Boys, you have agency. Do you know what that means? It means choice.
When you walk Xoli, you have the choice to employ force or power. Do you know what the difference is?
Force is control and external domination, making her do what you want. Power is internal, the ability to respectfully engage with another creature, from the inside, to obtain the goals of the group. When you employ power you know your place in the group. You are the leader, who respectfully engages with Xoli to achieve the goals of the group.
The goal of the group, right now, is to have a peaceful training walk with Xoli.
What are your tools? You have the leash, you have your minds, you have treats, you have sticks, you have training exercises to engage her, you have the brilliance of the group collective experience. She has none of those things. She has no agency. Therefor, it is your job to use your agency to work with her, respectfully employing your tools, to achieve the goals of the group.
And, you always have this choice. Internal versus external. Intrinsic versus extrinsic. When you are using your power, you know your place in the group. You use all of your tools to achieve the goal of the group. You engage others respectfully with the goals in mind. It is not about you and your goals, it is about the goals of the group.
This is a practice. We practice this. We always have a choice, and we are always making that choice.
Here's a clue as to which one we are using: how does it feel inside the body? Using our power feels amazing. We're engaged and connected with others. This is the primary characteristic of power: we're engaged and connected respectfully with others. We're flowing, we're respectful, and we're feeling alive. Force, on the other hand, feels icky. We feel alone. We feel we are pushing someone/something. We actually feel powerless.
Or, when we are using our power, we feel like we are clearly communicating with another. We are engaged and having a conversation, even if it's not verbal. When we are using our force, we feel like nobody is listening. We are shouting to be heard, and feel invisible.
Ryan, I see you are not paying attention and you are distracting Xoli. Is that using your power or your force? It’s not using your power, because it’s disrespectful to me and to the group. You think your needs are more important than those of the group. Please rejoin the group.
OK, off you go!
Norma Van Horn