The dog park was a new experience for me, and although I had many people give their opinions as to whether it was a good thing or bad, I had very little choice, so decided to give it a try.
Entering for the first time was a little daunting, as many dogs, large and small, came to greet us, and it was just a little overwhelming, to say the least. The animals themselves were intriguing, many different personalities and types, but the owners were even more so, and as I continued to go, day after day, often twice a day, I became curious and even more intrigued about the connection, or lack of connection between owners, their animals, and the connection with other owners and their dogs.
It has often been said that owning a dog, walking a dog, is a great way to meet people. Not so in my dog park, or at least, not for me. There are those male clutches, men in small groups drinking coffee together, and as I walk the perimeter I catch snatches of conversation about the stock market, business deals, and this morning...women looking for that next husband and how "it isn't going to be me". I must admit that I wanted to stay around for that one, but my attempts at friendliness have so far met with resistance...my cheerful good mornings so far have been met with baleful looks and only rare response. Perhaps I'm being too harsh here, and although this seems to be a criticism, I must assure you that it is merely an observation.
Of course there are those women clutches also, to which, so far I have not been invited, and there are of course some friendly souls who do speak, who do say good morning, who do stop on their walk to have a friendly chat...although so far the conversation extends only as far as animal speak.
Now, maybe I haven't given it a chance, after all, I've only been going everyday for the last three months, or maybe it's me...something about my energy, something which lets people know that, after all, my intention in going to the park was to simply give my puppy's some exercise, which it was, and which it still is, although a little friendly conversation, and getting to know new people is always nice.
When I watch the dogs, most of them are happy, friendly and need no introduction. For the most part they play, greet each other and generally have a whale of a time...there are no inhibitions, no reason to be cautious or nervous, no judgements, no withholding, no standing back. For them it seems easy, and I wonder what it is about our human nature that we mortals make it so hard for ourselves. And of course, I know the answer...yes, I do give out an energy which others might read as unfriendly, even though my "good mornings" are light and cheerful, I don't really want to roll around and play until I get to know someone better, and my shyness is a barrier, even though, if you met me you would never believe that I was shy.
So here is the lesson for the month.
What kind of energy do you think you put out?
What kind of responses do you get from people you just met?
How sensitive are you to other people's energy?
How many times have you made a mistake about someone?
How many times do you think people misjudge you?
What, if anything, can you do to change and improve the energy you put out?
I will continue to go to the dog park, although I sometimes feel well and truly in the dog house...and I will continue to be hopeful that in time I will find people who will be willing to play a little with me....and that I will be willing and able to reciprocate.
Loneliness is a terrible thing, and I see many lonely and shy people all standing in a dog house they unwittingly built around themselves, but we can all change that by changing our energy and learning to be more open and outgoing....no matter how afraid we are.
Talk with community members about your thoughts on this month's lesson, or write us an account of your progress. We'd love to post it in our spotlight section for everyone to read.
Good luck and be ready for next month's lesson...
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