Last weekend, we went to a place 42 km away from the nearest civilisation to get immersed in nature – in the midst of rolling hills, and chanting streams, while being accompanied by well-rounded silence. It used to be a meditation retreat in the past, now it is called Hidden Haven and the name surely befits the place. It is in the Barrington Tops area of the state of New South Wales in Australia. 

With a healthy dose of solitude absorbed into our beings, we have now come back to the daily grind. Yet, a question that has been gnawing its teeth into my soul for so long, has finally been answered — by a dog, called Doug, during the weekend getaway.  

Which question? Read along!

Usually, I reckon it is not worthwhile to do anything that’s not productive. I am totally consumed by my work since that bestows upon me a sense of accomplishment and productivity. Yet, that’s not perhaps enough — time, life, as a whole, is possibly slipping through my fingers. Sun rises and sun sets, while I’m totally oblivious of the world around me, only to discover now and then, that I am getting a little old in my own little world.

Possibly, my life is “all work and no play”! I am missing something — what’s that? Perhaps, the breaks, a bit of solitude, the sound of silence and the simple things that life offers, are all around us!

Yep, that sounds about right. And, that deprivation is causing a cloud of revolt to gather within my subconscious mind…

But, how does one get a life outside the box? Tough, really, if one is extremely particular about things… Yeah, that’s the question!

So, what did Doug say or rather show?

It was a beautiful sunny morning in the hills there. We were taking a stroll after breakfast. We did have a map of the place, but could not find the entry to the hikes that were shown on the map. Yet, we were not exasperated, just looking here and there, and there came Doug. He went past us. We saw him holding a tennis ball in his mouth.

A few meters in front of us, he would put down the ball within a foot of him, sit like a good, obedient dog and look at us from time to time with imploring eyes. The message was not difficult at all. He wanted to play with my daughter or us, in general. When we took the hint, my daughter spent a good half an hour playing with him. He was so good at catching tennis balls! 

Even, I, who the dogs like a lot, although the feelings are not often mutual — felt the intelligence of this one dog. As if he told me, “When you want something, believe it’s possible! Tell the whole world that it’s possible and the world will start picking up the hint and believe in you. Play!” Possibly this will not apply to some pursuits but works for a bunch, though.

Doug got so enthused after playing with my daughter that the next morning he could smell her and was scratching at our door. When we were trying to drive out, he came and almost blocked the road until my daughter went out and patted him. He wouldn’t budge, though. His friend, Delta was with him, too.

Finally, another little girl who came to visit the place came to our rescue. When she showed up close, Doug and Delta followed her and finally, we went off driving!

Doug showed us how one’s conviction and confidence influence others. It felt like: “Demand to live the life that’s rightfully yours, at this very moment. If the world does not pick up the hint, try again, over and over! Show the urgency and don’t let others’ aloofness make you lose your conviction. Keep trying!”

I am picking up on Doug’s hint and trying to allow myself to do things I enjoy, eg, writing right in the morning, before I start to work. I am also going to have regular rendezvous with nature and stay outside the box — allow myself to play for a change!

How about you? Are you a workaholic? Get outside the box and let yourself drown in the sights and sounds of nature, it is so healing! Touché!