The ‘Trace’ of My Heart: Part IV

I’m feeling a little bit of ‘pep’ today and I can tell because Trace is reflecting it. Its a strange feeling. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still worried, but with a pinch of confidence. I don’t know if you can appreciate this but it almost feels, to a certain extent, like I’ve grieved a loss – yet, Trace is alive and ‘well’. I’m very much aware, as I know from my clinical training, that the mind/body will act in ‘preservation mode’ when a stressful situation occurs. I’m careful not to convince myself that ALL is well (you know, that whole denial thing). But its this odd feeling as if I’ve crossed over some sort of grief. As a colleague pointed out to me, it is much like an initial mourning after the shock of first experience.

But what a fool I would feel like if the surgeon comes back after surgery and says, “well, he’s good to go – no problems here.” Of course, that is a true wish, and one I would take in a heartbeat. But it would feel like a sort of “phantom grief.” Maybe “fool” isn’t the right term. And I know very well that what I feel now is normal and that some day, when Trace (and Bella for that matter) is gone, a different grief will ensue and that is okay with me – it is natural. At the same time, it may not be all that foolish as this whole situation with Trace has taught me a lot.

(If you are a journalist, get ready for an awfully random, blunted topical transition)

And speaking of natural, I think sometimes the title of this website evolves in meaning for me. Initially, this began as a following of Kevin Behan’s Natural Dog Training, but as time has gone the word ‘Natural’ has formed into a broader perspective. I am by no means a purist when it comes to the way I live my life, nor the way I raise and train my dogs, but the overall purpose of the life we/our dogs live is what I am aiming for. I think to assume a ‘natural’ perspective, you look at the core of something. Whether you would call it soul, spirit, drive, emotion, consciousness, beingness, center, etc., doesn’t matter – it’s essentially all the same. If your methods or philosophy or lifestyle, orbit the flow and direction of that core then I think there is a certain ‘natural’ essence to it. I know that sounds very vague, and for good reason. I think to be natural means to be flexible, to expand, to be interconnected, but its not always cut and dry, obvious, or specifically defined.

And speaking of purpose, I am reminded of my training in aikido. We practice, in part, from a philosophy that focuses on purpose and not panic. When an attacker affronts us, we have two choices: move with a mind of purpose or move with a mind of panic. When there is purpose, you are focused and yet fully aware. When there is panic we lose focus, and do not see with perspective. As a colleague has assured me, I am doing what is best for Trace within the limited control I have. I am starting to see from a perspective. Kevin told me a couple years ago, if Trace were a wolf in the pack on a hunt, he would be in the high point position, up on a ledge, scanning the horizon. Therefore, I can see that Trace, in response, has rubbed a little bit of that steadiness, that sense of purpose and outlook, back on to me – and I’m grateful to him for that.

And then there’s Bella. If you study Kevin’s NDT, you may be a bit familiar with his comments about households with two dogs. They tend to be the equal opposite of each other. I know Bella has been absorbing and deflecting some of the energy swirling about and in between. She’s sort of a mediator in a metaphorical way, but every dog needs their outlet from time to time. So she and I went out back earlier today and we had some rough-and-tumble play. It was great for both of us. I had some really thick gloves on so she had some nice, solid play-bite opportunities. As for me, it put a smile on my face as those beaming brown eyes caught my center. Trace was out there too, standing off from us, but nonetheless had perked up ears and a smooth-waving tail.

All is well and will be okay – truly!

One and a half more days!

© 2011 – 2014 by Scott Hamilton and indiananaturaldog.com. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author.

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