Last year we adopted a 2.5 year old purebred bullmastiff named Winston and our world changed. I love big dogs. My last dog was 140 pound female mastiff-lab mix – a true gentle giant. There is nothing better than wrapping your arms around a great big dog when your spirit needs to be lifted. But, that’s not what my dog has taught me.
I love sleeping. The whole act of being in bed. Diffuser on. Crisp flat sheet. Cozy duffet. Pillows. It’s perfection. And so, I love to sleep. Always have. Long leisurely wake-ups are my favorite. When I can take my time, stretch a bit, see the trees out of the window while still reclining. It’s just lovely.
I arrive at work around 6:45 am so I am accustomed to getting up at 5am. I can remember when I was doing my student teaching 30+ years ago that my cooperating teacher, Bob, awoke at 5am every morning. He explained that the opportunity to sit with his wife, drink coffee, and read the paper before heading off to teach helped settle him into the day. That seemed so foreign to 21-year old me. Until Winston’s arrival I would get up every morning at 5am, and one day I realized that Bob was right. There is all of the family craziness I have to attend to – lunch boxes, laundry, dishwasher, etc. – and I enjoy getting up early and taking care of all of that before anyone else is awake. Plus, I have my own time to ground and set intention for the day through yoga and meditation.
When Winston arrived everything changed. We have been walking every morning at 4am. It sounds crazy even typing those words. My focus has been get up, then wake up. After all, I don’t want to upset my giant puppy. I get up, get dressed, and we go. At 4am for a 1.5 mile walk. In all weather. During this time, when we are walking in the dark, alone, he reminds me of the necessity of slow intentional living. The importance of slowing down, making time for things that matter, not rushing from place to place. The opportunity to listen to the sounds that most people miss, especially the owls, as I slowly begin to wake up I can hear them in the treetops. The opportunity to see the one deer that every year crosses our path. Only one deer. Only one time each year. But always in the 4 o’clock hour. The opportunity to turn into my heart and listen. To be transformed just by being open. To breathe in the new day and exhale into the universe light, peace, and love. When we get home, and I am awake in mind, body, and spirit, I can begin my morning routine: yoga, meditation, getting myself ready, and preparing the house and kids stuff for the day. It makes for a better start to the day and I find I am better equipped to manage what the day brings my way. Winston, on the other hand, goes back to sleep until the girls get up.
For more information on the American Bullmastiff Association Rescue Service visit: http://bullmastiff.us/rescue/