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51. The Laughing Lady

Sir Oliver's Granny

On our walks, sir Oliver and I, meet new people. Some walk bye, some say hello and others take a moment and chitchat. Some weeks ago we met a lady with a Maltese dog. Our dogs seem to like each other, up to a point where they calmly sniffed each others scent without being too much obsessed with the sniffing. Sir Oliver doesn’t like those small dogs that only want to sniff his butt over and over again, and lately he is capable of making them aware of the fact that they annoy him.

As said, sir Oliver and Boris, were able to be together for a moment in peace. At first I was occupied with the way the dogs were interacting and didn’t fully register what was happening on a human/mind level. Then I noticed that the lady was almost constantly laughing, and I mean not just giggling, no just full out laughing. I was a bit puzzled, since what I said was not so much funny, so why was she laughing so much?

After meeting this lady twice, my daughter said: ” she might be feeling socially awkward”. And all I had been occupied with was: why is she laughing, what am I doing wrong, is she laughing at me, what is wrong here? So when my daughter talked about the lady might be insecure and socially awkward, I of course understood and knew that was the case, yet I had taken it personal and was searching within my mind why she did this to me. My question should have been: what is the matter with me?

It had really been irritating me that this lady was constantly laughing, at a certain point I only heard her laughing. I was obsessed with focussing on her laughing, so what was I covering up here? When I came home I made a first commitment of breathing through the lady’s laughing the next time we would meet, getting my focus off the laughing. I then gave myself a little task for the next time we would meet, I was going to get to know this lady and her dog.

The next time I met her I let her speak about her dog, which she got from a shelter, and the dog had an abusive past as well. While listening to her story, I could see she was less laughing and more giggling now. Sir Oliver and Boris were still the same way with each other, and getting into a ritual of sniffing and saying hello to each other.

Ok, so I had not entirely focussed on the laughing of this lady and I truly did an attempt to get to know her and her dog. The lady got a face now, so to speak, and she was not only the laughing lady to me anymore. I also liked the few minutes of talking to her when we met.

Then I noticed that my mind had found other things to focus on. Now when talking to her I saw how bad her teeth were and how unkept her hair was. I was obviously not here, I was everywhere else, except for here. Yet still enjoying meeting her now and then when our walks/paths crossed.

The other day, sir Oliver and I, saw the lady and Boris walking  ahead of us. Sir Oliver started almost running, wanting to see and sniff Boris and I would have enjoyed a little chat as well. Yet, the lady didn’t see us and I didn’t want to yell and shout at her. So we saw them, but they didn’t see us and our paths parted. In that moment it didn’t feel cool, I felt rejected, while I could perfectly well see that the lady had not seen us.

It was time, I had to look into this point, why was I trying to find flaws in the other and why was I feeling rejected? And then I could see the sore spot. There is this pattern going on in my life where I move a lot and meet a lot of new people. Most people live in my new environment already their whole life, have their friend groups and do not feel they lack anything, let alone a friend or friendship. So I have been feeling like the odd one out for many years, which then became a pattern of fearing to become the third wheel.

What I had been doing with the laughing lady was already finding ways why I would not want to be socially engaging with her. Just like with relationships, breaking up before the other might break up with us. I had activated a defense mechanism to not get hurt, yet I was setting myself up for disaster. And I ended up being socially awkward, not wanting to get too close out of the fear of getting rejected.

So when I could see that I was the one not accepting me and therefore reflecting it on to this lady, finding flaws and become obsessed with it, I had to change my stance completely. Meeting people is meeting people and is not yet a relationship as in friendship. I had to slow down big time, in my mind I was already in a friendship and breaking up almost simultaneous with this lady. That’s fast living!

Now I take it in the moment and enjoy the moment of human contact without any expectations what so ever. Because why missing out on the good part when it is presented and only spend time up there in my head, cooking up the worst case scenario of something that is not even here? Making friends is something that happens or not, making friends with myself is something I can direct, so that’s what I will do, and enjoy others that cross my and sir Oliver’s path.

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50. A Little Homesick

Sir Oliver's Granny

This weekend was the weekend sir Oliver had to be taken to our dog-sitter. It was as exciting for me as for sir Oliver, only my excitement took place before the event and his during his stay with the dog-sitter.

We picked this couple to be our dog-sitters due to getting to know the man and seeing him being so calm and sweet with sir Oliver. It was one of the man of the foundation we got sir Oliver from, that did a house call to see if all was going fine with sir Oliver.

At the end of the morning this Saturday, we brought sir Oliver to the dog-sitters. We put up his dog bed in this strange house and sir Oliver started investigating the living room. The plan had been, to go for a walk with sir Oliver and the man, and then half way the walk leaving the man and sir Oliver to go home. Since sir Oliver was quite calm and sniffing around the living room we decided to sneak away without a walk first.

During the day I had moments where I did think about him wondering how he was doing, though it was never with any anxiety or worry. I had seen how this man was behaving around our dog and that gave me trust and peace to let go and enjoy my parents 50th anniversary.

Around 10:30 PM my daughter and I went to the dog-sitters to collect sir Oliver. My daughter called the couple to let them know we were on our way. The woman was home and the man was walking sir Oliver. So we parked the car and went to their home. My daughter heard sir Oliver’s name tag tinkle. And when we looked back we saw the man with sir Oliver.

We all went in their house at once and sir Oliver was super excited to see us again. We came back! We didn’t abandon him! Or at least that was how I explained his excitement. The couple told us that sir Oliver had a bit of a hard time after we had left that morning. He had been wheezing and crying and then when the couple was nice and sweet he made the best out of it.

The man told us that sir Oliver had been sniffing at a certain car that evening, so he was curious if that was our car. And indeed it was, so sir Oliver is able to tell which car is the one he travels in. And then he spotted us, only by scent, and tracked us down at the front door of the dog-sitters house.

These sweet people didn’t want to be paid for their services, so I made them my homemade chocolates. Lucky enough they could appreciate the dark chocolate with almond paste filling. They even offered to dog-sit sir Oliver again whenever we needed it.

The moment we started to collect all sir Oliver’s belongings to get ready to go home again, sir Oliver got a bit nervous. To let him know that he was allowed to come home with us we did put on his harness and leash, as a sign for him to know he was going home with us.

After being a little homesick he had been having a nice day and we found out that sir Oliver is a bit of a womanizer, since he only liked the woman to pet him and get him ready to go outside. The man however was good for the walks but not to touch him or do anything special with him. That is exactly what we experience in our own household with my partner. So a bit of a relief for my partner that sir Oliver behavior of being afraid and cautious with him, is not personal. Sir Oliver might have had bad experiences as a test animal with men in general.  Simple a point to work through for sir Oliver and we as his caregivers.

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49. The Smartphone

Sir Oliver's Granny

A few weeks ago I committed myself to take my smartphone with me when going for walks with sir Oliver. I then didn’t realize that it wasn’t a commitment, it was more a point of common sense that I wanted to make into a habit when going out with sir Oliver. In other words the intend was more of a desire than really taking the smartphone and bring it with me.

There have been moments where my home front wanted to contact me and wasn’t able to do so. There have been times that I wanted to take a picture and I couldn’t.  I could see the need for bringing the smartphone and that was about it.

I tried again and made the commitment again. Now there were times that I did take the smartphone with me, there were times I forgot it and there were times I remembered taking the smartphone with me, yet I decided not to. When looking at this behavior there was clearly something off.

Whenever I brought the smartphone with me, all was fine, and not much thoughts were involved. The moments I forgot, it was not always really forgetting, it was simply not trying to remember. And the times where I deliberately didn’t take the smartphone with me, it was like I was rebelling against the fact that I had committed to take the smartphone with me.

Then I directed myself to have a closer look at the point of rebelling. What or who was I rebelling against? I looked inside of myself in relation to this situation and looked for the emotions that were at play. I could feel the desire for freedom inside of me. Now I had to figure out why the smartphone or bringing the smartphone was withholding me my desired freedom.

I found a belief inside of myself that the smartphone does connect me with my outside world and my responsibilities. On my walks alone with sir Oliver I enjoy being alone with him, enjoying the weather and enjoying a moment of not being disturbed and only focussing on the walk and the adventures that come with it.

It was clear to me that letting go of this belief would assist me to let go of my rebelling behavior as well. The smartphone cannot claim me or dictate me to do anything else than enjoying my walk. It is me who determines how I experience myself on walks with sir Oliver. And if I decide that I am away for 30-45 minutes and only take responsibility for that moment, I can as well take full responsibility for that which awaits me when I get home. No one tells me that those walks cannot be a moment of relaxation, reflection and being here with sir Oliver. It is me that decides if I can fully enjoy me in every moment, it is only me that can gift myself this time with me and my surroundings.

After realizing this I have not yet once missed of forgot to take my smartphone with me when going alone on walks with sir Oliver. Which shows me that when we make commitments with ourselves, and we do not fully understand what is exactly at play, it will be far more difficult to stick to the commitment.

So for everyone that is into New Years resolutions or commitments, think again when it’s merely a desire, since you will set yourself up for disaster and most likely not only disappoint yourself.