My Snow Angel

The drifts around our house can be weird. Thanks to the garden and the dogs we have two dog gates, four exit/enter the house doors and paths to match. The wind during this storm has gone around making bare spots as well as wonderful shapes many feet tall. My snow angel Paula was making the complicated patterns outside my studio into navigable paths. Thank you, Paula!!!

We all go back and forth to my studio a lot these days. Eli is there. He is the sweetest cat and loving, warm and playful – with a couple of our cats and dogs. But in the aggregate they are too much for him. I go into my studio, open the door, he hops out, follows me to the house, plays around then after a bit he goes to the door and asks for some more alone time. He is a fun, playful, sweet boy. A wonderful presence and we hope to find him a home less complex than ours.

Authenticity 101

While walking the dogs and finding some birds in the field flying from stalk to stalk, seeming to tease and flutter, hover above the field, I realized – not for the first time – that I am the only one here with a choice to be authentic.

Say what you will about free will, choice is a sticky wicket. When our dog Guinnie follows a scent and pulls me along or Cho runs off – with Guinnie looking after him with such longing – they are following a path ordained by their breed. They don’t fetch, they do run, they don’t do tricks, they do act dignified and break open our hearts. And that is our endowment of them. They are who they are. They are always doing their best. Even at his worst, Cho does his best. He trees the cat, that’s his best. He runs the deer. That’s his best.

And the birds, if they are beginning to nest, if they are not, they are doing their best. All the animal Beings who surround me are at their best. The consequences of their actions are no less or more, their mistakes are forgiven or radically alter their lives just as ours do. They just have less choice.

In my practice of Insight Coaching choice comes often as a shock to some. Authenticity is a goal. It can be a value. A place to rest if we are feeling brave. It can be hard to take a path that is authentic to us but not recognized as either valuable or necessary to those around us. We do not share the birds’ drive and it can be painful to follow our “bliss.”

I am not going to capitalize the word bliss, it is often mis-represented. It is not what makes us feel good, it is what makes us feel valid, necessary, whole. It does not always look like a good idea. A client who is a photographer, who is living his dream spoke of his mother mentioning an opening for nurses training in his area. He does not look like a successful nester to her. Nor did he to his first wife. Lucky for him his second wife is fine with what he does.

Because we make choices, because they are available to us, we can be fearful and doubtful. I find in my practice it is often hard for clients to ask for help or receive it.  The truth of our actions lies in our hearts, our values and our goals. Acting from fear or sadness or lack can lead us far from our hearts’ desires. When we know who we are, what we want and how to get there success is assured. It’s just that ol’ wicket that gets mucked up unless we are clear in our intentions.

Persistence – 2

A dog will persistently work on a bone or toy until they get what they want. They do not easily give up when faced with a challenge.  In our lives, we need to have the same approach.  We need to be persistent in making ourselves the best versions we can be. Life is about being present and letting things unfold in their own way and time.

Giving up is one of the fundamentally easiest things humans do in their lives.  We constantly face challenges, from remedial daily tasks to larger life changing decisions and obstacles.  Our approach to each one can drastically change the outcome, for better or worse.  You can have a positive attitude and the will to get something done, no matter what. A negative attitude leads to giving up, moving on or not facing the challenge head on, far too often accompanied with excuses.

In my work talking to dogs I know they never give up, not on us, not on themselves. I have never heard a moment of self pity, a second of “I’m not up to it.” They run looking ahead, making choices of where to go and what to do with their eyes open. I have yet to see a dog looking so much at what’s around them, their “situation” that they lost hope or courage for their next step.*

*abuse always changes a nature – ours and theirs.