Posts Tagged by Holidays
|January 13, 2018||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Intuition, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Science and soul, Seasonal, The Soulful Daily|
Wow. Sh*t got real last year, didn’t it?
We were faced with life-altering drama-trauma, individually & collectively.
But we survived; we thrived. And that was no small effort. But you did it; we did it. And here we are in 2018!
How on earth did we pull through?
We dropped our egos & masks. We opened our hearts, either consciously or they were torn open for us. We got real – real raw. We leaned on each other. We offered help. We learned to ask for help – some of us for the first time because we had no choice but to turn to our community for safety & aid. We became a strong, united, powerful force pulling together to thrive, persist & resist. And we succeeded.
When you come from your heart, you tap into your truest, higher self.
That resonates & attracts others. It binds & bonds us via the connected collective consciousness of our higher selves. And that is where our power lies, individually & collectively. That is where we are united.
This new year continues to be about shining your true self and being connected to community.
We are not isolated. We are not tribal, partisan, socially warring people. That is an illusion created by ego-driven, low-vibrational souls who need to control to exist. But, as we’ve seen, the love that emanates from each of us is our true bond, our true power. We demonstrate that daily by uniting, not dividing; showing kindness to each other; volunteering in community; and being grateful for each day as a gift to do & see the good stuff all over again.
That’s not to say that we aren’t facing daily struggles.
We will, for sure – sometimes epically so. But, I know for certain that those struggles are lessons our souls need to learn to grow & enlighten in this lifetime. It’s how we face & react to them that matters. And, after all, that’s all we can control.
So my new year’s wish to you is that you wake each day with gratitude in your heart.
Open your eyes & give yourself 10 minutes before hopping out of bed to review what you’re thankful for. Don’t forget to be grateful for the strength & guidance that got you through the previous day’s struggles. And, before you hop out of bed, be consciously aware of the lessons & growth opportunities that the day’s challenges offer you. If you do that, you will find that you flow thru the “obstacles” more gracefully, seeing them as opportunities, instead. Similarly, you can end your day by reviewing its events with gratitude before you fall to sleep.
You’re in “soul school” daily, so pay attention & do your soul’s work.
As you go through your day, stay in your body & heart. Love lives there; your spirit lives there. Your intuition lives there. Trust your heart & gut to stay connected with your highest self. In doing that, you will stay connected with community. Ego and it’s fearful skeptical motivations isolates; love unites. Stay in love with your higher self; you will glow. Like-spirited others will find your glow. And that’s how your soul tribe-community self creates. That’s how we evolve to our best selves, individually & collectively. Your ripples of self-love & kindness to others matter. They resonate through community, and back to you. They bind us all together.
Why on Earth is a science-based, positive pet trainer writing about this?
Well, I’m also an intuitive. I walk in the worlds of science & soul daily, in my personal life and my work. I find that the synergy of science & soul is a beautiful place to live & work from. I am better for it in all that I do, and I think that I’m better at all that I do because of it. I bring all of me to all I do, and I can’t imagine living any other way.
Waking with gratitude and heart-centered days are hard to manage at first.
I’d love to help you with that. As an intuitive, I receive brief guiding messages & lessons daily. I’d love to share them with you via my new newsletter, THE SOULFUL DAILY™. Think of them as eclectic little inspirational messages, from my soul to yours, to brighten your day. They’ll be easy to remember and share (via words or deeds) with souls you encounter, including your pets. And we’ll all be better off for that.
I encourage you to keep a journal.
Call it an inspirational or gratitude or intuitive journal; just call it daily journal, if you like. Write down my messages that resonate with you most. Write things you’re grateful for. Write lessons you learned that day. Soon, with my guidance, you’ll receive daily messages yourself. Write them down – keep that journal as an act of self love. Reflect on it for future inspiration. What a fabulous way to navigate each day of this new year. Bonus: It’s a science-based way to be happier!
So here’s my offer to you:
Subscribe to THE SOULFUL DAILY™ for my daily intuitive inspirational messages by visiting the right side bar of this site & subscribing. Simply choose a monthly subscription rate that’s doable for you from the pull-down menu. (You pick the value of a daily dose of happiness: anywhere between a cup of coffee, a squeaky toy or a dinner out.) Soon you’ll see how a few daily words from me, perhaps journaled by you, add up to a very sweet gift to yourself & those around you. Ripples my friends: positive deeds, thoughts & words are powerfully healing ripples for us all. We are all connected, so let’s honor that. Let’s be aware of what we put out there – in our group swim.
Happy New Year to you & your pets! Let’s do 2018 together! xo ~Ruth & Rusty
©2018 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
|January 6, 2014||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, LOLs & BOLs, Seasonal, Training/Behavior, Videos|
Right, I refuse to say it. Let’s just call it a pesky little lie that we tell ourselves each year. Agreed?
The truth is that only 8% of us keep our R-words after just one hot week. So why lie to yourself? Why set yourself up to fail & then kick yourself for having (shockingly) failed? Would you treat a friend that way? I think not. So this is the year that you will be kinder to you. Rusty & I will help…
Don’t get caught up in today’s wave of R-words.
Just because everyone’s doing it, doesn’t mean you have to join their circus. If you already blurted out a bubbly-inspired R-word on New Year’s eve, it’s not carved in stone. Your hangover outlasted your R-blurt, didn’t it? So what? Shake it off. Listen (or don’t – it’s best) to the TV talking heads & lame headlines this time of year; they’ve all gone mad! How to make the best R-words, how to keep them, blahblahblah…. I find it sooo annoying, I couldn’t even write the-word-that-shall-not-be-mentioned in this post. Resist the urge; purge the R-word. Feels better already, doesn’t it?
In a previous tangent rant, I mentioned washcloth weirdness. ICYMI: When I request washcloths from hosts, they stare as though I just sprouted horns & spoke in tongues. One gal replied, “Why? Are you afraid to touch yourself?” Huh? Maybe I’m an oddball, I don’t know. Another bizarrely answered guest-request: “Can I watch a show on TV?” (This was pre-DVR days. Otherwise I wouldn’t have asked.) The response: “Yes, if it gives you a sense of comfort.” What?! Did I miss something here? Why not a simple “Yes, of course”? Why are my basic niceties, which might differ from the personal preferences of others, cause for such lunacy? The answer is the key to kicking your R-words to the curb….
What really gives you a sense of comfort?
Yes, the little things like a favorite show, a washcloth, & comfort food are nice, but they’re not pivotally comforting. Dig a little deeper. What truly makes you feel all warm & fuzzy inside? How about the brief, shining moments when you allow you to simply be you? I am convinced that there is great power in being bravely, unabashedly you. People who aren’t comfy with themselves will belittle, dismiss & patronize your genuineness. Trust me: That says everything about them and nothing about you. Stay true to yourself. Stand your ground. Be ridiculously happy being you.
So that’s it? That’s the big R-word cure?
Yes, it is, friend. Trust that you are good enough, worthy & loveable – as you are. Fly your freak flag and let your light shine. The world will notice, and you’ll be happier. If you believe in you, you’ll be kinder to you, and you’ll attract no-drama souls who believe in you. That covers all the R-words under the sun. How do I know this? I survived last year because of it. I believe it in my soul.
Bonus: The more you do you, the more you’ll appreciate the uniqueness of others.
That’s when you’ll see that the truest beauty really lies within our differences. It’s the basis of the best relationships in our lives, with humans & pets. My Rusty reminds me of this every day. He can only be himself; he’s a happy, charismatic little guy. His joy is contagious to me. I strive to follow his lead in this because it’s better for both of us. An aside: Did you know that your pets mirror you? If you’re out of balance, not being genuine, your pet will reflect your insincerity/instability – often via undesirable behaviors. You can’t fake it with animals, & they don’t fake it with us. Back to Rusty. He lets me know when I’m not @ peace with myself. He brings me back to me, and we both benefit. At the same time, I adore our differences. He’s an amazing dog, not a human. As a dog, he accepts me as I am: oddly human. No weird, conditional responses from my little guy. Just joyful acceptance. I am grateful for him daily. Best of all: Neither of us ever utter R-words.
Rusty & I relish being ourselves. In that way, we’re very much alike, perhaps embarrassingly so:
For maximum fun, play both videos @ once. See? Delightfully similar & different!
Did you make and/or break any R-words yet? What do you think about our cozy, comfy cure?
How will you do you this year? How will you & your pets benefit? We’d love to hear from you.
Happy New Year! xxoo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2014 The Soulful Pet
|December 18, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Blog hops, Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, LOLs & BOLs, Pup culture|
This is a scary-new kind of post for me. Why?
It’s my first blog hop! I’m amateurishly rubbing elbows with fellow pet bloggers who I admire. Why else? While I’ve given you a few personal glimpses of me in The Soulful Pet’s first year, it’s been much easier to hide behind my sweet pup, Rusty. It seems that I’m not alone in the pet bloggers’ world in that way. Which is why this blog hop is called “Meet the Bloggers”, aka “The Grand Unmasking“. We’re all exposing ourselves a bit more than we naturally would without a push.
Why on Earth should I do this?
Why answer all these pre-determined, personal questions so god-knows-who can read into my soul? I squirmed as I asked myself this when I read about this event. My knee-jerk was “hell no!” Then I realized that it’s the writing version of my cliff jumping, ziplining adventure. So Geronimo!
First, to participate I have to literally expose myself in a candid pic.
I was going to cop out & use the uber-lucky selfie that I’ve slowly grown comfy with you seeing on The Soulful Pet. But, as with ziplining gear, vulnerability shouldn’t be pretty. So here’s a painfully raw, un-Instagrammed outtake (complete with trashcan in the background) from the selfie session Rusty & I originally endured for this site’s sake. We are blissfully selfie-challenged.
Deep breath. Now to answer those pesky, disrobing, probing questions:
What’s your favorite non-animal related book?
I just finished Chelsea Handler’s, “Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang.” She makes me laugh – hard. She puts the “coslopus” into being a strong, funny bitch. Love her. (She does talk about her dog, Chunk, in the book, but just in one chapter.) Was I supposed to be more cerebrally high brow with this answer?
What’s your favorite non-animal related movie?
Sooo many! I love to laugh, and I love a roller-coaster scare. So I’ll say “Bridesmaids” & “The Cabin in the Woods”.
What’s your favorite non-animal related food?
Does that mean it has to be vegetarian or vegan? A glass of juicy red vino & eggplant Parmesan is heavenly. I was pesco-lacto-vegetarian until I started cooking for my boxer. Now, I can’t wait to visit family in PA and have a REAL Philly cheese steak. Extra sauce, light on the cheese, no peppers or onions, soft roll – drool!
Who’s your favorite actor?
Now that she’s played a sex addict in “Thanks for Sharing”, I can properly answer this otherwise dull (sorry) question: P!nk!
What’s one thing you have to do every day?
Car dance & sing, usually to P!nk, Jessie J, or Karmin – turned up LOUD. Of course, if Rusty’s in the car I tone it way down. Not the dancing, just the volume. He loves it when I make a fool of myself. Today, though, even I was embarrassed to be with me as I jammed to Daft Punk on the way to the gym.
What makes you feel fabulous?
That’s easy: being loved & cute shoes.
What do you wish you were more skilled at?
Spanish & techie stuff.
What’s your favorite holiday?
A self-ish, elfless Christmas with loved ones.
I make a mean chicken & dumplings. Yum!
What do you like to do in your free time?
In no certain order: Hike with girlfriends; visit consignment shops & local galleries; bake; read; try new restaurants; drive thru the countryside & along the coast; and hang with my little man, Rusty.
What one word would people who know you use to describe you?
Why is this so hard to answer? Ugh! No, that’s not the word. Still thinking & feeling awkward. Can I phone a friend on this one?…. OK, I just asked 5 of my girls, & I got 5 words. I’m not picking one. They said: loyal, loving, selfless, compassionate & kind. I think I’m a golden retriever.
If your pets could talk, what one word would THEY use to describe you?
Trustworthy. I really try to be predictably stable, kind & fair for my pets – no matter what’s happening in my life. As it turns out, that’s good for me, too.
What is one thing you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
I could write a book on this, and I might someday. Plain & simple, I survived the last year of my life: burnout after 20 years as a pet behaviorist, anxiety & learning that my husband doesn’t love me. Currently, I’m rising like a Phoenix from its ashes, reinventing myself as a writer. (I’m fascinated & inspired by our bonds with pets.) Loving family & friends – and Rusty – give my wings strength.
How is your pet most like you?
Rusty & I are both very sensitive to our environment & the beings in it, pets & humans, alike. We don’t like chaos. We’re extroverted introverts.
What can your body do for you that makes you most proud?
My intuition is pretty keen. I’ve learned to listen to her over the years. She’s saved my life & my sanity many times. And, she’s made me a better behaviorist, writer & friend.
If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?
On the heels of this horrendous past year, I’ve already made that change. I consciously chose happiness. As a result, I know that all of the other pieces will fall into place. I’m good.
Other than blogging, what are three things you do that bring you joy?
I can’t be alone in this: Couch surfing with my dog, cozy under blankets. When I’m stressed and/or I have a nasty case of writer’s block, I need to be in nature. And, I’m a super happy girl while sipping a delightful vodka cocktail, dining al fresco on a warm summer night with good friends. Cheers! Wait, there’s a fabulous fourth joy: MUSIC!
What’s one thing you could do to be more kind to yourself?
I’m learning to ignore negatives, whether they’re internal (self-talk) or external (haters). Life’s too short.
What drives you nuts about your pets? What melts your heart?
My pets don’t drive me nuts. I do hate thinking about how short their precious lives are. So I stay in the present, enjoying each moment with them, accepting & honoring who they are. They are my teachers. I’m blessed, not driven nuts. That and a warm snuggle or a howl fest, melts my heart.
If you didn’t have your current pets, what pets would you choose to have?
I was without a pet for 3 years after my soul-mate cat, Alex, & my boxer boy, Gumbo, died in 2006. Never again. I’d love 2 dog-friendly cats & one cat-friendly dog. That’s my perfect pet family. It just feels right. But Rusty is anti-kitty, so he’s solo unless his doggie buddies visit.
So now that I’ve peeked out from behind my pal Rusty to risk dying of exposure, please join me.
I need some company here. I’d love to hear from you. Why not answer a few questions yourself? It’s not so bad, after all. Maybe I should try skinny dipping next? Hmm…. I do have a friend who’s been trying to convince me to join her at a Buddhist retreat – naked in their hot springs. Happily peeling the layers off….. xxoo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2013 The Soulful Pet
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|December 13, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Lifestyle, Recipes, Seasonal, Soul food|
Cue music: “These are a few of my favorite things”….??
Well, sort of. If I catch a whiff of patchouli from a lovely earth-muffiny gal while browsing my local health food store or farmers’ market, I like it. I just wouldn’t wear it. After 20 plus years of working with pets, I’ve learned to go scent-free. Perfume can irritate, scare and even agitate animals. I do love earthy (not floral), realistic scents, though. I adore Thymes’ Frasier Fir candles. They smell uncannily like an evergreen tree, which is lovely year round. If I’m not working with animals, I’ll wear Aveda’s Stress-fix. It’s a calming, soothing blend of lavender & sage – and it works! I certainly can’t get mad @ a non-regifted, artisanal fruitcake. (They DO exist.) Heads up, fruitcake haters: the best uniquely similar, yet way yummier treat I’ve ever had was the house-made Panforte di Mendocino @ Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino, CA. (Follow the link to order it online.) So there you have it. Now you really know a few of my favorite things. I feel like Oprah!
Cranberries. We love ’em, right?
How about pecans, oranges & currants? (NOT raisins – icky to me & toxic to pets.) All ok? No rum-soaked, candied green things here – what are those, anyway? Assuming you’re on board, Rusty & I are going with the cranberry theme. His fave treats are Honest Kitchen’s Smooches. They simply contain barley flour, chicken, molasses, water, eggs, coconut oil, cranberries & Parmesan cheese. (Remember: If you are giving your pet processed treats, look for ones made in the USA with the shortest ingredient list. Organic is better, if you can find it. Homemade, of course, is always best.) I like HK’s Smooches because they are only 2.3 calories each. Plus, their larger size and rough texture help clean my little guy’s teeth. Rusty has another cranberry product on deck to taste test: Cranimals Gold. It’s a supplement that contains only cranberries & seaweed. It’s packed with antioxidants & omega 3. I’ll put it in non-fat, plain organic Greek yogurt as a healthy treat for him. Yum!
Prepare for tasty goodness, friends.
I discovered a cranberry quick bread to die for. It’s a seriously simple, one-bowl recipe. The most muss & fuss you’ll do is cutting 1 1/2 cups of cranberries in half. Patience, grasshopper. It’s worth it. Or – delegate to someone who’s not dangerous with a knife. Pop the batter in your oven, & your whole house will smell like the holidays. That’s way better than patchouli, peeps.
Ruth’s Not-a-fruitcake Quick Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup fresh-squeezed OJ (I prefer satsumas, but naval oranges are fine. Not store bought OJ, please!)
2 Tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cranberries, thawed if frozen, sliced in half
1/4 cup currants
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped, toasted & cooled slightly
Preheat oven to 350. Arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with butter; set aside.
Place flour, sugar, orange zest, baking powder, salt & baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk well. Add OJ, melted butter, egg & vanilla. Stir until just combined. Fold in cranberries, currants & nuts until evenly distributed. Don’t over stir.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, pushing it into the corners & smoothing the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, in about 65 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Turn the bread out onto the rack to cool completely — if you can wait that long!
~Adapted from Chow.com~
I hope we helped you finish your holiday shopping & baking!
BTW: The quick bread makes a great gift, as does my cranberry granola. Now, please sit back & let the ugly truth fly: How do YOU really feel about fruitcake and/or patchouli? Do you have favorite holiday treats (for pets or peeps) that you buy or make? How about a fave scent? Please share links & recipes! Funnier yet, we’d love to hear about the tastes & scents you hope Santa forgets this year!
Happy holidays, y’all! xxoo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2013 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~
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