Stella, our year-old Boston Terrier/Chihuahua teaches me a lot about my own inner puppy.  She has a mind of her own, doesn’t follow commands easily, and just wants to play endlessly. So does my inner puppy.

You’re probably thinking that Stella just needs more training. She’s pretty resistant to being told what to do, even with treats.  Besides we’re too busy to take her to the next level.  We’re happy that we’ve managed to house train her.  And she only barks whenever someone comes within a fifty-foot radius of the house!

To be truthful, Stella has trained us.  We are servant to the “Empress.”  She tells us when she needs to go out and wants to eat (inhaling the whole thing in 30 seconds!).  She cleverly finds her toy for us to play tug-of-war and fetch.  She goes crazy around guests, especially females. And when she’s ready she’ll settle down on our laps or in her kennel for a nap, snores and all. She’s conniving and knows how to manipulate everyone she meets, despite our “superior intelligence.”

All of us have an inner puppy that is just as conniving and that defies being trained. They too chase after toys, have short attention spans unless it’s in their best interest, and refuse to be disciplined. They often are not mindful when they eat and expect others to be at their beck and call. So what to do with this playful, wild part of us?

We can’t just ignore our inner puppy. It’s not a good idea to be nasty to it. We know our inner puppy complicates our lives but we just can’t resist its sweet invitations to distraction, even as we try to get our work done.

I’ve found that the only way to satisfy my inner puppy and remain relatively sane is to listen to what the inner puppy is saying to me. The puppy’s inner urge usually is a signal for me to let go for a moment and ask myself, “When was the last time you really relaxed and did something foolish or playful? In what creative pursuit do you need to engage, even if it’s just weeding the garden? How would you feel if you paused consciously to affirm love, to be grateful, to experience joy, to immerse yourself in awe and wonder?”

Inner puppies know nothing about limiting factors, except those which the master imposes. But we can also break our puppy’s spirit if we’re too harsh or punishing. We have to find the balance.

So whenever I’m conscious about imposing limitations in my life, such as a scarcity mentality or a quick negative reaction to something new, I need to consult my inner puppy.  What does that joyful spirit really want for me in that moment? And if possible, let go and make it happen.

© Copyright Michael Parise 2017

Portions excerpted from Michael’s book: Life Interrupted, Taking Charge After Everything Has Changed
Since 1979 Michael has worked with individuals and groups to take full advantage interruptions and changes to balance responsibilities, simplify their lives, and find greater productivity and peace.
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