Do you guys ever have a friend that is just so unlucky? Like maybe one day they get stung by that bee that they were snapping at…
…and then the next day they forget their favorite toy out in the rain…
…and then they find their favorite screeching chicken toy under the couch and only get to make it scream for 5 short minutes before the chicken gets taken away, “for good this time”…
…and then maybe they accidentally tear up a pillow, or pee on the carpet and get yelled at…?
Such bad luck can’t be helped, but when it piles up one on top of another, then maybe it’s life trying to tell you something. Mom has been having one of those streaks of bad luck lately. She thinks that she just needs to stay the course and work harder, but as her life coach, I’m tired of her being grouchy all the time. I’m beginning to think it’s time for a change. So today I took her to the beach.
The beach does magical things to humans’ brains. You see, it is a fact that humans think with their back feet, and the beach is the only outside place where they take off their shoes so they can think properly. That’s why humans always go to the beach when they are stressed out. No matter how tired they are, if humans go to the beach, take off their shoes and sniff a Stephen King book for a couple of days, then they will be magically recovered and ready to go back to work.
Mom doesn’t sniff books when she’s outside. She’s the kind of human that needs to move while she thinks, so Mom walked in the sand while I ran. Now that her shoes were off, I started my coaching session. “Why are you in such a rotten mood lately?” I asked.
“I’m burnt out because I hate this place, Oscar. Everyone is so self-absorbed and competitive and you have to work so hard all the time… The bad guys are always sitting in my phone following me around. I’m sick of it but I don’t know how to escape.”
I was real upset that Mom hates this place, because I think that the beach is terrific. “So don’t look at your phone,” I suggested. “Watch this instead:
“Here’s me chasing a bunch of birds!
“Here’s me exploring a cave!
“Watch this: I’m going to eat a crab shell like a potato chip…
“…and now I’m going to balance a sand dollar on my head!” Mom seemed to be getting happier watching all of the awesome things that I could do, but she kept pulling out her phone to take a picture. She still wasn’t getting it.
“See?” I said. “This is a wonderful place. We have mountains and beaches and all kinds of critters to chase, and some really great sunrises to watch while we run in the morning. Why don’t you put the bad guys in your phone away and focus on those instead?”
“Because, Oscar, the mountains and the ocean don’t buzz all the time to get my attention. Maybe if the mountains buzzed I would be happier, but the mountains will be there tomorrow and there is work that needs to be done today.” She STILL didn’t get it!
About this time we came up to something big and round made out of stone. I interrupted Mom’s pity party, “What’s that?” I asked.
“I think it’s part of an old World War II bunker.”
“What’s a bum-ker?”
“A long time ago people were afraid that enemies would come and attack us from the ocean, so they had to have people stay here at the beach all day long and look for danger.”
“The people had to hang out at the beach, but they couldn’t look for nature? That’s stupid. Why didn’t the danger buzz? That’s how I know to bark at the danger of the neighbor’s motorcycle.”
“Battleships didn’t have vibration mode. It was a sneakier kind of danger, so they had to look for it.”
“So what you’re saying is that it’s about what you focus on…” I tried, hoping that she would see the point.
We walked/ran a little further in silence so that Mom could think. I met a St. Bernard baby named Trevor and barked at him. Soon we found an old stone building. The building was very ugly, but the new people had made it pretty by painting their names on it in bright bubble letters. Instead of people going inside of it like a normal building, they were sitting on top of it sniffing books where they could see nature.
“So what happened to the people who looked for danger instead of nature?” I asked.
“Well… the war ended and our enemies became friends, so there was no more danger to look for anymore. Once they didn’t need it anymore they abandoned all of this stuff on the beach.”
“And now instead of using it to look for danger, people use it to have fun, paint pictures, and sit on while they look at nature…” I said. I hoped that Mom was starting to catch my drift.
“Yeah, I suppose they do… until nature swallows them up.”
“Mom, do you think that you’ll ever declare peace with the enemies in your phone? Maybe your enemies can become friends too… and then the danger can stop and you can look at nature again?”
“Maybe you’re right, Oscar. Maybe I need to keep different people inside my phone, people that don’t bother me so much. Maybe instead of using my phone for things that make me see problems everywhere I should fill it up with things that are pretty and fun and make me smile; like nature and dogs…”
Finally! Now I could finally let Mom put on her shoes again and leave the beach.
-Oscar the Coach