As a dog lover, pack mentality fascinates me. As a people lover, group dynamics intrigues me. Occasionally, considering the similarities helps me.
We’ve all encountered them: people who live their life making sure they are Top Dog. I’m talking simple day-to-day encounters with others, independent of career. These are people who tackle life as a hierarchy, a vertical ladder that positions themselves in relation to others. Others embrace life more as a collaborative, a horizontal plane that places themselves in relation with others.
Consider when you meet a self-imposed Top Dog, either in their office or simply their social space. They begin to look toward you, but instead of acknowledging you they drop their head and forcibly continue their task. The task doesn’t matter, it could be closing out a computer screen or watching a car drive down the street. Out of cooperative respect, you wait for the opening that is quickly being created as you see them complete what is occupying them.
You are a little bemused when they obviously busy themselves with finding a new occupation rather than acknowledge your presence! Now the situation is slightly awkward, and you speak. Suddenly they turn to you in a surprised response, as if they only just now noticed your presence. You feel a shift has happened that you can’t quite name, and it has left you feeling slightly out of balance. In dogpack mentality, they have just peed on your leg.
When my leg has been peed on, it helps to remember (dogmatically?) that they view the world as hierarchical while I view it as collaborative…and that it’s nothing personal, they do this to everyone.
I don’t like getting my leg peed on, so I’ll do what I can to prevent it. Usually a warning nip, so to speak, does the trick. Lately I have stumbled across a symbolic response that works very well with my psyche for the extra challenging dogpack people, and perhaps it will benefit you:
Stand where you are, but simply pull your leg away.
The imagery of this Top Dog whizzing steadily away on a leg that isn’t even there makes me smile. They think they are redefining their ladder status, but they are simply peeing on air. Everybody wins–they no longer have this interaction to feel insecure about, and my leg isn’t compromised. Whiz all you like, it’s ineffectual on me. Nothing personal.
This is such a feel-good story! If you are not a cat person, you will get a kick out of the subtle fun poked at the cat’s perspective. If you are a cat person, you will still enjoy that, as well as the respect and honor given the species through this story. Either way, you will appreciate the insight gained as a reader through the eyes of the kitty that lives with the Dalai Lama.
Okay, I knew I was in for a story in which HHC (His Holiness’ Cat) would actually attempt to teach me about myself through her own cat experiences. It’s pretty obvious that this is a book about self-help and personal awareness in the shape of lessons learned by a character so removed from myself that it’s safe to actually look. The amazing thing is how well it is written–I knew this was the premise, and yet I continually forgot. The story is so engaging, so entertaining, and so enveloping that as a reader I willingly became involved and loved it.
Yes, it is an allegory for me. (And as in the song from The Sound of Music: “And you. And you. And you and you and you….”) Yes, you know it’s coming. Yes, you forget it’s a lesson in your delight of the story. And yes, you appreciate the lesson anyway–quite possibly because of the beautiful way it is offered.
Keep this book on hand, and read it when you are ready for something less heady and cumbersome. Although it could be heavy, it actually is the opposite. A quick read with a good flow, it is uplifting, encouraging, humorous, and Truth.
The FTC would be super happy to see that I let people know I received a copy of this book from Hay House simply in exchange for my honest opinion of it. I highly recommend this book!
I just listened to Caroline Myss’ new cd series, What Makes Us Healthy. I was gifted the 6-cd set from Hay House in exchange for an honest review.
Caroline Myss is the Mystic Queen. Her ability to not only see the world objectively and archetypically, but to teach that viewpoint to others as well, is a joy and a gift. Her signature no-nonsense approach inherently reminds listeners to put and keep their big-people pants on and take ownership of themselves. If you need someone to gently stroke your hair and tell you repeatedly that it’s all gonna be OK, this is not where you go. Caroline is not into feeding your Victim–she is about empowering you to own your situation, identify your needs, and act in accordance with (your) Spirit. Over and over and over again. Caroline’s teaching is tremendously supportive, hugely encouraging, and never enabling.
Health is described less as physical and more spiritual, although make no mistake they are connected. A point of hers is that an individual with a physical condition may appear unhealthy, yet is spiritually whole: this person is truly healthy. Contrast that with an individual who is physically fit, whole, and agile, yet has no capacity for empathy: this person is in fact unhealthy despite appearances.
Health is described as integrity, honesty, and spiritual congruence. Can you act on your values and yet not judge those who don’t? Are you able to keep negative comments to yourself? Even further, can you not have the negative thoughts toward another in the first place? When you say “Lord, bless everyone I come in contact with today,” are you able to include your ex-spouse when you later receive their surprise, snotty email? Okay, now how about without feeling smug about being able to do so? Can you choose the high road consistently, not only when recognized for it?
All of us are on a path, and the Benevolent Queen does not chop off my head when I fall short of perfection. She knows that we all have the capacity for spiritual health, and her energies go into teaching me a firm “get up, and carry on” style. She knows I can do it, yet she also knows it is up to me to choose to do so.
If you are familiar with Caroline Myss, you will certainly appreciate this cd series. If you have not yet met this woman, you will be very pleased to make her acquaintance through What Makes Us Healthy. There is no prerequisite to listening, and your psyche and soul will feel so empowered that you will want to either revisit some of her other works or investigate it for the first time.
When packing to go on a trip, even a simple overnighter, I make lists. The list of baggage to pack includes clothes the kids will need, clothes I will need, games and supplies we may want or need, food plans for all, and making sure the vehicle’s gas tank is full.
The list of baggage that stays includes lining up care for the pets, mail pick-up, and having someone check on the house. I am the Baggage Handler. I ready us for departure on time safely, comfortably, and optimistically, excitedly anticipating the vacation.
My husband’s preparations are different. He packs the items he may want or need for himself, just at departure time, causing delays. He is the Pilot; the hierarchy controls the departure process, exercises authority over the passengers, assumes the pilot’s right to replace others’ baggage with his own, and repacks the bags. The pilot is in charge, is the final authority. All this is done under the appearance of taking care of the passengers, of the entire flight plan, as only a pilot is able to accomplish. The passengers all smile, but inside we are terrified of crashing.
After ten years of constant deterioration and little maintenance, something’s going to wear out. We crashed and burned, and the pilot was fired. Since the divorce, packing for trips, and many other things, has become much less turbulent for all of the passengers. Guess what? It turns out that I make a darned fine pilot–as if I was born to help us fly. I am also finally handling the baggage.
Thinking about firsts and lasts in my life, I automatically begin with events and accomplishments. Firsts such as driving a car, earning a degree, holding each newborn child, experiencing a rainstorm with the new steel roof. Lasts include the last time I got a massage, went on a family vacation, had a snow day, tried a new wine. All of these put a smile on my face.
But then the next layer relaxes in. What about the first time I acted on my intuition instead of just acknowledging it? The last time I kept a comment to myself? The first time I responded out of faith instead of fear? The last time I let go of being right?
Our firsts and lasts connect. The first time I let go of the outcome is the last time I’ve cried in despair. The first time I accepted myself right here and now is the last time I wondered if I was good enough. The first time I said “I am” is the last time I floundered.