When the Student Is Ready…

September 28th, 2010 by Ann

My “to do” list is ridiculously long. Couple my written list with the “to-do’s” that pop into my head when I’m not near pen and paper, and it’s almost comical. The number of balls I’ve got in the air is crazy, and frequently the balls hit the ground and/or I don’t accomplish all of what’s on my list. A good part of the time, I’m running in several different (and inefficient) directions at once. I mean, I recently scalded my hand as I was steaming milk for my cappuccino while simultaneously pouring boiling water over green tea leaves!

So, when an opportunity came up last month to rescue a 15-year-old “throw away” dog at the shelter where I volunteer, I figured, why not?

Now, I already have an aging, blind dog who is nearly my constant companion. Being blind, he’s very cautious about all of his movements and thus walks slowly (very slowly!). Truly, walking Homer is about the only time that I walk the speed of a normal human being, and over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at taking a deep breath and simply moving at his pace. It’s part of the “Homer package,” and I wouldn’t give it up for the world, as challenging as that is for my Type-A personality.

My newly-rescued dog, the new “kid” on the block, Tobin, is a Dachshund, which means he has 2-inch-long legs. If anyone can walk even more slowly than Homer, it’s Tobin. (Well, he’s walking fast, but he covers so little ground with those legs that he makes Homer look like a Greyhound.) I can’t even walk the two old guys together because their gaits are so different. With Tobin on the scene, I “get” to slow down even more and do it twice as much because now I have two dogs. During these times, my “to do” list must go on “hold” and the balls I’m juggling are suspended mid-air while I tend to this new — and slow motion — addition to my life. Resistance is futile. I am finally learning the meaning of “saunter.”

There’s a Buddhist saying, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” These teachers can appear at any time, and they can simply be experiences or situations, rather than anyone/anything living and breathing. And as much as we may resist having these teachers in our lives, it helps us to learn the lesson more easily if we remember that, when class is over, we’ll be a better version of ourselves. It’s obvious to me that a teacher recently appeared in my life, and he most certainly didn’t take human form!

As another year draws to a close and a new one begins, here’s to our teachers, whoever and whatever they may be. And here’s to sauntering!

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