|January 18, 2017||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Science and soul, Training/Behavior|
2016 was a relentlessly hardcore teacher launching mammoth lessons at us.
Were you paying attention in last year’s class? I was.
Buckle up; this is gonna get personal.
And real. And uncomfy in parts. But that means last year’s lessons hit home – deeply. I accept 2016 as my teacher.
I often joke that since my post-divorce awakening as a writer and an intuitive, I somehow hooked myself to a comet that’s plummeting thru life lessons at a ridiculously head-spinning rate.
Or I’ve caught an epic wave that must be surfed to its fullest. Or both – waves by day, comets by night. Regardless, it’s a master class and I relish it.
I could be ongoingly outraged. We all could.
Hell, we’ve all been politically outraged, haven’t we? But that outrage means the lessons aren’t getting through to us. If we’re right-fighting, we’re not listening, not growing, not learning. So deep breath, and repeat after me: “Puppies & kittens, puppies & kittens, puppies & kittens.” Picture that fluffy cuteness, keep repeating & breathing. Better? Good. Time to chill out and absorb the past year’s lessons.
Here are 6 of my biggest takeaways from 2016 –
about humans, affirmed by animals (my life teachers):
- If a loving relative yells at me, it’s because she’s scared & stressed nearly to death.
She needs my compassion, understanding & stability. It does neither one of us any good if I match her aggression with aggression. Similarly, a fearfully aggressive animal needs you to kindly provide time & space for them to calm. Ultimately, they need your patient guidance through their fears later, when they’ve calmed to a non-defensive learning mode. A fierce response to humans or pets does lasting relationship damage. Don’t go there.
- If a loving partner is occasionally critical or negative, it’s because he’s stressed by his day’s events.
Again, calm compassion. And boundaries. And space and time. (He gifts me these if I’m scared or sad.) He unspokenly needs me to hold a mirror up to him, inspiring self-reflection, returning him to presence. A simple question then silence succeeds: Why are you irritated with me? (I know he’s not, really.) I do the same with irritable cats & dogs: What is not ok for you right now? How can I make you comfy? Growls from otherwise sweet animals require the question: What lies beneath the behavior? Are you sick/scared/painful/stressed? Be safe, but be there to be aware when they answer you. They will answer you. Then get to your vet.
- When life presents challenges – and it always does – they are surmountable.
Rather than obstacles, they are lessons in disguise. I see two perspectives. For legit problems, by definition, if the problem exists then so must its solution. For questionable problems, I apply the “5 by 5” rule: If it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t waste 5 minutes of your energy on it today. Just let that shit go. Back to pets: I counsel my clients that obstacles are opportunities. For example: that barking dog behind the fence that your pup can’t pass without transforming into a leashed Tasmanian devil? Be grateful for this conveniently located & safely contained distraction, perfect for positive focus training for Fido. With all challenges, if it seems insurmountable, find a teacher-helper. Just do it.
- Something today might feel like a very bad thing you survived in your past, but it’s not the same.
Step back and evaluate. Is it really the same? Of course not. An example, please? I know a lot of women, myself included, who were badly affected by Trump’s rise to power because it felt too familiar. But he’s not that guy. Remind yourself of that, ladies. He’s just not. He can’t hurt you. You’re fine; you are. An animal example, please? Your new pet is not your last pet. If you were traumatized by the aggression, behavior, illness, etc. of your last pet, please know that this new animal-soul is not that trauma. If your last pet was your soul mate or behavioral perfection, your new furry family member will rise to her own unique potential if you don’t hold her back with unfair comparisons.
- Recognize mismatches and souls whose paths no longer overlap with yours. Let them go.
There is no need to keep someone in your life, even if you could, to the detriment of you both. I now know that a love that was never there to begin with can’t be lost and needn’t be mourned. While I give my heart fully, it is not fodder for others’ toxic whims. That’s where my path must diverge from theirs. It is meant to be that way. I see this play out with pets – as mismatches. A dog who needs time and space to evaluate or escape chaos likely won’t be his best with a hectic, uber-social, on-the-go family. A person who craves & insists on a cuddle-buddy cat is not best paired with a fleetingly affectionate, independent feline. Don’t insist on square peg-round holing it through life. It’s not good for anyone involved. Admit it doesn’t fit and move on. It’s a mismatch, not a failure. Letting a soul’s path diverge from yours gives them the gift to find their better fit. There are perfect matches to be found for all of us. And, it’s likely that your mismatched encounter was necessary to put you both on separate paths to better-suited, destined companions.
With that, I enthusiastically ride the waves & comets into 2017.
I am grateful for 2016’s cosmic lessons. While teachers are often cleverly, even cruelly, disguised, they are placed in our paths because our souls need their lessons. Don’t be outraged; be a life student. Always ask: What can I learn from this? How can I grow from this? Then listen. Really listen. As you studiously wait, apply compassion, kindness & empathy. Then your truest answers will come….
If 2016 was The Teacher, I believe we should put our hard-learned skills to work this year.
In 2017, let’s become The Listeners. (To be continued in my next post…..)
So what did you learn last year about yourself, fellow humans or your pets?
Who was a powerful teacher-helper for you last year? How will your lessons help you this new year? Please share; there’s strength in learning together. Go ahead, get political if you want. But be kind, constructive & inspirational while you’re at it. Remember, you’re somebody’s teacher, too. xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
Words with wisdom:
- “Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.” ~Buddha
- “Remember, you’re somebody’s teacher, too.” ~Ruth Hagen
“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” ~Anthony J. D’Angelo
“Change is the end result of all true learning.” ~Leo Buscaglia
“I made decisions that I regret, and I took them as learning experiences… I’m human, not perfect, like anybody else.” ~Queen Latifah
- “Today, I find calm clarity. I am inspired despite the election. I choose happiness (not naivety, not helplessness). I choose a path of love & light.” ~Ruth Hagen, on her FB writer’s page
- “A fierce response to humans or pets does lasting relationship damage.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Don’t be outraged; be a life student.” ~Ruth Hagen
“I take all of my life lessons, which some people might call ‘mistakes’, and apply them to my future so that I keep growing.” ~Kimberly Caldwell
- “When you get older, you learn certain life lessons. You apply that wisdom, and suddenly you say, “Hey, I’ve got a new lease on this thing. So let’s go!” ~Robert Redford
©2017 The Soulful Pet
|September 4, 2016||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Science and soul, Seasonal, Videos|
With Labor Day celebrations behind us, let’s rethink our daily labor.
It’s often a lonely, one-way journey down the very real road to burnout.
It is unhealthy, not sane or saintly, to put all things before yourself. Working more is not working better or smarter. Trust me; I know this to be true.
A 40+ hour work week takes an undeniable toll on your mind, your health and your relationships.
When all is said and done, we will not wish for more possessions or hours at work. We will wish for more memorable adventures and time with loved ones; good health; and a continued passionate, creative curiosity in life.
Be mindful in your daily work flow.
Look for inspiration; it is everywhere. Have a beginner’s mind. Embrace your passion with childlike abandonment.
With practice, you’ll find a unique personal-timing sweet spot where self-compassionate breaks meet passionate productivity.
I can be found with my muse-pup, Rusty, sitting under the redwoods, with paper and pen – should creative inspiration strike. There, I am open to the possibility of business and writing ideas, but I release them to the paper for consideration at another time.
In the big picture, there is no true place in the workplace for selflessness.
It leads to illness and resentment – the stuff of burnout. It empties you, making it impossible for you to create, find joy or give to others.
Make your work and your breaks part of a soul-filling, blissful process.
With dedication to your well being, design your days to be simultaneously productive, energizing and of benefit to others. With this, you become abundance, not depletion.
Can this self-aware design be had in a 40+ hour workweek?
Or would we best honor our souls by embracing the science that justifies a 3-day work week? Certainly, whatever the number of hours, it is imperative that we prioritize finding our uniquely personal sweet spot for our best life.
I challenge you to consider this:
If your knee-jerk reaction was something like, “I have no time to sit under a tree with a dog“, then you have missed my point. Get honest, personal and introspective. Because you’ve always done something one way, does not mean it’s best. Is your blinders-on, nose-to-the-grindstone, joyless way really working for you? Are you frequently complaining about your work? Are you chronically tapped out and exhausted each day? Are your relationships stressed? If you’re not sure, ask your family and friends for honest feedback. Be prepared to respect their words and make a change.
If you’ve read this piece to this point, you might have an intuitive desire for change.
Only you can change your circumstances. Because you deserve it, decide and do it. Now. ~Namaste.
Please share how you balance work & life. We’d love to know! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
Words to live & work by:
- “By refreshing our sense of belonging in the world, we widen the web of relationships that nourishes us and protects us from burnout.” ~Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone, “Active Hope”
- “With practice, you’ll find a unique personal-timing sweet spot where self-compassionate breaks meet passionate productivity.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” ~Audre Lorde
- “Finding your passion isn’t just about careers and money. It’s about finding your authentic self. The one you’ve buried beneath other people’s needs.” ~Kristin Hannah
- “Only you can change your circumstances. Because you deserve it, decide and do it. Now.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Rest and be thankful.” ~William Wadsworth
©2016 The Soulful Pet
|August 24, 2016||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Seasonal, Training/Behavior, Videos|
I’m impatient…. with myself… bigtime.
I have infinite patience with people and animals. Well, almost infinite – as long as my empathic-introverted need for solitude & stillness is regularly refilled.
Today, I wrestled with the potential horror that the quicksandy feeling of writer’s block would never end.
My mind’s impatient insistence that the-now-is-forever is a slippery slope. The ride down that slide careens through glass-half-empty territory. And within minutes, my writer’s block is a concrete amalgamation filled with angsty issues….
Currently, my yard is an active volcanic system of mole holes.
It’s my first foyer into battle with these critters. Initially, I wanted to be humane: shoo them along in a live-and-let-live NIMBY kinda way. I even had a sense of humor about it: As I savored a glass of wine under my redwoods one night, both back legs of my chair sank completely into mole tunnels. I calmly poured another glass & laughingly said, “Call me Alice.” But now, I’m mole-iciously murderous. Done. Outta here. So the Mole-y War (will I win it? can I end it yesterday?) swirls together with my writer’s block. There’s more in the mix….
I spent spring in PA helping my mom as best I could with my dad, who’s critically ill.
I put my life (my business, my sweet S.O., Rusty, etc.) on hold – because it’s the right thing to do. I love my parents & I wouldn’t have it any other way. Today, it’s hard to be across the country from them as I pick up my life again. So add that to the thickening mix, as well….
And, I’m bravely-not-so-bravely rolling out a new business – which includes brand new services & new approaches to existing services.
Plus, I have books to write! Great, right? Yes, to be sure, it’s exciting! But my methods have changed, and change is unnerving. (I’m confident in my well-honed process, but how will it be perceived?) I’m following my calling to combine science & soul to enhance the lives of both humans and animals via the bonds they share. It’s groundbreaking, it’s new and it’s bound to ruffle some feathers in the training community. In order to do it, I have to write about it. (How am I doing so far? Gulp…) For that, I have to fly my freak flag just enough to not care about naysayers & gremlins. And that is the glue in this quicksandy conglomerate that occasionally paralyzes me.
But tick-tock, right?
Life is way too short to be anything less than kindly patient with yourself. We are all, human & non-human animals, beautiful souls who must share our gifts with the world. Artists, caretakers, counselors, lightworkers, teachers, scientists – we must shine our unique lights into the dark corners of this world – especially now. I learn this lesson repeatedly from animals & their people.
So, let me tell you the tale of Molly & me:
I met Miss Molly when her mom called me for help.
As her human told me their story, I sat on the floor with lovely Molly. Molly’s mom had recently lost her husband to cancer. She knew she wanted a dog to keep her company and had searched several shelters & rescues for just the right pup. Finally, Molly. As I listened, I had both hands on Molly, who calmly leaned into me. Suddenly, through my mind & out my mouth came, “You had help finding her.” It was a natural knowing that had to be stated out loud (claircognizance, I now know). It was a message that Molly’s mom needed to hear. She said, “Well, yes, my friends looked for a dog with me.” I said, “No, that’s not the help I mean.” Molly’s mum blinked and lit up. She told me, with a sparkle in her eye, that before her husband passed, they had talked about her getting a dog. Her hubby teased her that she’d probably get a little, white, fluffy dog. Molly’s mom insisted absolutely not – she didn’t want to be cleaning a white dog’s bottom all the time. It was then that I noticed Molly’s rear end: an adorable white fluffy swishy tail, white fluffy-furry haunches & legs, and a decidedly dark grey bottom where cleanup counts. We laughed….hard. Message received & sent (or vice-versa). Molly, her mom & I are friends for life. Rusty & Molly are on mole patrol as I write this.
Whew! I feel like with the telling of Molly’s story, I’m breaking out of that cementy-sandy stuff.
I must remember that the now is transient, including its feelings, its drama & and its perceived obstacles. I will not make mountains out of mole hills. I now see life’s muddy little hills as opportunities & lessons placed along my life journey’s path. I embrace my unconventional intuitive gifts, my writing, and my time with clients and pets – it’s all so precious.
Moles & gremlins, be damned.
Why? ‘Cuz, patience, dear – every little thing’s gonna be alright!
Coming soon: New pages on this site describing those new services and my new role as a positive, science-based Intuitive Pet-life Guide (IPLG). Open-minded humans and their teaching-healing pets make up our growing soul-tribe family…. for that, we are so grateful! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
Quips for patience with your creative truth:
- “Patience, dear – every little thing’s gonna be alright.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “If you’re creating anything at all, it’s really dangerous to care about what people think.” ~Kristen Wiig
- “When words are both true and kind, they can change the world.” ~Buddha
- “These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.” ~Najwa Zebian
- “It is the function of art to to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.” ~Anaïs Nin
- “The most important aspect of being on a spiritual path may be to just keep moving.” ~Pema Chodron
- “Life is way too short to be anything less than kindly patient with yourself.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “If a problem exists then, by definition, so must its solution.” ~Ruth Hagen
©2016 The Soulful Pet
|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
©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