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  • Jane Wheeler

Chasing Shadows

I am Dog Sitting.

Jax is my “grand puppy” and he has come to live at our house for a week, along with my two golden retrievers. Good thing Jax is pretty darn cute!

Jax is one of those “character” dogs who rolls to their own drum beat. He is not really sure if the house “rules” apply to him. Jax loves the couches and chairs in the living room – they are comfort furniture to him - however at my house – we do not allow dogs on the furniture. My dogs know that!

He is also not allowed on the bed, to the point where my own adorable husband actually got on the floor one night with Jax for quite a while to calm his “night fears” – also allowing us to sleep and keep the whining at bay. My husband left for out of town to go to work and while I was laying in bed talking to him on the phone one night – he heard this “oof” – kind of noise. Jax had jumped up on the bed and plunked himself down on top of me, the noise was my air escaping. Jax did not get to stay on the bed.

Jax has a bit of a habit and people smile when I tell them, but they would not smile for long if they kept tripping over him – literally - as he chases your shadow !!! Yes he has a shadow obsession!

He waits at the wall where shadows pass by and waits for one, sometimes whining, sometimes barking and even sometimes jumping up on the wall – which is also a “no-no”! At first a “cute” little thing like shadow chasing seems harmless. Try it for one hour straight with a dog pacing and running all over the house, whining, barking and looking for shadows; or try carrying a load of laundry through the house and not seeing your feet only to trip several times as he is chasing your shadow up and down the hall.

It got me thinking about the literal phrase – “chasing shadows” and how we as people often do the same, but shadow chasing has some limits. While Jax might think shadow chasing is fun, for the rest of us “chasing shadows” creates:

- Time wasting – instead of doing something concrete and tangible – we spend our time running from here to there and often back again.

- Frustrating – kind of like a hamster running on the wheel in his cage – he never really gets to his destination. It might be good exercise; it is not really producing any feelings of accomplishment.

- Illusive – you can never quite see what you are after in “shadow chasing”, oh, you can see a shadow but it is only a reflection of the “real” item and when just when you think you can grab it – Poof --- it’s gone.

So what kind of things do we chase after that might be considered “shadows”. I like to think of them as the “if only’s”.

If Only – I had a better job…….

If Only – I had more money…..

If Only – I had a different spouse/children…

If Only – I had a nicer car/truck…..

If Only – well I think you get it – these things are the things that keep us stuck “chasing shadows”.

What if, for today and the rest of the week, we instead focused on what we “have” with grateful hearts.

Thank you for my job.Thank you that I have enough money to survive.Thank you for my car that gets me where I need to go.If we focus on the positive of what we have, who knows, perhaps we can spend our time more productively, stop getting so frustrated with life, appreciate the people around us and be happier.

Hey it’s sure worth a try because we are not getting anywhere chasing shadows.

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