If you have been listening to the last few podcasts or connected with me in person recently, you will have heard me say that I am learning more and more about how to be in the experience. How to experience life, like animals, when it happens.
Recently, animals explained to a client and me that the idea of being in the now or being present is simply that, an idea. It’s a concept.
Being in the experience means that my mind does not observe what's going on … because that means I am already one moment removed from the experience … but I experience the moment through my body, and my senses so I am fully in the experience of life.
For me, the easiest way to get into the experience of life itself is by being with my animals.
Seeing them move through life living wholeheartedly and guided by their body and instinct, I am always inspired to learn more. That often means that I need to slow my mind down. Because my animals operate on a different frequency.
I don’t know about your mind, but my mind bounces around.
A lot. From tasks to do, places to go, notes to write, and emails to answer my mind shoots around like a ping-pong ball. A-type personality needing to get stuff done.
Our animals do not bounce thoughts into the future or past. Our animals are vibing on a different frequency. It is called being in the experience. With body and senses.
And because it feels so good to be in that space when my body, mind, and intuition are in sync with an animal, I want to share a few examples with you. If you are even a little bit interested in slowing your mind. Listen on. And if you want to be more in your body and allow more of your intuition to find a way into your awareness. Listen on.
Here's a perfect example.
A few weeks ago, I came home with three bags. My computer bag, and two different shopping bags. Scout, our dog, greeted me at the door. I put the bags on the floor, and immediately Scout’s attention went to them, and he began sniffing them.
Scout is not a stealer, so I am usually not worried he will grab something out of the bags. Usually, I would take off my coat, lift the bags off the floor, and bring them to the designated area in the house, office, and kitchen, often interrupting the sniffing exploration.
That particular day I didn't. I took a breath and watched Scout for a moment.
Scout smelled the outside of each bag, then the handles. Then he stuck his nose into the right corner of the shopping bag, pulled back, and switched over to the other side. He returned to the first corner and then moved on to the third bag.
This guy was IN THE EXPERIENCE.
I could feel his excitement. Until this moment, his day had been pretty boring. He’d overlooked the property, and nobody came by. But here, here had arrived a world of smells, in a pile that landed right in front of him. On the floor, perfect height. Right under his nose.
On the computer bag, he smelled that I had met other dogs. On the handles, he smelled what my hands had touched before. And all the goodies inside the bag and the outside too. It smelled of the car seat and maybe the cart I used at the supermarket.
Scout's world was so enriched by me not taking the bags away too early. And so was mine. As Scout sniffed, I went along with him. Not literally with my nose on the canvas bag, but more by commenting, “Oh, I wonder if you are smelling Lucy, the dog at the gallery.”
Or, “Ahhhh, yes, that is cheese. People food.”
I did not report every sniff. I felt along with Scout and commented when I sensed he’d like an explanation or needed guidance … he knows the phrase “people food” equals leave it alone.
We sniffed through the world I had brought into the house for a few minutes. Then Scout lifted his head, turned around, and walked over to the sofa.
That moment of being in the experience with him stuck in my mind. So much so that I want to share it with you because that short, quiet, beautiful moment fed me all night and still feeds me.
Let’s take three nice breaths … right here …
Here is another mini story of one of those moments. I recently taught the staff at a therapeutic riding center to communicate and connect with their horses through their body, mind, and intuition to provide ease to the horses and for the horses.
One of the horses took a liking to a glove one of the participants held in her hands.
The horses sniffed and then licked the glove. He took it between his teeth and then flapped it up and down. When the woman offered him the other glove, he sniffed it for a second and said no thanks. He continued to play with the first glove.
I asked the woman if she remembered what she last did with that hand. She explained she used the gloves during feeding time. A moment later, the horse started to sniff her jacket and began licking the jacket because there were some remnants from the last feeding on the jacket. This horse went to town. He slobbered his tongue up and down the woman's side. Licking off what there was to lick off.
We all became part of the experience as we watched this horse enjoy himself. His eyes were soft. His body relaxed. He was blissing out. It reminded me of a child licking every last bit out of the cake batter bowl.
Again, we must look at what we might usually do.
When the horse takes one of our gloves, we grab it back and stick it in our pocket. Because … why? Because we're afraid, the horse will eat it? If that happens, you stick your finger in the corner of the horse’s mouth and say let it go. Best yet, you do what the participant did. She held on to her glove, which allowed the horse to lick and explore the different parts.
And, most often, if a horse comes with his nose this close to our body, especially our chest, we want to be careful. But, when you are in the experience with the animal, and you see and feel the soft eye, the half-closed eyelids, the relaxed body, you feel a sense of calm extend from the horse to you. You know that you are part of a special moment of delicious connection.
And ideally, the participant washed her jacket so that tomorrow the jacket smells of laundry detergent, and the horse has no more interest in it. For a program horse, we don’t want it to become a habit, hence setting him up for success.
Ok, let’s do it together. One nice deeeeep breath. Inhale through the nose … Deeeeep, exhale through the mouth.