“Aussie, we got a $1,100 donation from Guerilla Yoga this morning.”

“Gorillas do yoga? That I gotta see. Do they do downward facing gorilla?”

“No, silly. Guerilla Yoga is a Swiss group of wonderful teachers who lead yoga sessions outdoors for free, open to anyone who wants to participate. A lot of people come, and after the class they ask for donations for a particular cause. Today we got a gift from them for immigrant families so that the families could keep their homes and pay their heat bills this cold winter.”

“But they live in Switzerland! Why should they bother with a bunch of illegals in Massachusetts?”

“Aussie, they bother because, in the end, one heart beats for all of us.”

“Oh phooey!”

“Seriously, Auss. How else do you explain that people living in one side of the world feel something for people who live on the other side, people they never heard of, never met, who may not look or live like them—and still they want to help?”

“They’re Swiss. Are you sure this isn’t a loan?”

“You know, Aussie, when I first began to distribute food cards to the families here during the Covid pandemic, I explained to them that we get donations for their benefit from Europe, the Middle East, and even Australia. They couldn’t understand it; they asked me why people would do that. But we’re wired to feel for others, it’s what makes us human. You know what His Holiness the Dalai Lama says? If you want to be happy, help others.”

“I help others, and I’m not happy.”

“How do you help others, Aussie?”

“Haven’t you noticed how nice I am to Henry lately?”

“Now that you mention it, Auss, I have. He got close to your Sunday morning marrow bone, and you didn’t attack him.”


“I also saw that he slept on the futon cushion in my office, where you like to nap, and you let him.”


“And last night he slept on your dog bed in my bedroom and—”

“Just for a few minutes!”

“Right, just for a few minutes, but still, you let him, you didn’t fight him and send him yowling off to Lori.”


“Does it mean you’re sick, Aussie?”

“No, it means I’m into non-violence.”

“Wow! In honor of the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.?”

“No, in honor of my getting older. I can’t chase somebody away like I used to, so Henry walks all over me.”

“Aussie, nonviolence doesn’t mean that you let somebody walk all over you. It means that when a threat arises, you respond in a nonviolent way.”

“It means I’m a nothing, a big doormat for him to step on.”

“It doesn’t, Auss. King got into everybody’s face, but he was always looking into how to do it without violence.”

“He was a wimp—just like me.”

“Actually, nonviolence takes a lot of training. It’s the natural thing for us, faced with a threat, to pick up the first thing we see—a stick, a knife, a gun—for defense. Nonviolence requires discipline and that you find ways to protect yourself without hurting the other person.”

“Like what?”

“Like the way you growl but don’t hurt Henry.”

“I want to hurt him so badly when he goes after my bone!”

“There are other ways, Aussie.”

“I want to kill! Kill! Kill!”

“I can understand that, Auss, but—”

“I want to get his head in my jaws and squeeze! I want to grab a hold of his neck and fling him across the room!”

“But you restrain yourself, Auss, which is good and—”

“I want to stamp him down on the ground and maul him with my claws! I want to push him down the stairs to the dark basement and shut the door on him! I want to call the coyotes to tear him apart limb from limb! I want Boris the giant black bear to devour him!  I want to grab his collar with my incisors and throw him up in the air like he does to his toys! I want to choke him and strangle him and maul him and rip him apart! I want to hear him squeal with his last breath!”

“Aussie, I thought you eschewed bloodshed!”

“I did, but I love talking about it. Now I can go back to being nonviolent.”

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