Going Outside With the Dog

Vinnie is our Teacup Yorkshire Terrier. Four pounds of world domination that has me wrapped around his tiny paw. Up until we got Vinnie it had been many years since I'd had a dog, and I'd forgotten some of the perks. Of course the main benefit is the love. He's always happy to see me. And I'm happy to see him. Coming into the house feels so good, every time. He is also an amazing watchdog, though only as intimidating as a little guy can be. He thinks he's way bigger than he is, but his bark is loud and shrill enough to wake even me at the slightest strange sound.

Tonight I'm appreciating another sweet aspect of dog ownership, a greater frequency of going outdoors. I wonder sometimes if half of Vinnie's body size is his bladder. Given how much he pees on his walks, you'd think that he might have more than one storage unit. Tonight before he goes back to join my early to bed wife, he comes and nudges me, his sign that it's time, and we go out to the back yard.

Standing on the patio, my attention is drawn to one of the sights that never stops taking my breath, the night sky. It's been cloudy for the past several days, but tonight the sky is clear. We live in a neighborhood that's away from the light pollution in other parts of town. Our streetlights don't throw off much noise, so I can see the stars and planets and other unidentified space objects without difficulty when it's as clear as it is now. Venus and Mars are both visible, and I'm blown away once more by the fact that the light I see from them is all reflected from the Sun. The speed of light is another fact of life that amazes. Those stars that I'm seeing now may in fact have already burned out or blown up, yet their light is still travelling through the cosmos to reach my eyes in the form that they were in thousands of years ago.

My experience of life has different kinds of days. Some are cloudy, some are clear. It's always changing. Clouds of thought give way to moments of clarity in which insights arrive in my consciousness like light from far away stars. If I'm distracted by clouds, I don't see the light that's already there.

I've spent years trying to avoid, control and change the cloudy days, thinking that because I have them that there's something wrong with me. I've come to see that these clouds of thought pass through without problem if I just let them be. I don't have to do anything to change the things I think or the way I feel. Thoughts and feelings change easily on their own. It's trying to change and control them that makes them intensify. If I let my thoughts settle, my mind clears, my consciousness expands, and my innate sense of well being and calmness re-emerges.

In this state of well being, wisdom flows in the form of fresh insights. Questions receive answers, next steps take form, imagination opens and creativity flows easily. This state of mind isn't dependent on external circumstances. It doesn't require me to do anything, or change my thinking, or practice anything. If I wait for the cloudy thinking to pass, clarity follows without effort. I can count on it.