My dog JC is a three year old Lab from Waiotahi. When I walk her, she has a strut that means business and a grin the size of a decent sized burger. It’s not uncommon for other dog owners with smaller dogs to cross the street or watch her with a suspicious glare as we share the pavement. Because of her size, most assume she is also a male (she’s almost 40kg).
Her mother was a hunting dog so naturally she wants to sniff everything. It’s like each time we go for a walk she’s catching up on the goss and the news of the world is in every tree, footpath and mailbox.
I get it, she looks like a rambunctious dog - not menacing, just full of energy. And big. She does look pretty intimidating, which makes her a great (though somewhat goofy) guard dog. Her bark is pretty out there - you can ask the neighbours when they do the gardening (sorry about that). She sheds hair, so much so that I’ve forgotten what my clothes look like before I had a dog. I think that’s a pretty common phenomenon amongst dog owners, right?
I wish she could speak English, or I could speak dog. I bet that would have some pretty interesting conversations - like why sniffing butts is the best way to get to know a stranger, or if she can really taste the difference between the apple varieties my Mum buys. She has this natural curiosity about the World that I admire - there’s no pent up cynicism about people, she lives in the moment and each moment is on the scale of glorious.
She’s taught me a lot - about how to love myself and this life. How easy it is to judge ourselves...and others. Seeing me when I come home for lunch is that same euphoria she feels when we go to the beach, or eating dinner, or going for a walk. It’s that gratitude to be able to experience anything one more time, no matter how mundane it seems - she’s always grateful.
The eternal pursuit of being bigger than ourselves, man that grows tiresome. I think because the reasons that motivated me weren’t really who I am. It came from my ego. The shell versus the gooey part that made all the parts tick had a disconnect that grew bigger the more I did in life. The more I felt I ‘achieved’ something. Today I’m proud of my achievements, not because I was better than someone else, but because I’m doing them for me.
I’m learning to let go of judgement on how others live their life - mainly because I know it’s another way to procrastinate working on me. Working on me is scary...change is like walking into an unfamiliar room and someone turns the lights off. You can hold on to that fear of not knowing where you’re going, or you can learn to trust yourself to figure it out. To find the light again. To walk by faith, and not by sight.
When you give love to the world, remember, you are part of that world. You too need love from yourself.