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Charlie is a six month old Wheaton Terrier. Each day Charlie emerges from his “cave” in our bedroom, his tail is working like a windshield wiper, his eyes sparkle, as he grabs his nearest toy in his mouth, and he hops onto our bed looking at us with a mischievous glint in his eye as if to say, “so what are we gonna do today?”  He then rolls over on his back, legs splayed, toy still stuck in his mouth, as he waits for his morning belly rub.

Charlie is pure joy and trust. He is curious about everything. He does not want to be left out of anything. When we go for his morning 45′ exercise walk in the hills where we live, he is out in front. He sniffs (he can spend long periods of time simply sniffing a small patch of lawn as if savoring a delectable meal), he pulls, he greets everyone he sees with a “you’re my new best friend” attitude. Watching him play with other puppies on a “play date” or while in puppy school is like getting a glimpse of a world in which “everyone just gets along.” Charlie and his pals climb all over each other; they cuddle and chase, lick and smell. They enjoy the pleasure of being connected with no expectations, judgements, or competition.

Then, suddenly when he is tired, he simply flops down where ever he is to take a break or even catch a few Z’s. If he wants affection, he simply sticks his muzzle under any available hand or paws a nearby leg. He does not understand rejection; he simply persists until his “itch is scratched.”

There are many lessons that we can learn from Charlie; he is a guru, a sifu, a sensei. And we can be his disciples.

  • enter the world with an open heart; the vast majority of people will respond
  • greet the world with a smile; the world will smile back
  • view strangers as friends whom you have not yet met
  • assume that people are well-meaning until they prove otherwise
  • be curious, learn to question, and learn to savor the moment
  • contact with others is joyful and to be appreciated
  • when you need a hug, ask for it
  • take a break when needed, and watch the world go by
  • view each day as unique; approach the dawn of a new day as an adventure
  • be grateful that you are alive

[Dr. Dreyfus is a nationally recognized clinical psychologist, relationship counselor, sex therapist, and life coach in the Santa Monica – Los Angeles. The profits from his latest book, LIVING LIFE FROM THE INSIDE OUT along with his other five books, are being donated to charity through the website Book Royalties for Charity and can be purchased through Amazon.com. Please become a friend on his Facebook Fan Page by indicating “like” on the page by clicking here. You can also find more tools to help you experience a more fulfilling life by clicking here to visit his website.]