|March 22, 2016||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, LOLs & BOLs, Mindfulness, Seasonal, Training/Behavior, Videos|
I peed on the sand dune. And I’d do it again.
There I squatted, sea breeze gracing my bottom, between clumps of too-transparent sea grass.
Had it come to this? In the sweet relief of bladder desperation, I had to answer: yes. As I looked up (to be sure I was alone), I realized I had let go under the synchronized glows of the rising moon, the setting sun, and the rainbow flares of a sundog.
Bathroom deprivation threatened to soil my perfectly beachy b-day picnic.
Pink champagne is extra bubbly-sweet when poured by a charming man, sipped by soothing waves, and paired with sea salt chocolate chip cookies. But my burgeoning bladder was winning out. Something had to be done – now.
And that’s how I found myself thanking the Universe for every cursed squat I’d endured in the gym.
No wobbly legs on this girl. I scaled those dunes & released without shame or shakes. I am woman, hear me roar. (Just don’t peek behind the dune.)
Was it necessary? I could have hiked out & driven to a porta potty.
Was it legal? Probably not. Was it ethical? Who decides that? Was it pretty? Lord help me, nope.
But was it memorable? Absolutely!
I will never forget that birthday, the magic colors marking the sky or the champagne’s blush. I had unwittingly peed my way to marking a moment in time that I’ll forever cherish without regret.
The grand sand pee happened on the heels of hunkering down with my folks in Blizzardy, PA.
What to do when you’re snowed into a retirement facility by a sparkly-white historical weather event? First, you play “find the fireplace” wherever you are. Everything’s yummier by a fire’s golden warm glow: food, wine & convo. But at around 3-feet deep, I felt compelled to mark the moment myself:
Why does marking a moment with childlike wonder & abandon seem rare?
My pup, Rusty, blissfully potties on the beach without hesitation. (Now I get it, little guy!)
As a trainer, I guide clients to counter their human nature.
We are hardwired to focus on negatives: the wrongs in our world. We do this so well, we wear awareness blinders that block the sweet, magical-markable stuff from sight. So, for example, folks notice & react to a jumping puppy. Instead, we should see Pup’s more frequent 4-on-the-floor successes. But past just seeing, mindfully reward those successes with praise and/or a cookie. (No chocolate chips for Pup!) Make that moment matter. Suddenly, you see a non-jumping puppy, and Pup feels seen when calm. You get each other, and you get more of what you see.
See & seize life’s magical moments.
Make your mark on them. Watch them appear more often, in memorable technicolor.
Cake by the ocean, anyone? Perhaps, she writes with a wink.
Definitely chocolate chip cookies. And big belly laughs. Life’s sweeter when lived in full color.
Share your no-regrets stories with us. It’s at once liberating & inspiring! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
- “See and seize life’s magical moments.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “We teach each other how to live.” ~Anne Michaels, poet
- “Life’s sweeter when lived in full color.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “If everyone would look for that uniqueness then we would have a very colorful world.” ~Michael Schenker
- “You get more of what you see.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “What makes things memorable is that they are meaningful, significant, colorful.” ~Joshua Foer
- “I’m a get-a-dress-at-a-thrift-shop-but-open-a-bottle-of-champagne kind of person.” ~Helen Mirren, actress
©2016 The Soulful Pet
|December 18, 2015||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Music, Seasonal, Training/Behavior, Videos|
I’m worried about you. Where’s your head, human?
I swear that’s the thought my Rusty’s side-eyed look just conveyed. He knows Mom’s not herself this week. In his infinite poodle wisdom, I’m certain he feels the inevitable seasonal shift. But what exactly lies beneath Rusty’s worries?
Below the appealing, concealing din-frosting of holiday music & lights, there lies a darkness.
It’s an insidious, chaotic undercurrent that sweeps us along, oblivious to the ugly likelihood that we’ve distanced ourselves a bit (or a bunch) from our loving natures.
Let me illustrate with a true tale.
Gather ’round & hug your pets. It’s a humans-behaving-badly story that inexplicably occurred after Paris & San Bernardino, in this holiday season. (If you follow my FB writer’s page, you know this one.)
I stood in line at the bank. (Retro, I know.)
Behind me, a woman stood in line, calmly writing on the counter the line forms along. As the line moved, she moved along the counter, holding up no one. Behind her, an abrasive woman crankily & accusingly asked Writing Woman, “Are you in line?”. Upon answering yes, Cranky Gal pursued her, declaring, “You’re not acting like you’re in line.” (I know 5-year olds who would never do this.) Exasperated by the response to her only crime of facing the counter rather than the direction of the line, Ms. Writing finally snipped, “That’s right, I’m IN LINE.” By now, Ms. Cranky had a fan in line behind her. I’ll call him Mr Pile-on. Mr. P. didn’t like Ms. W’s defensive tone & fanned Ms. C’s flames by spewing, “Nice.” (Not cool, people.) Cranky G., a bully now feeling buoyed & justified in her “outrage”, loudly declared, “Well, you should have done that at home.” (“That” would be the innocent writing on the counter that the line formed along – the counter designated for that sole purpose.) Writing retorted, “Nope, nope, I’m doing it RIGHT here.”
It escalated exponentially.
They were “at war” for no reason. I could feel their icky-thick, bickering energy rolling over my back. The woman in front of me palpably eyerolled-sighed. I whispered, “Right?” She said, “Breathe.” I said, “Exactly.” With that, we cleansed our little oasis in line. I hoped our vibe would displace the toxins in the space behind us, as well.
I left the bank knowing that we CAN be civil.
Nastiness divides; compassion unites. I chose to compassionately wonder what happened in Cranky’s life to ooze out so illogically in an inertly short bank line. I chose to wish her well, not let her actions color my day, and continue to put positivity into my world. I believe in kindness’ ripple effect. We are, after all, all connected.
So what happened?
You’ve surely experienced your own version of that tale. Exactly when & how do we disconnect?
Have you sat in silence to hear your soul lately? If not, that’s the crux of the discord.
Without stillness & inner focus, peace’s light dims. Nature abhors a vacuum. A void of peaceful stability will be filled by chaos. Peaceful thoughts, peace of mind, a peaceable kingdom – diminished, but always within reach.
What’s the fix?
Get back to your true self so you can give the best you to others. Check our how-to-be-present list; check it twice:
- Get still. This season, I’m fond of pj’s, a room lit only by candles or the Christmas tree, a cozy-fluffy blanket & my favorite tea, while cuddled with my cozy-fluffy poodle. No TV. No phone. No computer. God knows, no news. Tune out to tune into the silence within yourself. Get still; get clarity.
- Just be; just breathe. Ditch the rat race. Shun the shoulds. To hell with the haftas. Is that societally imposed materialistic thing you had planned a must-do? No. Not really. Martha Stewart, who? Deep breath. Let go….
- See yourself in the mirror your pet shows you. Pets can only be present. That’s what we love about them. Follow their leads. Rusty’s calm when I am. I notice his restlessness before I tune into my own. For him, I become present again. Recently, I counseled a client to resuming her meditation practice because her dog wants a peaceful pack. If she’s rattled, he chews. What’s your pet teaching you about presence?
- Be fully present in each moment. Create moments worthy of your presence. Now that you’ve taken the time to reconnect with yourself, connect in person with those you cherish. Mindfully slow down… Feel the warmth of your partner’s hand in yours. Hear the happy music of your friend’s laughter. Take in walks with Pup with all of your senses. Actively listen to those who need to be heard. Really notice. Be a student of the moment.
- Trust that these moments last a lifetime. Things don’t. Connections, feelings & experiences shared with loved ones are priceless. The gifts, errands, places-to-be and places-to-be-seen that you’re racing to reach? No one will care or remember them in just a few months. Including you. Put your heart, soul & essence into what’s real: loving presence.
This season and always, give yourself & others the gift of presence.
Truly, intentionally be in the moment. Reconnect with your essence. Presence is better than any present under the tree, we guarantee. xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
- “When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there? ~Thich Nhat Hanh
- “Get still; get clarity.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” ~Wayne Dyer
- “Put your heart, soul and essence into what’s real: loving presence.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “We are, after all, all connected.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Just be; just breathe.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.” ~Shonda Rhimes
c 2016 The Soulful Pet
|November 8, 2015||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Music, Pup culture, Videos|
Last year, I bubble wrapped my heart.
I did this once before, after my sweet-soulmate cat, Alex, died suddenly.
His death deeply, devastatingly impacted me, emotionally & physically. Afterward, my heart wasn’t yet securely tied & bound (thanx, Pat Benatar), because I was 24/7 nursing & chefing for my senior, barely mobile & epileptic boxer boy, Gumbo. When he passed later that year, I was relieved for him. His discomfort was over. I believe with all my being that Alex & Gumbo are in a wonderful place now. But then, I sealed the wrap over my heart completely. It all hurt too, too much.
Fast forward: For 3 years I was content to be Auntie Ruth to a stream of visiting pups, as well as all of my clients’ pets.
So I didn’t miss having a pet; I worked with animals daily, with the freedom of traveling on a whim. No petsitters, daycares or pre-travel vet visits required. Just me & my bubble-wrapped heart, joyfully, obliviously traveling. Are you starting to see the downside of the wrap approach? Good. ‘Cuz I wasn’t seeing clearly yet, what with all the bubbles & plastic clouding up my soul.
Enter Rusty: a delightfully sassy-cool poodle puppy.
I knew him from the start as his Auntie Ruth, for training & puppy-sitting. For reasons for a future story, I had the opportunity to adopt him. Without a thought, I jumped at the chance. Such a gift. But my heart was still sealed….
The first few months with Rusty were blissfully healing, perhaps for both of us.
I was aware, though, that I had him at arm’s length. I wouldn’t be hurt again. Ahh, but love finds a way in & out. I woke up one day to realize that poodle-love had me wrapped around his paw – hook, line & sinker. We were both better off, more than I knew.
Last year, I was blindsided by betrayal.
People who called themselves family & friends, who said they loved me, suddenly devalued, dismissed and discarded me. I had given my heart & soul to people who couldn’t love me. I had fallen for an all-so-conditional illusion. (Fodder for a future tale.) My head knew the truth: love that was never there to start can’t be lost and needn’t be mourned. But my heart? It was in deep, deep trouble. Certain that life itself was at risk, I wrapped & sealed my hurting heart in layers of bubbles. Deep, thick, cushiony layers of the big, big bubbles. Funny, those are the most poppable ones…..
I dated my girlfriends. I leaned on true family. I cuddled my kindred soul, Rusty. I became wonder woman, reinventing and rediscovering my superpowers. I found my voice – as a writer and an intuitive. I found myself – the girl I was before I gave myself away. Legit love from & for friends, Rusty & myself – gradually healed me. The warmth and glow of it all melted bubbles away.
Today, my heart is an open, ooey-gooey, vulnerable oasis.
It’s the place where I live. I write, work and love from my heart. It guides my voice and life. It doesn’t play games. It abhors held-in emotions. Basically, if I feel it, I say it. My heart is wise & kind, so no one gets hurt. Especially me. I trust that.
A six-year old once told me with great earnest: “The problem with pets is that they die.”
That’s a jaded adult thought, not one of a wide-eyed, open-minded child. That’s bubble-wrap talk. Suffocate your heart, and it shrinks. Hurt can’t get in – true. But love can’t get in – or out, either. Yes, real love is messy-risky. But I trust the unwrapping is a worthwhile leap of faith….
Heck, it’s risky for me to write this post.
I never, ever thought I’d write about love. I don’t have a gift for annoyingly sappy, flowery prose. But is that what’s required? A bit of a think-break here, before I (gulp) bare more soul. In the meantime, I’m with P!nk (yet again): “The Truth About Love” does come @ 3 am. You do wake up f*cked up, so you grab a pen….
I unwrapped my heart.
With Rusty & friends buoying me, I found love – real love. It’s passionate, unconditional, trustable, scary-honest, rapid-growth, biped love this time around. Together, we’re unwrapping insulating layers from previous hurts. A juicy, someday story-to-be-told, indeed: a tale of love layers.
The only bubbles I need now are chillin’ in the frig. Lucky, grateful girl. xo ~Ruth~
- “Love that was never there to start can’t be lost and needn’t be mourned.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi
- “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. ~Rumi
- “The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.” ~Gilbert Chesterton, English writer
- “If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.” ~Mik Everett (not Drake!)
©2015 The Soulful Pet
|July 31, 2015||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Pup culture, Recipes, Seasonal, Soul food, Videos|
On a blue moon eve, we’re relishing life’s sweetness.
In the midst of rapid-fire, life-altering, all-good changes for Rusty & I, one thing remains a constant: change itself. Perhaps counterintuitively, that is what makes life oh-so-sweet.
Because only change is certain, mindfulness is essential.
Gazing at the moon, I know the now is everything. In the now, be present, be grateful, and let go. Let go of what’s past, what’s not yours to control. Don’t cling to what’s bound to change. Ultimately, mindfulness creates happiness in the face of chaos.
Last month I briefly tuned into
news chaos after a self-imposed grey-out.
I had enjoyed a creatively productive morning, solving problems in my head (writing ideas, organizational solutions, meal planning & laying out my week’s agenda). Then, seeking a break, I plugged in & immediately became less positively productive. I made the mistake of perusing media, which I’d intentionally avoided for the past week. Suddenly: prison-break killers loose in NY; another Bush political ad (the drumbeat begins); a raccoon apocalyptically rides an alligator (because Florida); shark attacks; escaped Georgian zoo animals; & a flooding-likely tropical storm in the Gulf. Now, I questioned: I care, BUT, do I need any of this noisy info? Simply, no.
In a blink, none of that din matters in my life. But this moment did:
Last week, a tall friend rescued a distressed hummingbird from my patio skylight. It was an exercise in gratitude. I was thankful for his help, as was, I believe, the hummingbird. Later in the day, my friend randomly & sincerely said, as though he was a boy describing magic, “I got to hold a hummingbird this morning.” I hadn’t even thought about it that way. What a gift to us all.
Shift gears to get to the sweet stuff, which sustains & surrounds us more than chaos.
It’s in the hummingbird’s beauty & flight to freedom. It’s in the rewardable moment when a jumping puppy fleetingly has four paws on the floor. And it’s in life’s happy accidents. (Accidents? I don’t believe in them. They are our teachers: serendipities the Universe wants us to see.)
Rusty & I had a sweet, serendipitous kitchen moment.
As I inhaled a garlic bagel smothered in cream cheese, topped with dill, capers & smoked salmon – I noticed Rusty’s stare. Say what you will, I was under poodle mind control. I covered some cantaloupe with smoked salmon (just a bit ‘cuz it’s salty, but safely cooked) and shared the bounty with my foodie fido. On a rushed morning, together, we created a blissful, in-the moment, savory summery-snack.
Rusty’s always been a canine cantaloupe connoisseur:
So, silently reflect on tonight’s moon.
There’s wisdom in that silence. A blue moon is about setting clear intentions. My suggestion: Take 10 minutes to aim for mindfulness. Marvel at the moon as you howl with Pup. Last full moon, Rusty & I tipped our heads back & let it rip. Soon, the neighborhood’s pooches joined our chorus. It was magical.
Intentions are powerful.
Set them thoughtfully, positively. Send them sweetly, heartfeltly. Choose an intention of daily mindfulness. With practice, your mindset will shift to one blessed with spontaneity, creativity, appreciation, self-knowledge & happiness. What a lovely, wondrous starting point in a blue moon – a savor-worthy summer event.
What are you waiting for? Get your howl on! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
- “With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?” ~Oscar Wilde
- “If you’re trying to find out what comes next, turn off everything you own that has an OFF switch and listen.” ~Ann Patchett
- “When you wait, you get very clear on what you desire and how much you want it. And when you get clear on what you really want, you can manifest anything.” ~Lissa Rankin
- “An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside you.” ~Goi Nasu
- “Intentions are powerful. Set them thoughtfully, positively. Send them sweetly, heartfeltly.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Because only change is certain, mindfulness is essential.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “There’s wisdom in the silence.” ~Ruth Hagen
©2015 The Soulful Pet
|May 30, 2015||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, LOLs & BOLs, Music, Pup culture, Rusty's place, Seasonal, Videos|
Ahhroo! We’re back!
Mom & I are havin’ a howlin’-good time.
It’s our favorite season, filled with sun, song, fun & friends.
My buddies, Molly & Elliott, are hangin’ with me while Mom preps for her big news.
(More to come on that soon; I’ve been sworn to secrecy. Shhh! But seriously, how long can a poodle chill with news like this?)
In the meantime, I highly recommend that you grab your howl-worthy friends, dawgs or bipeds, and sing in the season with me, pooches!
Don’t tell Mom, but I caught her howlin’ to this one. BOL.
“Louder! Sing!” C’mon…… join us! ~Rusty~
A note from Ruth:
I’m a confessed, shameless car dancer & singer.
Rusty knows he can’t bust me for doing my thing. So, how do you do you? How are you & your pets celebrating the season & soaking up the sun? What’s your fave song to howl to? (You have howled with your pup, right?) We recommend the chorus of No Doubt’s “Sweet Escape”.
Go ahead. We won’t judge. xo ~Ruth (& Rusty)~
“Just do your thing and sing!” ~Ruth Hagen
“The only thing better than singing is more singing.” ~Ella Fitzgerald
©2015 The Soulful Pet
|February 16, 2015||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle|
Today’s not just any day. Today’s my birthday.
While I’m not opposed to telling you the number, I won’t for an unlikely reason. I don’t see age anymore. I see souls. It’s a gift – a lovely thing, really. It’s a bit like looking at Rusty and seeing his whole being, rather than just a dog or just a poodle. Moving forward in my life and my career, I know I will share this soul-seeing gift with others.
When my husband of 25 years left me last year, it shook me awake.
My intuition stepped up and spoke up. She guided me, cared for me & saved me. In my awakening, I chose happiness, released my inner writer, and realized my empathic & intuitive gifts. I am finally embracing these gifts for what they are. They’re not “skills” (as I was once told by someone who didn’t get me) or “curses” (as if I’m somehow lesser for them). I’m so happy to share them now, the keys to my soul’s calling. Knowing that is the best present a girl can get!
This week, Helen, a dear friend of my mother’s, died.
Helen was amazing. She marched to her own drumbeat, not caring who thought what of her. The world needs more chicks like that. She was a fiercely independent spirit. She shrugged off her pain, but spoke from her heart. And she expected you to speak from your heart if she let you into her world. That was the gift she gave me; she let me in. She insisted that if I visited my parents I should visit her. The gritty girl talk between Helen, my mom & I was memorably priceless. When Helen found out about my divorce, she did not pity me. Instead, she spoke to my soul: “Get out there. Don’t close yourself in. You’re too special to not share with the world.” I had my marching orders…..
So today I celebrate. I am ageless. I am reborn.
I will love fearlessly, I will write fearlessly and I will live fearlessly.
And my life will be unapologetically beautiful for it. This is not selfish; this is necessary, like breathing. This life celebration is what Helen was talking about.
My true celebration began the day my divorce became final.
That is not spiteful; it’s joyful. On that day, this “poem” flowed out of me:
“Today, I celebrate.” ~Ruth Hagen
Today, I celebrate freedom. Freedom to be myself, freedom to evolve into my best self. My soul’s freedom.
Today, I celebrate love. Love for myself and others, human & animal.
Today, I celebrate my truth. Truth that I speak, truth that I write, truth in my work, truth in my heart.
Today I celebrate kindness. Kindness extended to me by others & kindness I live to return.
Today I celebrate my essence. My essence is not broken or flawed; she is lovely. My essence is empathic, intuitive, honest, spiritual, peaceful, grateful, playful, irreverent, quirky-geeky, joyful, uncensored & loving.
Today, I celebrate. Today, I am single. Today, I am reborn.
So, dear Helen, this I know is what you wished me. This is what I wish me, too.
Together, I hope we inspire others to see souls, heart speak and find life’s drumbeat. xo ~Ruth~
“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” ~Buddha
“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” ~Mary Oliver
©2015 The Soulful Pet
|January 20, 2015||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Recipes, Seasonal, Soul food|
So. Let’s take the pulse of your year thus far, shall we?
Resolutions not-so-much? Whining & we’re only weeks into 2015? Right, that’s because you ran that rat race straight into the resolution mousetrap. Have no fear, overwhelmed whiskered-one. There’s a way out – if you’re open to it.
I have a devilishly long 2015 to-do list.
Believe me, I’m the type of gal who would/should, to my mind, accomplish everything by 1/2. Notice I didn’t say “could”. ‘Cuz I can’t…. and neither can you.
Here’s what we can do: Rewrite the rules.
Yep, new rules for the new year. They’re not complicated, they’re cheap & they payoff in spades. Best part: Break ’em & shake ’em if ya wanna!
I’m not a dictator, not even a benevolent one.
I won’t write rules for you. But I will tell you what Rusty & I came up with so far. It’s an evolving list, as it should be. We all evolve (Darwin!): body, mind & soul. To quote Mary Matalin: “Inflexible minds are boring minds.” Boring is not on this list, so flexible we shall be!
Ruth & Rusty’s “Happy Now & Here” Rules:
- No resolutions – ever. See? Easy.
- Always do a twofer. Whenever you can, double up. Buy 2 tickets to a show instead of one. Match a friend to the entertainment & take them. Buy 2 bags of pet food. Donate one to a shelter or give it to a neighbor in need. Make 2 batches of yummies & give one away. (See below for a very shareable recipe!) Buy a sandwich @ the deli, & treat the person behind you to one, too. Bring your trashcan in, and heck, drag the neighbor’s in, too. Got it?
- Take a vacation in your hometown. And talk to people. Learn their names. Take your dog; you’re guaranteed to see things through his nose/eyes you hadn’t noticed before. Convos are randomly uber-easy with Pup nearby, as you know. I find it fascinating how delightfully open folks are around animals. No Fido, & Fluffy just won’t play that? Be a solo tourist; ask people where they like to eat, drink, hike, or hang with art & books. Really listen to their tips and actually go do what they recommend. It’s the best. (Trust me, introverts. You can do it.)
- Purge with purpose. Right, I did it today. I filled & delivered 3 purpose-filled bags: donation, consignment & reuse. In the past, Rusty’s purged unused toys. He doesn’t miss them, but his pals love them. I wholeheartedly believe that less clutter in your space is less clutter in your mind & soul. Besides, Rusty just has too many toys. (Shhh….)
- Choose happiness. If you follow TSP, you know this choice is big. It changed my life. My first week of 2015 was a downer. But I brought it back to happy asap. How? I connect with friends & family I love, who truly love me back. I ask for help. I create beauty. I play with Rusty. (Get on the floor & play with your pet; it’s a whole other world down there!) I exercise, eat well, love with all my heart, sing, dance, bake, sip wine, hug, laugh, & smile with my eyes. I’m curious by nature. I consult Reiki masters, shamans, energy healers, Buddhists & yogis. I read everything. If it lights my soul up, sign me up. What lights your soul up?
Five easy things. Do them simply & sweetly, as often as you like.
Be kind to yourself & others in the process. Do not judge your progress or count how many you’ve done. Do not judge others by their response or count what you receive in return. Just be. Just do. Find yourself & your bliss in the being, doing, giving & receiving of each moment.
Speaking of giveable yummies, try this ridiculously easy recipe.
Each batch is an individual serving that’s frozen. When you’re ready, pop as many servings as you like into the oven and roast away! You can share it with your pets (no garlic or onions, please). Or deliver packaged portions to a friend who’s going through a tough time. Or invite a friend over for an impromptu home-cooked meal.
Ruth’s Rosemary-Mustard Roasted Chicken & Veggies
Ingredients (use organic when you can)
1 lb new potatoes, quartered
2 carrots, peeled & cut into 2-inch sticks
2 medium zucchini, cut into 2-inch sticks
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
course sea salt & pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 1-quart resealable plastic freezer bags
In a large bowl, combine prepped veggies. Stir in 2 Tbs olive oil, 1 1/2 Tbs mustard, 1/2 tsp sea salt & 1/4 tsp pepper. Separately, season the chicken with ground sea salt & pepper, to taste. Divide veggie mix and chicken among the 4 bags. Add 1/2 rosemary sprig to each bag & seal. Freeze, until ready to cook, for up to 3 months. Each bag is one serving. (This cooks best from frozen, so get your chill on!)
To cook: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Empty bag(s) into a baking dish. Roast for 25 minutes. Stir veggies & flip chicken. Roast 20-25 minutes more, occasionally stirring veggies, until chicken is cooked through. Remove the rosemary sprigs & plate up the goodness!
(Rusty chowed on bits of veg & chicken from this dish. If I were making him his own bag, however, I’d leave out the salt & pepper. I’d replace the 1/2 rosemary sprig with 1 Tbs chopped, fresh parsley, mixed into the veggies.)
~Lovingly lifted & tweaked from Real Simple~
Wait…. this just in: Rusty said, “That’s a twofer you can drool fer!” You were expecting Shakespeare? He’s a poodle, peeps. He’s a poodle.
Happy Now & Here! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2015 The Soulful Pet
|November 5, 2014||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Recipes, Soul food, Uncategorized|
Where have we been?
Traveling; spiritual journeying (me – I don’t know about Rusty); spending time with family, friends & nature; and eating well. We’ve collected wonderful memories & stories along the way. Here’s a taste….
I hate airports & planes.
It’s not a fear of flying. It’s the impersonal, cattle-herding, soul-sucking nature of the airport that wears me out like the flu. Once boarded, I find myself praying not for the plane to remain intact for the duration, but for my seatmate to not be an escaped lunatic. Truly, being trapped with insanity or Chatty Kathy is my nightmare in the air. Folks ask me why I don’t take Rusty. I wonder why on Earth he’d enjoy it anymore than I do? I think he prefers to stay on terra firma, curled up in a biped’s bed. I get that.
I confess, I used my miles to fly first class on my last trip.
I’m a solo-flying newbie, so comfort eases my stress. A good friend urged me not to use my miles to fly domestically. She wants me to see the world; I want that, too. But a girl has got to get comfy flying alone first; the world will wait.
Fast forward to boarding.
I finished a text while praying to the plane gods that the seat next to me would stay empty. Suddenly, a cheery voice said, “Well, hello there!” I looked up and saw an open, genuine, happy soul smiling with his eyes. Immediately, I was relieved. This would be a terrific flight. We toasted, laughed & chatted the entire trip. We anti-smalltalked about life’s twists & turns, family, work, dreams, goals – it was effortless & meaningful. If I dozed off, he greeted my awakenings with, “So, d’ya have a good nap? Want anything?” I thanked the plane gods several times that flight. Lovely, lovely guy.
The return flight was completely different.
I sat beside Mr. Gadget. Despite my polite efforts to catch his eye to @ least greet him, he plugged in & tuned out from the start. I’m not judging; who’s to say that he wasn’t using his own social/emotional crutches? Clearly, the rule was no talking. Faced with a bad movie, not being tired enough to sleep & cracking a new book open – I chose none. Instead, I opted to spend 6 hours on a plane with no tech, no books, no movies, no talking. A few naps. Lots of internal chatter about where my life is going, why some I loved have left it, if I can make a go of my dreams, & if others will hop on board with my visions. Daunting stuff, that. As I watched clouds, lightning & snow covered peaks go by, I finally heard my intuition speak. (That girl needs silence, no way around it.) She said, “Continue to find inner peace & happiness.” Sigh. So simple, yet it’s everything. This writer & awakening healer needs to listen in the silence. We all do.
Rusty & I celebrated our reunion with a kitchen concoction. It’s basic, ‘cuz after a trip I usually only have pantry basics. And, I’m usually too dog-tired to slog to the grocery store. So this happened:
Ruth & Rusty’s Simple Smoothie
Ingredients (use organic when you can)
1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
1 frozen banana, sliced
1/2 cup non-fat milk
2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla
Puree in a blender until smooth & serve asap. I drink mine from a glass. Rusty prefers his served on a saucer, topped with some oats & a dash of cinnamon. Really, he does. He refused it otherwise.
~Tweaked a tad from Martha Stewart~
Here’s the thing: finding inner peace & happiness is an inside job.
You can’t rely on someone or some place or some time to make you happy. Period. Look inward. Yes, it’s scary. Who cares? Just do it. Those negative thoughts & voices you hear in the silence? They’re not you. Not the real you. The real you is love & gratitude. So any voices who talk smack about you like you couldn’t imagine talking to a loved one…let them go. That’s your gremliny brain prattling on with hurtful nonsense. Notice those thoughts, and watch them pass by like the scenery from a plane’s window. Don’t push them away; that strengthens them. Notice & release. Come back to your grateful heart & breath. This takes daily practice because you’re retraining your brain that’s naturally hardwired for negativity. Think of it as working out your happiness muscle.
Ditch your expectations.
Expectations are created by perceptions. What? Yeah, they’re not real, either. Like the gremlins in your dome, what you think should happen isn’t necessarily best for you. (Gasp! Your ego could be wrong!) If you don’t attach to an outcome, you won’t be hurt if it doesn’t unfold. And, you’ll be able to see the fork in the road offering your better path. You’ll also see the wonders around you for not clinging to a mythical outcome. Clinging causes suffering. Self-imposed suffering stifles happiness. Back to my plane ride: While I thought I didn’t want a seatmate, in each case, the men who sat next to me gifted me. One with connection with another soul, one with connection with my own soul. Be present; be mindful; be happy.
Yep. Big, juicy, nasty shit-storms. Stay strong; weather the turbulence. Take shelter by leaning hard on people who truly love you. Let them help you because they want to help you. Asking for help is strong, not weak. Slog through the gooey, mucky mud puddles with your pals. You must go through it, and you can get through it. But you’re not alone in it. My mama’s fond of saying, “This too shall pass.” And, like a storm, it does. It does, friend. (Oopsie, sorry for the swear words, mum.)
So that’s what happens when I fly solo. Deep freakin’ thoughts – or welcome distractions from delightful peeps. Either way, I’m cool. But I am glad to be back on terra firma with my pal, Rusty.
Convince your mind to follow your heart, and enjoy the ride! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2014 The Soulful Pet
|September 10, 2014||Posted by Ruth under "Wordless" Wednesdays, Lifestyle, LOLs & BOLs, Pup culture, Videos|
A quick-witted member of our little FB pack-tribe with a wicked sense of humor
replied with this pic. Mystery solved, girl. I like your style!
Has anyone bothered to ask elephants exactly why they swim? Very philosophical, yes?
For that, I give you Ricky Gervais: philosopher & elephant whisperer extraordinaire!
Hop on over & join our FB pack-tribe. We’ll see you there! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
|September 9, 2014||Posted by Ruth under Uncategorized|
“Impossible”, you say?
You watch your dog delight in endlessly fetching that disgustingly slimy ball. You watch your cat squish herself into the tiniest nook or balance on the wobbliest perch. You ask, “How can that be fun? How can that be comfy?”
Our pets are blessed with the ability to feel happiness, as are we.
But they’re more open to what brings them joy than we are. Before you think them simple-minded, how easy is it, really, to find joy in the little things? Maybe our pets are onto something. Keep. It. Simple. Stupid. Yep, a big, wet slobbery KISS is what your pets can teach you.
I know you’re an overthinker. I am, too. We’re human.
It’s easy for a goofy dog to be overcome with mud-puddle joy when he doesn’t have a job, kids, home, bills, etc. to deal with. Kitty’s purrfectly content with a sunny spot & batting feathers on a wand. She’s not carpooling, running errands, reporting to the boss (she’s the boss!), or making dinner while running on the fumes of empty. My point exactly.
Ever watch your pet just being and say, “It must be nice”?
After all, someone has to pay for the kibble, right? Ah, yes. But if that human someone isn’t happy, it all falls apart. So with that in mind, choose happiness. It’s a choice; make it now. Practice everyday. Start by finding time to mindfully join your pets in their bliss for just the shortest of periods. Be fully present. Soon you’ll say, “Now that IS nice.”
I chose happiness as my marriage fell apart around me.
My intuition spoke loudly & clearly as I looked in the mirror, heart pounding & hands trembling, at my shockingly tear-puffed eyes. She said, “Choose happiness.” I listened to her calming wisdom; it’s the best thing I ever did. It didn’t mean that I was happy @ any given moment, but it was my new foundation as the rug was yanked out from under me. I could feel it under my feet, in my bones, in my heart & in my soul. I honor it every day, and I wish it for you.
Life happens. Go ahead & choose happiness, anyway.
No excuses, because you’re so worth it. When things get rough, it’s critical to get back to happy. It’s all around you, if you open to it. No time now? Then schedule happiness into your day. Make it a priority; make you a priority. Be “self-ish“. How? Find quotes, art, people, nature, animals, music, books…. that inspire & resonate with you. Do it daily, like taking vitamins or exercising. Let’s get started….
My personal dose of back-to-happy vitamins, randomly discovered today.
May they inspire you, too!
“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but one’s self.” ~Virginia Woolf
- An article:
“How to Use Your Intuition for More Fun, Flow & Money in Your Business” by Stephanie Todaro
- A Buddhist tale:
“A man said to the Buddha, “I want happiness.” Buddha said, first remove “I”, that’s ego, then remove “want”, that’s desire. See now you are left with only happiness.” ~Unknown
- A personal moment of mindfulness inspired by last night’s beautiful moon:
“I look at the sky every night to remind me that we’re all connected. It’s at once calming & empowering to know that we are part of something so infinite, and by comparison our issues are so finite. ~Ruth Hagen
- An intuitive message last night:
“You need more silence.” Since I never doubt her, I’m taking steps to create more silence immediately. I will share them with you next week. In the meantime, I signed up for a free 3-hour seminar on beginning meditation @ my local Shambhala Center. I need help being a student of silence!
- A walk with Rusty
- And a happy song!
Life, Love & Laughter – That’s what it’s all about, humans.
Choose happiness. Go on & get yourself some! We’ll be here with daily inspiration.
Share what inspires joy in you. Join us! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2014 The Soulful Pet