Understanding Your Daily Focus
Warm greetings, Fellow Seekers! Like many of you I love my four-legged friends and over the years have been blessed with the love and friendship of many cats, dogs, horses, ferrets, and rats (yes you read that right – rats.) Each one taught me something about myself and helped me to be a better person.
Animals live as authentic lives as possible. When they love, they love with their entire being and with no conditions. If they don’t like you, they don’t hide it. They sleep, eat, and play when their bodies tell them to, without second guessing themselves, whereas we humans go through life keeping our inner thoughts and feelings hidden from the world. We often push ourselves to a schedule that is counterproductive to a healthy life, and many of us deny ourselves the chance to live a life filled with happiness and love.
We may think that we are teaching them new tricks, but if we are wise, we will learn from them instead. Today’s Daily Focus is inspired by the animal companions that we let into our hearts, and the wisdom they instill in us every day.
“Animals have a way of finding the people who need them.”
Many years ago, I adopted a dog, thinking she was just going to be a companion. Within four months however, she helped my doctors and me get a final diagnosis for something I had been living with for years without knowing I had it. My doctor looked at me that day and said that I had saved the dog that was now going to save me. She has been with me for almost 12 years now and has continued to save me both as my service dog and my best friend. People come into our lives when we truly need them in the same way. Some stay in our lives for many years and see us through the good and the bad, others are with us only for a short time to help us grow, or for us to help them. However, no matter the length of time they are with us, there is always a reason and we should be grateful for their being there. Today’s word is Timing.
“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.” -A.A. Milne
Listening is one of the hardest skills that we can cultivate. We might hear what a person is saying but not truly listen to the words themselves or to the unspoken message that is found in the pauses and silences. When we have animals in our lives, we have no choice and quickly learn that we need to pay attention to that which is unspoken. When we can learn to translate that ability to how we interact with the people in our lives we become masters of communication and connection. Today’s word is Stillness.
“When I look into the eyes of an animal, I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul.” -Anthony Douglas Williams
We are told to look people in the eyes when we talk with them, but let’s face it; that can be unsettling. Because of this, many of us learn tricks to make it look like we are looking people in their eyes when we aren’t. I understand the intimidation factor, but we learn so much about a person by what we see in their eyes. In books, authors spend a lot of time describing a character’s deep, expressive, or soulful eyes. In movies we are treated to meaningful glances from across crowded rooms that tell us if characters are meant to fall in love along with close-up shots if they are shifty. Our pets look us directly in the eyes, never flinching. And when they do so they not only see us, they see deeply INTO us and know who we are at our core. Next time you are having a conversation, truly look at the other person and see what you can see in the depths of their eyes. Today’s word is Peer.
“Clearly, animals know more than we think, and think a great deal more than we know.” -Irene M. Pepperberg
There is a belief that animals instinctively know good people from not so good people. I know that my Manda has never been wrong when it comes to who I can trust and who I shouldn’t. Although a lot of this stems from instinct I believe that they think about things more than we realize. Sometimes I watch our cats as they are trying to figure out how to get into a cupboard or room and I know that the wheels in their heads are spinning like crazy! Taking time to think before we act or speak can be helpful when it comes to making sure that what we are doing is in our best interest not just for the short term but in the long run. Today’s word is Thoughtful.
“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.” –Samuel Butler
Only a true friend will equal your craziness with their own, and our furry friends are no different. We forget how to play, how to be playful, and in their place, we learn to take things – including ourselves – too seriously. Life needs to be balanced: work and rest, seriousness and silliness, and sadness and joy, and having the right companions, whether of the two or four legged varieties, help us to maintain that equilibrium. Today’s word is Silliness.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” -Anatole France
Unconditional love, whether for a person or an animal, awakens something in us that we need to make us feel whole. The problem in allowing ourselves this kind of love is that it makes us very vulnerable and that can lead to our being hurt. No one wants to live with that kind of pain but until we are fearless and allow ourselves to love completely, we will be living a life that is more dormant than awake, like shadows moving amongst the sunlight. Today’s word is Completeness.
“He could tell by the way animals walked that they were keeping time to some kind of music. Maybe it was the song in their own hearts that they walked to.” -Laura Adams Armer
My favourite topic: music! We all have our own internal rhythm and song. Sometimes we find people whose own melody complements ours and by extension we do the same for them, and we play this song for a long time. Other times the music that comes in is simply a descant that is only meant to be there for a short period before fading away. We will also come across people whose song is completely opposite ours, and as such, we don’t make beautiful music together. Get to know your song, learn how it ebbs and flows as things change in your life. Also become comfortable with knowing that the song your heart and soul sang five years ago may not be the same one that you are playing now, and will most likely be different five years further on. That is exactly how it should be. Today’s word is Composition.
Animals, no matter if they are our domestic buddies or wild and free have much to teach us, if we are willing to sit and listen to the teacher.
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