Wow! As I sit here preparing my first blog for my new website, my mind races ahead to all of the things I want to say to you, my readers. There is so much.
How much time do you spend in present time, during your day? Do you practice mindful meditation, Transcendental Meditation (TM), or any other method that allows you to simply be here now? Life is so fast these days, so many things to do, so many places to be in a day that many of us forget the importance of spending at least part of our day right here, right now. The typical cell phone user touches his or her phone 2,617 times every day according to a study by research firm Dscout in 2016. Apple recently confirmed that its device users unlock their phones 80 times every day … six to seven times per hour.
I wonder if birds sing so often because they don’t have cell phones and therefore have the time to be present in their lives … constantly. Would we breathe better, be lighter and sing more if we were in the moment? I think so. The animal kingdom has a great deal to teach us, I believe. After I sustained a severe brain injury in 1997, my ability to multi-task was brought to a standstill. The injury to my right frontal lobe, which controls executive function, like multi-tasking, made it impossible for me to continue to run around tackling thing after thing, doing them relatively well, but without the joy of living moment to moment. That physical alteration introduced me to a whole new world. I discovered sounds I had never really heard before, colors I had failed to notice, and I discovered the animals. And, the animals discovered me too. I was living in their world, the world of the present moment. Noticing them the way I did brought us together in a way I never dreamed was possible.
I was walking my dog Yoko, who spotted a rabbit and tensed, ready to chase. I grabbed her by the collar and said, “We are not going to chase rabbits. We are going to love them.” The rabbit stopped in her tracks, turned around and looked at me … shocked. She looked from me to Yoko and back to me again, startled to say the least. She literally did not know what to do. I had changed the whole evolutionary game plan. Finally, she wandered off, still shocked at the change of plans. She didn’t know what to do with this new reality. It made me chuckle.
Another time I was walking my dog, Athena, who spied a jackrabbit. She began to chase the rabbit, who was very fast, but so was Athena. She really didn’t want to catch it. She just wanted to play. Athena was a greyhound/border collie mix and was equally fast but bored easily. She turned around to trot up to me, but the jackrabbit was not through with her yet. He still wanted to play, so he began to chase her. I pointed that out to her. Athena turned around to chase the jackrabbit again. He reversed his position and took off. Once again, she got bored and turned back around toward me and the rabbit began to chase her again. Over and over they played the game until they finally bored at the same time and went their separate ways. By the time they were done I was laughing hysterically. What a high. The best kind. A natural high.
The point I want to make here, and perhaps you already have gotten it too, is that joy really happens in the moment. Animals know how to live in the moment. With all of the multi-dimensional pressures on us we have forgotten this very important way of being. I invite you to take at least 15 minutes twice a day to watch, truly watch a member of the animal kingdom and notice how you feel … right here, right now.