Stepping Aside

01-20 Hallway_Door-Monticello

Every morning, I let our dogs outside. Every morning, our 16-year-old Yorkie Poo barks when she’s ready to come in. Every morning, I open the door, but she just stands there staring at me. I try to call her inside and get her to move because I know what’s coming.  I hear collar tags jingling and rapid footsteps barreling toward the door. Then, it happens: our Golden Retriever tramples the small dog as she tears into the house. Every day, the Yorkie Poo gets up and looks a little dazed like she’s trying to figure out what just happened; then she will come inside.

As an outsider (who happens to be warm and cozy standing inside,) it’s obvious to see that if she either walked in when the door opened or moved aside, she wouldn’t get stepped on.  This got me thinking about how I sometimes get stuck in the routine of doing the same thing and expecting different results, whether it be dealing with people at work, home, or even my own behavior and reactions to things.

When I feel the frustration of enduring repeated offenses, I need to remember to pause and look at the situation differently. There just might be a solution as obvious as stepping away from an open door.


It’s been a while since I’ve written fiction, but on Thursday, I will post a story inspired by another one of Emilio Pasquale’s fabulous photos.  I hope you’ll come back and check it out – he certainly gave me a challenge this time 🙂


44 thoughts on “Stepping Aside

  1. nrhatch January 19, 2015 / 7:51 AM

    Yes! If we are beating our head against the same boulder, we must look for ways to climb over, around, or under it . . . or choose a different path.

    • jannatwrites January 19, 2015 / 8:28 PM

      Yep! And still I often persist with the same things for much longer than I should 🙂

        • jannatwrites January 20, 2015 / 9:08 PM

          That is a perfect story for this post, Nancy! It’s funny that it often takes us several iterations to change.

        • nrhatch January 21, 2015 / 9:45 AM

          Exactly. And even when we’ve learned something and know it to be true, we often get sidetracked and forget to apply that knowledge.

  2. TimW January 19, 2015 / 7:56 AM

    Hey Janna…What is this picture from? Looks like a prison cell. Is this the hall to your kids’ rooms? 😀

    Hope all is well.

    • jannatwrites January 19, 2015 / 8:30 PM

      Hey, Tim! Haven’t ‘seen’ you around in a while- hope you’re doing well. Yeah, it’s the kids’ rooms – can’t you tell by the bars on the door? This picture was actually taken at Monticello when we visited in 2013.

    • jannatwrites January 19, 2015 / 8:30 PM

      I guess you don’t get trampled as much that way, Bjorn 🙂

  3. Carol Ann Hoel January 19, 2015 / 8:52 AM

    Great illustration of our natural insanity, making the same mistake over and over. Finally, we wake up and notice the pattern. Duh. Why not change something in the formula and get a different result? And so we do! It wouldn’t surprise me if your Yorkie gets it one day. I thinks animals have more intelligence than we give them credit for. Blessings to you, Janna…

    • jannatwrites January 19, 2015 / 8:31 PM

      At sixteen, I don’t think she’ll ever get it, Carol Ann 🙂 It is possible to change our circumstances though, by changing how we approach things.

      • momtheobscure January 22, 2015 / 2:49 PM

        At 16 maybe her hearing isnt so good? Or was she always like this? This was a very apt observation and an astute application to our own kind

        • jannatwrites January 23, 2015 / 12:12 AM

          It’s gotten worse with age, Momtheobscure. I know she has issues with hearing and eyesight. I often have a flashlight so she can ‘come to the light’, but she still must go second.

  4. philosophermouseofthehedge January 19, 2015 / 9:42 AM

    This is perfect.
    (Molly sometimes gets that frozen on the doorstep – she’s trying to decide if 1. it’s too warm in the house or 2. if she stands there looking cute or pathetic, I’ll come out and throw the ball, 3. she’s worried we’re letting her out before we leave, 4. the water bowl out there is better water than the one inside – and it always is, no matter the dirt in it….5. if she’s going to have to stand still while I wipe up her feet…..or 6. if she stands there long enough will I offer her a treat to get her inside because I’m cold……it’s all very complicated and so much to consider….
    .Maybe your Yorkie doesn’t want to be the first one back inside…sending in the scouting party first? who knows – they have their reasons. (and they can’t figure out why we are so confused)

    • jannatwrites January 19, 2015 / 8:33 PM

      Thanks, Phil! There is much to consider there – hadn’t seen it from a dog’s point of view. I know her hearing and eyesight are bad, so maybe she just wants to make sure she’s not imagining the open door 🙂

  5. mbarkersimpson January 19, 2015 / 9:59 AM

    Excellent advice – things can become a never ending cycle. Even when if break the cycle, when we’re feeling vulnerable we sometimes revert to remembered behaviour! But if we can step away from the open door even fifty percent of the time, it’s progress 🙂 I look forward to reading your story on Thursday.

    • jannatwrites January 19, 2015 / 8:34 PM

      I’m very familiar with the reverting, Mel. Getting trampled half as much is a start 🙂 I hope you do come back and check out the story!

  6. Polysyllabic Profundities January 19, 2015 / 10:03 AM

    This is so true. Expecting different results from doing the same thing over and over. I’ve been guilty of that many times.

  7. kathy29156 January 19, 2015 / 10:19 AM

    You would think the poor thing would learn to just move or get in the door first! I will look eagerly forward to more fiction from you. Love your fictions!

    • jannatwrites January 19, 2015 / 8:35 PM

      I would think so, Kathy, but she just stands there. I do hope you stop by to read the story… it’s a strange one 🙂

  8. Debbie January 19, 2015 / 12:06 PM

    Poor Yorkie Poo. One would think, after years and years of “abuse,” she’d get the message, but maybe not. I mean, in some ways, we’re all a bit like her, aren’t we??

    • jannatwrites January 19, 2015 / 8:37 PM

      Well, I could definitely relate to it 🙂 I think her hesitation has to do with her poor eyesight, but I’m just guessing, Debbie.

  9. sonsothunder January 19, 2015 / 2:18 PM

    I feel your pain.. we can’t just go about avoiding conflict ALL the time.. but then there are times we need to step aside… cause we sure as heck can’t control other people. Hang in there.

    • jannatwrites January 19, 2015 / 8:38 PM

      Thanks for reading, Sonsofthunder! Yes, sometimes, we must stand firm, but there are times to step aside.

    • jannatwrites January 20, 2015 / 9:03 PM

      It’s especially dangerous when it’s not effective 🙂 Thanks for reading, Frederick!

  10. Deborah January 20, 2015 / 2:54 AM

    Since routines and habits are part of what keeps us sane MOST of the time (think getting dressed in the morning, cooking dinner), it’s important to remember that NOT all routines are good nor bad. When we encounter the same glitch more than a few times, then we have to think about what we are doing and how it can be changed for the better. We don’t want to have everything a habit, but since our conscious attention is limited, we need to decide which things we want routinized, and which ones we want to spend our consciousness on. 🙂

    • jannatwrites January 20, 2015 / 9:06 PM

      It’s true that we probably wouldn’t get much done if everything required conscious effort! Thanks for sharing your perspective, Deborah 🙂

      • Deborah January 20, 2015 / 9:45 PM

        We should still consider alternatives if we get plowed over every day. 😉

        • jannatwrites January 20, 2015 / 11:26 PM

          Haha, of course that’s a good idea!

  11. Widdershins January 20, 2015 / 10:53 PM

    Maybe she thinks it’s all an illusion and it’s only real if she gets knocked over. Then, all’s right with the world and she comes inside. The minds of dergs are mysterious! 😀

    • jannatwrites January 20, 2015 / 11:27 PM

      Well, maybe! I’m not sure what her deal is, but it’s like Groundhog Day every time they come in from outside, Widdershins 🙂

  12. joannesisco January 21, 2015 / 5:54 AM

    What a great analogy! Lately I’ve been feeling like the Yorkie Poo. Perhaps I need to reframe the situation to find a solution 🙂

    • jannatwrites January 23, 2015 / 12:12 AM

      Thanks, Joanne! Maybe a reframe will give you new insight 🙂

  13. Lance January 21, 2015 / 5:07 PM

    You made me feel you and it, here.

    The picture is perfect.

  14. Emilio Pasquale January 21, 2015 / 5:10 PM

    I understand what you’re saying but, at least for the Yorkie, couldn’t you just step aside and let her come in before she gets trampled? Better yet, offer her a treat? We are now babysitting a chihuahua (actually we have been babysitting for about 6 months now. When does she legally become ours? And when do I shoot myself?) and she charges into the house every morning and evening after doing her business just to get her treat. When she runs out the door and we can’t catch her, all we have to do is jostle the treat bag. Hey, maybe she has US trained.

    • jannatwrites January 23, 2015 / 12:14 AM

      When I open the door, I am off to the side – plenty of room for the retriever to scoot by even. I hate to break it to you, Emilio, but I’m pretty sure you’re the one who is trained, haha!

  15. Imelda January 24, 2015 / 9:21 PM

    You’re not alone. 🙂 I guess we are creatures of habit.

  16. pattisj February 22, 2015 / 10:30 PM

    Great analogy. I wonder if anyone has written a book of lessons they learned from their dog?

    • jannatwrites February 22, 2015 / 10:34 PM

      Hmmm… good question. I imagine someone has done that!

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