Mindfulness and Mimi: What I learned about mindfulness from my dog
This is Amelia Migonette Thermopolis Renaldi (yes, The Princess Diaries), but you can just call her Mimi. She is a highly animated, 6 pound, toy poodle and happens to be the bearer of great joy and wisdom. I recently looked over at her playing contentedly and realized she embodies mindfulness much more than most humans I know. She truly lives in the moment - all day, every day. These are a few of the things she has taught me about being mindful.
1. When you eat, just eat. Confession, she is a spoiled dog who also tends to be a picky eater. But, when you happen to hit on the meal that makes her happy, she eats with full concentration. She does not stop to play with toys, watch TV or check her cell phone (no my dog does not have a cell phone). She makes eating a singular task.
2. Love is unconditional. There is nothing I have to do to get puppy kisses and affection at all times even when not particularly desired (middle of the night, when you are trying to type a blog....). For Mimi it does not matter what I have or have not done, love is always given without expectation.
3. Always be forgiving. Mimi hates to be left at home alone as she thinks she should accompany us everywhere. When left, she frequently barks out four letter words puppies should not use. If she is really upset, she will hide under the bed which kind of defeats her cause, but lets us know she is unhappy. But of course in Mimi style, the moment we arrive home she enthusiastically greets us - all offense forgiven.
4. Delight in the small things. Belly rubs. A piece of bacon. An empty toilet paper roll. Socks fresh from the dryer. All of these are simple things that cause her great delight
5. Wake-up joyfully. Most mornings Mimi wakes me up She is very happy to inform me that she is awake so therefore I should be too. It is either time to rub her belly, play with one of the various toys she has dropped on me, take her outside or on very late mornings get her breakfast. Regardless of her goal, she is ecstatic to get the day going. On the rare occasion that I wake her, there may be a little grumble, but as soon as she realizes we are up, she is overjoyed.
6. Listen without interruption. Okay I admit since she can't talk, she just has to listen. But, she will listen to me ramble on endlessly or sing off key with out judgement, covering her hears or leaving the room.
7. Enjoy the breeze. So, I don't usually hang my head out the car window. But Mimi finds it to be exhilarating as long as you keep it under about 40 mph. She will even stop in the yard just to sniff the air and let the wind blow on her face. I could take a lesson and just stop and enjoy the warmth of the sun or a cool breeze a lot more often than I do.
8. Don't trust people who don't like dogs. Mimi is either friendly to a fault or barking aggressively at people and it usually comes down to people she knows love dogs or not. No offense to the dog lovers out there that she barked at :)
9. It's okay to play alone. Mimi can happily entertain herself for quite some time playing with her toys. Insert any activity you want for "play" and are you willing to do it alone. More importantly can you enjoy doing it alone. Sometimes solitude is a beautiful thing.
While my quest for mindfulness is ongoing, I have a perfect little model reminding me to stay in the moment and not sweat the rest. So right now I must go, because instead of playing alone, she has decided now is the time to play fetch with her favorite ball. I hope you find some of Mimi's mindfulness tips add value to your life.