Archive for February 6th, 2011

Zoey's Zen

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

My dog Zoey, a miniature dachshund not quite two years old, is quite clever. Sheís apparently figured out Zen, or how to live in the moment.

She likes to grab her Big Dog teddy bear by the neck and jump onto my stomach when Iím lying down reading a book. She twists and turns in a half-circle until she finds the right spot to settle into Zen with a teddy bear larger than her foot-long frame.

Zoey reclaims her bite on Big Dog, a white stuffed dog with floppy brown ears, and sighs. She moves her feet back and forth and flutters her eyes, letting out another slow breath.

As I read, I love the feel of her front paws rubbing feathers on my stomach. Itís as if she is recalling pushing at her motherís tits to release the milk, feeding on the memory of the closeness of her siblings. She sinks into me, not awake, not asleep, just her paws moving steadily.

She needs this teddy bear dance, something she does with Big Dog, Lenny the Leopard and Bunny, her other two stuffed animals. If she gets rushed or too busy, she does the dance. She does it before bed, a ritual of relaxation before sleep.

One evening when she and her golden retriever friend Sophie were brought together for a weekend trip, she tried three times to achieve Zen.

Again I was reading, and Zoey wanted to take Big Dog onto my stomach, but Sophie or one of us required her attention, so she jumped back off the couch. Finally, when she could return, I felt her sigh release.

Zoey has figured out the art of being in the now, something I had to read about in philosophy books and repeat to myself before I could incorporate the concept into my life. I got so caught up in trying to achieve. I looked toward the future with plans. I looked at the past with regret, only if I hadnít done this or decided that.

With Zoey, I see that, in some ways, she knows more than me. She has the instinctive ability to lose herself as our bodies are tied together with the love of a girl and her dog. She knows how to be herself in the moment, whereas I had to read books about overcoming shyness, developing social skills and establishing healthy relationships, required it seems after growing up painfully shy and withdrawn. And even then, I am often self conscious, not able to lose myself in the present. That is, until itís Zoey and I, her in her Zen moment and I, lost in my book.