How to transform strong emotions into something positive? One way, inspired from observing another mammal's behavior
ˬ˯ v ᐯ˅ˇ⌣ᘁ᥎ᨆ⏝ࡍ⩗ᨆ⌣˘ˬ᥎ᐯᨆ⌣ᘁ⩗ᨆࡍ˯
This post is from Mésange, my weekly ‘popup’ newsletter, from October 2022 to March 2023. < Previous | Next >
Sometimes, observing nature helps me to understand myself better. Here, by observing a dog, I understand one way to channel strong emotions. I tell this story through my voice, through my pen, and through a visual summary.
The story through my voice
It is the first time on this blog that I record myself reading a post. I chose to share the raw recording: no cuts, just ‘one-shot’, including my hesitations, along with my — hopefully cute! — French accent. I hope you will enjoy it!
right-click on the bar to download | browse all podcasts
The story through my pen
My parents have a dog, called Perle (French for Pearl).
Here is Perle when she is normal:
Perle is like a teacher for me, a master. She experiences simplicity and spontaneity with as much ease as I experience difficulties in my everyday life.
Let me tell you her latest teaching…
Each time a dog passes by, down our street, Perle cannot help but start to growl and bark. If, by chance, you notice the dog before she does, you may try to divert her attention, by proposing to her to play her favorite game: “Perle! A stick! Let’s look for a stick! Bring me a stick!” And you start to throw sticks everywhere.
But, if you couldn’t see the dog before her, that’s too late…
From a usually cute and well-combed dog she suddenly metamorphoses into an angry enraged wolf . The hair stands up on her neck and her back, sharp teeth appear behind her lips. Emotions emerge, they turn into motion. She runs, like a puma after her prey
Worried that she will eat the poor dog of the neighbor, you may try to yell at her, or to run after her. But that’s too late…
Now, completely out of control, she reaches the gate, and bumps into it — if it is closed — or bumps into that dog — if, unfortunately, the gate was opened. Then, indeed, she starts to chew the poor dog of the neighbor.
However, Perle has recently developed an unexpected behavior, for our greatest happiness, and also for my greatest wisdom. For, this behavior is precisely her latest teaching.
When she distinguishes a dog arriving down the street, the hair stands up, the teeth appear. Emotion turns into motion. She stands. Yet, this time, before jumping ahead, she hesitates. Instead, like an enraged lion in her cage, growling, she circles.
This is because she remembers that, usually, in such dangerous circumstances — like when a poor dog arrives down the street — her masters tend to have the curious habit of rapidly looking for sticks everywhere and then repeatedly throwing sticks around. She also remembers that, usually, her masters look happier when she chases sticks rather than dogs. So, after hesitating for a few seconds, after making a few turns, she jumps on the first stick she finds.
One can hence observe with amazement, in real-time, the shaggy wolf metamorphosing back into a cute dog with soft and very well-combed hair. That is the visual proof of strong emotions vanishing. She now forgot about the poor dog passing by, and she plays in the garden
So, here is what Perle taught me:
Emotions turn into motion. I cannot prevent this process. But once the related motion has started, I do have the option to channel this motion into something creative, something better, something useful. At that moment, I kind of trick my body-brain, and the emotion resolves and vanishes by itself.
What a genius dog, isn’t she?
The visual summary
- Previous experiment (2/26): I made a 5-function elegant drop lid in wood
- Next experiment (4/26): Visualizing electromagnetic fields around my laptop