Today I was once again reminded that if you ever need a not-so-subtle reminder to bring your attention back to the present – to the Here and Now – all you have to do is pay close attention to an animal. Animals, especially our beloved pets, aren’t afflicted with the incessant bombardment of thoughts that our human minds are. Instead, they are wrapped up in a world of scents and feelings and sensations. What better way to stop your mind noise than to smell, feel and touch the world around you?
Greg and I just returned from taking our dogs for an adventure in the newly beautified winter wonderland that is the hills and mountains behind the university. We chose a route that would allow our old guy, Dyogi, to get exercise without putting too much strain on his 15 and 1/2 year old body, but also one that had a few mountains for our young guy, Juno, to climb in search of his tennis ball. As Greg hit the tennis ball up mountains for Juno, I walked quietly behind Dyogi, unknowingly lost in my thoughts and not yet aware of it. Suddenly, Dyogi, who had been trucking along, almost prancing in his delight at walking in snow for the first time this season, stopped. I was so lost in thought that I almost tripped over him. It immediately stopped my mind noise and made me realize that I’d been lost somewhere in the thought jungle, despite my nearly constant efforts to recognize this and stop it in its tracks.
I stood there for a few seconds, just breathing in the cool air, smelling the snow all around me and watching to see what Dyogi would do next. And do you know what he did? Despite the fact that he is 15 1/2 and despite the fact that his muscles have begun to wither away to the point that he can barely get out of bed some days, my amazing, lovable, gentle old man dog looked up at me with the hugest grin and let himself fall over sideways in the snow. He then proceeded to roll over and over and over until he ended up on his back with all four paws up in the air and face, upside down, buried in a pile of snow. He lay like that for a good two minutes until he gave one great sneeze, righted himself and slowly pulled himself to his feet. Then he looked up at me again, only this time his black body was white and his entire face was covered with snow, except his eyes and his big, grinning mouth. I swear he did all of it to remind me to stop getting so caught up in my mind and remember to stop and smell the flowers – or, in this case, feel the cool snow on my face – every chance that I get. It made me smile and it completely took me out of my mind while we enjoyed the rest of the walk – smelling the snow, feeling the cold breeze, laughing in delight at the old guy’s puppylike nature and pure enjoyment of every second of every minute of every hour of every day of his life.
We are all on this planet together for a reason and if we can just put aside our ever-intrusive thoughts, we can learn so much from one another.
This Holiday season, I hope you all manage to remain “present”, setting aside or ignoring the little (or sometimes big and annoying) voice inside your head long enough to remember to smell the snow and to feel the beauty and blessings all around you.
Happy Holidays! I wish you all enough…
And, even though this picture is from last year, here`s a pic of my family, sans kitties of course!