I lost my best friend on Saturday.  Zorro entered my life as a rescue dog when he was three.  He transformed from a skittish, meek dog into a brilliant, beaming, larger-than-life dog who taught valuable lessons to communities of people by simply showing up.  After 12 years of companionship, I’m absolutely certain that he rescued me and I’m a better person because of his lessons.  While there’s so much I could share about Zorro and his amazing life, it’s his lessons that give you the best insight into how he lived his life and the impact he made in the communities he graced. This is what Zorro taught me and perhaps there’s a nugget or two for you in here.

Zorro taught me to live my best life; to embrace each moment and to live into it by savoring it with all of my senses.

Zorro savoring the smells and beauty of autumn

Zorro savoring the smells and beauty of autumn

Zorro surrounded by spring flowers

Zorro surrounded by spring flowers

He taught me to let go of what does not serve me and to focus on what does. He taught me that every moment is a new opportunity and I should seize it. He taught me to put others before myself and take the time to help them, to listen, to care. He taught me the unwavering love of friendship is all a person needs.

Zorro listening, loving and caring

Zorro listening, loving and caring

He taught me that life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. His cardinal rule was to smile all the time.  If you smile even on a bad day, you’ll feel better.

Every Smiling Zorro

Ever Smiling Zorro

 

Perpetually Happy Zorro

Perpetually Happy Zorro

Happy Autumn Zorro

Happy Autumn Zorro

He taught me to shake off the small stuff because it doesn’t matter. He taught me it’s a waste of time to hold a grudge – love everyone, even those who hurt you. He taught me to share.  He taught me it’s ok to splash in puddles and have muddy feet and paws and have fun!

Zorro Splashing in Big Puddles

Zorro Splashing in Big Puddles

Zorro sticking his tongue out at life

Zorro sticking his tongue out at the rain

He savored running mountain trails as much as I did until he couldn’t run them any longer, then we hiked until he couldn’t and then we walked every day to the river to take in the restorative powers of Mother Nature, and play with the ducks and birds.

Zorro on South Mountain

Zorro on South Mountain

Zorro at South Mountain

Zorro at South Mountain

Zorro at Westwood Hills

Zorro at Westwood Hills

A Good Day at Westwood Hills

A Good Day at Westwood Hills

Zorro at the Napa River with the Ducks

Zorro at the Napa River with the Ducks

Zorro and the Brown Heron at the Napa River

Zorro and the Brown Heron at the Napa River

He taught me to have friends who are different than me – his best friend was a cat.

Zorro & TC taking a walk

Buddies Taking A Walk

Zorro & TC enjoying the river

Zorro & Trouble Cat enjoying a sunny day at the river bank

He reminded me to be gentle with people, especially with kids. He encouraged me to meet new friends everywhere we went. He showed me the importance of cuddling.  He assured me bathes were not necessary, but I never bought into that one since he tried to make friends with skunks.

Another skunk encounter

Another skunk encounter

He taught me the lesson of being still and simply enjoying the beauty of our surroundings.

Another day at the river

Another day at the river

 

Zorro Chilling Out - Savoring Life

Zorro Chilling Out – Savoring Life

Zorro daydreaming in the side yard

Zorro daydreaming in the side yard

He shared my love of late nights and reminded me to frolic under the moonlight.  He taught me to create adventure.

Zorro at Alston Park with a landing balloon ride.

Zorro at Alston Park with a landing balloon ride.

And to take naps.

Zorro Taking a Nap

Zorro Taking a Nap

To stay healthy and in shape

Zorro with me working out with my trainer, Bebet

Zorro with me working out with my trainer, Bebet

Zorro Napping after Workout

Zorro Napping after Workout

And to savor treats

Zorro and his bone

Zorro and his bone

In honoring Zorro’s legacy, I have committed to be the best person I can be in 2015 (and thereafter).  To be bold and empowered. To release fear and rules. To impact my communities in positive ways. To use my art, writing, business and legal skills to empower, inspire and heal. To refuse to let anything hold me back. To put others first. To more richly connect with people in my life. To explore and create adventure. To love deeply. To live judgment-free. To stand in who I am and declare my purpose. And smile all the time.

What legacy will you leave behind? Why not select 2015 for the year to make  a stand for your beliefs, convictions and lessons and begin the legacy now. Zorro would encourage it!

Zorro and the Angel at Christmas 2014

Zorro and the Angel at Christmas 2014