The Tighe crew rescued a puppy this weekend. His name is Marty. My kiddos have been asking for quite some time now, and I have been consistent in saying no. Thirteen years, in fact. Lately, however, I have found myself wanting a dog. Enough so, that it has become emotional. I gut checked with my wife and discovered she was wanting the same.

I suppose we could attribute this to a few practical things. One, we are in a season where all four of my kids are of age where they can help care for a pet. Two, I am 45 and likely am starting to have a bit of a mid-life crisis with my daughter heading off for college in August. Three, it’s spring and the weather is good and the timing seems like a natural integration with our walking and hiking schedules. And, look at that face!

That said, having Marty in our home has refreshed me on some valuable life lessons.

Trust My Instincts

Our bodies are a complex and also complete system. We have emotional, physical and spiritual components that work together beautifully. I started doing what I call soul work back in 2013. The start of that journey was baby steps into having awareness of how my physical self is communicating with my emotional self. I call that awareness “checking in” and it has been one of the most useful tools in my tool belt, both personally and professionally. When I say the desire to have a dog join the family was emotional, this was me checking in and listening to my desires and instincts and even timing. All the way up to making eye contact with Marty, I was checking in and following those instincts. When my kids scooped him up, and with lots of other dogs nearby going nuts, Marty playfully and quietly hopped in their lap and embraced them. Choosing him was easy.

Treasure What Is Most Important

My favorite heretic once said there is a direct connection of our heart and our money. While I fought the idea for years of having a dog in the house, it was undeniable that my kids wanted one. My kids are obviously in the most important category, so it makes sense to spend some coin on creating experiences they want in their life. Rescuing a puppy ain’t cheap, and yet I felt great joy in seeing that money leave my checking account. The evidence is on the face of each of my kids. This connection of heart and money is undeniable, regardless of faith system. We will spend our money on the things we value most. Sometimes, we must own the choices we make in this part of our lives and recognize we have opportunity for growth. As we grow, we become more mature in our stewardship and in creating opportunities for something bigger than ourselves.

Tap Into Vulnerability

Years ago I read Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly. Like so many others, this book revealed that I had some real growing to do in being vulnerable. I had hit the standard mid-life mark and experiencing a ton of anger and feeling stuck. Learning to become vulnerable actually unlocked a ton of strength I knew I had, yet knew not how to apply. Part of my hesitation in getting a dog was knowing I would eventually lose something I likely would grow to love. Choosing him started the clock on that inevitability. I wonder how often I choose to avoid being vulnerable because of such risks and also how often I miss out on the most beautiful moments in life because of it. May we all pursue making vulnerable choices so we do not miss out.

So, how can you apply one or all of these reminders to your world? How might you trust your instincts in making big decisions or putting your money where your mouth is or taking a risk with your peers or coworkers and honestly answer the smallest of small talk questions “How are you doing?” In big or small moments, let’s lean into one or all three.

Choosing these moments just might eventually become easy!

Peter Tighe