During the past week I met some animals who helped me remember how to use 'opposite emotion', 'Distraction' and 'self soothe' skills. They also reminded me of the key principles of mindfulness: notice, describe, participate, non-judgemental, one mindful, in the present moment.
George, is the runt of his litter of ten pups, he is a true 'shaggy dog', but when I met him during a difficult week at home with the family he greeted me with unadulterated delight and affection. Somehow, he managed to help me feel accepted and validated. And yet he's considered to be a not very bright dog.
George doesn't care what anyone thinks of him. He launches himself with enthusiasm and overwhelming fondness, at all visitors to my uncle's farm and most people consider him a nuisance. I loved him at first sight. He was a bundle of unconditional acceptance and affection, just when I needed it most.
We became immediate friends and he followed me all over the farm yard, even pressing himself between me and the miniature horses as I petted them behind their gate. He helped me manage my emotions and reminded me of the importance of not missing out on the simple joys in the present moment, which I often miss when flooded by pain from the past or anxiety about the future. If I could have managed it, I would have smuggled him back home with me, so that he could join my own shaggy mindfulness coach, Smilla. I will remember the lessons he taught me and I will remember him with affection.
And his friends the miniature horses: