What my dog taught me about direction (& creation)

It's not a canine trait I'd noticed before having one of my own, but our dog Archie spends the majority of his waking hours watching my feet.  This attentiveness gives him vital information and based on my foot-clues, he will react in completely different ways. Some signs are blatantly obvious - socks going on in the morning? It's almost time to go out! Slippers? It's just a toilet break - wait by the door. Muddy boots? Time to celebrate and run in circles to warm up for a longer walk.

Those are all pretty obvious signs of intention, but it's not only those clues that Archie can read. He also understands subtleties. When I come downstairs, he'll wait in the hallway to confirm which way my feet point when I hit the bottom step. Toes left and he'll bound on into the sitting room. Toes right and there's a tiny chance of something nice from the kitchen so he'll sit beautifully on his bed in the hope of a reward. Straight on and he'll head into my Studio (the Cwtch) and wait to see whether my toes point towards my desk or the little sofa before choosing where to go - if I'm heading for the sofa, he can accurately predict when to jump up so that he'll land on me at precisely the moment my bum touches the cushion. And so on - the boy has skills! 

Being quite fascinated with this little trait, and more than a little annoyed by my own predictability, it's something I've experimented with. There are times when I hesitate or change direction on purpose. If I stop abruptly, he never looks up at me (unless I speak to him), instead he stands like a coiled spring ready to launch off at the slightest toe-twinge. If I purposely set out to fool him, his predictions are off but otherwise his accuracy is uncanny. He completely understands the signs and what to do to get his preferred outcome, wherever my feet may point.  

CIP*: Detail from my current mixed media art journal 

We can learn a lot from Archie. It strikes me that his skill with foot-divination is very much applicable to the way that we create our lives. Based on the direction our metaphorical toes are pointing - as indicated by our intentions and actions - the clues about our direction are already there, if we care to notice them. (Some of them are subtle, so it may take practice.) A wonderful thing about being human is that we can change our direction at any time, and unlike Archie we do not have to be watching to see what someone else is doing before we can move in any direction of our choosing - as many teachers have reminded us, we are not trees!

After conversations with various friends, and reading lots of different materials about creating our life experiences, I am becoming increasingly certain that there is a part of each one of us that knows which direction we should be going in order to feel authentic and in alignment with our highest selves, even if the destination isn't yet clear. Perhaps the very idea of the destination is so scary for us we doubt we have the ability or courage to get there - from our current point of vantage, we can't imagine stepping into our power to make it happen.

I've been considering all these things, and feel that changes are coming - I'm not at all sure what they are or what I'll be creating when they do, but I don't think the details matter right now...
You are here to create what is yours to create. There is no rush. There is no competition.... [W]ater your garden, fan your flames and keep your focus inward. Let your creations be your medicine then share that medicine with the world..... What is truly yours to create? 
- Rebecca Campbell, Light is the New Black. 

So, what IS yours to create? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. If you don't want to share, or really just have no idea, I invite you to hold the question and see where it takes you.

*Intuitive painting and art journaling certainly isn't 'work' - it's a joy - so I called it a CIP / 'Creation in Progress' instead of a WIP.  

4 comments

  1. First of all, this is a wonderful post. Not just because it's so honest and true, but because you let Archie help you toward this understanding. Second, I love your new blog photo. My favorite was always the one Dedri took at Scheepjes, but this is new photo is just as beautiful. Finally, the page from your media art journal is stunning. I hope you will share more. Thank you for continually inspiring your readers.

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    1. What a lovely comment, Judy. Thank you. Posts like these generally mean the most to me, and I'm often hesitant to publish (I sometimes need to remind myself it's my blog and I should post about the things that matter to me!!!!) so it's lovely to read feedback like this.

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  2. :-) Lovely post!

    It's not just art we create but also an environment that others make feel good. I try that every day at home and in school. Have a nice day! Regula

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    1. I'm sure you do, Regula - I imagine you are a wonderful teacher. Have a lovely day xxx

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