"I think I could turn and live with the animals, they are so placid and self contained;
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition;
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins;
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God;
Not one is dissatisfied-not one is demented with the mania of owning things;
Not one kneels to another, nor his kind that lived thousands of years ago;
Not one is responsible or industrious over the whole earth."
~ Walt Whitman
With all the tumult within the United States and throughout the World, from acts of terrorism and threats of war to the more mundane common incivility within society, many look forward to retreating and spending time with their favorite animal. Whether that be a dog, cat, fish, or horse, the simple act of being with an entity who doesn't judge us and accepts us as we are (more so if we have treats!) is a welcome respite.
I know just sitting with River and listening to her placidly chew her hay is tremendously relaxing. And River's simple act of "just being" is a reminder to me to focus on the present. River doesn't worry about mistakes made in her past or what the other horses think about her, or get frustrated about the world outside of what she can control. To River, it is what it is. River knows her "sphere of influence" and works within it. She does not hold grudges, knows how to say "no" to the other horses, does not suffer material envy if her pasture mate gets a new blingy halter, nor does she suffer from insomnia stressing about events that may never come to pass.
So as you start to ruminate about the past, worry about the future, or stress about events beyond your control, look to your favorite pet as a guide -- Live in the present. Don't stress about the future. Know your sphere of influence. Don't hold grudges. Learn how to say no. And watch your perspective on the world change.