How to Live Mindfully: Lessons from My Dogs
Does the phrase “be in the moment” seem a little too far out there? It is a little abstract, so I prefer to think of being in the moment as not overthinking things…or living dogfully. (Yep, you read that right.) If I’m too short on time for a yoga class, I turn to my four-legged babies, Luna and Chewie, to remind me how to live mindfully. I’m not ashamed to admit that my dogs are smarter than me when it comes to knowing how to live in the moment. It’s their default mode…heck…it’s the only mode they have. Dogs are experts at living life to its fullest and still managing to live an uncomplicated existence. Below are some nuggets of wisdom from my four-legged babies.
TEACHINGS FROM CHEWIE
- Never stop challenging yourself. Chewie is a bundle of energy, but like us all, he can get bored with the same old activity, so he mixes it up to keep it interesting. If we’re outside, after a few rounds of catch, he decides it’s time for a team sport. He knows that working out with a buddy is more fun, so after I throw the ball, he’ll wait until I chase it with him. If he’s stuck inside, he still wants to practice his skills. He gets creative and works on his jump, or goes for a tougher object to catch.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. Chewie doesn’t get discouraged when he misses the ball or runs full speed into a tree. Be like Chewie — play hard, and don’t get beat yourself up when you don’t get things right. Keep going, and celebrate like crazy when you finally do nail it…and if you never quite get it, that’s okay too. The joy is in the journey.
- If you need help, speak up. On the rare occasion that I hear an “I need to pee” howl in the middle of the night, I may be annoyed for a few seconds, but I’m more than happy to help him make an exit to the backyard. A real friend is happy to help you out of a bind, and doesn’t want to see you suffer. Chewie isn’t afraid to ask for assistance.
LESSONS FROM LUNA
- Enjoy time outdoors each day. Whether going for long hike in the woods, a short walk around the block, or watching a squirrel in a tree, nature is a reason to celebrate. Run, skip, people-watch, stop and breathe in the air…Figure out what makes you happy about being outside at that moment, and relish in in. It will keep you coming back for more every day.
- Embrace sleep. Luna reminds me each day that downtime is good. When you’re worn out, take a nap or go to bed early. There’s no need for guilt about taking good care of yourself. Sleep is your friend. It allows you to rejuvenate and build up the energy you need to be your best.
- Love the ones you’re with! Whether it’s through a fanatic tail wag, a great big smile, snuggles or kisses, let your family, friends and pets feel the love. Take it from the pups, the more you give, the more you get.
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