LESSONS FROM A DOG ON ENTHUSIASM
It has been a couple of months since I said that I would work on doing everything with
as Emma does. It has been a difficult task, I admit. I have not nearly accomplished it, actually. However, I have learned some things from working on it, and I would like to share them, now.
The first thing that I learned is that I hadn’t really thought through what this really meant. As I started my attempt at doing everything with enthusiasm, it quickly dawned on me that I perform many more activities each day than Emma does. She, as a dog, has a relatively short list of activities in which she engages. However, I engage in many activities that a dog never has to think about. In fact, I would say that the majority of the things that I do are not things that Emma needs to do. And, many of these activities are things that I “have to do,” rather than things that I want to do. Emma generally does things that she wants to do; eating, sleeping, playing, getting attention, greeting people, etc. It’s a lot easier to be enthusiastic about activities that you want to do than those you don’t.
So, I thought that I might just concentrate on being enthusiastic on those things that I wanted to do, at first, and see where it got me. This turned out to be a lot harder than I thought it would be; mainly because I am so used to not being present with what I am doing. It's hard to do something with enthusiasm, if your mind is on something else. I am habitually so not-present (many would call it ADD) that I couldn’t even remember to work on being enthusiastic.
It appeared that I had to go slower. I finally just started watching Emma; I mean really watching her. And, I developed the habit of asking myself “What would Emma do?” One day, I watched Emma, and her friend Zoey as they played while the three of us were hiking in the hills. All of a sudden, I got it. Emma and Zoey were completely present; and they were happy because they were in the best place ever. It wasn’t really the best place ever; it’s just that they were where they were at that moment. That made it the best place ever, because they were together, and they were off-leash, and I was there watching out for them. They didn’t need anything else. Everything was perfect.
What a revelation the above is! Whenever I remember to pay attention to what I am doing, and where I am, then I can remember the reason that I am there doing what I am doing. When this happens, I can come up with a reason to be grateful for what I am doing. Then, the enthusiasm comes naturally. The hardest part, or course, for me, is to remember to pay attention to what I am doing, and to where I am.
I am still working on it, obviously. What I have gotten from this experiment is well worth it. And, I know that when I get it, my life will improve. Stay tuned.
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