Living in the moment

The title sounds so simple, doesn't it? We talk about the spiritual ideal of enjoying life’s moments to their utmost, being true to ourselves so that we can make the most of every moment . . . yet I have found it's not nearly as simple as it sounds. I need a reminder to stop and ‘smell the flowers’ as they say. 

The best reminder I have found is my dog, Ella. 

You're thinking I'm just a crazy dog person, aren't you? I love my dog, and I'm projecting a guru identity on her to justify my lavish attentions? While that wouldn't be hard to do, I'm pragmatic enough to know my chocolate Lab is motivated more by her tummy than her love for me. :) However, her keen sense of pleasure also makes her an expert in living life to its fullest. 

Let me illustrate this concept:

Our day starts by getting up early. I get ready in my sweats and workout gear so that we can walk. and I can work out. While I stretch into my gear, she weaves her way between my legs so she can get a full body massage. She steals my socks and runs down the hall with them, shaking them in her mouth as though they are some kind of vicious enemy meant to be defeated. If I tarry in the bathroom too long, she comes back to remind me that the day is advancing and we had better get moving. 

We head out for our walk in the orchard, and if her old pal Simon is joining us she will wait at the door to bite his tail as he comes out, just to show him she loves his company. He is 12 now, and doesn't walk every day. His life has all been in overdrive, and even now his walk is still more of a run. This requires a recovery day when you're the equivalent of almost 90 human years old.

Ella and I walk together, with her ahead a bit but always checking back to make sure I'm still coming. She stops if the breeze is blowing strong, and I'm reminded to stop too, to enjoy the scene and the smells. Walking through the orchard means we see the pace of the garden as well. We have gleaned fruits all summer that have fallen from the trees as they ripen. Ella likes pears best, and I must say the taste of pears straight from the orchard is a special treat. Each variety has a different perfume, a unique exotic floral component that makes them all taste magical. Standing between the trees, watching the sun rise, and hearing the wind blow in the trees while we nibble on our pears, I have a glimpse of how Ella experiences life. I cherish every morning walk in that moment, even if the wind is biting cold. Then we both lick our lips and carry on home. 

After our walk, Ella has breakfast. Every morning she and Simon eat the same kibble, and yet every morning she jumps in the air, excited for the meal. How can I not smile at such enthusiasm? Then I go downstairs for my workout, and Ella is always there to cheer me on. If I have a really hard workout, she will come up close as I lay there panting and stretching, and lick my arm. She likes the fact that I'm salty, and I like that she is there to share my achievement.

When I leave the house, Ella sits by the door and sees me off. And when I return she is always at the door, happy to see me no matter how long I've been gone or what time of day or night it might be. 

It's a great thing to be unconditionally loved. 

If I've had a hard day she sticks with me until I stop to give her pat or a nuzzle. If the evening advances too far and I haven't sat down with my cup of tea after dinner, she nudges me to get my attention. Once I do take a moment to relax, she snuggles in at my feet as if to reinforce my decision. And when we finally head off to bed, she tucks me in and lets out a gentle sigh as she drifts off to sleep without a worry in the world. 

Ella's insistence on being in the moment makes me take the time, often when I need it the most.  

Her enthusiastic enjoyment of food also inspires me; I came up with a great salad recipe this fall with pears, yellow zucchini and hazelnuts over arugula - all things Ella likes to nibble on. 

Most of all, her constant desire to make the most of life makes me smile. I figure trading pats and biscuits for smiles is a pretty good deal all around. 

If you don't have a dog, try meeting one who looks to be in a good mood. I bet it will make you smile in a heartbeat. And if you're not a dog person, well how about taking a moment to sit back and fully enjoy your coffee, or ice cream, or walk or yoga pose? 

Just see if you don't smile a little.

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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