Category: Science and soul
|November 11, 2017||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Intuition, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Science and soul, Seasonal, Training/Behavior|
I’m up way too early writing this this morning. But I’m inspired and cozy as I work.
It’s 330 am, and I’m curled up on the couch by the now-comforting fireplace’s glow. I’m flanked by dogs on both sides, their soft, warm bodies pressed against me, as I sip coffee, reflecting on recent events. I am overwhelmed with what matters most in life: gratitude, love, community, trust & kindness.
I have my house; it didn’t burn down.
Rusty, my miniature poodle friend, is curled up on my left, comfy & safe. Finn, a mini goldendoodle, sighs as he presses in even closer against my right side. Finn is visiting Rusty & I for a day – his humans have their house; it didn’t burn down. Finn is dog-tired from being “Uncle Finn” yesterday to a lovely & sweet but perpetual-motion goldendoodle puppy guest, little Bella. Bella’s family doesn’t have their house; it burned down.
It seems distant but realistically, tragically recent that the worst fire in CA history ravaged northern CA counties.
Just 10 days ago, it was announced that all the fires are 100% contained. Our community is eternally grateful to the heroic first responders’ bravery & resilience in the face of an epically terrifying conflagration. We watched in horror & amazement as fire devoured entire neighborhoods, and friends & family ran for their lives. Startled awake in the middle of the night, often by angelic first responders pounding on their doors, people scrambled to evacuate hell on Earth: a blood-red glowing sky, flames lapping darkened landscape nearby, blowing embers & choking-thick black smoke. Families fled for refuge, finding safety in relief centers, friends’ homes and hotels. We were all in deep fear & shock.
Those of us who didn’t need to flee for our lives with just the shirts on our backs & our pets in our arms, quickly packed in case we were next to be evacuated.
The fire was incredibly intense & merciless. It was a searing challenge beyond measure, often driving firefighters to flee its unrelenting advances. The evacuations rolled out as it spread. So many of us were so scared; so many of us left our homes, not knowing if we’d find them standing when we returned. Rusty & I were lucky; friends in safe towns to the west & south of us kindly offered their homes to us. I can’t tell you how comforting that was.
Personally, my bag was packed for a week.
The evacuation zones grew increasingly closer to my home, just a handful of miles to the north and east of me. The closest advisory evacuation line bordered the end of my street, just a quarter mile away. Three times I thought I needed to flee; three times I thought I’d lose my home. It was a week before I could breathe and begin to believe that Rusty & I were safe.
Now our community rebuilds – resiliently.
It’s who were are: Sonoma County strong. Only a few weeks ago, evacuees were allowed to return to their devastated neighborhoods to sift thru ashes. Most of us haven’t yet personally witnessed the complete annihilation of these neighborhoods – aside from images from drones, helicopters, & press photographers. When we do see the singed ghosts of once vibrant communities & beloved, historical landmarks in person, collective shock & sadness will roll through us, renewed. The charred bits I’ve seen so far caused me to gasp & sob in horror yet disbelief. But I know we will prevail; we must.
We are collectively still processing this ever unfolding trauma.
We might tell ourselves that life is back to “normal” as we get groceries, pay bills, take the kids to school, celebrate holidays, and make plans to rebuild. Indeed, we are not in fear for our lives now. But this experience lives in vivid memory in our minds & bodies – as trauma. It is important that we continue to lean on each other to heal, to mentally process events & move the trauma out of our bodies.
So, Sonoma County, how are you – really?
How are your pets – really?
No doubt, we’ve all been traumatized. Science shows that fear and stress are group-think & energetically contagious. We can all feel it in the air, humans & animals, alike. Trauma unfolds its symptoms slowly; it’s not felt completely initially. So this will be a long-haul healing process. Personally, I’m very concerned about our collective well being. Our immune systems are stressed; our psyches are stressed. But I’m optimistic for our community and our group consciousness’ healing capacities.
We are all now much more awake and raw.
And most of us aren’t used to that experience, to those feelings. Self-aware empaths and intutives like myself keenly feel this energetic shift, the community’s angst and fear thick in the air; we are uniquely called to help heal. I believe it is our purpose to help those affected by tragedy to cope, survive & thrive.
Pets, natural empaths & intuitives, feel the shift, too.
So that rawness & openness that feels new to you is familiar to your pets. Animals are experts in being present in the now, so they are better equipped to release trauma. Your pets can help you heal because it comes naturally to them. Now is the time to consciously, collectively heal, while trauma is most potentially transient if given a loving incentive to move on, before stress events take up more permanent residence in your mind & body.
Begin your healing; plug-in to community.
I mean really plug-in: Get personal. Skip the extra-excessive hours on social media. Rather, help and ask for help – in person. Traumas teach us to rely on each other because we don’t have the choice not to. Stoically isolating doesn’t heal; we’re not islands. (Why is it so darn hard for us – myself included – to get comfy with asking for help?) So build a team to lean on. Use the resources available to you, be they medical, psychological, financial, strategic, social or spiritual. They are there, ready when you are. And you are ready. Be there for yourself – now.
Our pets plug-in, without hesitation.
If they want a cookie, they unabashedly ask for one – without shame. Bonus: In giving Fluffy that treat, we gain a positively warm & fuzzy feeling. The healing connection’s a two-way flow: Fido knows when you need a cuddle. We cry; pets instinctively comfort, and we let them comfort.
Learn from your pets. Use their love lessons in your life, privately & in community.
Give and accept giving. Giving & receiving, giving & receiving – and so the cycle is meant to go. And so we are bonded as family and community, humans & animals, alike – by love. In the face of adversity, remember: Love is expanding not contracting, softening not hardening.
♥ I have an idea – a uniquely healing one! ♥
Together, let’s harness the healing power of the bonds we share with our pets. I’m offering “Mutual Healing Sessions“. They are designed to reduce your stress, as well as your pets’. (Stressed pets often exhibit behavioral changes, including aggression; destruction; and depression/anxiety-based behaviors.) If you’re stressed, so are they. Relax yourself, relax them. And vice versa. I combine my 25+ years of experience as a science-based, positive trainer/behaviorist with my empathic and intuitive abilities to help pets and people heal via the power of the bonds they share.
So let’s get together; let the healing begin.
If you & your pets feel just a bit off nowadays, it’s more than understandable. Life stressors are many & cumulative: current culture, politics, tragedy, holiday hustle-bustle, life transitions, etc. Reach out, ask for help. I’m here for you. Our time together will feel like time spent with a friend. Together, we’ll come up with doable, personalized behavioral/wellness plans, drawing on a variety of healing modalities (training, mirroring, mindfulness, meditation, grounding, breathing, intuition) – whatever resonates with you and your pets the most.
Stay open and awake to the healing possibilities, my friends. Let’s do this together!
Sending you all woofs, wags & tons of love!
xo ~Ruth & Rusty
- “In the face of adversity, remember: Love is expanding not contracting, softening not hardening.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Pets are great love conduits; with their guidance we reconnect with each other with ease, without judgement.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” ~Sun Tzu
- “In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.” ~Marianne Williamson
©2017 The Soulful Pet
|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 friend 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