Clarity of Purpose: A Dog's role as Professor

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    Sometimes the simplest moments bring the deepest insights. I was enjoying a well-deserved game of fetch with my Retriever, Pilate, when I recognized something that gave me a giant burst of excitement.

    Pilate is a great dog. She is very loving and intelligent but somewhat high-strung, self-sacrificing as most dogs are, mopey and perhaps a bit over-sensitive. She is normally seeking attention or seemingly anxious. Making her feel secure is something our family is working on diligently. Today, however, when I threw her rubber tire and it sped through the field she exploded, pursuing it with great vigor and determination. She returned to me short of breath and with a canine grin, eyes beaming. Secure, tired and relieved, Pilate retired into the house for a drink and a nap.

    Retrievers are known to be genetically predisposed to chasing, fetching and hunting objectives. It’s literally in their blood. In these moments of our game, Pilate connected with that sense of purpose directly and without hesitation. She knows what she is meant to do discovered simply by doing it. She would run until she was too tired to run. Even limping a little. Then she would run some more.

    How are we any different if not only in complicating our desires? Are we not born of the same starstuff? Just more able and prone to buffer our determination with knowledge, prejudice and limiting beliefs?

    Once we start scraping away the dross and deciding on our core values, on what is acceptable and what is not, we begin to connect to the same primal heart beating within Pilate, the heart that beats at the center of all things. We begin to uncover a true Clarity of Purpose. A Clarity developed by Belief. A Clarity that, throughout history, has manifested within us that primary virtue of mankind, courage, into epic proportions elevating men and women to achieve mankind’s greatest and most memorable achievements.

    “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
    -John F. Kennedy

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