The gift of language is vital to our emotional and social wellbeing. We chat, we confide, we philosophize, problem-solve, question, sympathize, agonize, predict, inspire, and tell silly jokes. Our lives are wrapped up in words, from the broad strokes to the details, from morning until night, from all four directions and on every subject under the sun and moon.
And yet words sometimes just don’t cut it. Sometimes we need a wordless space in which to settle ourselves down, a more simple and direct way to connect with life. Don’t get me wrong. I love words as much as the next word-loving person, but they can also be tricky and confusing and exhausting at times. When we are word-weary and world-weary, it’s so helpful to have right-brain connections with life which spring from direct sensory experience. We can feel alive by playing with colors and aromas and chords, or nurturing plants, or carving wood, or countless other direct engagements which provide their own emotional and sensory rewards.
Such connections were particularly helpful for many people throughout the pandemic. I found myself spending a lot of wordless time with Ella Mae, our sweet grandpuppy. Trying to communicate with another being, without relying on words, is a beautiful challenge. I found myself increasingly drawn to my time with her, as we developed our own way of being together and of understanding each other. Though I do talk to her at times, it’s not the content of my words that matter, it’s just the tone of my voice. She helps me to be more sensitive to my tone, because she is so sensitive to it. And through touch she experiences my affection, and through our eyes we meet each other. To have a personal connection with another species can be a precious and profound experience that touches a very tender place in the heart. Because of their ingenuous nature, dogs and other animals provide a relief from all of the words that can be twisted, distorted, manipulated and more.
There’s so much going on in the world right now, and so much being said about what’s going on in the world. We have a lot to think about and talk about and a lot to figure out, that’s for sure. But we won’t be up for the challenge if we are depleted. Making time to nourish our spirits by connecting with the sensory world (beyond the keyboard and the screen) can make a real difference. We need little bursts of vitality in our lives to keep our balance steady and our spirits up. So let’s talk and think about the world but also experience it and explore it and play with it. Let’s keep our right brains engaged so that we feel less flat and more complete, less weary and more refreshed.
Okay, enough with my words! It’s time to play with Ella Fitzpuppy:)