Dangerous Conclusions

by Andrea Chilcote

The following post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman wDangerous Conclusionshere Andrea is a weekly blogger. 

It was finally Saturday night. Oh, I love my life with all of its busyness, but I was ready to free my mind, and relax on the physical front. Arthur and I were headed out to an early dinner, to be followed by a date with friends to listen to a great new musician we’d just discovered.

Our twilight drive was interrupted by a swerve and fast braking, a tribute to my race car driver husband’s reflexes. What was it? A rabbit? No!

“Arthur, that was a puppy!  Turn around now!” And so began the drama.

This story is not about rescuing a dog, although we did that, of course. The Chihuahua would not have made it through the night with cars and coyotes all around. Mine is a simple story about judgment and assumptions.

When I retrieved the well groomed and friendly dog from the busy street, my first disappointment was that his collar bore no tag. Still determined after driving through neighborhoods inquiring (to no avail), we drove to the nearest 24 hour vet clinic to have him scanned for a microchip. No chip was found. By some stroke of luck, one of the nurses fell in love at first sight, scooped him into her arms, and assured me she would look after him until his owner came forward. That is, if one did.

We went on our way, and had a nice (though much later) dinner. We were even able to meet our friends for the last few songs of the performance. But I was distracted by the thought that this dog had been purposely dumped.

I’m jaded by what I know about the enormous amount of companion animals discarded each day. As the night wore on, that thought, my assumption that this one was abandoned, solidified into a conclusion.

Just before going to bed, I got a text from my friend and rescue “mentor,” Marie. She asked me if I had put up signs. “No,” I said. I didn’t tell her that I had concluded someone whose dog had no tag or chip probably didn’t want him back. Marie told me that 75% of lost dogs are found due to signs. I promised her I would post them in the morning. And, I half-heartedly followed through with six signs.

When I had received no calls by mid-day Sunday, my conclusion had grown into a belief. I climbed the ladder of inference, influenced by my past experiences. I believed that anyone who missed his pup would search relentlessly, and surely would have come upon one of my signs. At least, I thought, this was one of the lucky ones. That kind nurse would not let the dog succumb to the fate of most.

By Monday morning the event was out of sight and mind. And then the phone rang.

“Did you find a Chihuahua?” The anxious man didn’t even wait for a reply. “And does he have a golden brown coat and a silver collar with a tiny blue bell?”

“Yes!” I exclaimed, quickly re-orienting myself. “Yes. Your dog is safe,” I said. I fought tears.

It turns out that the man had been posting a “lost” sign in the same grocery store window where I had taped a “found” sign. He clearly loved his dog, and said he had prayed that he was alive since the moment he squeezed through the fence of his elderly father’s home. He had been frantically searching for him since Saturday night.

Our world view limits us. That pup might never have found his way back home had I allowed my mental models of how people too often behave toward animals to influence my motivation.

And as precious as the little dog, Indy, was, this story is not about him. It’s about our moment by moment opportunity to be open to learning that there’s more going on than our limited perspective takes in. If we can give even the slightest benefit of the doubt, miracles reveal themselves.

Faith

by Andrea Chilcote

The following post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a weekly blogger. 

I often write about “ease,” and the preponderance of everyday miracles. And I have written many times of the power that managing our thoughts and feelings has on the outcomes we achieve. I strive to walk my talk, and on some days I’m more successful at doing so than on others. Putting forth the effort and energy to maintain the resonance of what we desire, vs. dwelling on what appears to be a negative circumstance takes focus – and faith. Here’s a short story for illustration.

I own and operate a very small business. A few weeks ago, an employee of 15 years resigned to pursue an offer that utilizes her many years of experience, and at the same time allows her to do new things in an area that is important in her life. I was and am truly happy for her, and yet my first thought was a very emphatic “Yikes!”  Her work here is mission critical, and we are (as is true most of the time) in the middle of a critical project. And the role requires a unique skill set.

On the morning she gave notice three weeks ago, I was immediately aware that I had a choice. I could allow myself to feel stress, and thus create a stressful condition. Or I could view the situation as one more opportunity to see and seek the opening door vs. dwell on the one that was closing. I chose the former.

Armed with a positive vision, I went into motion. I sent a brief description of the role to several trusted friends, and began making a plan for transition activities. Even though I was busy without this added task, time seemed to expand to allow for it all.

As I write this post, I sit across the room from my new employee who is spending her first day with me. She was the first to inquire about the job, and the only person I interviewed. Seemingly out of nowhere, the apparent perfect person materialized.

Since the day she magically appeared, I have had moments in which I’ve second guessed the synchronicity. But I’ve managed to banish those thoughts as my very real due diligence (interviews, references and skill assessments) has proven, once again, that it doesn’t have to be hard to be right.

If there is a burden you bear at this moment, you know intellectually that your thoughts and feelings about it are conspiring to determine the outcome. Shifting the energy that you carry requires discipline. It also requires faith. Faith is the burden-carrier, releasing the mind from over-analysis and fueling the effort required to take right action. Let it go, and watch what happens next.

Ease

by Andrea Chilcote

The following post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a weekly blogger. This summer, followers of this blog will enjoy bi-weekly archived posts that have appeared on The Spirited Woman but never before on this site. 

Every now and then, things just fall into place. It starts with some initial incident (large or seemingly insignificant), a sequence of events ensues, and before you know it I am looking back, saying “Thank heavens that worked out.” Or, more often lately, I just smile at what appears to be an everyday miracle.

Those of us (that’s me and some of you) who have lived life as if it was a challenge to be reckoned with, find “ease” a bit odd. And, the drivers in the recesses of our psyches that cause us to seek that which is difficult or even impossible scream for attention.

Ignore them. They know not the damage they might cause.

Yesterday I met with a friend who, like me, tends to be compelled to take on the most challenging endeavors. In part, it’s an effort to feel acknowledged for having accomplished enough. In this situation, my friend was presented with one of those everyday miracles as an option alongside another difficult choice. Should she choose the heavy yet attractive option, her very future lay in the balance. She could gamble and win, though the odds were against that. Or she could choose the more peaceful and balanced opportunity.

Looking at this with a sort of distanced perspective (as much as I can distance myself from something I relate to so well), I can see that following one’s heart is the prevailing principle. Those gnawing messages that cause us to pause and stop the refrain of over-analysis deserve attention.

Apparent miracles beget others – if we acknowledge them. I’m choosing ease, and I’ll let you know what happens next.