Zolton is my seven-year-old Shih Tzu. He has an uncanny way of becoming my teacher. I work out of my home office. Although I am present in the room, I may not be present in his life. Yes, I take the time to scratch him behind the ears when he shows up at my desk, then I quickly bribe him with cookies so I can return to work. I tell myself I am far too busy to spend time with my dog.

One morning Zolton dog taught me I was not “walking the talk.” I preach to all my clients the value of quiet time, insisting they spend a few minutes in nature or just sitting in silence on a daily basis. Turning down the noise to reflect, think, get creative and make sound decisions is essential to healthy living. That day Zolton was extremely persistent in vying for my attention. He refused to be tempted into oblivion by dog treats. My pet begged for one-on-one time. Finally, I gave up and took him outside on the patio where he was content to sit in silence by my side on a cozy glider.

As I succumbed to relaxing and enjoying the solitude, an “aha” moment just about whacked me over the head. I consistently denied myself a time out. Certainly, the advice I dole out to others should also apply to me.

Deepak Chopra writes about “The Law of Pure Potentiality” in his book “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.” He teaches we must take time each day to connect with our spirit. How many times have I read in The Bible to “be still and listen” yet here I was thwarting a wise practice. That day I stayed on the patio for a very long time. Zolton happily watched the white tail bunnies chase each other while I allowed the peacefulness to soak deep into my spirit.

Unplugging from the noise of the world offers numerous benefits. Observing silence on a daily basis lowers your stress levels. Cultivating quiet time brings you a greater sense of personal awareness. Understanding yourself spills over into creating stronger relationships. The practice of quiet time can even improve your sleep patterns.

Now, like clockwork my canine friend reminds me to observe quiet time. I know better than to talk myself out it and acknowledge I am a happier person for practicing silence. Moreover, my dog likes me better too.