Right now you’re probably wondering what on earth a riverdancing parrot is and more to the point, what sort of life lesson he could possibly teach you? Bear with me because I promise you it will all become clear!
One evening a few weeks back it started snowing. I was already in my pyjama’s so I quickly threw on my wool coat, wrapped a scarf around my neck, and went outside to stand in the dark and watch it fall all around me. It was the most wonderful thing. The neighborhood was completely silent and as I quickly became covered in snowflakes I realized how light my soul felt. At that moment I felt the most profound sense of peace, happiness, and contentment. I felt alive.
When I awoke the next morning the neighborhood was blanketed in thick snow. The local mini-supermarket was already filled with stressed out faces bemoaning the chaos this was going to cause to their day. Schools were closed and public transport had ground to a halt. I smiled at several people on my walk to and from the supermarket, not one person smiled back at me. Everyone looked frazzled and unhappy, everyone that is except for our four-legged friends who were rolling around in the snow with such joy that just watching them made me laugh.
As human beings, it can be easy to fall into the trap of feeling that we are in some way superior to all the other creatures that inhabit the earth. That we’re smarter and wiser than they are. Yet if we were to stop and pay attention more often we would find that many a life lesson can be learned from the animal kingdom. Here are a few of my favorites:
Life Lesson Number One: You don’t need other people to have fun
How often do we put off doing things we really want to do because we don’t have anyone to do them with? We don’t go to that music gig we really want to go to or that film we really want to see because nobody else wants to go. We don’t take that holiday to that destination we’ve always wanted to visit because nobody else is free to go with us. We don’t go ice-skating or go swing on the swings at the park or make snow angels or jump on a merry-go-round because nobody else wants to indulge their inner child with us.
We miss out on so much because we’re always putting things off until we can find someone to do those things with. This is one cool dog who is living proof that you don’t need permission, or other people, to have fun!
Life Lesson Number Two: Let loose
I cannot tell you how much this video makes me smile. I mean seriously, I’ve watched it about twenty times now and it lifts my spirits every time!
There is a point, somewhere between childhood and adulthood, where many of us lose our ability to let loose and to just go for it without fear of what other people might think. We need to let our inner children out far more than we do, to reconnect with our playful spirits, to find creative ways to release the stress from our bodies.
So what are you waiting for? Take a leaf out of this little guys book and go dance like no one’s watching!
Life Lesson Number Three: Savour the moment
You can’t help but laugh watching this squirrel eating a nut with such blissful ecstasy. How often do we savour the moment like this? How often do we give our full attention and presence to what we’re doing? So often we rush through life, barely noticing things, always eager to get to the next moment without stopping to enjoy the one we’re experiencing right now.
We inhale our food, eating at our desks while answering emails or mindlessly chewing while watching TV and this habit of distraction, of trying to focus on more than one thing at once isn’t just reserved for food. How often do you see groups of people out together and they’re all on their phones rather than being with each other? How often do we think we’ll relax and feel better once we’re on holiday only to spend the holiday worrying about the work we need to do when we get back?
We’re not as smart as we think we are
Have you ever looked at a dog chasing a ball or a cat basking in the sun and thought ‘they have such an easy life!’ Animals often appear so much happier than humans for the simple reason that animals are always living in the present. They don’t spend their lives worrying, stressing, trying to make more money or buy more things, or thinking about what they might do next week or next year. Animals are always completely focused on the present, on what’s going on around them in that one moment, and that’s why they experience so much joy. This ability to experience all that life has to offer in the present moment, which is, of course, the only moment we are ever guaranteed, is perhaps the greatest life lesson they could ever teach us.
So go on – go jump on that swing or plan that holiday you’ve always wanted to take, go feel the grass or the sand beneath your feet or curl up with a book and a cup of tea, go spend time with those you love or watch that film you’ve been wanting to see. It doesn’t matter what it is but whatever you choose to do make sure it’s your idea of fun, make sure you don’t wait on others, make sure you savour every moment and most importantly, make sure that wherever you are or whatever you’re doing that you’re fully there in that moment with all of who you are.