Failing and Letting Go
Over the past several weeks, I have been working on a new website, TheGoodDog.info,and redefining my services and skills. It has been interesting to think back to all of the experiences I have had professionally, that have stuck with me and others that I have had to let go. I have been saddened at times as I thought what to put in my site because many of my endeavors have led to failures.
Failing is such a powerful word and loaded with emotion. Failing comes from a latin word fallere which means “to decieve”. It is so interesting to me when I look at the original meaning of words. When I think of the things that I failed at – it wasn’t that I failed at the actual endeavor itself – it was that it did not resonate with who I really was and did not fulfill me. These failures were typically things that I have tried, very hard at most times and spent years and countless hours being a part of them, but I had to eventually realize I was deceived into thinking that I needed that to be me.
The failure that most stands out to me is defining myself as a typical dog trainer. Teaching group classes is what most dog trainers do. I would go to these classes where 15 people and their dogs would walk around in circles and sit on command and I would always be drawn to the 2 or 3 dogs and their owners that were themselves failing. These dogs eventually would drop out of class and we could focus on the people that could handle the clicker and give treats at a fast enough pace. After witnessing a dog trainer drag a standard poodle that was terrified of walking beside anyone with a collar choking the dog and the dog frozen in a sit position, I decided being a dog trainer in the tradition sense was not for me. I now teach dog behavior and massage workshops but it is my own techniques, not focused on sitting on command.
The problem for me was that I did not see dog training in those black and white terms. I saw dog training as a way of being kind and understanding to other people and their dogs. I saw dogs responding to the genuine peaceful nature that people are at their natural core. Dogs have been our companions for 15,000 years and when we teach dog training anything else than a natural, relaxed way of being with our dogs, I think we fail. Instead of seeing the dog as naughty or the owner as not clicking fast enough, I see dog training as just an extension of understanding and compassion. I think dogs can teach us so much when we put the labels away and just open up to how our own energy affects everything around us. Opening up to our natural calm and peaceful self, with confidence and trust, allows dogs the freedom to do what they naturally are, our companions.
I think that as we grow and become into our own, letting go becomes easier and easier. One of the challenges of life is to define ourselves and honor the unique gifts that we are each here to bring. I love teaching people how to connect with not only themselves but with their dogs and everyone else around them. It is the energy of love and compassion and I see it affecting my life every day. Above is a photo of me with my dog, Jasmine. My hand is on her heart and we are connected – just as dogs and humans should be – it is not an intellectual mind control of tricks – it is our natural way of being together – and this is what I see myself as wanting to teach. I want to convey how natural it is for people and their dogs to work together with open hearts and kindness.
What about you? What have you had to let go of and what are you now learning to honor about yourselves. We can not grow unless we let go. I recently read this beautiful quote by Joseph Campbell and it so defines my new ideas of myself.
We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.