Achieving Balance and Harmony

COMMUNITY

Leanne Sweeney

We don't go political on our blog so this isn't about world peace. Some of you are saying "well, thank God for that," and some of you are saying,"wimps!!!" No matter what your persuasion, this blog is about inner peace, something I was talking about with my daughter on the phone last weekend. I should have been talking to myself, but I'll get to that point soon--I hope!

My daughter is a dancer in New York and only recently took a job as the Public Relations Director for Dance Theater Workshop. This seemed to fit well with her undergrad degree in English and her M.A. in dance. It was also a good fit with her family pocketbook. She and her husband have been creative but oh-so-poor New Yorkers for a little too long.

She is a lot like her mom. We obsess. Sometimes our thoughts become circular and our minds won't shut off. She has been struggling with this problem lately because when she took the new job, her time for dance and for creating dropped significantly. This is forcing her to think about her future, about where she needs to go with her talent and her ambitions. She is doubting herself and I fully understand. I doubt myself all the time. I suggested that she needed to do something removed from dance, something that would quiet her mind. I do handwork--cross stitch, quilting, knitting--and she always loved stamping and scrapbooking, but has gotten away from these things. I'm hoping she will get back to that.

This conversation stuck with me, just beneath the surface all week. I wasn't exactly thinking about it on a conscious level, but I'd missed something. And strange as it may same, Cesar, the Dog Whisperer provided the answer. Okay. This is the biggest non sequitur you've ever read, right? Let me explain. We have the hyperactive dog, Rosie. Love her to death, but as I have mentioned on this blog before, I have to spend money to send her away to doggy day care so I can work. She will not leave me alone. She wants to play all day and I am her toy. All you sensible people know this is not right. Heck, I know it's not right. Knowing something is wrong and solving the problem are two different things, however.

My sister sent us a copy of Cesar's Way, the Dog Whisperer's book. She knows how frustrated I am with the dog I love so much. One sentence he wrote made me finally understand why this dog is running my life. Books are great, aren't they? Cesar says that a dog is sent to you for a reason, even though you may not know why at the time, even though you think you're just getting a new best friend. This dog is with me to teach me to find that inner peace I was preaching about to my daughter.

I have faced numerous health challenges in the last several years. Nothing life threatening, nothing that is all that important to anyone but me and my husband. But for the first time since I was a child, I felt as if forces beyond my control had taken over. I am an A personality. I have to find answers, fix things, make it right. And go go go every waking minute. But these health problems? Let's just say I can't be that person anymore. So I have been running from one treatment option to another looking for a cure. I have lost weight and sleep and yes, peace of mind. I cannot control my own body. It has become my enemy. And then the conversation with my daughter and the Dog Whisperer's words crashed together. I am the one who needs to find peace. And Rosie is here so I can practice exactly how to do that.

For the last several days, my interactions with my dog have been far different. She is a little confused, but I am so very calm with her. My voice, my body, the way I walk--everything must tell this animal that I am the one in control, not her. It takes effort, more than I thought possible. But as I think about remaining calm--and not for an hour, but every waking minute--the storm inside me is subsiding. You cannot be angry about what life has handed you when you are focused on remaining calm. For the first time, I believe I can accept what I've been handed. I breathe deeply more often, I am making a conscious effort to quiet my mind, to speak gently not only to Rosie, but to myself.

And the dog? She's learning a new way, and so am I. Cesar's Way

Leanne Sweeney Friendswood, TX

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