I was out walking my dogs this afternoon when I had one of those "A-ha!" moments.
You know the ones that hit you like a wall of thick, dense air as something you had been pondering becomes instantly clear.
I was watching Piper walk and sniff along our walking route and began thinking of how he was aging. He just turned eight, and if you follow the human-versusdog years guide it means he is now 56. He is now eight years older than me.
Can you imagine aging seven years in a span of one year?
The "A-ha!" moment came when I realized that Piper doesn't care.
That may not sound like such a realization for some but when you think about it deeply, dogs just don't care about the future or the past for that matter. It is irrelevant to them.
They don't check their horoscope to see what is going to happen today, this week or this month.
They don't lie in bed worrying about what tomorrow may bring or what happened yesterday.
Have you ever watched a dog sleep? They look like they don't have a care in the world.
Piper doesn't fret about his age or how each year he gets older. Every day he gets up and starts his day happy to be awake. He doesn't hear the media telling him the longevity predictions of his breed as we humans hear all the time about how long we are supposed to live. He just lives each day. He doesn't even live each day as if it was going to be his last, he just lives each day.
Another life lesson courtesy of a dog.
How many of us have heard that saying, "Live each day as if it was going to be your last?" How many of us can?
We get up in the morning, most of us racing from one activity to another. Would any of us want to spend our last day at work or doing any one of these tasks?
Yet we hear that saying all the time. If you think about it, it leaves us with impossible expectations of ourselves and our lives. We subconsciously feel like we are not living to our potential because we are not living like it was our last day because of all the stuff we have to do instead of living. We end up living for a day in the future where we can "live like it was our last," be it on the weekend or "someday."
That saying denies us the joy of being alive right now, of being able to enjoy the moment as it is, doing whatever you are doing.
Unless of course we live our days like our dogs do, meaning no matter what you are doing, be it work, chores, or after-school kid activities, you become more mindful of what you are doing.
What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is being aware of the thoughts that enter your mind and how you allow them to affect you and your behaviour. Choose positive thoughts instead of negative.
The goal is to be more like your dog and seek peaceful enjoyment within each moment.
That is what the saying, "live each day as if it was your last" should mean.
I used to have sympathy for dogs for having such a short life span, as if they were missing out on something by only living 10-15 years. But I now look at them, watch them, study them and envy them.
Their "short" lives are filled with such peace. They don't have the mental chatter that takes them away from the present and projects them into the future or drags them into the past.
Even dogs that have baggage are able to find a sense of mental peace that humans take a lifetime to achieve, if they do at all.