Posts Tagged by Inspiration
|January 22, 2014||Posted by Ruth under "Wordless" Wednesdays, Lifestyle, LOLs & BOLs, Music, Pup culture, Rusty's place, Videos|
If you know my mom, you know she loves music, singin’ & dancin’.
In fact, she’s woofin’ fab to howl with. So when I saw her lovin’ this tune, I promised to share it with y’all:
If mom’s happy, I’m happy. Groovin’ & woofin’! xo ~Rusty~
©2014 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 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
|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
|July 20, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Pup culture, Training/Behavior, Videos, Worthy reads|
What happens when life becomes one dimensional? You burnout. I did.
I lost the balance in life between caring for others & caring for myself. My existence became about my work. As much as I loved it, a girl can not live on work alone. My schedule was filled with work; my days “off”, evenings & time with my hubby were all clouded by work. And my reading list was all about….. you guessed it: work. As a child & teen, I was a voracious reader of classics, novels & non-fiction, of all genres. The more variety, the better. This adulthood myopic must-read approach was killing me. Enough!
Last year, I put down the clickers & leashes to get 3D-whole again.
I started filling in the other dimensions of my life that were starved. My sustenance is rediscovered, pre-burnout things that feed my soul. If you’ve followed me so far, you know them: Hiking; trail running; quality time with my patient husband & good friends; music; baking; gardening; nature & animals (of course); writing; & …. reading. I had to unplug from the grind and reconnect with myself through these things.
For the longest time, I didn’t have a summer reading list.
I couldn’t have told you what I wanted to read that wasn’t related to training how-to’s. (My office bookshelves are filled with those must-reads. They’re important, but they weren’t good for me anymore.) This year is different. This year, I have a summer reading list. It’s my prescription to me, for me. I give myself permission to read what I want, when I want. Sounds pretty basic, right? For me, it’s a reawakening. It’s a reading renaissance!
I’m happy to share my restorative want-to-read-list with you. Here it is, divided into my soul’s areas of interest that needed rekindling:
Baking – I reviewed these gems in my post, “On burnout, bangs, baking, blogs & books….“.
Gardening & cocktails – Yes, they DO go together! There’s nothing better than a weekend cocktail made with herbs from your garden or your fave farmer’s market. Add my hubby’s grilled flank steak and my garden-fresh caprese salad, and I’m a happy girl. (Rusty’s thrilled too; he never misses a chance to taste test steak.)
- “Shake, Stir, Pour” by Katie Loeb
- “Edible Cocktails” by Natalie Bovis
- “Market-fresh Mixology by Bridget Albert
- “Artisanal Cocktails” by Scott Beattie
Celebrating our bonds with pets – Not the how-to’s, but the whole reason why.
- “The Secret Life of Dog Catchers” by Shirley Zindler
Shirley’s a sweet, courageous local gal. She describes her book as “a love story about animals & people”. She donates a portion of its sales to animal causes. (I’ve gifted her book 3 times already.) Jessica Dolce, creator of DINOS, wrote a wonderful review/interview. She wanted to take Shirley out for a margarita after reading her book, to hear more of her stories. Me, too. See? Full circle stuff. Watch Shirley describe her book for her successful Kickstarter campaign:
More on our bonds with pets:
- “The Radical Practice of Loving Everyone” by Michael J. Chase
Rusty gave you a heads-up peek @ this one via video in his May post.
- “The Possibility Dogs” by Susannah Charleson
- “The Soul of All Living Creatures: What Animals Can Teach Us about Being Human” by Vint Virga, DVM
- “My Animal, My Self: A Breakthrough Way to Understand How You and Your Animal Reflect Each Other” by Marta Williams
My interest in Marta’s book & animal communication stems from the many undeniable “knowing” moments I’ve had with clients’ pets. She’s also a fellow biologist, which intrigues me. Her workshop is on my to-do list. Open minds, remember? Luckily, Marta’s also a local gal. Heck, I’d like to have a cocktail with her, too. The “tails” she could tell….
Watch Marta discuss “mirroring”, a powerful concept that I coached clients on daily as a behaviorist:
Humor – Because laughter is good for the soul. And my soul’s idea of funny is quirky, irreverent & uncensored.
- “Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang” and “My Horizontal Life” by Chelsea Handler
I’m not as behind as you might think in reading Chelsea’s books. I finished her 2 newest ones first. Before you turn your nose up to her “low-brow” humor and question the entirety of my reading list, know that my mom, preacher’s kid that she is, devoured Chelsea’s latest deliciously uncensored read, “Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me“. And that’s saying something.
- “Man Up! Tales of My Delusional Self-confidence” by Ross Mathews
I will probably read this one first. I need some belly laughs, and Ross never fails with the funny.
Self-help – Don’t we all need a little life renovation? After all, happier, healthier humans have happier, healthier pets.
I consider Lissa my gremlin-busting guru. Watch her talk about how the mind can heal the body.
(Yes, it’s an hour long. Trust me: You deserve to take the time. Too stressed to watch? Then you NEED to watch.)
Whew! It’s an ambitious list that actually will keep me busy thru 2013 – because life happens. And that’s OK.
Is your reading list filled with have-to’s or want-to’s? Is it a 3D expression of your soul?
Or do you censor your choices for fear of what others might think? ‘Fess up: I’d love to know what you’re reading. No judgement here. Please share in the comments. Together, perhaps we can inspire others!
©2013 The Soulful Pet
|June 4, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Guest bloggers, Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle|
I’m honored to welcome Mike Lee as a guest blogger for The Soulful Pet!
A bit of bio on Mike, in his own words: “In my professional roles as executive director/nonprofit consultant; my avocation as artisan baker and slow food gourmand; and my vocational roles as friend, kindred spirit, lover and family, Cooper is my constant companion.” I first met Mike when I coached his family during handsome Cooper’s puppyhood. Cooper was a 50th birthday gift for Mike, and his first dog. Of Cooper, Mike says, “He inspired my second childhood.” Now that’s a great gift! Mike’s devotion to Cooper, friends, family and artisan baking inspires me, so I invited him to share his thoughts on life-as-Cooper’s-dad with you. When he wrote this, Mike had just spent 10 nights in the intensive care unit with his father, who had suffered a heart attack, and he was missing Cooper’s companionship. Very thankfully, Mike’s dad is well now, and Cooper’s been reunited with his dad.
“A Message to Cooper” by Mike Lee:
“You beautiful creature, I miss you so being an ocean apart. Yet when I close my eyes, listen and hold still, I feel our foreheads touch, our calm breaths meet, our hearts beat-thump-thump, beat-thump-thump, together. I feel you near me, Cooper, and we’re communicating through the cosmos, crystal clear. You beautiful creature, I see the joy and mercy of God in your loving eyes.”
Mike & Cooper, thank you for reminding us to savor the sweet things in life.
Friends and family (2 & 4-legged) are cherished gifts, not to be taken for granted. Warm hugs and baked goods made with love nurture the soul; they’re downright therapeutic. Wishing you, your father and Cooper continued health & joy, Mike.
Readers: If you’d like to honor your pet (past or present) with a story, note and/or pics, just let me know. If you’d like to respond to Mike’s post, please do in the comments. I’m sure he & Cooper would love to hear from you!
©2013 The Soulful Pet
|May 3, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Pup culture, Recipes, Soul food, Videos, Worthy reads|
So that’s what a midlife crisis looks like. Who knew?
I watched in fascination as Michelle Obama explained her bangs.
She was adorable, as always. But the bangs were bangin’ cute. Suddenly, I realized that a midlife crisis could be a good thing. I choose to redefine my own experience as a beginning, not a bitter end. I’m celebrating my midlife crisis & its accompanying burnout as an opportunity to more fully explore life. Lesson learned: When your work defines you, it also limits you. No more.
I had considered bangs, pre-FLOTUS. Really.
Sometimes a girl just needs a change, and that time had definitely come for me. Thanks to a friend who’s an uber-talented hair stylist, I took the leap, and I love them!
What else changed? I’m returning to the things that I love.
I forgot how they feed my soul. Nature, hiking, trail running, friends & family, baking, gardening, and reading – all had been on the back burner. Even my patient husband had been waiting for me to put the leashes & clickers down. He knew before I did that I was ready for a change. (He’s still not sure about the bangs, though.)
I’m thankful that the baking bug bit me again @ the same time that I returned to hiking/running.
Otherwise, my summer reading list would be a dangerous one. I’ve dedicated my reads to women who inspire me because they followed their bliss & their passions. It’s a lovely eclectic list that includes: Chelsea Handler, Lissa Rankin, Joy Wilson & Deb Perelman. For this post, I’ll highlight the bakers in the bunch….
Joy Wilson & Deb Perelman feel like kindred spirits.
They are self-taught cooks & bloggers. They weave stories around their recipes. Normally, I’m a get-to-the-point type of person when it comes to cookbooks. But not with these ladies. They are funny-smart and a bit self-deprecating. The unexpected success of their passionate blogs turned into book deals. (I’m often asked if this blog will become a book. Who knows?)
Deb Perelman’s “The Smitten Kitchen” is an instant classic that begs for a sequel, asap.
In her forward she discusses her insistence on cooking in an NYC kitchen that was so small its functionality was in question. Why would she cook in a city where any craving could be satisfied with a phone call? A friend advised her that NYC stoves were for sweater storage. Thankfully for us, Deb’s can-do, slightly obsessive persistence prevailed. I appreciate her casual delivery of detailed instructions (the hows & whys). My hubby & I approach cooking very differently. I learned to cook by baking, so I’m a recipe girl. He cooks intuitively, by feel, like I work with animals. Nothing wrong with that. Yet, I felt validated when Deb advised don’t let people “tell you you’re less of a cook if you need to look @ a recipe”. Her book is packed with are-you-kidding-me recipes. What ultimately won me over? I’m a pie girl. That began when my mom & I baked together. She’d offer to make a pie if I made the crust – always a fair deal. Deb makes her “Deepest Dish Apple Pie” in a springform pan, and she celebrates National Pie for Breakfast Day. Enough said. I want to hang with this chick. We could be besties.
Joy Wilson’s “Joy the Baker Cookbook” is an absolute treasure. Her bangs are pretty cute, too.
Her blog hooked me when she called her adorable cat, Jules, a “monster” who “terrorizes her in the dark” and a “jerk” who “lights up her life”. Then she celebrated his birthday by baking him a cat cake. C’mon. That’s inspired! Her book is just as wonderfully quirky. She spiked her grandma’s treasured banana bread recipe with bourbon, explaining, “I’m young & restless”. I support that. In the forward she affectionately recalls her dad sharing his baking enthusiasm with her. This rings true for me. My dad inspired my love for nature, via fishing. And he planted the baking seed. I fondly remember visiting his aunt & uncle’s Danish bakery in Pottsville, PA, with him. We were always greeted by my uncle’s handsome smile & hearty hug. Together, we sampled whatever goodies were still warm from the oven. To this day, I love the smell of freshly baked macaroons. So far, none have matched my uncle’s. And I like it that way.
Keeping it healthy is important. So is a sense of humor.
FLOTUS is spreading the word on fitness & a healthy diet. And so is my new fave, not-a-book-yet blog, Thug Kitchen. I’m a self-confessed foodie, and an enthusiastically amateur baker & photographer. Obvious, yes? I will sit outside with Rusty & a glass of iced wine (yes, that’s right, wine snobs: ICE), and cover-to-cover read a cookbook. But only if its author can write & make me laugh, too, as the ladies above do. So it was with great joy that I discovered Thug Kitchen. The incognito Thugs dispense sound nutritional advice via some hella colorful language. (Here’s my take on swearing: If it’s funny, go for it. If you’re swearing just to swear, stop it. If you’re easily offended, don’t read it. Don’t complain about it; just move on. Censoring sucks.) If you find yourself saying, “Who needs another cookbook?”, visit their FB page. It’s hysterical, the recipes won’t disappoint & it’s not dumb. The Thugs aim to “drop some knowledge on your ass”. The vibe is contagious to their fans, whose comments are also seriously, refreshingly, off-the-hook funny. I’m SO hooked. I can’t wait to read their cookbook!
Don’t worry, Rusty will benefit.
I just whipped up a batch of Thug Kitchen’s Sweet Potato Jerky Treats for both of us. (Super yum, no dehydrator required, & no Chinese toxins in sight!) Next up: Joy’s Crunchy Cat Treats. (Perfect for the poodle, too.) I also have some new biscuit trays that are begging to be filled with fresh garden & farmer’s market goodies. Rusty’s my little garden helper & taste tester. A fido foodie, if you will. As I bake & we sample, we’ll report back. Yes, I said “we”, and I mean it. If you can’t/won’t eat your dog’s food, there’s a problem, isn’t there? I hate the term “human-grade” for ingredients. It implies that our food should be superior. I question that. So does Rusty. To quote the Thugs: “Show your dog you f*cking love them.”
So what’s next?
Maybe I’ll go ovo-lacto-pesco vegetarian again. (Don’t worry, I won’t drag my dog or my husband along with me on that.) Maybe I’ll get some chickens. (Did you know that you can clicker train chickens?) Maybe I’ll take a yoga class. Maybe I’ll master the perfect cat eye. Maybe I’ll rent a house on the bluffs of Mendocino & invite my girlfriends to join me there. Maybe I’ll shock the hell out of my hubby & greet him, Mad-Men style, @ the door – in a dress, with a cucumbered Hendricks & tonic. (Never mind the anti-feminist throwback scenario I just painted. The dress would be the stretch for me. We’ll see.) I’m enjoying the exploration. What’s next? Who knows……
Have you tried something new lately? Assuming it’s legal, please share. 🙂 I’m always looking for inspirations!
|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