I had an adventure this weekend. On my way to pick my son up from boy scout camp in Maryland, I noticed 2 dogs running down route 1 in Rising Sun, Maryland. It’s a busy highway where I was traveling to and I was worried for them, so I pulled up behind the dogs on the shoulder of the road. Another motorist in front of me, who must have passed the dogs pulled up and stopped in front of them.
We started calling the dogs, but they were a bit scared and ran away from us. Then an amazing thing happened 2 more motorist pulled up and helped up retrieve the dogs. We made a bit of a mess of the highway, and it took a little more time and coaxing, but we were able to contain them. It made me feel very good about people. The world is sometimes a pretty great place.
(Decision 1): Now none of the other helper would take the dogs with them so I volunteered.
Yes. It was going to be a bit of a headache. No. I didn’t know exactly what to do. But I knew that I needed (and wanted) to choose to help. So, I did. Dogs got loaded into my car, no tags, no collars.
(Decision 2): I continued my way and picked up my son and a friend from Camp where they were working. Ugh. Now what. Where do they boys sit? Where does their stuff go? Make a bunch of mini decisions. Look up local police station.
(Decision 3) Take a detour to the local police station. They are closed. Look up website again. Call number. No nonemergency number listed. This isn’t an emergency. Do I call 911? No. OK. Now what?
(Decision 7 or 8): Proceed home with said lost dogs to my home. FYI I’m going to stop counting now. But just notice how many mini decisions that happen next. Get home, lock my dogs away. Find extra collars and harnesses so lost dogs can’t get away. Ask for help from husband and daughter. Keep dogs locked on back deck until they calmed down. Keep my dogs separate from these dogs just in case. Outdoors doesn’t work out, so bring dogs indoors. Try to get dogs in my dog’s kennels. That doesn’t work. Have my dogs sleep in my room with my husband. Sleep downstairs on couch with dogs locked in my kitchen and sitting room area. Post of FB page that I found dogs.
All these little decisions went on and on and on. I couldn’t predict if I would have these dogs for the weekend or a few hours. With the magic of Social Media, I had 2 FB messages in the am and within 14 hours of their arrival the pups back to their owner.
The point of all this information is that there were a lot of what ifs in this scenario.
AND IF I would of thought about all those things, I wouldn’t have gotten involved. But I also would have had regret about doing nothing. So, I needed to just go with the flow and make decisions that they needed to be made when they needed to be made.
I know it seems overwhelming to make decisions at times. There is a real thing called decision fatigue. You can google it. But making decision is not so bad when you are in the moment, and don’t guess about what will happen next.
If we just wait and see what does happen first, then decide, it doesn’t wear you out as much. That way you’re not wasting energy on the what ifs. You can be present in the moment and feel good about yourself and gain confidence when you make decisions this way.
Please know that you have the ability to figure it out. We all do. But it takes decision making only when a decision needs to be made. By practicing mindfulness and bringing yourself back to the present moment repeatedly, it helps to make this easier.
So next time you’re not sure how it’s all going to work out, just make one decision, and then another and another.
That tactic helped me through this weekend.
I have faith in you. Get to those decisions.
PS Did you ever do this in your life? What was the situation?
PPS We named the dogs Bruce and Reggie. Their real names were Spike and Luca.
(This is what 5-years-old looks like. My daughter doesn't remember this story, but it's one I will never forget.)
I was reminiscing and reading some of my old journal entries and wanted to share this one with you that I wrote on May 16th, 2011. I think the lesson is even more important today in 2019.
My 5-year-old daughter confronts 2 first grade girls at our local elementary school playground who is not being nice to another girl who asks if she could play with them. There was no fear from my 5-year-old. Just a matter of fact "that's not nice". I learned a lot from her that day and it's worth revisiting now.
Children can be our greatest teachers if we are open to their lessons.
I saw the words forming on her lips from a distance, She was mouthing it to herself over and over a few times. She looked at me and made of face of not quite understanding what the issue was at hand for these girls. I encouraged her to speak her mind with a little nod of my head. And she did!
The girls rationalized that this was only a 2-player game. (They were playing kitchen with the mulch.) My 5-year-old responds by saying "you shouldn't make up the rules that way!" So true!
So many of our "rules" are just "rules" in our own mind. They are made up and untrue.
Shortly after that moment in time with my daughter, I had an experience of "What should I do?" My son was playing baseball at the time. And I overheard a coach say to one of the 8-year old boys on another team say: "You can't catch, you better be able to hit". All I could think of was "That's not nice." I was deeply conflicted.
I was angry and upset and knew if I heard this person speaking to my child like this there would be hell to pay. As a coach there is no room for insults. Were other people paying attention to what this person was saying to the children on the team? Were they keeping quiet? Do you they recognize the negative affect this could have on an 8-year-old? Was I blowing things out of proportion? Maybe this person was having a bad day? This person wasn't speaking to my kids that way, was it my business? Does anyone care? Do I care even though it wasn't my kid?
I sat with it for a day....I DID CARE!
This was bothering me. What should I do? What would you do?Sometime you just have to state the obvious. Maybe something will change, maybe it won't. I hope this story can help you to be brave in that moment when you need to say That's just not nice. Take the lead of my 5-year-old. Adults can rationalize all day about a situation, where a child just might know the right thing to do. Can you do the same?
What about me? I did call the league president at the time to let them know my concern.....
You might not have any control of the outcome, but we do have a voice and can say "That's not nice".
Speak up say it's not nice. Maybe as more of us point out the obvious. We will feel more connected and "our collective voice" could be heard saying what needs to be said.
If a 5-year-old can do it, so can you and me!
This blog is a reflection of things going on my life and the world around us. Through yoga we always try to look at things in a different light!