I’m returning from quite a journey, having spent the last three weeks in England – and part of it in Italy. We were there for the Christmas holiday and New Year’s.
But, that’s not the journey I’m talking about.
It’s the journey no person, place, or thing can take you to. On this journey one travels through their inner-being, sometimes losing oneself to experiencing totality, and other times losing oneself to the turmoil created by merely existing.
It was so great to be back… I had a great time with our team at lunch sharing with them the intricacies of my experience, and allowing them to unravel what was also true for them.
We talked about LOVE. We talked about how love can be experienced free from form, free from attachments to people, places, things, and animals. We talked about how much we don’t know because of how little we share with each other about it, and yet how it’s the common denominator for all of us – the essence of what makes us human and humane.
Last evening, I was speaking with Bryan (on our team), and again, as nature would have it, we became deeply involved in a conversation about “identification”, and the names and labels we give to things: a “tree”, a “flower”, a “dog”. And, about our habitual pattern of naming things.
“The moment you call this a ‘tree’ it’s such a disservice, because you are missing out on the essence of what it really is,” he said, speaking of the photo above.
In the moment we call it a “tree”, it’s as though we go into our heads, thinking of trees as we have known them to be and experienced them in the past – and that’s what we see in front of us.
It’s such a wide net, that we cast so shallow. In an attempt to connect with one other through language, we use the word tree to identify its form, but in that exact moment, the “tree” becomes a mental construct, and we have already killed it with our perception.
Versus standing there in its presence – allowing its shear magnificence to embody your mind, body, and soul – such that you find yourself in an experience you can’t even begin to articulate into words.
Not having a name for something in the moment of an experience creates space without running thoughts. And then, you become delighted in the presence of experiencing its totality.
He related to this to a child’s experience in saying, “it’s kind of like a child who has no words to identify with anything, and as a result, their mere acceptance, joy, and enthusiasm to experience it all – with all their senses and their whole body.”
How easy it is to go back to being a child. All it takes is courage. The courage to break away, to look inwards, let go, and be. To go against the grain. To experience life from the inside, not chasing the existence form wants you to take.
Here, look, this is what I mean. Allowing the dogs to be our teachers and healers…
After almost a two decades of successful dog training, Patel wanted to bring her philosophy of enrichment to the blossoming industry of dog daycare. Now in her 17th year at the 6-acre Doglando facility, Patel does away with the standard “doggy daycare” warehousing of animals in kennels and runs. In place of this industrial model, Patel focuses on what is right for the animals, providing experiences that improve and enhance their behavioral health. She gives each dog the freedom to roam the grounds, go swimming, and play with the staff and other dogs. Coupled with a program of careful training, the Doglando experience results in dogs who are better-behaved, better integrated into their families, and above all, happier. True to her passion, Patel gives dogs the freedom to be dogs.