After the year I had experienced, I needed something to lighten my days and bring a smile to my face. So, we adopted two adorable, 10-week old, black bundles of fur that we quickly referred to as our ‘House Panthers’.
Like most things in nature and the animal kingdom, they brought immediate entertainment, love and laughter … but they also brought life lessons that gave me clarity about new ways to bring simplicity into our lives.
Here’s five things they taught me really quickly, that have changed the way I approach every day:
- Their approach to everything comes from a zero starting point. They have no expectations about anything; they simply find the next thing they’re interested in and then jump in to experience it.
There are no hang-ups about what happened before, and there’s no fear holding them back; they simply enjoy the moment and take it where it goes.
- Everything is a toy. It doesn’t matter what it is, they’ll find a way to play with it. Even the things you think are mundane – for example, the shirt you’re folding because you have to fold the laundry and put it away – can be turned into five long minutes of fun.
Pencils, nail files, balls of scrunched up foil and random pieces of paper – all of these can provide endless fun over multiple days if you let them. The simpler the toy, the more creative the fun becomes.
Think a piece of paper sitting on the floor is rubbish that hasn’t been put away? Think again … when you run full speed from the other side of the room and jump on it, it’s actually the perfect tool to assist in ‘snow-boarding’ across the tiles. It’s clear they’ve been in training for the winter Olympics!
- Play with abandon. When they play, they give it all of their attention. There’s no multi-tasking or distractions. They fully immerse themselves in the art of entertainment.
And they demand that we do the same. There’s no phones or tablets allowed while they’re playing. We’re part of the game and must act accordingly. It’s one of the few times they’re really demanding. When they want to play, you’re expected to jump in with them and give it your all.
- Sleep when you need to. When you play with the dedication they do, sleep is an essential element to recover. Just like play, when they’re sleeping they give it their 100% dedication. They rest, recover and recharge with the greatest level of commitment.
They’ve arranged a number of sleeping posts for themselves around the house, and depending on the weather and where their ‘staff/slaves’ are, depends on where they lay themselves down to rest.
Just like the toys, they create sleeping posts in places you perhaps wouldn’t think of and perhaps aren’t always happy about – like on top of the freshly washed clothes that are waiting to be folded – but they know how to make themselves fully comfortable to get the greatest result out of their sleep.
- Curiosity banishes fear. There are moments when they’re afraid (think loud noises like the vacuum cleaner, or the kitchen mixer starting up, or when new people come into the house) and of course they run away. They’re little and they find the places that are dark and comforting for them to hide.
But … they don’t sit in their fear for long. Within minutes, they’re poking their faces around corners and testing the water on coming back out to investigate what’s going on.
Their curiosity for life always wins over the fear they experience in a moment.
Before long they’re back playing and turning everything in their world into a game that brings them joy.
Ultimately, the combination of these things sees them live a life that is full of laughter and adventure. They don’t dwell on the past and they let their interest in things take them to the next thing they engage with. They find ways to see even the simplest things and create fun, laughter and lightness around them.
Living with House Panthers has given me an insight into the power of including innocence, simple toys, play, sleep and curiosity into every day. After all, it was Wayne Dyer that said ‘…when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change…’.
That’s what the House Panthers have given me: a whole new way to look at the same life that’s always been there.
All it took was a slight change in perspective … and a whole new raft of opportunities opened up right in front of me.
How can you look at the things around you a little differently today?
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Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert, an internationally renowned author and professional speaker and. You can follow her at her website; Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.