Yes; we will be discussing all of those topics.
As they weave together.
Regardless of whether you are a ‘dog person’ or not, I am sure you will get where I am coming from, and take something of value from this conversation.
Over the last bunch of weeks I have had some really tough decisions to make in relationship to dogs, which have not been easy.
Time to really practice what I teach.
All of which I have written about over this year and are in my latest book (18 Ways We Make Life Way Harder Than It Needs To Be) and YES, that is a ridiculously blatant plug for my new book, but I am okay with that as I know it will serve you well.
Now let’s jump straight into the life of Carl Massy story time…
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
A handful of weeks ago I finally made a decision which I was labouring over for weeks.
We had a sausage dog called Apple, who was nearing 16 years of age; but was deaf, blind, increasingly disorientated, and wasting away, until she weighed only about 2.7kg (just over 5 pounds).
I was “hoping” she would pass peacefully, because we were planning on moving very soon, and I figured the trauma and disorientation of that move would make her life pretty crappy.
As you know, I am not a fan of just ‘hoping’ things work out well.
This was a tough choice because I kept asking myself “who am I to make the choice of life or death?”, while watching Apple waste away and her quality of life deteriorate.
Finally I decided I would own the choice, and have her put down at the local veterinarian.
On the day, I made sure I was in the vets, and there to see and be with her as she took her last breath.
It was done with loving care by the staff, but it was a pretty sad moment for me and Ferry.
Though I did get to feelings of peace; as later I laid her body to rest on our new property, and felt like she was coming on our grand new adventure in the most dignified way she could. I also built a garden around her and it is now a special place to stay connected to Apple and her memory. R.I.P. Apple.
My partner – Ferry – and I had talked about getting another dog after Apple passed and as there are lots of rescue dogs in Bali looking for homes, we decided we would do a ‘trial adoption’ of one of the rescue dogs from Hope For Bali Dogs, where we got our other dog (Gundi) from.
I am always conscious – whenever possible – of experiencing something new on a temporary basis, and getting real-world feedback, before a more permanent decision is made.
The first dog we trialed, for a number of reasons, was not a good fit. So as per the agreement with the rescue centre we returned her.
The second dog we trialed was such a sweet dog. Affectionate. Playful. Happy to commute by scooter (an ‘essential’ for us). Well behaved in cafes (highly desirable). However there were also some behavioural downsides, mainly because she had been raised and lived on the streets of Bali.
We had her for a few days and were starting to get emotionally attached to her.
But my gut was not settled.
Something was nagging me – but I was not quite sure what it was.
It didn’t feel like the choice was a “Hell Yeah!” even though she was a sweetie.
Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.
Ferry was in a similar state of uncertainty.
Then I did my usual Monday morning beach walk and when I stopped to meditate I dropped deeply into a very relaxed and centred state of being (free of distraction and mental clutter), to tap into my hearts wisdom.
That is when I had a light-bulb moment.
I realised I was asking the WRONG question.
I was asking “Is this the right dog for our lifestyle and given our other dog (Gundi)?”
The BETTER QUESTIONS were:
“Will this dog add COMPLEXITY to our lives?”
The answer was a clear “Yes”.
“Given what is happening in our lives at the moment, is this the BEST TIME to bring a new dog into our home (which is going through major changes over the next 6-8 months)?”
The answer was a clear “No”.
Fortunately the heart doesn’t ramble.
I realised, as hard as it was to return this beautiful kind-hearted dog to the rescue shelter, it was the RIGHT thing to do for us, for now.
Tears were shed by Ferry, and I was sad (plus I felt like a bit of a meanie), but we both knew it was the right choice.
My gut also settled down once I made the choice to return the dog.
That is positive feedback for me that I made the right choice, regardless of how hard it was to make happen.
Here are the key lessons and take-away’s for me:
- Ask the RIGHT questions (they make all the difference).
- Listen to your GUT, and if it feels off, go deeper to understand the disturbance (don’t just ignore it).
- If you make a choice that will ADD COMPLEXITY to your life, make sure the complexity is worth it, or that you have the CAPACITY to handle the added complexity.
- Use the power of the wisdom of your HEART (which requires stillness, quiet and no distractions).
(I actually think if you don’t go into true stillness and inner quiet, you might think you are hearing the heart, but what you might be hearing is the brains intellectualization of what it THINKS the heart is telling you. That is a very different thing IMHO.)
- OWN your final choices (it builds character and belief in self).
My Parting word
I think the summary above said most of what needs saying.
The piece on asking BETTER QUESTIONS is probably the biggest thing for me to highlight.
It is irrelevant how smart your answer is if you have asked the wrong question (or incomplete) in the first place.
I made the mistake of not asking the right questions, before we decided to do our trial adoption.
Now time to truly learn it, and apply it, for next time.
I hope you learned something along the way too.
And if you want to learn even more…here is my equally unsubtle 2nd plug…
Check out my new book18 Ways We Make Life Way Harder Than It Needs To Be.
That’s all for now.
Have a refined-question day and a week where you only consciously (and with discernment) add complexity to your life.
See you next week.