“Now What?”

By Patrick McNerthney 

Last Thursday I was walking my wonder dog, Benji, when it became readily apparent that he’s lost his killer instinct. Oh, the name “Benji” came with the dog. I don’t say this because I have a problem with the name–perish the thought! But if you’re over 43 years old you’ll remember Benji was a book about an almost magical mutt that had all sorts of adventures, so the name could be deemed “unoriginal” (my biggest fear), but again, it came with the dog. Plus my Benji has his own adventures—or used to—as you’re about to discover. 

Ahem. It used to be that when a squirrel, cat, or bunny appeared, Benji would both keep my respect and maintain his own dignity by actually barking, pulling, bouncing, growling or otherwise gettin’ after the little intruder. But on Thursday, January 12, 2023, during our 7:15 a.m. weekday-morning walk, this obese bunny appeared  (I live in the city that the bunnies have taken over, I think because about five years ago 50% of Seattleites decided to build raised-bed vegetable gardens on their parking strips). Anyway, back to my story: Benji the Wonder Dog didn’t do a dang thing!. I was like, “Benji, get the bunny that’s approximately four feet away from you! It’ll be easy; it’s so obese it’s wheezing!” And he just gave me a blank look and went back to peeing on the neighbor’s  mustard greens. 

                                    (I hate greens. Gross, even without the pee…)


Ah well.

For the record, I don’t really want him to HURT the bunny. I just want him to do what he’s supposed to do—fulfill my every whim and desire, which includes watching the Natural Order of Things take their course, as follows:

  • Dog walks down street on leash;
  • Dog marks his territory every 2 ½ feet, which means a two-block walk takes 25 minutes, thereby qualifying as daily exercise for him and for me;
  • Any creatures: cats, squirrels, bunnies that appear run from dog. Or at least cower in terror…or look a little bit nervous.

Granted, 10 minutes and almost-one-block later, Benji kinda lunged at another out-of-shape bunny, so that felt better (for me, not him). But nonetheless I felt somewhat ill-at-ease about the breakdown of the Natural Order of Things as evidenced by my dog.

Until I realized that the Natural Order of Things is completely made up. Or at least the idea of the Natural Order of Things being static, defined, unchanging, and PERMANENT is a misconception humans tend to grab hold of and refuse to let go. The truth is, city bunnies get soft and complacent, not every hound hunts, and thus my whims and desires will always be left unfulfilled. That is, until I decide to accept The World as It Is (not as I want it to be). I predict it will take about 1 month…or until after the Super Bowl.

(It’s like that, but so much more right?)

This is especially important in our work (no matter what we do as a profession).  We fret over “what just happened,” (boss turns down our idea, client rejects our design, patient refuses to follow care protocol), we tend to focus on how right we are, how this is in violation of The Natural Order of Things, instead of the problem itself. And the problem itself is US, because we ignore the real issue, which is likely the fear (or status issues, or confusion, or a million other things) our boss, client, or patient has when they intersect with our work. And here we are, ignoring The World As It Is. 

So we could say, “Okay, I did not expect that to happen!. Now what?” when we encounter The World As It Is—especially when we’re trying to make things better for others.

Over to you. Undoubtedly you have your own perceived Natural Order of Things when it comes to your work as a caregiver. And your Natural Order of Things is worthy of examination, because it might not be intersecting with The World As It Is. A big red flag is feeling frustrated, suspecting there’s a better path to helping your residents or loved ones overcome the depression and anxiety resulting  from  social isolation. 

That’s where Fine Art Miracles (FAM) can help.

FAM knows the answer to your “Now what?” is creative expression. It turns out the act of simply making provides your residents or loved ones feelings of joy, confidence, self-worth, mastery, and the belief that they both matter, and have an IMPACT on the world. Which is the perfect antidote to the anxiety, depression, and fear that comes with social isolation. 

So check out Art Therapy, Dance & Movement Therapy, Multi-Sensory Sessions, Art 2 Go Packages (and so much more), then reach out to FAM to get started. You’ll be glad you did.

Don’t you worry about me though. I’ll continue to be disappointed in my dog every morning by working it into my Natural Order of Things.  Let’s face it ; my Natural Order of Things during our walks is simply just too enjoyable for me to switch to The World As It Is. 


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