Getting three new pups at the same time wasn't the smartest decision I ever made. I acted on impulse, charmed by their cute little faces, intoxicated by that sweet puppy breath and the underbite on Puppy Number Three (Layla). Then I spent weeks getting up at all hours of the night with them. I picked up pounds of poop and am still in the throes of puppy training so they can have good manners. It's a lot of work. A month in, I had to hire some help because I was so sleep deprived—and trying to keep three at a time from destroying my worldly goods was making me constantly frazzled. Whoa, did I gain big new respect for mothers of real babies! I see now how the day can get away from you, with no time to shower because you're off and running from the first cry.
All this puppy love was starting to get on my nerves, so I had to make a paradigm shift. One day while walking them through the woods, I stood and watched them frolic—and I do mean frolic: rolling, tumbling, chasing, laughing (yes, dogs laugh), and leaping like bunnies. They were having so much fun, and seeing them that way made my whole body sigh, relax, and smile. New life discovering a field of grass for the first time: What a wonder! We all get the opportunity to feel wonder every day, but we've been lulled into numbness. Have you ever driven home from work, opened your front door, and asked yourself how you got there?
I know for sure that I don't want to live a shut-down life—desensitized to feeling, seeing, and the possibility of experiencing joy on every level. I want every day to be a fresh start on expanding what is possible. And I also know that one person can make a huge difference. One of our themes on the show this season is "What have you done today to make yourself feel proud?"
The surest way to bring goodness to yourself is to make it your intention to do good for somebody else. Years ago I started a gratitude journal. This year I'm keeping a "proud" journal. Every day I make a conscious effort to extend kindness, grace, comfort, and peace. It doesn't take a lot to have an impact on someone's life.
I've often told the story of Tish Hooker, a pretty woman who visited my church while she was campaigning for her husband, who was running for governor. I was 8. She stopped me and told me I was pretty as a speckled pup. I never forgot it, and I make it a point to tell every other little girl I see the same thing.
I know for sure that when you shift your paradigm to what you can do for others, you begin to accelerate your own evolution and trigger a bounty of blessings. What have you done today?
From the January 2006 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!