Posts Tagged by Love
|November 11, 2017||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Intuition, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Science and soul, Seasonal, Training/Behavior|
I’m up way too early writing this this morning. But I’m inspired and cozy as I work.
It’s 330 am, and I’m curled up on the couch by the now-comforting fireplace’s glow. I’m flanked by dogs on both sides, their soft, warm bodies pressed against me, as I sip coffee, reflecting on recent events. I am overwhelmed with what matters most in life: gratitude, love, community, trust & kindness.
I have my house; it didn’t burn down.
Rusty, my miniature poodle friend, is curled up on my left, comfy & safe. Finn, a mini goldendoodle, sighs as he presses in even closer against my right side. Finn is visiting Rusty & I for a day – his humans have their house; it didn’t burn down. Finn is dog-tired from being “Uncle Finn” yesterday to a lovely & sweet but perpetual-motion goldendoodle puppy guest, little Bella. Bella’s family doesn’t have their house; it burned down.
It seems distant but realistically, tragically recent that the worst fire in CA history ravaged northern CA counties.
Just 10 days ago, it was announced that all the fires are 100% contained. Our community is eternally grateful to the heroic first responders’ bravery & resilience in the face of an epically terrifying conflagration. We watched in horror & amazement as fire devoured entire neighborhoods, and friends & family ran for their lives. Startled awake in the middle of the night, often by angelic first responders pounding on their doors, people scrambled to evacuate hell on Earth: a blood-red glowing sky, flames lapping darkened landscape nearby, blowing embers & choking-thick black smoke. Families fled for refuge, finding safety in relief centers, friends’ homes and hotels. We were all in deep fear & shock.
Those of us who didn’t need to flee for our lives with just the shirts on our backs & our pets in our arms, quickly packed in case we were next to be evacuated.
The fire was incredibly intense & merciless. It was a searing challenge beyond measure, often driving firefighters to flee its unrelenting advances. The evacuations rolled out as it spread. So many of us were so scared; so many of us left our homes, not knowing if we’d find them standing when we returned. Rusty & I were lucky; friends in safe towns to the west & south of us kindly offered their homes to us. I can’t tell you how comforting that was.
Personally, my bag was packed for a week.
The evacuation zones grew increasingly closer to my home, just a handful of miles to the north and east of me. The closest advisory evacuation line bordered the end of my street, just a quarter mile away. Three times I thought I needed to flee; three times I thought I’d lose my home. It was a week before I could breathe and begin to believe that Rusty & I were safe.
Now our community rebuilds – resiliently.
It’s who were are: Sonoma County strong. Only a few weeks ago, evacuees were allowed to return to their devastated neighborhoods to sift thru ashes. Most of us haven’t yet personally witnessed the complete annihilation of these neighborhoods – aside from images from drones, helicopters, & press photographers. When we do see the singed ghosts of once vibrant communities & beloved, historical landmarks in person, collective shock & sadness will roll through us, renewed. The charred bits I’ve seen so far caused me to gasp & sob in horror yet disbelief. But I know we will prevail; we must.
We are collectively still processing this ever unfolding trauma.
We might tell ourselves that life is back to “normal” as we get groceries, pay bills, take the kids to school, celebrate holidays, and make plans to rebuild. Indeed, we are not in fear for our lives now. But this experience lives in vivid memory in our minds & bodies – as trauma. It is important that we continue to lean on each other to heal, to mentally process events & move the trauma out of our bodies.
So, Sonoma County, how are you – really?
How are your pets – really?
No doubt, we’ve all been traumatized. Science shows that fear and stress are group-think & energetically contagious. We can all feel it in the air, humans & animals, alike. Trauma unfolds its symptoms slowly; it’s not felt completely initially. So this will be a long-haul healing process. Personally, I’m very concerned about our collective well being. Our immune systems are stressed; our psyches are stressed. But I’m optimistic for our community and our group consciousness’ healing capacities.
We are all now much more awake and raw.
And most of us aren’t used to that experience, to those feelings. Self-aware empaths and intutives like myself keenly feel this energetic shift, the community’s angst and fear thick in the air; we are uniquely called to help heal. I believe it is our purpose to help those affected by tragedy to cope, survive & thrive.
Pets, natural empaths & intuitives, feel the shift, too.
So that rawness & openness that feels new to you is familiar to your pets. Animals are experts in being present in the now, so they are better equipped to release trauma. Your pets can help you heal because it comes naturally to them. Now is the time to consciously, collectively heal, while trauma is most potentially transient if given a loving incentive to move on, before stress events take up more permanent residence in your mind & body.
Begin your healing; plug-in to community.
I mean really plug-in: Get personal. Skip the extra-excessive hours on social media. Rather, help and ask for help – in person. Traumas teach us to rely on each other because we don’t have the choice not to. Stoically isolating doesn’t heal; we’re not islands. (Why is it so darn hard for us – myself included – to get comfy with asking for help?) So build a team to lean on. Use the resources available to you, be they medical, psychological, financial, strategic, social or spiritual. They are there, ready when you are. And you are ready. Be there for yourself – now.
Our pets plug-in, without hesitation.
If they want a cookie, they unabashedly ask for one – without shame. Bonus: In giving Fluffy that treat, we gain a positively warm & fuzzy feeling. The healing connection’s a two-way flow: Fido knows when you need a cuddle. We cry; pets instinctively comfort, and we let them comfort.
Learn from your pets. Use their love lessons in your life, privately & in community.
Give and accept giving. Giving & receiving, giving & receiving – and so the cycle is meant to go. And so we are bonded as family and community, humans & animals, alike – by love. In the face of adversity, remember: Love is expanding not contracting, softening not hardening.
♥ I have an idea – a uniquely healing one! ♥
Together, let’s harness the healing power of the bonds we share with our pets. I’m offering “Mutual Healing Sessions“. They are designed to reduce your stress, as well as your pets’. (Stressed pets often exhibit behavioral changes, including aggression; destruction; and depression/anxiety-based behaviors.) If you’re stressed, so are they. Relax yourself, relax them. And vice versa. I combine my 25+ years of experience as a science-based, positive trainer/behaviorist with my empathic and intuitive abilities to help pets and people heal via the power of the bonds they share.
So let’s get together; let the healing begin.
If you & your pets feel just a bit off nowadays, it’s more than understandable. Life stressors are many & cumulative: current culture, politics, tragedy, holiday hustle-bustle, life transitions, etc. Reach out, ask for help. I’m here for you. Our time together will feel like time spent with a friend. Together, we’ll come up with doable, personalized behavioral/wellness plans, drawing on a variety of healing modalities (training, mirroring, mindfulness, meditation, grounding, breathing, intuition) – whatever resonates with you and your pets the most.
Stay open and awake to the healing possibilities, my friends. Let’s do this together!
Sending you all woofs, wags & tons of love!
xo ~Ruth & Rusty
- “In the face of adversity, remember: Love is expanding not contracting, softening not hardening.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Pets are great love conduits; with their guidance we reconnect with each other with ease, without judgement.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” ~Sun Tzu
- “In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.” ~Marianne Williamson
©2017 The Soulful Pet
|June 5, 2017||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Intuition, Lifestyle|
Nope, not right now.
I’ve not been good to me lately. And that’s incredibly effed up. You feel me? Right, well let’s fix this sitch, stat.
I’ve blah-blahed about self-care awareness in the past.
This time, I’m getting my bitch on about it. BTW, I took that word back long ago. Bitch = strong woman. Period. Bitch bonus: Rusty loves that determined, smart, surviving-thriving, loving side of me. Rusty loves bitches, period.
I realized that I’m doing 2017 backwards.
I’ve put everyone ahead of myself, to the point where I’ve given old battles energetic permission to resurface. Why the trauma redo? Because I didn’t get the message the first time. Call me dense. But I’ve got it now. If I’m not clear in my self-emitting signals, the Universe won’t be, either. So, pulling up my big-girl bitchy panties, let’s get specific; let’s get crystal-healing clear: Self first!
I have not been my best friend.
You should hear the smack I talk to myself: stuff I would never say to my besties, stuff I would never allow a guest in my home to say to me. What’s up with that noise? I vow, from here on, I’ve unerringly got my back. (Bitch’s back, you might say. Sorry, had to.)
I had to zoom out to clearly focus on the fix.
The big picture is the current grand-scale chaos of our country, our world. But, the biggest & best truth-picture: we are all love, we are all connected – people, animals, plants, Earth, Universe. We get wrapped up in 24/7 noisy news drama, social media, orange tweets and daily life – in a din that consumes & shrinks us, blinds & deafens us to our truth-picture. A friend asked me: “Why is everything so chaotic now, personally & globally?” Partially, it’s because we don’t zoom out; we’re being tribal & small, right-fighting. In that, we lose track & trust of the love that bonds us. Partially, it’s because the Universe is out of balance; it’s realigning now because it insists on balance. Because we’re all connected, we are sharing this universal experience. We’re all feeling it: topsy-turvy-crazy.
I intuitively zoom out.
It’s what I do; it’s who I am. (If you follow my writer’s FB page, perhaps you’ve read my monthly intuitive microblogs.) I must listen to my intuition. She’s always right, she’s calm, she’s loving – she’s always a welcome guest in my home, my work, my heart. Her voice has many sources, all from love. To listen to my intuition, follow her guidance & pass her messages to others – I must be unyieldingly steadfast in creating voice-space for her – for me. Steadfast in self-care, self-love, self-listening….. self first.
You can catch up on past microblogs here.
If one resonates with you, or you think it could help someone else, please share it. They are meant to be shared; they are messages thru me, for us all. Namaste.
- Summer realignment – the healing of individuals & community (May)
- “She Becomes” – a poem about embracing self-truth (April)
- Embrace becoming – The change-friendly message that inspired the poem and a blog-to-be. (March)
- Need-speaking – A nice empowerment to say what you need. (February)
Up next: Reaching out – June’s message, heard but not yet written…. Follow my writer’s page to catch it!
There’s a theme to the monthly messages: “Be your best friend.”
Take care of your best friend, you. Listen to your best friend. Love your best friend. Why? Because she’s downright awesome. She knows you best. She’s got your back. She’d give the shirt off her back to your friends. And people love her. She’s the gal they wanna hang with, laugh with, blow off steam with. Hell, name her if you need to. I named my me-bestie “Betty”; it makes it easier to give her a voice. My true friends know her & love her. In fact, they often greet her before me with a hearty, “Betty!!!”. They’re fond of saying, “WWBD?” Betty’s a “bitch” who knows & says what she wants. She’s fiercely loyal, loving & giving. Cosmos, chocolate, giggle-snort belly laughs & gritty-real talk – they’re the soul-stuff of her. She loves life & lives it unapologetically, regrets be damned. I love her. She’s me. We are GFFs; we are one.
In parting, I’ll share a personal intuitive message I received regarding my trauma 2.0.
“You are one. It’s a realignment. Stay on your path. You are safe & secure.” I believe that’s true for me. I believe that’s true for us, collectively. And that gives me peace and strength.
Be your bestie.
Love you because you deserve it. Embrace your Betty! Self love is your strength source. Trust and believe it. Then zoom out to this: love is Universal truth, the Universal balancer. We are all love; we are all connected. Feel that; trust that. From this truth, you’re strengthened to reach out to help others. We become reconnected as community. May this bring you peace and strength in the chaos, as well.
Want guidance on tuning into your intuition?
We’re all intuitive; it’s a sense we all are gifted with, like sight or smell. Tap into it, and you can trust it will guide you in life, career, relationships – endlessly & lovingly. To hone & honor your intuition, you must honor yourself – giving your soul space to grow and a deeply listening audience of one. What better way to be your own best friend?!
I’m offering brand new soul-based intuitive guidance sessions for humans!
Your pets are welcome to join you; they are natural, gifted helpers in this wonderful process. xxoo ~Ruth~
Love connection quotes:
- “We are one heart, one love and one spirit.” ~Panache Desai
- “There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by my self.” ~Brian Andreas
- “Self-care is how you take your power back.” ~Lalah Delia
- “Pets are great love conduits; with their guidance we reconnect with each other with ease, without judgement.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “You should see her since she gave herself permission to rise.” ~Rebecca Ray
- “Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.” ~Roald Dahl
- “Never diminish your light’s strength, for it is meant to wildly, beautifully shine in this life.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “Perhaps, we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us they know exactly how it should be done.” ~Rudy Francisco
- “I fill myself first so I can heal the world.” ~Lissa Rankin
- “Remember, we are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we are so deeply interconnected with one another. Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is a supreme creative act.” ~Ram Dass
- “Life lived authentically is all the sweeter.” ~Ruth Hagen
©2017 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
|November 8, 2015||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Music, Pup culture, Videos|
Last year, I bubble wrapped my heart.
I did this once before, after my sweet-soulmate cat, Alex, died suddenly.
His death deeply, devastatingly impacted me, emotionally & physically. Afterward, my heart wasn’t yet securely tied & bound (thanx, Pat Benatar), because I was 24/7 nursing & chefing for my senior, barely mobile & epileptic boxer boy, Gumbo. When he passed later that year, I was relieved for him. His discomfort was over. I believe with all my being that Alex & Gumbo are in a wonderful place now. But then, I sealed the wrap over my heart completely. It all hurt too, too much.
Fast forward: For 3 years I was content to be Auntie Ruth to a stream of visiting pups, as well as all of my clients’ pets.
So I didn’t miss having a pet; I worked with animals daily, with the freedom of traveling on a whim. No petsitters, daycares or pre-travel vet visits required. Just me & my bubble-wrapped heart, joyfully, obliviously traveling. Are you starting to see the downside of the wrap approach? Good. ‘Cuz I wasn’t seeing clearly yet, what with all the bubbles & plastic clouding up my soul.
Enter Rusty: a delightfully sassy-cool poodle puppy.
I knew him from the start as his Auntie Ruth, for training & puppy-sitting. For reasons for a future story, I had the opportunity to adopt him. Without a thought, I jumped at the chance. Such a gift. But my heart was still sealed….
The first few months with Rusty were blissfully healing, perhaps for both of us.
I was aware, though, that I had him at arm’s length. I wouldn’t be hurt again. Ahh, but love finds a way in & out. I woke up one day to realize that poodle-love had me wrapped around his paw – hook, line & sinker. We were both better off, more than I knew.
Last year, I was blindsided by betrayal.
People who called themselves family & friends, who said they loved me, suddenly devalued, dismissed and discarded me. I had given my heart & soul to people who couldn’t love me. I had fallen for an all-so-conditional illusion. (Fodder for a future tale.) My head knew the truth: love that was never there to start can’t be lost and needn’t be mourned. But my heart? It was in deep, deep trouble. Certain that life itself was at risk, I wrapped & sealed my hurting heart in layers of bubbles. Deep, thick, cushiony layers of the big, big bubbles. Funny, those are the most poppable ones…..
I dated my girlfriends. I leaned on true family. I cuddled my kindred soul, Rusty. I became wonder woman, reinventing and rediscovering my superpowers. I found my voice – as a writer and an intuitive. I found myself – the girl I was before I gave myself away. Legit love from & for friends, Rusty & myself – gradually healed me. The warmth and glow of it all melted bubbles away.
Today, my heart is an open, ooey-gooey, vulnerable oasis.
It’s the place where I live. I write, work and love from my heart. It guides my voice and life. It doesn’t play games. It abhors held-in emotions. Basically, if I feel it, I say it. My heart is wise & kind, so no one gets hurt. Especially me. I trust that.
A six-year old once told me with great earnest: “The problem with pets is that they die.”
That’s a jaded adult thought, not one of a wide-eyed, open-minded child. That’s bubble-wrap talk. Suffocate your heart, and it shrinks. Hurt can’t get in – true. But love can’t get in – or out, either. Yes, real love is messy-risky. But I trust the unwrapping is a worthwhile leap of faith….
Heck, it’s risky for me to write this post.
I never, ever thought I’d write about love. I don’t have a gift for annoyingly sappy, flowery prose. But is that what’s required? A bit of a think-break here, before I (gulp) bare more soul. In the meantime, I’m with P!nk (yet again): “The Truth About Love” does come @ 3 am. You do wake up f*cked up, so you grab a pen….
I unwrapped my heart.
With Rusty & friends buoying me, I found love – real love. It’s passionate, unconditional, trustable, scary-honest, rapid-growth, biped love this time around. Together, we’re unwrapping insulating layers from previous hurts. A juicy, someday story-to-be-told, indeed: a tale of love layers.
The only bubbles I need now are chillin’ in the frig. Lucky, grateful girl. xo ~Ruth~
- “Love that was never there to start can’t be lost and needn’t be mourned.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi
- “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. ~Rumi
- “The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.” ~Gilbert Chesterton, English writer
- “If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.” ~Mik Everett (not Drake!)
©2015 The Soulful Pet
|January 20, 2015||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Recipes, Seasonal, Soul food|
So. Let’s take the pulse of your year thus far, shall we?
Resolutions not-so-much? Whining & we’re only weeks into 2015? Right, that’s because you ran that rat race straight into the resolution mousetrap. Have no fear, overwhelmed whiskered-one. There’s a way out – if you’re open to it.
I have a devilishly long 2015 to-do list.
Believe me, I’m the type of gal who would/should, to my mind, accomplish everything by 1/2. Notice I didn’t say “could”. ‘Cuz I can’t…. and neither can you.
Here’s what we can do: Rewrite the rules.
Yep, new rules for the new year. They’re not complicated, they’re cheap & they payoff in spades. Best part: Break ’em & shake ’em if ya wanna!
I’m not a dictator, not even a benevolent one.
I won’t write rules for you. But I will tell you what Rusty & I came up with so far. It’s an evolving list, as it should be. We all evolve (Darwin!): body, mind & soul. To quote Mary Matalin: “Inflexible minds are boring minds.” Boring is not on this list, so flexible we shall be!
Ruth & Rusty’s “Happy Now & Here” Rules:
- No resolutions – ever. See? Easy.
- Always do a twofer. Whenever you can, double up. Buy 2 tickets to a show instead of one. Match a friend to the entertainment & take them. Buy 2 bags of pet food. Donate one to a shelter or give it to a neighbor in need. Make 2 batches of yummies & give one away. (See below for a very shareable recipe!) Buy a sandwich @ the deli, & treat the person behind you to one, too. Bring your trashcan in, and heck, drag the neighbor’s in, too. Got it?
- Take a vacation in your hometown. And talk to people. Learn their names. Take your dog; you’re guaranteed to see things through his nose/eyes you hadn’t noticed before. Convos are randomly uber-easy with Pup nearby, as you know. I find it fascinating how delightfully open folks are around animals. No Fido, & Fluffy just won’t play that? Be a solo tourist; ask people where they like to eat, drink, hike, or hang with art & books. Really listen to their tips and actually go do what they recommend. It’s the best. (Trust me, introverts. You can do it.)
- Purge with purpose. Right, I did it today. I filled & delivered 3 purpose-filled bags: donation, consignment & reuse. In the past, Rusty’s purged unused toys. He doesn’t miss them, but his pals love them. I wholeheartedly believe that less clutter in your space is less clutter in your mind & soul. Besides, Rusty just has too many toys. (Shhh….)
- Choose happiness. If you follow TSP, you know this choice is big. It changed my life. My first week of 2015 was a downer. But I brought it back to happy asap. How? I connect with friends & family I love, who truly love me back. I ask for help. I create beauty. I play with Rusty. (Get on the floor & play with your pet; it’s a whole other world down there!) I exercise, eat well, love with all my heart, sing, dance, bake, sip wine, hug, laugh, & smile with my eyes. I’m curious by nature. I consult Reiki masters, shamans, energy healers, Buddhists & yogis. I read everything. If it lights my soul up, sign me up. What lights your soul up?
Five easy things. Do them simply & sweetly, as often as you like.
Be kind to yourself & others in the process. Do not judge your progress or count how many you’ve done. Do not judge others by their response or count what you receive in return. Just be. Just do. Find yourself & your bliss in the being, doing, giving & receiving of each moment.
Speaking of giveable yummies, try this ridiculously easy recipe.
Each batch is an individual serving that’s frozen. When you’re ready, pop as many servings as you like into the oven and roast away! You can share it with your pets (no garlic or onions, please). Or deliver packaged portions to a friend who’s going through a tough time. Or invite a friend over for an impromptu home-cooked meal.
Ruth’s Rosemary-Mustard Roasted Chicken & Veggies
Ingredients (use organic when you can)
1 lb new potatoes, quartered
2 carrots, peeled & cut into 2-inch sticks
2 medium zucchini, cut into 2-inch sticks
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
course sea salt & pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 1-quart resealable plastic freezer bags
In a large bowl, combine prepped veggies. Stir in 2 Tbs olive oil, 1 1/2 Tbs mustard, 1/2 tsp sea salt & 1/4 tsp pepper. Separately, season the chicken with ground sea salt & pepper, to taste. Divide veggie mix and chicken among the 4 bags. Add 1/2 rosemary sprig to each bag & seal. Freeze, until ready to cook, for up to 3 months. Each bag is one serving. (This cooks best from frozen, so get your chill on!)
To cook: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Empty bag(s) into a baking dish. Roast for 25 minutes. Stir veggies & flip chicken. Roast 20-25 minutes more, occasionally stirring veggies, until chicken is cooked through. Remove the rosemary sprigs & plate up the goodness!
(Rusty chowed on bits of veg & chicken from this dish. If I were making him his own bag, however, I’d leave out the salt & pepper. I’d replace the 1/2 rosemary sprig with 1 Tbs chopped, fresh parsley, mixed into the veggies.)
~Lovingly lifted & tweaked from Real Simple~
Wait…. this just in: Rusty said, “That’s a twofer you can drool fer!” You were expecting Shakespeare? He’s a poodle, peeps. He’s a poodle.
Happy Now & Here! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2015 The Soulful Pet
|November 5, 2014||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Recipes, Soul food, Uncategorized|
Where have we been?
Traveling; spiritual journeying (me – I don’t know about Rusty); spending time with family, friends & nature; and eating well. We’ve collected wonderful memories & stories along the way. Here’s a taste….
I hate airports & planes.
It’s not a fear of flying. It’s the impersonal, cattle-herding, soul-sucking nature of the airport that wears me out like the flu. Once boarded, I find myself praying not for the plane to remain intact for the duration, but for my seatmate to not be an escaped lunatic. Truly, being trapped with insanity or Chatty Kathy is my nightmare in the air. Folks ask me why I don’t take Rusty. I wonder why on Earth he’d enjoy it anymore than I do? I think he prefers to stay on terra firma, curled up in a biped’s bed. I get that.
I confess, I used my miles to fly first class on my last trip.
I’m a solo-flying newbie, so comfort eases my stress. A good friend urged me not to use my miles to fly domestically. She wants me to see the world; I want that, too. But a girl has got to get comfy flying alone first; the world will wait.
Fast forward to boarding.
I finished a text while praying to the plane gods that the seat next to me would stay empty. Suddenly, a cheery voice said, “Well, hello there!” I looked up and saw an open, genuine, happy soul smiling with his eyes. Immediately, I was relieved. This would be a terrific flight. We toasted, laughed & chatted the entire trip. We anti-smalltalked about life’s twists & turns, family, work, dreams, goals – it was effortless & meaningful. If I dozed off, he greeted my awakenings with, “So, d’ya have a good nap? Want anything?” I thanked the plane gods several times that flight. Lovely, lovely guy.
The return flight was completely different.
I sat beside Mr. Gadget. Despite my polite efforts to catch his eye to @ least greet him, he plugged in & tuned out from the start. I’m not judging; who’s to say that he wasn’t using his own social/emotional crutches? Clearly, the rule was no talking. Faced with a bad movie, not being tired enough to sleep & cracking a new book open – I chose none. Instead, I opted to spend 6 hours on a plane with no tech, no books, no movies, no talking. A few naps. Lots of internal chatter about where my life is going, why some I loved have left it, if I can make a go of my dreams, & if others will hop on board with my visions. Daunting stuff, that. As I watched clouds, lightning & snow covered peaks go by, I finally heard my intuition speak. (That girl needs silence, no way around it.) She said, “Continue to find inner peace & happiness.” Sigh. So simple, yet it’s everything. This writer & awakening healer needs to listen in the silence. We all do.
Rusty & I celebrated our reunion with a kitchen concoction. It’s basic, ‘cuz after a trip I usually only have pantry basics. And, I’m usually too dog-tired to slog to the grocery store. So this happened:
Ruth & Rusty’s Simple Smoothie
Ingredients (use organic when you can)
1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
1 frozen banana, sliced
1/2 cup non-fat milk
2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla
Puree in a blender until smooth & serve asap. I drink mine from a glass. Rusty prefers his served on a saucer, topped with some oats & a dash of cinnamon. Really, he does. He refused it otherwise.
~Tweaked a tad from Martha Stewart~
Here’s the thing: finding inner peace & happiness is an inside job.
You can’t rely on someone or some place or some time to make you happy. Period. Look inward. Yes, it’s scary. Who cares? Just do it. Those negative thoughts & voices you hear in the silence? They’re not you. Not the real you. The real you is love & gratitude. So any voices who talk smack about you like you couldn’t imagine talking to a loved one…let them go. That’s your gremliny brain prattling on with hurtful nonsense. Notice those thoughts, and watch them pass by like the scenery from a plane’s window. Don’t push them away; that strengthens them. Notice & release. Come back to your grateful heart & breath. This takes daily practice because you’re retraining your brain that’s naturally hardwired for negativity. Think of it as working out your happiness muscle.
Ditch your expectations.
Expectations are created by perceptions. What? Yeah, they’re not real, either. Like the gremlins in your dome, what you think should happen isn’t necessarily best for you. (Gasp! Your ego could be wrong!) If you don’t attach to an outcome, you won’t be hurt if it doesn’t unfold. And, you’ll be able to see the fork in the road offering your better path. You’ll also see the wonders around you for not clinging to a mythical outcome. Clinging causes suffering. Self-imposed suffering stifles happiness. Back to my plane ride: While I thought I didn’t want a seatmate, in each case, the men who sat next to me gifted me. One with connection with another soul, one with connection with my own soul. Be present; be mindful; be happy.
Yep. Big, juicy, nasty shit-storms. Stay strong; weather the turbulence. Take shelter by leaning hard on people who truly love you. Let them help you because they want to help you. Asking for help is strong, not weak. Slog through the gooey, mucky mud puddles with your pals. You must go through it, and you can get through it. But you’re not alone in it. My mama’s fond of saying, “This too shall pass.” And, like a storm, it does. It does, friend. (Oopsie, sorry for the swear words, mum.)
So that’s what happens when I fly solo. Deep freakin’ thoughts – or welcome distractions from delightful peeps. Either way, I’m cool. But I am glad to be back on terra firma with my pal, Rusty.
Convince your mind to follow your heart, and enjoy the ride! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2014 The Soulful Pet
|May 11, 2014||Posted by Ruth under Lifestyle, LOLs & BOLs, Music, Pup culture, Seasonal, Videos|
We wish you a day filled with love and laughter!
Big woofs & wags to your fur-kids, too. This vid’s from our hearts to you!
xxoo ~Ruth, Rusty & friends~
©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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|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
|April 25, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Guest bloggers, Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle|
I’m happy to warmly welcome Madi (“MJ”) P.W. as The Soulful Pet’s first guest blogger.
Recently, MJ had to say good-bye to her beloved BFF boxer girl, Maggie, aka Maggie Roo. (Maggie had suffered from idiopathic epilepsy.) With grace, wit & humor, 10-year-old MJ wrote her thoughts on this experience in a letter to her sweet Maggie. I’m honored to share that letter with you all, as written by MJ. You’ll cry, laugh & learn…..
“Maggie Roo” by MJ:
“My pet Maggie was not only my pet, she’s my Best Friend. The moment I will cherish forever is when we put her down she layed in my lap, I always told her, “It’s fine, I’ll be ok.” When ever I see a rainbow from a reflection, I will know she is with us. Every night when I go to bed, I always hold her collar up to my heart saying a little pray. Maggie was the only one who could make me smile when my parents got divorced. I will never forget the moment when she took her last fart in the doctors face! I would like to thank Derek for helping us through the times with her. We’ll meet again someday Roo 🙂 I never will forget you, I love you too the moon and back Roo! RIP Maggie Roo!!
Love, Mj <3″
Thank you for sharing your Maggie memories, MJ. They are precious. I know that you will help folks remember to cherish time with the pets & people they love. Loss is hard, but memories that make you laugh (boxer farts 🙂 ) are priceless.
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 MJ’s letter-from-the-heart, please do in the comments. I’m sure she’d love to hear from you. Let’s pay it forward: Share MJ’s lovely story to help others heal from loss & grief. xxoo ~Ruth~
©2013 The Soulful Pet