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

Vow Now? How?


PictureFoxiebeau considers a vow
Do dogs resolve to improve? Because I don’t get along with other animals except Cooper and birds, I can’t ask other animals if I should vow to be better or other than I am. I know every chance they get and especially when there’s a beginning, two-leggeds promise themselves and others to improve. Here we are weeks into the new year and I am still mulling over the ifs and hows of vows.

What is a vow anyway? I know it’s a small word and small words can have big meanings. A word like “sit” for example. I notice that when I am told to do it and then do it, happy results ensue. Pats on the head, treats, pride and approval from my one and only, especially if I sit when and where others can see me. My one and only beams and I sense an increase in her self-regard. Almost as if she, herself, had done something noteworthy like plop down on cold tiles when told.

“Yes” is another small word with big impact. As is “no.” People with more no in them may want to sprinkle more yes in their daily interactions. Yes folks could be overextending themselves and need to dig in their heels with a “no” or “not now.” I am not really responsive to either word, so I can’t do more here than repeat what I imagine my one and only would say had I asked her for an opinion.

It has come to my attention that another word for vow is promise. Said like that, I know I am not one to promise anything. My basic animal nature prevents much frontal lobe activity. And that’s the spot from which promises get made. Animals are more about the limbic system, wouldn’t you say? Animal equals amygdala.
I believe those who train performing cats and dancing dogs use food to get desired results. Food would work for me, but my one and only hasn’t the patience to teach me. I have seen TV ads with highly trained dogs turning over because, and only because, their trainer gave them enough treats. And I wager months of dieting had to pass before those dogs looked fit enough to be filmed for the commercial.

I have biblical permission to skip vowing altogether. Better not to make a vow than to make it and break it. (Ecclesiastes 5:5) How clever of me to become better in this new year by not vowing! Wow.

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