spirit flows thru -- Alison Rittger's spiritual reflections on finding the holy in the daily



Nelson the pit bull puppy / Guy R.
Meet Nelson the pit bull puppy. He is my most recent reason for being caught in the grip of self-aversion. He doesn’t belong to me; he is a new member of the Connecticut part of my family. I lay my dilemma at his paws because I can’t look at him and not love him. And sadly, looking and loving have made me unhappy whereas were I less susceptible to tying myself in knots, I might simply have  been happy at seeing his sweet face and that would have been the end of that.

But I didn’t just look at Nelson and smile. I knotted up and accused myself of lazy love, which in my mind is the opposite of energetic love. The latter means I accompany my pit bull puppy to obedience school, get him his shots, and tailor my workout regimen so as to be strong enough to rein him in when he does his doggy aggressive stuff. Innumerable requirements if I am to have a meaningful relationship with a Nelson of my own.

Undoubtedly older women for whom dog ownership is a given will have lots of good advice for me as to what breed of dog would suit me better, considering my living arrangement and the nature of my complaints. My advice is save the advice as I will surely parse a “should” and feel increased shame for professing to love animals yet not embracing the reality of caring for one.

You might ask what is the problem. Get on with it. So you are conflicted. That is part of the human condition. It happens all the time. And yet these conflicting feelings have held up my regular blog posting. The dilemma has never really been can I have a dog? Or even should I want to have a dog?

The real problem is my old friend, self-aversion. I would like myself better if I were a person who had the energy for a dog. I say I adore dogs and certainly my heart went out to Nelson, the pit bull puppy. This irritation at wanting and not wanting spilled over into consternation at missing my self-imposed Monday blog post deadline, which had already slipped to Tuesday. Finally, I asked myself if these self-limiting expectations are good for anything. They certainly don’t bring happiness; whereas all the talking I do to myself with an “impure mind” insures that “suffering follows as the wheel of the cart follows the foot of the ox.”

When I am in the grasp of self-aversion, someone else has to point out the uselessness of self-hate, gently of course. And someone else must remind me that the world continues if my blog isn’t posted by mid-day Monday.

Thanks to my friends for guiding me safely into hindsight, where I can note with some spaciousness that I had been sidetracked by “Hindrances”: Toxic doubt and the Ruthless Inner Critic. Meanwhile I have learned from my son that the new puppy, Nelson, and the original pit bull, Otto, are lying down together. I cheer these two creatures at peace.   

Comments are closed.