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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.

 

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6. The Road to Freedom

 

Sir Oliver's Granny

While still experimenting with finding a nice basic route for sir Oliver’s walks, I decided today to let sir Oliver decide where to go.

When we leave the house he first sniffs in the air, then he glues his nose to the ground and almost non-stop he follows traces and tracks down any poop or pee done by any other dog, as well as mapping out people and their odors. Here the Beagle in him is coming through a 100 percent.

So since he loves to ‘track and trace’, I followed his nose and see where it would bring us. Now where did I get this, in the moment great sounding idea, from? I still do pity sir Oliver for what he has been through as a laboratory dog. Now he’s finally free free, I wanted to give him real freedom. And yes, that is a fantasy in itself, because letting him walk unleashed and free would be quite a mistake for a dog that is not yet trained, not socialized and only for a short period with us. Therefore I used a derivative version of this fantasy, to  follow sir Oliver’s nose while him being on a leash.

There we went, the 2 of us. He immediately took a very different direction of what we had been doing so far. In fact it was the first route we took when we went outside with him, and that route was leading us into a bit of a green park like area and then it ended in a dead end when going straight or it lead us into an industrial area when going left. So we could turn around after the park ended or follow sir Oliver’s nose and go who knows where. It ‘felt’ quite liberated to follow his nose, so we went under the flyover and my total body said: not a good idea. But hey, I ignored half of me, sending out some common sense signals. So we walked, had to cross a busy road with trucks and I could see sir Oliver not being quite comfortable with it. Though the traces were stronger than himself and we walked further. At the next traffic lights sir Oliver was overstimulated by his surrounding and I was full of guilt of what I was putting him through.

He refused to take another step in the direction we needed to go, to get home. I tried to figure out what the best and fastest way was to get home as soon as possible. I carried sir Oliver over the crosswalk and felt his little heart beating fast. What a monster was I, that I thought I could be his savior, whileI was not taking responsibility for his well-being. How could sir Oliver ever know what route would be best for him. He doesn’t know yet the area where we brought him to, he doesn’t have a GPS inside of him. I mean my daughter didn’t buy a pigeon after all.

So when we came home, sir Oliver took a nap after his very (over)stimulating adventure. It was obvious that he was dreaming about it, when seeing his body making movements in his sleep. I still felt guilty, and I had been feeling guilty from the start already, for what society had done to him as a lab animal. And now when my daughter had adopted sir Oliver I really thought I could do good, make up for those years. That and my perception of freedom brought me to act this way and the savior personality wasn’t able to hear common sense due to the fear of losing itself. Freedom is not necessarily doing whatever you want without taking any self-responsibility. When sir Oliver’s well-being is in my hands, I have to be responsible for both of us. I have to provide him real stability and not chasing some illusion of what freedom is.

After siting down with myself and reflecting upon what had happened I decided that we needed a basic route for sir Oliver’s walks. That way he can become stable within interacting with his new environment, getting to know the dogs we pass by and align ourselves so sir Oliver and I can rely on each other. The idea is to have 3 slightly different walks for every time we go out in the morning, afternoon and evening.

I do not have to create freedom for sir Oliver, it is up to sir Oliver to become a dog again instead of a lab subject. And my task is to facilitate him with common sense so he can be the best Beagle he’s ever been in the near future.

What did I learn today? That guilt is a bad adviser to make decisions from and that I am not God and thus not able to erase sir Oliver’s past, I can only co-create his future, and I am glad to be part of that.