My dog, Remy, who I call Mo, knows a lot about focus.
He’s a smart and naughty dog with a sense of humor. And when it comes to food, his focus is complete. Nothing else exists in that moment.
He and I have a ritual. I scoop his food from the bin while he sits on the stairs. I give him: one, two, three kibbles. We walk into the kitchen. He sits silent and still as I chop in deliciousness, his eyes on the bowl, nose slightly twitching back and forth tasting the air.
This day—I dropped a kibble. I heard his breath change a little. He saw it fall. He wants it. He does not move. At all. His eyes stay on me and the preparation of his breakfast.
This dog who ate a dozen chocolate chip cookies in less than 30 seconds, a raw chicken breast while I blinked, a pound of habanero cheese—I won’t talk about the small appliances and socks—and everything else. He does not move or abandon his focus on this meal I am preparing for him.
It’s time. Our eyes meet. I feed him the kibble from the floor and put down his bowl. Our ritual is complete.
Focus like his is my goal. Here’s what I think it takes:
- Know exactly what you are doing and what you are after;
- Breathe into it for a few seconds, smell its success and promise, imagine it;
- Put an appropriate amount of time around it (focus like that has its limits);
- Get everything else out of the way, see only that, and let it come (even if something amazing drops to the floor);
- Be grateful.
Mo has plenty of other characteristics that I am glad to leave just to him, but I am grateful for this lesson and a shared moment.