Your life is your teacher

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Yes. That’s broccoli. Linda loves broccoli.

So this is my dog Linda (also affectionately known as Bubba. I’m not sure why, she just looks like a Bubba to me). Although if you ask her, Linda would probably correct you that more accurately, I am her human; that I belong to her. She owns me, and not the other way around.

I rescued Linda a few years ago after she was surrendered by her previous humans. I’m not entirely sure about the circumstances of her home of origin, but it took lots of love, and patience, and many months to get her to really open up, and overcome her inexplicable fear of men and the doorbell.

Anyway, we relatively quickly settled into a really nice groove: Linda tells me when she’s hungry (all the time!), in need of a walk (once a day when it’s cold, and six times a day when it’s nice out), or feeling insanely maniacally playful (about ten minutes a day). The rest of the time she sleeps, snoring loudly. She purrs like a cat when she’s happy, which sounds more like a slow rumbling snort, and loves curling up next to me (or on top of me) on pretty much any soft surface I happen to occupy. If no soft surface is available, she’ll gladly plop herself (all 25lbs of doggie goodness) on my lap, and bury her face in my stomach. I talk to her all the time, and try to be responsive to her whenever she asks for my attention.

She is a ball of love and affection; who is always in a good mood despite her sad eyes and wrinkled face. The thing about Linda is that she is unapologetically stubborn, and in this house she gets away with it every single time.

Whenever we go for walks, it’s her chosen path or nothing. 2014-09-16 15.57.35She refuses to walk in the rain, and will hold her bowels for a scary long time. Out of spite, she will not come when I call her (unless food is being offered, and even that is not always a certainty). She will not perform a single command, unless of course she feels like it. And she gets pretty much anything she wants, on account of irresistible cuteness. I’d take responsibility and admit that she’s spoiled, except she’s been this way from day one. I didn’t really have much choice but to comply.

If you can’t tell thus far, I’m head over heels in love with her. I am that person, you know the one I mean, the weirdo who, at the mere mention of dogs at a social function, will whip out her phone, and hold you captive for ten minutes showing you a million pictures of adorable little Linda. I know I have a problem, but I love and accept myself this way. If you don’t love and accept this about me, then that’s your problem. 🙂

Some time ago, after a particularly difficult day, Linda and I climbed into bed. She usually gets first pick of which side of the bed she’s going to sleep on, and I’m left to contort myself around her. If I’m lucky, I get half the blanket… On this night though, she waited for me to lie down, and she just nestled by my side with her head in my armpit.

Within a few minutes I was lost in thought, and Linda was sound asleep, snoring sweetly. Before I knew what was happening, my thoughts ran away unaware and unfettered into deep dark fear territory, and I fell helplessly down a rabbit-hole into an anxiety producing series of what-ifs. (I am very very good at imagining the worst kinds of what-ifs, and completely scaring the crap out of myself, and anyone else who is privy to the madness). I’ve learned not to go down those vicious spirals anymore. As the scenarios got worse and worse, Linda’s snoring got louder and louder. At one point I thought to myself, “Ugh. Her snoring is really distracting me…,” but she wouldn’t stop. In fact, it just got louder. Then, feeling myself getting slightly annoyed, I looked at her and thought “Seriously? Is that really necessary? At this rate, you’re gonna wake the neighbors.”

Then… a moment of clarity! Linda was unwittingly trying to bring me back to the present. She was interrupting my madness on purpose. She was reminding me that I’m here in this moment, and I’m just fine. No need to create terrifying stories right now. She was pulling me out of the rabbit-hole and back to now. Now. Now. Now. The magical beautiful present moment. The only one we ever really have. The one in which we are always okay. The recognition of it all made me laugh out loud as the fear and anxiety melted away. I focused on nothing but her snoring for a few minutes, and drifted soundly off to a peaceful sleep.

 

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