Thursday, 25 February 2010

Dogs and Conflict

I had a dog called Damon a great companion and running mate. He was always there for me. When nobody else wanted to run because the weather was so bad, Damon was there at the ready waiting to go. When I had a long spell of total silence unable to speak, because of voice problems, he seemed to know exactly what I was saying to him. I did not need to say anything a pat was enough. Sadly he was knocked over by a car while we were out running. I had noticed he was not keeping up with me, he seemed unwell. I decided to turn and head for home, he misunderstood and crossed the road as we usually did and was hit by a passing car. I frequently think of him when I am out running, how he would have enjoyed this run or that run.

I heard, or read, a story of a person who had bought a dog from a breeder. She had grown very fond of the dog and did certainly not want to lose it. The breeder had sent her a contract of sale within which there was a clause that said he retained the breeding rights of the dog. The lady was upset thinking that the breeder could come at anytime and take the dog from her for breeding purposes. She had consulted some lawyer friends and they had all said she had a case. Ready to go down that road she told another friend who advised she make contact and check with the breeder first. She did and discovered that this clause was included in the contract in error. All conflict was resolved.

A friend of mine was giving a talk at a meeting. He was in full flight and feeling very good, thinking the talk was going well. About halfway through a person got up from her seat and left the room in which the meeting was being held. He was concerned about what he had said, what had offended this lady. He kept looking for her to return but she never did, his concentration was lost and the second half of the talk he limped through. At the end they all thanked him but he was aware that he had not given of his best.

As the tea was being served he headed off to see if he could find the lady who had left so that he might apologise to her and put things right. He found her in the kitchen and asked her if she was alright. “Oh yes minister, she said, “I remembered I had left the light on under the urn and was concerned it would boil dry. Then I did not want to interrupt what was a really good talk so I just waited here and heard what I could through the shutter.” A misunderstanding and a conflict that never existed but so easily could have led to bad feeling.

The artist is often at conflict with themselves, nothing is ever as it should be. Conflict can and does always define the final outcome of a venture. It can create aggression or fear, either emotion which can lead to a paralysis. The artist in the midst of inner conflict must remain open to the many options. By harnessing the emotions that can cause conflict we can be even more creative and what could be destructive can become affirming and a joy. This is the way of Tao.


  1. Remind me of my recent painting; where unconciously; a conflict of mine became a painting.

  2. Dear Ralph, Thanks for sharing all of this. What strikes me most is your dog story. I have two old puppies. They use to wake me really early for play and walk but now they sleep in and often don't hear me moving about in the morning. What would we do without "man's best friend."

  3. Ralph, I am so sorry to hear about Damon! The loss of such a loyal trusting companion is difficult. Nice painting/memorial to a wonderful friend!

  4. Thanks to all who made comment on this blog seems I am not alone in missing my companion. Some day i will get round to painting this one again I did this a while ago and feel I could now make a better job.