Posts Tagged by Gremlin
|November 5, 2014||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Recipes, Soul food, Uncategorized|
Where have we been?
Traveling; spiritual journeying (me – I don’t know about Rusty); spending time with family, friends & nature; and eating well. We’ve collected wonderful memories & stories along the way. Here’s a taste….
I hate airports & planes.
It’s not a fear of flying. It’s the impersonal, cattle-herding, soul-sucking nature of the airport that wears me out like the flu. Once boarded, I find myself praying not for the plane to remain intact for the duration, but for my seatmate to not be an escaped lunatic. Truly, being trapped with insanity or Chatty Kathy is my nightmare in the air. Folks ask me why I don’t take Rusty. I wonder why on Earth he’d enjoy it anymore than I do? I think he prefers to stay on terra firma, curled up in a biped’s bed. I get that.
I confess, I used my miles to fly first class on my last trip.
I’m a solo-flying newbie, so comfort eases my stress. A good friend urged me not to use my miles to fly domestically. She wants me to see the world; I want that, too. But a girl has got to get comfy flying alone first; the world will wait.
Fast forward to boarding.
I finished a text while praying to the plane gods that the seat next to me would stay empty. Suddenly, a cheery voice said, “Well, hello there!” I looked up and saw an open, genuine, happy soul smiling with his eyes. Immediately, I was relieved. This would be a terrific flight. We toasted, laughed & chatted the entire trip. We anti-smalltalked about life’s twists & turns, family, work, dreams, goals – it was effortless & meaningful. If I dozed off, he greeted my awakenings with, “So, d’ya have a good nap? Want anything?” I thanked the plane gods several times that flight. Lovely, lovely guy.
The return flight was completely different.
I sat beside Mr. Gadget. Despite my polite efforts to catch his eye to @ least greet him, he plugged in & tuned out from the start. I’m not judging; who’s to say that he wasn’t using his own social/emotional crutches? Clearly, the rule was no talking. Faced with a bad movie, not being tired enough to sleep & cracking a new book open – I chose none. Instead, I opted to spend 6 hours on a plane with no tech, no books, no movies, no talking. A few naps. Lots of internal chatter about where my life is going, why some I loved have left it, if I can make a go of my dreams, & if others will hop on board with my visions. Daunting stuff, that. As I watched clouds, lightning & snow covered peaks go by, I finally heard my intuition speak. (That girl needs silence, no way around it.) She said, “Continue to find inner peace & happiness.” Sigh. So simple, yet it’s everything. This writer & awakening healer needs to listen in the silence. We all do.
Rusty & I celebrated our reunion with a kitchen concoction. It’s basic, ‘cuz after a trip I usually only have pantry basics. And, I’m usually too dog-tired to slog to the grocery store. So this happened:
Ruth & Rusty’s Simple Smoothie
Ingredients (use organic when you can)
1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
1 frozen banana, sliced
1/2 cup non-fat milk
2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla
Puree in a blender until smooth & serve asap. I drink mine from a glass. Rusty prefers his served on a saucer, topped with some oats & a dash of cinnamon. Really, he does. He refused it otherwise.
~Tweaked a tad from Martha Stewart~
Here’s the thing: finding inner peace & happiness is an inside job.
You can’t rely on someone or some place or some time to make you happy. Period. Look inward. Yes, it’s scary. Who cares? Just do it. Those negative thoughts & voices you hear in the silence? They’re not you. Not the real you. The real you is love & gratitude. So any voices who talk smack about you like you couldn’t imagine talking to a loved one…let them go. That’s your gremliny brain prattling on with hurtful nonsense. Notice those thoughts, and watch them pass by like the scenery from a plane’s window. Don’t push them away; that strengthens them. Notice & release. Come back to your grateful heart & breath. This takes daily practice because you’re retraining your brain that’s naturally hardwired for negativity. Think of it as working out your happiness muscle.
Ditch your expectations.
Expectations are created by perceptions. What? Yeah, they’re not real, either. Like the gremlins in your dome, what you think should happen isn’t necessarily best for you. (Gasp! Your ego could be wrong!) If you don’t attach to an outcome, you won’t be hurt if it doesn’t unfold. And, you’ll be able to see the fork in the road offering your better path. You’ll also see the wonders around you for not clinging to a mythical outcome. Clinging causes suffering. Self-imposed suffering stifles happiness. Back to my plane ride: While I thought I didn’t want a seatmate, in each case, the men who sat next to me gifted me. One with connection with another soul, one with connection with my own soul. Be present; be mindful; be happy.
Yep. Big, juicy, nasty shit-storms. Stay strong; weather the turbulence. Take shelter by leaning hard on people who truly love you. Let them help you because they want to help you. Asking for help is strong, not weak. Slog through the gooey, mucky mud puddles with your pals. You must go through it, and you can get through it. But you’re not alone in it. My mama’s fond of saying, “This too shall pass.” And, like a storm, it does. It does, friend. (Oopsie, sorry for the swear words, mum.)
So that’s what happens when I fly solo. Deep freakin’ thoughts – or welcome distractions from delightful peeps. Either way, I’m cool. But I am glad to be back on terra firma with my pal, Rusty.
Convince your mind to follow your heart, and enjoy the ride! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2014 The Soulful Pet
|September 9, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Music, Pup culture, Videos|
I took a break from writing for 2 weeks. I don’t think it was a good idea.
I promise me: Next time I travel, I’ll write every day, no matter what – even if I have to scribble it down on my Philly cheese steak’s sauce-and-drool-covered napkin. (Oh, man – that was one helluva sandwich!)
Writing is my salvation & my force field, all wrapped up in one glorious, gremlin-free creative flow.
I cherish it. But there are chinks in an unmaintained force field, apparently – small cracks where haters can enter. External critiques setup house for internal gremlins. That house party crushes creativity. It’s a sad, sad party of uninvited guests: self-doubt is the biggest party crasher of them all.
So here I am trying to write a post about love that I’ve postponed too many times already.
But I’m busy cleaning up after the party. The voices of naysayers are strewn about my psyche like
beer empties drained margaritas, pinatas & “The Hangover” tiger.
What are the discarded party favors, beads, & tiny umbrellas?
They’re suggestions that I censor my writing and not get new photog gear for this blog (cuz why bother?), coupled with learning that loved ones aren’t TSP fans. So what’s a girl to do? Gather up those party favors into a bouquet and flaunt those beads with flair, that’s what. Embrace the debris as part of my style, I say. Besides, the tiger’s kinda cute. Nice kitty.
But how to get back on track? In reality, I was never entirely off the rails.
I’ll grow from the criticism, and put down deeper roots as myself-the-writer. Looking at Rusty, I realize that he’s joyfully & genuinely himself. He’s sweetly uncensored & decidedly unencumbered by “what would people say?!”. Lesson learned, Rusty, my teacher. Getting back to me means being authentic, trusting in what lights me up, & not dwelling on what tears me down. Voila: Force field up!
That said, how about a little reminiscing & music?
In my very first TSP post, I talked about recovering triumphantly from a fall & conquering challenges. Rusty & genuine girl/fashion icon, JLaw, were my muses for that message, and they still inspire me. Music lights me up even more than fashion. A good tune & a cute shoe: heaven!
Come to think of it, The Soulful Pet really needs a soundtrack.
So I’m happy to present TSP’s first Music Monday. Sarah, take it away!
Be kind with your words, folks. They have power.
Use them for good, not evil – with animals & people. Be brave enough to be someone’s muse, not someone’s sad party empties. As Sarah says, “Say what you want to say, and let the words fall out honestly. I wanna see you be brave!” I’ll be right here, honestly & bravely writing.
Do your pets make you brave? Do they keep you on track? Who (animal or human) inspires you? How do you keep your force field intact? How do you celebrate freedom of self-expression? Is there a song in your soundtrack?
Please share your thoughts (& tunes!) in the comments. You could be someone’s muse today! xo ~Ruth~
©2013 The Soulful Pet
|April 18, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Seasonal, Training/Behavior, Videos|
It’s been 6 years since I stepped foot in my church.
So breath held, here I go ……
What kept me away? Bluntly: burnout & anxiety.
My little gremlin kept saying, “What if you fall again?” She had a point. The last time I visited my church, I took a frightening tumble. Confidence shattered, knees bloodied, I hobbled home. I was grateful to be in one piece, but my faith in my place in my church waned. Despite that, my soul remembered being fed by my sanctuary. She whispered to me steadily for 6 years, “Go back, girl. You love it there, and it’s good for us both. Go back.”
As I enter, I suddenly trust that I’ll quickly find my place & my path again.
My sanctuary speaks to me: “Where have you been? Welcome back!” My soul wells up with grateful tears. On I walk, remembering……
My church has everything that I need.
In it, there are no walls. Judgement, dress codes, hate, bigotry, & gossip do not live here. It is blissfully inclusive. It does not pretend to be something it’s not. I trust what it shows me.
I find my church to be a wonderful equalizer.
It is a bountiful reminder that we humans do not hold dominion over all living things. We are all integrally connected, part of something bigger than ourselves. We are not superior. We do, however, have a responsibility to gratefully honor & preserve this sublime gift – for all beings.
My fellow parishioners are a varied bunch, here. We respect each other’s rights to exist.
I am spiritual because of them. As I wander down my path, I’m reminded of the countless times I listened to pious humans in churches-with-walls insist (as if they knew for sure) that only humans have souls. In my soul, I know that’s not true. Do you see your pet’s soul? I do, too.
A quick aside: This doe was just 10 feet from me on the side of the trail. We communed for about 10 minutes before going our separate ways. To not frighten her, & to get this pic, I used a body language trick that comes in handy with cats & dogs, too. Keep your side to nervous animals, instead of facing them. You are less of a threat. Fearful pets are more likely to approach non-frontal body language. In fact, facing an approaching dog or cat (also called body blocking), can stop them in their tracks. If you want them to relax & approach (come when called, even), soften your stance & grant space. Study how your pets interact with each other & you. You’ll see wonderful examples of this body language communication translating across species.
I continue on to the alter.
This serene place allows me to collect my thoughts. Here, I am grateful for my sweet husband’s support as I realized my new calling as a writer. Here, I begin to write this post.
Nearby, flowers grace my path.
And sun pours through stained glass windows.
Further on, I find the Shakespearean sermon, scrawled on a pew.
I’m blissfully aware of the lack of walls & human preaching. The sermon is voiced by water, birds & wind: We are all indeed part of something grander.
Finally, I reach my destination. I am at such peace here. This is why I will return.
Tomorrow, Rusty & I will walk together.
I enjoy the solace of my church, but I find grace & joy in my dog, too. Thankfully, he’s all soul, no dogma.
What inspires you? What feeds your soul? Where’s your “church”? Please share…..
©2013 The Soulful Pet
|April 4, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Pup culture, Recipes, Seasonal, Soul food, Training/Behavior, Videos|
It’s a relaxing, rainy spring day. I’m cozied up on the couch with coffee & my little guy, Rusty.
It’s also a work-at-home day, so I’m in sweats & fuzzy socks. (Not pretty, just cozy.) I’m writing about “easy” being better. So that should be a no-brainer @ this point, right? Nope, not @ all.
If I listen to that little voice in my head, I’ll start believing that I’m lazy.
We all have that voice. She’s the one who never cuts you any slack. I call her my little gremlin. Basically, she’s a bitch. She’s quick to point out this morning: “Look @ lazy you: you’re not dressed, you didn’t comb your hair, and your couch is your office today. In fact, Gremlin incessantly nags me to clean my actual office. Every second that I’m not doing that seemingly insurmountable task, I feel worse about myself. Why such a hater, Ms. Gremlin?
It’s been an uphill battle for me to learn that easy is better.
I’m slowly beginning to ignore my gremlin. Who does she think she is, anyway? There’s a nicer voice that’s getting louder; she’s kinder & wiser. She’s my coach in this life lesson. (Before you conclude that I’m schizophrenic, Lissa Rankin calls that kind voice that we all have inside our “Inner Pilot Light“.) Here’s my theory: The nasty, nagging, confidence-busting voice is society. The gentler, more accurate voice is your soul. At this stage in my life, I choose to listen when my soul speaks.
We’re plugged into our fast-paced society 24/7. Work is valued, not relaxation.
Society says if it’s not hard work, it’s not worth doing. But we’re stressed & sick. So how’s that really working for us? It’s self sabotage. Enough of that stress, and your soul might have to scream @ you: “Stop, slow down & listen to me now. I know what’s best for you.” You’ll know it if it happens; it’s hard to ignore: frequent sighs, illness/aches & pains, burnout, panic attacks. Listen to your body (& soul) sooner rather than later. (Not sure how stressed you really are? Take this stress test.) Be true to yourself first, not society/family/friends. It’s not selfish; it’s healthy. What comes easy & makes you happy? Ignore your gremlin, fire up your pilot light, and just go do it! Make it a habit. Your new-found, genuine energy will infuse all that you do. You’ll be happier and more successful. Your enthusiasm & inner light will shine on the people & pets around you. It’s contagious & everyone benefits.
So easy is better. Easy isn’t lazy. Easy is in the eye of the beholder.
Think about it: Just because something’s easy for you, doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone. So, if it’s easy for you, maybe that means you should be doing it, instead. Maybe you’re a natural @ it. Maybe it’s a gift that shouldn’t be ignored. Why swim upstream to do something that’s soul-suckingly hard for you just because other people think you should? Because Gremlin said so? Please.
Sometimes, you have to tease out the “easy-for-you”.
It’s there, ready to come to the surface, but it needs the right setting to express itself. For example, I think best around flowing water. (Such a cliched Aquarian here, really.) I get clarity & ideas in the shower, on a hike by a stream, by my backyard fountain, or on a barefoot beach walk. In fact, I silenced my pesky gremlin today by taking a shower, where this post wrote itself before I turned the water off. Easy doesn’t flow around that 24/7 societal din of TV, phone, computer, etc. Unplug & find your flow.
Go with the flow to find your pet’s “easy”, too. It enriches your time together.
If you want to teach something new to your pet, begin with something they naturally, easily, do well. For example, catch is not an instinctive game for many dogs. There are trust issues there. Why in the world would you want to keep your face (& sensitive nose) in the direct path of a flying object? I taught Rusty to catch by 1st playing his “easy” game with an “easy” object: fetch with a ball. Then, as that game flowed, I teased out his new “easy”, catch, by gently tossing that ball in the air, past him – not @ him. As his confidence grew, he caught it face-on. You can tease the new “easy” out of your pet in other ways. For example, if your dog loves walks, take brief breaks during the walk to teach a few new commands. If your pet’s invented a favorite game, play their game. Then build on it to teach new games. Remember: Take it easy. Less is more. End while everyone’s still having fun.
Watch Rusty’s easy play:
He taught us his “roll it!” game. We intersperse it with “catch!” and varied play locations. Good times.
When you embrace “easy” as worthwhile, it becomes a lifestyle.
I was baking banana bread the other day, contemplating this concept. Baking is a bit like flowing water for me: an inspirational gremlin-silencer. Suddenly, I decided to make the “easy” variation of the recipe that I’ve followed without fail for 10 years. It tastes better than the original! So why didn’t I do that sooner? It’s a process, people. But I’m getting there. So will you.
Ruth’s “Easy” Banana Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 mashed, ripe bananas
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons plain, low-fat or nonfat Greek yogurt
2/3 cup dark (70% cacao) chocolate chips
2/3 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, & level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking soda, & salt, stirring with a whisk.
Place sugar & butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add bananas, eggs, & yogurt; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat @ low speed just until moist. Fold in chocolate chips & walnuts. Spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Dig in!
~Adapted from Cooking Light~
Go with your flow. Find your “easy”.
Feed your soul. (Try the banana bread.)
Fan your pilot light until its glimmer silences your gremlin. That game or walk you enjoy with your dog? That might just be your water where ideas flow. Easy comes naturally to animals. Let your pets tease the easy out of you!
©2013 The Soulful Pet