You are Right

Baseball: Who’s on First?

The World Series is playing. It’s the Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians. I’m watching it on TV. Wrigley Field in Chicago is a scene of otherworldly angst and enchantment. The fans are captivated. The outcome of the game will determine their collective destiny. Are they perennial losers, or is the “spell of the goat” finally broken? Could they finally be winners? Their fate hangs on every pitch, every hit, every steal, every out, every spit, scratch, smile and grimace. The aura of the stadium is pulsing electric; everything is excited and excitable energy. The cameraman shows someone holding up a sign: “The Future starts now.” Affirmations. Thought energy can make anything happen. Maybe.

The Cleveland Indians are at bat. The pitcher stretches and hurls a 90+ MPH slider. The batter swings. Gnok. The entire stadium collectively gasps. Silence. Pennants on the walls stand still. There is no air to breathe in the stadium, except for the steady inward breeze from Sheffield Avenue. Millions of fans, those in the stadium and around the world watching their TVs, lean in to see it. How far is it hit? Is it inbounds? Millions of hands press together urgently beseeching the baseball gods in solemn prayer. The Cub fans are intense. They are desperate. Their self regard depends on winning this game. Would the world be a more fair and just place if the Cubs win? Absolutely, yes.

Meanwhile, in Cleveland, Indians fans have assembled in their stadium. They have filled up every section. They are watching the live broadcast together on the Progressive Field scoreboard out in left field. With the Chicago Cubs in the World Series for the first time since 1945 and their 108-year championship drought on the line, it’s easy to overlook the plight of Cleveland Indians fans. I lived on the North side of Chicago for 20 years. My family in Ohio is Cleveland based. We know what it’s like to have disastrous teams with disastrous seasons. Cleveland knows all about draughts. It’s been 68 years since they’ve celebrated a World Series championship. That’s four generations of baseball angst, anxiety, and disappointment. There in the downtown Cleveland stadium, and all over the world in front of their TVs, millions of Indians fans also watch and listen the bat kiss the ball. Gnok. They too, collectively hold their breath. Hands press together in prayer. Couples grasp each others hands and lean forward to get a better, faster, view. Blood pressure skyrockets. Pupils dilate as eyes open wide. They are all so deeply emotionally invested. They are desperately hopeful, too. Their self regard depends on winning this game. Would the world be a more fair and just place if the Indians win? Absolutely, yes.

Coin of the realm

Several years ago, a friend of mine held a quarter up in front of me, pinching it tightly between his thumb and forefinger. This was the point he was illustrating: I saw my side of the coin. He saw his side of the coin. We both looked at the same coin and we had separate and correct interpretations. The only thing we could accept about the others viewpoint was that it was the same coin.

We, as a society, are set up to feel this profound sense of duplicity. There is my side and there is the other. I view my side and process it through my filters, my history, my level of understanding, my acquired philosophy: and, my, oh my! You look at your side and accept what you perceive: and, it’s all you, baby, it’s you.

So, one of us is right. And the other, is right, too. Even though we do not share the same view, we’re both right. This applies in baseball, politics, relationships, and of course, PetMassageTM.

The coinage of canine massage

In their PetMassageTM, the dog has their side of the coin. We have our side. We cannot know what is exactly “right” for them. We can sense. We can project. We can assume (and we know that to assume makes an “ass of u and me”). We can offer suggestions in the form of physical guiding. We can assist them by bringing focus to their awareness. And, we can validate what they experience with subjective empathy. Can we really know the best course of action that would enhance their quality of life? What to do? What to do?

The first part of each session includes communication, that is, permission and agreement. This is done with breath, body language, and a smidgeon of animal communication. We both – the dog and I — recognize and agree that each PetMassageTM, especially this one, is a quality of life opportunity. We both recognize and agree that the coin exists.  From my side of the coin, I support the dog in his best possible rightness of action. So, I become the coin over-seer; the protector of the coin. I provide active presence. I know that observing, being the witness, validates and supports the inner work that the dog – and only the dog — can do.

Can the dog do this on their own? No. You – and only you – can provide your interpretation of your side of the coin. Your experience, along with the dog’s, provides the complete version that the dog needs at this moment. The two of you have come together this moment, this place, in these circumstances, with this specific set of exigencies that will produce a particular set of beneficial effects.

One of the two teams will win the World Series. Some fans will know victory. Others will continue to believe in next year’s possibilities. There is always hope. Both groups accept the outcome of the coin. There is honor and grace in the recognition. There will always be a next year.

Polishing the coin

In your PetMassageTM, you and the dog have joined energies and worked together for several precious minutes. You’ve tossed the coin and played the game. You are both winners. Were there home runs, bunts, and sacrifice flies? Did one or both of you discover a hoard of emotional tripe? That would have been a good thing. Did one or both of you release a hoard of another sort? That would have been a good thing, too. Did one or both of you discover a bit of peace in the back corner of the dugout?

The PetMassageTM works both sides of the coin, the ridges along its edge, and even the whorls in the fingertips holding it

1 Comment

  1. Beth Yerrick on November 1, 2016 at 4:59 PM

    Jonathan, this newsletter has moved to my top three favorites. It will influence my interactions not only with dogs, but in life as a whole.

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