Learn Letting Go with a Dog

This Summer, the best teacher award for, How to Let Go, goes to my dog Wesley! A year old Golden Retriever, Wesley is a master at letting go and he’s got a few tips.

What could a dog teach us about letting go?

Read on to learn four powerful tips for your letting go practice.

Wesley’s Letting Go Tip #1

Letting go is doing one thing at a time.

Like most dogs, Wesley does one thing at a time. Multitasking is not an option. If he’s following me, he’s following me. If he’s in Retriever-mode he’s not chewing a bone or sniffing his doggy friend, Piper.

Retriever-mode means he’s seeking items to put in his mouth. Being a smarty-pants, Wesley counts to three. Three items. A stuffy toy, hair brush and a flipflop. Then he finds someone (usually me) and sits proudly with his drool covered treasures.

When we let go it’s helpful to keep it as simple as possible. Place your attention on one thing at a time.

Quiet your thoughts.

Breathe.

Notice the sensations in your body.

Do the steps one at a time and give each step your complete attention.

A dog’s life is not always easy. There are demands. Guard your food, fetch important things for humans, and bark to warn your family that someone’s at the door.

Wesley and his two older friends, Piper and Bea also protect feathered livestock (chickens, geese and ducks) from predators like weasels, racoons and hawks. They do their jobs with complete attention and another thing.

Courage.

Wesley’s Letting Go Tip #2

Letting go means being brave.

When a dog, bigger than you, wants your bone you must be brave. Make it clear to the other dog, “This is my bone!” It’s no time to be a wimp.

Declaring your intention to let go can cause life to get chaotic. It’s as if your intention opened a can of worms! Don’t worry this is normal and temporary.

Expect it.

Your Letting Go practice will attract those who will challenge your resolve. They’ll question your intentions. Take issue with your methods.

Stand your ground and let go anyways. Let go, no matter what.

Like I said, letting go means being brave.

What if letting go took less than 5 seconds? In Wesley’s next tip you’ll discover how to instantly let go.

Wesley’s Letting Go Tip #3

Letting Go is like taking a nap.

My puppy loves his naps. He assumes a cozy position and poof! He’s asleep. A nap for Wesley may only last a few moments. But those naps are peppered throughout each day of his happy life.

Consider letting go is like taking a wee nap, multiple times a day.

Pause from what you’re doing or thinking, take a deep breath in and feel the bottoms of your feet. I’ve discovered placing attention on your feet has a grounding effect. It helps you inhabit your entire body.

Go ahead and try it! (Breathe in and notice the soles of your feet)

There. 🙂

In 5 seconds you’ve created the conditions for letting go. Perhaps later you’ll do it again.

And again…

Weaving letting go moments throughout your day.

Make letting go a contemplative practice to enjoy inner freedom. When you hit a bump in the road remember this last tip. It’ll get you through any rough patch.

Wesley’s Letting Go Tip #4

Letting Go is a humble process.

When Wesley smells something edible (edible being a relative term 😉 ), he is possessed. Whatever he was doing is over. Wide-eyed and drooling, his mission is clear. He is a channel for all hungry dogs.

Did you know our egos pretend being humble is the same as being humiliated? Learn what’s really going on with this humble – humiliation stuff.

Wesley does Begging-mode better than most. His success rate’s above average.

What’s his secret?

He’s happy with whatever he gets. To Wesley a tiny crumb is the same as a steak dinner. No matter the morsel, Wesley responds like it’s the best any dog could hope for!

What could a begging dog teach us about letting go?

Humility, acceptance, and gratitude.

Sometimes it’s better to be still. To have patience with ourselves and others. And to accept the outcome with immense gratitude. To love, what is!

Let go your expectations, your judgements and ideologies. Humbly accept yourself and others.

Cause when it really comes down to it, what’s a little drool among friends?

Wesley and I thank you for letting go.

Love! (and wags)

Doree and Wesley

Photo taken by Marion Draper

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