I’ve learned a lot from my pets over the years. One of the biggest gifts they have given me is a model for how to live in the moment. I have read a slew of self-help books and attended numerous personal development workshops on this very topic. At the time, I had no idea that my very best teachers were four-legged ones living right under my own roof.
I have always lived my life in a very full mode–whether it’s working incredibly long hours or engaging in dozens of social activities. Either way, my days have always been very full and I have rushed from one activity to the next and collapsed in exhaustion. This way of life becomes habit and makes it extremely difficult to pause and enjoy the present moment.
But life is the present. So often we let the present slip away, allowing time to rush past us without even noticing. I often find myself saying things like “I can’t believe that summer is already here” or “I can’t believe that summer is already gone” or “I can’t believe that the year is almost over.”
One of my favorite pastimes is to watch my three Labrador retrievers interact with each and the world around them. They are not worrying about the future or fretting over the past. They truly live in the moment.
If they see something, they chase it. If they smell something, they sniff around to find it. If they hear something, they freeze so they can better tune in. If they do or don’t like something, they immediately show it. They go to sleep when they are tired and they wake when there is something happening. They eat like they have never eaten before and with not a care about whether they will ever eat again.
Most people would agree that it isn’t easy for us humans to fully live in the moment. Maybe it’s not even possible. But many people, including professionals, believe that life is lived the fullest when we can better focus on the now. So if you feel life is passing you by and you don’t know how to slow down, just spend a day observing your pets. They give new meaning to the mantra “stop and smell the roses” and will