Posts Tagged by Zen
|July 31, 2015||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Pup culture, Recipes, Seasonal, Soul food, Videos|
On a blue moon eve, we’re relishing life’s sweetness.
In the midst of rapid-fire, life-altering, all-good changes for Rusty & I, one thing remains a constant: change itself. Perhaps counterintuitively, that is what makes life oh-so-sweet.
Because only change is certain, mindfulness is essential.
Gazing at the moon, I know the now is everything. In the now, be present, be grateful, and let go. Let go of what’s past, what’s not yours to control. Don’t cling to what’s bound to change. Ultimately, mindfulness creates happiness in the face of chaos.
Last month I briefly tuned into
news chaos after a self-imposed grey-out.
I had enjoyed a creatively productive morning, solving problems in my head (writing ideas, organizational solutions, meal planning & laying out my week’s agenda). Then, seeking a break, I plugged in & immediately became less positively productive. I made the mistake of perusing media, which I’d intentionally avoided for the past week. Suddenly: prison-break killers loose in NY; another Bush political ad (the drumbeat begins); a raccoon apocalyptically rides an alligator (because Florida); shark attacks; escaped Georgian zoo animals; & a flooding-likely tropical storm in the Gulf. Now, I questioned: I care, BUT, do I need any of this noisy info? Simply, no.
In a blink, none of that din matters in my life. But this moment did:
Last week, a tall friend rescued a distressed hummingbird from my patio skylight. It was an exercise in gratitude. I was thankful for his help, as was, I believe, the hummingbird. Later in the day, my friend randomly & sincerely said, as though he was a boy describing magic, “I got to hold a hummingbird this morning.” I hadn’t even thought about it that way. What a gift to us all.
Shift gears to get to the sweet stuff, which sustains & surrounds us more than chaos.
It’s in the hummingbird’s beauty & flight to freedom. It’s in the rewardable moment when a jumping puppy fleetingly has four paws on the floor. And it’s in life’s happy accidents. (Accidents? I don’t believe in them. They are our teachers: serendipities the Universe wants us to see.)
Rusty & I had a sweet, serendipitous kitchen moment.
As I inhaled a garlic bagel smothered in cream cheese, topped with dill, capers & smoked salmon – I noticed Rusty’s stare. Say what you will, I was under poodle mind control. I covered some cantaloupe with smoked salmon (just a bit ‘cuz it’s salty, but safely cooked) and shared the bounty with my foodie fido. On a rushed morning, together, we created a blissful, in-the moment, savory summery-snack.
Rusty’s always been a canine cantaloupe connoisseur:
So, silently reflect on tonight’s moon.
There’s wisdom in that silence. A blue moon is about setting clear intentions. My suggestion: Take 10 minutes to aim for mindfulness. Marvel at the moon as you howl with Pup. Last full moon, Rusty & I tipped our heads back & let it rip. Soon, the neighborhood’s pooches joined our chorus. It was magical.
Intentions are powerful.
Set them thoughtfully, positively. Send them sweetly, heartfeltly. Choose an intention of daily mindfulness. With practice, your mindset will shift to one blessed with spontaneity, creativity, appreciation, self-knowledge & happiness. What a lovely, wondrous starting point in a blue moon – a savor-worthy summer event.
What are you waiting for? Get your howl on! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
- “With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?” ~Oscar Wilde
- “If you’re trying to find out what comes next, turn off everything you own that has an OFF switch and listen.” ~Ann Patchett
- “When you wait, you get very clear on what you desire and how much you want it. And when you get clear on what you really want, you can manifest anything.” ~Lissa Rankin
- “An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside you.” ~Goi Nasu
- “Intentions are powerful. Set them thoughtfully, positively. Send them sweetly, heartfeltly.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Because only change is certain, mindfulness is essential.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “There’s wisdom in the silence.” ~Ruth Hagen
©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
|June 23, 2014||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Music, Videos|
I stood face-to-face with her, not more than 3 feet between us.
After desperately hoping that I’d excavate something acceptable from my suitcase for the surprise-to-me event we were headed to, I found myself in this position. Her eyes emotionlessly scanned me from the top of my head to the tips of my not-as-cute-as-could-be comfy travel shoes. Then, her silent review reversed itself, up again – finally resting on my eyes. I had felt her conditional gaze crawl over every inch of my body. By the time she finished taking it all in, her continued silence was too much for me. I averted my eyes & promptly kicked myself for not having brought something cuter that surely would have passed inspection. For the rest of the evening, I was certain that I didn’t fit in.
I could go on about growing a spine; clever retorts I should have/could have spewed; girl power; & women having a sisterhood responsibility to lift each other up. But blahblahblah.
Instead, I am nothing but grateful for that moment now. It taught me endless lessons that I want to gift to you. Maybe you’re already all over this stuff, & you could teach me a thing or three. But I remember the cold electricity of her examination all too well. I know that even the best of us gals (& guys) would be hard pressed to make peace with that scenario. Let me help….
I don’t hate the haters. I don’t take in toxic critics. I made peace with 4 simple promises:
I will never avert my eyes again. When I encounter a scrutinizer, I watch them peruse my person until our eyes meet. Then I smile – a genuinely gentle, warm smile with crinkly eyes. Just like I do with a dog or cat. What happens after that is on them.
I love to people watch. I admire a pulled together, tatted-up hipster; a boho beauty; or an accessory maven. I will look at their effortless style with an eye to translate it to my style. However, I never judge. And I always approach them to let them know that IMHO they knocked it outta the park. The BEST convos come out of this last bit. I met a charming barista with an amazing fly tattoo. It was art on his arm – a true inspiration for my wanna-be dragonfly tat. I spotted a gal whose style completely matched her energy: quirky, comfy wedges; rolled-up boyfriend skinnies; cropped floral jacket over a longer flowy blouse; cat-eye glasses; & mid-length curly-curly red hair. I walked across the restaurant to tell her how adorbs she was (“I love your style!”), and her jaw dropped. She said, “Really?! My kids are always telling me I dress too old.” I told her I thought she rocked it. One drink & 5 more minutes, and I think we could have been besties. Loved her!
Learn how to accept a compliment. Gone are my days of deflecting kind words & letting unkind silent stares scar. If someone gives the gift of a compliment, at the very least, allow them as a kindness to them. Trust me, take it in with a heartfelt thanks as a kindness to yourself, as well.
This is a biggy that I learned from my pets. They bounce out of bed with gunk in their eyes; pottying & breakfast on their minds (usually in that order); & big goofy grins on their bedheads. No one looks in the mirror. No one comments on my appearance. My takeaways: Skip the mirror & the scale first thing in the morning. Love yourself and your family of pets & peeps. When you do get cute, get cute for you alone, wink @ yourself in that mirror, & move on. Take this in: You are lovely & loveable. Your pets know it. If your humans don’t know it, give them a warm smile & move on.
This is not all as shallow as you might think.
It’s not about appearances. It’s about basic decency & kindness. (I almost said “human decency”, but I think we have too much to learn from animals on that concept to claim it.) Truth is, as a wise friend just pointed out to me, I would never have passed that inspection. And that’s ok. That’s on her. Stick with me….and P!nk:
Zoom way out from fashion to see the greater truth:
We are part of all life on this planet. We’re linked with all sentient beings. If you’re not sure about that, feel the difference in your soul between doing a kindness for a person or an animal vs judging or turning your back on them. Take time to be grateful for kindness gifted to you rather than dismissing it as minor in comparison to life’s negatives. Soak up those feelings; remember them. Take them in, my friends. Call on them when you’re down. Pay them forward. Today, do a kindness. It will ripple through the links more than you know. The Universe will take it in and hug you back.
There’s tons to think about here. Please join the convo.
Be as shallow or as philosophical or as zen as you like. We won’t judge you. We think you’re adorbs just as you are. (Say thank you, cutie!) xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2014 The Soulful Pet
|May 15, 2014||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle|
I have no idea what I’m doing.
Those were my thoughts as I entered the pagoda by the Japanese zen garden. It was a cool, misty morning, and the pool’s waterfall filled the soundscape. I sat down on one of the meditation cushions, placing my bright yellow bag on the deck by me. I crossed my legs & relaxed. I looked to my far right. The man already seated there was serenely still, with his eyes closed. With so much beauty in the garden, how could he close his eyes? With that, the steady flow of my inner, perhaps inappropriate questioning began.
“Are you sensitive to incense?”
A gentle, kind-faced woman asked me as she sat to my immediate right. “Not at all”, I responded. Good, I thought. Clearly, she’s the guide for this meditation session. She was a calming presence; I was sure she could talk me into relaxing. Incense lit, I wondered why we wanted to smell that when the dewy country morning air was so sweet. I set that aside. She struck a gong-like chime. Oddly, it brought tears to my eyes, and I thought, “omg?” (Do you think in text talk? Sadly, I do.) Interesting beginning. But then…. silence.
Silence?! I thought this was a guided meditation!
I became uncomfortable. In my peripheral vision I could see that legs were crossed & eyes were closed. There would be no talking. I was on my own. My ego stepped forward. I immediately noticed that I was the only one not wearing Birkenstocks & socks. (If you follow TSP, you know I love a cute shoe. Enough said.) I was the only one not wearing brown & black. I was the only one not shawled under a blanket. God help me, I’m sure I was the only one considering fashion don’ts @ that moment. I was off to a bad, caffeine-deprived start.
My brain scrambled to remember anything about meditation that I’d read or watched.
Ok, so you’re supposed to breathe. Check. You’re supposed to release white-noisy thoughts as they come into your mind. Fail. (I had already judged the Birkis, & now I looked down to consider that maybe that yellow bag was a cry for help.) Ok, try again. Release the thoughts & focus on your breathing, in & out. In & out. Better…..
I couldn’t close my eyes. Why not? What was wrong with me? Arghh….!
I’m a peaceful person. I should be able to do this, damn it. Suddenly, I noticed that the shimmering reflection of a tree in the pond’s gentle ripples was as relaxing as a candle flame. Ego disappeared. And the chatter stopped; what I call my Squirrel!-brain quieted. I noticed that my body was so relaxed that it seemed to somehow be floating below my mind. And then, the writer took over. Big time.
She started writing rapidly, in full & visual sentences, mind you, describing the experience.
I started to kick myself for working while meditating. (Is that a felony or a misdemeanor?) I had silenced the squirrel alert – now I had to deal with an annoying blogger posing as a wanna-be Buddha? Then it dawned on me: this was why I was here. This should not be silenced.
I gave the writer full reign.
After all, amongst its many benefits, meditation is supposed to enhance creativity. So be it! I’ll write this post in my head before I get home. Unfinished, the writer quieted. It was eerily still in my head. (Where’s that when I’m trying to get to sleep @ night?) Then, I heard that familiar voice from within. She’s calm, still & wise. She has saved my life, and she guides me daily now. I deeply respect her. She’s Intuition. She said: “Patience. You have never been patient with yourself.“
Finally, I closed my eyes with ease. Amidst the water’s soothing cascade, I could hear birds, frogs & the town waking up. I didn’t want to leave. And – apparently, neither did my entire left leg. It had fallen sound to sleep, from my toes to my hip! Great. So much for zen. I had to move my leg, or I wouldn’t be able to stand up when this was done. (When was this supposed to end, anyway?) I lifted my leg to uncross it, and gracefully hit the deck rail with my foot. As jarring pins & needles traveled up & down my entire leg, the sound seemed to echo through the entire garden. I’m such a dork. Oh, look – there were cows on the hillside. When did they arrive? Squirrel!!
And the silence was broken. What I thought was a half hour had actually been an hour well spent. I walked back to the car, grateful for permission to be patient with myself. I have infinite patience with animals. I have patience with their humans. But with myself? I’m trying. Rusty is infinitely patient with me, and he has a Squirrel!-brain. He seems to know what he’s doing. I’ll learn from my Birki-free poodle Buddha.
Boy, do I have questions for you!
Do you have meditation tips for a newbie like me? What have you learned about yourself through meditation? Are you patient with yourself? Did your pets teach you patience? How did that lesson present itself? Please share! xxoo ~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
|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
|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