What Our Pups Can Teach Us about Play & Mindfulness

Calling all dog lovers! Last month was Hugo, my dog’s, birthday - tried to get a selfie with him at the park. Above will have to suffice. 

Every morning, Hugo and I go to the park where he runs off-leash. And talk about an embodiment of present joy. He runs around and then when he meets up with another pup, he immediately slows down and bows down staring down the other dog. At first, I thought this was a sign of aggression.

Instead, it was an invitation. In the next moment, the other dog would accept and run towards Hugo.

Dogs truly are great guides in living in the moment and being playful. 

What do you do for play? We live such rigid lives of routines, deadlines, and responsibilities. When was the last time you had a whimsical moment? A pure moment of joy? 

After watching Hugo’s playful nature, this got me thinking about how play shows up in my life. Not much, unfortunately. I tend to let the daily routine interfere with my sense of play. Grocery shopping, cook, check emails, work, take Hugo for a walk, run errands, and sleep.

If you reviewed this past week, were there any times without an agenda? And watching t.v. doesn’t count because it’s a passive activity. Instead, play involves action.

Play means something different for us all. It’s simply unstructured time where we’re not thinking about our obligations. It can mean sharing a laugh with friends, having a snowball fight, playing fetch with your dog, biking, hosting a game night.

When we’re doing difference-making work, it may seem frivolous to have fun when the world demands our attention. But how can we experience the pain if we don’t also truly experience the joy? 

By enjoying the lightness of life regularly, we can then be more grounded and present to those seeking our help and make an even bigger impact in our difference-making work.

Play has been shown to boost creativity - such an important quality when we’re tackling the world’s sorrows. So I invite you this week to spend a few minutes simply having fun! I plan to play a game of Taboo with my family - wish me luck.

Until next time, as always, be gentle & kind to yourself.


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