Monday, June 18, 2012

Puppy Love

I stare deeply into the golden brown eyes that are inches away from my face. Nothing else exists in this exact moment. Just the two of us. He looks at me as if he is just about to tell me how much he loves me, but instead lowers his face onto my shoulder as I wrap my arms around him. Our relationship is the epitome of affection and appreciation--living proof that unconditional love and joy can exist in a relationship between two living beings. No expectations. 
I release our embrace and see that he is now grinning from ear to ear. It's infectious. I smile back. It's as if I just gave him the world by fully receiving his gift, his tail begins to wag so vigorously that he practically knocks himself over.

The embodiment of friendship, dogs are possibly one of the purest examples of what it means to LIVE and LOVE unconditionally. As I sit on the floor and watch my furry friend get distracted by an approaching Rottweiler, I think to myself, "What if we only greeted those we love with that much enthusiasm?" and "What could this world look like if we showed with all our might how much we care about others, simply by living in the moment?"
Trust. Acceptance. Passion.
These canine qualities are only a few of the examples worth pondering and ultimately aspiring to. Imagine the reactions we might receive if we lived by the rules of our four legged friends! 
Would it be possible to receive the same kind of response that they illicit from us? 
They TRUST that we love them, and love us back, just as much or more, even when we don't pay them as much attention as we could. They ACCEPT every inch of our short comings, by choosing to focus on our positive qualities. 
With PASSION, they fully engage themselves on even the smallest events such as smelling the fresh air, taking naps, jumping on the chance to have fun, and always taking the opportunity to greet total strangers with a playful attitude and a giant smile.

The two dogs, nose to nose, let out little whines in their excitement. Then just like that, they part ways and this lovable pooch comes running back to me. 
Lessons on life... 
Could we let Fido (or in my case Butters) be our guide--and let go of our reservations to love others boldly, forgive wrongs almost instantly, always seek to learn something new and find the best in everything? 

Now that's a bone to chew on!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Daily Maintenance

CLEAN-THE-HOUSE. What an intimidating sentence! Hearing those three little words put together can, at times, be comparable to nails on a chalkboard. (Or a fork scratching on a plate in my case.)  Geaaah! Completely un-fun...especially when it's your own mess. And talk about redundant. You know the drill. Do the dishes. Do the laundry. Scrub the bathrooms. Sweep and mop the floor. Dust the furniture...the list goes on and on.
Daily. Weekly. Monthly. 
Oh....and never forget the annual "spring cleaning" that happens only for the truly dedicated. Then finally you emerge victorious. It's clean. It's organized. You know where everything is! And just as you begin to bask in the glory of completion, settling into the organized and clean space of zen ---it gets dirty and messy.... again. Why can't things just stay clean? I lift my eyes to the sky, in a moment of self pity, and ask myself in the most compassionate and loving way possible....why me? 
On a mission to cleanliness, somewhere in mid sweep, my mind finds ways to entertain itself. Deeper thinking sets in, as I contemplate how parallel maintaining a clean and healthy home is to maintaining a clean and healthy Self.  Questions like "What keeps my mind and spirit regularly activated and uplifted?" and "What results can I achieve with daily dedication and persistence?" 
Kelly Clarkson blasts in the background "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" as I vigorously vacuum the pet fur off the entry rug. Oh yea. I'm motivated now! My heart rate surges and I start to break a sweat. I start a mental list of some of the "to do's" for living enlightened and invigorated. Hmmm...let's see...we have eating healthy, exercising, stretching, taking time for daily prayer and meditation, reading, attending a good self development seminar once a year...and if that's not enough there's always things that really matter like making time for family, working, and keeping a moderate social life! Also, don't forget to smell the flowers...(which just so happens to be something I deeply enjoy.) 
The real question though, that permeates my brain like a ray of sunshine is: "What am I going to do about it?"

First off, I thoroughly enjoy living in a clean environment. I love the way it makes me feel; I know I think better when the space around me is in harmony with itself. Not to mention, getting up close and personal with the stuff I have accumulated over the years, tends to give me a good reality check on all that I have been blessed with--and there is much to be grateful for.
I scrub harder on the stainless steel pan I used earlier for breakfast. Why do they make cookware out of this material again?? Food always sticks to it! I stop myself mid thought and remember that at least I have a pan to cook in. 
Gratitude = Perspective. Always.
I'm back on track...but I wouldn't say I get excited about doing dishes, laundry, sorting mail, and spending several hours of my day tidying up every week, to keep it looking top-notch...I just love the way it feels when everything looks its best! Yes, it may seem daunting, to look at ALL there is to do, in order to experience the sparkle--but that only happens when we procrastinate on our daily, routine maintenance. 
Like our home, when we focus on the desired end result, daily self-maintenance is the pathway to living each day rejuvenated, filled with clarity, and peace of mind. 
The truth is, regular upkeep is a part of life. And I've found the best way to handle anything, is to first accept it, then create a way to make it work, and ultimately find the joy in the process. It is always good to remember, if it's meant to be, it's up to me and my committed action.

While having a clean home can bring inner peace and a sense of accomplishment, my thoughts lead me to a more meaningful inquiry. What kind of euphoria would we experience daily, if we faithfully polished ourselves and insisted on excellence? Just think of ALL the possibilities!

So heres to living clean!! In the home. In the mind. In the body. In the heart. 

P.S. If today is the day that that you're searching for that extra boost in perspective and motivation, this fantastic book I just finished reading will absolutely give you a jump start.

Friday, June 1, 2012

An early morning thought (or two...) on friendship...

Life. Friendship. Love. These were the subjects that thumped around in my brain like a runner on steroids at 4:30 this morning. What does it mean to be a true friend? Do I have an unrealistic view to what that means? Have I been a good friend over the years? How is that so many people enter our lives, we have fun with them, laugh with them, cry with them? Then we grow up, or move away and frankly can't remember the last time we actually spoke with them on the phone...or even crazier still, spent time with them in person! Are friendships only meant to last a season before you go your separate ways?
4:55 a.m.
Should I get up? No. Its still too early. Can I fall back asleep? I'd sure like to. I hear the birds beginning to faintly chirp through my open window. More thoughts stream in like a runaway freight train. Disagreements. Misunderstandings. Lack of communication. They are so far in the past and all seem so petty now, but at the time they acted as a propane tank to a flame, igniting stubbornness, resentment and sometimes even the death of a friendship. What could I have done to prevent certain things from going bad? Was that something within my power as a human being to change? I feel sad that they are no longer a part of my life. I wonder how life is treating them. Are they happy? Do they have their own families yet?
5:15 a.m.
Agh! Okay. I need some inspiration. I open my iPhone to Dr. Wayne Dyer. The first thing that pops up is "Be thankful for everyone." Wow. Coincidence? I think not! I read on... "Every single person who's drifted in and out of your life is a part of your Divinely chosen experience....give thanks for all these people, and take a serious note of what they brought you." Thank you Wayne! What a great reminder! I feel a burst of joy as the cool morning air breathes on my face. What great lessons I have learned from making mistakes, and saying or doing the wrong thing!! How much better can my relationships be NOW that I have become conscious to my choices and actions that follows them, in this human experience? Now I'm awake. Theres no stopping it. It's 5:45 a.m. and excitement for life is rushing through my veins. The world is waking up on this side of the sphere. I can hear nature bustling as I close my phone and jump out of bed. I have a new day in front of me. New challenges to overcome! Relationships to nurture! Dreams to fulfill! But first things first....a soothing, hot cup of goodness.  :)