Dog food and coping with life’s burdens

Do you often feel stressed out, exhausted by life or simply feel there are too few hours in the day to get everything done? It is easy to feel overwhelmed when life becomes, as Churchill put it, ‘one damn thing after another’.

I remember a particularly stressful day when I felt snowed under by all sorts of unplanned obstacles. Finally I was home and put on the kettle for a much needed cup of tea. But I would feed the dog first. I fetched her bowl and went to the cupboard to fill it. The dog food was finished! Now I would have to go out again – I felt overwhelmed by a rush of resentment and anger – the world was out to get me! I stomped my way to the car and climbed in. Then I remembered about living in the now. Slowly I released my death-grip on the steering wheel and just felt it gently under my hands; I saw the dashboard with all its symbols just waiting for my directions; through the windscreen a brick driveway and a Chinese Maple, its leaves forming dappled shade. As my mind became still, I closed my eyes and took a couple of deep, conscious breaths, feeling my shoulders drop several centimetres as my body relaxed on the outward breath.

When I opened my eyes and started the engine, the absurdity of my previous state struck me. I had a car to drive to the shop, so I could get there comfortably and didn’t have to carry the heavy bag home. I had money to pay for it.  And I remembered that there was a vet practice very close by that also sold pet food. Initially  I had thought what I had to do was really difficult, rather than just seeing  the situation as it was and responding. Everything is ultimately based on perception.

Or as Gary Zukav put it (see previous free gift post, Chapter 5 : The Stress Connection) : ‘The amount of stress in your life is determined by how much energy you expend resisting your life’

I certainly spent unnecessary energy resisting the fact that the dog food was finished!

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About Jill M Jacques

I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, and have spent most of my life here doing the usual things - marrying, having children and caring for an array of pets ranging from dogs to silkworms and chameleons. I first became interested in philosphy and its practical application in everyday life in my early 20s and spent many years as part of a group that pursued this goal. Drawing on this experience, I have been running "How to live in the Now" programmes for over 10 years. I wrote this book in response to requests from group members for something "simple and practical". I tend to see the funny side of life situations and enjoy writing humorous back pages as well as short stories and some poetry. Some of these have been published. Being here now is what really matters.
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