October 12, 2009

Thoughts on Mindful Living, Part 2. ~ via Rebecca Grazulis

Bailey, the Yogi.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my arch nemesis: the moment. And by the moment, I mean being in it. Apparently, when they were handing out centeredness, I took a pass. No, thanks. Not for me. I’d rather worry about the future. In fact, I think I stood in the obsessive line twice.

This is why I’ve become so interested in yoga, for yoga, as I’m sure you all know, is all about the present. You can’t be concerned about what you’re cooking for dinner, the state of your career, or the fact that it’s difficult to avoid sweatshop products if you’re living on a budget. It just doesn’t work that way. In order to connect with your body, you have to calm your mind.

And this is why I’d like to tell you about Bailey. Bailey is my dog, a totally adorable little schnoodle. When I got Bailey, I had no idea what I was getting into. Don’t dogs sleep all day, wag their tags when you return at night and generally make your life happier?

Yeah, that’s what I thought. Bailey, as it turns out, has a mind of his own. He, of course, does make my life happier, but he’s a crazy little guy who has run the show in my apartment from the day he arrived on the scene.

That, however, is not why I bring him up (although I could write an entire blog about him). I bring him up because if I could harness his particular lifestyle, I’d be an expert yogi. While lacking a great deal of calm, Bailey is all about the moment. He’s always right in it, giving no thought to the past or future. I imagine his inner dialogue goes a little something like this:

It’s another day! Let’s go outside! Maybe there is something new to see!

And after we go outside,

A treat? That’s a great idea!

And after that,

Here’s my stuffed rhinoceros! Let’s play!

And then,

I’m sleepy. Sleep is nice, especially when I’m sitting on the couch.

Yes, Bailey’s thoughts are frequently punctuated by exclamation points.

Often, I’ve bemoaned the fact that Bailey sniffs everything when we go on a walk. And I mean EVERYTHING. When you have a train to catch, having a dog that takes a half an hour to go around the block will make you quite mad. But when I’m not tapping my foot, I watch Bailey, who will smell a tree, and then abandon it entirely to be totally present with a fence that smells a little suspicious. He doesn’t judge. He just takes it in, giving each experience his complete attention.

I could learn a lot from Bailey, and I have already. So here’s my thought about mindful living today: observe an animal. Then apply what you’re learned.

Did I mention that Bailey loves to sit on my yoga mat? Namaste.

Rebecca Grazulis is a Chicagoan, a vegetarian (yes, you can be both), a wanna-be yogi and a former high school English teacher in a period of career exploration. You can e-mail her at [email protected] or visit her website.

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