One sunny, Sunday morning, I walked down to a local bakery for a muffin. It was a beautiful day and I decided to sit at a table outside of the store and enjoy my treat right there.
A middle aged man walked up with a long haired dachshund. The dog was adorable–with curly, reddish brown fur and one blue eye and one green eye. He tied the dog outside and went in for his own bakery treat.
As the dog stood there waiting, he was alert and perky, looking up at everyone as they passed by. I watched as people pointed at the dog and smiled. Some stopped to bend down and pat his head. The dog wagged his tail in thanks, and generously smiled back in his own dog-like way. Everyone who interacted with him walked away smiling.
When the man returned, I said, “Cute dog”.
He replied, “Yes, and he knows it”.
I smiled and had to chuckle. It was a humorous thing to say, but I don’t believe the dog really knew he was cute. The dog was just being who he was–just being his confident, happy dog self–which is part of what made him so cute. His love for life and being present in each encounter brought himself and those who stopped to notice a small piece of joy that day. It made me think—the dog naturally knows and does what we all need to know and do ourselves:
- To know and be who we are
- To be present with every encounter
- To graciously receive and express thanks for what others offer to us and generously give to others in return
Knowing and being who we are is a process that begins on the inside, which then radiates outward, spreading to those around us. When we have this deep knowing and are confident and comfortable with who we are, we can relax and be present with each moment. This creates an openness to give and receive more freely.
In this unsettling time of watching how fast a virus can spread, it has become clear how connected we all are. And in watching the dog that day, its hopeful to see how our positive behaviors and actions could potentially spread something good. One small, happy gesture–one wag of our tail–can have an impact, causing another to do the same, creating a ripple effect that spreads outward. And it all starts with the inner work of knowing and being who we are.
The dog naturally embodied these lessons. How good it would be for us to put them into practice as well.