Living in the Moment
In writing my book, Tails, I came upon the realization that pets are wonderful “wordless” mentors. My own two pets, Shilo, a yellow Lab and Bailee, a black and white Springer Spaniel, silently taught me about “living in the moment”. They helped me recognize I have a human condition called negativity bias (I just call it monkey brain), a condition unique to the human species.
Monkey Brain’s cardinal symptom is our human tendency to avoid being in the moment. Shilo and Bailee are free of this human habit of ours to dwell on things in the past, mostly things that didn’t go well. Or, if the past becomes too burdensome, we simply leap over the present to land squarely in an imagined future, only to find things to be anxious over, things we have absolutely no control over, things that keep us from noticing what’s going on right before our eyes.
It was during one of our many trips into the woods when I became aware of this habit of mine to live “outside” of the moment. This realization came by observing how my two hunters seemed to be so completely immersed in the present. They seemed to have such a zest for life, their movements were so effortless and graceful. There was a rhythm to their gait that made me imagine they were dancing to music only they could hear. I admired their vitality—they seemed so “doggone” happy! Maybe, unlike humans, they received this energy by living in the only time they know: the present.
If my two pets could compose their own music I believe each note would represent the “now” in time. Unlike humans, they would not be distracted by notes already played or those yet to be written. Thus free of human entanglements, they are able to live life to its fullest, completely unencumbered by human distractions of living “outside” of the present. I admit—I’m slow in learning to dance in the moment….the place where music lives.