Monday, January 2, 2012

Looking Back, Moving Forward…

…Though obviously not at the same time.

That just wouldn’t be safe- and we are ALL about safety here at The Project.

Which makes it quite ironic that I, as Leader, enter 2012 with a fat lip compliment of The Dog.

(Yes, The Dog, NOT The Pup. Shocking, right? I know.  The Pup needed this noted in writing.  In bold writing.)
I’m not entirely sure what I think of 2011. I’ve been reflecting my butt off trying to decide.  

Maybe the fat lip sums it up: unexpected, unavoidable at the time, but definitely a learning experience. 
Rewind.  Start of 2011.  2010 had felt like a year spent adjusting.  2011 was the year I thought things might settle and come together.  Yes, I still had a pack of goals and accomplishments to work for; most of those were based on the whole ‘settled’ theory.  I hoped to focus much more on just running and less on all the little things. It was supposed to be the year of competing and going for it, but the year had different plans.

2011 was the year of learning.  Details.   Foundations.  The little things.  Go figure.
I fought pretty hard against the learning current for the first... 5 months? of the year.  I reaaaaalllly wanted to reach stasis with The Dog. I wanted to be done with the bits and pieces and for us to be whole.  You know what they say about wishing in one hand though… we didn’t get anywhere very fast with that mentality.  By spring, it was clear- the process was still incomplete and there was more learning to do. 

And now I wonder why I fought against it for so long. 
When I was fighting taking the time to go back to the drawing board AGAIN, I was frustrated.  I wasn’t happy with revisiting the dogwalk another time, with reigning in  China Dog, with trying to move past ring stress again in 2011. I had a hard time seeing it for what it was- a gift. 

It was a gift that came with seemed at first to come with strings though- take the survey, win an iPad! Sit through the sales pitch, and have a free weekend at a time share!  Lots of work went into it before I could have it, and the act it took wasn’t always pleasant.  There were tears and dead ends.  And some throwing of things that were not throwing approved toys.  But somewhere in the midst of it all came the signs you wait for- the keys to the timeshare, the ‘sign here’ for the iPad.  Somewhere it became real.  Gratifying.

I realized how very, VERY much I was learning.  The knowledge unfolded like giant wings and we were off.   With clarity I began to get what was missing and, finally, what we needed to fill it in.  It is humbling to learn these things but also so satisfying and exciting.  And motivating. 

I can say I know a lot now. More than ever. But not everything. Not by a long shot.  There is unlimited knowledge out there, still ours for the taking.  And we should never stop looking for it, for something new. I learned that you can’t just expect the answers to be there when you need them- you need to always be searching for the next great answer, even if you don’t yet know the question. 

So for this year, I’m dumping the thought of what I think we should accomplish in 2012.  I’m definitely dumping the idea that we should ever achieve the stasis.  While it’s probably a fair and common wish to be able to have a predictable and consistent agility team, that just goes too much against what I wanted to begin with when I started my little project.   If you want amazing highs, you need the lows.  So I need to remember that if anything amazing is going to happen, it’s only going to happen if I stop being scared of lows. 
My goals then:

 Enjoy the process.  While this has all been very Dog-centric, I have to say that it was having The Pup this year that reminded me of the important part (that being the journey).  While I started with the mindset of blah-foundation, who wants to do that? I learned pretty quickly that I do! Her love of learning and joy of just doing were a real inspiration and it was impossible not to be drawn into her world. I needed to be shown that there are so many unbelievable things that happen in the developmental stages and she was the one to do that.

Find the focused state.  My teammate needs me to do this.

Remember to be daring. My teammate deserves this.

Be open.  When I finally opened up to the possibility of getting help (you mean I’m not alone and I don’t need all the answers?) I was so grateful to find it waiting.  It doesn’t matter really if I have the same ‘style’ or background or goals- any person can have an idea. In fact, the more ‘not me’ they are, the more likely they have something I need to hear.

To help me to do this, I will continue with the 2011 trend of attending seminars. I will take privates when I can. I will attend classes on a regular basis.  I will go new places and try different things and meet whoever I can. I will ask, look, listen and be open. 

I think if I can do all this, we can have a good year.
But just so we are clear-

I am very proud of my girls. 

I am very happy with the little bits of progress.

And the big bits.

And we have some big bits of accomplishment to show for the year...

The Pup:

And The Dog:

And I am excited to see what this year brings. If the close of 2011 is any indication, it will be VERY exciting indeed.  

But no matter where it goes, this year, I won't fight it. 

I will be glad for the journey we have.


  1. Love the videos! Especially the RDW one :)

  2. Lovely Shenna!!! Shiver looks GREAT!! So does the baby dog! Congrats on relaxing and enjoying agility! :-) I think those are great goals for 2012!