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Border Collies Get It

So I have this new theory about Balance – or lack thereof. It’s helped me to ditch the unrealistic expectations and see things for what they are: constantly in motion and always changing.

My sister used to have this border collie named Bobo. She was a rock star. She had one purpose in life and she took it very seriously. Her job was to account for all the sheep and keep them together at all times. The only problem was that my sister didn’t own any sheep. So any people that came into her home inadvertently signed up for this role.
Picture this: You are at a party at my sister’s house with about twenty other people. You’re talking, having a glass of wine and meeting some new people. All of a sudden you realize everyone at the party is standing really close to you. You look around and discover that all the guests at the party are tightly concentrated – some would say even squished – into the center of the living room. You don’t even need to check. You know Bobo is out there. You hear her clicking toe nails dutifully encircling us. The sheep. You know she’s smiling her doggie smile at having contained us all so neatly.
Until one of us breaks rank. Someone has to go to the bathroom, or maybe gets nervous in the presence of so many “close talkers” and moves to the outside edges of the room or makes a break for the kitchen.
See, Bobo? She gets it. She knows that sheep will always, always needed tending. Happy as she is with her job, she expects the errant sheep. It’s job security for her. Keeps her on her toes, entertained even.
So how does this relate to balance? I don’t know about you, but I fall prey to the illusion of all my sheep staying put. I circle them once and then crash on the couch, assuming they stay where I left them like good little sheep. At least until I’m good and ready to round them up again.
I’ve come to realize that’s some seriously flawed logic. Here’s how that scenario plays out:
I do the laundry, pay the bills, grocery shop, clean the house, straighten up, do the kids’ paperwork for school, get my hair cut, exercise, sleep, have sex, connect with my friends, work with a client, empty the dishwasher, drop off the dry cleaning, meditate and shovel the driveway. There. All the sheep are accounted for and in a nice tidy bunch. All done, right?
No, because I look up from the couch and there it is. Chaos. The sheep are all over the place! Again.
And that’s why Bobo is so wise. She knows this thing we humans call “balance” is really an illusion. It’s never “there” or “done”. Ever. She knows it’s all relative and fluid, never static.
So the grocery shopping didn’t get done, but the dog fur is vacuumed up and the kids lunches were made! Of course you didn’t sleep much this week, because you grocery shopped and cooked up a storm to fill your freezer with meals and even made some for your sick neighbor! So the bills are all stacked up on the office desk (which is a mess), but you got some good lovin’ this week and are feeling totally sated because of all that exercise! Sure all that laundry is done (and actually put away), but you look see yourself in the mirror and see all that crazy hair and those eyebrows which have taken on a life of their own…
You get the picture. Sounds familiar, right? Dare I say, “realistic”?
See, Bobo knows life is like a spider web. You pull one corner of the web and another corner has to give a bit. If you spend time chasing down one errant sheep, another sheep is bound to take advantage of the situation and make a run for it.
It just makes sense. So maybe it’s a new theory and maybe it’s just new to me. But Bobo knows.

1 comment to " Border Collies Get It "

  • Lael, Bobo WAS a rock star, and she would have loved this article. Thanks for remembering her with such love and respect, and thanks also for the terrific reminder that no matter where you go, there you (and your chaos) are. People like us and dogs like Bobo would go nuts without lots of sheep to take care of, so really everybody wins! Ever see a bored border collie? Not recommended. Love you!
    Amanda (Lael's proud sister and Bobo's mom)