Lately I’ve been spending time intentionally observing my dogs. I’ve always enjoyed watching their antics, but I’ve been watching them from a “conflict resolutionist” standpoint. (Wait, I think I just made up a new word – “resolutionist” – I like it!) Anyway, I have two dogs. Both are rescues. Both are happy.
Sadie is the alpha female; a 75 lb., 9 year old, lab/hound mix. She showed up on our property 8 years ago and thankfully declared it “home”. Bishop is our “never met a stranger” male. He’s a 6 year old, 45 lb., bird dog mix of some sort. He used to live next door, but kept escaping to come over and play with Sadie. 5 years ago his former owners decided to move and were going to take him to the pound…Needless to say he has been with us ever since. Again, thankfully so.
I watch them and wonder – who is really the more “evolved” species here, me or them? Not only are they completely unconcerned with outward appearances of any kind, but they have an incredible ability to experience extreme fear, anger, hostility, and even pain, without holding onto it. It isn’t that they forget – I have seen their behaviors change in response to past experiences.
They remember bad times for sure, but they never allow them inhibit their “now” joy. These exquisite animals meet every single moment head-on, eyes open, earnestly and honestly, and giving it their all. This is true for all their moments, blissful or fearful. They live fully present, in the moment of now.
How about that? I believe my adorable pups are (perhaps) unintentional examples of how to live a happy life now. Five life lessons they’ve shown me:
- Meet every moment earnestly and honestly. Don’t add to or subtract from it, just experience it.
- Feel what you feel, and then let it pass.
- I’ve read that if we let them, even intense emotions will pass in 90 seconds. However, fighting them or replaying the stimulus in our heads will keep them active and bring them back vividly.
- Say what you need to say; to the person you need to say it to. And let them respond.
- I encourage you to do so without barring teeth, snapping, or growling; but do “put it out there”. Preferably in a kind, respectful way.
- Take the action that needs to be taken. No need to announce it or seek attention – just do what needs to be done, to the best of your ability.
- Never allow past hurts, anger, failures, or frustrations to inhibit your joy right now.
- It happened, whatever “it” was, and it is over. You are now free to find the happiness in this moment.
As I begin the journey that will be 2014, I intend to accept the life lessons shared by my beloved dogs. My intention is to spend more time in the present moment, by letting the past stay in the past, and allowing the future to unfold, as I live the present: Experiencing one moment at a time. How about you?
© 2014 Karen Pelot Mediations, LLC all rights reserved. Permission granted to excerpt or reprint with attribution.
Photo by Britt Selvitelle