Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Lessons from my wolfie...

I was nearly late for work today because my wolfie, Anu, caught a squirrel in the back yard. I don't mean to appall any of my dear readers, but, oh, she was so proud of it! Anu didn't want to leave it behind and she definitely didn't want to share her prize with Louis, the pup...and so going for a quick morning walk became much more complicated than it needed to be. Finally, I convinced her that I wouldn't let Louis have it and that it would be okay to leave it behind. She abandoned her fat urban catch with a rather large dose of reluctance. But, the entire walk, she carried herself with such dignity and satisfaction that I couldn't help but smile and be a little proud of her too.

You see, Anu spent the first 7 years of her life out in the country. We had 40 acres connected to a couple more thousand acres of state land. She was never chained up and very rarely kenneled. Although she was always good about staying home, she was free to play and roam and do as she pleased. There was nothing that I loved more than watching her in her element--such incredible beauty she possesses!

Two years ago we left our place in the country, first for a medium sized town, and then for a full-fledged city. We've done our best to replace her countryside freedoms with long and frequent walks and she has adjusted well.

But today...oh, I sensed a wild and natural part of her spirit return and it made me wish so badly that we could live out in the country once again. Her stride was more confident and her eyes more lively. Such a profound shift occurred within her because of just one quick action--and, I must say, Anu's renewed sense of instinctual wildness really sparked something deep inside of me as well.

As we walked, I thought about the book Women Who Run With the Wolves and decided that I would like to dig it out from the dusty confines of my bookshelf and read it once again. It's been years since I've done anything with it except pack and unpack it, and pack and unpack it, yet again.

Because I live and interact, feed and love and walk with Anu every day, I sometimes forget how incredible it is that I have a real live wolf as part of my family. Many people are lucky if they see one in the wild or maybe in the zoo...but I have one sitting right beside me.

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to meet one of my personal heroes, Tamar Geller. She is a dog trainer whose recent book, The Loved Dog, has been getting a lot of attention (as it should!). If you have a dog or are thinking about getting one or know someone that does, please! Read this book.

Tamar is an incredible woman with an incredible gift. Watching her read and talk and listen nearly brought me to tears--because she is someone who is truly living out her purpose in life. Talk about inspiring! Perhaps one of the most remarkable things about her is that she has traveled a rough road to get to where she is now. I haven't had the words to write about it until now, but meeting her had a profound effect on me. I mean, she is just a regular person, but she is doing such remarkable things--just by living from her heart. She is a voice that speaks for animals who are unable to speak for themselves. I know I'm leaving a lot out, but in order to keep this post from expanding into oblivion... (or is it already too late for that?)

A brief synopsis: Tamar is from Israel where she trained in the military intelligence. But, while assigned to live at a camp in the desert, she began to study wolves in order to pass the time. She later based all of her training techniques on the behaviors of wolves that she observed during that time. And now, no longer in the military, her life is dedicated to training dogs, not through dominance and negative control, but with absolute and unconditional LOVE.

We've trained Louis with these techniques and have been absolutely amazed by how quickly he learned. He felt like such a super star! Of course it goes without saying that, when we found out that Tamar was going to be in Minneapolis, we couldn't wait to meet her!

After her book reading and a wonderfully long Q&A session, we got in line to have our copy of the book signed. When it was our turn, I showed her 2 photos--one of Louis, the pup--and one of Anu. When we told her that Anu was half wolf she stopped, took a gasp of breath, and with her beautiful Israeli accent exclaimed: "You mean she's wolf! Like really FIFTY PERCENT WOLF?!"

She couldn't get over it and it was obvious that she had fallen absolutely and completely in love with her. Through Tamar's reaction I was reminded once again just who lucky I am to have such a wild, loving, and beautiful creature in my life. Sometimes I forget how blessed I am by her wolfishness--but, more often, that is exactly what I love about her the most. Anu is one of the greatest teachers in my life. And this morning was just one more strange reminder of that.

Since I was running late, I felt rushed and couldn't decide what my act of bravery should be for the day (as though picking out something scary were like picking out a sweater! ha!). Everything I thought of felt too easy, as though it would be a cop-out. But then, as I was carrying flowers out to the sidewalk at work, it dawned on my that, something that I've been wanting to do, but have been avoiding because of my own ridiculous insecurities, is to line up an art show at the coffee shop next door.

I promised myself that the next time I saw B., the coffee shop owner, I would make myself ask him about it.

A whole MILLI-SECOND later, there he was!...asking me if I had gotten my coffee yet. DING! I felt the alarm go off inside me as a little voice in my head yelled: "Ask him now! Do it! Now!"

And so I did it.
And he agreed immediately without even a second thought.

I've been putting this off for weeks! Months!
And all I had to do was ask. Simple.

I had all these fears of indifference or rejection or who-knows-what built up around having a show and when I finally surprised myself by putting myself out there... well, it was so easy that it feels like cheating! :)-

So anyway, I have a show lined up for March.

Funny how easy it can be to get what you want...once you get past yourself, that is!


Anonymous said...

woo-hoo! I am thrilled for you (and for Anu, of course...she's so gorgeous, as is Louis, as are YOU).

My scary thing for the day was to write a cover letter and apply for a job! And I wouldn't have done this without you. I earned my pretty button today. ;)

Are you around tomorrow at all? It's too nice to stay inside!

Anonymous said...

And I know it sounds cliched, but "Women who run with the wolves" changed my life. I gathered up the courage to start a blog after I finished it. :)

liz elayne said...

fantastic! congratulations on your show!!

and so good to be learning lessons from your incredible wolf dog.

martha said...

I am so proud of you!

bella said...

That's awesome Jessie. Yay for being fearless. xo

I AM said...

What fantastic news, congratulations!!!

Do you realize just how many steps forward you have taken in just this past week. You should be so proud of yourself!

Melba said...

I am super busy right now getting ready for the Creative Bazaar, but everyday I get excited to come to your blog to read your posts and comments from other readers.

I remember women running with wolves...I think I read it 15 years ago...can that be possible? I think I have it somewhere. Maybe I will dig up my copy too.

I am soooo proud of you for asking that coffee shop owner. You are so brave!!!!!

Lately whenever I am feeling a lack of energy or get over whemled or discouraged I keep reminding my self to "be brave ~you have the spirits of other brave women with you" and oh how it helps me push forward!



Olivia said...

YAY, Jessie! Things are really, really clicking for you on this BE BRAVE's pretty miraculous, isn't it? I'm so, so happy for you!

I have reading "Women Who Run..." on my To Do List, as I've never read it. But now I'm going to :)

All of this is just after one week---what will happen after a month? It's mind-blowing,

Blessings and love,


bee said...

hey, you.

that anu is 50% wolf is one of the things that *i* love most about her, and i haven't even met her yet. wolves are such magical creatures - it's like they straddle both the faerie and the real worlds, with something even more primordial mixed in. :)

i've never read estes' book though. going to have to change that come january.

and freaking YAY FOR YOU about the show!! my god. i can't wait for it. you know, i finally got around to taping up those mini posters that you sent me so long ago (one of them was from an exhibition you did in 2004, one other was a print from a show you went to - i'd been saving them in the original cardboard thinking i'd get the walls painted eventually...bah) and so now i have bits of you around the place where i create...couldn't be more fitting, really. you inspire me so much.

speaking of which, do you know how to add the button onto a wordpress site? that would be useful info to have...

love you.

Amber said...

Yep. Sometimes all we have to do is be brave enough to ask. This is a lesson we all need to remember.


The Dream said...

I can't believe YOU had insecurities about that - obviously, you and I regard your work differently. Congratulations to you on making this move! I have decided to work my butt off for a year and have an impressive body of work to show. Onward and upward! Oh yeah - the tub is on the way!
I love how much you love your dogs! Sunny is presently snoozing (and snoring) on my bed after a full day of play - the kook!

laundrygirl said...

Oh brave woman! I am so excited for you!

Maddie said...

Jessie - oh my goodness -
I am so EXCITED and out of my mind
with joy for you

I am dancing with sheer
delight for your show!!!!


I would love to come see the show -
It would be so amazing:)

see ?

the Universe is following close
behind you listening so closely
to your desires and then when
you express them in your heart -
it scoots ahead and brings it back
to you!


Maddie said...

...and I love that photo of you
and your sweet Wolfie:)

Karen said...

YAY! You are so cool.

I will say, though, that I look at your paintings and can't imagine you being scared of asking for a show in a coffee shop.

I've been viewing the brave thing like a sweater I pick out, too. Need to stop that!