March 4, 2012

I Yam What I Yam

With all this studying we’ve been doing (Gretchen’s taking acupressure classes from Tallgrass Acupressure Institute– acupressure for animals– and I am helping), we’ve learned a great deal (with a great deal more to learn) about Chi. Specifically Source Chi. To quote the Tallgrass definition: “Source Chi is Original Chi inherited from the dam and sire that is stored in the Kidney. It is the basis of the essence (Jing), the fundamental substance, of the body. Also called: Pre-Natal Chi; Heavenly Chi, Primary Chi.”

Confused? Well, think of it the way I do — the Popeye way: I yam what I yam.

In other words, there’s a part of me (and a part of you) that you can’t ever change. You got some of it from your father and some of it from your mother (that’s the original stuff) and even though you take in your first breath on the very first day of your life and follow your own path from then on, you can never get rid of or change your Source Chi. As one of Gretchen’s instructors said, “You can bring it (Source Chi) back to what you originally had, but never add to it.”

This was a great epiphany for both of us. Not to get into Gretchen’s own life path of trying to figure out who she is and what that means in the grand scheme of things, but understanding that she is who she is not only because of the choices she makes but also because of the choices she makes in relation to what she was given has had a profound impact on her.

It has on me as well. See, everyone tries to figure me out. On the surface I look like a curly-headed fellow with a Muppet-like disposition, but then people try to pet my head and I back away. It’s not that I don’t want to be petted, but I want to be petted when I choose and by whom I choose.

On the surface I look like a happy-go-lucky puppy who wants to wag my tail and greet people with unbridled happiness and while I’ve been known to do just that, it’s only on a rare occasion that I will be so demonstrative especially to complete strangers be they human or canine.

On the surface, I look friendly to other people walking their friendly (and sometimes not so friendly) dogs and when they approach with their dogs pulling at the leash racing toward us shouting things like, “My dog is friendly!” or “Can they meet?” aren’t they surprised when I lunge and bark my most ferocious bark?

Yes, I am cuddly and sweet but I am also shy and reactive and each can be directly traced to my parents. My Mom was the gentle, loving one and my Dad was a nervous wreck and I am a 50/50 product of both.

Source Chi.

I  have no idea what my friends inherited from their parents, but I can venture to guess.

Tyson had one part philosopher and one part worrier in his genetic makeup. Only on rare occasions will you see Tyson let loose and really relax. Generally this occurs at home, but every once in awhile he’ll bust a move and let it all hang out. But most of the time, he’s always deep in contemplative concentration.

Rosie, on the other hand, is one part clown and one part Ms. Independent. As the clown, she’s always testing the limits, but she tests them with a big grin on her face and a look in her eyes that says, “Aren’t I cute?”

Yes, Rosie, very cute!

Roux has me a bit stumped, but I’d say she’s one part exuberance and two parts passionate. Not passionate in the love way (though she is loving) but passionate in her desire to experience life at 100 mph. She’s so afraid she’s going to miss something she tries to experience it all all at once.

Monty, on the other hand, is one part researcher and three parts ambassador. He is always the first to greet someone new and in doing so takes a detailed history of where they’ve been, what they like, and every other detail he can extract within the first two minutes of sniffing them from head to toe (though he has a particular fondness for the head…don’t ask me why!). And he is a dignified (though not always) ambassador, greeting everyone — friend or foe — with the same delirious expression — “Hey dude, like it’s a real pleasure to like meet you!” Pretty much everyone loves Monty…pretty much. I certainly do.

Woobie is 12 parts frolic-girl and in equal measure, patient — she knows how to go with the flow. And flow she does…her long hair looking even longer in the March winds! When we hang out with Woobie, she lays down while we wait for the next adventure and then pops up in absolutely glee when it’s time to go for a walk or get in the car or visit a friend. Woobie makes everyone smile. She makes me smile, too.

Paige is one part Great Huntress and 17 parts faithful companion.

Gretchen's been playing around with SnapSeed and this is her work with Paige's photo.

We hung out together the other night and while they might seem diametrically opposed — hunting and hanging — Paige is equally good at both. Before she came over to hang out, Paige and I went to the fields to romp and play. Where I am cautious, Paige is bold exploring every nook and cranny of the woods for the scent of one critter or another. Where I am a trail walker, Paige is leaping over downed logs, crawling under twisted branches, and weaving her athletic body through the thickets.

Then Paige came to our house for a bit and promptly found her place on the couch next to Ann and nodded off into blissful slumber. Paige loves us all, but she has particular fondness for Ann and faithfully curls up next to her every chance she gets.

I suppose Popeye had it right that we are all who we are and while the Traditional Chinese Medicine way is to say it’s because of our Source Chi, I’m kind of partial to Popeye’s words: I yam what I yam.

Toot toot!


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