Remember several years ago when the book,“All I really need to know I learned from my dog” was popular?
The other day I was having a discussion with a friend about how routine gives us a sense of freedom (that will be the topic of another blog one day). MY friend said something about how children and dogs love their routine. It made me think. Since my children are grown, that opportunity is gone and grandchild haven't arrived yet. I do, however, have a dog!
My Australian Shepherd, Belle, definitely loves her daily routine because it means she has a job. Aussies are intelligent dogs who love to excel at their work.
I tend to wake up early and Belle gets up with me. After I put on coffee, Belle, who has been waiting patiently, approaches me for her brush-down. Then she gets fed and immediately goes outside to do her business, comes back inside and goes back to bed again. When I'm done with my morning meditation and journaling she's up and ready for the day. Once outside, she finds her ball and sets it just outside the glass bedroom door and sits behind it, patiently waiting for me to finish my coffee (or tea) and reading, and then prepare for my morning dip in the Jacuzzi. The look of anticipation on her face is contagious and sometimes makes me want to giggle. Day after day, she can hardly wait for signs that I'm ready for my morning soak.
I have hardly stepped into the hot water when she dutifully deposits the ball on the edge of the Jacuzzi for me to toss and her to retrieve. It's the highlight of her day. Toss and retrieve, toss and retrieve, until she can hardly catch her breath.
Because I live in the mountains, Belle doesn't get a walk every day during the winter months. When the weather is agreeable and I reach for the leash, she acts as though she can't believe her good fortune. It's the same with a new snack. Belle's honest expression of joy is a reminder of how small, spontaneous actions can be delightfully appreciated.
So, what have I learned from my dog? Find comfort in routine and delight in the spontaneous. Regular routines give us comfort in that we almost don’t have to think about our actions. Our minds are free to work on other creative endeavors or challenges.
After the coffee is on, I go downstairs to my little workout room. There, waiting for me next to my exercise bike are my athletic shoes and socks. I’ve learned if I leave them there I don’t have to dig through drawers in the dark of early morning. That little routine ensures peace in my morning as I approach my day.
Yesterday,a friend and I both agreed to take the day off, but were unsure what to do with our time together. The conversation turned towards a road I noticed on my way to an out-of-town meeting earlier in the week. We both had seen it before and decided to take a drive to discover where it led. What an adventure this turned out to be! We found not only another entrance to a local lake, but the river that led from its dam went through an almost deserted mid-1800’s town that had a stone mill which was still standing next to an old covered bridge. We also discovered a launch for a section of the river we could raft on, which surprised the both of us. Lunch that day was at a newly discovered restaurant on the river’s edge. We followed another road on our way back home which led us through rolling countryside bursting in fresh green of spring and newly blooming wildflowers. Truly that spontaneous drive delighted the both of us. We plan to go back for a long bicycle ride in the same area and want to get some friends together for a little raft trip this summer.
What a great lesson this is for me! Find comfort in the routine and delight in the spontaneous.
As I sit at my desk each morning, writing as a part of my daily routine, I can see Belle posed outside with her ball waiting. It must be hot tub time...Ahhhhh
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Growing pains, life experiences that change us, philosophies, introspection and contemplation