When you try to silence someone, why do you do it? So you can be heard and shut them up? Because you know you’re better? It’s called oppression in the larger social context.
Social issues like racism, oppression, poverty, sexism, and poor health care result from social injustices. Social justice alleviates many of the negative impacts of these and other injustices.
Some would and should, I hope, ask how to engage in and effect social justice. While challenging and difficult in practice, the answer is simple. Ensure those “certain unalienable rights” for all, and I mean all, without favoritism, without prejudice, and without the negative influences of Ego.
Those who have suffered oppression in the past should have first consideration. Women, Indigenous People, African Americans, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, and others have been discriminated and legislated against, along with Nature and the environment. Oppression and denial of rights at the plea of the economy, wealth, jobs, or any inconvenience should never happen.
The following is the first actual chapter from my second book, Superhero You! and Society. Yes, it’s long, but I want to give it in complete chapters.
(All following Dr. King quotes are from http://okra.stanford.edu/transcription/document_images/undecided/630416-019.pdf.)
Chapter 1 — The Issues at Hand
Voice is an interesting aspect of life. When those with power, control, and wealth silence those unlike them, oppression occurs, voice is lost, and freedom for all is a meaningless, empty, pathetic phrase.
Voice can be expressed from the energy of two sources with which we come equipped. One is ego and the other is heart. Ego betrays our highest Self, the Self which I call heart, but ego does not do so on purpose; it’s simply how we are made, what we come equipped with, and how ego functions. Ego forces conformity and then, ironically, isolates us from sharing heart with one another. We need the operating system of ego to begin with, but at some point we awaken and choose heart to be our primary operating system, the dominant energy that will drive and influence our thoughts, emotions, actions, and reactions. This is a daily, almost moment to moment, choice.
Somewhere deep within each human being, we know we have a “birthright of freedom” (King 12). This knowledge emanates from heart, from the identification with and reality of our innate divinity. Eternal heart within us cannot be bound and gagged without revolt, neither by our own ego nor that of others.
When our heart discovers mortal, ego-energized limits and oppressions have been erected to corral all of our divine nobility and our unlimited possibilities, heart whispers, “Justice.” To remain silent is to silence Spirit within. This is not possible for long without soul-draining, humanity-degrading consequences manifesting in both personal life and society.
Furthermore, any who personally deny injustices out of ego-fear or comfort or a desire to maintain the status quo are lying to themselves; they silence their own inner voice and highest self. They oppress themselves and, thereby, reinforce and add energy to those who design the enslavement and oppression to begin with. Society should expect that some will rise up to shed light on the darkness of oppression, and that illumination may take myriad forms.
The form employed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of nonviolent protest and civil disobedience. He details that in his 1963 “Letter from the Birmingham City Jail,” where he was being held for parading without a permit, which he addresses in the letter. The reality was he and those following him marched in nonviolent protest in order to continue exposing the bigotry, hatred, inequality, and continuing societal, legal, and spiritual enslavement of African Americans.
Dr. King and the others shining light into the darkness marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and this earned him his stay in jail. Those civil authorities, who showed themselves as egotistic fools, had no idea of the energy that they unleashed when they made this move of using a perfectly fine law for its unintended and illegal purpose. This leads me to ask what bridge am I willing to cross, and how will I respond to the consequences?
If I or my fellow mortal souls suffer oppression, especially close at hand, “to sit still would be a sin” (Shankman Hairspray). Some may march. Some display signs, sit-in at lunch counters, or make their presence and cause known in a multiplicity of ways. For me, this book is part of my response.
Photo by Michelle Bonkosky on UnsplashIn my past, I have been guilty of evaluating the actions of others based on my thought frameworks. Paradigms of reasoning are different for most minority subcultures. It is not an easy idea for someone from the predominant, ruling majority — the rule-makers, lawmakers, standard setters — to think outside of that privileged, often sickening little box. What do I mean? Neither I nor any other white male has the right to judge the way others respond to oppression, yet I think some ways are better than others, such as heart ways of love, light, and compassion.
As recently as 2017, this was starkly seen in St. Louis, Missouri, where I live. Peaceful protests were being conducted in response to the murder of a young African American man, Anthony Lamar Smith, by a police officer who was acquitted of the murder. The merits of the case aren’t in my scope here, but the demands and dictates that protestors must march within certain boundaries or be arrested echoes the exact spirit of the times in which I spent my teen years, the era of Dr. King. The rule makers determine the scope and nature of protests, which invalidates the point of the protest.
Whites, and I heard acquaintances and many others make this case, said there is a right way and a wrong way to protest. They wanted to define the right way based on protecting, on a mostly subconscious level, their power position. They believe that oppressed people should think like them and respond like them. Such reasoning nullifies the protest, silences the voices crying for freedom, and kills opportunity for true justice — just as was done in Birmingham: “Do this right, Dr. King, and get a parade permit so we can tell you exactly where you can go. It’s for the common good, the public safety, after all.”
I hear such undertones and know that is the exact intent: to silence and negate the voices calling for equality, liberty, and justice for ALL people. The paradigm is something like this: “We have the right way, the best way, for us, of course. But don’t worry, we will take care of you. We feed the slaves, don’t we? And you Indians, didn’t we give you great places to live and provide subsidies for you?” Yes, and kept as many as possible voiceless, oppressed, and embittered.
We need to come to a table of fellowship and hear and understand the different ways of thinking about freedom, about law enforcement, about justice, about life. These are the exact sorts of issues that Dr. King addresses in his “Letter from the Birmingham City Jail” (King).
Black History and White Me! The Heart of Dr. Martin Luther King
The words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., contain his essence and energy, energy which allows me to feel that kindred fellowship of the heart.
Let me make this clear now, and I will not mention it again. I am a white male, definitely a privileged category of human being in the United States of America. I do not deserve such privilege — privilege that comes through no merit and is imbued at the expense, harm, or denigration of other cultures or subcultures — nor do I believe anyone deserves such. To this end, I will address Dr. King’s work and sit down at “the table of brotherhood” he refers to in his great “I Have a Dream” speech.
Photo by Micheile Henderson @micheile010 // Visual Stories [nl] on UnsplashI will add that right now I can only encourage you to read Dr. King’s letter. If you do, then you will have a fuller sense of the purpose of Dr. King and deeper insight into the energy that motivated him. I would recommend you read the letter from the following website, because it is a photocopy of the actual one. There’s something about seeing it the way he typed it. I love it: http://okra.stanford.edu/transcription/document_images/undecided/630416-019.pdf . This letter is as relevant today as in 1963, not to mention that it holds the same transformative possibilities.
In the heading, Dr. King addresses seven white clergymen. I looked up short biographical entries about each of them, but I’m not presenting a history lesson here. What I will say is at one point in my life, my name could have been lumped with theirs. For a couple years, I did serve in a more formal pastoral capacity, and informally for many more. Even then, I cared about justice and inequality, but it was in a narrow, conservative, and constrictive way, a way that benefitted me. I didn’t do this purposefully but rather on a subconscious level that stank of self-righteousness. However, I know this has been part of my evolution in awakening. I am too old to be naive enough to believe I have arrived. Never will. Neither will anyone else.
Having said this, I wonder how many people realize their definition of justice, law, and appropriate civil and social behavior have been dictated to them by the holders of power and assumers of superiority. I have not always considered who sets the definitions.
The clergymen addressed by Dr. King had written a letter published publicly. Why did these seven men write an open letter that urged whites and African Americans in their congregations and the public at large to disassociate themselves from King as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and his efforts in nonviolent, public demonstrations? They had reasons that sounded rational, but they were only rationales of ego: “We appeal to both our white and Negro citizenry to observe the principles of law and order and common sense” (http://www.massresistance.org/docs/gen/09a/mlk_day/statement.html) . Doesn’t that sound solid, right, wise, and the best course of action for all involved? It was pure ego.
Why is that ego? Because their definition of “law and order” was based on rules intended to keep others enslaved, imprisoned, and inconsequential so that the protests, the demonstrations, would not develop into reform or revolution, which may threaten or shake their undisturbed, unmolested positions of superiority. “Our way is the best way. It makes sense when you look at it from our point of view. We don’t want those not like us to have the same privileges and advantages.” Such possible words, even on a subconscious level, represent the underlying ego tones of superiority and desire to isolate and elevate themselves.
In later years, a number of these seven clergymen did, indeed, take bolder stands against racial prejudice and injustice. In fact, Bishop C.C.J. Carpenter would not give his approval to start a new school unless it was integrated, and that was nine years before Birmingham. Why, then, would he sign such a letter as he did in 1963? He still wanted to define, along with the others, their power base and to ensure it would remain intact; they wanted to control by being the benevolent rulers of justice.
They, and many, many people today, do not understand that at a subconscious, ego level they believe that if they dictate the terms of law, order, and justice, then they could judge if others’ behaviors were acceptable or not. This would guarantee their privilege. Their “common sense” was only sense for the white power base, never for minorities, in general.
In any case, Dr. King addresses them as “My dear Fellow Clergymen.” He radiates respect and sincerity in showing he considers them as one with himself. Then, as he launches into the body of his letter, he acknowledges he is under constant criticism every day. Why was that so, and why is that so today for those seeking civil and social justice? People criticize when they feel threatened, and when that’s the case, rational-sounding assaults — think about the arguments a large faction is currently spouting about immigrants — can alleviate their fears by tearing others down.
Dr. King recognizes the fears of these clergymen and attempts to set their fears at ease by using the words from their own letter to analyze the situation in Birmingham; he does so with logic and love. His laser-sharp focus in the face of fear and pressure from those who should have been sympathetic keeps him from distraction or caving in to ego demands.
In fact, he takes the time to show them that he isn’t only going to present his arguments, but he is considering their emotional state: “But since I feel that you are men of genuine goodwill and your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I would like to answer your statement in patient and reasonable terms” (King 1). His loving patience reveals his Heart-energy and drives him on in exposing darkness by shedding light; he shows he values them enough to do so.
Certainly, this principle would be effective in today’s climate in America where questions of equality, justice, and civil rights continue to demonstrate that the underlying ego-drive continues, and the only safeguard to the rights of people to live in heart-truth resides in heart-driven legislation, administration, and justice in all branches of the government. This comes first, before jobs, economy, or any other foolish priorities over the freedom and justice due all.
Awakening to heart and choosing heart as the primary operating system would help to engender and ensure justice, equality, and freedom for all and truly promote the common good. Spiritual awakening — I do not mean religious conversion — opens our eyes to see and protect those natural rights of all humanity, not just United States citizens. Nothing less will do for the future of us all.
Dr. King tells these men from a logic position that he was in Birmingham “…because we were invited here…because I have basic organizational ties here” (King 1, 2). He begins here with the connections of all of us that can neither be denied rationally nor spiritually. Do we see such truth about our relationships to one another and all others? No hope for progress exists without that basic knowledge: Know self and know how that self relates to others.
In this final of three articles, the first two being “Write to Make Readers Drool: Stock the Pantry” and “Tantalize Readers: Create Tasty Work,” the meal is ready to be prepared and eaten.
Having quality ingredients on hand, choosing a recipe, selecting the right items from the writing idea pantry, and spicing it up with true Self makes for something worth savoring. Even if no one else shows up for dinner, the chef gets to enjoy her creation.
Now, the writer can create this metaphorical meal. In these articles, I have not only shared a few useful techniques, but also I have approached writing on a metaphysical level. I have encouraged writing in the energy of an awakened, conscious human, one who comes to know Self. When this happens, the writer desires to infuse the flavor, aroma, and essence of Self throughout the work, either directly or indirectly. This is what marks great work, whether in writing or any other endeavor.
I let that Self go and flow in my work. I might do another quick brainstorm or directed freewrite to discover my exact intention for my “meal.” Is it a snack, an appetizer, an entree, or dessert? I get to decide based on my intuition and the vision I have for the piece.
Some writers outline. In reality, I rarely outline anything because by the time I have gone through my process, the ideas have been forming and I need to get the words recorded. I always produce my drafts on the computer. I may stop and brainstorm or freewrite again if I get stuck, but usually I write, read it aloud, notice chunks that don’t work and that wander. I start cutting word count — as much as possible.
Cutting words makes for a more powerful, focused impact. Then, for these articles, I copy and paste onto the medium.com format and read it aloud again. I cut and revise some more. I could get very technical here; however, I determined from the start of this series I only wished to share a few helpful techniques and processes, but there is more.
First, I check that my tone and voice confirm my purpose, and then I concern myself with the reader. Thereby, I violate many successful authors’ rules about knowing and writing for the reader as a guide to publishing. I know and write myself into the work, first. Ultimately, I must relate myself to the reader. Then, the reader decides if they wish to relate to me.
This leads me to quickly consider the rhetorical tetrahedron — one extra facet to the rhetorical triangle: ethos (elements and force of self), logos (elements and force of logic structure), pathos (elements and force of audience), kairos (elements and force of opportunity, timeliness). Whether a writer acknowledges and uses these consciously, they are all part of writing. Knowing this structure and their dynamics helps to convey personal truth.
I address ethos inherently in the techniques I have shared. The brainstorming and directed freewrites help to establish the author’s credentials, beliefs, and other forces of self. When I write, I want readers to know the true Me I imbue in my work. That provides what readers really want to know: the authenticity and personal investment. I want them to feel my enthusiasm and excitement.
Logos development provides a rationale, a rhetorical structure that is detectable. Any of these aspects of the rhetorical tetrahedron and how they are emphasized depends on the reason I write. I structure the logic development, accordingly. If it isn’t logical, then I shouldn’t publish it. One way I check for the logic is to see if an outline could be easily constructed on the piece and to see how it sounds when I read it aloud.
Next, pathos occupies me. If I am connecting to myself and expressing my true Self and Spirit, then, I will reach an audience who resonates with the message. As that audience manifests, I will think of their needs, listen to their expressions, read their responses and their work. I want to help others discover Self and create purpose and meaning for themselves and help them to matter. Therefore, I consider their interests and expectations in future pieces. I want my work to be useful to those who have chosen to engage with me. Writing is a mutual relationship.
Kairos concerns the timeliness, the opportunity that exists for publishing at a beneficial time. I want my work to display how I relate to the tastes of society, of the world, and of my audience, specifically. This facet of writing is more significant than ever with the explosion of social media platforms; three days old is history in this age. This aspect of the rhetorical elements is the one that de-emphasizes perfection. Get the work out there at the right time.
Am I always successful as a writer? That depends on how one measures success and what facet of the rhetorical triangle is being used for evaluation. The most beneficial measure lies in the expression of Self and Spirit. I know many technical opinions exist about this, and if I were teaching writing to a class in an academic setting, my presentation would be different.
However, I have focused on producing expressions of Self, ones that are tasty to the author, first of all, and that ensures that some others (the audience that becomes a tribe) will enjoy the writing meal that the author prepares.
Write. Enjoy. Share. (Photo by Todd Ruth on Unsplash)I hope these three articles help you create tasty, appealing pieces of writing that both you and your readers enjoy sharing.
Writing with intuition and spiritual consciousness requires far more skill than ego-energized work. Of course, that’s true of any honest endeavor.
Knowing oneself and creating from that knowledge — no matter what the work is — means being true to that Self. When that occurs, the work reflects the who we are as an expression of Spirit. Many others may not recognize that, but the laborer will know it. Even when I was a construction painter, lab tech, antique restorationist, or other jobs I had, I put my soul’s passion into it. I knew the difference.
Thinking back to my previous post, I used the metaphor of stocking a kitchen pantry with ingredients to have on hand to prepare a savory meal of written work, one that appeals first of all to the writer and then to the reader.
I suggested a very specific ingredient-gathering technique of brainstorming mountain peak, mountain base, and mountain path experiences. Engaging in that exercise stores up some fairly nice ingredients in your writing pantry. Anyone who wishes to explore Self and discover how to express that Self through words now has basics.
Here is how I use such lists, explorations, and discoveries to tap into my intuition. In addition, the exercises I describe here move me closer to conscious creative expression. If facing the challenge of writing an article or simply trying to make some sense of my life, the first thing I do is look over my brainstorm lists.
I clear my mind and soul by closing my eyes and state my intention of exploring a subject for writing and expressing Self. Then, I simply breathe, meditation-style, deep breaths in through the nose filling all the way down to my legs, hold for a second, then blow the air out through my mouth — maybe six or seven times.
I give thanks for my life, for what I’ve experienced and recorded in the list I am going to scan. Then, I open my eyes and peruse the ingredients. Hmmm? What do I feel like making? What looks good? I circle two or three items that resonate with me. However many I choose, I go through the following process.
I look at my circled choices and grab one of them. Sometimes, one stands out, and I know which one I’m going to explore — just like I did with this series. I have several other things I know I could use, but this one, for whatever reason, made me start salivating. Maybe because I’m an educator. Maybe because I sense the applications beyond encouraging other writers. Maybe because I know from my classroom teaching years these exercises may be really therapeutic.
Photo by bonneval sebastien on UnsplashI chose this topic for today. Then, I did this: I spent about three minutes — some people like to time themselves — doing what I call a directed freewrite. A true freewrite has no boundaries, but here, there is a suggestion — my own choice from my list. I write by hand; that is my personal preference. However, writers do this, they should not stop. If I actually hit a wall and can’t stay that split second ahead of my hand with my thoughts, then I start writing questions: “What else do I have to say?” “Who is involved?” “What did I actually see?” Or a hundred other possibilities until something shoots from my brain to my fingers.
At the end of that directed freewrite, I read it. I pick the most interesting sentence, and I give it another go and see if I left other aspects unexplored. I don’t always do this in the same sitting.
This whole process is like playing with a recipe development. What spices of sensory images, drama, statistics, or a million other possibilities could help in making this a guest-worthy dinner? I did this exact thing before beginning this series. The techniques I describe are all known tools to most writers, especially teachers of writing. I thought my metaphor of a stocked pantry for developing a recipe to a final creation had a good flavor.
Once I go through this process, I might let it rest for a day or two. Depends on how I feel about it. For now, I will leave this process and technique description.
Before I stop, I would mention that this prewriting journaling helps many people take a look at many aspects of their lives. Sometimes, it helps them to evaluate their emotions about certain incidents and individuals with whom they may have had positive or negative interactions.
I know this because not only do I find it true for myself, but also I have had scores of students, maybe hundreds, who reacted so forcefully to their own work that I spoke with them privately of referred them to school guidance counselors and sometimes brought in parents.
This stuff works. Exploration of the soul-scape. Discoveries of lurking shadow selves. Inspirational and motivational epiphanies. Tapping into the Heart Self, that highest Self, and spicing up your life may cause you to write with new perspectives. New lenses through which you view the rest of the world may propel you to becoming a great word chef.
No less than a half dozen times in the past two weeks I have gone to the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer when I was hungry, only to discover I didn’t have the ingredients to make one meal from scratch — at least not one I found appealing.
Why do I find myself in this predicament over and over? I’m glad there are healthier quick fixes today. However, they are just not the same as having the necessary supplies to make what strikes my fancy at any given time. Ah! The lack of forethought and planning strikes my stomach again.
Honest writing, though, has no quick fixes for a lack of idea ingredients. Without a well-stocked pantry and fridge, we end up writing forced, anemic, unappealing, and malnourishing meals, ones that lack any indication of passion from us.
As an English teacher and writing coach, I know beginning a piece of creative fiction or nonfiction presents the most staggering challenge for younger writers. In fact, it’s no piece of cake — if you happen to have the ingredients for cake — for experienced writers, either, especially once one project is finished and the next day they face planning the next “meal.”
To stock the mind and soul with an abundance of ingredients, writers must keep a journal. Journaling may be accomplished in a variety of ways and in a huge assortment of physical forms; however it’s done, it’s a necessity. But what do we journal?
The choices appear limitless, but the goal is the same: draw from the well of true Self to characterize and infuse facts with that Self, i.e., add story, our story of our Self to the facts. This makes for powerful writing in the realms of creative nonfiction and fiction, blogs, websites, even journaling for mental health or anywhere voice is required — our soul, passion, and personal truth.
Here are some inital tools that may get us to peel away the ego in order to get to undiluted personal truth, the way we interpret, think, and feel about facts according to our highest Self, our Heart Self. These may provide the stock of ingredients we can pull together to create meals of writing which others can savor and appreciate. They furnish the means for conscious writing.
Brainstorming probably sounds banal to many; however, given the right prompts, the pantry starts to fill. Here are prompts to begin the work. I don’t really use a separate idea journal because I often do this at the beginning of a piece of writing just to see what lurks in the folds of my brain. Somewhere in my journals and in my running rough draft blog document — which currently is at nearly 40,000 words, having lost the previous one to a computer crash that was nearly 200,000 words — are brainstorm lists at the start of many of my pieces. (This is my computer document. I write by hand every morning and have produced millions of words in journals, which I recommend here.)
I do this exercise with students and those who come to me for advice about journaling. Please remember that these are not subject to your or anyone’s judgment. Responses are honest; don’t try to limit them to what others might expect. No one else matters for this. I time each of the following for two or three minutes (journalist’s choice), don’t censor anything, and don’t write in complete sentences, i.e., only list. Brainstorm experiences that pertain to each of the following categories:
1. Mountain peak experiences — those events, people, situations, actions, interactions that evoke joy, happiness, great vibes. These memories make you feel like you are on top of the mountain.
2. Mountain base experiences — those experiences that created pain, sadness, seemingly impossible odds of going on, real bummers. They don’t have to be the worst of life, only experiences, people, times of life that affect one negatively — big, small, and in-between — whatever jumps from the brain to the fingertips to record. When you think of these things, you might feel you rolled partway down the mountain and you have little desire to even look back up.
3. Mountain path experiences — those times when people, events, actions, and interactions presented a choice that you made and your life was changed, different in some way after taking the fork in the path. These might overlap with the first two lists, but record them anyway.
Try to be as expansive and open to your intuition as possible. Books, movies, other people’s stories as well as your own experiences could be part of the above three categories or things that happened when you were three or yesterday.
Using the results of these lists makes for authenticity in writing by being conscious of our own emotions and beliefs about our life. They come from the depths of us, and when we can use some of these ingredients to make a written meal, it will be remembered.
This is the start of a process of conscious creation in which we collect what is deep within us, things with which we can begin to stock our writing pantries. Furthermore, we can use exercises like this to explore our psyche and help us through hard times. We can learn to allow tears to water the love and grow the good memories.
However, it is only the beginning, and I would like to share some developmental ideas in following articles, some steps in gathering the right ingredients and developing them into an appealing recipe.
This summer has been an emotional one for me. My two constant, daily companions, my wonderful, wise, loving friends, have both had to depart, passing from this life back to spirit. My dear puppies, two big, white, fluffy, Hungarian kuvaszok taught me so many things, and in my desire to remember the good and nurture the love and wisdom they shared, I want to recount these stories, ones containing valuable teachings.
Sassy came to us first, and two years later, we took Spirit. Sassy was ever the mommy, trainer, and protector of Spirit. She sacrificed for him. In fact, Sassy is the most intuitive, natural, true-to-her-breed dog I have ever known.
Spirit quickly learned from his surrogate mother. He tugged on the rope toys with her. He started chasing and flipping her over by grabbing her back leg when she tried to walk away — which she did to him and intended for him to reciprocate. This is something the breed naturally does in keeping sheep from wandering off.
Sassy naturally barked at the strange and unfamiliar, and while Spirit learned, he never appeared as vigilant as Sassy. He performed his functions more by staying close, enjoying the touches, pets, and love. He was confident he could defend from up close, which he showed when we went on our three walks a day.
Spirit with a look I saw almost every daySpirit’s nature was to be physically near to those he knew were his to watch over, and to do this, he stayed close and enjoyed the love. His methods were clever, disarming, funny, and effective.
Our neighbor met us at the gate every morning, and Spirit accepted Barry as one of his humans. Since Sassy always had alpha stature, she got first pets from Barry, which didn’t allow Spirit to express his style of being. He wouldn’t stand it for any length of time.
Spirit, understanding Sassy’s style of being, would run to the other side of the yard at the other gate and bark like crazy for a few seconds. That served as a call for Sassy to come take over the protection challenge. Every single time, she would run over to the far gate, while Spirit sauntered back across the yard to our neighbor— cool, calm, collected, and having achieved his goal to engage in his purpose: staying close and sharing love with those who were his humans.
I don’t think he acted from selfishness; it was only insistence on being him, and, in a way, he helped Sassy to be herself.
Spirit also learned that he could easily flip the latch up on the cyclone-style fence gates we have by using his nose. The first three times I found the gate open and the puppies wandering the neighborhood, I berated myself for not closing the gate. I couldn’t remember not doing that, though. Sassy, naturally, used the open gate before I discovered it to lead Spirit around the neighborhood and show him how to be recognize the familiar and be vigilant about the strange.
Then, one morning when we had our morning Barry meeting, Spirit nonchalantly nudged the latch up and ran to get closer to Barry.
Mystery solved. Spirit used his cleverness to express himself, live his purpose of love, and be a partner with Sassy. He was quite content with himself. Life lessons.
Sassy making sure all was as it should beSassy illustrated her brilliance and insistence on being herself and of finding ways to do that despite obstacles in one particularly funny and instructive episode. Sassy could annoy with her bark — oh, how I miss that now — and my wife, particularly, wanted her barking to stop. I didn’t; I simply wanted to have more control of it. Neither of us got our wishes when we tried a couple “solutions.”
My wife bought a bark collar that sprayed a disagreeable citronella scent. A burst of the fine, scented mist shot straight at Sassy’s nose when she barked. I didn’t want to do it but somehow knew it would work out. I suppose I trusted Sassy to be herself.
Within minutes of having it on, she overcame the obstacle preventing her from fulfilling her purpose of warning and guarding. I watched her stop barking abruptly, at first, but then she tried softer barks. To my amazement, she pointed her head and nose as high into the air — almost straight up — as she could. She kept a constant, soft bark up, one not even detectable inside the house. I could see the mist. Then, I couldn’t. She emptied the reservoir.
My wife filled it maybe two or three times, and Sassy did the same thing every time. A similar attempt to curb the bark came with a little plastic box that emitted ultrasonic sound upon barking. Sassy moved to corners of the yard and would bark till the battery was drained.
Ultimately, I used the only thing that helped: I would get up, go to the fence where she barked, tell her to move, and she would end. She needed to know she was heard and she mattered. Don’t we all?
My puppies helped teach me and reinforce that knowing myself, my true nature, my Heart Self, and expressing that through my chosen and created purpose must be lived daily if I am to matter, to be happy, content, and fulfilled.
Powerful lessons with two cherished, loved friends who shared my daily life — over 11 years with Sassy and 9 plus years with Spirit. I’m sorry you can’t see me right now, because you would know by the wells in each eye how genuine my love is — for them and for you.
Many of our problems and social ills in this world would be quieted if we chose these lessons. Know Self and the true nature we possess of Ego and Heart, create purpose, and live it in love in relationship to Self, our great creator Spirit, and one another. Every. Single. Day.
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!