Spirit Expressions of Lake and Dogs
Messages From The Deep
Sitting on the beach watching the waves, I’m drawn to the dark grey-blue horizon line defining the lake surface against the luminescent aquamarine sky. The sounds of waves envelop me. The lake is alive; breathing its waves onto the sand. Exhale on, inhale back.
The waves pattern the sand. They flow up reaching inland as far as they can. Each, a slightly different expression of expended effort; liquid fingers caressing the shore. Attempts from the depths and immensity of Lake Michigan to come ashore. Inevitable retreats leave trails of glistening foam. One by one, unrequited bubbles decay into oblivion. Each pattern, a holographic message from the depths.
Similarities Of Lake And Dogs
There are similarities in the expressions of the lake and those of dogs during their PetMassage™ sessions.
With both, it’s easy to see and touch their surfaces. Into both, I can dip my hand to the depth of a few inches. I palpate. When I think about what I feel, I realize my interpretations are so limited. I can only know what I know.
I can sense that there are massive quantities of unobservable content that well up onto my hands. I am missing the many silent messages broadcast from the depths of their spiritual and physical experiences.
I look to the lake and watch the never-ending activity. It’s easy to visualize the living/breathing metaphor. I cannot know what is happening or what has happened there. I cannot know what the tide carries to the beach. I cannot predict what will be dragged back into the waters as the waves recede. Something is reaching up from the hidden depths to grasp for my attention.
Before me there is a thin dark slick staining the sand. My first thoughts are of oil, possibly leaked from passing motorboats or discharged from somewhere out beyond the horizon. The greasy pall spreads fifty yards along the shore.
Railroad ties had been placed along the beach to retard erosion. Heavy steel spikes driven deep into the sand hold them in place. The oil might be the creosote leaching from the ties. The stains are close to the wooden breakers. If they’re the source, the oil must have flowed out with the inhaling waves, dissipated, and resurfaced back along the shoreline. I’ll never know. It doesn’t matter if I know. The oil is there. It is part of the beaches life experience. It is what the lake is processing and working to heal. That I see it, allows me to energetically support the lake in its journey.
I compare this with dogs. Dogs feel my presence and support when my touch, infused with intention, washes over their bodies. So many interwoven environmental, behavioral, and organic influences are at play.
Standing in the shallows, the lake water laps over my ankles. As it retreats, it sucks the sand from beneath my feet. I am left perilously off balance; needing to step onto fresh sand to keep from toppling into the water.
When I withdraw my hands, dogs may be left feeling their balance upset, as well. I’m challenging them by redistributing their habitualized support systems; their foundation, their sand. At some unknowable stratum they too may need to take a spirit step to the side.
Connecting With Spirit
My hands move and their body-spirits respond. It’s a step forward, if they’ve been stuck and that’s what they need. A step back, if they need a place to hide to retrench. A step up and over or across, if they are processing confusions, or discovering ways around obstructions to their happiness. Every element of PetMassage™ gives dogs choices. Go forth, go back, move to the side, stay where they are. Repeat. And repeat, until comfort is achieved.
While we work on the outside, they work from the inside. With our assistance, they begin to process what they alone know to address.
It’s a Tango.
The dogs move, step by step, through their PetMassage dance; and by its completion, they are different. They are transformed. The steps they take, move them toward enhanced function and balance beginning at their most elemental sources. Spirit.
There is a specific form of breath-work used in PetMassage™ that is shared in the Foundation and Canine Aquatic Massage workshops. As dogs follow this breath, they move into the self-awareness, self-appraisal; self-realignment, and self-healing that is rooted in spirit.
Spirit is pure life force infused with the combinations of memories of emotions, memories of intentions, and memories of biological and psychosocial behaviors. The spirit systems within the dogs body are the sources for how and why they function.
We do not have to know the specifics, like we didn’t have to know the source of the oil. With PetMassage™ we lead the dance. The dogs follow. They present themselves as a tangled web of spiritual conversations, questions, and demands. We, the strength, the form, the structure, hold them and guide them. It is a dance to process, acknowledge and honor the presence and power of spirit. Our presence gives them the means to step onto fresh sand; into balance and wholeness of function.
Resplendent in their newly reconstructed spirits, minds, and bodies, they are refreshed and revitalized. With PetMassage™ they approach the rest of their lives with relaxed confidence and ease.