This morning I had a dream. It didn’t feel like a dream at the time, it felt very real, but when I woke and realized I was here in this now and not there in that now, well I realized I was dreaming.
Here’s the dream:
I was walking (without a leash) along a warm sandy beach. All my friends were with me — human and canine — and we were all laughing. For humans that means they were smiling and talking with their hands (that’s what they do if you’ve ever noticed) and for the dogs this meant we were smiling and wagging our tails high and proud. Some of us were racing along the shore chasing waves, others were sniffing the seaweed and driftwood higher up on the beach, and some of us were being really indulgent and rolling in decaying smells (obviously not the humans, though they should give it a try).
The sun was high in the sky and warm and delicious. I’ve only felt that occasionally so far this summer so it was nice to dream about it. At one point in the dream, all of us — human and canine — flop onto the hot sand and fall asleep. What does it mean to fall asleep in a dream where you are already asleep? I think it must mean you are really relaxed and content, so when I woke up this morning, that glow of the dream was still with me. Even the rain against the window couldn’t chase the feelings away.
But the reality of today is that it’s raining off and on and there is no beach and there is no sun and there is no warm sand upon which to take a nap. Halfway through today I realized that my dream was teaching me to accept things as they are. Rain is rain and there’s not much I can do about it. Sun is also sun and when it comes I readily accept it. Therefore, I’ve decided, I must do the same with everything else when it comes my way even if it isn’t exactly what I’d prefer.
There are so many lessons to learn in my life that sometimes I feel overwhelmed with it all, but even those lessons I must accept as timely and important even if they aren’t always the easiest to learn.
So today, as we walked through the accepting rain and the occasional sun break, my friends and I talked about all those life lessons.
First, Woobie. She’s been staying with us and everyone in my house agrees she has a calming influence on me. I like Woobie very much. She’s very friendly and has mastered the art of acceptance. I asked her what’s been her biggest life lesson of late:
Woobie: When finding a place for a nap, always accessorize with a unique and creative costume. (This is precisely what she did this morning wearing my octagon ball as her crown.
We picked up Monty next and since Monty is one of our older friends, he’s had many life lessons in acceptance.
Monty: I’m not sure where to begin, but lately my lesson has been to accept that some days I’ll have bad hair days and even though the rain makes them worse, I’m still lucky to be alive and have such great friends. (Monty had a traumatic surgery awhile back and after reading the statistics of recovery, we are both grateful he is alive and doing well!)
Rosie walked alone with Gretchen, but she too had words of wisdom.
Rosie: My biggest life lesson lately has been to trust more. I’ve always been a little afraid that I’m not on solid ground, but living in my home with my loving family and brother, Tyson, over the years the ground has felt much firmer under me. I’m still learning to really relax into it.
Gemma, of course, is still young, but even she was able to reflect on her life lessons.
Gemma: I have a lot of older friends, like you, Rubin and if there’s one thing you’ve all taught me it’s to play like there is no tomorrow. So each day, especially when I’m with all of you, I play, play, play every waking second and each night I sleep with no regrets.
Oshi and Perrito have much different perspectives on acceptance especially now that their mom is about to give birth to a little human.
Oshi: I need to accept that I am not a cat. I’m still not there, but every day lessons present themselves and I’m slowly learning. I think when the baby comes I may have to pretend sometimes I am a cat and curl up next to it (boy or girl), but now that I’m older, I really need to embrace my canine qualities.
Perrito: Accept? Where is it? Can I chase it? Baby? What baby? Can I chase it?
Okay some are learning more than others!
And then there is Saber who is technically the youngest, though one of the largest dogs we walk.
Saber: I need to accept that I don’t get to eat as much. I’ve been put on a diet and it makes me hungry all the time, but I’m looking thinner aren’t I? More svelte and trim? My parents tell me I have to watch my boyish figure, but it’s a hard thing to accept when there are so many wonderfully, tasty treats I could be putting in my mouth!
Gretchen, too, says she’s learning to accept certain parts of her life. For one, she’s no longer a teacher in a classroom. While she spent 25 years with kids, she’s accepting that now her life will be about dogs, but she says that’s not too hard to accept. In fact, she told me it’s exactly where she wants to be.
Me? I would really like to be on that warm beach rolling in the hot sand getting the scent of seaweed on my curls. How about you?