The Fur-Filled Mirror: Dogs as Reflectors of Our True Selves

There is a particular rhythm to my days, a symphony of moments strung together by the wagging tail and sparkling eyes of my small companion, Lacey. As a ShihTzu/Maltese mix, she's no larger than a shoebox, and her hair tends to gather trinkets from our daily walks. It's always a ritual, a labor of love, to pick through the delicate strands, finding and eliminating the debris she's collected on our journey. Yet, during these moments of seemingly mundane activity, I find myself contemplating the profound metaphor it presents.

You see, just like Lacey, we collect invisible debris as we journey through life. Hurtful comments, stressful moments, regrets, resentments – these are all specks of dust that cling to our mental and emotional selves. Much like the leaves, dirt, and sticks in Lacey’s hair, they can trail behind us, creating a mess in our living space if not tended to.

So, as I do with Lacey each day, I inspect myself for debris. I dust off the resentment, vacuum the anger, and sweep away the anxiety. This mental and emotional inventory keeps my internal living space clean, safeguarding the well-being of those around me. I've learned it’s far too easy to lash out in frustration at those undeserving. It's often not them but the residual muck from our own experiences causing the friction.

My morning meditation is like a broom sweeping my mind clear of clutter. It centers me, aligns my day with positivity, and prepares me to face the world head-on. I’ve found, over time, that when my morning begins with peaceful solitude, I’m more equipped to face the day’s debris, resulting in fewer regrets about how I've conducted myself.

Reflecting on the day as it draws to a close, I like to consider my actions and the energy I've given out and received. Was I open, giving, and receptive? Or did I shrink into myself, preoccupied and withdrawn? I assess the debris I might have picked up and gently brush it away to greet the new day with a clean slate.

My love for dogs has been a constant in my life, my first pup as a toddler was a French Poodle. I’ve journeyed through life with various furry friends at my side, each revealing an inner part of me. It began with Tyler, the towering Irish Wolfhound, a gentle giant that inadvertently intimidated strangers. The Bouvier De Flandres Pharaoh resembled a small bear and was a fierce protector. Then, there was BeBe, my misunderstood English Bulldog, a loving clown in a tough-looking shell.

These companions mirrored my own journey. The big dogs reflected my fears and desire to put a protective barrier between myself and the world. Unbeknownst to me, I was amassing an emotional fortress, a subconscious strategy that evolved over time. It wasn't until Lacey, my 10lb bundle of joy, entered my life that I realized the transformation within myself.

Lacey has been the embodiment of my newfound confidence and courage. Her small stature has allowed me to realize that I am no longer the person seeking refuge behind big dogs. My fortress had gradually crumbled, and
in its place stood a woman ready to embrace the world.

Each day, I am a better version of myself. The hyper-vigilance, and the agoraphobic tendencies, have given way to gentle courage that sees each new day as an opportunity for growth and positivity. Now, the world is no longer a menacing place filled with harmful strangers but a panorama filled with potential friends. This newfound perspective has been liberating.

As I look into Lacey's joyful eyes each day, she gently reminds me of my metamorphosis. She reflects the woman I have become - resilient, confident, and capable of facing the debris of life with grace and love. Together, we embrace each day, exploring the world with a sense of curiosity and joy, turning each walk into a step toward personal growth. We are explorers daily, continually learning to walk through life with hope and happiness.

Thinking about it, I’ve realized that this journey we’ve been on, both Lacey’s and mine, is deeply rooted in the realms of curiosity, creativity, and choice. These aren't just mere words; they are the guiding principles that chart the course of our shared journey, acting as the compass and the map, navigating our path. They are the pillars that uphold our understanding of the world and ourselves, the lenses through which we view our experiences and the
tools we use to shape our reality.

Curiosity is the spark that ignites every journey. Just like Lacey's insatiable interest in the world, curiosity draws us out of our routines and towards the unknown. This spirit of curiosity guides us, allowing us to discover and explore the world around us. For me, it's the curiosity about my emotional reactions and interactions with the world, the understanding of which continues to illuminate my path forward.

Creativity is the ability to make new connections and to see familiar things in a fresh light. It's what helps me take what I discover about myself each day, the emotional debris collected from daily interactions, and weave it into something meaningful and insightful. Like picking out the sticks and leaves from Lacey's coat, it's about making sense of the experiences we've gathered. I can reflect on these and transform them into lessons learned and
cherished memories through creativity.

Choice, ultimately, is what empowers us to act. Every morning, I make the conscious decision to meditate, to set the tone for the day, and to prepare myself for whatever comes my way. Similarly, every evening, I choose to review my day and sift through my collected experiences. We can consciously influence our lives through choice, shedding old habits, and embracing new perspectives.

Today, as I walk with Lacey, we stride into each day with anticipation, curiosity lighting our path, creativity shaping our understanding, and choice empowering our actions. This journey has taught me that every day is an opportunity to cleanse our minds and hearts, to let go of yesterday's debris, and to look forward with hope and happiness. Through curiosity, creativity, and choice, we make each day our own, embracing every moment with love and confidence. Like our daily walks, life is a glorious adventure waiting to unfold.

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