Posts Tagged by Breathe
|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 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
|May 15, 2014||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle|
I have no idea what I’m doing.
Those were my thoughts as I entered the pagoda by the Japanese zen garden. It was a cool, misty morning, and the pool’s waterfall filled the soundscape. I sat down on one of the meditation cushions, placing my bright yellow bag on the deck by me. I crossed my legs & relaxed. I looked to my far right. The man already seated there was serenely still, with his eyes closed. With so much beauty in the garden, how could he close his eyes? With that, the steady flow of my inner, perhaps inappropriate questioning began.
“Are you sensitive to incense?”
A gentle, kind-faced woman asked me as she sat to my immediate right. “Not at all”, I responded. Good, I thought. Clearly, she’s the guide for this meditation session. She was a calming presence; I was sure she could talk me into relaxing. Incense lit, I wondered why we wanted to smell that when the dewy country morning air was so sweet. I set that aside. She struck a gong-like chime. Oddly, it brought tears to my eyes, and I thought, “omg?” (Do you think in text talk? Sadly, I do.) Interesting beginning. But then…. silence.
Silence?! I thought this was a guided meditation!
I became uncomfortable. In my peripheral vision I could see that legs were crossed & eyes were closed. There would be no talking. I was on my own. My ego stepped forward. I immediately noticed that I was the only one not wearing Birkenstocks & socks. (If you follow TSP, you know I love a cute shoe. Enough said.) I was the only one not wearing brown & black. I was the only one not shawled under a blanket. God help me, I’m sure I was the only one considering fashion don’ts @ that moment. I was off to a bad, caffeine-deprived start.
My brain scrambled to remember anything about meditation that I’d read or watched.
Ok, so you’re supposed to breathe. Check. You’re supposed to release white-noisy thoughts as they come into your mind. Fail. (I had already judged the Birkis, & now I looked down to consider that maybe that yellow bag was a cry for help.) Ok, try again. Release the thoughts & focus on your breathing, in & out. In & out. Better…..
I couldn’t close my eyes. Why not? What was wrong with me? Arghh….!
I’m a peaceful person. I should be able to do this, damn it. Suddenly, I noticed that the shimmering reflection of a tree in the pond’s gentle ripples was as relaxing as a candle flame. Ego disappeared. And the chatter stopped; what I call my Squirrel!-brain quieted. I noticed that my body was so relaxed that it seemed to somehow be floating below my mind. And then, the writer took over. Big time.
She started writing rapidly, in full & visual sentences, mind you, describing the experience.
I started to kick myself for working while meditating. (Is that a felony or a misdemeanor?) I had silenced the squirrel alert – now I had to deal with an annoying blogger posing as a wanna-be Buddha? Then it dawned on me: this was why I was here. This should not be silenced.
I gave the writer full reign.
After all, amongst its many benefits, meditation is supposed to enhance creativity. So be it! I’ll write this post in my head before I get home. Unfinished, the writer quieted. It was eerily still in my head. (Where’s that when I’m trying to get to sleep @ night?) Then, I heard that familiar voice from within. She’s calm, still & wise. She has saved my life, and she guides me daily now. I deeply respect her. She’s Intuition. She said: “Patience. You have never been patient with yourself.“
Finally, I closed my eyes with ease. Amidst the water’s soothing cascade, I could hear birds, frogs & the town waking up. I didn’t want to leave. And – apparently, neither did my entire left leg. It had fallen sound to sleep, from my toes to my hip! Great. So much for zen. I had to move my leg, or I wouldn’t be able to stand up when this was done. (When was this supposed to end, anyway?) I lifted my leg to uncross it, and gracefully hit the deck rail with my foot. As jarring pins & needles traveled up & down my entire leg, the sound seemed to echo through the entire garden. I’m such a dork. Oh, look – there were cows on the hillside. When did they arrive? Squirrel!!
And the silence was broken. What I thought was a half hour had actually been an hour well spent. I walked back to the car, grateful for permission to be patient with myself. I have infinite patience with animals. I have patience with their humans. But with myself? I’m trying. Rusty is infinitely patient with me, and he has a Squirrel!-brain. He seems to know what he’s doing. I’ll learn from my Birki-free poodle Buddha.
Boy, do I have questions for you!
Do you have meditation tips for a newbie like me? What have you learned about yourself through meditation? Are you patient with yourself? Did your pets teach you patience? How did that lesson present itself? Please share! xxoo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2014 The Soulful Pet
|January 19, 2014||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Training/Behavior, Worthy reads|
Deep breath. Not a wimpy, shallow stress breath. Deep belly breath. And again…
This is zen stuff. So as I tell my tale, don’t cry-for-me-Argentina. I’m fine. Rusty’s fine. Another breath, in…..out. Now – we’re ready to begin.
My life has been mixed up & thrown up in the air like
a tossed salad Miley Cyrus rode a wrecking ball thru it, naked.
Divorce isn’t pretty. In the midst of lawyers, counselors, therapists, paperwork and all the emotional garbage – I’ve been reinventing myself. Some days that goes very well. Others are a hot mess, like Miley twerking, tongue out. On my Miley days, I remember to breathe……
My anti-resolution was to simply be me.
That’s carrying me through all of this. How? Because, as it turns out, I’m a bit like Dorothy. I always had the power to pull through this, ruby slippers or not. I’m just realizing it now. Still, I can’t hate the slippers. They’re cute, right?
Being me includes being intuitive & empathic.
I recently learned how to hone both of those gifts a bit more – just in the nick of time, as it turns out. More on that later. We are all intuitive. Some of us are just better listeners when our intuition (or soul or heart or inner voice) speaks up. If you haven’t started listening, start. Your intuition could save your life. So tonight, before you go to sleep, try this simple intuition-enhancing exercise: Ask your intuition for guidance on a specific question or concern. Afterwards, pay attention to dreams, words, images or even a calm “knowing”. Don’t dismiss them or shrug them off. It takes practice & trust. Listen.
Empaths listen, too.
I recently discovered that I’m an empath. What’s that? Some hocus pocus? Not at all. Subconsciously, we sponge up the energies & emotions of others (pets & people, for me) in our environment. I believe that animals are empaths because they are naturally & keenly connected to their environment. As with intuition, we all can (& should) enhance our capacity for empathy. I started “The Soulful Pet” to help humans empathize with their pets (without anthropomorphizing) to realize that we share common life experiences & emotions. We can learn from our pets by experiencing the world via their points of view. To quote Buddha: “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” Your pets are always ready to teach. Are you listening & learning?
So here’s where it gets eerily real for Rusty & I.
I practiced asking my intuition for guidance last night, for the first time. Then I had a whopper of a nightmare for which I’m giddily grateful. In it, I received 3 solid answers to pressing life questions I had just posed. Wow! Still considering the implications of intuition, I went about my morning. I prepped the house for an appraisal, staying calm for the sake of my little empath, Rusty. Then Rusty waited in the car, all snuggled up under blankets, as the appraiser did his thing. It was quick & painless. I sprung Rusty from the cozy car, and let him outside to potty as I made coffee. It would be nice to spend the rest of the morning writing with my poodle buddy curled up by my side….
Within 5 minutes, I realized something was horribly wrong.
Had the appraiser closed the gate? I was sure that he hadn’t. Normally, I would NEVER let Rusty out without checking. But it was a Miley day, for sure. I ran out back, calling Rusty. No poodle & the gate was wide open. My heart leapt to my throat. I ran barefoot into the street, calling. Still no Rusty. Then, the calmness came. I heard my freshly prepped intuition speak: “Don’t waste time. Put your shoes on & get in the car. He went for his walk. He’s sniffing, so he hasn’t gone far.” Literally, I heard that word-for-word in my head. Shoes on, car moving, deep breath…..
Sure enough, Rusty was nose-to-the-ground a block away, walking our usual route.
I got out of the car & happily (I’m an adequate actress.) asked him, “Where are you going, little man?”. He looked up @ me, wagging his tail, clearly saying, “What took you so long? We’re going for a walk, mom!” I scooped him up, tucked him in the car, and, as we drove home, I promised him that we’d do that walk together. Whew.
Here’s what I know.
I will continue to hone my intuition. It’s life-savingly imperative. I will work on Rusty’s recall. We all need a little brush-up on our skills in the new year, yes? And, through my life’s upheaval, I will remember to breathe. If I forget, Rusty will remind me. We’re going for a walk now, because Rusty knew it would be good for us both. (I think that’s why he started without me but waited for me to catch up.) It’s the best kind of walk, where Rusty sniffs & I meditate. I breathe in as Rusty takes several steps, and out as he takes a few more. (I just learned that lovely trick from Michael Chase’s book, “The Radical Practice of Loving Everyone“.) Rusty receives relaxation from me and I from him. We are simply two intuitive empaths out for a stroll. I know that we will be ok, with every step, sniff and breath we take.
Do you and your pet have a special connection?
An unspoken language of your own, perhaps? Has your intuition saved you and/or your pets? We’d love to know about it. Heck, we know you’re not crazy… xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2014 The Soulful Pet
|June 16, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Seasonal, Training/Behavior, Videos|
This morning, coffee in hand, I struggled with writer’s block & Facebook rules.
Both had me second guessing myself: Why am I writing, and who’s reading it? I began the day, deadline looming, intent on writing a Father’s Day post about why you shouldn’t put off telling important people in your life that you love them. It’s a worthy topic, but it just wasn’t flowing. So I procrastinated a bit and worked on The Soulful Pet’s FB page, instead. But the same pesky questions popped up. For all the good that social media can do, especially for animal welfare, it’s blocked, too. If I don’t promote (pay for) page posts, folks who “like” the page don’t see all of my posts. But they don’t know that. It’s a crap game, really. Facebook is soulless & frustrating, not block-busting. Sadly, it wasn’t a healthy procrastination, and the coffee pot was now empty…..
My mood instantly changed when I watched this video.
It is perhaps the most beautiful, magical video I’ve ever seen: Two souls simply reaching out to each other. I was instantly inspired again. Why? Because it spoke to my soul. And my soul had new, more pressing questions: What kinds of amazing friendships could be born before fear & suspicion are taught/learned? How would our world be different? Why exactly do we hesitate to tell loved ones how important they are to us? As I watched this with tears in my eyes, I knew I had to be in nature today. Writing would wait. Watch:
So I went for a hike in “my church” again.
I was grateful for all the things in life that I love & have reconnected with recently: hikes with good friends, walks with my hubby & dog, trail running, music, writing, reading, and time alone in nature. Burnout was a life block that I conquered. Thankfully, I was only trying to break through a bit of writer’s block now.
I thought about Maya, the adorable girl in the video, as I walked.
I love how she’s so serenely in the flow of her magic moment with the fawn. She’s so sure about what she needs to do to help the fawn. No doubt. No ego. No second guessing. Purely powered by soul. I remember having those moments with animals as a child. And I’ve seen clients’ kids with a natural, open sense for pets. But what about adults? Are they still possible for us? Are we all just too jaded, impatient, suspicious or fearful? I hate to think so…..
Suddenly, it dawned on me that I do still have those moments. We all do, if we’re open to them.
I’ve had many of them in my 20 years as a pet behaviorist. Once, while reviewing a client’s training goals as we relaxed with her dog, I casually mentioned that her dog’s name didn’t seem to “fit” him. She was surprised. (I was, too. I hadn’t said that to anyone, before or since.) She asked what name I thought better suited him. Without thinking, just “knowing”, I mentioned a very unusual pet name that popped into my mind. She stared silently at me. Then she confessed that that was her dog’s name before she changed it. We both realized that this info had never passed between us before. Because we had work to do, we brushed it off & continued the training session. Silly, right? Yet, somehow I’ve never forgotten that moment.
Looking back, I’ve often been told that I’m an animal magnet.
Perhaps you know that feeling, too. Do all of your pets somehow “find you”? It’s like you have a neon sign over your heart & door that announces: “All animals who wander are welcome here.” Me, too. As a trainer, I’ve had countless magnet moments. Pets, often cats, enter the room & introduce themselves to me mid-consult. After acknowledging their greeting, I’ll look up to see shocked expressions on my clients’ faces. That’s always followed by, “I’ve never seen her do that before.” Or – “She never comes out when we have guests.” With their pet cozied up to me, I explain that we created a calm, safe environment, which is attractive to animals. It’s zen, not magic. With practice & patience, we can all tap into it. Truly.
As I walked, I realized that this post was writing itself. It was flowing. But why now?
As with animals, magic happens when you’re true to yourself, in the moment. (That’s the lesson that little Maya’s video teaches.) Writing to please others, to fulfill marketing deadlines, or to earn page “likes” suffocates creativity & contributes to burnout. It also opens doors to gremlins that make me question, “Why write?” No more. I’m writing from my soul.
Fueled by a new determination to openly follow my bliss, I walked on.
And then the magic happened. The late-spring flowers seemed more colorful. The air was sweeter. And I wasn’t alone. For a mid-day hike, an uncanny number of deer crossed my path. I had my spotted fawn encounter. It wasn’t as dramatic as little Maya’s moment, but it was still sweet.
I invite you to walk with me for six zen minutes.
Sit back & relax. Breathe. Volume up, full-screen, watch:
This is my newly soul-inspired message, perfect for Father’s Day:
What better way to tell someone that you love them than to believe in them? If your child, like Maya, has magical “knowing” moments, nurture his/her unique gift. My parents did, and I’m so grateful. While I may stray from it occasionally, I’m always at my best when I’m true to it.
We adults can have our magic moments, anywhere, anytime.
Stay childlike & open to that possibility, and you’ll see. Believe & it will happen. When it does, it’s a true gift. Watch.
So what are your magic moments? Share your bliss; you might inspire others as much as little Maya inspired me!
PS – What about Facebook? I’m not playing that game anymore.
I’d love to see you there, but you might not see me. (Follow this graphic to remedy that.) No paid posts for me. I’d rather donate money to rescues & shelters. Hmmm….. how about a Fawn Rescue group? Wanna join me? Writing for a cause works magic for my soul. xxoo ~Ruth~
©2013 The Soulful Pet
|March 8, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Recipes, Soul food, Training/Behavior|
……with Brussels sprouts. Who knew?
I’ve hated them all of my life. Too bitter, too smelly, too cabbagy. Just “too”. The thought of cooking them was intimidating & unsettling. Yet, all of my foodie friends were enthusiastic about them. So a few months ago, I went on a mission to figure out what all the fuss was about. I tried all incarnations of sprouts in restaurants & in recipes at home. Much to my delight, I finally stumbled upon an easy way to roast some charisma into the little green guys. And now, I’m a fan.
What does this have to do with pets? Everything, in my opinion.
We all (us & our pets) get stuck in ruts that prevent us from trying new things. New is suspect. New is hard. New is scary. But new can be wonderful. It’s in the absence of stepping outside your box that you miss the wonderful. Here’s an idea: Today, try something new, and include your pet. It’s uber-easy, really. For example, walk in a new neighborhood or in a different direction. Or – Wake up & consider what you’re grateful for. Sit silently with your pet as you do this. Just breathe & be. I think you’ll find that your day is a little brighter, and your pet will respond to your light.
My little guy, Rusty, had to try new things when we adopted him.
I know that my attitude about “new” is contagious to animals, so I presented each experience with a balance of enthusiasm & patience, @ his pace. Soon, Rusty’s list of things he never knew he liked grew rapidly. He now loves tuck-ins, the stairs to our bed, catch games, rides in his car seat, and beach walks. (See? Once you get started, you’re more optimistic that the next thing you try will be fun, too. Suddenly, you’re craving & relishing “new”.)
That brings us back to those crave-worthy Brussels sprouts. Can your dog try them?
Well, maybe just one from your batch. But ideally, roast a few separately when you cook yours. Only use olive oil & a bit of honey (optional). No salt, pepper or bacon for Pup. Cool completely, and only give 1/2 a sprout to your dog, as a treat. If all goes well, a sprout a day for only a few days should be fine. (As always, check with your vet 1st before changing your pet’s diet.) Sprouts contain isothiniocyanate, a chemical from mustard oil that can be a gastrointestinal irritant. Fortunately, roasting seems to minimize its offensive effects on humans & dogs. Same goes for other members of the cabbage family: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage itself.
So I’m taking my own advice, and I’m on another quest to like something new: Cooked cauliflower.
I love it raw in salads or dips, but cooked is another story. Roasting might be the way to go again. What do you think? If you have a tried & true way to tastily cook cauliflower, please share. Please.
©2013 The Soulful Pet