Have you ever wondered why we love dogs so much? Not only are they loyal and cuddly, but they also regularly teach us to live in the moment.
My Great Dane, Petunia, passed away several years ago. In addition to embodying unconditional love, she reminded me to stay in the moment.
I remember one day my husband Byron and I went out for a walk with our Great Dane. He crossed the street to the park with Petunia and walked towards the dispenser to grab a doggie waste bag. I watched them as I continued walking up the hill, knowing they would join me in a few yards.
Petunia happily sniffed the grass, patiently waited for Byron to grab a bag from the dispenser, and wagged her long tail as she walked by his side.
After their two-minute journey to get a bag, they crossed the street to rejoin me on the walk.
When Petunia saw me, she stopped, looked at Byron, then at me, then pranced up and down with great joy as if to say, “Look, Dad, it’s Mom. It’s Mom! We found her! There she is! Oh my goodness! This is the best day ever! I can’t believe it. Look, Dad! Look! It’s her! It’s really her! We found her!”
She kissed my hand, and then with joyful determination, walked up the hill between us. A few minutes later, she stopped at a spot of grass that had the best smell ever only to be distracted by the need to gleefully greet a person walking by us.
Petunia wasn’t weighed down by heavy thoughts of, “Does this collar make me look fat?” or “I know she is petting me, but does she truly mean it?”
No. She lived life as most dogs do. In the moment.
Why do we want to live a dog’s life?
In the moment is where happiness hangs out.
To hang with happiness and stay in the present, use these three easy steps.
I name what’s filling up my mind and taking me away from the present.
Is there something bugging me? If the answer is yes, then I name what it is that is bugging me.
Take, for example, this thought that often plagues my mind, “I’m overweight.”
Naming the thought that is taking me away from the present moment helps reduce it’s power.
So, find those thoughts that take you away from the present moment where happiness lies like a dog on a rug in the sunshine.
Second: Take Action
I come up with an actionable solution. This action must be reasonable, of course. For instance I can’t tell myself, “OK, I’ll run 10 miles a day and skip lunch and dinner until I drop the weight.” That’s not a reasonable solution, so I need to use common sense.
What can I do to lose the weight? I’ll sign up for an exercise program that will keep me accountable and help me lose weight.
As long as you can be honest with yourself, the first step is pretty easy. The second one is also fairly easy, but might be a tad harder because you have to come up with a solution to that thought that is keeping you away from the moment.
Think back on a dog’s life. The dog is thirsty, so she thinks, “I’m thirsty.” Then, she creates an action by walking to her water dish and drinking. Then, she takes the third step in the process.
Now, the third one is where many who aren’t dogs, get tripped up.
I let it go.
In the first step, I named what was pulling me away from the present moment, During the second, I took action, and I signed up for the exercise program. Now that I know when I will be working out, I need to let it go.
The third step is undoubtedly the most difficult.
In my 50+ years of life, I’ve learned that it’s OK to let go.
In fact, it’s healthy to let go!
Give it a try and see how it clears your mind so you can focus on the here and now.
The dog who becomes thirsty, walks to her dish, drinks, and doesn’t spend the rest of the afternoon wondering if she drank the right amount of water, or if she should have maybe ordered a cappuccino, and maybe next time she will order a cappuccino and sprinkle cinnamon on top of it. Yes, cinnamon would be nice. Although, why not just get a Mocha Latte with a side of Pellegrino? Sparkling water is so lovely this time of day…
No. A dog gets thirsty, thinks, “I am thirsty,” walks to her water, drinks, and then lets it go! Done.
When you live in the present moment, the beauty of life becomes more apparent, and your focus sharpens.
Living in the moment helps you to feel happy like a dog walking with her family, and let’s face it, you were born to be happy!
It’s hurricane season, and there is already another hurricane barreling towards us when most are still picking up the pieces from the last hurricane.
That’s life, though. Life presents one storm after another, whether it is in the form of a hurricane, personal illness, family trauma, and the list can go on and on.
We have to learn to live our best life now and not wait for the storm to pass.
Pampering is an essential part of living your best life. You HAVE to take care of yourself.
I used to live in Connecticut years ago. I loved living in Connecticut. It was such a beautiful place to live.
I made many new friends while I lived there. One of my new friends had immense wealth.
One day, I was at her humongous home, and our daughters were playing somewhere in the house, and my new friend was giving me a tour of her home.
I remember her showing me her bathroom, which was fantastic.
Floor to ceiling windows.
Beautiful sunken tub surrounded by ferns.
“I really love this tub, but I have never used it,” she commented to me.
“Why not?” I asked.
“I just don’t have the time?”
While we walked on to the next room, I was stunned over what she had just said.
How can you not have enough time for a bath?
In a tub you love?
How can life be so hectic that you can’t find 10 minutes for a soak?
Living in the idyllic backdrop of New England, I too kept myself busy; although I didn’t have the grand tub to ignore, I did ignore taking time for myself.
Then, I had a miscarriage at 15 weeks, which devastated my mind, body, and spirit.
Six months later, I had another miscarriage at 8 weeks, which further weakened me.
You’ll never guess what happened six months after that – I caught Lyme’s disease.
I felt like I was in a boxing ring getting punched in the face and gut over and over again by a prizefighter.
It’s just life, though. I am no different than anyone else.
Life can be one hurricane after another.
After it took months to climb out of the deep hole of lethargy that Lyme’s disease threw me into, I began to rethink the whole “No time for the tub” agenda, and I am hoping if that is your mindset, you will reconsider that too.
If you walk by your tub and think, boy I could use a soak, then take ten minutes out and soak.
Who is it going to hurt?
No one is going to care that you took time out for yourself.
If you have always wanted to take a gardening class, go do it NOW.
Don’t wait until the stars align or someone with higher rank gives you permission.
Go take the class NOW.
If you have always wanted to take yoga or exercise class, or meet your friend out for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, go do it NOW!
The excuses you make to not pamper yourself mean nothing.
When you take your last breath on this earth, I promise you, you will not think, “I lived a good decent life. I’m so glad I didn’t soak in my bathtub for ten minutes.”
You may very well say while at the end of your life, “What the hell was I thinking? My life is nearly over, and I never got a chance to live my best life.”
Taking time out for yourself helps you to live your very best life.
When you make that extra time in your day for yourself, go do what you need to pamper yourself.
None of us have that much time in life to pass up opportunities to be kind to ourselves.
Pamper yourself now because that next hurricane is already on its way.
Disconnect your phone and connect with the world around you.
We live in a society where we think the world should have access to us 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Why do we all think we are First Responders who are ALWAYS on call?
Why do we think that we must answer every call because someone somewhere will live or die based on how quickly we respond to our phone?
I’ll admit it; I am a phone offender. Every time I call my daughters, I think they should answer immediately. If they don’t answer immediately, it clearly means they have been kidnapped and need rescuing. In reality, my child is probably doing her nails.
Just ask them.
I can’t count how many times a conversation has gone like this:
“Hello,” my child.
“Why didn’t you answer my call?” me.
“Mom, I was in the bathroom, and hey, wait a minute, why did you call five times?”
“You always answer your phone! I thought something was wrong!”
“Mom, nothing was wrong. I was just using the BATHROOM!”
“Oh, thank God!”
“Mom, WHAT do you want?”
“I don’t remember, but I am so relieved you are OK.”
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Why do we assume that an unanswered call or text means something other than that person is busy and can’t answer the phone?
Our cell phones are controlling us, and we need to take back control.
Here are three easy steps to break out of the cell we’ve created by being overly dependent on our phones.
Step 1: Don’t use your cell phone in your car. Ever.
Now you might be thinking, what if I have an emergency?
If you have an emergency, step out of your car, and get to a safe place to call the police.
What if a crazy beast is following me?
How often does that happen? I know it happens in movies, but that’s not real.
Now, cars have emergency buttons in case you get into trouble. If I found myself in a life-threatening situation, I’d push that button before I’d pick up the phone and dial a friend.
If you genuinely need the help of First Responders, you won’t be making any calls. I was in a car wreck a few years back, and people got out of their cars to call for help. There was no way I could make a call.
Are you afraid you will miss that urgent call or text?
You need to ask yourself, is it that important?
The world will go on revolving if you don’t answer that text until you have stopped and gotten out of your car.
I remember the phone booth days when I would have to park the car, get out of the car, walk to the phone booth, wait my turn, put in a dime and make my call. I always kept many dimes in the car ashtray. The collection of dimes became a collection of quarters when calls went up in price.
The world didn’t end because I wasn’t able to connect my cell phone to my car and answer the phone while driving.
If someone calls or texts you while you are driving, don’t answer.
Let them wait a few minutes or longer to get a hold of you.
Answering your phone right away doesn’t make you any more important than you already are.
The truth is people will think you are more important if they have to wait for your response.
Step 2: If you are doing something, like working out, or taking a class, or eating a meal — basically living life — don’t answer your phone.
You can answer the person when you have the time to answer.
Must you constantly be at the mercy of other people’s schedules?
It’s OK to set boundaries.
It’s OK to chew your food and swallow even when someone is calling or texting you.
It’s OK not to answer every call.
But, what if it is my child, and she is in danger? (OK, I admit it. I have to work on this one!)
You need to ask yourself this: Are you in the Special Forces? Are you a Ranger, Seal, or Green Baret?
If your child is in danger, shouldn’t she call 911?
Wouldn’t it be better if the Police SWAT team handled the situation, or are you confident that the whistle and pepper spray on your keychain combined with your Momma-bear instincts will save your child?
Not only do we burden ourselves with thoughts of cries of help through our phone, but we also place the weight of final goodbyes on them.
There is that thought that we have to be able to tell our husband, friend, child, parent, that person we love that we love them before their plane goes down, so we always have to answer the phone.
Even if they aren’t flying, we still have to answer the phone because maybe, maybe, their plans changed, and they are traveling and suddenly have found themselves in danger.
Instead of living in that agony every time the phone rings, why not just make sure everytime you leave someone you love, you let them know you love them?
Why wait until the hostage situation or the doomed plane flight to cry over a crackled phone connection that you love that person?
Don’t leave things unsaid, especially if it is an I Love You because the truth is, very few people get one phone call before they leave this earth.
Don’t live your life waiting for that final call or text to say what you should have said.
Who needs that type of agony?
Regularly connect with those around you. Don’t lock up your relationships in a password encoded cell phone.
If you haven’t noticed, life goes by fast.
Wasn’t I just 24 year’s old yesterday?
There are so many stories of people on their phone and completely missing a home run hit at a baseball game, or a dolphin jumping out of the water.
I remember one time I was in Austin, Texas on Sixth Street listening to this fantastic band. At the table in front of me sat a woman completely entranced with her phone. The lead guitar player jumped down off the stage, and played a guitar solo while on his knees surely rousing the spirit of Jimi Hendrix. The guitarist was so close to this woman.
She never looked up.
She never noticed the firey display of the impassioned musician inches from her while she stared at her phone.
If I had to live that moment over, I would have walked up to the woman, snatched her phone, ran to the front door, and thrown her phone into the street.
Surely, that would have saved her from her imprisonment.
Step 3: Take a break from your cell phone and turn it off.
Put it down, and walk away.
When I was a kid, back in the old days, we had a wall phone in the kitchen. It had a long cord on it, so I could sit all the way in the dining room and talk on the phone “in private.”
The world didn’t end because I had to share one phone with six other family members. The whole family knew who I was talking to, and it wasn’t a problem. We thought we were pretty fancy because we had a telephone with an extra long cord.
There were many times when the phone rang while we were at the dinner table, and my mother would say, “We will not answer that phone. We are eating dinner.”
The call would go unanswered, and everybody was fine.
None of us would jump up and race to the phone to answer it.
That would be crazy because we were eating dinner.
It seems now that people think a cell phone is a birthright.
When my kids were teenagers, they would often get their phones taken away from them if they did something wrong.
I would hear comments from my community like, “Oh, I would never take my child’s cell phone away.”
It’s a phone, not a pacemaker for their heart!
It’s OK not to be in touch with every person you have ever had contact with every single minute of the day.
Take a break.
It’s far better to talk to people face-to-face than via text.
I can’t list the number of times conversations have gone wrong through text without even adding in the complications of autocorrect.
One time, I texted my daughter “K” instead of “OK,” and she wanted to know why I was so mad at her when I was just trying to be cool.
So “OK” is ok, but “K” means I am pissed at you and being passive aggressive?
Take control of your life and disconnect your phone.
Turn off the power on your phone, and leave it in the kitchen. Try it just for the night.
Then, be bold and advance your time to an entire weekend with the phone off.
Take a break for a week. Leave a message on your phone that says, “If this is an emergency, please call [Fill in the name of your spouse or friend]. If you leave a message here, I will return your call next week. You can also email me at [Fill in your email address]”
Give yourself time to breathe.
To follow my blog, please click the subscribe button on this page. We’ll be working together on ways to journey towards the positive.
Click the Yoga tab to find simple yoga poses that we can all do together to help move in the direction to calm down and let go.
Next week we’ll talk about water! I hope you will find your way back to The Happy Bishop to read the post.
Now available, How to Survive the ICU Experience, an eBook to help you as you sit by the bedside of a loved one. Buy your copy here!
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.