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Summer Days 3

August 18th, 2014

Summer Days are a 12-part blog series focused on lessons of gratitude passed on from dog to human. This human is still trying to embrace daily the lessons of gratitude –  so much so that gratitude gets an entire chapter in the book I wrote with Ann Saylor for educators, youth leaders, and parents called Groups, Troops, Clubs & Classrooms: The Essential Handbook for Working With Youth. In there, lessons of gratitude are shared as a tool for maintaining personal power and strength . . . and teaching youth to do the same.


In the previous two blogs, the life lessons taught by Summer, our beloved canine Happiness Teacher, were to show love first thing each morning and be joyfully exuberant when you get to do the things you love. Closely connected to her teaching of lesson two is lesson three which is:

Delight in the now.IMG_2467

Now, I have to admit that I’m a poor student at times with this particular lesson. I think my husband does a much better job at this one. I too often am thinking about what needs to be done for tomorrow, next week, next month – and I’m ashamed to say – even next year. I often miss the importance of now.

But Summer? She has the “now” down pat! When we’ve gone on walks, it isn’t just a walk. It’s an adventure. On any given said walk, there is a constant shifting of how she stays in the now by sniffing, exploring, showing curiosity toward sights, cats, dogs, chickens, rabbits, birds or humans. She has always been on the move engaging all her senses to see what can be seen, smell what can be smelled and play with what can be played with.

IMG_3957Summer has shown a tendency for creating her own form of “play” while we walk. She has stalked the path’s edges to catch or sniff out crickets; she’s hunted for bunnies; she’s stuck her nose in water holes to push at frogs and has even pounced on water to make waves.  All games – never for harm. (It’s true! No bunnies have ever been hurt in the making of our walks. She catches and releases.) Her choice of play has depended on the season of the year.

And all of her actions she repeats every single day, every single walk. Every day that walk is fresh, new, delightful and well, now. It never gets old to her and she approaches each one with the same joyful exuberance and appreciation.

Do you find that you tend to think about the past or the future instead of the now? Are you able to take any given moment and be fully present in it savoring all the sights, smells, tastes and feel of the present moment? What happens when you do? How do you feel inside when you fully immerse yourself in the present moment?

Pick several moments today and try to be as open as you can to everything that’s going on in those moments. Savor them. Experience them fully. Give yourselves to now and live your life in this moment. Make it count.

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