Dar licks the guilt-thing...

On the heels (or should I say "paws") of Monday's post, I want to explore this whole concept of Darwin's ability to just stop when his body said, "Stop!"

When we were walking the other day, and he just all of a sudden plopped down and declared that he wouldn't be walking anymore...I know he wasn't thinking of all of the "consequences" of his decision.

He wasn't worried that I would think any less of him for giving in to his body's need to stop.
He wasn't concerned that he might compromise our walk.
He didn't feel guilty about inconveniencing me, Deirdre, or our walking companions.
He wasn't concerned that he wouldn't get his exercise for the day.
He wasn't worried about the fact that we were at the furthest point from our destination.
He wasn't concerned that his need to ride would slow us down and put us "behind schedule."
He didn't give two HOOTS about the schedule in the first place.
He wasn't worried about what he looked like - a 26-pound pug riding on top of a stroller.
He wasn't concerned that giving in this one time would preclude him from ever walking again.
He wasn't upset with himself for needing to stop.
He didn't feel dejected, unfulfilled, weak, or lazy about stopping.
He didn't mind being vulnerable to the effects of the heat and sun.
He didn't try and make excuses for his need to stop. He just did it.
He didn't turn down my offer to help - he just plopped on top of the stroller and rode.
He didn't try to make up for it when we returned home. In fact, he slept better than ever.

In summation - he considered not one psychological ramification of not walking any longer. He had a physical need, and he met it. He felt better NOT walking, so he stopped.

Boy - what a smart cookie! I know, I know - dogs don't carry around all of the emotional and psychological baggage that we do. But you know what? We don't have to either. We could just turn off those channels every now and again - and just follow our body's lead.

We could say, "my fingers are swelling/aching/burning/turning red or I'm feeling a little fatigued/feverish/foggy/exhausted/rundown right now...I guess I should stop what I'm doing" instead of considering every aspect of stopping before we do so.

I know many believe that dogs aren't as developed as humans...but in this case, I think Dar's got a leg up on me. He's on to something, and I intend to follow suit. You up for following in his paw prints?


Maya said…
Hi! I can't tell you how happy I am to have come across your blog. I just love this post and am looking forward to reading more. I''m the biggest dog lover out there, so this was the best way to get this message across to me :) I put all of those trips on myself and I think next time I will just consider your adorable pug....I know it will help.

I was diagnosed with Spondylitis (a severe form of arthritis) when I was 16 and also chronic migraines. I've recently started a blog called "Loving With Chronic Illness" and it seems our goals are pretty similar. My hope is to tell my story and make people not only feel less alone, but learn to live and love a little better with illness. I hope you'll check out my blog sometime: www.lovingwithchronicillness.blogspot.com
Mumbi said…
Gee, Darwin is light years ahead of me.

Am currently struggling with so much guilt about not feeling like am doing enough at work, at home, being overweight (thank you prednisone) - i just feel like i've failed in every aspect of my life.

Am trying to shake it off but its just not working. I even realised that over that past year since my diagnosis, my previously healthy self esteem has taken a beating.

Thank you for this post. It really helps.
Eila said…
Great post- I think a lot of it has got to do with pride and how we feel we will look to others and ourselves- like other people can do it so I should be able to; or they will think I'm fat and lazy if I say I can't do it or I'm tired. I haven't worked in a paid job for ages- I used to feel guilty but now I've got to the point I don't really care what people think...it took years though!
Sara Gorman said…
Fabulous comments! Thanks so much for taking the time to share - and I'm tickled that Dar's example hit home.

Guilt is one of those things that is so hard to fight - but with a chronic illness, letting it overwhelm us can be devastating. I did it for all too long, and still have to fight to make sure I'm keeping it in check. Knowing that I'm not at fault for lupus or any of the limitations it causes helps me remember that I'm doing the best I can...I'm sure you all are doing the same!

And I will definitely stop by your blog, Maya. Looking forward to it!

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