Who can forget Argos.
The deep, rich story of the relationship between Argos and Odysseus that has touched and challenged my heart, and the hearts of so many.
Argos was Odysseus’ beloved dog a creature of such grace, speed and magnificence, the gods themselves were envious.
The story is that Homer’s heroic figure was struggling homeward after the horrific wars with Troy.
Ten years of brutal fighting were followed by ten more long years of struggling to get back home to Ithaca to be reunited with his faithful wife, Penelope, who was beset by unwanted suitors.
After passing through the legendary dangers and temptations, Homer writes so stirringly about, Odysseus, who makes it home, in disguise, so he can surprise the suitors, unrecognized, and dispatch the greedy lot of them to the netherworld.
But lying forlorn on top of a flea infested dung and trash heap outside Odysseus’ home, is his once noble and beautiful dog, Argos.
Abused, neglected and dying, he suddenly picks up his ears, eyes momentarily bright, and struggles to his feet at the sight of his long-lost, beloved master.
Hobbling in pain, he manages to greet the disguised Odysseus.
Home at last. Reunited.
But Odysseus hesitates, and then walks past Argos, although he aches to hold his faithful animal companion.
His heart breaks, but to kneel down and hold the dog, to talk sweetly to him, would give Odysseus away to his enemies.
Homer says that this battle-hardened warrior wept as he walked away from Argos, who then lay down and died, never having felt his master’s touch.
What’s the power of this story?
Is it the heartbreak? The empathy? Do we feel pity? Anger? Love?
What’s fascinating to me (especially as a professional relationship coach) is that not a word passed between Argos and Odysseus. They hadn’t spoken for twenty long years. But, I think they had communicated, telepathically, over time and distance. In that final moment, clearly the depth of feelings between the two of them were exchanged.
They understood everything between each other.
Both longed for touch and recognition.
It’s important to remember that when we are caught up in verbal discussions, arguments and analyses with those we care for and love.
If you find yourself disguising hurt, your yearning for touch or recognition, think about how you can move from mindfulness to heartfullnes:
- Responses of the heart are non-verbal
- The heart knows things the mind never will
- Hurt is seldom healed by talk. It can be healed by “heartfulness,” not “mindfulness.”
- Touch is an expression of the heart. So is recognition. The act of being seen is priceless.
Even Argos knew that!
If you enjoyed this message, please read a recent post about how to listen to your own heart’s message while being aware that your loved one’s heart may be experiencing messages of their own.
For additional reading on relationships, loss and confronting hurt, please read these selected posts: