Wagasana, greeting the day with gratefulness and curiosity!
Have you had a doga moment today!
Enjoy the Journey while creating your own enthusiasm ...
Elder Years: Life expectancy today can be over 100. Defining how we live and age is our choice. Genetics may load the gun, environment may pull the trigger, but I can choose how to live a wholesome life in balance with nature and all that it brings. I am resilient. I have bounce back. I can lead the way showing others that "rules of society" don't have to be followed: baby by 30, retire by 62, Florida because I am suppose too. I will write, create, travel and enjoy journeying into my treasure years. I may creak more, be sore in the morning and have to prioritize my activity, but isn't that what we should do anyway? That is the wisdom that defines how to age gracefully. Dogs teach us how to accept differences, age and keep on wagging us to them from beyond with happy spirits. Wage me to you my dogs ...
Energy is everywhere, that’s not the problem: Energy is powerful and empowering if we learn how to manage the flow. Loving myself and my dogs gives me the extra energy I need to work through problems and pitfalls. When I feel overwhelmed, I can take a deep breath and redirect that energy into something positive for that moment, including rest. Create some space for spontaneous expressions like jumping, singing, howling and dancing with your dogs. Teach dogs when to play and when to relax, chew this, not that! Positive thinking creates positive energy flow. Today, I will rest when I need to, and allow my dogs to play when they need too.
Enlightenment: Dogs aren’t waiting for Buddha enlightenment. Becoming enlightened is an inspiring goal that likely won’t happen until we take our last breath. Insights are little enlightenments that add up to the big day or epiphany. Watch you dog when s/he awakens in the morning? They yawn and stretch, then look around or prance to the door to relieve themselves. They are naturally enlightened. Awakening to new day, new beginnings, with an open mind - that I am already complete ... everything I need is here, right now. Aligning myself with my higher power (whatever that is for you), flow with an attitude of serendipity, living and learning through all kinds of experiences.
Empowerment: Joyful thoughts may provide us with a protective shield. Positive thinking is a friend of empowerment. Empowering thoughts integrate two other aspects: knowledge and action. There is much talk today on the Internet and HD about empowering ourselves. Knowing that even those who are empowered (Oprah, Louise Hay, Cheryl Richardson, Tony Robbins, Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, Wayne Dyer, Dr. Weil ... etc.) work every day at finding their "truth" or creating their empowering life gives us hope. It requires work! Changing patterns one step at a time will help. Create an empowering saying (affirmation), whatever you want to call it, every evening before going to bed, and then when you wake up, have it written somewhere (bathroom mirror) to remind you. Believing in yourself with a focused awareness, then committing to learning one new thing to bring you closer to that achievement (action) is empowering. All is well ... When we teach our dogs naturally, with kindness and in an effective way. If they aren’t doing what we expect, they we need to re-evaluate our approach.
Enough for Everyone -- Every Dog: Being grateful for what I have helps to increase it for me, my dogs, loved ones and others in the universe. Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn book Peace in Every Step opened my eyes to appreciating every sip of tea and moment with my dogs and loved ones. Too often we zoom through life, unaware of what is going on around us. Buying 5 more of something we already have 5 of ties us into knots. Relieving ourselves of clutter by passing it along to others creates a connection and opens our minds / lives for new beginnings. Do my dogs need 22 toys? Do I need 40 pairs of jeans, even though I can only fit into a size 10 ... Okay 12? Before buying impulsively, take a deep breath. What void are you trying to fill? How long does it make you feel good? Take your dog for a walk or toss his favorite ball. For dogs, if you know what their high value rewards are (food, you, toys) then you create a trusting relationship open to training all kinds of new behaviors. Your behavior will change in the process, one step at a time. Mindful Walk: Begin by being calm and breathing. If getting your dog's leash creates too much energy, then put it in your pocket and call your dog. Wait, sit, breathe. When you exit the door, walk slowly and with awareness, allowing them to sniff and release energy. Within 15 minutes, your walk can be designed as vigorously or calmly as you choose.
Expanding Horizons: Do I (you) already know it all? If we know it all, then we don’t get to grow! How boring. By expanding horizons (thinking outside of the box), I can dissolve limitations, and take on new challenges. Life goes on in any situation. Life can be free and easy or difficult, complicated and scary. It is for dogs too! Living and learning with our dogs can teach us to accept a new way of communicating with another species. How brilliant when you have taken the time to learn how to get your dog to do something you want like get my cell phone without eating it.
Expectations (our dogs are habitual, expecting what they had before): We are too and become stuck in the sameness of ritual. Daily structure can keep us on track. Rigidity prevents flexibility and ability to flow when things change. They say that dogs are unconditional. I believe that to be a myth. They have conditions within their species (pack). They quickly learn how to get this or that with us, or how to avoid us. They get anxious if they don't know what our expectations are. Unconditional is really about loving and accepting without expectations. For an hour everyday drop the list of expectations and just be. It is what it is ... and not always what it seems ... if we open our eyes, minds and hearts.
Family (dogs are family too): Families can be biological and hand-picked. All living beings are part of the family if you choose them to be. No-one can interfere with that unless you allow them too. There is no one right or wrong family. We do not have to withstand abuse (emotional or physical). Dogs (other beings) shouldn't have to either. Ancestors who lived before me did the best they could with the knowledge they had. Children and pets face new challenges before and when they are born. Letting go of family limitations and creating a new tradition is your right. Family and friend gatherings gives us the opportunity to practice patience, tolerance and compassion. This does not mean you have to be abused or mis-understood. A counselor told me once, "You can leave." Simple but profound. We teach people and dogs how to treat us. Be calmly, but firmly clear with boundaries and expectations. Say "Thank you for understanding." If they don't, do they deserve to be in your life? Tough question, but one we sometimes have to face. Cell phones can be shut off, phones unplugged, e-mails protected.
Fear: Fear can block creativity and living your best life. Imagine yourself telling a story to someone you love and respect, and who respects you and knows how to consciously listen. Do you feel warmth and energy, as you fill in the details of your saga? Now, imagine telling the same story to someone who, for whatever reason, makes you uncomfortable. The twists and turns, the fine points and colorful images that unfolded in your mind probably won't present themselves. Instead of warmth, energy and creativity, you may feel shut-down, embarrassed or unsafe. By creating conditions that inspire our creativity, we can help overcome the fear of challenging ourselves. Every day, every where will be an opportunity to challenge yourself. Taking your dog for a walk down a different path may be a beginning for one person, while writing a book or climbing Mt. Everest may not be enough for others. Pick something you are fearful of, practice with your dog, and do it. Avoiding people, places and things that make us feel uncomfortable will only temporarily protect us. Oftentimes, we can be ALONE and still feel totally blocked. We don't want to unleash emotions or ideas that we don't want to be responsible for or deal with, so we hide out. Maybe we are afraid we'll fail or are unworthy. When you are up against fear, internal or external, ritual can be a powerful and creative antidote. Our dogs always listen to our stories. Practice telling them your story, then a trusted friend. Try sitting quietly for a few moments. Protect your flow by casting a circle of around yourself. This can be any color. Visualize yourself inside a ring of light, protective fire, surrounded by dogs past, loved ones, angels ... whatever makes you feel safe. Imagine that this protective energy emanates unconditional love, just as your dog does -- who is lying by your side. Take a moment to bathe in the warmth and safety, knowing it is always with you. Fearlessly surrender yourself to the power that flows through you and take baby steps to overcome your fears with a deep breath. Make a mistake? Good! That's how we all learn. Offend someone? Apologize. If they can't take it ... too bad, you probably don't need them anyway.
Feelings (how dogs help us): Whenever I am overly stressed, I have scary nightmares of being lost in a foreign place, alone, and can't find my phone. I don't know anyone or speak the language. I wake up panicky. I stop my panicky thoughts and feeling lost by reminding myself that I am a capable and resilient being. I've been through much worse and grown from the experience much wiser and prosperous. Several times a day, and before I go to bed, I let go of limiting (boa constrictor) thoughts. I breathe and remind myself of what I have accomplished. There is a clarity and sequence. I wait for that time that feels less scary, and move into action. By creating our own feelings through thoughts that we choose, we empower ourselves to create experiences. Is it easy to change? No, but it can be done, one step at a time, with awareness and practice. Our minds can become cluttered and stuck in patterns. Paradigms (shifting to new thinking) can help us try out new ways of being. Watch dogs playing together in a park. Amazingly, and with focused attention, they play seemingly unaware of everyone, especially us when we call them. If they hesitate to respond, be understanding. Dogs enjoy playing, sniffing and most of the time, other dogs. Go to your dog and gently take his collar, hook up the leash. Have them sit calmly for a moment, then say "go play." Watch birds who go back and forth a million times to create that perfect nest to have a gust of wind knock it over. Do they give up? No, they go back and forth to create it again, perhaps in between stronger branches or leaves. When I have lost dogs, loved ones or way of living, I grieve in deep sorrow. To heal and move on we must feel our feelings. There are many safe ways to express feelings (beat pillows, cry, exercise, share). Practice in a mirror expressing your feelings if you are fearful of sharing with someone else. If someone has hurt you or your dog, feel the pain and anger, then release it to the universe, not for them, for you! There is something to be said for "what goes around, comes around." Acceptance or forgiveness is freeing and empowering for US!
Finances: How much do we need? Financial security is nebulous and different for everyone. Suze Orman or Oprah Winfrey's financial security is much different then most of ours. Financial Survival Kits give us a feeling of confidence provide we fill them out. Believing that I have the skill and know-how to be financially comfortable is a constant. Being honest about our finances, and what we actually need or want, takes courage. Overspending may be a way to fill voids, so explore this (love, friendship, boredom). It can open windows of opportunity to more healthy experiences in prosperity. How good do you feel (and for how long) when you spend more then you need too? Who are you impressing? Does your child or dog need one more toy? What brings meaning to your life? Taking a walk in nature can teach you as much as that $199 software game. You only need to answer to you! Raising awareness is the first step.
Food (Whole and Healthy with a touch of Delicious Decadence -- No Deprivation): What meaning does food have for you (your dogs)? Eating good, nutritious food should be deeply pleasurable. Filling voids (boredom, habit, guilt, love) is dangerous. When Geneen Roth wrote When Food is Love I was taking a psyche course. It woke me up. Half the time I wasn’t conscious about what I was doing or putting in my mouth. Now, I visualize it going down the digestive track, including 30-feet of intestine. Equally awakening is why we eat and/or spend in excess. Oftentimes, they go together, and can be a learned or conditioned experience from child hood. No excuse, but how many presents were under your Christmas Tree? Do you remember how long it took to open them? What presents were most meaningful? We hung to middle class by our fingernails, yet our Christmas Tree was full of presents. Reflecting back, I can't remember one thing that was my favorite except my dog. I enjoyed a few toys, but the more practical ones, like a tractor, is still the favorite, only today, it is a big one! Our dogs very often mimic our health and behavior. Over feeding ourselves to feel comfortable won't change how we feel tomorrow. Food should be nutritious and enjoyed. Wine, dark chocolate, eating out and pigging out ONCE IN A WHILE is fine. We know today (research and medically) that deprivation does not work. You’ll lose weight and gain it back (yo yo). Behavior change, accompanied with healthy eating and a little less -- works -- and lasts. Do you love your dog? Visualize what is travelling through their intestines. Check their stools (not kidding). Are they thriving, eyes clear, coat healthy? Our body works hard for us. Our dog’s lives are short. Ours will be too if we don’t eat wisely. And, dogs do not open their own food. Overfeeding ourselves or our dogs is temporary satisfaction, not love. It is an extension of what we think about ourselves.
Forgiveness: Picture carrying around a bag of heavy bricks day in and day out. Metaphorically, begin taking one brick out at a time and put in down. Then take two until the only thing on your back is your skin and clothes. Freeing our minds by accepting that we will experience pain, fear, rage and anger, but can also let them go, is like dropping that bag of bricks. We have no need to smash anyone, but if it helps, visualize throwing those bricks at every single one you feel has harmed or abused you, or your loved ones. We live with our own conscious. With a deep, cleansing breath, let go and move on. Forgiveness or acceptance is a healing tool that frees us. We are not responsible for what others do, only what we do. Giving up our baggage around old issues opens new pathways, new beginnings and is a breath of fresh air.
Four Agreements By Don Miguel Ruiz: 1. Be impeccable with your word. It sounds very simple, but is very, very powerful. Regardless of what language you speak (human, Hungarian, Canid), your intent manifests through the word (and actions). What do you want for you and your dogs? Write it down, and visit this everyday. See what happens. The focus and intent need to be genuine and realistic for the universe to provide. 2. Don't take Anything Personally. If your dog tears the sofa apart while being left unsupervised for several hours, it's not about you (or the dog). It's about the situation. Taking things personally makes you easy prey for predators and dis-empowerment. Do not let someone else's emotional garbage fill your ash cans. 3. Don't make assumptions. The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are truths. We think we know what others are saying, feeling, doing and thinking. We take things personally if our dogs want to sniff or run away on walks. In reality, they are enjoying freedom and the time outside because they are contained so much. I do this often: make an assumption, misunderstand, then take it personally, creating a whole big drama over something I find out later had nothing to do with me. When in doubt, clarify with open-ended questions like: "I'm not sure I understand ... Could you repeat that ... let me see if I have this right.” If it is meaningful to you, ask. If not, let it go. 4. Always do your best. What else is there but this life as we know it? This agreement allows the other (3) to become deeply ingrained habits. Keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next. Neither will your dogs! When you do your best, there are no regrets. You can always tell the "judge" in all of us or from the outside, "I did my best, so go away."
Freedom to Choose (autonomy and empowerment): We always have the freedom to choose our thoughts. No person, place or thing has the power to decide what I think. If I am not sure what I am thinking, then I fake it until I know it is true, and only if it is in my best interest. I can choose to be positive or complain, be sad or happy, mean or kind. Complaining may release us temporarily, but it does not change anything. In Train Your Dog, Change Your Life, I learned a lot of lessons while writing a book to teach others. I still am. I know this for sure: we cannot change anyone else's behavior or response to us until we change ours. Releasing old patterns and beliefs takes guts. It may offend some people especially family and friends. People get use to a way of being. It's comforting, but not always healthy. Every day, take a breath and write down one small change you can do today. Do you fill your dog's food dish and throw it on the floor, then wonder why your dog does not pay any attention to you? Instead, show your dog that this is a meaningful experience. Hold the bowl, hand feed a kibble. Put something delicious in the bowl like a piece of left-over chicken breast and give him a treat after he looks you in the eyes.
Just keep trying ...
Meditations E - F