Carlie has stepped into becoming a teenager in a dog’s development. Oh yeah! So now our game of retrieve the ball becomes more adventuresome. You see as a puppy, she wants to connect and please. She brought everything to me….slippers, socks, undergarments, mittens, her toys, whatever she thinks is interesting. So we played a wonderful game of differentiation. We carefully inspect each item and notice its value to me and also its value to Carlie. ‘These clothes simply can’t be enjoyable long-term to you Carlie, so they belong to me. Oh boy, these toys seem really delightful and really hold great play function. These toys are better belonging to you Carlie.’
Now, step into teenage years. Sharing? Are you kidding? I know Shirley Lynn is the treasurer and the quality controller of my resources. But isn’t it time to play keep away! Well, yes there is the keep away game of ‘little shep chase’. In this game, Carlie can run with great agility and zig-zag in all kinds of tricky turns and turnabouts while I cue chasing her. Oh it’s great fun. You can never catch me she confidently messages me through her eyes. A great game for a teenager dog!
Let’s play ball, she says. If you throw it, then I’ll chase and get it. Shirley Lynn agrees to this game. It’s a good game and we both delight in it. And because we both choose to play ‘retrieve’, the game easily manifests! Darn it, Carlie’s body language communicates. I’m a teenager and I want to do it alone and not share. What a dilemma. If I bring the ball back to Shirley Lynn then I give up control. I want to experience full control. But if I hold on too tightly to the ball and not give it back to Shirley Lynn, then she just sits there and the game stops. Boring! And if I don’t bring it close enough to her, then it just sits there between us and the game stops again. Not what I intend!
I (Carlie) think of so many ways how I could hold onto the control of the ball without giving it up and still have Shirley Lynn throw the ball. I’m quite intelligent you see and I love to problem-solve. I wander around the table and drop it. But it doesn’t go anywhere really. And then I try to bounce it by tossing it a bit, but drat, it still doesn’t go far enough for me to give a good chase. Hmmmmph. There is no game. The only way I can really have what I want is to share control of the ball. I have to release what I really prize to continue a really good game and feel the joy of the game. I use all my natural intelligence of heart and mind and notice that sharing control gets me exactly what I want.
And so in surrender I go towards Shirley Lynn and drop the ball in front of her and immediately she rewards me and throws it again. The game is on! YAHOOOO! My sense of control is fully engaged as I move my body with such ease and skill to ‘retrieve’ the prize Shirley Lynn and I share. It’s a big lesson. And I am happy. I notice Shirley Lynn is laughing too.
©Shirley Lynn Martin
May 4, 2012