As I’ve mentioned, I’m incorporating more meditation into my life. It’s still not a daily practice — at least not yet — but I’m getting better at recognizing times when I really, really need it. When I’ve had a stressful day, I’m sometimes reaching for my phone to begin a guided meditation rather than going for a run or grabbing a glass of wine.
(Although, let’s be clear — I still sometimes go for the glass of wine. Or the run. Possibly both.)
While the biggest hindrance to my meditation is often my overactive mind (hence, you know, needing to meditate), there’s another issue that’s also pretty troublesome. Three issues, really, and their names are Rudi, Hollie and Trixie.
I know, I know — in an ideal world, I’d sit down to meditate in an area free of distraction. But I like the space available in my living room, and it’s not always possible to keep the pets out. So, I thought I’d share with you what 15 minutes of canine-assisted meditation (with a little feline cooperation as well) looks like in the Seymour manse.
15 Minutes of Canine-Assisted Meditation
Minutes 1-2: The dogs are in the back yard and the cat’s in the office. I begin to regulate my breathing. Just as I start to feel the initial relaxation take effect, I hear the dogs outside: “Woof. Woof. Snort, growl. Bark bark bark HOWL.”
“Dammit, Hollie! Hush! Rudi, you, too! Shhhhh!” I yell through the screen door.
Minute 3: “BARK BARK BARK!” Dang.
“Rudi! Hollie! GAH.” I get up for a moment and let them in the house, then try desperately to get back to where I’d left off.
Minutes 4-6: I lay quietly and breathe deeply, trying to ignore the pitter patter of not-so-little dog feet clicking around on the wood floors. The steps come closer. “Sniff. Sniff sniff. Sssssnnnuuffffflesnuffle SNORT.” Pause. <Lick>
Somebody found my hand.
“Shh. Hollie. Quiet. Go lay down,” I hiss at her — rhythmically, of course, because I’m trying not to lose ground here. “No. NO. Stop it. Rudi! Nose out of my crotch! Go. Lay. DOWN.”
Minute 7: Peace. Complete, beautiful, tranquil peace.
Minutes 8-10: See minutes 4-6
Minutes 11-12: More peace. It’s blissful.
Minute 13: Trixie begins making biscuits on my foot. She’s an enthusiastic biscuit maker who manages to get all four paws involved. It’s impressive, really, but not exactly helpful.
Minute 14: Dogs come to check out the cat’s biscuit-making. She flees, probably to go pee on a rug in protest. (I SO wish I was kidding.)
Minute 15: Dogs fall fast asleep. They’re snoring, even. Of course.
Do you have trouble practicing yoga or meditation in your home with kids or pets or roommates around? I’ll admit, sometimes the dogs lay right down and almost seem like they’re joining me, but clearly, this was not one of those times.
How do you handle those distractions? Do you banish them or try to work with them? —Kristen