I’m watching James gently exorcise the demon out of my dog. He’s a grumpy old chihuahua with high anxiety. He chokes himself on his own collar and squeals in pain like his life is in danger even though James is merely holding him by the scruff. I cringe at a distance watching James patiently subdue him, lying him gently but firmly on his back to exert a dominance that should be obvious given their 200 pound difference. Watching this drama play out before me, I realize it is all the more ironic because all James is trying to do is give him a bath!
But isn’t this exactly what I do? Fight imaginary demons in my head. Twist, growl, and yelp when actually the universe is simply massaging out the kinks in my muscles so that they can be soft and supple again, so I can regain my range of motion. In a way, the universe is generously showing me where I still have work to do, where the knots are, the old agreements that keep me chained inside an imaginary cage. Like last weekend when I opend the bunnies’ hutch to let them run around in the crisp fall weather. But every single one of them remained within the bounds of where the cage had been. They would cautiously explore the outer boundary only to bound back at the slightest noise. Am I I living my life like a rabbit? Heart racing, feeling like prey surrounded by predators. My muscles taut and ready to spring, dash and take cover. Instictively conjuring all potential threats and trying to get a jump on the next source of danger?
Or maybe this is like shadow boxing. Fighting an imaginary opponent trains my muscles, perfects my moves and helps me live into my rhythm. Maybe these are my guardians giving me a sneak peek, an insight and preparing me by letting me envision myself already in battle with my next worthy obstacle. Maybe these inner struggles are necessary practice where I learn to plant my feet, open, and resist the instinct to cower or run. Retrain myself to keep my eyes open when the ball is flying at my face, so I can catch it. Like playing arpeggios on the piano as a child to build muscle memory in my fingertips. Maybe this is a practice run!
So like my dog Yogi, I eventually relax my muscles, soften my eyes, and sink into the moment. I feel myself melt, soft and pliable, open to receive the wisdom in the breeze on my face. Just then, a light rain begins to dampen my skin and wash me clean. I bow and begin to spar like my life depended on it. Because maybe one day soon, it will.