Neither my wife nor I are what you would call “dog people.” Neither of us ever wanted our own dog…until one day we did. Picking out and bringing home our Buddha girl was one of the best decisions of our lives.
We named our dog Buddha as a constant reminder for us to slow down and be more present. The number of postive changes Buddha has brought to our lives are almost more than I can count.
I’ve identified three solid lessons I’ve learned from my baby girl Buddha. I think you could benefit from them as well.
Buddha’s Lesson 1: Wake Up, Stretch and be Playful
Buddha stretches before she does anything else. Then almost instantly, she draws us in to play with her.
The Lesson For Us Humans:
A few push-ups or yoga postures in the morning can give your day a better boost than a cup of coffee. Your heart will pump, your blood will circulate you’ll get your system started, and you will have already accomplished something! Never underestimate the power of momentum!
Being playful can be a challenging endeavor when our alarm goes off super early and we’re exhausted. So many of us get caught in the trap of looking at our phone upon waking up, getting sucked into a world of clamoring notifications when our body systems are most sensitive. How often do you wake up and immediately think about all that you have to do?
What if instead, we wake up with a smile? Express gratitude for being able to put your feet on the ground and get up. Then when a work-related or stressful thought arises, pause and say to yourself, “Nah…it’s play time!” Don’t underestimate the power of conscious effort towards a goal! You don’t have to sing in the shower (although that certainly works) but rather find something quick and easy that you can easily integrate into your morning routine.
Buddha’s Lesson 2: LOVE Walks and Get Curious
Buddha girl loves to go for a walk, looking at and sniffing everything with complete joy. She always says “Hi!” to everyone and everything she comes across.
The Lesson For Us Humans:
Walking is probably the most underrated form of exercise these days. In this technological age, we always feel too busy and are glued to our devices. The thought of an hour walk sounds stressful because where you going to find an hour?
But there’s actually significant benefit to walking far beyond the physical steps. Steve Jobs was known to take meetings while walking and often went for walks to clear his head and seek inspiration. Walking is linked to several direct & indirect benefits such as cognitive clarity, stress relief, improved bone & joint function, and lowering the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure & diabetes
So consider leaving your phone at home and, as you walk, get curious about your surroundings. Gaze at the sky. Wonder in awe at the branches of a tree. Smile as you take in the wonders of nature …you’ll be truly amazed at what is always right in front of us but we never see.
Buddha’s Lesson 3: Practice Being More Forgiving and Loving
She might give us the death stare when she gets crated, when we leave for the entire day, or when we take something away from her that she should not be chewing–but she never holds a grudge. She is always open for hugs, snuggles and kisses with everyone.
The Lesson For Us Humans:
It might be a little creepy if we go around hugging and kissing everyone–but we certainly can be more loving. It’s not an easy thing to do, but when you practice expressing love, everything in your life becomes much better.
For most of us, what we experience day to day is a snapshot of reality. It’s like going to the movies but instead of leaving when the movie ends, we stay and get sucked into story after story and never leave. You stay and watch an endless marathon of movies as life goes on without you. So much of what we see and think is nothing more than our perceptions. But when you think about people and things you unconditionally love, you see through to the truth because good or bad doesn’t matter when your heart is fully open.
We may be getting a little deep here for lessons learned from my dog, but the fact is that life is better when our hearts are open. Someone cuts us off and we automatically get pissed at the person. Or we go to X store and a clerk is extremely rude so we get super annoyed. By the way, these are things I allow to bother me often–but I’m working on it. When I am aware of my reactions in the moment and open my heart to the fact that others are human and just doing their best, I’m less stressed and happier.
If you knew that the person who cut you off was rushing to get their child to the hospital, you wouldn’t be as offended. The reality is that it’s not always an emergency when we are cuff off or treated with poor service. However, is always true is that the other person involved is a messy human just like us.
Speaking of messy humans, we all make mistakes. It’s hard to let go of something someone did that felt so personal it physically hurt to even think about it. Let’s pretend for a minute that we are actually completely innocent, which lets be honest, is hardly ever the case…what good is that resentment doing for us?
As good of a reason there might be to be mad, it’s hard to argue for holding on to something that makes you angry. What if instead we let go of the anger? What if we choose to express our feelings, then let it go and make peace with what happened?
You would feel lighter. You’d feel free. And you would clear room in your mind to manifest something positive in your life, rather than allow that resentment to linger and distract you rom joy.
ILLUSTRATION via: private collection
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