What My Puggle Taught Me This Week

What My Puggle Taught Me This Week

Today’s inspiration comes from my four-legged friend, Tripp. Tripp is a Puggle, a pug and beagle mix, who has helped fill my empty nest in ways I never dreamed possible.

This week, he was especially helpful. My body was misbehaving so all my plans went sideways. My mother used to say her arthritic knees were “talking to her” when she had trouble getting up and moving in the mornings. Well, my paralyzed parts were practically shouting at me, rebelling at the structured way I have to manage them. Even after nineteen years in a wheelchair, it still amazes me that body parts I cannot feel or move cause such pain and discomfort.

My legs jumped with unprovoked spasms. My stomach gurgled with unrest. From my toes to my waist, the very range of my paralysis, waves of an electric buzz pulsed back and forth. My feet bobbed uncontrollably with repetitive jerks—the annoying clonus. The etymology of that word is quite revealing: clonus is Greek for violent, confused motion.

Yep. That’s my paralyzed parts. SO confused.

Hence, the dual of wills began—mine versus my body’s. Unfortunately, my paralyzed parts won; despite my best efforts, they would not mind me.

I hate it when that happens.

So my plans evaporated and the self-absorption began. Since these symptoms can indicate anything from a kidney stone to a bout with IBS to a bladder infection to simple indigestion or a hang nail on my big toe, I had to begin my well-worn trek through good problem determination where I isolate the problem, do research, change only one thing at a time, execute, and repeat. And, of course, I engage all the appropriate medical professionals.This body needs a team of those!

In the meantime, Tripp inspired me.

If Tripp’s body parts are talking to him, he may scratch or scoot, but he still begins his day the same way. Every morning he gets up when I do, does his downward dog yoga stretch, and wags his tail at me or patiently nudges me until I take him outside. Every day, no matter what time I wake him up, or what the weather is like, or how long he takes to find the perfect spot to do his business, he always stops and sniffs as we go up and down the driveway. He sniffs the bushes, the newspaper, the mulch, the flowers, the fresh droppings on the pavement from my feathered friends, and any other random piece of nature that graces my driveway.

nose your way into the day

No matter what the circumstance, each day he leads with his nose.

In his meditation, “Live Humble as a Dog,” poet Mark Nepo writes about this approach to life when a new puppy changed his perception of daily living: “I never knew anything to be so thoroughly involved in the moment at hand, so innocently devoted to whatever was before her.”

Nepo concludes with this challenge:

Breathe deeply and nose your heart into the day.

Like Tripp.

So I let my dog inspire me. Instead of trying to control the days filled with so many uncontrollable parts, I decided to notice my way into each one with a reflective curiosity more like Tripp’s. I let discovery trump my pressing need to analyze and fix. Instead, I focused on observing what my body could and couldn’t do, gently nosing what was right before me, and then responding to it.

I’m better today, thanks to medicine and my stellar physicians, nursing care, and friends who helped me through my problem determination process. This time, however, the journey was a little more pleasant, thanks to Tripp.

How about you? When life gets a little crazy, do you find it helpful to nose your way into the day? To take things simply, slowly, reflectively, absorbing what is just ahead of you?

Tripp-Waking_Becky-watermarkedTell me about it. I’d love to know.

My best–always,

Becky  (Nana B)

P. S. Oh, and thanks for all the encouragement about my upcoming book and the process for birthing it. And if you are “FOMO-inspired,” or know someone who may be, the link is here if you don’t want to “miss out” on book updates, special offers, and availability.

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