Thursday, July 02, 2009
Walking Two Dogs
I just had an interesting object lesson a few minutes ago. For years now, I've had Georgie and Edgar. Georgie is an 8-year-old Newfoundland, and Edgar is an almost 14-year-old Bichon. When I take them outside on their leashes, whether we're just going out to the backyard or going for a walk in the neighborhood, they almost never want to go the same direction. Invariably I am pulled in two directions, or trying to compensate for one sniffing or squatting while the other pulls ahead. Always it seems I am the tension point between two desires--Georgie wants to go one direction, and Edgar the other.
Tonight it occurred to me that it's not fun to be that point of tension, trying to manage everyone else's wishes. How do you decide whose desires are more important? Is it more important to drag Edgar along to keep up with George or to hold George back so Edgar can take his sweet time? Either answer produces inner tension because I'm aware that one dog isn't getting what he or she wants. One has to be pushed somehow to meet the other's need. In a peer-to-peer relationship, they might be able to work that out themselves. But as the one trying to coordinate it all, I am responsible, so I have to choose. And I'm never comfortable because I am busy trying to keep it all balanced and as even as possible.
Of course, unseen in this push-me-pull-you dynamic is my own desires, which are probably acting the loudest of all without me noticing. Am I rushing them both because I've got other things I'd rather be doing? Am I letting them have their sniffy doggy moments, finding out which bunny has been in the yard today? What if I directly admitted how I felt about being pushed and pulled this way and just led them in the way I wanted to according to my desires? Wow, there's an interesting thought. And perhaps a key insight into some other puzzles in my past. LOL!
So tonight, seeing now a thousand stars shining in through the open window, I offer you this little flicker of light. The next time you feel torn between two choices, people, events, or priorities, ask yourself about the unspoken third voice that is waiting to be heard. It's the voice of your own desire that will clearly tell you what feels right for you in the moment. Then you have the choice to act on it or not, but at least you won't be unconsciously yanked along at the end of anybody's leash. :)