Coach Guapo?

A few weeks ago, I had one of those days that felt like a roller coaster – of work, chaos, emotions, clarity, frustration, laughter, tears – all of it. It was a day that was both intensely painful and hilarious at the same time. It was so hard to process it all. I was at a loss for how to give my brain space to unpack it all. It was thinking faster than I could find people to talk to about it all.

My mind was anxious and racing my entire drive home. I had to do slow but my heart and mind were racing at the cloud of thoughts and questions I was sitting on. Mainly, what should I be doing with my life? What do I need to create? What do I do today to be able to have that later? You know, easy fun questions.

As I got home, I needed to get my body to do something to make my brain calm the f*** down. I thought about meditating, but frankly its a struggle for me. It’s hard for me to sit still and be mindful when my mind is moving, thinking, and going a million miles a minute. So I said, “ok. I am going to embrace mindfulness at the moment with whatever I have available to me no matter how absurd it is.” Then I see Guapo, one of my dogs, staring at me tail wagging up a storm.

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I put his leash on and decide that I am going to ask Guapo to be my coach and help me get present and back in the moment. Before we walked out the door I said, “help me slow down. Help my brain slow down,” as I grabbed his little old man puppy face. I couldn’t tell what the look on his face meant. But I committed to just acting as if he knew what I was saying. It was my only option. So we walked out the door, down the stairs, and outside to the front of our building.  Then he took three big poos and sooooooo many pees because he was probably holding it in all day. I laughed at myself for thinking he understood anything I said. But I set the intention to let him be my coach on this walk and I was going to see it through.

So I followed his lead and let him coach me with his nose, his wagging tail, and sense of discovery. He went and marked his territory firmly and routinely around our apartment complex and the surrounding grassy areas. Then he went towards the building next door that we normally pass on our walks. At that point, realizing I was following his lead, he switched directions and went another way. We turn around and started walking towards houses behind our building. That area is all nice suburban, well-kept houses. Houses like the one I aspire to buy one day.

Guapo stopped to sniff and relieve himself at one house. This house was one that got rid of all of its grass last year and replaced it with grey rocks in an effort to conserve water. But the way they put these rocks looked haphazard and ugly. They also didn’t do it properly because the rocks are there but they are surrounded by weeds that are growing around them. Now the pale green grassy weeds are coming up from under the grey rocks. It’s just a weird hot mess of rock and grass that is somehow as ugly as it is beautiful. Then next to that house I see a blue house with bright, perfect, pristine, greener grass.

I contemplated the sight of the rocks, the weeds, the blue house, and bright green grass for a while. I watched Guapo enjoying himself smelling all the smells and rubbing himself on the ones he liked best. This looked pretty uncomfortable because he was basically rolling around on rocks. But who was I to ruin this for him? I thought it looked very uncomfortable but he was clearly having the time of his life. Maybe this was the message: that the grass is greener somewhere and I need to follow that notion. That may be the next step I need to take is in between green grass and grey rocks. Even if everyone else sees me basking in a pile of uncomfortable rocks, I know and need to remember, that under those rocks is the grass. Eventually, it will grow out from underneath them and crowd around them. It reminded me of my fear of making big decisions in my life and career. My fear that one of those decisions will mess up or ruin something. That if I make the wrong decision I will fail or let other people down. But I watched happy Guapo rubbing up on those rocks. I saw the weeds and grass that grew up and around those rocks create a soft layer around them. Just a few steps away, out of the corner of my eye I saw that bright green grass in front of that beautiful blue house. I thought, don’t I just need to start to grow my greener grass? I have to keep in mind that my choices must help me create that fulfillment and alignment personally and professionally. I will get to have joy in both aspects. I just have to take a step towards my greener grass even if it means rolling on a few rocks in the process. It’s obviously not where I need it to be and I need new grass. With that notion, my mind was quieted and I slowed down. Since then I have begun the process of cultivating my greener grass among the rocks.

So I have an invitation to all you dog owners out there who are contemplating life’s big questions and need to quiet your mind. Pretend your dog is your coach the next time you take him/her for a walk. It may help you slow down, be mindful, get some perspective, or maybe help you find a question to ponder that is full of possibility instead of stress. I am going to try this with my other dog, Pippi, next to see what else I discover. If you try it let me know how it goes!

Thanks for reading!

-D

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