As a person who cares deeply about my spiritual wellness practice, I believe in the power of ritual, intention-setting, and guiding my actions through the lens of a clearly defined, easily articulated core value that enables me to live a meaningful, purposeful life. For me personally, that involves a specific set of tools: meditation, crystals, astrology, and along with millions of other people these days, Noodle the Pug.
For those who don’t dabble in the fine art of TikTok, let me introduce you to Noodle. Noodle is a 13 year-old geriatric pug owned by New York-based Jonathan Graziano. Every day, Granziano picks up Noodle, usually snuggling deep into his dog bed, in order to determine if that day is a “No Bones Day” or a “Bones Day.” If Noodle collapses back into his bed, unable to muster the energy required to stand, a “No Bones Day” it is and Granziano warmly and generously urges you, the viewer, to exercise some self-care and go easy on yourself. But if Noodle remains standing — or was the case on November 3rd, walking around smelling Granziano’s mother’s hydrangeas in the garden! — it’s a joyous “Bones Day” signaling to you that you should seize the moment, take risks, and live big. Noodle and his owner’s innovative version of reading tea leaves has taken hold, over 4.3 million followers and counting.
In addition to inspiring a song, a Noodle “Bones Day” motivated at least one person to give two weeks notice for a job they hated and a certain author of this article to get out of bed and enjoy a hike outdoors. I would even venture to say that Noodle has ignited human connection, fueling a national conversation and education about a cute little old dog who knows how to live life to the fullest or laziest in the most authentic, true-to-Noodle way.
Lest you think this is merely a fad, I submit to you that what we are witnessing and experiencing is a form of spiritual wellness. The practice of intention-setting, even and especially in this adorable canine version, is a powerful strategy to add to anybody’s arsenal when embarking on a wellness journey. It can increase focus, productivity, and elevates both your mental and physical energy. Intentions connect you more deeply with your core values and offer a daily opportunity for an introspective check-in that can in turn lead to you recalibrate the day’s decisions so that they align with what kind of person you are or want to be.
One of the most compelling aspects of intention-setting is that the activities they spark are without parameters. They are limitations only as far as the limits you place on them. While goals tend to be rigid, measurable, and lead to a “did I fail or succeed?” mentality, intentions can unfold in a million micro-movements and emotions that move together in a synchronous way towards an end only you are defining. Intentions allow for mistakes. Intentions allow for the messiness of life and all its twists and turns. They are adaptable, resilient, and within you. A beautiful triumph of mind and spirit.
If this sounds too grandiose a framework to be applying to a dog, look no further than the evidence presented by Noodle himself. Five and half years of Bones/No Bones intention-setting (his owner adopted him when he was seven and a half) have led to a pretty cozy, content, and long life for him. Who is to say that it can’t do the same for you?