If you ever have done work with recognizing your Spirit Animal Allies, you know that it can sometimes be an awkward, if not terrifying friend, to accept is on your team.
I had heard tale of panther and bear people hunted and haunted in their dreams before they realized that the power they were so fearing... was their own, just trying to snuggle!
Somehow I was more comfortable with the concept of a fierce scary ally, or even the intensity of a very beautiful majestic animal medicine revealing itself to me, than the DOG.
Golden Retriever to be exact.
Honestly, having received shark, rattlesnake, bear, hummingbird, hawk, octopus, dove, spider... I was pretty judgey about animals like the frog, the chipmunk and... the dog.
Like: squish, squeak, yawn!
Even the rat or the cockroach seemed more noble for their grossness and shock factor, than the ho hum simple loyalty of a dog. Of course this is simply the phenomenon of wanting what you don’t have.
Bottom line is, The way I can recognize when I’m being initiated into one of MY spirit animals is by the level of intensity beyond logic or reason.
Years ago, a fast and still lasting friend recognized the dog in me by saying I was dogged.
Funny, because while it was a welcome fondly-expressed reframe of what I had been accused of in my family of “not knowing when to quit” and in the last “real” job I ever had of bein —oh God— a bull dog! 😆 or bulldozer... it wasn’t until THIS YEAR that I even literally faced the dog in dogged.
I’d been working through something I had come to call “the residue”.
The residue being that pesky last bit of plaque left from the mass amounts of toxic shit I was schlepping around from childhood, and probably past life/ancestral hooey.
I had done the bulk of the healing; it seemed, for my effort and commitment, I should have been done... but the residue remained!
It’s subtle work, scrubbing down the residue.
It’s not what you think.
It’s not obvious.
You can’t just throw it up or get a colonic or do ayahuasca ceremony for it... those things were too strong and would just create more drama/trauma in my system.
I was working with one of the fierce masters of nuance in relating to oneself and others: Kendra Cunov. We would do videos in our group exploring our range of expression with different feelings and animals.
As I watched other women work with sexy, understandably intimidating feelings and animals like anger and swan, even the demure cuteness of otter... it slowly began to dawn on me that I was terrified of my enthusiasm.
One day while being coached by Kendra on a group call, with an effusive giggle, the recognition bubbled out of her [paraphrased interpretation and by my memory]
“You’re like a Golden retriever... like: do you wanna play? How about with a stick? No? A ball? No? I’ll find something I know you’ll love, be right back!”
And now dog and I are out in the light 🌈
I call on dog in my work of supporting people in becoming who they are and living as a gift. It can be gritty-ass work, slogging through our shadows of grief, trauma, and yes even just love and enthusiasm, who knew?
Even just getting people to play can be so much work.
But for me it is the greatest joy to stand loyally by those who love this kind of hope-Springs-eternal spirit of mine through thick and thin.
I’ll be like: “you guys, I think we can do things like FLY if we all wake up and embody who we are... doesn’t that sound like FUN?! Who’s with me?!! Follow me through the burning swamp of shit to the Golden Age!”
And more often than not I’ve found myself standing before a gallery of judgey scared dogs on chains as crickets screamed because peeps are confused at how much that vision triggers them; not because necessarily it’s theirs, possible or not, but because they have something just as freaky fun inside of them and my enthusiasm stirred theirs... dangerously!
Dog, can be fierce and dangerous and protective. Dog can be melancholic and hopeless. On a chain. I have met, and still do, these kind of dogs who come out in reaction to whatever degree my dog is still in shadow and show me with a metaphorical bite in the face.
To whatever degree I hide my enthusiasm in response to these scared angry dogs, I am chaining up my Golden and keeping her in her puppy-mill cage to shudder in the echoes of abuse.
Walking my dog in the light can include:
⭐️Not taking no for an answer because I can smell the fear masking the fun and beauty... “come out come out! I know you’re in there and you’re super fun and super worth it!”
⭐️Wanting to play/work with/help someone and being willing to ask until they feel that I’m sincere that I love them and am willing to adapt and negotiate (I am)
⭐️When turned down enough times, or even strongly ONCE, I move on with the memory of a goldfish.... “squirrel!”
⭐️Shameless love of what I love, even something repulsive like eating or wearing poop (or in my case a penchant for poop metaphors and openly discussing pooply matters with anyone who is game... and some who aren’t)
⭐️Perhaps the biggest gift and challenge of bringing dog into the light has been boundaries. It takes a sensitive nose to know when to back off, when to approach, when to stand-off, when to persist. And it’s guaranteed I will make mistakes, especially since I used to be owned by not-dog people.
But for me it’s worth it to discover the connections that otherwise would have slinked by. I am pleasantly surprised enough that I still will try anything 5 times 😃
The haters can get pretty aggressive, but even as I give them space for their defense, if they were to come around and ask for a do-over, I’d welcome them with open arms and lick their face.
Dogs at a dog beach!
The way they tear off the moment they’re off leash. The utter joy, enthusiasm, curiosity and playfulness when they meet other dogs.
It’s a quick pause to sniff and then: GAME ON!
Plenty of space for respect. Healthy wrastling. Playful nips. Ear to ear toothy floppy-tongue smiles.
Eternally optimistic, they presume you mean to share your food you left generously out on your blanket. “Thanks! Of course you’d give me a yummy treat, I’m awesome and so are you!”
Running with abandon! Lungs heaving with the effort of fully embodied joy for living, drooling the overflow of being true to one’s nature.
As it turns out, my daughter is year of the dog in the Chinese Zodiac 🤗
My little pup has the bulk of my attention, so I have been refining my focus to those who welcome and love my dogged-for-love essence.
If you have been hoping I might come looking for you, waiting for me to bring you a stick instead of a ball, want to get into some shit together to find the gold ring you swallowed... well, I might just feel you and you’ll find me in your inbox soon.
But also, you can always take a sniff and lick my face so I know you want to play 🌈
I am 6mos into founding a dogged-for-love project called Becoming the Gift You ARE.
BGYA is a monthly membership that is a safe container to discover, practice and develop who you are with the support of a freaky loving tribe of individuals experimenting with all manner of intimidating wonders. And winning.
It turns out more people want to play than I had ever dreamed of!
If you are curious if this might be the kind of support you never dared to dream of (or maybe you DID 😜)... just lick my face in the comments or a PM, and we can make a date to sniff each other’s butts.
Yes I did 😅
I’ll be closing enrollment in the Fall and my calendar is limited and fills fast, so don't hesitate to come at me with the full force of your hope/fear/desire/need/problem/solution/spirit as it is currently available for you to express.
I love you! Thank you for reading, and don’t be surprised if you see me post this twice