“What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.”
– W.H. Davies
If you’re a long-time reader of my weekly post, you’ll know that I’m a big dog lover.
One of our family is a small Yorkshire terrier called Cubby – so named because when he was a puppy he looked very much like a young bear cub.
I’ve found that dogs are fantastic teachers if we’re open to it. For example, a dog is a great example of unconditional love and pure energy.
Last week anyway, Cubby was definitely in teaching mode with me.
He had been locked inside the house all morning one day, so I decided I’d bring him for a short walk at lunch-time. A minute into the walk and he started doing what he usually does – sniffing everything he meets.
After about five minutes of walking along and giving relaxed, casual sniffs he landed on something interesting on the grassy verge. Cue lock on and very intense sniffing!
I did my customary wait and then gave a gentle tug on the lead. But it was very clear from the resistance I got to that tug, that Cubby didn’t want to go anywhere. Where he was was where he wanted to be!
Initially I thought this was amusing and let him have his way. But when I realised that he was setting up camp at this spot I increased the strength of the tug.
Cue the most defiant look on a dog’s face you could ever imagine, followed by an aggressive pulling of the lead back to where HE wanted to be.
In that moment I realised that it wasn’t me who was bringing Cubby for a walk – it was the other way around!
5 minutes later…
He eventually was done with his sniffing. 🙂
It was during that 5 minutes that I caught myself internally seeking to keep things moving. When Cubby stopped, my inner voice told me I didn’t have time for this. But in this case that wasn’t true. So that thought was dropped, my internal pressure died way and I used the time to be more present – and I enjoyed being outside even more.
This was what Cubby was teaching me:
Sometimes you just gotta stop and sniff, Shane. Sometimes you just gotta stop and sniff.
The world is set up to keep us moving from a to b. Our inner voices play a big part in this though and often we can miss the beauty of the present moment, which is the beauty of life.
So, what’s the point if every now and then we don’t take time to stop, enjoy the moment and sniff? 🙂
PS – DISCLAIMER: I am in no way endorsing sniffing as a human. I think we can all agree that if we sniff in strange places we might get ourselves into trouble and I am absorbing myself of any responsibility for your actions.
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