Sometimes I Wish I Were My Dog
Bringing In More Tabor Energy
Most of you have heard/read about my dog, Tabor, a year and a half old Vizsla/Lab mix (we think) who we rescued last August. Wags & Walks rescued Tabor (then, Joseph) from the Imperial County Shelter where he was brought from the streets of El Centro, California. Tabor is named after Mt. Tabor in Portland, Oregon — where Jonathan lived and where we (re)met. Every morning, after Tabor’s breakfast and walk, he prances upstairs to the office where I begin my work day. I sit at my desk, trying to diligently start my day with productive energy, and watch Tabor’s eyes become heavy as he sprawls his body along the entire length of the couch, sometimes with his head resting on a pillow. As Tabor daydreams for the next three to four hours, with his little paws twitching and snout moving in a barking motion as he dreams (maybe frolicking through some wildflowers with his best bud, Freddy), I think, “damn, I wish I were Tabor right now.” I don’t actually, given that I would miss out on most of life’s experiences reserved for humans only. But as this thought percolates, I ask myself why I wish I were my dog. Although it would be nice to sleep for three hours on a Tuesday morning, my momentary desire boils down to presence.
Tabor’s constant state of presence inspires me. He wakes up in the morning, knowing that he will get fed and walked given his routine every morning, but beyond that, he lives in uncertainty. Some days we take him to his dog sitter’s house, some days he goes on a long walk, and other days we take him on some other adventure or errand. He has no idea where he’s headed, yet he eagerly jumps in the car, sits upright like a human in the backseat, and looks at me with curiosity through the rear view mirror as I drive. If I were asked to jump in a car without knowing where I was headed, even if the car was driven by a trusted person, I’d anxiously refuse until I was made aware of our destination. I find myself slipping deep into my future thoughts more often than not, thinking about my next meeting, what I need to do the next day, or what time I need to leave to drive to my next destination.
Two weekends ago, my friend Julia came into town and stayed with us. We spent the day at Leo Carrillo State Park, where dogs are invited on the beach. As we laid on our blanket reading about the Sackler dynasty and a lawyer turned witch, Tabor sat right next to us despite being off leash. He surveyed the beach patiently, seeming like he was consciously feeling the wind on his ears. He looked entirely content in his present moment, unbothered by future thoughts of what time he’d need to leave the beach, how much traffic he’d experience on the way home, or what his dinner plans were that night. We carted him around all day — inside the grocery store (he was a big fan of the rotisserie chicken section) and to the restaurant where we ate dinner — and he excitedly followed alongside us. Never questioning his next destination.
Although I know my inclination away from presence is naturally human, I try to surround myself with reminders to be here now. I have “Here Always” written on the same forearm as an outline of Tabor, reminding me to embody his present energy whenever I look down (and am wearing short sleeves).
Still, I struggle. It requires effort and intentionality. But when I succeed in staying present, in those few moments, I am able to more fully experience my existence. I have no doubt that “strive to be present” will be an intention I set at the beginning of each year for the rest of my life. I’ve realized that the value lies in bringing myself back to presence — in other words, if I lived in the present moment all the time, would I even appreciate being there in the same way I do when I intentionally bring myself back to that state?
When is it easiest for you to be present? When is it most difficult?
When you notice yourself spiraling into future or past thoughts, how do you bring yourself into the present moment?
How can you remind yourself to be present?
I would love to hear from you all in a reply or comment.