Clark was an unplanned child.
Living with Clark is a combination of living with the purity of a baby lamb and the gusto of a proverbial football playing frat boy on a Saturday night. He’s messy for one and his build up to moments of newness and excitement mimic an ever-erupting volcano. He often lays down in the middle of an intersection as a gesture of love for passersby and he has been known to pee on others in the name of joy. Clark is embarrassing at times but no one has ever left his presence with a furrowed brow. He is a joy creator.
Clark is the living example of many important qualities, here are few of my favorites:
Clark single-handedly brought silly back into our home. This was the most unexpected thing. I hadn’t realized until Clark stormed into our lives that somewhere along our warrior path we lost this very important quality. Sure we were happy. The smiles have always been real but somewhere between the meditation and constant watch on how we were moving through the world something got more serious about us. There is no doubt in my mind that one of Clark’s main missions was to blow all that up in our faces and it started with him toilet papering our house on a regular basis.
There is so much to be serious about in this life and if we focus too much there we will smother our silliness. Serious likes to be in charge, especially as adults with all of our responsibilities and important roles. Silly is there to break up our rigid paradigms and clear the load that we carry in our hearts.
For Clark, there’s never a bad time for silly. Silly is unexpected, it’s spontaneous and definitely lacks judgment. It is often times risky and it never adheres to a plan. Silly creates joy and lifts burdens. It’s a beautiful antidote for the seriousness of our world, I highly recommend it.
I distinctly remember a day not too far into our Ride the High Vibe Tour of 2016 when I was filled with fear and uncertainty. What the hell had we done? We had, after all, just arrived at the place that you’re supposed to get to in life. We had no debt, we could afford our lives and we were banking money every month for the very first time.
After one very potent meditation in late 2015, we decided to set up camp on the razor’s edge of life and walk away from it all. Not only did we sell our dream home but we got rid of all our possessions. Family heirlooms, sentimentals, pictures. Gone. Gone. Gone. Very little material trace that we ever existed. All we had was the three of us, a few bags and a paid-off Honda Fit with no idea where we were going to live or how long we would be on the road.
To say that this part of our lives was fertile ground for fear is an understatement. It was more like fly tape for fear and our job was to just make sure none of it stuck, at least not for too long.
The road ahead was vast and unknown, the road behind was gone and I was having a WTF moment. In between rapid heartbeats, I caught a glimpse of Clark in the side mirror. The breeze worked through his golden fur while his eyes reacted to the wind that refreshed his face in the sun. Not a trace of fear or uncertainty.
I looked at BJ and said, “may we always trust ourselves as much as Clark trusts us”. Unwavering and incredibly pure his trust was something that could be relied upon. I felt it fully at that moment and it has never left me to this day.
We all have a guiding force within us that will never steer us wrong. It is our intuition, our higher self, our inner voice as some will call it and sadly it falls mostly on deaf ears. It was that voice that directed us to the razor’s edge.
It’s been beyond frightening at times. We have debt and uncertainty but we also have our inner voice celebrating our victory because we are living our purposes in this world. We receive blessings every day and are in touch with the miracles that are always brewing on our behalf. We are open. We have grown exponentially and despite the challenges, BJ and I are closer than ever. The three of us are bulletproof and it’s because we are in complete trust of our path ahead.
Clark is content in all life situations. Whether he’s navigating the crowded streets of New York City, carrying a sandy tennis ball in his already sandy mouth or waiting by his food bowl for the command to “release”. He emanates peaceful happiness all of his days.
Santosha, or contentment, is an ethical principle of yoga and it is a key piece of limiting the suffering in our lives. No matter the challenge ahead or intensity of the moment our freedom lies in our ability to find contentment. It is an acceptance, if not a welcoming, of all that comes our way without feelings of regret, bitterness or dissatisfaction. The practice of contentment removes habitual response patterns that label a moment or experience as unacceptable. Rather it gives us permission to lean in and not against the what is in our life.
We are hardwired to avoid pain and discomfort. I get that. I appreciate that my nervous system prevents me from walking into the middle of the interstate highway but let’s get real, our constant scurry to stay comfortable has gotten out of hand.
I remember the days of having to get out from under my warm blanket, off the couch and walk the full distance to the television and back to change the channel. I appreciate modern conveniences. I love that I can turn on my fireplace and not have to chop wood. I appreciate that I have a fireplace in San Diego where the temperatures drop below 50 degrees, sometimes. I’m not a complete renunciate but I often catch myself seeking comfort when I could just as easily practice contentment. When I choose the latter it is always shown to me that at that moment I have everything I need. I am already complete and there is nothing that will make me more complete than I already am.
Clark is a master of contentment and I often find myself soaking up his essence in moments when I see that suffering is available. Clark has taught me the art of non-resistance and the eloquent lean-in to what is.
It’s my job to take Clark out first thing in the morning. BJ does the night shift which works great for me. If you know anything about then you know my love for going to bed and my innate skill for slumbering on command. There is no too early for bed with this girl, I’m all about climbing into the darkness to rest my body and allow my subconscious to process out.
Wake up in our house is pre-dawn so when Clark and I go outside it’s just the two of us. No collars, no leashes just the quiet streets and the sound of the ocean waves. We have built a routine together, he walks just behind me and after I make sure the coast is clear, I give him the command to “go free”. He immediately springs to life, sometimes jumping into half circles, tearing around the streets toward his favorite morning relief station across the way. Once he’s done, he joyfully gallops to our door. So what I’ve gleaned from this and every other run, walk and hike we’ve done together is that Clark is 100% completely baggage free.
There’s no whining about the long walk from the day before or tight glutes or an overpronated ankle. He just gets up and goes. He doesn’t have the trailer of the past that us humans drag behind us. He is story free. There’s no bad shoulder or bad day, there’s just now.
In truth, Clark is simply living in alignment with fact. The moment we are in is all we have. It is all that we’ve ever had and all we will ever have. It is the only thing that exists. The future is simply a concept and the past vanished into nothingness as soon as it happened. Every moment we receive is brand new and each one comes with the chance to begin again. They provide us countless opportunities to leave our past where it belongs and chose consciously how we will move into the future. There is no year or month or decade to reinvent ourselves because we do it now, consciously or unconsciously we choose every single thing in our lives and it all is born at the moment we are in.
So ask yourself this, who would you be without the stories, the baggage, and the flawed belief that there is anything more than right now?
What kind of world would we all live in if we were to practice contentment? If we counted our blessings, not our burdens? What if we trusted that voice inside that said, “I love this and should do more of it”? What if we allowed ourselves to be silly and light as we moved through the world?
And what if we all adopted and put into practice a directive to be, even just a little bit more, like Clark?