What are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for?

It woke me up this morning, but I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from.  I heard this muffled gentle bark sporadically; every 5 or 10 minutes.  It sounded far away, and was almost an apologetic sweet little yelp.  Now, Gus will bark enthusiastically whenever he sees someone approach the front door, but he rarely barks in the house unless someone is engaged in a full out romp with him.  I assumed it was coming from some dog outside, so I went back to sleep.

I tried to snooze for another half hour, but kept being disturbed by this little noise.  I decided that it sounded like Gus, so I went downstairs to complain about being woken up.  I didn’t get my usual furry wagging morning greeting;  a quiet empty house was all I found.  So I made my coffee and assumed that it was a neighbour’s dog I had heard.  I figured that Gus must be out in the park with Jeff, and I began my morning routine.

Halfway through my coffee I went back upstairs to get something from my room, and then it occurred to me.  The door to one of the empty bedrooms was slightly ajar.  I gave it a gentle push.  Out bounded one incredibly grateful labradoodle!  He proceeded to smother me with kisses; almost knocking me down as he enthusiastically thanked me for setting him free!

What struck me as I settled down to finish my coffee was the fact that Gus had been sitting patiently on the other side of that door for close to an hour; waiting for someone to push it open and let him out!  His quiet little calls for help had eventually subsided, and he had been waiting silently in the dark when I finally stumbled upon him in there.  Now, Gus is one smart doodle – even our trainer remarked on this fact.  He can pry open the sock drawer and help himself to the perfect pair.  He can catch a frisbee mid-air on the fly.  He can find a ball that is lost under the chaos of the branches at the park.  That door to the bedroom was open enough that all he had to do was nudge it a bit more with his nose, yet he sat there feeling trapped inside; waiting for someone else to let him out!

What are you waiting for in your life right now?

We are all quick to delegate away responsibility for our freedom, happiness or success; acting as though we lack the power or skills to make things happen for ourselves.  We say that our career will take off when someone else gives us the right break.  We believe that we will be truly happy once we lose 10 pounds.  We act as though pursuing our true passion isn’t an acceptable course of action.  We sit quietly on the other side of that door; peeking at the crack of light on the other side, but somehow not believing that we have the ability to nudge it open and bound out of the room.

Happiness and success come from believing in yourself and accepting that you are the only one who truly controls your own life.  If you are clear about what you value and what you are passionate about, it becomes easy to see the road that leads to your destination.  That door is already open.  Go ahead and give it a nudge!

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Lean into the wind

Watson in the wind

They’re here.  Those blustery days when we know that summer is most definitely behind us, and fall has truly arrived.  These are the days when you look out the window and see branches bending and swaying, and leaves flying off the trees and blowing wildly down the street.  The howl of the autumn wind can even be heard from inside the house.

For many, this is a time to begin the retreat indoors.  In Canada, a great number of people disappear from October to May, in order to avoid the wind and the cold, and everything else that gets thrown at us during our extended fall and winter.  If you do see these souls outside during this time, you will find them scurrying quickly from house to car, and back. Their faces are hidden under tightly gathered hoods and scarves; their heads ducked down to avoid the fury of the wind. When forced to be outside for any length of time, these folks will usually find a corner, and huddle with their backs to the wind, as if hoping that the forces of nature will somehow blow past them, and leave them alone.

Life with Gus means that behaviour like this is simply not an option.  Out we go every day, no matter how hard the wind is blowing.  It’s not just that he doesn’t seem to mind it; Gus loves to be outside on a cool and windy day.  The picture above was taken out in the field on the day I wrote about “slobbery balls.”  Gus didn’t stand still long enough for a good photo, so this is a great shot of Watson, doing what Gus often does out in the wind.

As you can see, there’s certainly no ducking or huddling going on here.  Like Watson, Gus will sit or stand tall, and actually lean into the wind with his face turned up.  Look how he’s  enjoying the feeling, as it blows through him; ruffling his fur.

Since I’ve noticed Gus and other dogs doing this, I’ve begun to try the same thing myself when I’m out in the middle of the field.  Of course, you have to be dressed properly, and be active enough to be warm on the inside.  If you are, and you try this, you will experience an exhilarating feeling as you lean into the full force of the wind; meeting it head on. You can almost imagine that you are a kite or a sail; feeling the lifting power and the promise of flight.

There’s an interesting analogy here that struck me the other day.  The wind can be compared to our life’s problems and challenges.  There’s no question that there’s always a wind of some sort in the air for us to deal with. When things are going well, we may only feel the gentle breeze of everyday challenges blowing softly by.  We scarcely feel our hair mussed, and we carry on with little concern.  But sometimes, when we are facing major issues and problems, we may find ourselves feeling like we are on the top of a hill, being buffeted by gale force winds.  It’s the wild, unpredictable nature of many challenges we face that leaves us feeling as though we are being tossed about, like a leaf at the mercy of the autumn wind.  Our inclination is to draw our hood around us and huddle; hoping that we can ride out the storm and be spared from its fury.

Research confirms that those who cope best with life’s stresses are the ones who, like Gus and Watson, choose to stand tall and meet the wind head on; leaning into its full force.  Rather than huddling like victims, those who sit up and take control of their situation tend to not only cope more effectively, but they often even emerge in better shape at the end of the ordeal.  When we are handed a challenge, there’s no question that we often feel broadsided, and blown off our feet by the force of events.  However, if we stop and collect ourselves, we find that there is always some element in every situation that we can take control of.

The next time you find yourself in a gale, stand tall and lean head first into that wind.  It will give you an exhilarating feeling of power and control.  If you manage to find a way to fashion a sail, you’ll do even better.  You might even harness the power of that wind and find that you can use it to carry you aloft.