Before being a dog owner, I never would've dreamed how much an animal can teach you, especially spiritually.
Now, I'm profoundly grateful to have a dog in my life. If you have one, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't, consider adopting one. There are many who need homes. Seriously, it will change your world.
I had a limited understanding of love, until this soul came into my life.
Here are 7 life lessons I've learned from my pitty:
1. Looks can be deceiving.
Pitbulls look fierce and unfortunately have gained a misguided reputation of being innately aggressive. Really, they're sweet beings just like other dogs who thrive on attention and affection.
Likewise, often we judge a person by his looks or resume but when given a chance to get to know what's underneath, we realize they're just another being wanting to be loved.
2. Let go.
Dogs are my role models when it comes to forgive and forget. They greet you at the door with a wagging tail and a bunch of kisses. You can correct them, tell them no a million times, but still they love you. What happened two minutes ago is over, they're just happy you love them now. Talk about living in the present!
3. We need to play.
Sometimes life can get serious. There's a never-ending to-do list, another course to complete, a stack of books by the bed – and then there's our work. Our society and culture doesn't place high value on playing, laughing, and having fun. My dog has taught me this.
Watching him chase his tail as he spins around in circles or rolling on his back and slithering as he scratches his own back makes me laugh out loud. It's all that simple for him. Fun-time doesn't need to be scheduled, or even that long.
4. Spend time in nature.
Sometimes it takes an act of God to peel me away from my Macbook, and my dog reminds me to step away from the computer and go outside. My big buddy will wake up from a nap and find his way to tuck his 80-pound self under my feet. I've learned this means: I wanna play! Sometimes I wait an hour if I'm working on something, but he always wins.
I step away, we jump in the car and head to the beach or a jungle walk. I place my feet on the sand, look at the expansive horizon, walk through the trees and realize it's exactly what I needed to re-fuel and get even more inspired.
5. Energy is contagious.
Being a yoga and spiritual teacher, I'm really into energy. Our thoughts, our insecurities, and our fears are all projected out into the world through our aura, or energy.
Our energy attracts certain situations. For example, if you are fearful or nervous, you will bring a situation that will reinforce your fear. Dogs are energetic beings and their actions feed off people's energy.
Being calm and assertive with my dog has taught me about other relationships in my life. I can set my boundaries calmly and lovingly now. I stand in my power, trust myself, and know that I can handle anything. This energy creates the experiences I bring to me.
6. Every person is an assignment.
My beloved pit came into my life through my brother. We bonded instantly. I believe his soul knew that he needed to be with me, in order to transform my life even further.
I still never thought I'd end up with him, let alone embark on a 7-day drive from New York to Tulum, Mexico, just to bring him with me.
We don't choose the dog, the dog chooses us. Same with people: every person in our life is a Divine assignment. Every person, whether you adore them or can't stand them, is here to help you grow.
7. Love is all there is.
Massages, affection, kisses, cuddles, attention... this is all he cares about. No words need to be said to exchange the deep love in his heart.
I've learned so much about life from this dog – most importantly, I've learned about unconditional love.