‘Never Regret Something That Once Made You Smile’. The thought is so simple, but often very hard to do.
Maggie was always happy. She smiled while on our daily walks, sitting in the yard watching squirrels, and even when she was sleeping- I do think there was a smile on her face. Maggie had her fair share of disappointments, like when her favorite dog buddy passed away. Although, whenever I mentioned her friend’s name, she would look at me and smile while wagging her tail.
As humans, when something hurtful happens in our life, we tend to analyze why it happened or how we could have avoided the hurtful moment. The need to hate or blame something or someone often comes to the forefront. However, that hurtful moment may have arisen after some joyful and precious moments too.
Maggie missed her dog buddy, but she wagged her tail in joy remembering the good times with her friend. There will always be difficult times, but it won’t last long if you remember the happy moments, and wag your tail with no regrets.
The New Year allows people a time to reflect on the events of the past year. Although many may find heartache in a difficult year, or not being where ‘you thought you’d be at this stage in your life’, the secret to living is responding.
Maggie was always alert to her surroundings. I would hear her snoring in her bed, but the UPS truck would arrive, and before the doorbell rang, she would be at the door barking & claiming her territory. Whenever I mowed the lawn, Maggie would bark at me while she was sequestered on the deck. However, after realizing I wasn’t going to stop mowing the lawn, she would go in the house to avoid the noise & heat.
Most people are more than willing to reflect on their actions. The difficulty arises when one is asked to respond to those actions to help improve them self, or help other’s in their life. It is difficult to admit when your actions are not supportive to your mental health. Even more so when loved ones or colleagues are impeding you to reach your fullest potential in life.
Maggie’s reflection on an event always triggered a response. As humans, we need to focus more on the response to our reflections- it is our response that defines our character & the worth others will see in us.
Paws & Reflect: A Journal of Inspiration & Reflection
Often times we can be in the middle of a ‘life storm’, and ask our self if it’s ever going to get better. The saying ‘Life Always Comes Full Circle’ may offer some peace of mind, and strength to keep paddling.
Maggie always liked her naps. She slept a lot as a puppy, before entering a very inquisitive stage- which also led to the terror of every chipmunk & squirrel in our yard. During the middle years of her life, morning walks were never missed no matter the weather or day of the week. I often wondered if there would be a day when I could sleep past five in the morning. As Maggie’s life circle was closing, she slept a lot more, and the morning walks became a little slower & not so long. Her life circle was shorter than others, but her circle was full of life.
I like to live my life on a five year plan. I enjoy setting goals, analyzing the results, and- if they’re not accomplished- setting a new plan for success. I guess one could say my full circle is complete every five years. I watch people dwell on past mistakes or are fearful of life changes. They ask them self when life is going to get better, and then go back to their same circle of life.
I agree that life comes full circle, but there is no rule saying you only get one circle in life.
One of the top selling book categories is how to be successful. The best advice I received on being successful- ‘Just Show Up’.
Maggie was always there when I needed her. After a long day at work, she was waiting at the door to greet me. If I was working in the yard, and someone came on our property, she was right at my side to protect me. She remembered neighbors daily walk times, and was always at the fence waiting to say hello & maybe get a treat. Day or night, I could always count on Maggie to show up.
We live in a world that changes quicker than any other time in our past. People are constantly trying to make themselves marketable, employable or the most valuable on the team. I’ve learned the most important quality to have is to just be there. When I need help on a task, the quality I look for in the person to ask is not the smartest or strongest person. It’s the person who is going to show up- and be there until the job is done.
Maybe being successful is 1% Luck and 99% Dedication.
As a child I was told, ‘you don’t have to like everyone you meet, but you do have to love everyone’. As an adult, I finally understand the meaning of this statement. Interesting how dogs learn it a lot quicker than humans.
Maggie was very fussy about who she invited into her backyard. She immediately barked at any newcomer, then would slowly approach & sniff. If you passed her criteria (don’t ask what it was, I still don’t know), then all future meetings were met with a pounce of her paws & come hither turn of her head. What about the dogs that didn’t pass Maggie’s criteria? Most of the time, Maggie would watch them walk by with their owner. She would sit calmly by the picket fence, maintaining eye contact, but would never approach. One day, something interesting happened. A dog that Maggie wasn’t fond of was being heckled by a red-tailed hawk. The dog & her owner tried to continue their walk, while doing their best to ignore the bird. Maggie saw this and began to bark. She paced along the fence, while the hawk flew by repeatedly. Maggie didn’t stop barking. Eventually, the hawk gave up and flew away. Maggie went back to her resting spot.
We meet many people during the course of our life. Some people become friends for a time, while others become life-long relationships. And then, there are some people that we just don’t like. No matter the reasons for disliking someone, we must always recognize the need to love everyone. Everyone needs help now & then, and everyone deserves a chance to receive our love & kindness. We must never confuse not liking someone with hating them. The process of validating hatred towards someone requires a history of consistent abuse, neglect or evil behavior a person has knowingly & willingly conducted towards another. I’d like to think this type of person is a low percentage of the human race.
Maggie didn’t like every dog in the neighborhood, but she allowed them to walk by her fence in peace & quiet- offering help when needed. Shouldn’t people do the same?
It’s been said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I don’t think this is true. I believe dogs learned how to avoid mastering new tricks by changing their situation…which is a trick in itself, right?
Maggie never liked loud noises. She also disliked when a lot of people were in her house; especially if it disenabled her ability to herd efficiently. If the two were combined, I had one unhappy doggie. A group of people talking loudly in all rooms of my home….excuse me, I mean Maggie’s home. When Maggie was a puppy, she became totally frustrated with trying to fix the situation. However, as she grew older, she learned a trick to pacify her instincts. Maggie would find the quietest corner in the house and snuggle her body against the wall, while tucking her head in her chest. She removed herself from a situation she could not control.
As humans, how often do we try to fix a situation we cannot control? It is our basic instinct to help one another. The characteristics of kindness, empathy, and compassion are qualities we look for in someone to call a friend, spouse, or mentor. Many people have a fear of walking away from a situation, because they may be viewed as insensitive, weak, or self-centered. When we realize what we can and cannot change, it is at that moment we understand the trick being taught by the many ‘life situations’ we encounter. Our character is not defined by how we fix the situation, but how we react to the situation.
Maggie taught herself how to avoid noisy and crowded places, and became a much happier dog because of it. As humans, we must teach ourselves how to respond to life’s many situations. The change within ourselves appears when we have more faith in the lesson being taught, than the outcome of the situation.
Every January finds people making resolutions. If history taught us anything, one would realize a new year is just another day on the calendar. You can start to make better choices any day of the year. It all depends on the path you take.
Maggie liked to walk the trails in the state forests. She enjoyed the sounds of nature: running brooks, squirrels chatting, and the crunch of leaves under her paws. She could walk an entire trail and never see another person or dog- and she liked that! Even when a jogger passed by, it was far enough from her personal space; she never barked or chased.
When I walked Maggie on the more popular paved trails we find in so many communities, her response was much different. She would bark at the many cyclists passing on our left, show her teeth to the other dogs strolling by- size did not matter, and never was very kind to anyone with a stroller. Maggie enjoyed being outside & walking with me. However, this walk wasn’t as enjoyable as the trails in the forests.
The path we take in life has to be the one that fits our needs. Some people may prefer the freeway to arrive at their destination- quick, fast-paced, and lots of people to enjoy the ride. Others may prefer the footpath-a quiet, steady-pace, with little fan-fare. One path is no better than the other.
How does one know what path to take? The one that finds us enjoying to be ourselves.
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets