The Sacred Paws

I’m typing this at 10:49 on Tuesday night – by the time you read it, I’ll be slipping back in to my Pittsburgh dialect as I head home for a quick trip to see family.

Yinz guys wanna go dahntahn and drink some Iron?

That’s Pittsburghese for “would you like to grab a beer?”

Today, like many other days for me, has been straight out. From 9:30 am to 9:30 pm I have filled almost every minute of my day with something. And as much as I hate that it’s true - when I have days like those, everyone knows it because I’m a WYSIWYG - what you see is what you get.

It’s an area of growth for me, that I wear my heart out on my sleeve pretty much 24/7. Sometimes it serves me well, but I wouldn’t last a hot minute in a poker game.

When I don’t take a minute to stop and, I don’t know, take a drink on days like these, it’s not pretty.

It’s easy for me jam pack my days now because I love what I do. Between my own writing (now that Doug has a book, I need to write one :-), coaching, learning, doing podcasts and everything else, there is so much to do.

Often, it’s like I’m drinking out of a firehose – now that I found my career my mind is bursting with ideas and because my life is organized chaos, I’m constantly bouncing around from one thing to another throughout my day. Last week I said I wasn’t a checklist person, but I’m not a linear thinker either. My brain looks more like a million post it notes stuck all around a room.

I can get myself pretty out of balance in my days, despite loving what I do.

Tonight when I walked through the door, threw myself onto the comfy dining room chair and sat staring up at the ceiling, my 11 year old basset hound Rooney lumbered in from the living room and say staring at me patiently. I leaned over and picked him up, as I like to do, and he settled into my lap. I nuzzled into his head and smelled the familiar corn chip smell of his that I’ve come to love, and I used him as my weighted blanket. He breathes deeply, I breathe deeply. We both sigh contentedly.

And I was reminded of what Buddhists call the sacred pause.

But in this case, it’s the sacred paws.

It’s one of the things I love so much about dogs, and Rooney in particular. He lays down in the sun, stretches out in front of the heater, and stretches and groans long and loud when he wakes up from a nap. His presence is often my reminder to stop what I’m doing, bend over and scratch his ears, or pick him up, put him in my lap and just be with him.

Seeing him, being with him, is always my reminder to pause. It’s my reminder to stop mindlessly, breathlessly pin-balling myself from moment to moment and losing myself not in my tasks but to my tasks.

I’m grateful tonight (now it’s 11:27), for Rooney – with his long floppy ears, sad droopy eyes, and easy-going presence to remind me of the sacred paws.

Today, as you go about your day - find a moment - close your eyes in the sun - turn up a song on the radio - watch your goldfish swim in his tank - and pause.