The Life Coach
When Edward is serious about taking a nap, he rolls over onto his side. Next, from the depths of his soul, comes a deeply relaxing sigh. And then, with perfect comedic timing, his ear flips up. A pleasing puzzle piece of his individuality, signifying both nonchalance and utter contentment.
And I sit watching him, taking notes.
Here in the states there is now a rather perplexing occupation known as the “life coach”. As I understand it, the life coach is a fellow who follows you around whispering encouragement and validation in your ear - for a fee, of course. Never any further than a phone call away, he stands at the ready to fluff up your confidence, remind you of your brilliance, and convince you that the goals you have set for yourself are not only attainable, but your success in reaching them is well and truly deserved. A fairly recent invention, the life coach seems to have sprung fully formed from the same tide that spawned celebrity self-help books and television psychologists. It reminds me a bit of author David Sedaris’ humourous essay about his sister who, when feeling a bit inadequate, trained her parrot to yell uplifting phrases in her direction whenever she entered the room. “You Can DO It!” and “We Love You, LISA!!”.
To me, the whole concept of hiring someone to keep you motivated and in the proper state of mind seems to teeter a bit close to the slippery side of navel-gazing, but then again, perhaps I am being too harsh. Perhaps it is a needed assistance for some people. After all, not everyone is lucky enough to live with their very own life coach, for not everyone lives with a dog.
In addition to consistently making me feel like the most important person on the planet, Edward is a teacher well-versed in the things of life that matter most.
I simply watch, and learn. For instance....
He never feels the slightest bit guilty when taking an afternoon nap.
He never turns away from a hug.
He savours each meal set before him and gazes at the chef in gratitude.
He bounds outside each morning as though that day is the best one he’s known.
I study him sometimes, lying in the grass of the back garden- eyes closed, head raised, just smelling the sweet-scented air, and it’s clear that no other moment but this one matters to him.
Edward always lets us know how much we mean to him, charging up to welcome us home with a fat, furry grin on his face, whether we’ve been away for a day or an hour.
He takes his turn. He loves to play.
He never holds the slightest grudge. Even when we leave him behind, all is forgiven the second he see us return.
He delights in a long walk, or two, in the fresh air each day.
He loves music, but is comfortable with quiet.
Though certainly no pushover, he tempers his strength with dignity and can stop Apple from advancing on his favourite toy with a nothing more than a look.
Though fiercely protective of those he loves, he never picks a fight.
He is loyal, the best listener, and he always runs towards laughter.
He loves to travel, but is always happiest coming back up his own front steps.
For all the importance we humans seem to place on giddiness, excitement and grand passion, Edward seems to concern himself more with contentment. And, as contentment is known to wither in the face of fear or regret, he reminds me to banish those things from my life.
With so many lessons, full and freely given, I can think of no better life coach than Edward.
I feel blessed to learn from him each and every day.