Life, Love, Loss and all that happens to you and to me in-between.
What My Dog Taught Me About Living in the Present
My dog is brilliant and so is yours. Yeah they chase their tails and steal your socks and smell people's butts but they are still far more advanced than you and me in terms of their perception of time and life itself.
So I was watching this series on Showtime called "The Big C" (actually quite good) and the main character decided to participate in a "make my life better" type weekend conference (led by the amazing Susan Sarandon).
The metaphor/mission/message was delivered at the start of the weekend with participants receiving knapsacks that they had to fill with large rocks.
They then had to wear the knapsacks on their backs over the course of the weekend until they were able to prove that they had let go of the past - stuff like regrets, broken relationships, money not well spent.
I thought it was kind of cliche until that very night I caught myself doing the usual staring at the ceiling obsessing about the past - break ups, losses, failures and what should I eat for lunch tomorrow and I realized I myself was carrying around a knapsack filled with rocks.
I needed to figure out a way to remove that knapsack from my aching back so I turned to the source of my joy - to the happiest - go lucky - soul I know - my dog Whisky.
"Whisky - how do you and all the dogs out there manage to live in the present? I mean you are a rescue/shelter dog with a painful past yet you are as happy go lucky as you can get."
First thing he did was open his soulful eyes and look into mine - then he slanted his eyes, showed his teeth and tilted his head (that's his smile), then finally - he spoke:
"Listen you need to chill and enjoy every moment as it comes. Look out the window. Savour every morsel of your food. Play with your Kong and try to get the cookie and peanut butter out of the center. Stop looking in the mirror at your wrinkles and the bags under your eyes and instead chase your tail or get really excited when you come home from work and see me - act as if you have not seen me in a year and every time you see me is an amazing thrill. Love your family and show them that love. Be a loyal and compassionate friend. Be thankful for every morning that you wake up to - run circles around the bed - throw me a high five! And most importantly - forget the past because you are no longer in it, you are never going back and it has forgotten you."
Then he kissed me, turned over, farted the most wicked fart (I am sure he was smiling although I could not see) and as I lay there, my face covered by the sheets in an attempt to breathe without smelling - I reailzed he was right - I had to start living my life as if each day was my last.
And you know what? The next morning I woke up fueled with a new sense of energy, I chased Whisky around the bedroom, I joined him looking out the window (he kissed the glass - I didn't). I really savoured the taste of my toast and jam as if it was the best food I ever eaten. I called my Mom on the way to work and told her I loved her. I sent texts out to friends making plans for the weekend and I felt lighter, I felt refreshed as if I had been given a second chance.
The knapsack had been removed from my back. The weight of each and every rock gone. I was living somewhere between the present and the future where if you think about it; everything really happens.
Moral of the story - Listen to your Dog - he's brilliant.