Candle Flame

Firing Neurons, Scottie

I caught a flicker of a candle flame. It appeared during a recent meditation. The reflection was the shadow of a tiny flare that flashed way back behind my eyes. Oh look: shiny!

I thought about the focus and intentionality needed to light a candle. A single match, touched correctly to the prepared and accepting wick; and the flame catches, flickering to life. It’s the subject of this weeks “Helpful Hints.”

Focusing Intention

We need to focus on the wick to direct the fire to it. Then, connecting with it with the precise movement of the match it becomes our intention, expressed.

This focused candle lighting is different from lighting the many candles on a birthday cake. In addition to needing to focus on connecting with each individual candle, this broad cast lighting includes forethought and planning. Beginning with the candles farthest from me, I light them in rows; finishing with the ones closest to me. That way my hand does not get singed reaching over the already lit ones.

The candles on my cake were still; mired in dense and delicious butter cream frosting. What would happen if they were moving; like flying horses on a carousel or dogs moving during a PetMassage?

Setting Moving Targets Afire

I brought some birthday candles to our PetMassage workshop and asked each of the students to light them as I held them. The task was challenging because they had to light them as I moved my hand randomly about. The first person moved her match following after the flame. Eventually she caught up with it, overtook it, and as it moved by, lit it. The second person immediately reached over with her other hand, stabilized my moving hand, and easily set match to wick. The third student, while tracking the candle, accidentally touched her match to the wick as it passed by. It was enough to spontaneously light it.

Here were three different methods of lighting candles. The first was following and catching up with the movement. The second controlled the movement. The third stuck the landing accidentally. All three got the job done. All three accomplished the task of lighting the candle.

PetMassage On Moving Dogs

Each is a valid approach to working with dogs in PetMassage. Some of us follow on the dogs movements, catch up with them, and apply our intentionally focused techniques when we can, and when we get there. Some of us are more comfortable maintaining a grip on the collar with one hand to limit the dog’s movement. Sometimes while tracking something else, we accidentally stumble into the exact right spot where we need to be, and to our joy and amazement, we facilitate the exact right shift in fascia. All three got the job done. All three accomplished the task of PetMassaging dogs.

In practice, all three approaches are incorporated into each session. We may be holding the dog with one hand, chasing after their movements with the other, and inadvertently, as luck would have it, land exactly where we need to be, to address the dog’s most compelling issues.

“Luck” is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. -Somebody sometime

Training, Experience, And Trust

That’s when our PetMassage training pays off. We have studied the texts, taken the five day hands-on workshop, and learned the skills that we will need for most situations. We’ve practiced with and methodically documented our sessions with dogs. We’ve witnessed firsthand the types of responses they have to various techniques. That’s just the beginning.

Our experience builds. Our understanding blossoms. And, with each dog, our appreciation deepens. We have arrived to the place where we can trust our hands to do what they’ve been trained to do: even while dogs are moving, instill balance with PetMassage.

Here’s an appropriate quote:

“The best wrestler is not he who has learned thoroughly all the tricks and twists of the art, which are seldom met within actual wrestling, but he who has well and carefully trained himself in one or two of them, and watches keenly for an opportunity of practising them.” — Seneca, On Benefits, vii. 1

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