For instance, I can watch television, eat my dinner, talk with my wife, Cathy, and text message a friend all at the same time. The problem is, I am not fully enjoying any one of them. The other night, I was forced to become aware of what I was doing.
I received a message that all the food at the shelter had been eaten. I was extremely excited! The chicken and gravy, the stuffed pork chops, and the cheese and pepperoni snacks, the whole smorgasbord was gone. I couldn’t stop thinking about what this meant, while I worked. My mind was multi-tasking, not concentrating fully on my tasks at hand. I looked forward to getting home and going to the shelter.
I had built a shelter in an attempt to catch Shadow, an 11-year old German Shepherd who had been missing for 6 weeks. He had been spotted in recent days but remained just out of reach. After work, I went to the shelter. My mind was racing with high speeds and an occassional crash, like a Daytona 500 race.
And there he was. Shadow was in my shelter. The racing thoughts came to a screeching halt; the race was black-flagged. It was over. No more multi-tasking. I had one objective. I had to bring this cold, scared, and hungry dog home.
I was out of practice working with animals since closing my dog training business, The Problem Pooch, over a year earlier. I had not done anything that challenged me physically, mentally, and emotionally since a 12 day volunteer effort to help rebuild Joplin, Missouri in October 2011.
I used to be good at this sort of thing, working with animals. It was my passion. I knew I had to become fully aware and focused if I was to succeed at bringing Shadow home.
I began my work, making no mistakes. I trusted myself and gained confidence. Shadow slowly came out of the shelter. He followed me; he trusted me.
I was able to witness the glorious reunion Shadow had with his owners. I couldn’t quite comprehend that I had been responsible for this. I didn’t want to accept that it was me. Why couldn’t it have been someone else? I did not want the “credit.”
I spent two days in pensive reflection. I began to accept the accolades I received in a multitude of Facebook threads. I began to understand that I had not found Shadow as much as he had found me. He was thin, frail, and traumatized. He was broken. He was an angel, a messenger for all dogs.
I realized Shadow needed to deliver a message to me, “We need you. We are broken. We trust you to find us. And, we will find you. Please answer our calling. Please answer your calling.”
Like a Call Waiting feature of a phone service, I had received small animal-related signals that interrupted my “conversations” of normal life. I ignored them since closing The Problem Pooch. I did not want to be bothered. I had closed that chapter in my life. I had moved on.
However, the interruptions have been more frequent and more persistent lately. Shadow’s call was like an operator breaking through the line to tell me, “There’s an emergency. You have an urgent call waiting for you. Will you accept it?” It was a wake up call.
I have answered the call. I have replied, “I’m on my way!”
I don’t know where I am going, but the direction will be given to me. I don’t know what I am looking for, but I will be found. I don’t know how I will get there, but I will be shown the way. There is a lot I don’t know.
I do know that I am awake, aware, and fully present when my physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual bodies are called to multi-task. It is then that I am truly alive!
What call do you need to answer? What would wake you up, make you aware, and make you glad to be alive again? Stop ignoring it, stop waiting for Someday. “It” is waiting for you. Stop multi-tasking mindlessly and answer your calling.
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.