You Can’t Keep A Good Villain Down

Griselda has returned to the baseball field.

In case you’ve missed the previous postings, Griselda’s a particularly shady character, someone who apparently scams refugees.

She’s descended on various local dog parks with a sweet-faced pup who gets into multiple bloody scuffles per visit.

There are websites and Instagram accounts exposing her, and even Wanted-style posters warning about her placed at two different dog parks, including the one Vlad and I visit each morning.

We were all hoping that after removing the first batch of them, she might just quietly fade away.

Alas, no such luck.

It has, however, added a new dimensions to this month’s theme––Embracing the Shadow (Meditation HERE), particularly as encounters with her intensify.

When Vlad and I arrived on Thursday, despite the vastness of the field there were only two groupings: all the morning regulars in one; Griselda and a newcomer in the other.

Our friend Billy, whose miniature dachshund Maggie was recently bloodied by Griselda’s dog, was not having it.

He airdropped the anti-Griselda links to anyone who appeared on his iPhone, hoping the newcomer would receive them.

Things proceeded quietly until…

When Griselda’s dog managed to get Vlad’s squeaky ball, Griselda immediately coopted it.

It took her a few cavalier throws before she bothered to ask across the field if we wanted it back.

I replied, “Eventually,” diverting Vlad with one of the spares I always bring with me.

(Once a Boy Scout…)

Anyway, when Griselda’s dog soon lost interest, as I headed to retrieve ball #1, Billy stopped me and said he’d be happy to get it.

Approaching Griselda, it was clear he had more than Squeaky Ball Retrieval on his mind.

The great pioneer of Shadow Work, Jung wrote: 

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”

Especially given that, I can’t help but think that in our universe of dedicated dog owners––folks willing to be out on the field at 7am in all kinds of weather––Griselda represents an anomaly, a very dark shadow to all the bright shiny puppy moments we share together.

Indeed, in that morning’s huddle, at least four dogs had had scrapes with Griselda’s dog, some more bloody than others.

Thus, I can’t help but wonder how our encountering her can bring us closer to the light (and not just a Real Housewives spinoff).

As Billy approached, Griselda blithely commented on something, to which Billy launched into a justifiably angry speech about her many flaws. 

(Again, his miniature dachshund was pretty bloodied from their last encounter.)

On a roll, he ended his tirade with a coup de grâce about her (many expletives deleted) bad hair.

I’m not saying he’s wrong…but a style dis was an interesting final dagger after recanting various criminal accusations. 

Oddly, I was reminded of a moment when I met a nephew of mine for the first time, one who lived across country that I somehow hadn’t really seen between his christening and since he’d begun talking.

He ran into my parents’ house and hugged my leg, looked up at me with the face of an angel and said his very first words to me:

“I hate your shoes.”

Stunned, I could only reply:

“They’re Prada…and are you even in kindergarten?”

I’m deep into re-reading Debbie Ford’s Dark Side of the Light Chasers.

As Ford writes:

“Perfect love is to feeling what perfect white is to color. 

Many think that white is the absence of color. It is not. It is the inclusion of all color.”

“So, too, is love not the absence of emotion (hatred, anger, lust, jealousy, covertness), but the summation of all feeling.”

That is truly the heart of shadow work: embracing every aspect of ourselves, even the messy stuff, perhaps even our own Griselda-level chaos.

Jung also wrote, “I’d rather be whole than good.”

I was thinking of that line when I encountered an amazing video of Mary Oliver reading her poem Wild Geese (HERE).

As always, I find her work incredibly comforting, perhaps because (like with Shadow Work) it denies nothing and includes everything.

Here’s the poem:


You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Griselda appeared unphased by Billy’s diatribe.

She responded with something like “Don’t believe everything you read,” entirely ignoring his valid opinion on her frazzled perm.

Moments later––her dog had already gotten into a minor scuffle with the Newcomer’s dog––she exited the park with an air of serenity (manufactured or not).

To be continued (probably)…sigh…

Allow me to flash forward re: the nephew who hated my loafers.

Years later, I’m delighted to say he has become perhaps my biggest champion in the family.

When he was in elementary school and I was on TV with Kelly Ripa for one of my books, I was his Show & Tell offering.

As a young adult he’s now dabbling with yoga and bonding with me by sending videos of his progress with headstands.

Fortunately, I still have a few party tricks up my sleeve and can respond with my own tripod headstand into Flying Crow and other arm balances, then floating back-up again.

Sometimes difficult beginnings, even those fraught with fashion barbs, do have happy endings.

I’m not sure if Griselda will ever transform––or whether she has a message for us beyond our bonding together––but I do agree with what Debbie Ford writes:

“Love is inclusive: it accepts the full range of human emotion—the emotions we hide, the emotions we fear.”

If nothing else, she’s revealing aspects of our own shadows to us.

As Jung said:

“The Shadow…cannot be argued
out of existence or rationalized into harmlessness.”

Like Griselda, it seems determined to stick around.

All we really can do is simply hold it in the light, trusting that if we do, something greater and more holistic in “the family of things” will mysteriously and miraculously arise, something that serves us all, and helps us perhaps take flight.

Namaste for Now,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *