stoicism for dogs

the chilliness between Watson and me was mutual.  for days, his vibe was, hello.  i see we find ourselves in the same room again.   

but it was hard to stay cold.  occasionally his pink tongue poked between his teeth as he slept.  in the elevator he looked at me with urgency when he picked up a residual scent, emoting, girl, someone else was inside our floating box! 

the sweetest example of Watson’s inherent innocence was The Great Feather Incident.  one afternoon, a white feather had the gall to land on his purple corduroy bed.  he was appalled.  as he sniffed it, each disgruntled exhalation sent the feather flying, only to re-land on his territory.  despite his growling, it simply would not stay still!  Watson freaked out so much he leapt backward—both forepaws off the ground—in fright.  eventually it fell on the floor and became boring.

but let’s face it: we’d all be in trouble if he’d been endowed with a different disposition.  Wikipedia says he should weigh between 66 and 88 pounds but that sounds conservative.   i could hear him lie down from the next room.  he lives with two kids younger than five, whom he must topple like bowling pins

although maybe he doesn’t.  because he certainly didn’t understand his potential with us.  take nighttime, for example.  he slept in a cage but with the door open and a beach towel draped over the entrance to cue him it was time to get some zzz’s.   

while the towel was branded with the Patron logo, Watson did not possess the swagger tequila promises.  he didn’t realize all that separated him from a night of apartment freedom, of waltzing at leisure (until we awoke from his nails clicking on the wood floor) was…cotton.  the fabric of our lives. 

with the bat of a paw he could’ve pushed through like a gladiator entering the ring.  with concentration, he could’ve eaten that towel for breakfast.  

instead?  he stayed in the cage all night and whimpered every morning.  cried like a puppy.  yelped like a newborn if we were slow to lift the nearly weightless boundary freeing him from his zero-security prison.

as far as he was concerned, the towel was an electric fence.  barging through was out of the question.  pulling it down with his teeth?  unconscionable.   to another dog, the towel wouldn’t have been an issue.  she would have nuzzled it, understood its flimsiness, and scooted past or torn it down. 

@@but Watson chose to be limited by a rectangle of fabric…and he was.@@  the towel was seen as an insurmountable obstacle…and it became one.  he decided the only way out was with someone’s help…and that was his reality

that, readers, is how we arrive at a huge dog being scared of a beach towel.  it was absurd, laughable, and adorable.  so much freedom…wasted. 

Watson’s not the only one living like that.  sometimes we all convince ourselves cotton is a locked cage door.   haven’t you overestimated the power of a thought, decision, problem, or situation?  you gave someone more importance than they wielded and suddenly they loomed large in your life. 

it’s all a matter of perception.  we do not need to believe our thoughts but we often do.  @@the fear we create can be dismantled and ignored.@@   clearly, Watson hasn’t read Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way

if he had, he would know “desperation, despair, fear, powerlessness—these reactions are functions of our perceptions.  You must realize: Nothing makes us feel this way; we choose to give in to such feelings.”

he’d see the error in letting a beach towel fool him into fearing it.  “through our perception of events, we are complicit in the creation—as well as the destruction—of every one of our obstacles.”

what are your current threats, barriers, and limits?  what’s disallowed or impossible?  is this your only option?  let me know in the comments!