You might have seen this drawing by Henck Van Bilsen, which circulated on social media for some time. The dog is clearly “mindful” of his surroundings while the human is “mind full” of all sorts of things, none related to the present time and space.
Enter this season’s Pro Tip: When you are with your dog, be with your dog. Be present and mindful. Watch how the quality of your interaction improves and your connection deepens over time. Be here with this dog right in this moment.
We’re lucky to live in an age where mindfulness is finally given its due. Practitioners and researchers across fields, in medicine and business, mental health and education, are increasingly recognizing the value of cultivating mindfulness. Being in the here and now helps us not only survive the pressures of our time but also thrive in an age of nearly constant stress and change.
Mindfulness and meditation often get mixed up. Basically, meditation is the concentrated breathing and stillness practice that helps us be more mindful. In his book Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics, Dan Harris, the news anchor who suffered a very public panic attack on live television, called meditation “the public health revolution of the twenty-first century.” And indeed it is, with science backing its beneficial effects.
This holiday and beyond, make it a point to focus on mindfulness rather than get carried away by the stresses of the season. When you are out working your dog, let that be all you do. Silence your phone, tune out the world, and quiet your mind. Set aside thoughts of a past you cannot change and a future you cannot predict and enjoy the moment with your canine. Their time with us is the only time they have, and we know all too well that they’re here for too short a while. Being mindful with our dogs is the only way to make each precious moment count.
Note Thanks to Henck Van Bilsen for permission to use his terrific drawing, featured in his book Zee Beatty and the Socks of Doom wherein he details the fascinating conversations he had with his beloved dog Mr. Percy.
To order the book, contact Henck directly at firstname.lastname@example.org