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I just watched the ending of the movie “A Dog’s Purpose,” again. Bailey, the dog in the movie, sums up his purpose in life in three simple words: Be here now.

When a dog wags its tail, there’s no mistaking the happiness that goes along with it, at least to us humans. That got me thinking about all the heaviness in our world right now.

Understandably, many of us may have forgotten what makes our tails wag.

The phrase came across my radar again when I watched a video summit series by decluttering expert Mel Robertson. Robertson specializes in working with clients to help them get free from clutter — physical, mental and emotional — to make space for the magic to appear in their lives. Robertson was interviewing author, speaker and life empowerment coach Rhonda Farrah, and the topic revolved around what makes our tails wag.

Robertson and Farrah both work to help clients get “unstuck.” We all know this is a common condition during these uncertain pandemic times. Their collective message is the feeling of disconnectedness often has to do with not being clear on what we want and being disconnected from source.

It’s an inside job

Robertson emphasizes physical clutter is an outer manifestation of our inner clutter. She stresses most people have so much inner chaos that it spills over into the outer environment, which makes it even more important to stop, go within ourselves and listen.

“Clutter appears because we’re not willing to deal with our chaos on the mental and emotional levels,” she said. With so many lives being rearranged by the pandemic, there’s more chaos and uncertainty than ever popping up inside us.

While it can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, it may be a good time to go back to some life lessons from our canine friends. After all, when left to our own devices, we sure can make things complicated.

Happy dance

“Allow me to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am,” reads a refrigerator magnet in my kitchen. No matter what’s taking place in the world-at-large, our pets tend to have an exalted opinion of their humans.

Even if you don’t have a pet, I’ll bet you can relate to some of the characteristics that may make you wag your tail a little more. For starters, how about that happy dance that occurs every time you walk through the door, whether it’s been 10 minutes or 10 days? Do your own version of a happy dance, at least once a day.

Life lessons

While the love of a dog is unconditional, humans are very conditional, according to Cesar Milan, the original dog whisperer. “You can look horrible, but a dog will look at you like you’re the most beautiful human being ever,” Milan said, “because he’s looking at your feelings.” I’m lucky that my husband, John, is also a dog whisperer!

If you want lessons in unconditional love, don’t look up to a role model, said author Renee Heiss. Simply look down and consider the following lessons.

Loyalty — Dogs are the most loyal creatures in the world. They will gladly walk beside you for as long as you need them.

Lesson: Loyalty is a two-way street. Make sure you’re loyal to yourself and your values. Walk next to your partner wherever life leads you. In return, that partner will walk beside you on the path. Mutual loyalty ensures that your paths generally go in the same direction. It takes work, but it’s definitely worth it.

Enthusiasm The tail wags, the body jiggles and the tongue hangs out. The dog is enthusiastic that his human has arrived home. Enthusiasm is contagious.

Lesson: You don’t need to jiggle your body and let your tongue hang out when you greet yourself in the bathroom mirror each morning. Make sure you take time to say a kind word, though. If you live with a partner and he or she is returning home, make sure you turn down the TV, get up from the computer and put down that smartphone. Nothing says unconditional love like undivided attention, if only for a few minutes.

Those first two minutes of any encounter with your partner set the stage for the rest of the day — and the ongoing quality of your relationship.

Acceptance — You have a lot of errands to run, but not once does the dog go into canine rage because he or she is temporarily ignored.

Lesson: When you love unconditionally, you’ll make sure that other agendas get equal attention so everyone’s needs are met. This is especially challenging in this stay-at-home pandemic period with family members. It takes some juggling, and it won’t happen right away. The important thing is a give-and-take attitude.

Treats — Do you give your dog more treats than you give yourself? Treats — whether we give them to ourselves or to others — only take a small amount of time and effort. And talk about return on your investment!

Wag more, worry less

So, there you have it. A joyful approach to lightening our emotional loads these days:

Be here now.

Focus on what you want.

Connect to your source.

Clear out your mental, emotional and physical clutter.

Do a happy dance.

Remain loyal — to yourself and others.

Be enthusiastic and accepting.

And don’t forget the treats!

©2020 Linda Arnold Live Life Fully, all rights reserved. Linda Arnold, M.A., M.B.A., is a syndicated columnist, psychological counselor and founder of a multistate marketing company. Reader comments are welcome at For information on her books, go to or