It dawned on me as I reviewed this blog–three years old now–and set about changing it around, that I often post about my dogs and what they’ve taught me along the way.
I walked around on a badly split tibial plateau (that’s part of the knee) for three weeks, until my dogs wouldn’t stop licking the spot where I’d landed after my fall. That sent me on my way to urgent care, despite feeling no pain and the absence of bruising or swelling. It turned out to be a nasty split in need of immediate attention.
They’ve woken me up hours before a major earthquake and had me on alert when it hit.
They’ve taught me many lessons about being a creative and the difficulties I’ll encounter and the power of focus and tenacity.
Most of all, they’ve taught me about the softer side of myself. The sucker, the cuddler, the crooner of soothing words, the endless patience I often have, and many dangers beyond my sensory abilities.
I’m currently reading a book with a drastic new take on the human condition that blows apart Jung’s “shadow self” and especially Freud and his nonsense (I’ll get to that later). It talks about what’s now commonly accepted as the Internal Family of Selfs. We’re not one or the other, we are many. It’s a matter of which one of our selfs will dominate. I rarely let this more frightened, lonely, goofy, fragile and lazy self dominate. Nobody but my husband knows I strike the pose of a Super Hero, standing on one foot, before I leave the room. Nobody but my immediate family knows how easily a single word sets me off singing (badly) a song from the 60s.
And nobody but my dogs know how often I cry.
Big girls don’t cry. I’m not all that big, and my dogs know it. They don’t let me get away with my bullshit.
Since I can’t seem to get a handle on my other self-hosted sites (I mucked up the name on one–geesh), I thought I’d come back here, cuddled on each side by my dogs, and let down my guard in a place that feels familiar.
I’ll clear up that nasty remark I made about Freud before I get on to what the dogs have told me about today. It’s well known that Jung was Freud’s protege and they had a nasty split after a few years. The history of that split, as most of us who pay attention to those things know, was over Jung’s belief in spirituality and the unseen in this world.
Now I wonder about the true nature of their split. Freud started delving into the mind, along with several other physicians who were beginning to believe it actually existed, about the same time William James was developing the foundation of the mind in the States. The basis of Freud and his cohorts of Everything That’s Wrong With Us was sexual abuse somewhere in our past, at least for those of us that had Something Wrong With Us. The more enthusiastic Freud became about this theory, and the more he researched and explored it, the more he uncovered unbearable atrocities in his own family; things about which he dare not face, let alone expose. He became very loud and dominant in the theory of the mind, and changed it to sexual repression and family dynamics with a whiff of sexuality. He took point amongst thought leaders of his time.
Was their ferocious split about the unseen spiritual world, or was that Jung’s way of protecting his beloved teacher while distancing himself from Freud? He certainly got a lot of attention for the very public split, and people did fancy his unseen world and pay heavily for his therapy. (He’s quoted as saying the patient is cured when they run out of money.) We know that Scientology was a hoax from the beginning, nothing more than a SciFi book that gave the author an idea for starting a new religion. Is that what happened with Jung?
I don’t have an answer for that question. I’m not fond of absolute answers, love rolling around in the muck of amorphous questions, which:
Brings me back to my dogs.
This has been the hottest summer on record in the U.S., especially here in the South. But I’ve stuck with my rigid routine of rising before the sun, writing 1,000 words by 5 a.m., then taking the dogs for an adventure and some exercise. I’ve pushed myself through this cloak of heat that nourished Faulkner, Harper Lee, Grisham and Maya Angelou with the help of enormous amounts of caffeine, a dose of inspirational quotes from the internet, and the bouncy-de-bounce of the dogs when I put on clothes and try opening the garage door with the TV remote. If anything in my morning ritual fails me, the bouncey-de-bounce of the dogs pushes me onward. Can’t let them down, can I, even if the TV remote is evidence that I’m not fully functional.
Yesterday, after our outing, I kept pushing myself as Molly and Toby headed back to bed. Molly stayed there until 5 p.m.
This morning, she refused to get out of bed. Period.
As I sucked up coffee and chomped vitamin B12 tablets, with Toby’s sleep-craved head bobbing faithfully next to me, I had a revelation via @dogs:
It’s too hot, Mom. The ritual is comforting, but it’s killing us all.
It made me wonder if the nature I feel inside of me, which I now feel is the nature outside of me, hasn’t declared this season as one of a slow simmer of thoughts and ideas and letting tangled knots melt in the heat.
Beside me Molly just whimpered in her dreams, affirming the words I’ve just written. To every thing, there is a season. (Boy, her head is really bobbing now in her day-long release from my good intentions and their comfort of routine.)
I’m aware that others are working just fine in this heavy air, but they’re not me and that’s a damned good thing or one of us would be redundant. They’re not me, and they’re not my dogs, who are the smartest people I know. They say we should cuddle on my cool airbed, nuzzle our throats and ears and noses in a day of heat so thick all problems get lost in the mists. They rolled over in our new morning routine of bed lounging and told me I’d feel much better, and not cry once today, if I rubbed their bellies, so I did. It’s been a very good day.
If you’ll excuse me now, I have some Nothing to do while (stealing from Stephen King here) the Boys In The Basement untangle some knots that are much too difficult for me to untie.
Ah-ha! I just had the thought that I’d use this day to read a style book. Molly gave me a good dream-kick when that thought crossed my mind.
Let it go, Mom. It’s too hot.
Be the Other You today. We need her right now.