Sunday, July 27, 2008

Learn from the Dogs!

New York City parks have many wonderful places for dogs to play during off-leash hours.  Dogs create their own social relationships (as do their owners!), creating a complex subculture.

My golden retriever and I frequent a huge, hilly open meadow a in Prospect Park called "the Nethermead."  It's a wonderful part in the center of the park where no buildings are visible, and it is quite easy to forget you are in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world.  

There are two dogs often there who can only be called best friends. One is a doberman, the other is a pit bull mix.  They are about the same size and weight, I'd guess, although they have very different shapes.  They share a toy that is a big rubber ring, about 10 or 12 inches wide.  Each dog grabs one end and pulls. And so they tug, face to face.  For hours.  It's like watching an eight-legged dance across the grass.  

"Who needs TV?" I asked, the first time I saw them.  They can keep each other entertained for hours!  They are perfectly matched, fully engrossed, focused only on each other, working hard and going nowhere.

This reminds me of couples who are deeply engaged in fighting with each other.  It can be very engrossing, taking all of your attention, and require constant adjusting and maneuvering -- but look where it gets you ... nowhere!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Different Time Zones

I've been doing a few mediations lately where the timing of the partners is way out of sync.  It often happens in divorce that one person can't wait and the other is dragging his/her feet.  So what do you do?  Well, as my friend Rachel Green says, "A train can only go as fast as its slowest wheel."  

Mediation is a voluntary process. and it must be done in tandem, so the rabbit has no choice but wait for the hare to catch up.  This can be frustrating for the hare, but the best decisions are those that are made from a place of being relatively centered.  The key here is to think long-term!