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Matter of Attitude










Matter of Attitude

By Ryan Scott

About the story:


Matter of Attitude is a fable about death involving a horse, cat and guide dog trying to solve a mystery by applying the twelve principles of the Center for Attitudinal Healing. Recommended for children from 2 to 102 years old.

About the author:


Ryan Scott lives in Austin, Texas, holding a PhD in Counseling Psychology. Other books he has published include: Stella, Beyond Darkness, the Secrets of a Blind Psychologist and Real-estate Riches for cowards.

Chapter 1


Zorro stretched in the early morning sun, still feeling sleepy although she had just slept 22 hours. Today, I guess I’ll go and see if Clyde wants to talk, but I need to be careful; he’s so big and clumsy he could squash me like a bug. I’m no longer nimble like I used to be.

She went to the barn where she found Clyde in his stall, nibbling on hay and looking bored. She hopped on an old tractor, wincing from the effort, and asked, “Hey, Clyde, do you want to talk?”

“Well, I guess so. I’ve nothing else to do since they retired me. What do you want to talk about?”

“I’ve been wondering what the essence of our being is. What do you think?”

“Zorro, you ask weird questions, but if I had to answer, I would say work is the essence of our being. I’ve been a workhorse all my life. I loved my job pulling heavy wagons with three of my buddies. I remember how everyone got excited when we would pull up to a saloon with a wagon full of beer. The men couldn’t wait to open a barrel and pass big mugs of beer all around. They all would get loud and happy, and they thought I was a good worker and said so. Sometimes my buddies and I marched in parades, pulling a big wagon. Everybody clapped and cheered when we marched by with our tails in braids. Definitely, the essence of our being is work. I just wish I had a job again, but it hurts too much to strain like I used to do.”

Twitching her tail in exasperation, Zorro replied, “Clyde, you are wrong!” Freedom is the essence of our being, not work! I’ve avoided work all my life, and I’ve never let humans run my life. If they try to control me, I bolt for the door. Everyone knows freedom is the essence of our being.”

Clyde flipped his ear at a bothersome fly. “Well, it seems like we have a difference of opinion. Where do we go now?”

“We should talk to Chaucer. He has a $100,000 education and he’s real smart. Generally, I don’t like dogs, but he was a guide dog and they don’t chase cats.”

Later, they found Chaucer, but he was chained to an oak tree. “Hi Chaucer,” Zorro called. “I brought Clyde with me so you can settle a dispute.”

“Hello Zorro. Could you come closer so I can smell your butt? I can’t stretch too far with this chain.”

“Oh for crying-out-loud, Chaucer. I’ve never understood why you dogs like to do that, but I’ll let you smell my butt if you let me polish your legs,” she replied, weaving around his legs while he took a long sniff.

Clyde, embarrassed by their activity, cleared his throat. “Hello Chaucer. What’s new?”

Chaucer lifted his ear, alertly looking at Clyde. “Well, I’m not sure, but some men were talking to our new owner. I didn’t understand everything they said, but I understood there’s going to be a big change. I hope Ryan is coming back to get me. The last time I saw him, he was very sick.”

Zorro touched his face with her paw. “I think it’s a shame they keep you in chains. You used to have freedom, going everywhere with Ryan. For your sake, I hope he comes back soon. In the meantime, maybe you could answer an important question. What is the essence of our being?”

Chaucer smiled. “That’s easy. Love is the essence of our being. I took Ryan to many places, and everywhere we went I spread love. I loved everyone and everyone loved me. When little children came up to me, I licked their faces while they giggled. Old people petted me, remembering the dogs they used to have. Young women especially liked me. I loved it when they talked sweetly. Yes, love is what it’s all about.”

Zorro squinted one of her eyes. “Well, I think you make a good case for love, but I’m still not convinced.”

Clyde impatiently stomped a big foot. “Look you guys, if there are changes about to happen, I think we should get together at least every week and share what we know.

All three of them thought Clyde had a good idea and agreed to talk on the following week.

Chapter 2


On the next Saturday, the three friends gathered by the oak tree to share what they had learned. Chaucer was the first to speak. “I don’t have anything to report. I’ve been so worried about my water. Sometimes they forget to bring it, and I get so thirsty.”

Clyde snorted.”Heck, Chaucer, why don’t you just bark until they bring you water. I know you are a gentleman and have been trained not to bark, but I think you would be justified in this case.”

”He’s right, Chaucer,” Zorro agreed. “You bark your head off until you get that water.”

Clyde, who had developed a bad cough, said in a hoarse voice, “I haven’t found out anything about the big change either. I’ve been too sick.”

Zorro anxiously looked at Clyde. “I’m concerned about that bad cold, but I don’t have a cure. Chaucer, do you know of a cure for colds?”

He replied, “The only advice I have is that health is inner peace.”

After a fit of coughing, Clyde replied, “Well, I’ll try that and see what happens, but it’s hard to be peaceful when I’m feeling so dab sick.”

Zorro clapped her paws together. “Listen, I have something to report. Last night, I was sitting in the living room where I overheard an argument between our new owner and his wife. Apparently, they don’t have enough money, and they can’t decide what to do with us. That’s all I have.

The next time they met, they had no additional information about the big change, but Clyde’s advice to Chaucer had worked. Chaucer reported, “Thank you, Clyde, every time I bark, the new owner’s wife brings me a big bowl of fresh water.”

Slapping at flies with his tail, Clyde said, “That’s good. Since you advised me to be more peaceful, my cold is much better. “

Zorro snapped her tail. “There you go! Giving and taking are the same.”

“That’s ridiculous! When I give something, I give it. When I take something, I take it,” Clyde said and gave a hoarse laugh.

Zorro switched her tail impatiently, saying, “Let me explain it to you, you big chunk. When you give to someone, the receiver is happy to have what you give, and you are happy for having given something. When you take something, you’re happy to have it, but you also allow the giver to be happy for giving something.”

Chaucer cleared his throat. “In other words, both giver and taker get something out of the exchange.”

“Bingo! Chaucer, you got that right.

“I’m glad I got something right, but I don’t know what’s going to happen to me in the future, and I worry all the time about Ryan. I feel real anxious.”

“I’m nervous also,” Zorro confided. “But, it’s not the future I worry about. It’s the past that bothers me. I feel guilty about all the helpless baby birds I used to eat.”

Clyde interrupted their conversation. “Shucks folks you can let go of the past and the future. Now is the only time there is; and each moment is made for love, if you can trust what Chaucer told us. ”

“That ain’t so easy, pal,” Zorro replied. “I’m tired of this conversation. Let’s talk some more another time.

As they were getting ready to leave, Henry the hog dashed around the corner of the barn and knocked Zorro into a mud puddle. “Get out of my way, you dumb cat. It’s time for dinner, and I can’t be late,” he yelled without stopping to help.

Clyde offered his hoof for Zorro to grip. After he pulled her out of the mud, she howled, “That big pig has no manners. I’m so mad, I’m going to get even, but he won’t know about it until it’s too late.”

Chaucer chuckled. “Calm down Zorro. We learn to love others and ourselves by forgiving rather than judging.”

“Shut up!” Zorro angrily shouted as she stomped away in her muddy boots.

Clyde snorted. “Jeez, that cat has an attitude, but what did you mean when you said that stuff about judging?”

Chaucer thought for a moment and replied, “I think she’s mad because forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past.”

Do you mean if Henry comes running back, we have to stay in his path and get knocked down?”

“No, that’s not what I mean. If Henry comes running at you, you can duck to protect yourself. If he continues his bad behavior, you can avoid him thereafter, but you let him go with love. When you forgive, you let go of the resentment that eats you up like cancer.

Clyde nodded his head up and down three times. “I get it! Forgiveness is for my benefit. If Henry receives some side benefits, that’s his business, but I’m through with him and can go ahead without the bad feelings.”

Chaucer nodded. “That’s right. We can become love finders rather than fault finders.”

Chapter 3


When they gathered for their weekly meeting, Zorro was distraught. “I have more news, and it ain’t good. I heard that a couple of us are going to be sent away, but I don’t know who.”

Clyde anxiously rubbed his hoofs together, saying, “This news makes me very upset. What should we do now?”

Chaucer replied, “We can be peaceful inside regardless of what is happening on the outside.”

Zorro sarcastically asked, “And just how do we do that, professor?”

“You have a choice how you respond to a situation. You can choose to be peaceful rather than upset. You can choose to be happy rather than sad. You can choose to be any way you want. Staying in the present is a good rudder for life. When I’m in the present, it’s impossible for me to be afraid or sad.”

Clyde whinnied in anguish. “That’s all well and good, but we need to have a plan. Who could we talk to for help?”

“Hey, I have a good idea,” Zorro said. “We can be students and teachers to each other.”

“You’re right, Zorro, but that’s what we have been doing all the time,” Chaucer replied. “We also can focus on the whole of our lives rather than on the fragments.”

Clyde tossed his mane impatiently. “How in Tarnation will that help!”

“It will give us a better perspective on our situation. If we think of our lives as a whole rather than a collection of disconnected pieces, we will have an overall understanding of our problems and act more appropriately.”

“What happens if they decide to kill us?” Zorro asked, looking worried.

A sparrow landed in the oak tree, saying, “Death need not be viewed as fearful because life is eternal.”

Clyde gave another hoarse laugh. “You’re just a bird. What do you know?”

The bird flew away, calling back over her shoulder, “You’ll find out for yourselves, suckers.”

Suddenly, their new owner appeared in the barnyard, shouting, “All of you animals are useless, and I can’t afford to keep you anymore. There will be some changes!”

Zorro whispered, “Chaucer, why is he so mad?”

He whispered back, “We can always see ourselves and others as offering love or asking for love.”

The owner announced, “Clyde, you have a new job working in a glue factory. Your new owners will pick you up in one hour.”

Clyde kicked up his heels, shouting, “I’ve got a job! I’ve got a job!”

The owner continued, “Chaucer, Ryan is no longer around, but a lady with two kids named Oliver and Holly are going to take care of you. You’re in luck. They really love dogs. They will be here in one hour also.”

Zorro looked sad, “”Hey you guys, I’m going to miss you, but good luck in your new homes. I’ll just hang out at the barn and try to make friends with Henry.”

Chapter 4


Two weeks after Zorro’s friends had departed, she noticed she had lost a lot of weight and had to frequently pee. When she crawled under the house, she found a cozy corner, thinking, I like this nice cool, dark, secluded place. I’m just going to take a nap, a real long nap.”

She woke up with a start in a strange place, thinking, where could I be? I can tell Clyde is around, but I can’t see him.”

“Howdy, Zorro,” Clyde said.

“Clyde, I can’t see you. Where are you?”

“I’m over here. I’m that big blue bubble.”

“Why are you a bubble?” she asked, feeling confused.

“We’re all bubbles up here. You are a pink bubble yourself.”

“Hello, you two,” a green bubble said as it floated towards them.

“Ryan! What are you doing here?” Zorro asked.

“Oh, I’m just waiting for Chaucer. I want to escort him up to the big bubble. We’re all going there and become a part of it.”

With furrows between his ears, Clyde asked, “What’s the big bubble?” Clyde asked

Smiling, Ryan replied, “It’s a bubble of pure love.”

“This place is strange. What do they call it,” Zorro asked.

“They call it a lot of names, but up here, we call it ‘Loveland.’”

Matter of Attitude

The Big Change is a fable about death involving a horse, cat and guide dog trying to solve a mystery by applying the twelve principles of the Center for Attitudinal Healing. Recommended for children from 2 to 102 years old.

  • ISBN: 9781311196439
  • Author: Ryan Scott
  • Published: 2016-06-15 18:05:07
  • Words: 2348
Matter of Attitude Matter of Attitude