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New Blog Address!

Hello Everyone!
Please now join us on our NEW BLOG – AT OUR NEW ADDRESS: (lots of new stuff added – and even more coming soon)

www.animalswisdom.com

If you have any questions, email me at: info(AT)animalswisdom(DOT)com

Wishing you a very happy and safe New Year! Wooohooo! 2010!

Blessings to you and all of your dear animal friends!

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This is a new category I am starting – I am a newbie at this blogging stuff after all…

I want to share in the most matter-of-fact ‘voice’ that I, at times, suck at relating and all things relationship.

Especially when my stuff has been triggered. (or as @havi puts it…you are experiencing your hard)

A more gentler way I could say this (for myself) is that currently I am working with fear that I have around relationships. (doesn’t have as much oomph)

I do know a lot about relationships, connection and communication from experience, from my clients and from my schooling.

But I am also HUMAN.  Period.

I can be hard on myself.  I can be moody.  I have my fair share of triggers.

I have had a passion for how to live my life to the fullest and support others to do the same for as long as I can remember.

It became clear to me in my early 20s, that in order to do this I would have to better my communication and my relationships – especially the one with myself.  I looked around and found that my relationships mostly consisted of animals – dear loving animals.

I am now 37 and am still working on it…and I still have a passion for communication, relationships, connection, all creatures and their teachings.

My point is just to share that in my work, I suggest many ways to deepen and strengthen the relationship you have with your dear animal companion (in turn – strengthening the relationship you have with dear YOU) but this does NOT mean I am always good at practicing these things for myself and in my relationship with Starr (dear dog companion).

At times I need to be hit over the head…with maybe a paw…Starr’s paw. She actually has an all-knowing stare she uses when she really wants to get my attention.

What is it that ‘they’ say? You teach what you most need to learn.  Yah. That’s it.

So true.

What I want to leave you with here is a sense of camaraderie that you are not alone in your struggle with your animal companion or in your relationships.

One of the grandest things for me is knowing that if you are working on your relationship with your animal – whether that companion is a horse, dog, cat, turtle, bird or guinea pig – their love is unconditional and their patience seemingly infinite.

Relationship is a journey – a journey of surprises, gifts, growth, experience and many different feelings (a lot fun and a lot hard).  As you continue to get to know yourself…it does get easier.  And…you get ALL KINDS of seriously cool presents along the way!

I would like you to leave my blog supported and with a knowing that your feelings are honored here.

Do your very best to honor whatever you are feeling in the moment, take a break, do something totally different, sleep if you need to, hide if you need to and try to be ‘OK’ with not doing anything if you don’t want to.

And I will do my best to practice the same.  You have my word.  And I will share more here very soon.

I share much more about this in my ebook, The Way of Leadership – Manual and Workbook.

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We always have a choice of what to concentrate on. What to listen to. What to engage with.

Today, in the face of a very loud voice, I was dealing with the choice of whether or not to judge myself and whether or not to feel badly.  Went something like this:

Medium-to-loud voice in my head: Wow…now you know you shouldn’t be in this situation at the age that you are.

Me: Yeah…I  K N O W. (big sigh/shoulders starting to slump)

Voice: If ONLY you had made different choices.

Me: But look how much progress I have made in such a short amount of time. (looking back at the last year)

Voice: But is this where you R E A L L Y want to be NOW??

Me: No…(taking quick inventory of my life)…well…but…ok…now wait...

Voice: Mmmhmmm….see…

Me: My life DOES have MANY components of what I DO WANT.

Me – directed at Me and the Voice : YEAH – you have been working HARD girl!

Me – directed at Me and the Voice: Damn straight! I have been choosing to work on myself/support myself through some really important hard stuff. If other things had to take a back seat then that is just the way it is.  I am alright just where I am! Back OFF voice!

Voice: (silence)

______________________________________________________________________________________________

I think we ALL have days when it is really easy to entertain the voices we have in our heads – the shouldas, wouldas, couldas – ESPECIALLY when we are afraid or unsure.

The shouldas/wouldas/couldas…You know them – yah them!

They exist for everyone.  Yes, everyone.

And…it’s not about getting them to go away.

It’s about asking ourselves what we need when they start raising their voices and when we are feeling vulnerable/afraid/unsafe.

As this was all happening earlier today, I called up my cohort in crime good good friend and said that I just needed to talk things through…she was all ears. (makes her sound like she has big ears – she has nice ears actually)

I s-p-e-l-l-e-d it out for her myself.  My friend just listened. Like a pro.

The truth was easy to hear. (Sometimes, the truth isn’t easy to hear or even catch a fleeting glimpse of and that is OK – I knew that if I couldn’t my cohort COULD hear the truth. Or…I would make another call to work through it.)

If what you are thinking is making you feel badly in any way…it is NOT the truth. Period.

I am not my fear.  I am not my doubt.  Even if I did make a poor decision (which I did NOT), I am not THAT DECISION.

I am me.

Starr is telling me: (as I write this) Yes, you are YOU. Lovable YOU. Always OK and always worthy of kindness and understanding.

NO MATTER WHAT.

Me: Thank you, Starrlight. You are my wonder guru of a fab dog – the MOST FAB dog! Period.

We always have a choice of what to concentrate on. What to think about. What to engage with. Always.

Be kind to yourself. (and if in the moment, you can’t be kind to yourself, think of someone who IS kind to you or call them up!)

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40 Things I Am Grateful For

1. Starr…and her light
2. This great online space we can share
3. My mom – specifically for the mom-check-in calls as of late – makes me smile
4. My sister – specifically for the fun txt msgs as of late – love you, my sister
5. Bear, the cats, the guinea pigs, the hampsters, the rabbit, the sheep, the chinchilla
6. My fav blanket
7. Being able to write and create
8. My fab friends – the knit-chatters, my partner in business crime, my adopted grandmother
9. My quiet and safe, cozy place to live
10. My landlord and friend upstairs
11. Clean laundry…smellin’ good
12. Bed…ahhh…bed
13. Great music…Once – G. Hansard and M. Irglova – The Swell Season – great musicians/songwriters
14. Knitting
15. Big, steaming, hot mugs of delicious tea
16. Goat cheez, fresh greens, tomatoes, avocado, black pepper on toasted ezekiel bread
17. My guys
18. Hot water for a shower – I have the most immediate hot water ever!
19. A perfect movie – whether I want to laugh or cry or just enjoy
20. Technology – the ABILITY to watch the perfect movie or listen to the perfect music
21. No late fees on rented movies…unless you keep them so long that you now own them…whose fault?
22. Txt messages that come at the right moment and that make you laugh or get teary-eyed
23. A sexy man that knows HOW to listen – thank you!
24. My car – my good car
25. The dam where Starr and I walk almost every day
26. The ever-changing weather – love it ALL
27. Photos – little snippets of good times and photo albums
28. All of the creatures
29. Mother Earth
30. ALL of our spiritual guidance and help and downright ‘go-to’ angels
31. The mysterious ways in which our prayers get answered – usually in ways we never can predict
32. Unpredictability
33. The beautiful, majestic OCEAN and all of her creatures
34. My special friend – all-time fan of my work – Nichole
35. All connection
36. The special tree that I have stood against lately in my “mouth-hanging-open” moments of process
37. Resilience
38. Humor – specifically – being able to laugh at myself – hard
39. A really good marguerita
40. Banana teabread

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This morning as Starr and I walked at the dam and met up with other dogs and their people I was suddenly clearer about a message that has repeatedly come to my attention. A reflective message that Starr is mirroring back to me. What a gift!

I have struggled, as many of you already know, with Starr’s reaction to other dogs. I felt nervousness, deep concern and I felt/feel responsible for her reaction to a dog that is unstable in their energy…i.e. the other dog also doesn’t know how to react to Starr or has had negative interaction in the past so is fearful or aggressive and acting that out with Starr.

At times, Starr tends to react to the other dog’s energy (because of her own past stuff) instead of being a leader and setting a relaxed tone for interacting. I just recently started telling her that now that she is an adult (she is 5 yrs old) that I expect her to be able to take the lead and set the tone and energy for interaction with others…i.e. if the other dog is hyper or demanding attention or aggressive in any way – I would expect Starr would remain calm and be the positive example.

Please understand that I still realize she is working her stuff out – just as I am. Yay.

My intention is to continue to allow her all the time and space she needs (and practice) to feel more and more confident with other dogs and their energy.

The mirrored part for me – the divine gift that she is showing me – is that I, also, do not have to let any outside influence determine my mood, my energy, my actions (or reactions), my decisions or the quality of my day. Period. Simple stuff. Not so simple to feel though.

I have had several challenges come up at once in the past couple of weeks. The challenges have triggered me in multiple ways. This in turn has made it even more challenging to stay focused on the positive and all that I have in my life that is good…that is love…that is choice….that is opportunity.

Thank you Starr – as always – for leading the way and pointing me in the right direction.

To growth! To love! To appreciation! To being in the moment!

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Having faith in our high-energy pups when they are still young or still acting young is challenging – especially if they have any behaviors that concern you.

I know this inside and out.

Starr is my high-energy, strong-willed, independent, huge-hearted, highly intelligent, ball of joy companion – none of these descriptors are any less a component of her personality and being than the other.  She feels ALL passionately and lives her life to the fullest.

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Starr in her joy!

All you have to do is witness her running free, after our morning hikes, and anyone would know – this dog knows how to live!

Starr knows how to fully immerse herself in her morning run (see pic), how to totally enjoy chewing her bone and lick up all the almond butter.  She knows how to lie on her back and completely give in to the perfect belly rub and “leg scratch”.  (If she is on her back you can scratch the outside of her back legs and she will go into a fully body stretch.)

Starr is my example – she is my inspiration – she is my greatest teacher.

She is my first choice of teacher if I need to be reminded to come back to the moment.

On those days that worry, eagerness or over-analyzation are trying their best to keep my full attention, Starr brings me back to the moment as soon as I let her loose.

This morning I was reminded of my faith in Starr and how we have grown and bonded together.

Another dog approached us on our morning walk.  This large, male pup crosses our path almost daily as we seem to have similar schedules.  I know that he really likes Starr and Starr really likes him.  They want the opportunity to play but most of the time the other person just wants to say, “Hi” and keep walking – which I respect.

Usually, when we first see this pup he is loose but he waits for his person when they see us, he then is leashed and we walk by one another.  This morning, though, he was loose and choosing not to listen to his person.  He came eagerly over wagging his  WHOLE BODY full force and sniffed noses with Starr.  They wanted to play so badly.

Immediately after they sniffed noses and each took a turn jumping in place this pup turned right around and headed back to his disgruntled person and to his leash.

I said, “He just wanted to say hi”, but she was not happy and seemed to not hear what I had said.  This was when I was reminded of a time a few years back when Starr had done the exact same thing – more than once.

I had had the same reaction.

She had gone up to “visit” a dog that we had repeatedly passed by during our walks.  They had sniffed noses, Starr wagged her body and then headed straight back to me to contentedly continue our walk.  She was happy to continue on but I had been stressed and worried – I didn’t want to scare anyone (she is a pit bull after all) and I didn’t know the temperament of the other pup.

Or how their temperaments would be together.

After walking for a while I realized that I could choose to look at what had happened as a sign of progress instead of an act of defiance or a strong-willed dog asserting herself and not wanting to listen. (Now, don’t get me wrong – I realized and still realize that I do not want Starr to just run up to other dogs whenever she chooses – I realize it is unsafe.)

I was reminded that there is a constant need for balance in a relationship – a give and take that needs to take place for there to be respect for both beings whether two-legged or four-legged.

I realized this was an opportunity to trust Starr.

I also realized that Starr is here on earth at this time for her own reasons as well as the reasons that intertwine with me in sharing our lives with each other.  Starr is a healer and I felt strongly that she needed to go up to greet the pup that we had passed many times on our walks back then for a reason I may never exactly understand.  Starr is also a joyful being and may have just simply wanted to say, “Hi.”

May this serve as a reminder to try and have faith in our companions when they seem out of control and that they will never listen or fully bond with us.

They just might surprise you!


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Listening

Leaves rustle on the light wind, a chickadee calls its name, the water gently laps the shoreline, I hear myself take a deep breath as I stand with my eyes closed.  I am pulled by some invisible force – reminded- to just BE.

Easy listening

Mansfield Dam, easy listening

Just listen. Listen for the sweetness in the moment when you are not thinking about when you return to work or the house that needs its floor vacuumed or the meeting you have to prepare for.  Listen for the love in the voices of the ones that are closest to you when you are not talking.  Just listen.

You do not have to remove yourself from the surrounding walls of your house or where you work.  You do not have to be out in nature – although for those of you that have not stopped to just BE in a really long time, bringing yourself somewhere new can support you to listen.  New surroundings.  New energy.  New input.  Not a bad idea.

Just listen to your surroundings and to what the moment wishes to convey.  Just stop, listen and BREATHE.  There are no other requirements.

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