Do you think dogs get disappointed? I don’t mean little disappointments, like when you pick up the leash without taking them on a walk, but big disappointments when things don’t go their way. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog pout for hours or days when reality doesn’t match their expectations.
Dogs seem to go with the flow so well. Always looking for the next opportunity, the next chance to enjoy themselves, or just the next moment itself, whatever it brings. They do it so naturally, so easily.
But it can be hard for us to release control and simply take moments as they arrive. Familiar patterns and situations are comforting and we go to great lengths to create them, especially when something throws us off-kilter. Striving for the known and expected, we do all kinds of things just to create a reality we can understand, even if those things aren’t in our best interest.
Admittedly, this is just part of knowing ourselves as humans. Realizing when and how you try and assert control is a crucial part of understanding who you are and what kind of effect you have on the world. It’s important to know when you’re striving for the known and familiar and how you handle yourself when things turn out differently than expected.
But what would happen if you released your expectations for the next moment? The next ten minutes?
What if you took an entire day to release expectations and simply rest in that unknown? How would it feel? What would you do?
Dogs have this insane curiosity and desire for life. They are looking for the unexpected, looking for new ways to learn, and unique experiences to have. It’s one of the things that makes them so fun to work with and train.
When you’re training your dog in something new, things are not going the way they expected. You’re pushing them outside of their comfort zone, asking them to respond differently in order to learn. During this process, they’re going with the flow, watching to see what they will be rewarded for. When done right, your dog is actively engaged in this process, reveling in the fun of a new challenge and the new information that’s being presented to him.
When we let go of control, embrace the unknown, and let the unexpected happen, we open ourselves up for change, learning and growth.
Do we need to make plans for the future? Absolutely. Going with the flow all the time may take you somewhere you don’t want to end up. But life is about balance, and there’s a beauty in going with the flow at the right moments. A beauty in recognizing that regardless of what happens, there is something to be learned, experienced, and even enjoyed. A beauty in letting things unfold and looking for the lesson, in moments you might otherwise fight to control for the safety of the familiar.
Let yourself go. When the unexpected happens, take a moment to step back and see what unfolds, what lessons are presented. Go with the flow for just a few minutes, and then look down at your dog to say, “How great is this?”