Yoda has nothing on my dogs. They really are the Jedi Masters of peace and tranquility. They are so good, they taught me to chill out.
I got to the point in my life that chaos was the norm. My best friend and I used to joke about how we have this sick tendency to actually enjoy having a full plate. It makes us energized and even perform the competing tasks at hand better than if there was only one to do.
Chaos became the norm. That was okay when it was work, I felt I could handle it. But it never just stays at work.
I used to work for an organization that was simply exhausting. Chaos would have been a welcome break. I had over an hour drive from work and would use this time to ‘decompress’ and put myself in a better place for when I got home and was with my son.
When I quit that job the first thing he said to me was, “Thank you, you were always in a bad mood during the week when you got home.”
So much for decompressing and being in a better place.
I used to run around on the weekend trying to accomplish what needed to be done throughout the week in a day. Cleaning, cutting the grass, weeding, grocery shopping, laundry – and by the way, how do two people have so much dang laundry? Chaos was becoming a norm in my personal time, too.
One night I was sitting down, exhausted, and over came one of my pups. He nonchalantly plopped his head on my lap. My first thought was “I am too tired to play” but then I looked down at him.
If you are a dog person, you will understand the look I saw in his eyes. If you are not, just go with it. He looked at me as if to say, “really *sniff* you don’t have time to even pat my head?”
Guilt by dog.
Of course I patted his head, rubbed his ears, and gave him undivided “mom” time. This brought one of the other ones over and it became a puppy love fest. For that period of time I did not think of any tasks or things left undone, I just enjoyed getting happy mauled by my dogs. Once they had their fill of attention, they went back to sleep.
Just as easy as that. Fifteen minutes of play time then so relaxed that they took a nap. Seriously? I want that!
As crazy as it sounds, I studied my dogs that weekend. I was like a modern day doggy Jane Goodall. When they had a task to complete (eat, chase, dig) they gave it their complete and undivided attention. When they were done, they were done. They did not go back to that hole and think, “I could have done more, maybe I should dig from the outside in next time.” The threw themselves into the task at hand.
Then they napped.
They enjoyed the outside, laying in the sunshine, soaked it all up until they sounded like they were about to pass out, then they went in the house and laid on the cool tile floor.
Then they napped.
On walks they literally stopped to smell the roses…and the grass, and the mailbox posts, and the other dogs poop, and the wind and their own butt… Even if we just saw that mailbox post yesterday, they were going to sniff it again, you never know what could have happened in 24 hours. Every smell was awesome! They took full advantage of what was around them.
Then they napped.
At night they nestled close by, getting belly rubs, rolling their little puppy eyes back in their head from sheer pleasure then started snoring.
These guys know how to live! Besides realizing my dogs took a lot of naps, I realized they had taught me a thing or two:
- Put all your effort in the task at hand; when it is over, it is over.
- Enjoy your surroundings.
- Rest and rejuvenate.
- Move – play, keep your body active.
- Every day is a new day, you never know if there is something new in your same old path.
- Relax, it gives you more energy when you have tasks to accomplish.
- There is great joy in the smallest pleasures.
- Treats are good.
- Take time for yourself.
- Take time to love the ones you love.
I have incorporated my Yoda dogs teachings into my daily life:
I take breaks throughout the day to go outside and enjoy the sunshine, birds, clouds, rain – whatever the situation is, I do a mental break and immerse myself in the sights and sounds of the right there. Recently I put up a couple hummingbird feeders outside my office – I am in heaven during these breaks watching those little guys buzz about.
When the work day is done, it is done. Then it is time for the family, dedicated, quality time.
Sleep. We get sleep now as a regular thing not as a so-exhausted-I-fell-into-bed thing and please let me get just a couple of hours.
Daily walks with the dogs and time at the gym to keep physically active helps reduce stress.
And treats, lots of treats. A massage, a manicure, a day trip, a special meal – whatever it is, treats are good!
Try following a dog’s life this weekend and see if you don’t get converted by these Jedi Masters of happiness.
A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.
As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
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