Cultivating gratitude and joy : letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark.
Lots in this one. What is joy in our lives with our dogs? Where are the joyful moments? What can we be grateful for?
Loving with Logan over the last 4 years has been extremely challenging at times. There have been times where I have been clueless as to what to do to help him, to provide the safety and security he needs when outdoors and to reduce his stress. I had to hit the books, consult loads of trainers and behaviour people to learn and to practice, practice, practice. I also had to learn to accept him for who he is, not for who I want him to be. I am grateful for all of that. He has taught me more about patience, kindness, compassion, empathy and self control than I have learned in a long time. He has truly helped me on my journey towards enlightenment. I thought I was a good trainer before I got him, he taught me to up my game and be better. Much better. I think the universe that he was brought into my life, however challenging it may be.
Where is the joy? We laugh together a lot. He is goofy and playful. His light-hearted pounce on his toys when we are out paying, the way he runs round the flat and bows in front of me and asks me to chase him all make me laugh. He has helped get me through some really dark times. He as the only constant in my life when I was in crisis. I am grateful for the joy he has brought me, helping make me laugh and lighten my darkness when not much else did.
Scarcity. There have been times in my life in the last 4 years where I didn’t know how long his “good” behaviour would remain intact when outdoors. This got in the way of me enjoying those good times. Feeling that way meant I acted a certain way and that was all but guaranteed to bring those good times to a premature end. As soon as I realised this, the good times lasted longer. He is also with me for a finite time. He will be gone (or I will) at some point. I don’t let that affect the present and the times we have just now.
The darkness. I’ll not say much about this but the dark times are there and will pass. Recognise them, accept them and work on making them lighter. Know what they teach you.
Be thankful for your dog in your life, They won’t be here forever. Be grateful for what they teach us. Recognise the joy they bring. That goofiness, that side eye they give you when they think you aren’t liking. The way they deliberately pick their favourite toy and bring it to you. The way they refuse the carrot but will eat the chicken. The way they will only eat a cherry tomato if you burst the skin for them first. The way you experience the early, bright winter, weekend mornings because you have to take them out. The joyful moments are found in the small things, as well as the big moments.
Part 5 to come.