Practice, Practice, Practice
I can’t imagine my life without dogs. I live alone and couldn’t imagine wanting it any different (meaning: adding a man into the mix), but I’m not alone. I’ve got two very talkative, interactive beings that bring joy and heartache and love and companionship into my life every day. Only difference is they wear fur and walk on four legs instead of two.
They give me so much more than I give back to them. I don’t have especially talented or special one-of-a-kind dogs (although I’d fight anyone that said different), the only difference I can see that makes our relationship better than what some have with their dogs is that two-way communication we have with each other. They aren’t there for me to just dump my worries and woes on or to follow my every instruction to the letter. We are a collaborative unit. I listen to them as much as they listen to me. Sometimes they pick some very inconvenient times for me to have to stop and listen. Times when I’m too busy and I have my own agenda. But I have realized that the reverse can be true (for instance, Buddy is hot on the scent of a rabbit, but I REALLY need to get to work, that’s when I expect him to stop and listen), so I have trained myself to stop and take the time I need to understand why they are acting the way they are and find out what I need to do to help. It’s just plain ol’ respect.
This relationship with my dogs has helped me to realize how very important it is to stop and listen to the people in my life when they are “acting up” (as my grandmothers would say). I’m not as good at it as I’d like to be yet, but it’s all about practice. Practice — whether it is a taking up a practice of prayer or meditation, practicing compassion, practicing understanding, practicing skiing or sewing or fishing or whatever — practice IS the journey, practice IS The Way to a better, more fulfilling life. It isn’t what you already ARE that matters, it’s what you are BECOMING that matters. Change and transformation are hard practices, but the reward more than makes up for the struggle.
What “practice” have you been avoiding lately that you feel in your gut that you really need to take up? What practice is really hard for you? What calls to you and you haven’t answered that call? Answer it. And answer it today…and if you try it and that call hangs up on you, try again tomorrow, cuz this ain’t easy and it’s okay to stumble and fall along your pathway. And when you DO stumble and fall, look up, there is always someone or some One there to help you back up.