03/01/2013 01:34 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Life Lessons From My Dog

My dog Rasta only weighs 11 pounds, but he doesn't know that. He greets everyone at our front door with an assertive, defensive stance, and protects us from every squirrel that wanders into our backyard.

2013-02-22-Rastasmallestsize.jpgHere are a few life lessons he tries to teach me every day:

There is only right now. If there is one being I know who lives in the present, it is Rasta. He only sees what is right in front of him, and I often envy his focused and singular perspective. He has no conception of tomorrow and probably cannot remember what happened yesterday, so he focuses constantly on right now.

Don't bite off more than you can chew. Because he has no understanding of the idea of tomorrow, he tends not to overdo it today. He takes lots of naps and lives in the moment like a true Buddhist monk.

Take the time to enjoy life and play every day. Play is an essential part of his day, and he makes certain to get in at least a little bit every day. If we don't cooperate, he goes off alone with one of his toys and makes up his own games. Of course, he loves it best when we join in!

Love the ones you're with. Rasta is an expert at this! He lives love and devotion and was apparently born with this innate ability. And because he has never experienced rejection or betrayal, why not love the ones who love you?

Don't worry about the whole wide world. This is the trait I envy the most. Sometimes I wish I didn't know about nuclear war or global warming, or the war in Syria, or how likely a meteorite is to land on my head today. Sometimes I wish I could just be here doing my life the best I can without all of that extra awareness.

Go with your instincts. It seems most of us lose track of our intuitive, instinctual selves by the time we're 5. Rasta apparently doesn't have this problem. He goes with his gut no matter what. He cannot help himself.

Believe in yourself, even against astronomical odds! Rasta really shows his true nature on this one. He sees his full-time job as protecting me from everything. Oh, if he only knew how powerless he is against just about everything that could happen to me today. But he doesn't, so he believes completely in his own power to keep me safe. So glad I have him on my side. I feel so much safer with him around!

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