Paying Attention!

One of the eternal truths of counseling, especially the sorts that involve couples, is that communication requires both sending and receiving messages.

I was pondering this the other day when Luther, one of our Newfie rescue dogs, was sending loud messages, as is his habit. When he first came to us, about two and half years ago, Luther wasn’t much for communication. In fact, his only response to virtually anything was an attempt to disappear into the floor.

I’m delighted that he is finding his voice. I’m less delighted that his particular voice is very loud and sharp. It reminds me of a radio station Bill used to like. It felt to me like nearly every other song they played was in some key that reminded me of nails on a chalkboard. And Luther doesn’t seem to be equipped with a wait button.

Thus, he barks, usually when he wants in or out the door. Receiving the message loud and clear, I respond, “I hear you!” and begin the process of liberating myself from wherever I’m sitting or whatever I’m doing to see what he needs.

I’ll freely admit that Luther’s messages probably feel somewhat more urgent to me than they might if he weren’t blind. I’m always concerned that he’s stuck someplace, or lost, which still happens sometimes.

Usually, though, he’s just impatient to get to wherever he wants to be next.

Recently, I’ve been receiving some similar messages from a muscle gone rogue in my right calf. Messages that remind me a bit of a conversation with the dogs.

Sit! Now! Owww!!! Stay! Down! 

A week or so ago, I got some help from my friend and mentor, Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, known to many of you as the magical author and artist, SARK. She sent out an email, sharing about her recovery process from broken ankle. “Unlikely” as this seems, Susan was apparently trying to rush the healing!

Then she recalled some words of wisdom from a physical therapist who said something along the lines of the ligaments and tendons that were injured in the fracture are still healing and when you push them too fast they send “shut down” messages to your brain.

That sounds familiar! In fact, it sounds so familiar that I actually decided to pay attention and took Saturday off. Well, mostly.

It turns out that it is possible to knit prayer shawls while sitting with feet up and a good cup of tea. So, that’s pretty much what I did.

A set of size 11 circular needles and self-striping yarn. Around and around and around. Rainbows of hope.

Hope for me and my healing. Hope for my family. Hope for the ones who will eventually receive these particular shawls. Hope for the world.

That last one takes a bit of repetition for me. But, if you’re going to take a day off, it’s not a bad way to spend some time. And if, by chance, you don’t knit, prayer dots or blowing on dandelion fluffs or some time spent gazing at the spectacular moon will all work, too.

I suspect most of us could use all the hope we can get!

And, if you do knit, check with faith communities in your area to see who might need prayer shawls. These are headed for Shallowford Presbyterian Church, here in Atlanta.

ps… Here’s a sneak peak from my new painting, Blossom and Aria, complete with dandelions filled with hope! You can find more of my work at Sue’s Shop


2 comments on “Paying Attention!”

  1. Thank you. When we try to rush our healing (or personal or spiritual growth) or our child or anything, it might just shut down as a defense mechanism or a way to self protect. “The body doesn’t lie. Listen to the body.” is a message we get that rings true. Thank you for sharing your story.

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Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity® Color of Woman Teacher

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