This morning our 6 year old Black Lab, Dusty, and our 6 month old Black Lab pup, Brandy, were tearing through the house tangling with one another yet again. Brandy is already a hefty 75 lbs and Dusty isn't much larger than that. No matter how often Dusty whacks her upside the head or nips her ears and sends her sprawling, she keeps coming back for more. We know this is part of Brandy's finding her place within the Pack, but it sure as heck wreaks havoc in the household. The cats go scrambling out of the way, knocking things from tables, counters, etc. in order to find safe harbor. Voices are raised and out comes the old Febreeze bottle with the rocks in it. We shake it at the canine culprits to settle them down.
They settle - for the moment. Both look sheepish. Brandy hangs her head and won't look at me. She knows she's being a pain in the kiester, but she can't help it. She is what she is - a pup defining herself.
It made me think about how we all do this - struggle for definition - no matter what age we are. Who are we within the Pack? Who are we outside the Pack? Is there a difference? Should there be?
We butt heads, and other parts of our anatomies and psyches, with those around us in the struggle. We often send others scrambling for safe harbor until someone steps up and shakes something at us to settle us down. We feel sheepish, but we just can't help it - we've gotta find that definition, dang it! It just keeps pushing at us.
Earlier this morning I wrote a response to someone who had made the discovery that she was "enough" just as she was. That she didn't have to "be" any more or less than she was. There was something in her which had always kept her distanced from joining or following and yet she longed for it, too. I responded:
"Something in me always knew.... The "want" was about "fitting in" to someone else's perception of enough. It always seemed that no matter what I did or how hard I studied I was never enough, but I wanted that feeling of belonging...yet also didn't. It was confusing and painful...a very lonely feeling, too. And that's not surprising, either. Since when holding ourselves accountable to another's perceptions we are separating ourselves from our wholeness. But when I released that "want" I felt whole and more integrated into the Web of Life - intricately connected to others in an entirely different way! A paradox, but an incredibly rewarding one."
And that is the lesson of the Pack, too. No place within the Pack is any more or less valuable than any other. We are always "enough." It is only when we compare ourselves to another's definition/perception that we feel distanced, separate, alone. And we butt heads. In releasing the need to fit in with someone else's perceptions we feel whole and connected.
Brandy will find her way to that. She's an intelligent and observant character. I just hope the rest of us survive to see it!