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Pets Help Us Be Present

2 July 2013

Allison read Guardians of Being and celebrated the anniversary of meeting her fabulous dog, Joey, 13 years ago today.

Tags: allison read, balance, children's book, picture books

Joey, The Wonder Dog, was born on 19 April 2000, but we didn’t meet until 13 years ago today. So while I celebrate his birthday, I think of 2 July as our anniversary or the day we became family to each other. It’s the day I decided I was finally ready to take on the responsibility of being a dog owner and felt brave enough to take the plunge. My little brother had given me lots of pep talks (he’d gotten a dog the year before) and finally he delivered the “quit talking about it and just do it” speech. (He gives me one of these talks every six to seven years and always helps me to take an important step forward in my life shortly thereafter.)

In honor of this special day, I read one of my all-time favorite books this morning, Guardians of Being, by Eckhart Tolle with illustrations by Patrick McDonnell, the creator of the cartoon Mutts. It’s one of the first books I wrote about when I started blogging in January 2011. In that post, I wrote:

“Much has been written about how to stay in the present and live your life ‘in the now’… However, what you’ll learn fast is that sometimes being ‘in the now’ is really hard to do. I mostly know how it works and yet sometimes I lose my way. That’s why I’m glad Tolle and McDonnell collaborated to bring us Guardians of Being. The beautiful illustrations and powerful, yet simple, words provide a ‘being present’ refresher course in a 10-minute read. A little dog, a cat, their humans and some profound, yet simple, reflections about nature make me feel better and reconnected to the ‘now’ every time I read it.”

These words rang true for me again today. We’re about to grow in some exciting ways at Allison Partners and I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about our business’s future as well as my personal future. (The two are closely intertwined when you’re a business owner.) It’s a wonderful time, but all this future planning has made it hard to stay focused on the present and the things I need to take care of right now. Therefore, it is with much gratitude that I celebrate Wonder Dog Joey and Guardians of Being for helping me to be right here, right now.

Here are a few excerpts from the book I’ll be reciting to myself in the coming weeks when I find myself needing a little help getting back to the present. (I fear these quotes may lose some of their power taken out of context of the book as a whole and the beautiful illustrations, but I’m taking that risk in the hopes that the thoughts might be helpful to you and possibly tempt you to find a copy of the book, too.)

  • “When you pet a dog or listen to a cat purring, thinking may subside for a moment and a space of stillness arises within you, a doorway into being.” p. 40
  • “The vital function that pets fulfill in this world hasn’t been fully recognized. They keep millions of people sane.” p. 44
  • “Millions of people who otherwise would be completely lost in their minds and in endless past and future concerns are taken back by their dog or cat into the present moment, again and again, and reminded of the joy of being.” p. 60
  • “Be alert as you watch a dog at play or at rest. Let the animal teach you to feel at home in the Now, to celebrate life by being completely present.” p. 66


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