The sacred paws

I’m home in Pennsylvania for a few days, to celebrate my mother n’ law’s birthday. Just long enough for me to slip back into my Western Pennsylvania slang, dropping the “th” from words and calling everyone yinz.

“Yinz wanna go up ‘ere and drink an Iron?”

It’s good to be home.

Tuesday, like many days for me, was straight out. From 9:30 am to 9:30 pm I’d filled every minute of my day with something. And because I am so transparent with my feelings, everyone knows that I haven’t taken a break all day. I’m a WYSIWYG - what you see is what you get. Sometimes that’s fine, as I am truly, authentically me. I bring all of me into the moment.

But honestly, it’s also an area of growth for me, that I wear my heart out on my sleeve pretty much 24/7. I wouldn’t last a hot minute in a poker game, and no one wants their coach to have lemur eyes when they come in for a workout. 

When I don’t take a minute for myself, it’s just not pretty.

The thing is, it’s easy for me jam pack my days because I love what I do. I used to do it with three and four jobs, but now I’m hustling because I have so much I want to do. Between my own writing (big announcement coming soon), coaching, making Jane Fonda videos and doing podcasts, I have a lot of fun stuff going on.

Often, it’s like I’m drinking out of a firehose – now that I found my career my mind is bursting with ideas and spend my days in organized chaos. The inside of my mind is littered with post it notes.

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

Tuesday when I walked through the door and flung myself on the dining room chair out of pure exhaustion, my 11 year old basset hound Rooney lumbered in to say hello. He sat, starting at me patiently until I leaned over and picked him up. He settled in to my lap and I nuzzled his head, breathing in the familiar corn chip scent of his that I’ve come to love. I used him as my weighted blanked, breathing out the day and finally, 12 hours after my day began, took a breath.

I was reminded of what Buddhists call the sacred pause. 

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

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It’s one of the things I love so much about dogs, and Rooney in particular. He lays down in the sun, flops down in front of the heater, 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 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.