Wednesday, November 28, 2012

On the outside ...

Have you ever felt disconnected, present as part of a group or activity, but not really of the group? I feel like it happens to me a lot; it's as though different languages are being spoken - I am in the room, talking and listening, but not really communicating.

Thanksgiving evening, it occurred to me that nonhuman animals must often feel the same way. We speak, gesture, move in many contexts and so do our animals. But are we fully communicating? I think the answer - most often - is "no."

Just think how our animals must feel so very often - speaking and gesturing but not being completely understood. Haven't we all felt that way, at least once or twice?

This was a revelation for me and, honestly, it gives me a whole new perspective when communicating. Far too often I am in a crowd yet feel alone and not understood (no pity party, just fact). Our companion animals must feel the same way so often. In my opinion, the breakdown is on the human side of the equation much of the time.

What should we do - with one another and with all creatures?

I believe the key is - yet again - in slowing the pace. Sometimes our agenda has to be shelved in favor of watching, of listening, of being present.

We must
Paws (pause)  ... and Listen
                      ... and Watch
                      ... and Consider
                      ... and Learn

Hollis Haven's Brodrick (Brody) was my teacher for nine years. He left on August 13, 2010, far too soon. But I carry his lessons in my heart every day. I know that I didn't slow down enough to truly hear him, and for that I will always be sorry.

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