Last week was my dog, Chandi’s, 7th birthday. I know, I know. I never thought I would become a crazy dog person, whipping out my cell phone to proudly show anyone interested my sweet dog’s happy face, but here I am, totally smitten. For a long time having a dog was impossible. Eleven years as a professional actress found me constantly on the road, bound for a new destination with my husband at home trying to keep everything together. The only way I would ever get a dog is if he wanted one, as he would be the one to truly take care of it.
After a long stint in Arizona in 2008 I came home to a husband kind of sick of coming home to an empty apartment. “Maybe we should get a dog,” he said looking over his shoulder as he headed into the other room.
“Please do not joke about that,” I replied, “You know I’ve always wanted to get a dog.” And not long after that Chandi came into our lives and completely turned it upside down.
How was I to know that getting a dog would turn us more into a family instead of just a couple, and that having her in my home would make me less and less likely to take that job on the road? Or that being exposed to the quirks and personality of such a sweet animal would have me giving up meat for the rest of my life? Or that I would spend my days out in whatever kind of weather the midwest has brewed up for us to make sure she would get 3 to 5 miles of exercise? To say that Chandi had an impact on our lives is like saying that you had no idea driving a car through the front door would make a change in the environment of your home.
But I digress. I was talking about Chandi’s birthday. You see, twice a year we buy her a braided rawhide bone that’s been dipped in pancake syrup – for Christmas and her birthday. Yes, I know she probably has no idea why these are special days, but it makes me happy to spoil her. She loves these bones and freaks out, whining through a pleased, excited bark and snatching it from my hand when I hold it out for her to take.
You would think she would immediately rip into it and start gnawing away, right? No. Chandi prizes these bones so much she spends at least the first 2 days with it looking for a perfect hiding spot to make sure it’s not taken away from her. She races up and down the stairs, hides it, looks at us, decides she can find a better spot for it, gets it, moves it, and continues with this cycle until she has to take a break, worn out from the game of it all. I have spotted the bone in the den, in my bedroom, in the closet, in the loft, under the table, under the chair, stuffed in the couch, and stuffed in a corner within the last couple of days. And then after all of the worry and fuss, Chandi realizes the safest place for her favorite treat of all time, the best hiding spot EVER, is in her stomach.
Every time we watch her go through this process I am always amazed at what perfect metaphor it is for the way most people go through life. We were given a life and a magnificent body in which to experience it all. And through most of that life we look outwards for the answers or for the stuff that is going to make us finally happy. Does someone else know what I seek? Will this place be what I need? Maybe a different place would be better. Maybe this other person will make it all okay. Maybe if I looked or sounded a certain way I would be happier. Let’s go shopping! Let’s get distracted! Let’s put everyone else before myself so I don’t have to think about things!
But the truth is all of the answers, inspiration, and knowledge that you seek is in the best hiding place ever. It’s inside of you. Stop looking elsewhere. You are the total package. What is it you seek? What is your question? I’m sure if you ask yourself for the answer and get quiet enough to hear it, you already know what the answer is. It’s been inside you all along.
“There is only one journey. Going inside yourself.” -Rainer Maria Rilke
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