Meet Frankie, our busy little Kelpie. Each morning he sits and looks intensely at my partner, Michelle, eagerly waiting for her direction. At 15 weeks of age, he already has a terrifyingly strong work ethic and requires meaningful work from us constantly. Without it, he becomes depressed, destructive, and quite lost. He’s given me a lot to reflect on when it comes to work and rest, and with the Christmas holidays just around the corner, I thought it might be fun to share with you some lessons I’ve learned from Frankie.
1. Sit – A powerful tool for calming the mind and focussing the attention. When things are overwhelming for Frankie, Michelle sometimes simply asks him to “sit” a few times. This simple action is very calming and helps him regain composure.
2. Drop – A helpful addition to “sit”. Sometimes regaining composure is a multi-step process and “drop” is a great next step towards calm composure.
3. Stay – As I watch Frankie’s internal struggle to sit still and “stay”, I reflect on the value of staying the course on important projects in my own life this year.
4. Heel – Stop – Slow – Stop – Fast – Stop is a game that Frankie has been learning to play. When he’s out walking, we invite him to walk at various paces and to stop, for fun and treats of-course. This helps him to develop good impulse control which is valuable for keeping him safe. It’s nice to know he’ll “stop” when asked to avoid harm. For me, it’s a reminder that going slow is valuable at times, even necessary. So is “stop”.
5. Free – After doing a few minutes of training Michelle instructs Frankie to be “free” and waves her arms about to indicate he can go where he wants and do whatever. I laugh to myself as I watch Frankie’s confused facial expression and I reflect on how difficult it can be to know where to go or what to do following intense periods of work.
This year has had a bit of everything. For most of us we’ve had to “sit” and “stay” at home, “drop” some things that were important at the time; as best as possible embrace “slow” or “fast” and at times simply “stop” whether we liked it or not. With this year nearly at a close, hopefully, there will be an opportunity for you to have some “free” time however you like to experience it.
I wish you all the best for the Christmas season and am looking forward to reconnecting with you in 2021.