From the internationally bestselling author and beloved actress comes a brilliantly fun-loving and inspiring story of unconditional love.
Shirley MacLaine has found a perfect love in the furry bundle of irresistible canine charms that is Terry. With her winning terrier ways and an endless wellspring of love with no strings attached, Terry has succeeded in doing what no one before her ever has: slowing Shirley's peripatetic travels, shifting the actress/author's global axis to hearth and home. Now there are few greater pleasures for Shirley than being with Terry on her ranch or on a New York street, romping on the beach together, or sharing a long plane ride to a new location for making a film. With Terry by her side, Shirley sees the world in new ways she never thought possible.
As we join Shirley and Terry we see through their eyes how they each provide a window for exploring the nature of love. Together they shared at least one past life in ancient Egypt, and possibly more. Together, too, they seek to understand world events today: Are we beginning to fulfill the ancient biblical prophecies? Is Armageddon looming? And of course there is Terry as a constant gateway to spirit, to being fully in each moment, to that boundless love that surpasses all understanding. In a unique twist that makes this book such a delight, we see Terry's point of view on Shirley's domestic and inner life, as the terrier's mistress continually questions the deeper nature of reality.
This book is an utterly charming, witty, and ultimately wise memoir of one of the truly remarkable women of our time. Out on a Leash is an irresistible bonbon for the legions of MacLaine readers, and for dog lovers everywhere.
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November 24, 2003
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Excerpt from Out on a Leash by Shirley MacLaine
When our children grow up and leave home to raise families of their own, and the past becomes a memory of things we are no more, we are faced with inventing a new future. This is the moment when we are finally free to make choices outside the powerful tug of expectation, ambition, and struggle. We have reached what I call the age of reason. Now we can choose to live not for others, but for ourselves, and we can take time to explore a life of inner knowledge for which we were always too busy.
For me the chaos of city life, heightened by the fear of terrorism and the culture of technology that forced me to remember codes and numbers to access even my own personal information, further pushed me to reevaluate what life should be about. I realized I was inundated by information and misinformation from our leadership and the media -- and that it was slowly eroding my spirit. I was falling out of touch with my own inner truth. These realizations were slow in coming, but the important thing is that they finally did arrive.
So several years ago I decided to make my year-round home on an 8,000-acre Spanish land grant that used to be an old cattle ranch just outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. It's a peaceful place, and sometimes deafeningly silent, with ancient energies that communicate to me in nameless ways. I live there with people who take care of me, and friends who come and stay, as well as nine dogs, three horses, ducks, platoons of birds, a pond, streams, deer, elk, bears, mountain lions, coyotes, and a host of spectacular plant life. But the most important being on the ranch is my little dog, Terry.
I "acquired" Terry in Malibu, California, where I lived for fifty years and still keep a place for meetings. She and I grew closer and closer during the few years it took me to distance myself from Malibu, with its easy access to the movie business, and to shift my life to the high desert wilderness. But as with all events that are life-changing, I woke up one morning and knew in my soul that the city part of my life was over. I was moving on to a new adventure that would lead me to realize that perhaps Terry had acquired me.
This book is about hearing a deeper song of being that has made me more optimistic about what the future of life on this planet could be. It is based on the truth as I see it, and as it has been shown to me through the eyes of a dog. More to the point, I'm having a new experience with love. I have deeply enjoyed the love of children, friends, lovers, a husband, work, creativity, fame, travel, success, money, politics, controversy, and even struggle. But the love that has come to me through Terry is an exultant confirmation that love exists in many realities and forms, all of them longing to be acknowledged through wisdom, humor, simplicity, silence, and the wordless language of the heart.