An ode to dogs.

 

gypsEveryone thinks they have the best dog on Earth, and everyone is right. The best dog in the world is your dog– the one who loves you, know you, comforts you, and is your loyal companion. They can teach us so much about love, life, and what matters.

LUKE  by Mary Oliver

I had a dog
who loved flowers.
Briskly she went
through the fields,

yet paused
for the honeysuckle
or the rose,
her dark head

and her wet nose
touching
the face
of every one

with its petals
of silk,
with its fragrance
rising

into the air
where the bees,
their bodies
heavy with pollen,

hovered—
and easily
she adored
every blossom,

not in the serious,
careful way
that we choose
this blossom or that blossom—

the way we praise or don’t praise—
the way we love
or don’t love—
but the way

we long to be—
that happy
in the heaven of earth—
that wild, that loving.

Look closer.

vision

What opportunities lie buried in today’s difficulties? How can we look at a problem from a different angle? When we are overwhelmed or downtrodden, it is hard to believe that things will ever be better, but we have to keep looking, keep acting, keep hoping, keep believing. What we see on the surface is such a small tip of the iceberg of all that is.

And yet it remains.

 

hiddenClouds, night, and eclipses can hide the sun, and yet it remains. Lies, denial, and ignorance can obscure the truth, and yet it remains. We are foolish to believe that things change because we lie about them.

The truth will out.

It always does.

Choose truth.

truth

We are in the midst of a slander epidemic. In today’s world, someone can publish fake news, and it can go viral, spreading around the world in an instant. People eagerly like and share derogatory information about people they don’t care for or political candidates they oppose. Companies can crumble based on the public’s wrath over a false bit of news. People’s lives can be ruined.

And what of the effect on all of us? It is to the point where we can’t trust much of anything we read unless we do our own diligence with fact checking and research.

What happened to the truth? What happened to accountability?

As with most things, the buck stops with each of us. We can’t control the world, but we can choose whether we want to further lies. Take your time before you believe what you hear. Do your research. And let your words and actions shine with the light of truth.

What’s your question?

soulchildren

Children have a way of cutting through the fake and getting to the real. They look around themselves and wonder why things are the way they are. Sometimes the questions they ask are tamped down, leading those kids to spend their adult lives trying to answer them:

Why can’t boys cry?

Why do we have to always pretend to be happy? (Or, to put it another way, What’s wrong with having lots of different emotions?)

Why can’t I play with those children?

Why are you lying?

Why must I accept things that seem wrong?

In this brilliant essay by Courtney E. Martin, she asks ‘What was your first question?’and taps into the power that comes from looking at the world with innocent eyes, OUR own innocent eyes. Dorothy Day, for instance, witnessed an outpouring of love and charity after the San Francisco earthquake in 1906 and wondered, why don’t people care for each other like that all the time. She went on to make that her life’s work in the Catholic Worker Movement. Susan Cain showed up at camp with books and wondered what’s wrong with wanting to be quiet. She went on to write the book Quiet about society’s preference for the extroverted. Oprah Winfrey, sexually abused as a child, went on to constantly unveil the light and dark of human existence asking, “What’s the cathartic story here?”

That child question is powerful. Things we may have gotten used to over time or now just accept as the way things are weren’t so simple to the little child in you who wondered why.

Martin says,

In some ways, these questions are so powerful because they are asked from such a pure place. Children are famously intuitive about underlying dynamics that adults assume they couldn’t possibly understand. They focus in on unspoken truths like homing pigeons and then have the audacity to speak them; the world hasn’t yet acculturated them to fearing the sound of a silence breaking. They are not, in the best of all possible ways, team players. They are inexhaustible witnesses and truth seekers.

Which is what we all are, underneath the home training and the wear and tear of decades of living on this brutal planet. Peel back the layers and we are still the little people we once were, looking around at the adults and wondering what the heck is going on. We are curious and outraged and perhaps sometimes naively sure that there is a better way.

So what was your first question? What is the question you weren’t allowed to ask as a kid? Are you still asking that question? Is there some way, now that you are an adult, that you can answer it, or at least expose it to the light of day?

Fess up

truthrare

Why do we lie? Why is the truth so difficult?

Maybe we are worried we are not enough. We arm ourselves with masks and layers to project a more successful, more perfect self. Meanwhile, the real self inside feels chagrinned. “Why is it necessary to puff. Am I not enough?” it whispers.

Maybe we are afraid. We don’t know so much–the future, the complexities of life, the secrets of our fellow journeyers. So maybe it makes us feel safer to pretend we know all the answers.

Maybe we don’t really want to tackle the problem at hand. We ignore it; we pretend it isn’t there; we sugarcoat it. If we don’t acknowledge it, maybe it doesn’t exist.  (But we keep stumbling against it, don’t we?)

Think what power there is in the truth. It provides a foundation that is stable enough to approach any problem head-on.  It testifies that each of us is enough, and, not only enough, but that the very weakness we are trying to hide is the vulnerability that gives our voices authenticity and value, that draws others to us as a source of comfort and strength.

No one really expects perfection from you. If they say they do, it’s because they are not fully grounded in the truth themselves. There isn’t perfection. It doesn’t exist. There is just all different versions and varieties of real.  That is your truth. Your real. Own it.