There are things that are beyond rational explanation.
Warning – this post is rather more ‘touchy-feely’ than you are used to seeing on Learning from Dogs. So if it wanders about in ways that you struggle to follow then just stifle your yawn and come back tomorrow!
It goes back to an earlier plan that I had in terms for a couple of posts. Both focussing on the myriad of examples of the appalling decline in our world. I had been collecting a number of essays to support the proposition that if we don’t learn from dogs the qualities of integrity and unconditional love then our world was doomed. I had collected the essay from Ellen Cantaro over on TomDispatch about the incredible stupidity of fracking. Or the one from Tom’s own pen in an essay about climate change being the new ‘Anti-News’. I had saved the recent essay from George Monbiot discussing the madness of the so-called dredging practices in the UK’s Somerset Levels. I had fumed at another George Monbiot essay Bring It On that included this incredible statement:
It is hard to think of a more serious allegation. For six months an undercover officer working for the Metropolitan Police was instrumental in planning a major demonstration, which ended up causing injuries and serious damage to property. Yet the police appear to have failed to pass this intelligence to the City of London force, leaving the target of the protest unprotected.
I had many more examples but you get the message!
So what stopped me?
I was chatting to Jon Lavin on Monday about a variety of things. Jon asked how the book was coming along. I replied by saying that a recent NaNoWriMo webinar had persuaded me that the book wasn’t a novel and should be re-written as a non-fiction story. Going on to add that I might include some of the appalling examples of what was going wrong in our society to strengthen the argument that we truly have much to learn from dogs.
Jon, who had read the first, very rough draft of the book that appeared on this blog, cautioned me against doing that. He went on to say that in the world of solutions focussed therapy, the area that Jon practices in professionally, the way forward was always to focus “on what’s working“. Jon continued by saying that while one would initially allow the problems to be voiced, this negativity would always be a tiny piece of the overall process, say less than 5% of the session. That even if a client’s whole world seemed to be failing, there would always be something that was alright, always a 1% that was working, and that would be the place to start. A quick web search endorsed that as the website of Good Therapy revealed, from where I read:
Solution focused brief therapy (SFBT) targets the desired outcome of therapy as a solution rather than focusing on the symptoms or issues that brought someone to therapy. This technique only gives attention to the present and the future desires of the client, rather than focusing on the past experiences. The therapist encourages the client to imagine their future as they want it to be and then the therapist and client collaborate on a series of steps to achieve that goal. This form of therapy involves reviewing and dissecting the client’s vision, and determining what skills, resources, and abilities the client will develop and use to attain his desired outcome. Solution focused therapy was developed by Steve De Shazer, Insoo Kim Berg, and their team at the Brief Family Therapy Family Center in Milwaukee, USA.
Thus coming back to the book rewrite, Jon said that people wanted to read ‘good news’ not negativity. It was a key reminder for me and an incredibly inspiring call that in these challenging times, whether on this blog or in a potential book, I need to write about all the powerfully, positive lessons that dogs, and all warm-blooded creatures, offer mankind. The lessons of integrity, love, trust, balance, loyalty, faithfulness, affection, forgiveness and more.
OK, moving on.
On the evening of February 7th Jean and I settled down to watch a YouTube video. It had been featured in a post from LadyBlueRose that had been published on the 6th. The post was called His Name is Spirit and it was the story of a woman, Anna Breytenbach, who has dedicated her life to what she calls interspecies communication.
We had reached the six-minute point in the film, already captivated by it, when the telephone rang. I paused the film and answered the phone. It was neighbour Dordie from next door ringing to say that when she had seen us earlier in the day she had forgotten to mention that there was this incredible film that we really had to watch …… yes, you guessed it! The film that Jean and I were watching at that moment.
Here is that film.
Now here is Anna’s website Animal Spirit where one learns:
ENHANCING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HUMANS, OTHER ANIMALS AND THE NATURAL WORLD
Welcome to an exploration of interspecies communication – a journey of discovering ways to restore a deep relationship with all of life.
Human and animal communication creates a valuable bridge between human and non-human animals. By connecting with our intuition, we can engage in meaningful dialogue and remember how to hear the subtle messages from those whose space we share in our lives and our natural environment. Coming from a place of respect and reverence for all life, we can learn to understand our wilder relatives, honour their truths and live in greater harmony.
and where one also can watch the short introductory film that is on her home page; as below.
A web search then came across a fascinating interview with Anna.
So where does this all end up?
Simply, that in a world dominated by media of all types that favour ‘doom and gloom’ it can be incredibly difficult to hang on to the message offered by Jon and by Anna, and by many others no doubt, the message that our individual health, and by implication the health of this planet, is afforded through staying positive.
Or put more basically, if you are feeling low go and hug a dog! So I can do no better than to close with the same picture that closed Tuesday’s post Meet the dogs – Dhalia.