My dog, Molly, walks the perimeter of my property in town. She stays close to the property line as she walks and tries to sniff out prey and other interesting scents.
When she was a puppy and I was training her, I spent many hours walking that line with her. Showing her where she could and could not go. No punishment for going to far out of range but instead lots of treats and encouragement if she remembered the line.
Three sides are relatively easy to “get”. There are trees at the back, a hedge on one side, and the back of the house as the third. The difficult line is the other side between ours and the neighboring property. Here there is little to show the boundary. Just the odd small bush. If Molly makes a mistake, this is the side she will over reach. But that is very rare and with the words “this way”, she adjusts. This is a call from me as I watch her; I no longer have to walk with her. My presence is a safety measure.
I wonder if this is how perimeters are set in our own lives. What causes us to stay within certain boundaries. Career choices, places we choose to live, the kind of relationships we allow ourselves to experience?
Is it through the guidance of our parents, our educators, our family history, our caste?
This subtle guidance enforced gently, or perhaps aggressively, over time. A gradual push in the “right” direction in such a way that we simply go with the flow. Never realizing that we have been manipulated.
Then one day some of us may take a look at that open side and decide to walk through the almost invisible boundary. Opening ourselves to new territory and adventure. Not allowing ourselves to be restrained, even comfortably, on one path.
Jake, my daughter’s dog, is like that. He has to be on a leash when he is outside. Otherwise he will bolt for freedom, knowing he will be chastised when caught. The run seems worth the punishment
In my opinion, there is no right or wrong, just a very different life whichever the choice. When I call to Molly “this way” she usually chooses to obey. Perhaps, to her, the run isn’t worth the hassel she knows will be the result. She prefers to accept the status quo.
We are not dogs ; we have a human’s intellect. We can use it to make choices. Our knowledge of the results of those choices is much more varied.
What do we choose? The flow or the go? To each their own.
Until next time