Posts Tagged by Stress
|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. But – they have each other.
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
|April 4, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Pup culture, Recipes, Seasonal, Soul food, Training/Behavior, Videos|
It’s a relaxing, rainy spring day. I’m cozied up on the couch with coffee & my little guy, Rusty.
It’s also a work-at-home day, so I’m in sweats & fuzzy socks. (Not pretty, just cozy.) I’m writing about “easy” being better. So that should be a no-brainer @ this point, right? Nope, not @ all.
If I listen to that little voice in my head, I’ll start believing that I’m lazy.
We all have that voice. She’s the one who never cuts you any slack. I call her my little gremlin. Basically, she’s a bitch. She’s quick to point out this morning: “Look @ lazy you: you’re not dressed, you didn’t comb your hair, and your couch is your office today. In fact, Gremlin incessantly nags me to clean my actual office. Every second that I’m not doing that seemingly insurmountable task, I feel worse about myself. Why such a hater, Ms. Gremlin?
It’s been an uphill battle for me to learn that easy is better.
I’m slowly beginning to ignore my gremlin. Who does she think she is, anyway? There’s a nicer voice that’s getting louder; she’s kinder & wiser. She’s my coach in this life lesson. (Before you conclude that I’m schizophrenic, Lissa Rankin calls that kind voice that we all have inside our “Inner Pilot Light“.) Here’s my theory: The nasty, nagging, confidence-busting voice is society. The gentler, more accurate voice is your soul. At this stage in my life, I choose to listen when my soul speaks.
We’re plugged into our fast-paced society 24/7. Work is valued, not relaxation.
Society says if it’s not hard work, it’s not worth doing. But we’re stressed & sick. So how’s that really working for us? It’s self sabotage. Enough of that stress, and your soul might have to scream @ you: “Stop, slow down & listen to me now. I know what’s best for you.” You’ll know it if it happens; it’s hard to ignore: frequent sighs, illness/aches & pains, burnout, panic attacks. Listen to your body (& soul) sooner rather than later. (Not sure how stressed you really are? Take this stress test.) Be true to yourself first, not society/family/friends. It’s not selfish; it’s healthy. What comes easy & makes you happy? Ignore your gremlin, fire up your pilot light, and just go do it! Make it a habit. Your new-found, genuine energy will infuse all that you do. You’ll be happier and more successful. Your enthusiasm & inner light will shine on the people & pets around you. It’s contagious & everyone benefits.
So easy is better. Easy isn’t lazy. Easy is in the eye of the beholder.
Think about it: Just because something’s easy for you, doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone. So, if it’s easy for you, maybe that means you should be doing it, instead. Maybe you’re a natural @ it. Maybe it’s a gift that shouldn’t be ignored. Why swim upstream to do something that’s soul-suckingly hard for you just because other people think you should? Because Gremlin said so? Please.
Sometimes, you have to tease out the “easy-for-you”.
It’s there, ready to come to the surface, but it needs the right setting to express itself. For example, I think best around flowing water. (Such a cliched Aquarian here, really.) I get clarity & ideas in the shower, on a hike by a stream, by my backyard fountain, or on a barefoot beach walk. In fact, I silenced my pesky gremlin today by taking a shower, where this post wrote itself before I turned the water off. Easy doesn’t flow around that 24/7 societal din of TV, phone, computer, etc. Unplug & find your flow.
Go with the flow to find your pet’s “easy”, too. It enriches your time together.
If you want to teach something new to your pet, begin with something they naturally, easily, do well. For example, catch is not an instinctive game for many dogs. There are trust issues there. Why in the world would you want to keep your face (& sensitive nose) in the direct path of a flying object? I taught Rusty to catch by 1st playing his “easy” game with an “easy” object: fetch with a ball. Then, as that game flowed, I teased out his new “easy”, catch, by gently tossing that ball in the air, past him – not @ him. As his confidence grew, he caught it face-on. You can tease the new “easy” out of your pet in other ways. For example, if your dog loves walks, take brief breaks during the walk to teach a few new commands. If your pet’s invented a favorite game, play their game. Then build on it to teach new games. Remember: Take it easy. Less is more. End while everyone’s still having fun.
Watch Rusty’s easy play:
He taught us his “roll it!” game. We intersperse it with “catch!” and varied play locations. Good times.
When you embrace “easy” as worthwhile, it becomes a lifestyle.
I was baking banana bread the other day, contemplating this concept. Baking is a bit like flowing water for me: an inspirational gremlin-silencer. Suddenly, I decided to make the “easy” variation of the recipe that I’ve followed without fail for 10 years. It tastes better than the original! So why didn’t I do that sooner? It’s a process, people. But I’m getting there. So will you.
Ruth’s “Easy” Banana Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 mashed, ripe bananas
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons plain, low-fat or nonfat Greek yogurt
2/3 cup dark (70% cacao) chocolate chips
2/3 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, & level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking soda, & salt, stirring with a whisk.
Place sugar & butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add bananas, eggs, & yogurt; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat @ low speed just until moist. Fold in chocolate chips & walnuts. Spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Dig in!
~Adapted from Cooking Light~
Go with your flow. Find your “easy”.
Feed your soul. (Try the banana bread.)
Fan your pilot light until its glimmer silences your gremlin. That game or walk you enjoy with your dog? That might just be your water where ideas flow. Easy comes naturally to animals. Let your pets tease the easy out of you!
©2013 The Soulful Pet