitedly; classic chasing-the-bunny dreams.

This is different. Grace trembles and shakes. She snarls and pulls her lips back to bare her teeth. She barks and cries out. It’s heartbreaking to watch and we wake her gently, calling her new name and bringing her back to her new life.

As someone who suffers from nightmares that send me running screaming out of my bedroom, I can relate.

We all have things in our lives that our subconscious stubbornly clings to. We can think we are fully immersed in our new reality but often, something from the Bad Old Days remains. Whether it’s as common as the frantic feeling of being lost and late to class or something deeper and more painful, our dreams love to delve back into those memories. Wound, open. Salt, everywhere.

We are all wounded, by something.

That’s why we need to do the hard work of acknowledging the past for all it’s joys and disappointments and let it go. Accepting our lessons and grieving the losses. Forgiving and moving on.

Everything that has ever happened to Grace – or to me, or to you – has gone into the wonderful concoction that makes a unique soul. When we can thank these experiences for what they brought, both good and bad, we can heal and begin to trust the moment we are in.

Because this moment is exactly as it should be, just like all the others before it.

We can all get there, with some time and patience. Grace, too.

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