The Gift of Accepting
The gift of accepting “what is” frees us in the present moment…creating space to imagine new possibilities.
I arrived home from work with the best of intentions. Tonight was the night. Sure, it was cold. Sure, it was dark. Sure, it was rainy. But tonight was exam night.
I approached her with collar and leash in hand. As I was about to place them on her, our eyes met. I paused in mid air. I looked searchingly at her. She looked triumphantly at me. And that one look said it all. In that moment, it seemed as if we knew – really knew – what we had both sensed all along. We were destined to become obedience school dropouts. After all, why show up for an exam we KNEW we were going to fail? And if we’d stood ANY chance of succeeding, then why, at the end of our final class, would the trainer have informed me – in albeit polite words that simply beckoned me to read between the lines – that we “might need a few more sessions.” Might? Might?
MIGHT I have known on Day One that we MIGHT have needed extra sessions on Day Sixty-One?
On Day One, we had obediently arrived on time for our first class on obedience. After all, wasn’t obedience training supposed to make life easier for both of us – well, for me, at least? However, within the first five minutes, I came face to face with the fact that an easier life was going to be an uphill battle. The first sign was her reaction to the overtures of the sweet, friendly dog that ended up standing next to us. For as soon as he glanced in her direction, she snarled. Before he could even complete a full wag of his tail, she growled. And when he dared to reach over and introduce himself, she snapped. Not taking her at her bark, he continued to lean over, wagging his tail with the exuberance of innocence. In an instant, the leash in my hand went from slightly taut (I was already holding on for dear life) to tightrope taut, a clear warning that she had taken matters into her own paws. She lunged; I pulled. Luckily, we ended up several inches away from a dazed and confused Mr Friendly.
That was the first and the last time that he stood next to us.
During our at home training sessions, I found her I-have-a-mind-of-my-own attitude to be frustrating as well as fascinating. It seemed that she would “obey” for as long or as little as she wanted. Varying the length of her obedience to my commands had a positive (for her) effect on the frequency with which I gave her treats. In other words, because I was so happy that she obeyed for even short periods, I gave her a treat after each, even minimal, act of obedience. All in all, she ended up receiving more treats per session than she would’ve earned if she had, in fact, met the minimum time requirements for each obedient act.
So, sixty days after Day One, on exam night, we just stayed home and watched a movie.
She had treats, and I had ice cream.
She had trained me well.
Invitation: How might accepting one “what is” in your life create space to imagine new, life-giving possibilities?