A few days ago, a friend and I met up for a hike. Just before the trail entrance, we heard a weird noise, like the commotion of a bunch of chickens. We stopped, tried to locate the sound, couldn’t, and continued on.
The Slobbering Beast was with us, and it’s been a bit since he was on a trail. He was excited, bounding in giddy circles. He was even more thrilled when two other dogs showed up. Since I didn’t know them, I put him on leash and called for their owner. No one appeared. We waited awhile, the dogs wandered off, and The Beast, my friend, and myself got back to hiking. Since we were heading into an area where there’s a lot of wildlife, I kept him on the leash and we jaunted along quite successfully until almost the end. When the two dogs appeared again.
Still ownerless, but with something white and fluffy between them.
Yep. A (recently dead) chicken.
I don’t know if it was the excitement of seeing his potential pals, the smell of blood, the sight of something soft and fluffy, or a combination, but The Beast lost his mind. He hurtled a small bush and dashed into the undergrowth. He scraped through plants that might have been poison ivy. He bumped up against several small rocks.
And since I was still holding the leash, so did I.
By this time I was prone, surfing the ground on my shoulder. My friend was yelling, The Beast was still gallumping happily away toward the dead chicken, the two other dogs were barking a bit, and a single thought went through my mind. Let go, you fool. Let go.
So I did.
It’s hard for me to let go — of work that’s not working, of friends who are no longer friends, of emotions that are not serving my best interests. So every now and then, the universe likes to remind me in the most physical way possible to move on. It happened with riding — letting go can sometimes mean the difference between a good, clean fall and a bad fall where you get tangled up with the horse and gear — and now, since I’m not currently riding, the universe has apparently tapped The Slobbering Beast as a stand in.
I can’t control the loose dogs or the dead chickens life may throw at me. Some days, I can’t even control The Slobbering Beast. But I can control my response, and hanging on to something that’s not working mostly only hurts me.
Sometimes, as the song that’s playing everywhere these days says, you have to let it go.
What a powerful post. I’m sharing.
Thanks so much, Rick.
Hope you’re healing up! On the bright side, it had to have been less painful than the average fall from horseback, right? Thanks for passing along the lesson!
It definitely was less painful, but I’m older so I think I feel it more! What kills me is that the Beast shows absolutely no ill signs from towing me around!
Yikes. Hope both you and the SB are okay, Liz.
This is yet another example of how you and I are sympatico. In fact, I just wrote down the gist of my (possible) next WU post and it’s about this precise topic.
For me, a lot of it comes from self-distrust, the central question being “am I quitting before I’m seeing the benefits? versus the broader “is pursuing this in my/our/the world’s best interest?” I think humans generally trend toward one of these two extremes. The trick is to knowing your own pattern and shifting toward the middle. At least, that works in theory…
That’s a great point, Jan. I struggle to find that middle ground as a parent especially — what’s the line between quitting an activity bc it isn’t beneficial and hanging in past the rough spots to succeed?
Norm — you must be hearing that from my house!
Poignant piece, Liz. I’ve been there, done that. Still doing it, too. I’m working on letting go…
Liz, I liked this one. I also admit I even like the song, and you might be happy to know I (we) have learned to let go and trust Piper to walk off-leash with us. I await the time I have to chase her through the woods as she hunts down a rabbit but so far there have been no casualties. She’s a good dog. We should get the pups together. app Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2014 14:54:15 +0000 To: email@example.com