I was at my local humane society yesterday for my weekly volunteering. I walk dogs (and clean out kennels as needed) for at least two hours straight. More often than not, it stretches into three hours, or longer. Walking dogs has long been a favorite meditation for me.
I say "meditation" because it always helps me get present. The dogs are present, simply enjoying where they are right now, taking it all in. Many are not happy in the shelter (who would be), but as soon as we get leashed up and out on the wooded trails behind the shelter, or even as soon as we get outside the doors of the building, it's like the dog forgets they were even in the shelter moments ago. They're just happy, blissful, to be outside in nature.
They don't hold onto the past. They don't use their walking time to stress out about being in the shelter or about past experiences in their life. They enjoy where they are at that exact moment. That's it.
When I'm with them, I pick up on their energy and it transforms me. It reminds me to get present and enjoy where I am right here, right now.
Yesterday I was walking a dog, one of my first for the day, and we were out on the trails. I was all go, go, go... it's time to walk.... let's keep moving... We walked down a particular path and came to a huge puddle -- one I didn't want to wade through in my tennis shoes -- so I stopped, turned around, and tried to lead the dog back the other direction.
The dog, however, didn't budge. She stood there, facing the puddle, looking out into the trees and the dog park we could see beyond. She knew we weren't crossing the puddle. She didn't try to pull me forward any. She just wasn't ready to turn around and go a different direction. She wanted to stand there for a moment and take in the view.
That was the moment yesterday that got me. That reminded me to be present. Enjoy where I am right now.
There was no need to hurry. No reason to turn around immediately and continue walking in the opposite direction. So I let the dog be my guide, my reminder. I stopped too, with her, and just took in the scenery. When she was ready, she turned around and we proceeded on with our walk.
In life I tend to have the same mentality. Go, go, go! Keep moving forward! Be productive! Don't waste time!
There's nothing wrong with drive, ambition, and being efficient. But sometimes we should just stop and enjoy where we are.
This reminds me of a song by Darius Rucker, "It Won't be Like This for Long."
You can listen here if you'd like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at_lUnFjXg8
And another song, "You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkins. (Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGeFblfQI1o). (I'm listening to it now and it's making me cry, yet again.)
Both songs remind us not to rush through life. Each moment, each experience, is special. It's ALL for our good. And once we pass certain times in our lives, we tend to miss them. I know I was ready to get out of high school, but now I think it would be fun to go back (as the person I am now) and relive a few high school days. Same with college. It took me five and a half years to graduate (I was certainly in no hurry there) because I kept changing my major (trying to decide what I wanted to do with the rest of my life... which I'm no longer doing).
It's been the same all through my life. Even the trying times, even the jobs I didn't like, they're all over now. There's no going back.
I came across the image above on google yesterday and it made me cry (I know, I cry a lot...lol).
It's just so moving to me because that's how life goes. The stages, the seasons, feel like forever when you're in them, but before you know it, they're gone.
I can certainly dwell on this, and make myself a sobbing mess, or I can choose to accept that that's just how life is, and enjoy each season, each experience, each phase of my life.
Just like the dogs I walk, it's good to remember to stop and enjoy the view every chance you get. Whatever that view is, enjoy it. Because it'll change before you know it.
Cherish the moments of your life.
Make sure those that you love, human or animal, know it (yourself first and foremost).
Find beauty in everything.
Stop and just Breathe.
Sink into your Spirit and relax there.
When I do that, I find that it quiets my mind and I feel grateful. For everything.
Quotes of the Day:
"Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored." (Earl Nightingale) http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/earlnighti159029.html#1W4tw2M6UohfBH85.99
"Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted." (John Lennon) http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnlennon108522.html#DwRBUeMVadiJY2Lc.99
"It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness." (Charles Spurgeon)