Lessons from a dog

At about half past ten each evening, our Jack Russell terrier, Tonto, becomes very alert to my movements. If I get up from whatever I am doing, he leaps up from wherever he has been dozing, and comes and looks at me with his head on one side, his eyes very alert.

Although he does not speak, he manages to communicate very effectively the question’ are we going for a walk then?’

Most evenings we do, some we don’t. He never stops asking, and best of all he does not withdraw his love if he does not get a walk that evening. There is no sulking, grumbling or grudge.

So why am I telling you about a dog? Well, there are many things to learn from Tonto. He is totally present. He is interested in walks, other dogs, food, sleeping under his duvet, chasing cats and squirrels, playing and being loved. That is his world. He shows no fear of tomorrow, very little memory of yesterday, and is fully alive in the moment.

Anyone looking at him would describe him as happy. I think he is. If one of the things he is interested in is available, he wants for nothing else. Otherwise he finds somewhere warm to snooze until what he is interested in appears.

He is a four legged example of unconditional love. He loves his family whatever they do or don’t do with him, whether he gets a walk or not.

He is not attached to any outcome, but is ready to be inspired and in action on those things that interest him. He likes the things he seems to gain the most satisfaction and happiness from. He conserves his energy for them, and is fully committed when the opportunities arise.

The only time you see his ego is when facing up to a bigger dog, when his hackles rise and he shouts a good fight. The rest of the time, he is apparently ego free.

I remember many years ago (he is now a mature 13 year old),after his then girlfriend became pregnant, sitting with him on the sofa having a very significant conversation about his responsibilities as a father. I was telling him how he will have to get a job, earn his living and find somewhere to live, so that he could support his family. He looked up at me with a ‘so are you trying to say we’re going for a walk, then?’ face, completely oblivious to what I was talking about. No remorse, no burden, no thought of the future.

He’s a great companion to have what ever my mood, as he invites me to live in the moment. By doing that, he has a very happy, contented life, and radiates love into our family.

So, when you feel stuck sometime, act like a dog. Life will become simpler, and simplicity usually brings happiness to yourself and others.

One word of caution though; if you feel the urge to cock your leg on a neighbour’s tree, make sure you explain why you are doing it.

About theclaritycoach

Paul Stonehouse is an experienced coach, educator and speaker, and is completely committed to helping people perform at their best. His particular passion is helping people move forward when they are stuck, enabling them to live and work a in a way which is a confident expression of their true selves.
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