The Radical Practice of Loving Everyone
A four-legged approach to enlightenment
by Michael J. Chase
The following excerpt is taken from The Radical Practice of Loving Everyone: A four-legged approach to enlightenment by Michael J. Chase. It is published by Hay House (released May 15, 2013), and available at all bookstores or online at: www.hayhouse.com.
“Wag More, Bark Less”
“Oh, come on, Mollie!” I said under my breath. Crunch. I had no idea what she’d found, but if there were such a thing as a crunch meter, on a scale of one to ten Mollie’s new treasure would have been a solid eight. Grabbing onto her snout, I then tried to reason with her. “Why . . . why do you do this?” Crunch. Crunch. With my other hand, I began the all-too-familiar process of digging through her mouth. Chips, I thought. They must be homemade potato chips. It only made sense after seeing the mound of potato peelings a few yards back. But as my fingers slid into her throat, I soon realized that Mollie had hit the jackpot. She’d found the most sought after of all garbage delicacies: chicken bones!
Mollie chomped away at the now-shredded, teriyaki-flavoured splinters in hopes of swallowing the bones before I could get them out of her mouth. Shoving my fingers down her throat, I was able to get a good grip. I pulled, plucked, and then flung the slimy shards to the ground. There were still tiny pieces to remove, but I was mostly concerned about the drumstick lodged deep below her tongue. Wrapping my fingers around it, I began to tug . . . and that’s when the crunch metre went from an 8 to a 108. Mollie clamped down onto the chicken bone, splitting it in two, which sent its pointy end into my finger like a hot knife through butter. Ripping my hand from her jaws, I screamed in pain. Seconds later, my blood-soaked finger matched the colour of the KFC box lying on the ground behind us. It was as if Colonel Sanders had just stabbed me.
I was fuming. I knew it wasn’t Mollie’s fault—she would never intentionally hurt me—but this was not how I wanted to start my day. As I wrapped my blood-soaked hand in an empty poop bag, we started our long walk back home. With each step, I felt a fiery anger building inside of me. People soon began to stare at me with my hand wrapped in a bag and bloodstained cargo shorts. The inner child in me felt like blurting out, “Why don’t you take a picture? It will last longer!” I became even more annoyed when they gawked at Mollie’s social-media-worthy act of puking up her original breakfast, now fresh with chicken-bone remnants. Tweet this, I thought.
I was now in a full-blown state of fury. Everything was making me mad, especially people’s “trash” items. Each time we’d pass a home that had tin cans, cardboard, newspapers, and other such items thrown curbside, I felt like knocking on the door and saying, “Hey, there’s a new thing we’re doing here on Earth; it’s called recycling. Have you heard of it?” Walking past another home, I seethed even more upon seeing garbage strewn across the road by seagulls. This mess was the result of the homeowners leaving their bags on the sidewalk without any protection. I then began to hypothesize about what I assumed they spent their money on instead of buying a trash can. I noticed two empty cardboard boxes—one from an air conditioner and the other from an empty case of beer. Irate thoughts popped into my mind. If you can afford cold air and some cold Buds, you sure as hell can afford a trash can! I was on a tear.
Taking a shortcut through a shopping plaza, I stumbled across two kids rocking a vending machine back and forth. It was obvious that these soda bandits were attempting to steal whatever sugary drinks lay inside. I stopped, turned, and glared back at them through my dark sunglasses as if I were Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator—stone-faced and bloody. They ran. Watching these delinquents scurry across the parking lot, I thought, My school presentations aren’t making a difference. Kids today don’t care. They’re so disrespectful. With only five minutes left of our journey home, Mollie jabbed her nose into my side pocket, which held her dog treats. I handed her a cookie, and then noticed a familiar figure walking toward us. I’ve seen this man on many occasions while driving around town. He walks everywhere. With each step he takes, his messy, shoulder-length hair bounces as if it has a life of its own. His swinging arms and powerful momentum keep people on edge. But what makes him appear even more unusual is the way he carries on conversations with himself. On most days, he’s looking up, conversing with the sky. His words are intense and always seem quite important.
I considered crossing the street to avoid him, but instead decided to put my head down and continue moving forward. Now, with only 20 yards between us, I cinched Mollie’s leash up tight to my side to keep her from greeting this man. Looking down at her, I immediately noticed that something was wrong with this picture, and I’m not sure if I was more shocked or insulted by what I saw. It just didn’t seem right—her ears were perked up, her tail was wagging, and, as usual, she maintained her goofy grin. Simply put, Mollie looked happy. This seemed like blasphemy! Between the chicken-bone episode, trash blowing in the streets, my dog vomiting in public, soda-stealing teenagers, irresponsible people who don’t recycle, and now a guy who appeared to be a few French fries short of a Happy Meal, there was no reason to be happy whatsoever!
But she was. As a matter of fact, she looked ecstatic.
I then realized that I’d been walking home alone. Mollie may have been by my side physically, but energetically speaking we were on different planets. All of my pissing and moaning, all of my complaining, all of my judgment toward others was my stuff. Even though we’d both experienced the same events that morning, she chose to enjoy the walk . . . and I chose to be completely miserable.
Michael J. Chase is a best-selling author, inspirational speaker, and student of spiritual wisdom, both ancient and contemporary. Considered an expert on the subject of kindness and positive behaviour, he is one of today’s most sought-after teachers in the field of personal and spiritual development. As founder of The Kindness Center, Michael, along with his teaching, is recognized across the globe. Whether he’s sharing his insights in a classroom, in a boardroom, or onstage in front of thousands of people, his powerful message impacts countless lives each year. He lives in Maine with his wife, son, and best friend Mollie. For more information visit www.michaeljchase.com.