Following

Max follows me around a lot.

I have noticed him tailing me from room to room more than normal, and I don’t think it is because we were away from each other for several weeks. Once, earlier in the summer, I even felt his breath on my calves as I walked to another room.

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Often he will be comfortably laying down somewhere and if I walk by to do one little thing in another room, he will get up and follow.

I felt bad when I started to notice him doing that, because I didn’t mean to disturb his rest. But then I remembered that he literally sleeps all day, so he in no way needs more rest.

We live in a small apartment so this process of passing him to go to a new room and him following happens quite frequently. Because it can get pretty annoying, especially when he stands right in my way trying to figure out how to follow me, I started wondering why he would follow me so much.

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Then, I started wondering if I follow anyone around like that. Not literally of course, that would border on stalking, but who do I turn to for answers or guidance, in what places do I get news and information, and what all influences do I actively seek out that inform me?

Honestly, my list of who and what I follow is not too much longer than Max’s. We are both creatures of habit and I find it all too comfortable to follow sources if I know where they are going and what kind of steps they are taking.

It can be uncomfortable and frustrating sometimes to allow myself to be guided by voices very different from my own, to follow them around a while and really see where they are going instead of turning away immediately.

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Max has taught me that it is important to find people to follow – we need guidance and direction. And he has taught me that it is not bad to follow sources I know and trust and am comfortable with.

But Max also taught me that it is all too easy to get stuck following the exact same kinds of people and things. And that can be problematic, because I don’t get a full picture of things. I need to experience different perspectives in order to grow. It is much less fruitful to follow one person around and around a small apartment than it is to branch out and learn from new sources.

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Max has taught me that seeking guidance by means of following diverse perspectives is humbling. Following in this wholesome way helps me turn outward to listen to others and really attend to where they are coming from and going. And it helps me nuance my own understanding of this complex world so that I can take more confident, informed steps in my own direction.

So thank you Max for trusting me enough to follow me around even when you have no clue where I am going. But more importantly, thank you for teaching me how much more enriching it is to follow diverse voices rather than one person around and around the same place.

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