Just Go With It

I have a dog.  His name is Bruno.  Bruno is 15 and a half years old.  He does really well at his age.  Sometimes he seems tired and creaky, but for the most part, he seems like he’s younger than he is.  But more than anything, Bruno is stubborn.

Most days I take Bruno for a walk.  There is a park across the street from where I live.  It’s a nice park, right on the river, with two gazebos and a bunch of picnic tables and benches.  I take Bruno down and then across the street to the park.  We start at one end, under a big old tree, where he begins his in-depth sniffing.  Across the narrow end of the parking lot over to the big rocks where other dogs leave “messages”.  He sniffs intently and then leaves messages of his own.  Then it’s over around the big sign with the map on it, around some more big rocks, across the boat launch to two pillars at the beginning of the pier.  He sniffs the base of those intently, then on to the big rock with the plaque on it.  Down across the parking lot, over to two benches and some big planters and finally to the brick path that leads across the lawn to the other end of the park and up to the road to head back home.  The brick path is where we run into a problem.

I want to follow the path to the other end of the park and take the sidewalk up the hill and back home.  Bruno would rather double back to the other side of the parking lot, making a loop, and go back to the road where we came in.  Did I mention that I’m pretty stubborn too?

For a while, and with a lot of coaxing, I would get Bruno to go where I wanted.  I wanted to follow MY agenda.  This caused a lot of frustration because he just didn’t want to go that way, and neither of us were willing to budge.  This is suffering, attachment to what you want and then not getting your way.

A few days ago, I was having a really good day.  The sun was out and it was warm.  Buds were appearing on the trees and the grass was finally a brilliant green.  I took Bruno for his walk, feeling relaxed and happy.  Until we got to the brick path and our agendas went off in two different directions.  I stopped and watched him, tugging at his leash to make the loop the other way.  I knew it would be a battle getting him to do what I wanted.  I just didn’t want to ruin my lovely day by fighting to get what I wanted.  So, I let go of my agenda and just let him take me where he wanted to go.  And immediately I could see that he was happy.

And I’ve been happier too.  I now let him take me for a walk.  Yesterday I let go completely and let him lead me the whole way, and he did the loop backward.  I noticed his tail whipping around with more enthusiasm as usual.  I’ve also stopped trying to keep him going.  I let him stop and sniff as long as he wants.  It makes the walk more relaxed and enjoyable for both of us.

What agenda is causing you suffering?  How can you let that go?  Sometimes the effort it takes to get what you want is not worth the pain of forcing what shouldn’t be forced.  Just let it go.