Posts Tagged by Soul
|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
|February 9, 2014||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Recipes, Seasonal, Soul food, Worthy reads|
Sigh. My cholesterol’s high.
Not disastrously so, but it surprised my doctor & I @ my last wellness checkup. How could that be? My doc gave me homework, “Check your family history, and change your diet.” While my diet’s not off-the-hook horrible, I can certainly make changes. I won’t be guzzling 6-packs of highly caloric Ensure anymore, as I did a few months ago to survive my 2-week complete appetite loss that followed the news that my husband’s divorcing me. And I won’t be stress eating the quickest sugar-laden, simple carb within reach, as I did once my appetite returned. I will reduce saturated fats & increase fiber. Upon recheck, my cholesterol’s down but still a tad high. Good news! I’m on the right track, but, as it turns out, I have work to do on two fronts: self-care via diet & battling genetics.
I just finished reading “Am I Being Kind?” by Michael Chase.
It’s a lovely book; you should read it. I intend to revisit it @ least twice a year. Each read will impact me differently as I journey through my life’s recent & rapid changes. In the book, Michael recommends asking yourself as you go about your day if you’re being kind to yourself, others & the Earth. Being kind to yourself is a must, if you wish to give kindness to others. In short, wellness matters; it’s self-kindness. So now when I eat, I ask myself, “Am I being kind to my body if I eat this?”
I also recently read Lissa Rankin’s book, “Mind Over Medicine“.
My take-away (one of many) from her science-based, must re-read gem is that our minds contribute to good health or a lack of wellness. Our beliefs are powerful enough to create & compound illness. So, for example, if I walk around thinking that I’m bound to have high cholesterol because it runs in my family, then I’m more likely to have it. If, however, I genuinely believe (& I do) that I can affect my health in a positive way by reducing stress & improving my diet, then that’s quite possibly my future reality. Since my numbers & my family’s history both surprised me, I’ve got a real shot @ positively thinking my way to wellness.
I plan to thrive, not merely survive.
I choose a life of happiness & kindness shared with friends, family, pets & clients. I would give nothing less to Rusty. Now, I promise me that I’ll give nothing less to me. Wellness is now a priority. Having said that, I delight in good food & wine. Baking feeds my soul; I believe in real butter, cream & dark chocolate. What’s a high-LDL gal to do? Moderation, variety & creativity, of course!
Pears? Not so much.
Yes, they’re in season. Yes, they’re adorable. So much so, they’ve inspired countless artists’ still lifes. I want to take them home & fill a bowl with them – or bake with them – or drink them. I cherish a nice pear cosmo. And, a chocolate-pear scone would be divine but not kind to me now. But to eat a plain pear is dicey. While Rusty loves them, I detest their fuzzy grittiness. It’s a texture thing. My challenge: make fiber-rich, fat-free pears visually and tastefully appealing to me. How? You’ll see….
Ruth’s Spicy Chunky Pear Sauce
8-10 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored & cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup currants
2 t fresh lemon juice
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low & simmer, stirring occasionally, until pears have softened, about 25-30 minutes.
Mash with a potato masher. (If you want a smoother sauce, wait for it to cool. Then use an immersion or upright blender or a food processor.)
Once the sauce has cooled, store it in glass containers (healthier than plastic) in the frig for up to a week. To keep it longer, freeze or can it. Pear-fection!
~Tweaked from Two Peas & Their Pod~
Rusty LOVES the pear sauce as much as I do.
I picked the currants out of his portion. (No grapes, raisins or currants for dogs. The spices in the sauce are dog-friendly.) If you have pears but aren’t feeling saucy, just share them with your dog as is. (Don’t let Pup have the core or the seeds. Give one cube a day, as a little fiber for Fido goes a long way.) Or, pop them in the oven as I did to make Rusty’s Roasted Pears: Preheat oven to 375°. Peel & cube pears to desired treat size. Put pear chunks on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast until pear pieces feel dry to the touch and look a little browned underneath, about 20 minutes. Cool completely. Roasting makes them sweeter (not gritty) for you & Pup!
Moderation, variety & creativity are truly the spices of life & wellness.
My pear sauce is undoubtedly heavenly on fiber-rich oatmeal. It’s amazing on fat-free & yummy Cardamom-Pistachio Biscotti. But this girl knows a good thing when she tastes it: spicy pear sauce, warmed & spooned over coffee ice cream makes me do a happy dance! Listen, wellness isn’t about deprivation, ‘cuz YOLO. It’s about respecting and nurturing your body & soul. Pear-fection, indeed!
How do you strike a balance between health & happiness?
Please share your stories & recipes. We’re drooling with anticipation! xxoo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2014 The Soulful Pet
|January 6, 2014||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, LOLs & BOLs, Seasonal, Training/Behavior, Videos|
Right, I refuse to say it. Let’s just call it a pesky little lie that we tell ourselves each year. Agreed?
The truth is that only 8% of us keep our R-words after just one hot week. So why lie to yourself? Why set yourself up to fail & then kick yourself for having (shockingly) failed? Would you treat a friend that way? I think not. So this is the year that you will be kinder to you. Rusty & I will help…
Don’t get caught up in today’s wave of R-words.
Just because everyone’s doing it, doesn’t mean you have to join their circus. If you already blurted out a bubbly-inspired R-word on New Year’s eve, it’s not carved in stone. Your hangover outlasted your R-blurt, didn’t it? So what? Shake it off. Listen (or don’t – it’s best) to the TV talking heads & lame headlines this time of year; they’ve all gone mad! How to make the best R-words, how to keep them, blahblahblah…. I find it sooo annoying, I couldn’t even write the-word-that-shall-not-be-mentioned in this post. Resist the urge; purge the R-word. Feels better already, doesn’t it?
In a previous tangent rant, I mentioned washcloth weirdness. ICYMI: When I request washcloths from hosts, they stare as though I just sprouted horns & spoke in tongues. One gal replied, “Why? Are you afraid to touch yourself?” Huh? Maybe I’m an oddball, I don’t know. Another bizarrely answered guest-request: “Can I watch a show on TV?” (This was pre-DVR days. Otherwise I wouldn’t have asked.) The response: “Yes, if it gives you a sense of comfort.” What?! Did I miss something here? Why not a simple “Yes, of course”? Why are my basic niceties, which might differ from the personal preferences of others, cause for such lunacy? The answer is the key to kicking your R-words to the curb….
What really gives you a sense of comfort?
Yes, the little things like a favorite show, a washcloth, & comfort food are nice, but they’re not pivotally comforting. Dig a little deeper. What truly makes you feel all warm & fuzzy inside? How about the brief, shining moments when you allow you to simply be you? I am convinced that there is great power in being bravely, unabashedly you. People who aren’t comfy with themselves will belittle, dismiss & patronize your genuineness. Trust me: That says everything about them and nothing about you. Stay true to yourself. Stand your ground. Be ridiculously happy being you.
So that’s it? That’s the big R-word cure?
Yes, it is, friend. Trust that you are good enough, worthy & loveable – as you are. Fly your freak flag and let your light shine. The world will notice, and you’ll be happier. If you believe in you, you’ll be kinder to you, and you’ll attract no-drama souls who believe in you. That covers all the R-words under the sun. How do I know this? I survived last year because of it. I believe it in my soul.
Bonus: The more you do you, the more you’ll appreciate the uniqueness of others.
That’s when you’ll see that the truest beauty really lies within our differences. It’s the basis of the best relationships in our lives, with humans & pets. My Rusty reminds me of this every day. He can only be himself; he’s a happy, charismatic little guy. His joy is contagious to me. I strive to follow his lead in this because it’s better for both of us. An aside: Did you know that your pets mirror you? If you’re out of balance, not being genuine, your pet will reflect your insincerity/instability – often via undesirable behaviors. You can’t fake it with animals, & they don’t fake it with us. Back to Rusty. He lets me know when I’m not @ peace with myself. He brings me back to me, and we both benefit. At the same time, I adore our differences. He’s an amazing dog, not a human. As a dog, he accepts me as I am: oddly human. No weird, conditional responses from my little guy. Just joyful acceptance. I am grateful for him daily. Best of all: Neither of us ever utter R-words.
Rusty & I relish being ourselves. In that way, we’re very much alike, perhaps embarrassingly so:
For maximum fun, play both videos @ once. See? Delightfully similar & different!
Did you make and/or break any R-words yet? What do you think about our cozy, comfy cure?
How will you do you this year? How will you & your pets benefit? We’d love to hear from you.
Happy New Year! xxoo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2014 The Soulful Pet
|September 28, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Recipes, Soul food, Training/Behavior|
It was a peaceful day at our house.
I was writing, and Rusty was sleeping in his cup bed on the ottoman-with-a-view by the window. Rusty stirred, got up to turn around in his bed, and screamed in pain. The sound went through me like a knife. Pet-parents, you know what I mean: I swear I felt his gut-wrenching cry in my soul.
What on Earth just happened?!
Rusty raced into my office, and, for the first time ever, hid out of reach in the corner under my desk. I followed him, only to find him shaking in pain. Had he been bitten by a bug? Had he tweaked a toe repositioning in his bed? Whatever it was, it was bad. I knew we’d be racing to the vet as soon as I could talk him into putting his pain aside long enough to put his faith in me.
Off to the vet we went.
Of course, it was off-hours for Rusty’s regular doctor. So I nervously drove to the 24-hour vet hospital. We parked. Rusty hopped out of the car and strutted into the place like nothing had ever happened. (Typical, right? Adrenaline’s an amazing pain mask.) He was hostile to the sweet nurse who took his temp, but he made up with her. No one took his response to the indignity his poodle butt had just endured personally. I sat on the floor with him as we waited for the vet. Would I like the vet? How sharp would her diagnostic skills be? Would her approach be invasive or compassionate? Aware that Rusty would absorb my feelings & thoughts, I hoped for the best & remembered to breathe.
When the vet entered the room, I knew we were in good hands.
As she sat on the floor with us, I was relieved to see a familiar face. I worked with her as a veterinary nurse decades ago, so I knew that Rusty would be helped by one of the best vets in the county. The course of action she recommended was pain medication & a wait-and-see approach. If he didn’t improve, she would explore a tentative diagnosis of masticatory myostitis. Fortunately, her initial assessment paid off. The acute pain of unknown cause was in his jaw. But Rusty rallied without further treatment, thanks to a savvy, discerning vet. Fingers & paws crossed, it won’t be back. Whew.
All better, right? Not quite.
Poodles are smart; that’s one of the many things I adore about Rusty. While he was healing, he learned to keep his mouth shut to minimize discomfort. So that meant no chewing, no fetch, no catch, no tug, no yawns, and no smiles. Long after he was pain-free, he was still play-free. Rusty lost his poodle mojo.
When I was a kid, I badly injured my foot in a bicycle accident.
I limped around for months. I learned to rely on my good leg, exclusively. One day, as I was walking down the hall, I lost my balance. Not thinking, I planted my injured foot on the floor to steady myself. Ouch?! That would surely hurt like hell……wait a minute. I was pain free. I had learned not to try for fear of pain. By sheer accident, I realized my mistake: learned helplessness.
Learned helplessness is a powerful force.
Why try if I’m comfy right here? After all, last time I checked, trying hurt. Or trying was hard. Or trying led to mistakes others punished. Sound familiar? People and animals experience this. As a trainer, it’s my job to know when to coach a pet and guardian out of learned helplessness. Can they physically do it? If so, what’s holding them back? Often, it’s a “truth” that the owner has created for her & her pet. Really common “truths”: My dog doesn’t do stairs; I have to carry him. Or, my dog’s a picky eater; I have to hand feed him. Or, he doesn’t listen to me unless I have food in my hands. People believe these “truths” and act them out with their pets, day after day. Pets rise to our expectations. Expect less, they give less. Change your truth & expect more, and your pet will rise to the occasion. Bonus: this works with family members and coworkers, too!
Learned helplessness had a grip on Rusty.
I knew he didn’t hurt anymore, so it was time to push him. What to do? Hmmm….. got it! When we adopted him, he obsessed over bell balls to the exclusion of all other toys. We gradually took them away so he could discover the joy of exploring a full toy box. Time to rekindle the obsession: bring the bell ball back! Since Rusty LOVES new toys, I went on a shopping mission…..
I armed myself with an arsenal guaranteed to revive poodle mojo.
Bell balls; small, squishy Raspberry balls; crumbly, healthy treats; and a ridiculous pink flamingo decorated the house. (I don’t buy my rough & tumble poodle pink toys. My issue, not his; I know.) Rusty needed to chew & shake toys again. Pink aside, the flamingo was perfect: flat, soft, squeaky & flappy. I called Rusty, then shook the bell ball. He lit up like he’d found a long-lost friend! He grabbed the ball, carried it into his bed, & left it there. That was anti-climactic. But he had opened his mouth to carry the ball; I was on the right track. Later that day, I rang the ball again. This time, I give him the Raspberry ball. It’s smaller, grippable, squishy, and crazy bouncy. Rusty was in love! Soon he was fetching, catching & chewing – all with one toy. He completely ignored the heavier, larger bell ball. (Fine with me. That thing’s a Hartz product, made of toxic, reactive Chinese rubber.) The next day, I jingled the bell ball again. His eyes wide, I gave him the pink flamingo. Poodle heaven & mission accomplished: He shakes, chews & carries that thing with him everywhere! He hasn’t looked back. Woohoo!!
Thanks for reading about how we conquered pain, fear & learned helplessness. We hope it helps you & your pets!
Ready for the treats Rusty promised? In honor of our post praising the power of balls, I made some balls. The first recipe celebrates Rusty’s health:
Rusty’s Peanut Butter Granola Balls
1 cup uncooked organic rolled oats (not instant)
1/8 cup pumpkin seeds
1/8 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 Tbsp. flax seeds
1/8 cup grated coconut
2 1/2 Tbsp. grated carrots
1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 Tbsp. honey
1 egg, slightly beaten
5/8 cup unsalted, unsweetened organic peanut butter, @ room temperature
3/8 cup fat-free, plain Greek yogurt
Preheat oven to 325. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Slightly grind the seeds together in a food processor or coffee grinder. Combine all the dry ingredients, including the grated carrots, in a medium bowl. Heat the coconut oil & the honey just until they’re liquid. Blend the peanut butter & the yogurt in the food processor. Add the egg, oil & honey. Process again.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry in the bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon. Shape into 1 1/4-inch balls & place on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, turn the balls so they brown evenly, and bake for 15 more minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Cool on a rack. Store them in an airtight container. If they’re not gobbled up asap, freeze ’em!
Makes about 3 dozen. ~Adapted from The Bark~
With oats & peanut butter left, I made these uber-easy treats for my newly gluten-free hubby. Balls for both the guys in my life, I say. And pink flamingos all around! That really needs to be a girly drink, right?
No-bake Peanut Butter Balls
1 cup organic, rolled oats (uncooked)
2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup unsalted, sugar free organic peanut butter, @ room temperature
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips
1/3 cup honey
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate for an hour so the mixture is easier to work with. Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls. Store in an airtight container for up to a week, either in the frig or @ room temp. (I like my balls cold. Yum!)
Makes about 16. ~Adapted from So, How’s It Taste?~
Do you say “can’t” & “won’t” when you think about yourself or your pet? How about “never” or “always”?
Negatives & absolutes are rarely truths. They are often symptoms of learned helplessness. Challenge them: break out of that rut! Have you and/or your pet conquered ruts? How did you snap out of it? What got you going & lit you up? Do tell! xxoo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2013 The Soulful Pet
|July 30, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Pup culture, Training/Behavior, Videos, Worthy reads|
So the Pope said this today:
It’s not a huge shift in the Catholic church’s position, but it’s a start.
Believe me, I didn’t wake up this morning thinking that I’d feature the Pope on this blog…. ever. But when he asked, “Who am I to judge?”, this post was born.
I’m not into organized religion. There, I said it.
My dad’s Catholic and my mom’s Methodist. I did double time in both churches as a kid. Eventually, I identified more with Methodists. The Latin spoken rituals-without-explanation and the belief that animals don’t have souls drove me-as-a-child away from the Catholic church. Eventually, I became jaded to structured religion because it fear mongers and judges. Do as I say or you’re going to you-know-where. Fire & brimstone, yada yada yada. They are so sure that they know. That certainty starts wars and alienates good people (women, the LGBTQ community, independent thinkers, scientists, etc.). That’s my take on my experience. I completely respect your love for your religion.
The truth is, no one knows the truth.
I think we’re all on a journey of discovery and self-awareness. That journey is best guided by Socrates’ golden rule: “Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.” I simplify it to: “Be kind.” My dear hubby is fond of quoting his dad (& Buddha): “Is what you’re saying kind, necessary and true?” Vets abide by the Hippocratic concept, “First, do no harm.” Anyway you slice it, through time, most religions espouse a version of the golden rule. For that reason, I see it as an undeniable truth.
To follow this rule, you can’t judge others, can you? Thankfully, that makes life easier.
I love Molly Friedenfeld’s thoughts on this. In “The Book of Simple Human Truths“, she explains: “Golden Rule Living is the great simplifier. It places us in another soul’s shoes, taking what can appear to be a complex decision that involves another and streamlining it to a one-step process of deciding, “If I wouldn’t like this done to me, then I shall not do it to another.””
The sword of judging others is double-edged: You also believe you are being judged.
That belief can lead to sometimes paralyzing social fears. It also causes you to self-censor & to live your life for others. Back to my dear mom. She lived the judged life as a preacher’s kid, playing inside the lines of others’ approval. I think she’s still trying to shake that censorship. Her story partially informed my feelings about religion. (For that I’m grateful, Mom.) Steve Maraboli says it well in “Life, the Truth, and Being Free“: ““How would your life be different if… you stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day… you look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.” Life’s too short, people. Just let it go. Accept others for who they are. In doing so, accept yourself.
In my 20 years as a pet behaviorist, I’ve worked with thousands of people from all walks of life.
As with their pets, I can’t help humans if I judge them. You’re not “wrong” if you let your pet sleep in your bed. You’re not “bad” if you let Kitty lick the bottom of your ice cream bowl. (Though you may have a lactose intolerance mess to clean up later.) You’re not confessing pet guardian “sins” if you tell me you enjoy your dog’s enthusiastic, pogo-stick greetings or slobbery canine kisses. A green trainer judges & scolds her clients. But you can’t teach or touch another’s soul if you judge. The best teachers expose a bit of their humanity to their students. We laugh & confess that we’ve shared similar human moments with our pets. Personally, I enjoy a good howl with Rusty. YOLO and Ah-roo!
The stuff we judge others on is ridiculous. Here goes: I’ll expose a bit of my humanity here.
I’m short with curly hair. (I won’t straighten my hair or wear stilettos for anyone. But I do love a cute shoe.) I’m liberal (Shocking, I know). I’m straight. (But fully LGBTQ supportive.) I’m agnostic. (Not atheist, but spiritual; hence “The Soulful Pet”.) I can’t stomach animal or child abuse. (I will judge your ass if I see you hurting another soul.) I’m ex-vegetarian. (Fell off the wagon when I started cooking for my dogs.) I have a twisted sense of humor, and I love a smart scary movie. (I’ve seen Joss Whedon’s “Cabin in the Woods” 3 times. Say the word & I’m in for the 4th.) I don’t like doggy kisses or licks. (I know what you ate in the yard, Pup.) And I use washcloths. (What? Humor my tangent here. There seems to be an anti-washcloth movement a-foot. As a guest I’ve been harshly denied them. My sanity has been questioned by hosts, post washcloth request: “Why do you want one?” Or my all-time favorite: “Why? Are you afraid to touch yourself?”. Really?! It’s a washcloth, not cause for an inquisition.) But I digress…..
Did you catch yourself judging me? I’ll bet you did. The beauty of it is that I don’t care.
I’m fully aware that there were a few hypocrisies in that last paragraph. There should be conflicts, if I’m being honest & healthy. It’s part of my evolving human condition. I need to be true to myself first. Lie to myself to deflect others’ scrutiny? Confess my human traits to another inherently flawed human as though they’re sins? Ain’t got no time for that.
Some of my best teachers in my journey have been animals.
They don’t judge, and they don’t fear judgement. Take Bruno, the Havanese, for example. Despite his quirks, Rusty calls him BFF. Bruno unabashedly barks at animals on TV. And, he happily eats his poop. Heck, he’ll eat Rusty’s poop, asap. And I do mean ASAP. I don’t judge his little, easily remedied coprophagous ways. But that is why I refuse his doggy kisses when he visits. Bruno, do you kiss your mama with that mouth? Geez!
I’ll leave you with this thought:
“No one has it all figured out, especially not the people who are acting like they do and judging you because of it. Pretending to be something you aren’t because you’re trying to please a bunch of judgmental hypocrites and shitheads is not the way to be happy. Living the life you want to live is. It really is that simple.” ~Tucker Max~ “Assholes Finish First“
What’s your truth? (Any pet confessions?) What philosophy guides you? How do you deal with the temptation to judge and the judgements of others?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. No judgement here, I promise. Just keep it civil. Haters will be judged swiftly via the delete key. xxoo ~Ruth~
©2013 The Soulful Pet
|June 16, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Seasonal, Training/Behavior, Videos|
This morning, coffee in hand, I struggled with writer’s block & Facebook rules.
Both had me second guessing myself: Why am I writing, and who’s reading it? I began the day, deadline looming, intent on writing a Father’s Day post about why you shouldn’t put off telling important people in your life that you love them. It’s a worthy topic, but it just wasn’t flowing. So I procrastinated a bit and worked on The Soulful Pet’s FB page, instead. But the same pesky questions popped up. For all the good that social media can do, especially for animal welfare, it’s blocked, too. If I don’t promote (pay for) page posts, folks who “like” the page don’t see all of my posts. But they don’t know that. It’s a crap game, really. Facebook is soulless & frustrating, not block-busting. Sadly, it wasn’t a healthy procrastination, and the coffee pot was now empty…..
My mood instantly changed when I watched this video.
It is perhaps the most beautiful, magical video I’ve ever seen: Two souls simply reaching out to each other. I was instantly inspired again. Why? Because it spoke to my soul. And my soul had new, more pressing questions: What kinds of amazing friendships could be born before fear & suspicion are taught/learned? How would our world be different? Why exactly do we hesitate to tell loved ones how important they are to us? As I watched this with tears in my eyes, I knew I had to be in nature today. Writing would wait. Watch:
So I went for a hike in “my church” again.
I was grateful for all the things in life that I love & have reconnected with recently: hikes with good friends, walks with my hubby & dog, trail running, music, writing, reading, and time alone in nature. Burnout was a life block that I conquered. Thankfully, I was only trying to break through a bit of writer’s block now.
I thought about Maya, the adorable girl in the video, as I walked.
I love how she’s so serenely in the flow of her magic moment with the fawn. She’s so sure about what she needs to do to help the fawn. No doubt. No ego. No second guessing. Purely powered by soul. I remember having those moments with animals as a child. And I’ve seen clients’ kids with a natural, open sense for pets. But what about adults? Are they still possible for us? Are we all just too jaded, impatient, suspicious or fearful? I hate to think so…..
Suddenly, it dawned on me that I do still have those moments. We all do, if we’re open to them.
I’ve had many of them in my 20 years as a pet behaviorist. Once, while reviewing a client’s training goals as we relaxed with her dog, I casually mentioned that her dog’s name didn’t seem to “fit” him. She was surprised. (I was, too. I hadn’t said that to anyone, before or since.) She asked what name I thought better suited him. Without thinking, just “knowing”, I mentioned a very unusual pet name that popped into my mind. She stared silently at me. Then she confessed that that was her dog’s name before she changed it. We both realized that this info had never passed between us before. Because we had work to do, we brushed it off & continued the training session. Silly, right? Yet, somehow I’ve never forgotten that moment.
Looking back, I’ve often been told that I’m an animal magnet.
Perhaps you know that feeling, too. Do all of your pets somehow “find you”? It’s like you have a neon sign over your heart & door that announces: “All animals who wander are welcome here.” Me, too. As a trainer, I’ve had countless magnet moments. Pets, often cats, enter the room & introduce themselves to me mid-consult. After acknowledging their greeting, I’ll look up to see shocked expressions on my clients’ faces. That’s always followed by, “I’ve never seen her do that before.” Or – “She never comes out when we have guests.” With their pet cozied up to me, I explain that we created a calm, safe environment, which is attractive to animals. It’s zen, not magic. With practice & patience, we can all tap into it. Truly.
As I walked, I realized that this post was writing itself. It was flowing. But why now?
As with animals, magic happens when you’re true to yourself, in the moment. (That’s the lesson that little Maya’s video teaches.) Writing to please others, to fulfill marketing deadlines, or to earn page “likes” suffocates creativity & contributes to burnout. It also opens doors to gremlins that make me question, “Why write?” No more. I’m writing from my soul.
Fueled by a new determination to openly follow my bliss, I walked on.
And then the magic happened. The late-spring flowers seemed more colorful. The air was sweeter. And I wasn’t alone. For a mid-day hike, an uncanny number of deer crossed my path. I had my spotted fawn encounter. It wasn’t as dramatic as little Maya’s moment, but it was still sweet.
I invite you to walk with me for six zen minutes.
Sit back & relax. Breathe. Volume up, full-screen, watch:
This is my newly soul-inspired message, perfect for Father’s Day:
What better way to tell someone that you love them than to believe in them? If your child, like Maya, has magical “knowing” moments, nurture his/her unique gift. My parents did, and I’m so grateful. While I may stray from it occasionally, I’m always at my best when I’m true to it.
We adults can have our magic moments, anywhere, anytime.
Stay childlike & open to that possibility, and you’ll see. Believe & it will happen. When it does, it’s a true gift. Watch.
So what are your magic moments? Share your bliss; you might inspire others as much as little Maya inspired me!
PS – What about Facebook? I’m not playing that game anymore.
I’d love to see you there, but you might not see me. (Follow this graphic to remedy that.) No paid posts for me. I’d rather donate money to rescues & shelters. Hmmm….. how about a Fawn Rescue group? Wanna join me? Writing for a cause works magic for my soul. xxoo ~Ruth~
©2013 The Soulful Pet
|June 4, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Guest bloggers, Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle|
I’m honored to welcome Mike Lee as a guest blogger for The Soulful Pet!
A bit of bio on Mike, in his own words: “In my professional roles as executive director/nonprofit consultant; my avocation as artisan baker and slow food gourmand; and my vocational roles as friend, kindred spirit, lover and family, Cooper is my constant companion.” I first met Mike when I coached his family during handsome Cooper’s puppyhood. Cooper was a 50th birthday gift for Mike, and his first dog. Of Cooper, Mike says, “He inspired my second childhood.” Now that’s a great gift! Mike’s devotion to Cooper, friends, family and artisan baking inspires me, so I invited him to share his thoughts on life-as-Cooper’s-dad with you. When he wrote this, Mike had just spent 10 nights in the intensive care unit with his father, who had suffered a heart attack, and he was missing Cooper’s companionship. Very thankfully, Mike’s dad is well now, and Cooper’s been reunited with his dad.
“A Message to Cooper” by Mike Lee:
“You beautiful creature, I miss you so being an ocean apart. Yet when I close my eyes, listen and hold still, I feel our foreheads touch, our calm breaths meet, our hearts beat-thump-thump, beat-thump-thump, together. I feel you near me, Cooper, and we’re communicating through the cosmos, crystal clear. You beautiful creature, I see the joy and mercy of God in your loving eyes.”
Mike & Cooper, thank you for reminding us to savor the sweet things in life.
Friends and family (2 & 4-legged) are cherished gifts, not to be taken for granted. Warm hugs and baked goods made with love nurture the soul; they’re downright therapeutic. Wishing you, your father and Cooper continued health & joy, Mike.
Readers: If you’d like to honor your pet (past or present) with a story, note and/or pics, just let me know. If you’d like to respond to Mike’s post, please do in the comments. I’m sure he & Cooper would love to hear from you!
©2013 The Soulful Pet
|May 22, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Pup culture, Recipes, Soul food, Uncategorized, Videos|
Let me begin by saying: Vegas hurts my brain.
It’s soul-suckingly devoid of depth & charm. It’s especially sad to see women trying too hard to be Vegas-distorted versions of themselves. Too made up, too drunk, too-tight & too-short everything – all that posing’s just not cute. It’s like watching a parade of regrets-in-the-making. Thankfully, I’m immune to the din & lights that seduce gamblers. So what’s left to love about it?
My hubby thinks my Vegas aversion is weird.
He loves watching the human train wreck parade. He’s energized by it all. Give the guy a gin & tonic and a blackjack table, and he’s a happy boy. I don’t get it, but I like to see him happy. So imagine his surprise when I told him I wanted to go to Vegas for my birthday. What? Vegas, baby?!
Before you write me off as a buzz-kill prude, know that I have layers. And an id.
What you see isn’t always what you get with me. I’m working on letting my layers rise to the surface more, which means that my id gets a little fresh air. I can go to Vegas with a purpose. My birthday purpose was P!nk. I’m a huge fan. So’s my id.
Why P!nk? The short answer: she’s a genius. The long answer: she has layers, too.
She’s a gifted lyricist, singer & musician. She’s also an animal advocate, a yoga enthusiast, a mostly-vegetarian, & a happy new mom. She’s incredibly smart, with a wicked sense of self-deprecating humor. She’s the first to describe herself as socially awkward and shocked that she’s a cover girl. (I’ll stop soon. I can hear my hubby saying, “chick crush much?”. Yeah, just a bit.) Under her “tough” exterior is a softie who’s overcome major heartaches & obstacles beautifully. She’s refreshingly uncensored, honest & outspoken. Take her or leave her, she’s no poser. She sings from her soul, and she inspires me, so I’m sharing her with you.
Take a listen to P!nk’s acoustic version of “Who Knew”.
(Adorable when she interrupts the song to talk to her baby girl, off screen.)
For years I couldn’t listen to this song without crying about my sweet boxer boy, Gumbo, who I’d recently lost. Recently, on Palladia’s Storytellers, P!nk said that this song’s meaning changes for her depending upon what’s up in her life. At times, that’s included departed dogs for her, too. Who knew?
The morning after Just hours after P!nk’s killer show, we trudged into the hotel’s breakfast buffet with low foodie expectations.
In the midst of mystery concoctions that my tummy didn’t want to meet @ that moment, I stumbled upon a yummy gem of a granola parfait. Determined that this wouldn’t stay in Vegas, I recreated it @ home so I could share it with you (& Rusty), too. Here it is, healthier and with a twist of lemon:
Ruth’s Vegas Zen Granola Parfait
In a glass, layer honey (or maple syrup), plain Greek yogurt, honey, granola, mixed berries, and Lemony Whipped Cream. Dig in!
In the wake of a recent granola recall, I started making my own again. My fave recipe is “Power Granola” from Cooking Light magazine. It’s easy, delish, tried-and-true. If you’re a coconut fiend, you’ll love Deb Perelman‘s “Big Cluster Maple Granola“. For this granola, I dialed back the sweetener in the parfaits by using less maple syrup. Tip: When you layer your parfaits, use the same sweetener that you used in your granola.
Lemony Whipped Cream
Using a whisk attachment on your mixer, beat 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream and 1 Tbs. store-bought lemon curd on high speed until it’s creamy, smooth & thick – like yogurt. Or – Using your finger tips, rub 1/2 tsp. lemon zest into 1 Tbs. granulated sugar until it smells like lemon candy. Beat 1/2 cup whipping cream, as above, for 1 minute. Add the lemony sugar. Beat again until soft peaks form. Tip: This whipped cream keeps for about a day, refrigerated in a sealed container. It’s best to make small batches, as needed. And you’ll NEED it.
Yes, your dog can enjoy your parfaits.
Just deconstruct them before you share. We’ll taste test doggy granola recipes and report back in a future post, so stay tuned. Minimal sweeteners and no whipped cream or overly caloric human granola for your pup. What to share? Rusty loves plain, non-fat yogurt. Berries are an acquired taste for him. If I cut a blueberry in half, he might eat it. But combine the two in his “Beat-the-heat Treats“, and he’s poodle putty in your hands!
Long story shorter, I finally found an elusive oasis of non-posers in Vegas.
They were all waiting in line for the zen-master’s concert, which was awesome. I can now say the cliche, including the t-shirt part. Best of all? My husband, confident in his manhood, confessed that P!nk “put on a great show”, and we’re going again for our anniversary. Zen on! Who knew?
©2013 The Soulful Pet
|May 3, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Pup culture, Recipes, Soul food, Videos, Worthy reads|
So that’s what a midlife crisis looks like. Who knew?
I watched in fascination as Michelle Obama explained her bangs.
She was adorable, as always. But the bangs were bangin’ cute. Suddenly, I realized that a midlife crisis could be a good thing. I choose to redefine my own experience as a beginning, not a bitter end. I’m celebrating my midlife crisis & its accompanying burnout as an opportunity to more fully explore life. Lesson learned: When your work defines you, it also limits you. No more.
I had considered bangs, pre-FLOTUS. Really.
Sometimes a girl just needs a change, and that time had definitely come for me. Thanks to a friend who’s an uber-talented hair stylist, I took the leap, and I love them!
What else changed? I’m returning to the things that I love.
I forgot how they feed my soul. Nature, hiking, trail running, friends & family, baking, gardening, and reading – all had been on the back burner. Even my patient husband had been waiting for me to put the leashes & clickers down. He knew before I did that I was ready for a change. (He’s still not sure about the bangs, though.)
I’m thankful that the baking bug bit me again @ the same time that I returned to hiking/running.
Otherwise, my summer reading list would be a dangerous one. I’ve dedicated my reads to women who inspire me because they followed their bliss & their passions. It’s a lovely eclectic list that includes: Chelsea Handler, Lissa Rankin, Joy Wilson & Deb Perelman. For this post, I’ll highlight the bakers in the bunch….
Joy Wilson & Deb Perelman feel like kindred spirits.
They are self-taught cooks & bloggers. They weave stories around their recipes. Normally, I’m a get-to-the-point type of person when it comes to cookbooks. But not with these ladies. They are funny-smart and a bit self-deprecating. The unexpected success of their passionate blogs turned into book deals. (I’m often asked if this blog will become a book. Who knows?)
Deb Perelman’s “The Smitten Kitchen” is an instant classic that begs for a sequel, asap.
In her forward she discusses her insistence on cooking in an NYC kitchen that was so small its functionality was in question. Why would she cook in a city where any craving could be satisfied with a phone call? A friend advised her that NYC stoves were for sweater storage. Thankfully for us, Deb’s can-do, slightly obsessive persistence prevailed. I appreciate her casual delivery of detailed instructions (the hows & whys). My hubby & I approach cooking very differently. I learned to cook by baking, so I’m a recipe girl. He cooks intuitively, by feel, like I work with animals. Nothing wrong with that. Yet, I felt validated when Deb advised don’t let people “tell you you’re less of a cook if you need to look @ a recipe”. Her book is packed with are-you-kidding-me recipes. What ultimately won me over? I’m a pie girl. That began when my mom & I baked together. She’d offer to make a pie if I made the crust – always a fair deal. Deb makes her “Deepest Dish Apple Pie” in a springform pan, and she celebrates National Pie for Breakfast Day. Enough said. I want to hang with this chick. We could be besties.
Joy Wilson’s “Joy the Baker Cookbook” is an absolute treasure. Her bangs are pretty cute, too.
Her blog hooked me when she called her adorable cat, Jules, a “monster” who “terrorizes her in the dark” and a “jerk” who “lights up her life”. Then she celebrated his birthday by baking him a cat cake. C’mon. That’s inspired! Her book is just as wonderfully quirky. She spiked her grandma’s treasured banana bread recipe with bourbon, explaining, “I’m young & restless”. I support that. In the forward she affectionately recalls her dad sharing his baking enthusiasm with her. This rings true for me. My dad inspired my love for nature, via fishing. And he planted the baking seed. I fondly remember visiting his aunt & uncle’s Danish bakery in Pottsville, PA, with him. We were always greeted by my uncle’s handsome smile & hearty hug. Together, we sampled whatever goodies were still warm from the oven. To this day, I love the smell of freshly baked macaroons. So far, none have matched my uncle’s. And I like it that way.
Keeping it healthy is important. So is a sense of humor.
FLOTUS is spreading the word on fitness & a healthy diet. And so is my new fave, not-a-book-yet blog, Thug Kitchen. I’m a self-confessed foodie, and an enthusiastically amateur baker & photographer. Obvious, yes? I will sit outside with Rusty & a glass of iced wine (yes, that’s right, wine snobs: ICE), and cover-to-cover read a cookbook. But only if its author can write & make me laugh, too, as the ladies above do. So it was with great joy that I discovered Thug Kitchen. The incognito Thugs dispense sound nutritional advice via some hella colorful language. (Here’s my take on swearing: If it’s funny, go for it. If you’re swearing just to swear, stop it. If you’re easily offended, don’t read it. Don’t complain about it; just move on. Censoring sucks.) If you find yourself saying, “Who needs another cookbook?”, visit their FB page. It’s hysterical, the recipes won’t disappoint & it’s not dumb. The Thugs aim to “drop some knowledge on your ass”. The vibe is contagious to their fans, whose comments are also seriously, refreshingly, off-the-hook funny. I’m SO hooked. I can’t wait to read their cookbook!
Don’t worry, Rusty will benefit.
I just whipped up a batch of Thug Kitchen’s Sweet Potato Jerky Treats for both of us. (Super yum, no dehydrator required, & no Chinese toxins in sight!) Next up: Joy’s Crunchy Cat Treats. (Perfect for the poodle, too.) I also have some new biscuit trays that are begging to be filled with fresh garden & farmer’s market goodies. Rusty’s my little garden helper & taste tester. A fido foodie, if you will. As I bake & we sample, we’ll report back. Yes, I said “we”, and I mean it. If you can’t/won’t eat your dog’s food, there’s a problem, isn’t there? I hate the term “human-grade” for ingredients. It implies that our food should be superior. I question that. So does Rusty. To quote the Thugs: “Show your dog you f*cking love them.”
So what’s next?
Maybe I’ll go ovo-lacto-pesco vegetarian again. (Don’t worry, I won’t drag my dog or my husband along with me on that.) Maybe I’ll get some chickens. (Did you know that you can clicker train chickens?) Maybe I’ll take a yoga class. Maybe I’ll master the perfect cat eye. Maybe I’ll rent a house on the bluffs of Mendocino & invite my girlfriends to join me there. Maybe I’ll shock the hell out of my hubby & greet him, Mad-Men style, @ the door – in a dress, with a cucumbered Hendricks & tonic. (Never mind the anti-feminist throwback scenario I just painted. The dress would be the stretch for me. We’ll see.) I’m enjoying the exploration. What’s next? Who knows……
Have you tried something new lately? Assuming it’s legal, please share. 🙂 I’m always looking for inspirations!
|April 18, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Seasonal, Training/Behavior, Videos|
It’s been 6 years since I stepped foot in my church.
So breath held, here I go ……
What kept me away? Bluntly: burnout & anxiety.
My little gremlin kept saying, “What if you fall again?” She had a point. The last time I visited my church, I took a frightening tumble. Confidence shattered, knees bloodied, I hobbled home. I was grateful to be in one piece, but my faith in my place in my church waned. Despite that, my soul remembered being fed by my sanctuary. She whispered to me steadily for 6 years, “Go back, girl. You love it there, and it’s good for us both. Go back.”
As I enter, I suddenly trust that I’ll quickly find my place & my path again.
My sanctuary speaks to me: “Where have you been? Welcome back!” My soul wells up with grateful tears. On I walk, remembering……
My church has everything that I need.
In it, there are no walls. Judgement, dress codes, hate, bigotry, & gossip do not live here. It is blissfully inclusive. It does not pretend to be something it’s not. I trust what it shows me.
I find my church to be a wonderful equalizer.
It is a bountiful reminder that we humans do not hold dominion over all living things. We are all integrally connected, part of something bigger than ourselves. We are not superior. We do, however, have a responsibility to gratefully honor & preserve this sublime gift – for all beings.
My fellow parishioners are a varied bunch, here. We respect each other’s rights to exist.
I am spiritual because of them. As I wander down my path, I’m reminded of the countless times I listened to pious humans in churches-with-walls insist (as if they knew for sure) that only humans have souls. In my soul, I know that’s not true. Do you see your pet’s soul? I do, too.
A quick aside: This doe was just 10 feet from me on the side of the trail. We communed for about 10 minutes before going our separate ways. To not frighten her, & to get this pic, I used a body language trick that comes in handy with cats & dogs, too. Keep your side to nervous animals, instead of facing them. You are less of a threat. Fearful pets are more likely to approach non-frontal body language. In fact, facing an approaching dog or cat (also called body blocking), can stop them in their tracks. If you want them to relax & approach (come when called, even), soften your stance & grant space. Study how your pets interact with each other & you. You’ll see wonderful examples of this body language communication translating across species.
I continue on to the alter.
This serene place allows me to collect my thoughts. Here, I am grateful for my sweet husband’s support as I realized my new calling as a writer. Here, I begin to write this post.
Nearby, flowers grace my path.
And sun pours through stained glass windows.
Further on, I find the Shakespearean sermon, scrawled on a pew.
I’m blissfully aware of the lack of walls & human preaching. The sermon is voiced by water, birds & wind: We are all indeed part of something grander.
Finally, I reach my destination. I am at such peace here. This is why I will return.
Tomorrow, Rusty & I will walk together.
I enjoy the solace of my church, but I find grace & joy in my dog, too. Thankfully, he’s all soul, no dogma.
What inspires you? What feeds your soul? Where’s your “church”? Please share…..
©2013 The Soulful Pet