Posts Tagged by Soul
|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
|January 18, 2017||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Science and soul, Training/Behavior|
2016 was a relentlessly hardcore teacher launching mammoth lessons at us.
Were you paying attention in last year’s class? I was.
Buckle up; this is gonna get personal.
And real. And uncomfy in parts. But that means last year’s lessons hit home – deeply. I accept 2016 as my teacher.
I often joke that since my post-divorce awakening as a writer and an intuitive, I somehow hooked myself to a comet that’s plummeting thru life lessons at a ridiculously head-spinning rate.
Or I’ve caught an epic wave that must be surfed to its fullest. Or both – waves by day, comets by night. Regardless, it’s a master class and I relish it.
I could be ongoingly outraged. We all could.
Hell, we’ve all been politically outraged, haven’t we? But that outrage means the lessons aren’t getting through to us. If we’re right-fighting, we’re not listening, not growing, not learning. So deep breath, and repeat after me: “Puppies & kittens, puppies & kittens, puppies & kittens.” Picture that fluffy cuteness, keep repeating & breathing. Better? Good. Time to chill out and absorb the past year’s lessons.
Here are 6 of my biggest takeaways from 2016 –
about humans, affirmed by animals (my life teachers):
- If a loving relative yells at me, it’s because she’s scared & stressed nearly to death.
She needs my compassion, understanding & stability. It does neither one of us any good if I match her aggression with aggression. Similarly, a fearfully aggressive animal needs you to kindly provide time & space for them to calm. Ultimately, they need your patient guidance through their fears later, when they’ve calmed to a non-defensive learning mode. A fierce response to humans or pets does lasting relationship damage. Don’t go there.
- If a loving friend is occasionally critical or negative, it’s because he’s stressed by his day’s events.
Again, calm compassion. And boundaries. And space and time. (He gifts me these if I’m scared or sad.) He unspokenly needs me to hold a mirror up to him, inspiring self-reflection, returning him to presence. A simple question then silence succeeds: Why are you irritated with me? (I know he’s not, really.) I do the same with irritable cats & dogs: What is not ok for you right now? How can I make you comfy? Growls from otherwise sweet animals require the question: What lies beneath the behavior? Are you sick/scared/painful/stressed? Be safe, but be there to be aware when they answer you. They will answer you. Then get to your vet.
- When life presents challenges – and it always does – they are surmountable.
Rather than obstacles, they are lessons in disguise. I see two perspectives. For legit problems, by definition, if the problem exists then so must its solution. For questionable problems, I apply the “5 by 5” rule: If it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t waste 5 minutes of your energy on it today. Just let that shit go. Back to pets: I counsel my clients that obstacles are opportunities. For example: that barking dog behind the fence that your pup can’t pass without transforming into a leashed Tasmanian devil? Be grateful for this conveniently located & safely contained distraction, perfect for positive focus training for Fido. With all challenges, if it seems insurmountable, find a teacher-helper. Just do it.
- Something today might feel like a very bad thing you survived in your past, but it’s not the same.
Step back and evaluate. Is it really the same? Of course not. An example, please? I know a lot of women, myself included, who were badly affected by Trump’s rise to power because it felt too familiar. But he’s not that guy. Remind yourself of that, ladies. He’s just not. He can’t hurt you. You’re fine; you are. An animal example, please? Your new pet is not your last pet. If you were traumatized by the aggression, behavior, illness, etc. of your last pet, please know that this new animal-soul is not that trauma. If your last pet was your soul mate or behavioral perfection, your new furry family member will rise to her own unique potential if you don’t hold her back with unfair comparisons.
- Recognize mismatches and souls whose paths no longer overlap with yours. Let them go.
There is no need to keep someone in your life, even if you could, to the detriment of you both. I now know that a love that was never there to begin with can’t be lost and needn’t be mourned. While I give my heart fully, it is not fodder for others’ toxic whims. That’s where my path must diverge from theirs. It is meant to be that way. I see this play out with pets – as mismatches. A dog who needs time and space to evaluate or escape chaos likely won’t be his best with a hectic, uber-social, on-the-go family. A person who craves & insists on a cuddle-buddy cat is not best paired with a fleetingly affectionate, independent feline. Don’t insist on square peg-round holing it through life. It’s not good for anyone involved. Admit it doesn’t fit and move on. It’s a mismatch, not a failure. Letting a soul’s path diverge from yours gives them the gift to find their better fit. There are perfect matches to be found for all of us. And, it’s likely that your mismatched encounter was necessary to put you both on separate paths to better-suited, destined companions.
With that, I enthusiastically ride the waves & comets into 2017.
I am grateful for 2016’s cosmic lessons. While teachers are often cleverly, even cruelly, disguised, they are placed in our paths because our souls need their lessons. Don’t be outraged; be a life student. Always ask: What can I learn from this? How can I grow from this? Then listen. Really listen. As you studiously wait, apply compassion, kindness & empathy. Then your truest answers will come….
If 2016 was The Teacher, I believe we should put our hard-learned skills to work this year.
In 2017, let’s become The Listeners. (To be continued in my next post…..)
So what did you learn last year about yourself, fellow humans or your pets?
Who was a powerful teacher-helper for you last year? How will your lessons help you this new year? Please share; there’s strength in learning together. Go ahead, get political if you want. But be kind, constructive & inspirational while you’re at it. Remember, you’re somebody’s teacher, too. xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
Words with wisdom:
- “Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.” ~Buddha
- “Remember, you’re somebody’s teacher, too.” ~Ruth Hagen
“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” ~Anthony J. D’Angelo
“Change is the end result of all true learning.” ~Leo Buscaglia
“I made decisions that I regret, and I took them as learning experiences… I’m human, not perfect, like anybody else.” ~Queen Latifah
- “Today, I find calm clarity. I am inspired despite the election. I choose happiness (not naivety, not helplessness). I choose a path of love & light.” ~Ruth Hagen, on her FB writer’s page
- “A fierce response to humans or pets does lasting relationship damage.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Don’t be outraged; be a life student.” ~Ruth Hagen
“I take all of my life lessons, which some people might call ‘mistakes’, and apply them to my future so that I keep growing.” ~Kimberly Caldwell
- “When you get older, you learn certain life lessons. You apply that wisdom, and suddenly you say, “Hey, I’ve got a new lease on this thing. So let’s go!” ~Robert Redford
©2017 The Soulful Pet
|September 4, 2016||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Science and soul, Seasonal, Videos|
With Labor Day celebrations behind us, let’s rethink our daily labor.
It’s often a lonely, one-way journey down the very real road to burnout.
It is unhealthy, not sane or saintly, to put all things before yourself. Working more is not working better or smarter. Trust me; I know this to be true.
A 40+ hour work week takes an undeniable toll on your mind, your health and your relationships.
When all is said and done, we will not wish for more possessions or hours at work. We will wish for more memorable adventures and time with loved ones; good health; and a continued passionate, creative curiosity in life.
Be mindful in your daily work flow.
Look for inspiration; it is everywhere. Have a beginner’s mind. Embrace your passion with childlike abandonment.
With practice, you’ll find a unique personal-timing sweet spot where self-compassionate breaks meet passionate productivity.
I can be found with my muse-pup, Rusty, sitting under the redwoods, with paper and pen – should creative inspiration strike. There, I am open to the possibility of business and writing ideas, but I release them to the paper for consideration at another time.
In the big picture, there is no true place in the workplace for selflessness.
It leads to illness and resentment – the stuff of burnout. It empties you, making it impossible for you to create, find joy or give to others.
Make your work and your breaks part of a soul-filling, blissful process.
With dedication to your well being, design your days to be simultaneously productive, energizing and of benefit to others. With this, you become abundance, not depletion.
Can this self-aware design be had in a 40+ hour workweek?
Or would we best honor our souls by embracing the science that justifies a 3-day work week? Certainly, whatever the number of hours, it is imperative that we prioritize finding our uniquely personal sweet spot for our best life.
I challenge you to consider this:
If your knee-jerk reaction was something like, “I have no time to sit under a tree with a dog“, then you have missed my point. Get honest, personal and introspective. Because you’ve always done something one way, does not mean it’s best. Is your blinders-on, nose-to-the-grindstone, joyless way really working for you? Are you frequently complaining about your work? Are you chronically tapped out and exhausted each day? Are your relationships stressed? If you’re not sure, ask your family and friends for honest feedback. Be prepared to respect their words and make a change.
If you’ve read this piece to this point, you might have an intuitive desire for change.
Only you can change your circumstances. Because you deserve it, decide and do it. Now. ~Namaste.
Please share how you balance work & life. We’d love to know! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
Words to live & work by:
- “By refreshing our sense of belonging in the world, we widen the web of relationships that nourishes us and protects us from burnout.” ~Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone, “Active Hope”
- “With practice, you’ll find a unique personal-timing sweet spot where self-compassionate breaks meet passionate productivity.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” ~Audre Lorde
- “Finding your passion isn’t just about careers and money. It’s about finding your authentic self. The one you’ve buried beneath other people’s needs.” ~Kristin Hannah
- “Only you can change your circumstances. Because you deserve it, decide and do it. Now.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Rest and be thankful.” ~William Wadsworth
©2016 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
|February 16, 2015||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle|
Today’s not just any day. Today’s my birthday.
While I’m not opposed to telling you the number, I won’t for an unlikely reason. I don’t see age anymore. I see souls. It’s a gift – a lovely thing, really. It’s a bit like looking at Rusty and seeing his whole being, rather than just a dog or just a poodle. Moving forward in my life and my career, I know I will share this soul-seeing gift with others.
When my husband of 25 years left me last year, it shook me awake.
My intuition stepped up and spoke up. She guided me, cared for me & saved me. In my awakening, I chose happiness, released my inner writer, and realized my empathic & intuitive gifts. I am finally embracing these gifts for what they are. They’re not “skills” (as I was once told by someone who didn’t get me) or “curses” (as if I’m somehow lesser for them). I’m so happy to share them now, the keys to my soul’s calling. Knowing that is the best present a girl can get!
This week, Helen, a dear friend of my mother’s, died.
Helen was amazing. She marched to her own drumbeat, not caring who thought what of her. The world needs more chicks like that. She was a fiercely independent spirit. She shrugged off her pain, but spoke from her heart. And she expected you to speak from your heart if she let you into her world. That was the gift she gave me; she let me in. She insisted that if I visited my parents I should visit her. The gritty girl talk between Helen, my mom & I was memorably priceless. When Helen found out about my divorce, she did not pity me. Instead, she spoke to my soul: “Get out there. Don’t close yourself in. You’re too special to not share with the world.” I had my marching orders…..
So today I celebrate. I am ageless. I am reborn.
I will love fearlessly, I will write fearlessly and I will live fearlessly.
And my life will be unapologetically beautiful for it. This is not selfish; this is necessary, like breathing. This life celebration is what Helen was talking about.
My true celebration began the day my divorce became final.
That is not spiteful; it’s joyful. On that day, this “poem” flowed out of me:
“Today, I celebrate.” ~Ruth Hagen
Today, I celebrate freedom. Freedom to be myself, freedom to evolve into my best self. My soul’s freedom.
Today, I celebrate love. Love for myself and others, human & animal.
Today, I celebrate my truth. Truth that I speak, truth that I write, truth in my work, truth in my heart.
Today I celebrate kindness. Kindness extended to me by others & kindness I live to return.
Today I celebrate my essence. My essence is not broken or flawed; she is lovely. My essence is empathic, intuitive, honest, spiritual, peaceful, grateful, playful, irreverent, quirky-geeky, joyful, uncensored & loving.
Today, I celebrate. Today, I am single. Today, I am reborn.
So, dear Helen, this I know is what you wished me. This is what I wish me, too.
Together, I hope we inspire others to see souls, heart speak and find life’s drumbeat. xo ~Ruth~
“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” ~Buddha
“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” ~Mary Oliver
©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
|March 15, 2014||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Recipes, Seasonal, Soul food, Videos|
After a rare kumbaya mediation with my nearly-ex last week, I decided to keep the flow going.
I visited a local & heavenly spa for a much-needed (understatement!) massage with a very intuitively talented therapist, Laurie. (Before you dismiss me as decadent, know that I had a bday gift card from my hubs in hand. That’s part of our kumbaya how-we-do now.) Back to Laurie: Usually, when she greets me, she asks what spots need work. And usually, as with most of us, the tension that needs easing is in my neck & shoulders. Not this time.
I told her what was happening in my life. I told her that the horrors of it were throughout my body.
As an empath, negativity soaks into my body. I can’t prevent that, & I don’t know how to rid myself of it – yet. I’m learning. With tears in both of our eyes, I asked her to be my guide. She smiled warmly & wisely as she said, “I’d be honored.” Then, to lift both of our spirits & energies, she said, “Let’s just play & see what happens”. I was completely up for that.
Given the option of beginning face-down or face-up, I chose face-down.
I’m not sure why, or if I should even know why. But, I mention this because it was a decision that led to one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. As Laurie began, her pattern & energy were quite different than when she’d last seen me. I knew that she was working some magic. As my thoughts drifted from divorce to house repairs to health insurance & financial fears to reinvention & writing ideas, I consciously let them pass by. I followed my breath and Laurie’s touch. I focused on the music of the flowing stream & bird chirps just outside the window.
I wondered if I would cry as my tensions released. Thankfully, I just relaxed.
Yes, I know this is a first-world issue: Have you ever tried to deep-breathe face down with a snot-filled, runny nose? Forget cute. On second thought, I take back the “first-world” thing I just said. This massage was every bit a necessity & prescription for part of my soul’s recovery. If I told you that I popped a pill to get better, I wouldn’t dismiss its importance. Yet that Rx would be such an unnatural fix by comparison. This was a crucial spiritual remedy for me. One that I highly recommend for you, too.
Here’s where the magic (& weirdness) begins. If magic wasn’t weird, well then it wouldn’t be magic, would it?
Halfway through & completely relaxed, I turned face-up. The fleeting thoughts that have fed past panic attacks were long gone. Laurie had managed the impossible in that my mind & body felt lighter, less burdened. As my brain became blissfully quiet, something amazing happened: In my mind’s eye, with a flapping woosh!, I suddenly saw myself on the table with large, thick white-feathered wings spreading from my back. My wingspan filled the room, and a few feathers lazily floated to the floor in the flurry. At the same time, a life force filled my body. What on Earth was that?!
Still stunned & winged, my massage came to a too-soon end.
Laurie left the room, inviting me to take my time getting up. As I eventually arose, I didn’t have my usual case of fogged-up massage brain & my-body’s-a-noodle-now lack of strength. Instead, I was energized. My wings were somehow still with me but hidden from sight. Outside the room, Laurie greeted me with a glass of water. I thanked her sincerely. Then she floored me: she said, “I know you’ll be ok.” She felt the energy & life come back into my body soon after I turned face-up. I confessed that I wasn’t going to tell her for fear of sounding certifiably cra cra, but that that was THE moment I sprouted wings. We shared our amazement & hugged goodbye. I walked away with chills & goose bumps.
The day’s synchronicities didn’t stop there.
As is my custom, I meditated by the spa’s zen garden afterward. As I watched the koi fish lazily swim in their waterfall-fed pond, I wondered about those wings. Where had they come from & what did they mean? Strolling the meandering path around the pond, I suddenly realized that I was going to write a book about my new path! What?! This certainly wasn’t my plan; it was as if the thought had just been inserted into my psyche. I smiled as I remembered the many times my mom told me I should write a book about my experiences as a trainer. Each time, I told her I’m not inspired by that. The last thing I want to write about is how to get Fido to sit-stay or Trixie to pee in the box. So what was this new inspiration? How is it connected to wings?
I have a hard & fast rule.
I never leave the spa without visiting the amazing artisan bakery & gardens just across the street. That day, I craved their sticky buns. Step back, there was no stopping me. Jazzed about being next up in the always-long line to the counter, I completely forgot that they don’t accept debit cards. When the owner kindly asked what I wanted, I sheepishly confessed my lack of funds. He didn’t miss a beat. He said, “We take checks, cash & mailed checks. So what do ya want?” I heartily thanked him & drove away as my car rapidly infused with the smell of fresh-from-the-oven warm, gooey, cinnamony buns. Such a sweet, heavenly experience. The check was most assuredly in the mail!
So what was the wing thing? One of many signs that I’m finally being true to myself, perhaps?
I believe that when you are on your correct life path, you see synchronicities. The stepping stones on your path are illuminated, and you walk your path with ease. There’s a flow to life – a knowing without trying. (Ever notice that walks with your dog or laptime with your cat go better when you’re more peaceful?) That week’s discoveries & kindness gems (delightful synchronicities) extended into this week, with generous gestures from beloved girlfriends. Tearfully grateful tangent here:
Girls, you know who you are. My goddess friend who cries when I cry & does my hair for free occasionally, asking for nothing more than a kiss on the cheek or puppy advice in return. My gorgeous, strong, wise, sista-from-anotha-motha personal trainer who just hugged & kissed me & sweetly gifted me her time so I can reach my 2014 goal of “being buff”. My inspirational GFFs who drag my ass up a mountain @ least monthly & just surprised me with a birthday brunch. The FB army of wise & supportive women who always know just what to say. My friend who sweetly cupped my face as she asked if I was ok on a day when she was recovering from surgery but I was the one who could barely stand – & then invited me in for a huge cup of tea served with laughs & wisdom. My east coast girls, who define BFF, picking up where we leave off, no matter how long it’s been. (One’s a first-time author – congrats, girl! And, hell, one just drunk messaged me as I was writing this & dared me to fit that into this post. Did it, GF!) And my human soulmate muse, my mom. She was so thrilled to hear about the book-to-be that I lost count of the I-told-you-so’s!
My wings? They symbolize my new-found strength, independence, creativity & ability to do-for-me.
They represent freedom; they can take me anywhere to do anything. All the kindness from friends, family, mentors, acquaintances & animals are the wind beneath my wings, helping me find my way. (Corny? Yeah, I thought so as soon as I wrote it. But it’s true!) So call me Dorothy. Rusty’s my Toto. Now where are those adorable ruby slippers?
Whew! You know, it took a little hutzpa to tell that story. I’m happy to trust you with my truth.
In honor of flapping my way to a buffer, healthier me, I created a green drink. It’s also a sincere thank you for reading this tale. If you’ve had winged synchronistic moments -or- you’ve got a green drink recipe of your own -or- you’d like to share stories of great friends (human & animal) in your life, please chat away in the comments. Cheers to being true-to-you & a healthy, happy 2014, friends! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
1 frozen banana, sliced
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
1/4 ripe avocado
1 cup lightly packed baby spinach
3 basil leaves
1/8 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground flax seeds
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup almond milk, equal parts sweetened & unsweetened
Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Drink immediately. (To share with pup, simply make the drink without the avocado. It will be thinner, but just as yummy. Or, treat pup with the non-avo ingredients as you make your green drink.) Cheers!
©2014 The Soulful Pet