Yesterday I watched as my dog, Cookie, pushed her head sideways onto the lush grass. The rest of her body followed. Soon she was wriggling with her legs in the air and her mouth set in a wide grin. Her exultation completely captivated me.
"How in my life do I take time out for utter enjoyment like that?" I asked myself.
I thought about how women lead such busy lives. We multi-task constantly, and our thoughts rev incessantly about how we can cover all the bases. "I have some things to learn from my dog's love affair with the earth," I thought to myself.
What did I learn from watching Cookie yesterday? I learned that small pleasures can go a long way toward immense satisfaction. We can lie in bed for a few moments in the morning to listen to the sound of birds awakening to the day. We can stop to enjoy the smell of earth after rain.
We can touch and appreciate the texture of the chair or couch underneath us. We can luxuriate in the taste of that first strawberry of the season. We can slip outside for a few moments before going to bed to take in the beauty and peace of the night sky.
In observing Cookie, I also learned that these mini-vacations don't need to take long. Cookie's ritual took less than two minutes. Such an oasis only requires a willingness to stop the incessant chatter in our heads for a minute or two and come present to the sensations of the moment.
I learned from Cookie that I don't need to concern myself with other peoples' opinions about what makes me happy. Cookie didn't look around before she rolled in the grass to see if anyone would disapprove. She certainly didn't ask my permission. She just did it!
As I stood there appreciating Cookie's pleasure, I realized that I was doing the same as she: taking pleasure in an event of the moment.
I thought about the benefits I received from this mini-vacation. I slowed down. I left behind concerns about the future and thoughts of the past, and I became present. I experienced peace.
When I opened myself to the magic contained within the moment, my mind rested. I created space between my thoughts, a very restorative practice.
Think of the rejuvenation we would experience if we developed the habit of taking these mini-vacations several times throughout the day!
What do you say, ladies? Are you ready to take this on? I invite you to commit with me, for one week, to take at least five of these "vacation" time-outs during each day. Write down what you do and how it changes your experience. Then write to me (see below) and let me know what you gain (if anything) from this practice. (Guys, you can do this, too.)
I'll write about your responses in my column on this page next month.
Dr. Marta is a Life Coach in Communication practicing in the Verde Valley. To contact her or to schedule an appointment, write her at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 1312, Cottonwood, AZ 86326.