Creating Mindful Space for the Heart

This past week, I was asked to write a post on Mindfulness for Heather Koshiol’s blog Learn + Explore + Share. As new puppy “parents”, this was easy to do. ;)

My heartfelt gratitude to Heather for including my voice in her exploration of mindfulness in real life. Learn more about Heather and her community over at Learn + Explore + Share here.

Following is the post I shared, in its entirety.

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A week ago, we brought home our new 8-week-old puppy. He had a rough entry into our world, having cried and barked and messed in his kennel during the drive home.

Poor kid!

Once home and cleaned up, I nervously recalled the expert advice I had consumed for weeks leading up to his arrival as to how to behave to get him trained from the start.

Put him in his kennel to get used to right away. When he barks, ignore him. Be calm and non-reactionary. Don’t let him out unless he’s quiet. Get him outside after being in the kennel. Fuss with him while he eats so he knows you are in charge. 

Such pressure!

Over the next few hours, that pressure of doing everything right began to rise within me with every attempt to organize his schedule in some rule-bound manner that seemed to promise to leave him instantly housebroken and at ease.

We played, he went in his kennel, he cried and howled, we went outside, we came in to play some more.

And then he peed at my feet.

I felt myself spiral into long ago stories of not good enough and who do I think I am. In defeat, I scooped the puppy up and did as I ought in such a situation, bringing him outside again into the frigid February air.

While he curiously sniffed his new surroundings, I took in the endless blue sky, inhaled arctic air into my lungs and released it slowly. As I came back to my center in the present moment, I was reminded of one essential thing: I had a choice.

I could let the experts and my fearful ego call the shots, or I could take a moment to ground and allow my heart to intuit what was next.

Once inside, I considered what puppy’s previous four hours had entailed — leaving the only home he ever knew, the four walls of the whelping pen and garage, the community of farm, dogs and happy people he was born into. While here, he found himself inside a house for the first time, confined in a smaller space when he hadn’t ever spent a moment by himself. This little guy was scared, tired, hungry and confused.

It was that simple.

I picked him up, as I had on the many visits we had made to the farm prior, and snuggled him. We stood by the window and rocked, while I whispered stories of his new space, new adventures and new life.

Different, I told him. But good. Really good.

As if in sheer gratitude, he fell fast asleep in my arms, relaxed for the first time since we had left the farm.

IMG_9786It felt to me as if my mindful, heartfelt actions had answered his deepest need.

There was nothing to figure out…I just had to create the space needed to remember.

I just needed to remember my heart.//