Unexpected Lesson from 9/11

I recently listened to a fascinating episode of a podcast about a man’s experience being in the World Trade Center on 9/11. The man is blind and had his guide dog there. 

The story is masterfully weaved of the relationship between the man, Michael Hingson, his dog, Roselle, and the sighted people around them. Michael had trust in Roselle, who was calm during the experience and helped him down 78 flights of stairs and exited the building. 

A few days after the experience, Michael called Guide Dogs for the Blind to see if there would be any repercussions from the experience. They asked if there were any injuries and Michael said no, that Roselle was acting normal and doing what she had done before. He was told she would be fine, that dogs aren’t like humans, they don’t do “what if.”

Dogs don’t have a continuous loop in their minds of all the scenarios that could or could not have happened if they had done something different. They accept what is and live in the now.

There are lots of differences between humans and animals, but this is a lesson we could learn from our canine friends. 

Think of the anxiety that could be alleviated if we skipped the what if’s and accepted what happened and moved forward? 

After all, can you change what happened in the past?

Can you predict what will happen in the future?

No. And we humans waste a lot of time, emotions, and energy in the past and the future.

We can’t change that the US was attacked on 9/11 or any of the other terror attacks that have taken place throughout the world.

What we can change is how we interact with others throughout our day.

No matter what we have done in the past, we can decide to give others the benefit of the doubt. To choose not to be offended. To rearrange our day to help someone in need. To sit with someone during their time of trial.

We can choose to connect with one another in a positive, uplifting way.

When we choose these things, we are making the here and now more livable.

Dr. Paul

For more details on Michael and Roselle's amazing experience, check out Michael's book, Thunder Dog.