Posts Tagged by Christmas
|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
|December 8, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Seasonal|
Listen up. This is big. Ready? Self-ish is beautiful.
What?! Bear with this self-ish chick for a sec. Let’s take that word back right now. Self-ish = self caring. Self caring = a happier, more fulfilled you who can genuinely give to & care for loved ones. Therefore, self-ish = loving. Read on….
So how are your holidays going so far? What’s your stress-o-meter reading? Full-tilt yet?
I just spoke with a dear friend who’s had no time to breathe between major life events: dog death; marriage & honeymoon; another dog death; adopting 2 sibling pups (Nixon & Lola); & then being all-things-to-all-people for 2 straight days over Thanksgiving. She wondered why she found herself stuck on the couch for the rest of Thanksgiving weekend, watching stupid TV, covered in blankets & puppies. I’m quoting her shock: “I felt gross. I never do that!” My loving reply: “Yes you do, girl. When you’re running on empty you do. Couch time is self-ish time. Recharge. Don’t judge yourself. Who cares, really? Of course, I would ask hubs to brew up some mulled wine, girlfriend. Once you’re under blankets & puppies, it’s full-on DND (do not disturb) mode.”
I could go on about friends’ current depleted states.
(All women, so far. I’m not sexist, but ladies, do you sense a theme here?) One spunky-smart gal posted her cringe-worthy, must-do list on Facebook recently. With her permission, here’s her mid-holiday agenda from hell:
“This house looks like:
* A tornado went through it.
* WalMart’s Christmas department exploded in my kitchen & living room.
* Tree is half decorated.
* The floor looks like the floor in a forest.
* The dogs need a bath.
* AND- if [hubby] takes nap I will have to do all quietly & not go into our room.
* Packages from OCTOBER need to be shipped.
* Patio being tiled – need to move all the furniture.
* New counter tops being installed – all cupboards need to be emptied.
* No water to kitchen for at least the weekend.”
This is all hot on the heels of her recovering from illness; adopting & housetraining Presto, a papillon puppy (dog #2); & caring for a cold-addled hubby. Yep, he’s a snotty, chicken soup guzzling, whiny baby right now. We all wish him good health, asap. Lord, girl…. breathe.
My turn. A Christmas-past taught me endless unforgettable life lessons. I’ll share one with you….
Visiting family spent a few days in the city near us, while I single-handedly elfed-out my house. I stayed home to do it because I also had to watch over Gumbo, our epileptic boxer who only seized @ night. Boarding him while I enjoyed the city with family wasn’t an option. So my sweet boxer boy and I happily & manically decked the halls. He was blissfully naked except for doggie antlers, and I didn’t shower for days. I told you: a manic hot mess. Finally, family arrived. I had barely cleaned myself up by then, & my pup was SO over the antlers. But the house was lovely. Yet no one thanked me.
That Christmas eve, Gumbo had a seizure @ 2 am.
I stayed up with him, relaxing him as he came to. While everyone slept, he & I spooned on his dog bed under the warm glow of the tree’s lights. I cherish that memory. That’s when I should have stopped. But I kept elfing & it wasn’t pretty. Ultimately, I ended up in bed for hours once the house was empty, unable to move because I, too, was empty. I was beyond benefiting from the blanket-and-puppy therapy that helped my friend. Forget the mulled wine. I was beyond vodka’s help. And that’s something.
If you do this to yourself, do it for yourself. Don’t do it for gratitude or to impress. Be a self-ish elf. Get high on bad Christmas music, spiked eggnog & cookies you didn’t bake. Get naked, decorate & dance with your grinning, bare-butt, antler-wearing dog. Trust me. Do it. Who cares? Your dog won’t tell. And he won’t put it up on YouTube. (Well, your border collie might.)
Yesterday, my mom & I had a good laugh.
We both confessed that we have to clean our houses before the wonderful folks who occasionally clean our houses arrive. That’s insane. (I blame it on genetics.) Yes, it’s a first-world “problem” – I know. But you get the point. Stop the perfectionist circus. Be self-ish, not elfish. Set up boundaries: get really good @ saying “no”. Practice in the mirror if you need to. (Don’t practice on your dog; you’ll confuse her.) People who matter will understand & respect you for it. Others (haters, narcissists & users) don’t matter. You know who they are in your life. They will use you until you’re empty. Just say no to them. Walk away; you’ll be happier. No one sane will notice if you don’t OCD-clean the house. People are not thinking about you as much as you think they are. Do your holiday shopping in a pony tail, sweats & no makeup, girl. Call it cozy-chic couture & have a mimosa before storming the mall. We’re all on the same carousel with crazed carnival clowns this time of year. But this is not your circus & those are not your monkeys. Breathe. Laugh. Love. Be a self-ish bitch, I dare you. Elves are ridiculous.
I took my own advice this year.
I spent Thanksgiving in Kaua’i with my brother’s family. I faced fears and did things that I never thought I’d do: 1st solo plane ride, a helicopter tour, bikini-ed beaching, and zip lining. Yep, I was a bikini-wearing, screaming zip-lining fool. There’s no better cure for elfdom than risking life, limb & dignity with loving family members. Sometimes a girl just needs to jump off a cliff – a dozen times or so – to get her head on straight. I’m grateful to my bro’s family for the invite. I’m grateful that my pushy girlfriends all said, “Just GO!!”. I’m happier & Rusty’s happier. This loving, self-ish bitch is back. Elves drool!
Now it’s your turn. Had any foolish elf moments? How did you recover?
What self-ish self care gets you through the holidays? Big or small, every recharging moment counts. Do tell. C’mon, it’s cathartic! We wish you truly happy, elf-free holidays! xxoo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2013 The Soulful Pet