What are we learning?

Living with a 165# dog who sees with his heart is a bit of a challenge sometimes.

Luther, as you may have heard, has been expanding his perceived parts of the house lately. I’m delighted. Mostly.

The fact that he and Phoebe spend a lot of time camped on the rubber mat in what serves as our family room can be a navigational challenge, especially on less than optimal orthopedic days, even though I just love having them there.

He’s really good at the door they use to get out back and he knows exactly where his placemat is for the canine fine dining experience. (I’ll spare you the details!)

Last night, though, he went on an adventure. I could hear him wandering and tried our usual strategy in which I call his name and tap on a piece of furniture to give him something to follow.

Somehow, though, we weren’t making much progress.

Finally, I went hunting.

He was all the way down the hall at the door to our room, doing his tap dance thing and wagging his tail.

That was quite the adventure for him!

As it was a couple of hours or so before anyone was likely to go to bed, I called him to come back down the hall with me.

He stayed put, wagging.

Being a huge believer in choice and opportunities to learn, I rubbed his ears and left him to explore.

Not too much later, I heard him making his way back up the hall.

Step. Step. Sniff. Step. Step. Bump wall.

He was working it out!

I added in some voice cues and a bit of chair tapping.

Eventually, he was safely back on the rug, curled up with Phoebe, while The West Wing played on.

As many of you know, I’m convinced that context is a critical factor in making meaning out of things.

Earlier in the day I had chatted with a friend who just had her second vax and was doing quite well.

Before that, I had checked out CNN‘s assertions that having the vax was, indeed, important, followed, before too long, by some conversation about conservative, evangelical pastors loudly taking the other side of the issue.

It occurred to me, after considerable watching and listening and pondering context, that we’re all a lot like Luther in this moment. A world full of things we’ve never experienced before. No real certainty about the path from here to there. Sometimes, even, the sense that we’re feeling our way along on our own.

In some ways, the world is always like that. These days, though, most of us are a lot more aware of not knowing.

Our children may be even harder to teach than my enormous, blind dog.

Here’s where I think we start:

  • It’s okay to feel what we feel.
  • We get to choose what to do with our feelings.
  • Not everybody will feel like we feel.
  • That’s okay.
  • There are lots of things to do with our feelings that don’t hurt us or others. (Art, music, tears… you’ll know.)
  • What we feel now won’t last forever. And, we get to learn from it.
  • When we feel scared or mad or sad, it helps us understand others.

When I think about how brave and wise Luther is, even with all he’s been through, it inspires me. And makes me want to help others.

Which, if we try really hard and listen with our hearts, may turn out to be what we all learn most in this moment. That, and new skills for finding our way.

ps… Spring has sprung in our garden!

pps… There’s still time to get in on the postcard party Tuesday evening! Live music and (me) painting. Just click here for all the info. We need all the Good Trouble we can get and you KNOW you want to help change the world!

Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach