Tag Archives: integrity

Feminine energy and radio towers

One of the most important things to understand is balancing feminine energy with masculine. Such strong identification with the physical body has taken place that you have lost the ability to balance feminine with masculine energies, and have actually moved toward fearing such expressions of balance.

This balance is not only natural, it is necessary for mastery.

Look to ancient symbolism in your human history, such as the yin/yang and the Star of David. Set aside all religious meaning for a moment and consider them simply as expressions of balance. The most beautiful art, paintings, architecture, etc… all have balance between masculine and feminine energies.

And yet the expression of balance of these energies in humans is somehow to be feared? Punished? Hated?

The balance of these energies in each of us recognizes — gives us the wisdom to recognize — that we are not our physical bodies. While the physicus is beautiful, a work of art in itself, it is but a crude vehicle for the expression of Spirit, and as I have said before, there is truly on the One, of which each of you is simultaneously a part and which you contain (the Whole).

Think of yourself as one piece of a puzzle. Puzzle pieces, quite literally, have both feminine and masculine expression: some protrusions, some recesses, in order to interlock with one another. This is regardless of what is printed on them. So a puzzle of a Monet painting can never be complete without every piece. Every one of you, without exception, is a vital piece of the puzzle, and at the same time, the whole puzzle. The duality you perceive is nothing more than a play of the Light.

To act out of fear, such as homophobia or sexism, is actually to deny the balance of masculine and feminine energies in oneself. In fact, to oppress anyone based on any sort of physical characteristic is to identify much too strongly with the physicus. It is a mistake (misperception) made early in the cycle/process of spiritual evolution/remembering.

You already have the technology to know that you are energy, and that energy can never be destroyed. The time has come for each of you to begin to embrace the expression of both masculine and feminine energies in yourselves and others. While sexual orientation and gender are part of this expression, it goes much deeper.

The feminine, or receptive aspect, is known for being passive, but there is an incredibly active aspect to this energy, as well. Need I remind you of the activity involved in the development of a child in the womb? Or the receptive power for a radio or microwave tower, hundreds of feet tall?

The tower obviously expresses masculine energy through its phallic imagery. But its tallness or height is also an expression of the Desire to Receive… the taller it is, the stronger is the desire to “hear.” Like that tower, you must each reach out, as high as you can, and listen as carefully, with as much vigilance as you can muster, to hear, see, feel, and sense the Source of Love radiating from every being on your planet.

To say the soul is bulletproof is not to suggest that striving to sense and recognize the soul is unimportant. Quite the contrary; the whole reason for your being here is to remember, and that happens through the recognition (re-cognition: re-knowing) of the true nature of things beyond the conceptual level.

You are not a physical body.

Stop attacking each other based on concepts of right and wrong, based on physical characteristics.

What is right is to love. Always.

Concepts of strength and power stem from the ego, or small mind. Is the oak tree strong, or weak? Good, or bad? Is the willow right, or wrong? Ugly, or beautiful? They simply ARE, in all their natural glory. So it is with every one of you.

When you seek to find and recognize the True Self, of which every one of you is an expression, you evolve. You remember what you have always known. You return to the Source of All, which is Love.

This is your work.


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Filed under Living a joyful life

Mankind Project New Warrior Training Adventure

I experienced the Mankind Project’s New Warrior Training Adventure over the weekend of January 25-27, 2013, in Elbert, Colorado. This is how the experience has impacted my life so far.

We men carry around a lot of shame. No matter how well-adjusted we may look, or how strong and brave we might seem, there are messages that we heard and believed somewhere in our lives… and more often than not, those messages were incorporated when we were very young. And those unhelpful messages for me have lived in my stomach.

In my case, my parents got divorced when I was 7 or 8, and I happen to resemble my father very closely (facial features). So when, as a child, my undiagnosed bi-polar mom called me angry names and said I was just like my father, that sent some powerfully damaging messages. And though I’ve spent my share of years in therapy, talking, discussing, crying, journaling, etc… that hasn’t removed those messages from my nervous system.

This Mankind Project New Warrior Training has.
It’s 100% experiential. Due to confidentiality concerns, and a strong desire to honor my commitment of protecting the actual process, I’m actively choosing not to share specifics about what I experienced over that 48 hours. I can say that this initiation into manhood parallels some other rites of passage in different cultures, on a general level. One thing I can tell you is that this initiation process does not involve scarring or wounding — men today have enough wounds, and enough scars as it is.

How did I arrive at the decision to do this?

For about 3 years now, an acquaintance has been inviting me and reminding me about this process. And every time, I’ve been like, “Okay, no thanks… I’m good… I’ve got everything under control…” And I believed it. Then my friend J. went through, and I saw such a dramatic change in his way of being in the world (within just 1 month) that my jaw dropped. When I first met J., he was incredibly, painfully awkward in social situations. He was so uncomfortable that it made ME cringe. And in an effort to balance that out, he would intentionally say and do things that were socially inappropriate for shock value… as if to say, “I don’t care what you think of me”, when in fact he really, really did care.
I enjoyed spending short bursts of time with him, but I could only handle him for a little while at a time because of this. I considered him kind of a friend, but not someone I could actually lean on– not someone I could actually be 100 honest with. (Come to think of it, even with the handful of people I thought I could lean on at the time, there was still a limit to how honest I felt I could be.)
J. came back from his weekend and we hung out a few days after he got back– he seemed exhausted (understatement!) and quieter… a little more thoughtful. I didn’t think much of it. Then a few weeks went by, maybe a month, and we hung out again. And what I saw blew my mind. Here was a calm, thoughtful, RELAXED man of power, who was comfortable in his own skin. And what struck me most was not that he TOLD me he was different– he didn’t. (You know those people… “You can trust me!” or “Oh man! I am SOOOOO different now!” Riiiiiiiiiight….) Just the way J. poured our cups of tea and looked into my eyes and smiled… that was it. I told him, “I don’t know what you did over that weekend, but you’ve got something now and I want it!”

Learning to trust…

Now instead of feeling alone in the world, I know I can reach out to men literally anywhere in the world and have a brother who I can trust. The “control” thing – trying to control everything in my life in order to minimize discomfort, minimize danger, minimize threat – that is transformed into a sense of calm trust– trust in myself, trust in other men, and trust in the world. Mainly, trust in myself. (BTW– on the MKP website, they address FAQ’s… one of them is a fear that this is a cult. They address quite beautifully the characteristics of a cult– worshipping one single leader, giving up trust in self, dedicating one’s life to that one leader, etc. This is exactly the opposite– there is no one leader; this is about gaining trust in self and listening to one’s heart; and creating a mission in life– dedicating one’s life to service to something bigger than oneself, rather than the small and selfish “me, me, me” way of being in the world.
So many of the initiates during my weekend were like me… I watched men come in and answer questions in a very controlling way…. Trying to be in charge of everything… trying to maintain the upper hand. And The Process we all went through really changed that. In only 48 hours. Honestly. And again, it was NOT 48 hours of whining, self-pity, replaying ‘the stories’ of our wounds, talking, sharing kleenex, etc. It was intense, and it involved a wide variety of emotions for me, including discomfort, sadness, anger, frustration, joy, confusion, etc.

Differences in my life after one week…

For one thing, I’ve been home for an entire week now, and I have not yet engaged in any of the following: using sarcasm to make my partner feel shame; getting upset and raising my voice; acting and talking with a condescending tone; complaining about doing small chores; asking for recognition for chores I’ve done; apologizing over and over after committing the above offences…
And it’s not that I’m TRYING super hard not to be a jerk. It’s just that the world looks and feels different. For the first time, I see that I am living life with my best friend… When she speaks, I want to hear what she has to say. I stop what I’m doing, I look into her eyes, and I listen. I’m more emotionally present. I’m more honest about what I’m experiencing, and what my needs are. And I take RESPONSIBILITY for asking for help, for expressing my needs, my desires, my fears, etc.
It’s not that this has made problems go away; it has simply given me some tools to effectively deal with them– but more importantly, it has untied the ropes around my ankles that have been tripping me up all my life, without my even realizing it.

My advice to any man…

Go to this. Trust the process 100%. Be completely honest. The price for the entire weekend was $650. Now that I’ve gone through and I’m feeling the powerful impact, I can easily say I would have gladly paid $65,000. Honestly. I am getting a tremendous payoff for my investment, but then again, I went in completely dedicated. I did not hold back. When they asked for volunteers, I was the first one standing, every single time. I trusted the process completely, blindly, with every ounce of trust that I could muster.
And the truth was this: every single man on the staff was there to serve ME. They were all there to protect me, to guide me, to help me reach the point in my process where transformation could occur. They created a SAFE and APPROPRIATE container for this process to unfold.

Final thoughts…

If any men have questions about MKP, I invite you to send them my way. Give them my email address and I’ll answer their questions as best I can, and I’ll be happy to put them in touch with a man who can get them connected into the process. MKP wants every man to be able to do this, and for money to never stand in the way.

Here are my responses to additional questions posed to me one month after my New Warrior Training Adventure weekend:

How long have you lived in the area, and what do you do for work? What about play (i.e., interests, hobbies, etc.)?

Moved here in August of ’07. For work I run my own audio production business (Waking Moment Productions, Ltd.), and I’m a founding member of the local kirtan band Blue Lotus Feet. (www.bluelotusfeet.com).

How old are you?

Just turned 45 in January.

How did you hear about MKP? What did you hear and what was your initial reaction?

Local acquaintances have shared their experiences with me over the past 3 years or so. When my friend J went through the initiation process just a few months ago (referenced above), the dramatic change I saw in him spurred me to finally take the leap.

How do you think the diversity of the MKP group contributes to the dynamic and your personal process?

The diversity of MKP is a major contributing factor to the bond I feel with my MKP brothers. Navigating the challenges of being a powerful, loving, responsible man of service in today’s society is a path I share with men around the world; men who are gay, men who are straight; men of all sexual orientations; men of all races and ethnicities; men of all different religious backgrounds; men of all ages; men of all different nationalities; men with all kinds of different types of physical ability; men from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Stepping into our true power as men of accountability is a transformation that is not limited to any background or belief system; it includes all men who accept this challenge and responsibility. It is this very connection, this common thread woven through the diversity, that guides me into new levels of trust and respect with men of all walks of life, and for myself as a man among men.

Accountability, respect and a new definition of what it means to be powerful and masculine have been reoccurring themes when I ask men involved with MKP what the focus is. Would you agree or disagree? If so, or if not, what would you consider the primary themes, lessons, or areas of focus.

I completely agree that those three central themes are the focus of my experience with MKP and of my life today. I don’t necessarily have all of the answers today, but now I have a few more really good questions that I can ask myself, and ask my fellow men: Have I kept my word today? Have I lived with integrity today? Have I done the best I can do today? Have I treated myself and others with honor, dignity, and respect? And perhaps most importantly for myself, do I have a clear mission for my life, and am I living in accordance to that mission? Am I building a life of service to something greater than myself?

Why is it important that these groups are male only? What is unique about creating a safe space for men?

My personal experience is that honest, respectful, and thoughtful dialogue across gender is extremely important. My own personal ability to do this has been profoundly strengthened through learning how to engage in such dialogue with men. By addressing my own personal baggage as a man among men who hold me accountable to the life I claim to want to lead, I’m better able to recognize my own unhealthy thoughts and behaviors in real time. As a result, I can more effectively and more authentically express myself without laying trips on the men and women in my life. More importantly, I can acknowledge and honor my shortcomings without going into guilt, shame, and other destructive patterns that simply do not add value to my life and the lives of my loved ones.

In my life, I have found it difficult to trust men. I haven’t known how to relate with other men in a way that built trust, respect, and intimacy. I had a tough time looking men in the eye without feeling challenged, threatened, or belittled. It is important to me that these groups are male only because that makes it a lot more difficult for me to sidestep my own personal work by changing the subject. If women were in these groups, it would be much easier for me to hide my own issues from myself by pretending to be “generous”, “respectful”, “chivalrous”; I can see that I, personally, would certainly censor my own speech in order to try to maintain a positive image.

Because I share and help create a safe space for men in these groups, I don’t feel the need to censor myself in order to maintain a positive image. I can learn to be honest, with my fellow men and with myself. As I grow into my personal authenticity, I am finding that it carries over into other areas of my life. By having a safe space for men, I am able to make my personal space a safe space for men and women; loved ones and strangers.

What is the potential and/or realized impact of men doing this kind of personal work on the community on a broader scale?

A world full of men who take responsibility for our actions? A world full of men who invite our fellow men to hold us accountable? A world full of men who recognize honesty, vulnerability, compassion, love, commitment, honor, and service to something bigger than our own selves? That has the potential to change the world for the better. To end intergenerational cycles of abuse. To end wars. To promote healing, love, and acceptance. This is a game changer.

Is MKP for every man?

In my opinion, MKP is for every man… when he is ready. It took me three years of being invited and turning down invitations to take a closer look at MKP before I was ready. The man who offered me those invitations and unconditional acceptance likes to joke that he would have continued doing so for another 17 years… that 20 years is his limit. For some men, it takes 20 years, or 30, or 40 before they’re ready to take that hard look at themselves and step into the challenge. Other men sign up once they hear about it. Some men may never feel ready.

I believe every single man on the planet can benefit from stepping more fully into his power; not power OVER anyone else, but rather the power to shine more brightly in the world by tapping into his gifts. I believe every single one of us can add value to our communities and to our world as men who no longer deny any aspect of ourselves, but rather accept our brokenness, our imperfections, and our humanness and use them to become more loving, more compassionate, more understanding, more dependable, more relaxed, and more authentic.

As each new man accepts this challenge and begins this journey of self-realization, the world is becoming a better place.


Filed under Living a joyful life

An Open Letter to my Inner Critic

My Dear Inner Critic,

I notice that many of your questions about my lyrics tend to center around a lack of concreteness.

“Why would you say this? This doesn’t make any SENSE to me.”

I’d like to lovingly invite you to take off your ‘logic glasses’ for just a moment.

Let those crazy lyrics just wash over you, if you like. Are there any stream-of-consciousness connections that become apparent?

I understand that the answer for you may very well be, “no”. And I respect that.

Courtesy The Internet

Just please know that I chose those words, as I do with all of my lyrics, very, very carefully. And I do have reasons for them.

But in the end, as you so beautifully highlight through the very act of questioning, every listener will respond to the song from a unique perspective. No one else in the world sees the world exactly the way That Listener does; no one else on this planet has Her exact combination of experiences and perceptions. What She takes away from the music, if anything, will be unique to Her.

And that’s beyond my control.

Why do I write and record original music at all?
I’m realizing that my old intentions of “having millions of fans” or “changing lives” have wilted. Any sort of ‘success’ like that is completely dependent upon the Reactions Of The Listener. If The Listener buys a copy, then I’m a ‘success’. And if no Listeners buy a copy, then I’m ‘not a success’.

That would be easy if there was a sure-fire recipe for success. “Do ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’, and you’re guaranteed success.”

But there isn’t.

Plenty of unimaginitive songs and albums are selling off the shelves these days. While plenty of good songs and albums with their fair share of merit go unnoticed.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that those goals are no longer true for me. Especially considering the transitory nature of existence.

My new goal… with all of my songs…  is to be as true to MYSELF as I can; to be as HONEST as I can. And boy, am I ever realizing the inherent challenge in THAT.

So here’s to a new day filled to my continued commitment to honesty with my self and others in the ever-changing present moment.

Whether it’s comfortable or not.

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Filed under Living a joyful life, Writing & recording original music

Why is rape so difficult for some people to understand? (Joanna Bourke)

Eradicating rape depends as much on educating people about this crime as it does on legal reform

Rape is painful, demeaning and destructive. Why is this so difficult for some people – including some influential men – to understand? People who have survived sexual assault and rape are right to be appalled to hear the minister for justice minimising the effect of rape when the attacker was well known to them. In a discussion about whether criminal sentences should be reduced if the accused pleaded guilty, Kenneth Clarke made a distinction between “serious rapes” and “date rapes”. He later retracted this distinction, but the implication that “date rape” is not “serious rape” is extraordinary for a man in charge of the criminal justice system.

This tendency to minimise the effect of sexual violence has also been seen in the furore over the arrest of the former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn for attempted sexual assault. It turns out that a great many people suspected that Strauss-Kahn had a dark side. The media and other politicians seem to have turned a blind eye. Michel Taubmann, Strauss-Kahn’s official biographer, even put forward the argument that Strauss-Kahn did not possess the “profile of a rapist”. Presumably, real rapists are knife-wielding thugs from some deprived inner-city neighbourhood.

In contrast, it is well known that most rapes and sexual assaults are carried out by people one knows. Indeed, Tristane Banon, the novelist and journalist who has claimed that Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her in 2002, chose not to report his alleged violence to the police because he was a family friend. He was also incredibly powerful.

There are many problems with diminishing the harm of sexual assault when the assailant is known to the victim. The breach of trust in this form of rape can be particularly traumatising. As one woman stammered after being raped by her husband: “He raped me … It emotionally hurt worse [than stranger rape]. You can compartmentalise stranger rape … you can manage to get over it differently. But here you’re at home with your husband and you don’t expect that.” Victims of rape by spouses or intimate friends are harmed in similar ways to other victims of rape, but they may suffer additional feelings of betrayal, inability to trust, and isolation.

Why do so many people remain opposed to making men fully accountable for sexually abusive acts? One reason is the fear of false accusations. This is a red herring. Fear of being falsely charged with rape has been stoked up by the vastly disproportionate media attention given to instances of malicious accusations. It is also stirred up by anxiety about the sexual act itself and the exact meaning of “consent” and how it is communicated.

In fact, false accusations are very rare. The most reliable statistics come from a major UK Home Office research project from 2000-03. Initially, the researchers concluded that 9% of reported rape accusations were false. However, on closer analysis, this percentage dropped dramatically. They found that many of the cases listed as “no evidence of assault” were the result of someone other than the victim making the accusation. In other words, a policeman or passerby might see a woman distressed or drunk, with her clothes ripped, and report it as a suspected rape. When the woman was able to provide an account for what happened, it proved that no rape had taken place. Once such cases had been eliminated from the study, only 3% of allegations should have been categorised as false.

Contrary to the notion that men are at risk of being falsely accused of rape, it is much more common for actual rapists to get away with their actions. Only 6% of offences reported to the police ever result in a conviction. Between half and four-fifths of sexual assaults are never even reported to the authorities in the first place. Fear of not being believed, concerns about re-victimisation, anxiety about being judged in turn, and the discomfort of the interrogation and medical examination are some of the factors responsible for failure to complain. Reprisals, especially if the offender is a partner or ex-partner, are common.

Clearly, rape is not an easy charge to make. The stigma attached to any person claiming to have been raped is significant, and in the (unlikely) event of a trial, the victim faces an ordeal that is often described as degrading in itself.

Eradicating rape depends as much on educating people about this crime as it does on legal reform. If the minister for justice can minimise the harm of certain kinds of violence, there is something seriously wrong. Good sex is a great source of delight. Being coerced to have sex, though, can be one of the worst experiences of a person’s life. To imply that it is somehow less harmful because of prior contact with the aggressor is simply astounding.

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Angry Subaru Man VS Road Bike Guy

Wow. So I’m riding my bicycle on E. 3rd Avenue (near E. 31st Street) at about 5pm on Tuesday, April 12. I see a fellow cyclist riding toward me on a road bike, in full gear.

A guy in a Subaru passes him, then slams on his brakes and comes to a stop right there, in the middle of the street. His tires even kind of squealed a little. Like in the movies.

The door flies open. The driver jumps out, runs up to Road Bike Guy and begins screaming. Cursing. Getting right in his face. Yelling obscenities that you can’t print here. For about five minutes. Seriously ranting about how the cyclist had cut the guy off. I’m pretty sure I saw spit flying.

I was so shocked I simply stopped my bike, got off, and just stood there watching. I wanted to make sure Angry Subaru Guy knew there were witnesses.

Road Bike Guy, to his credit, kept his cool.

After about three minutes of yelling, cursing, and claiming ‘champion cyclist’ status (“I’m a cyclist, too!”), Angry Subaru Man turned and started to get back in his car.

Road Bike Guy asked, in a respectful tone, if Angry Subaru Man had seen the stop sign. Angry Subaru Man gets BACK out of his car, goes BACK up to Road Bike Guy, and starts yelling again.

Meanwhile, no fewer than 7 cars are stopped in traffic. I counted.

Road Bike Guy, thanks for keeping your cool.

Angry Subaru Man, if you really ARE a cyclist, couldn’t you think of a better way to address the issue with Road Bike Guy? Do you think that R.B.G. somehow agrees with you now?

Were you worked up about something else? Lose your job? Going through a divorce? Times truly are tough right now. We’re all hurting, in one way or another. We live in community. We’ve got to cut each other some slack from time to time.

I’m pretty sure that any children who were in the 7 vehicles you stopped were watching you, learning one (less than ideal) way to deal with conflict. You were teaching by example, intentionally or not.

Thanks for the reminder that I’m teaching by example, as well. Next time I’m in my car and frustrated with a cyclist, or on my bike and frustrated with the driver of a vehicle, I’ll think of you.

Tim Birchard,


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Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries with pet owners

“Oh, it’s okay… she won’t bite.”

As I open the car door and turn to step out of the car, I look up to see two dogs fast approaching. I raise my right foot and hold it in the air. The dog stops suddenly and takes a step back. The owner quickly takes hold of the dog’s collar and then, holding the dog’s collar, slowly brings the dog’s nose closer to my leg.

“She just wants to sniff you.”

I look at my fellow human being and wonder: Do I have any say in the matter?

Why is it that so many dog owners are happy to tell me that their dog is perfectly safe, and that I should have no concerns about letting this animal put its jaws and teeth right next to my leg to satisfy its curiosity? What happens if the dog smells something it doesn’t like and responds by biting me? Isn’t it then a little too late, now that I have to pay for a hospital visit and rabies shots, to run up, regain control of their dog, and apologize?

(I’m reminded of my routine bicycle ride to work last week, when I found myself face-to-face with an angry dog, up on its hind legs, teeth bared, straining against the leash as its owner struggled to keep it from lunging at my body as I rode by. Zen told me to keep riding, since the only thing that had been disturbed was my thought process. Still I find myself turning over and over in my mind the various other possible outcomes. So much for my Zen training.)

And setting aside safety issues and the potential unpredictability of mammals lower on the food chain, what if I simply PREFER not to have dogs rubbing their noses and fur against my body?

Whose needs come first: a dog’s, or a human’s?

It’s my responsibility to set and maintain healthy boundaries around my own body. It’s also my responsibility to make sure that my body doesn’t collide with anyone else’s body; by extension, it’s my responsibility to make sure that my dog doesn’t violate the personal boundaries around other peoples’ bodies.

So why is it that when a dog owner refuses to respect my personal boundaries and I’m put in the position to maintain them myself, she or he becomes so defensive and protective of their dog?

I’m sitting in the park minding my own business. A dog runs up and starts trying to sniff my body. I make adjustments to prevent the dog from doing so.

And suddenly, I’m the jerk?

In this case, I happened to be helping a dear friend with a project that involved being on the dog owner’s property. So I kept my mouth shut. More or less. But the more this pattern wore on through the day, the more unhappy I felt. Now that I’ve had some time to tease apart the issues at hand, I feel better prepared to articulate my concerns. I’m realizing that setting and maintaining healthy boundaries with people can mean making requests regarding how they control their pets. Now I understand that I need to be ready to make the following requests:

“I understand that you love your dog, and I respect that. I need to know what action you’re going to take to keep your dog at least three feet away from my body. If your dog gets closer to my body than that, I need to know what action you’re comfortable with me taking; do you prefer I move my leg quickly and make a sharp sound? Do you prefer I shake my gloves in your dog’s face? Because if you don’t care enough to control your dog and respect my personal boundaries, I certainly plan to maintain them for myself.”

“If you don’t like any of those choices, dog lover, then I leave it to you to maintain control of your dog.”

If that doesn’t work, then I make the choice to remove myself from the situation, whether other people experience emotional discomfort or not.

At the end of the day, this isn’t a ‘dog’ issue, or a ‘pet’ issue at all.

It’s a matter of respecting another human being’s freedom to choose whether to get close to animals or not. It’s a matter of recognizing that just because I love dogs doesn’t mean that everyone loves dogs. When I let my dog walk up and sniff you, I’m disregarding your freedom to choose that outcome. And when you protect your own freedom to choose by preventing the dog from getting close enough to sniff your body and I respond by chastising you, I’m demonstrating a total lack of awareness that your happiness may not include dog slobber on your clothing and body.

What do you think, fellow human being? Where’s the line?


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Leadership circle

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