|Image courtesy of savit keawtavee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
If I spend this lifetime doing my best to practice unconditional love for all humanity...
next time do I get to come back as a golden retriever?
As I watch pets heading off to church for the Blessing of the Animals this morning, I keep thinking about Taffy, my beloved childhood pet, adolescent confidante, and supreme teacher of being fully present and living in the moment.
In case you're not familiar with the Blessing of the Animals: On the closest Sunday to St. Francis Day (Oct 4), many churches say a special prayer for the pets/companion animals of their members. It's also a day to appreciate the animals so many of us depend on, emotionally and/or physically. And of course to honor St. Francis of Assisi, a role model for people of any faith who are committed to a spiritual life and to being compassionate toward all living creatures.
There are a variety of ways to honor St. Francis and try to emulate him:
You might want to teach your elementary-age kids about animal care by ordering "Kind News" from the Humane Society.
Or you could try a Buddhist mantra based on the famous prayer attributed to St. Francis (Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace). Or listen to a lovely musical version of the prayer, sung byAngelina.
You might even want to "Go a Little Crazy on St. Francis Day," and truly live your spiritual convictions.
I don't recommend going as far as he did and stripping off your clothes in public to give to the poor. But I don't think it would hurt any of us to push ourselves a bit harder to practice what we preach.
Of course, that includes being compassionate toward ourselves; so don't beat yourself up about what you're not doing. Just bring out your inner golden retriever and be a little kinder and a little more present every day. Imagine how wonderful this life would be if we all did that.
The Eightfold Path in Everyday Life
I Wish You Peace: A Simple Lovingkindness Meditation
Pebble Meditation: A Mindfulness Activity to Cultivate Peace
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