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‘Clean up Your Sh*t’ & Other Lessons I Learned from My Dog

Even walking the dog can lead to some interesting spiritual truths

My spiritual leader relaxes on a pebbled beach.

My dog provided me with a wonderful opportunity the other morning to clean up my sh*t in real life and spiritually. I couldn’t help but notice the metaphor when it was staring me right in the face, or the nose as it were. I was walking with Brodie in the neighborhood and, not coincidentally, listening to Abraham and Esther Hicks on YouTube. Just when I was at the best part, a crucial concept about aligning my vibration with that of my Inner Being, letting my enthusiasm for an idea be enough, and not forcing it (the exact message I needed to hear) Brodie took a dump. Right on the neighbor’s lawn.

The thing about Brodie is that he never dumps anywhere but at home. So I’ve gotten into the lazy habit of never bringing a bag, and now I stood in front of my neighbor’s house with four logs of dog poop on the grass and no bag.

I am a good neighbor. I refuse to leave poop on a neighbor’s lawn. But it was 8 in the morning and I hated to knock on the door and possible wake the people inside or freak them out just to ask for a bag. I had no idea what to do. I looked around wildly. I silently called out for a solution.

Suddenly, I spied a local paper on the driveway next door. I walked over, removed the paper from the thin plastic bag, and placed it on a dry spot of the driveway. Then I took the bag. Of course, it was narrow and thin and I was nervous and mad at myself for not bringing my own double-ply, blue bag but I had to be resourceful.  I picked up my dog logs, tied off the top, and started for home.

As I walked, I held the plastic bag in one hand and I hit the play arrow on my iPhone with the other so I could finish listening to Abraham and Esther Hicks. I smiled at the other dog walkers, morning gardeners, and people rushing off to work. I listened to how to move out of impatience and let enthusiasm be enough. I swung the bag in my right hand while Brodie continued his sniff-fest. The world appeared in sharp contrasts: the greens of the hedges, the blue of the sky, the black of the crows swooping by.

It caught me off guard when my dog took a dump and I was caught bag-less. My first response was to move into judgment, helplessness, and a kind of despair: My dog pooped! I don’t have a bag! There’s no one to ask! I’m a bad neighbor and I hate myself! But then, I looked around and easily settled on a solution. Voilà: Plastic bag. Dog doo handled.

 As I approached my driveway, I hummed as I opened the brown lid of the garbage can and dropped the bag inside. I asked for help. And I received it. Sometimes I can’t miss the metaphor. Especially when it’s right in front of my nose.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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