Tails from Mowgli

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At the end of April, I moved from Mission Hills to Cardiff by the Sea, California. The move was highly intentional and desired. Yet, it happened quickly and it required me to step away from teaching 15+ yoga classes I loved and my grounding morning rituals.  On the morning of May 7th, I rushed out the door to teach two classes at CorePower Yoga Del Mar. There are few things I adore as much as my morning routine and I am still learning how to best incorporate them into my lifestyle in North County. 

After my classes, I arrived home incredibly hangry. Alex and I immediately journeyed to Claire’s on Cedros to eat — completely oblivious to where we would go when we were done eating. There were several dogs on the patio at Claire’s and that led me to asking Alex if we could adopt a kitty.

Unsurprisingly, the conversation shifted to adopting a dog — something I also wanted to do. After we wrapped up lunch, we headed straight to Helen Woodward to “look” at the puppies available for rescue. 

I had initially browsed the Helen Woodward website to coax Alex into adopting a feline friend. As I searched, I noticed one shepherd puppy listed on the page and was eager to meet her. Upon our arrival, that beautiful babe was on her way home with another family. 

I was a bit disappointed until we walked around and I laid eyes on a little black pup. 

When we first met him, Mowgli’s name was “Illinois”. It may have been his floppy ears or the fact that I was born and raised in that state, either way, I was immediately drawn to Mowgli’s cage. We asked to visit with three dogs — Mowgli was the first on the list and the only one we actually met.

From the get-go, it was evident, Mowgli had found a home. After playing with him for less than ten minutes, we were ready to initiate the adoption process. 

We arrived as two and left as three. 

Mowgli was a precious angel for the first twenty-four hours after we brought him home. Quickly, we learned that Mowgli is a lot like his mother — playful, energetic, and mischievous. 

Mowgli’s spirit has reminded me the importance of being curious. His actions encourage me to stop and wonder, “what’s that, why is it there, and what is its purpose?” His curiosity often gets the best of him and he finds himself in trouble. For instance, I see him questioning the taste of the carpet as he goes for the chew. It was cute the first time, I must admit. Now, it challenges my patience.  

Patience has been a lesson I’ve learned from Mowgli throughout the last couple of weeks. Mowgli sincerely does not know any better when he does naughty things. More than anything though, I’ve learned to be patient with life’s transitions and its’ “in-betweens”. Through his antics, Mowgli is teaching me to appreciate the moments that frustrate me. Even though I desperately want a well-trained dog, there is nothing cuter than a puppy and I must savor every [annoying] moment. 

As Mowgli learns the difference between “right” and “wrong”, it’s helped me reflect on the importance of seeking guidance from others. Alex and I have both had dogs in the past, but we’ve never been responsible for training a puppy of our own. Therefore, I find comfort in seeking guidance from trained professionals. In addition to Mowgli, I am finding it equally, if not more beneficial, to seek guidance for myself. It is powerful to admit you do not have all of the answers and to ask someone else for assistance. 

It’s funny, all of the advice I have received for Mowgli has paralleled to my life. Everyone suggests we create a routine and set boundaries. Similar to Mowgli, I am quite wild. Having a routine allows me to ground and strategically prioritize the things that create peace and purpose — like meditation, eating well, yoga, and journalling. 

For me, creating boundaries is challenging — thankfully, Mowgli has demonstrated how necessary they truly are. In the wise words of Brené Brown, “boundaries are a function of self-respect and self-love.”

As Mowgli may not initially understand the boundaries we set, I realize people in my life will also feel put-off by some of my decisions, as well. Nevertheless, as Brown says, “daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.”

It’s extremely hard to disappoint a puppy. But, through the boundaries we create,  I’ve learned the power of unconditional love — it supersedes any test of patience, annoyance, or “misbehavior”.

Lastly, bringing Mowgli into my life has reminded me that life happens fast. The morning of May 7th, I had no idea I’d go to bed the owner of a dog. Mowgli has taught me to expect the best — anything and everything is possible.