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Apollo and His Voice


By Harry Burrus

Apollo is a handsome three-year-old. His namesake was an Olympian deity in classical Greek mythology, recognized for many traits, among them, having a poetic voice.

In writing, finding your voice is one of the hardest things to do. When that happens, one is more relaxed and creative. One is more complete.

It took Apollo more than a year to find his voice. He rarely barked. He was tentative and shy on walks and didn’t bark at other dogs. He wasn’t engaged. That’s changed. If he encounters another dog he’s suspicious of or doesn’t like, he gives them a shout out and barks. He’s still untrusting of strangers but is more willing to give someone time to get to know him—a win-win for both.

Many people look for ways to relax, to become more creative, and to better understand their own voice, and in this endeavor, meditation and Tai chi fulfill some. When I walk with Apollo, I don’t think about becoming more creative. I am a blank slate. I don’t look for ideas or a voice to explain something to me, unless it’s Apollo’s bark. I let things drop away, no forcing. I’ve found a Zen-like approach works for me, what I call “the non-approach approach.”

By not thinking about ideas or wondering where I can go with a particular project, I instead take one step at a time and move across the pavement with my Olympian partner. We’re in sync. In this relaxed, absorbed mode, invariably—like steel striking flint—sparks gradually appear and connect with more sparks until a flame of an idea begins to burn and I see and feel things I want to do and know how to go about accomplishing them.

This path with Apollo has provided insights. Back in his casita, I sit with him for a spell. I tell him how much I appreciate his subtle participation. He moves in close, stretches out, and looks at me with a knowing glint in his eyes, as though saying, “You’re welcome. Glad I could help.” I’m glad Apollo has found his voice.

If you want to enhance your physical and mental health, come to the SPA and give yourself a chance by connecting with one of our sentient beings (Monday–Saturday, 11–2, Los Pinos 7, 152 6124). At the very least, you will get some exercise. If you are lucky, even if it isn’t your intent, you may resolve some issues that have been hovering around you.


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