Ten Things Your Dog Would Tell You

I spotted this in a couple of places today and felt compelled to share it in honor of my girl Phoebe. She’s been in my life two years this month—happy Phoebe-versary!

Ten things your dog would tell you

1. My life is likely to last ten to fifteen years. Any separation from you will be painful. Remember that before you get me.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

3. Place your trust in me—it is crucial to my wellbeing.

4. Do not be angry at me for long, and do not lock me up as punishment.

5. You have your work, your entertainment, and your friends. I only have you.

6. Talk to me sometimes. Even if I don’t understand your words, I understand your voice.

7. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget.

8. Remember before you hit me that I have sharp teeth that could easily hurt you, but I choose not to bite you because I love you.

9. Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate, or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I might not be getting the right food, or I have been out too long, or my heart is getting too old and weak.

10. Take care of me when I get old. You too will grow old. Accompany me on difficult journeys. Never say: “I cannot bear to watch” or “Let it happen in my absence.” Everything is easier for me if you are there—even my death.

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Commit to the Present

My friend Jessica has this tattoo emblazoned on her wrist and it’s brilliant. What a high spiritual commitment, to park one’s presence firmly in the moment.

But damn, it’s hard to do. My brain is well-trained in rumination and future-tripping and getting to right now feels like taming a spastic monkey. But with practice, it becomes more natural.

I first encountered this notion of present moment awareness when a friend was bitching about how much he loathed Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now. His couple’s therapist forced him to listen to it on CD and, then single, he was tossing them out. His descriptive complain-a-thon piqued my interest and I took the CDs off his hands, popped them in my car’s stereo, and became completely entranced by that little German guru who calmly opened with, “I have little use for the past and rarely think about it.”

“No use for the past?! But how can I properly punish those people and events that have wronged me if I’m not busy hating them for it?” That was my mindset. But I listened on because something about Eckhart’s words resonated on a level below my incredulity. My inner knower wanted to hear more.

Those who have not found their true wealth, which is the radiant joy of Being and the deep, unshakable peace that comes with it, are beggars, even if they have great material wealth. They are looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security, or love, while they have a treasure within that not only includes all those things but is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.

The notion that the present moment, the “radiant joy of Being,” has everything I need, every resource and happiness, was and is a magnificent realization. To me, Being is the only place I can connect with divine presence within me and around me, the only place where I find that “inner OK-ness” I’ve sought so many other ways in vain (men, money, shopping, alcohol, friendships, work, approval-seeking, family…). It’s my true treasure, available to me any time I pause, redirect my monkey brain, and commit to the present.