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Posts from the ‘Dogs’ Category

Breaking Trail

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir

“Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God.” – John Muir

It never fails. Nature opens us up. As light snow steadily falls on a soft Sunday morning, a run on the trail into the woods turns into a delightful excursion off trail. As the girls open it up and break their own fresh trail.

Our thoughts bind and limit us. Quiet, gentle nature frees us to think new things, see the world as it is meant to be. Wide open spaces ready to be explored and discovered anew. Inviting us to break trail.

When the noise of civilization returns, return to that open space within, to your true self. That still, steady quiet voice within, that place of ease that needs no explanation. Time to break some trail.

 

Joy Habit

“Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.” – Norman Vincent Peale

Just like exercise and good nutrition, joy is the result of habit and discipline. Repetition, practice and doing the work daily to reach our long-term goals and aspirations. Our intentions, thoughts and actions lead us down the path to fruition. And no matter where we are at in our journey, even if we are steeped in difficulty, we can experience joy, daily.

Our own joy does not reside in others, in circumstances, in the past or in the fictional “someday” we’ve created in our mind. We search broad and far until we figure out yet again, joy is borne within. The secret is found in returning to ourselves. Joy always comes from within and is available right now, experienced fully in this moment. Joy is a choice and a habit.

Joy strengthening exercises: gratitude, generosity, laughter, reflection, forgiveness, compassion, prayer and throwing ball in a field with your best friends witnessing the delight and awe in simple, soft moments.

“When we adopt a dog or any pet, we know it is going to end with us having to say goodbye, but we still do it. And we do it for a very good reason: They bring so much joy and optimism and happiness. They attack every moment of every day with that attitude.” – W. Bruce Cameron

There is discipline in joy and joy in discipline. Practice, practice, practice. The journey is completed one habit, thought, action, day at a time. Get in the habit.

Deep Freeze

“Under the giving snow blossoms a daring spring.” – Terri Guillemets

We are about to enter a deep freeze in Minnesota. Schools closing in anticipation of -35 degree temps coupled with additional -30 degrees wind chill in the next few days. The weather, circumstances and the world can freeze us in place.

While we should prepare and hibernate when weather gets severe to be safe, we should do the opposite when stuck by our own thoughts, others’ opinions and life’s challenges that rise-up, keeping us frozen in place.

It is precisely then that we should risk moving out of our comfort zone, to crack the ice, thawing to keep our hearts open to the ebb and flow of life. Worry and fear are thieves that steal our joy.

Frozen in place? Look up to the sun and let the thaw begin. And spring soon follows in due time.

Chasing Balls

“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.” – Wayne Dyer

Our days are defined by what we hold on to and what we let go. The balls we chase and the ones we don’t. The stories that we tell ourselves and the stories others put on us that hold us back, that preach scarcity and fear.

What has been cannot be redone or undone, and it all has its purpose in the full story. The future is so much more than the repetition of the past if we dare. We get to choose what’s next for us at any age. Not what is supposed to be or what others think it is or should be.

Be open, in tune to that quiet voice and change your story by widening your view. Hold on to what’s most important and let go of everything that does not complete your story. There are signs and signals all around guiding, directing and hollering at us to get our attention.

Chase the right balls and enjoy the daily pursuit of simple joy. Dream and then do the work.

“Have a dream, chase it down, jump over every single hurdle, and run through fire and ice to get there.” – Whitney Wolfe Herd

It’s a Job

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha

Joy is a job. It takes effort, rigor, repetition and practice to get good at it. We look for the shortcut and expect it to be innate. But often, it’s not. So rather that succumbing to the negativity, gossip and cynicism, get to work.

Focus on being grateful, even when the struggle is so very real. Lift your head and open your eyes a bit wider to see the beauty that is within reach right now. Ignore those voices in your head that serve no purpose but to prevent you from becoming you, the real one.

When I forget and get distracted by the minutia, I simply take the girls for a run into the woods and let them run off leash in the open field to pounce, chase and explore. It works every, single time.

“Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.” – Jimmy Buffett

“Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.” – Jimmy Buffett

Make joy a priority and let it take root. Welcome it home like a long lost friend. And by all means, share it with others. Joy is a job and the most important one that you will ever have. Hunt, pounce, chase, explore and sniff it out daily.

When joy is your job, life becomes less work.

Even on a Rainy Day

“The rain began again. It fell heavily, easily, with no meaning or intention but the fulfilment of its own nature, which was to fall and fall.” – Helen Garner

The girls always find time to enjoy their time. Even on a rainy day. Wrestling with a toy, gazing out the window, laying around belly up. No matter the weather, no matter the conditions, there’s always an opportunity to remain in the moment and grasp delight.

“Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.” – Langston Hughes

“Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.” – Langston Hughes

We live in extremes. Too fast that we can’t see what’s right in front of us. And on a rainy day, too slow that we try to fill the quiet so as not to hear our own voice telling us that we are going too fast. Slow and fast. Quiet and noise. But life is not simply an either or. It is a weaving of all of it. Whether sun or rain, we have the choice to see the beauty in all and to enter completely into the moment. Even, perhaps especially, on a rainy day.

Chasing Butterflies

“The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination, a time of pain and withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconceivable, like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself from the confines of its cocoon, bursting forth into unexpected glory.” – Gary Zukav

Abby loves to chase a ball. The challenge and precision of catching it on one bounce. Sasha will watch Abby chase the ball but has no interest in it. Sasha finds her joy in chasing butterflies. Pouncing from one to the next. Looking up and down and all around to share in the butterflies’ delight, in their freedom.

“Metamorphosis has always been the greatest symbol of change for poets and artists. Imagine that you could be a caterpillar one moment and a butterfly the next.” – Louie Schwartzberg

The butterflies dance and then still themselves in an instant and then take flight as if for the first time. Released from the cocoon, conquering gravity. From struggle to gradual transformation in due time into a brilliant, beautiful butterfly. Hope, grace, glory. Repeat again and again. The cycle of life.

Chase some butterflies. It’s good for the soul.

Eat Cake

“Take life on life’s terms – one day at a time. And have fun while you’re doing it.” – Joe Perry

When I get too far ahead into the future or lag behind tangled up in the past, I need not look far to be reminded to stop, breathe, laugh and have some fun right now!

Let go, be grateful and embrace today.

Eat cake.

Shake It Off and Smile

“Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.” – Barbara Kingsolver

“Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.” – Barbara Kingsolver

GOOD NEWS! You are in control of you – your thoughts, moods, assumptions. So carefully and mindfully make right choices each day. Change your thoughts, change your world. Get beyond the “why me” and worrying mindset and meditate and take action on what is most important.

It is a guarantee – we will all have setbacks and disappointments. Everyone of us. And when we move through the grief and frustration of often times deep loss and change, there will a pivot point when you must move to what is new and next.

And when defeated by the cumulation of little things, pause, take a deep breath and push the reset button. Each day is a brand new opportunity to start again. Stop carrying all of that stuff that is dragging you down and shake it off. Gratitude and a hearty smile will change your world.

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” – Mother Teresa

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” – Mother Teresa

Redefine

“Genius is the ability to renew one’s emotions in daily experience.” – Paul Cezanne

When “busy” is the only answer that you can muster when asked, “how are you?” It’s time to question the value and meaning of what you are busy with and at what expense.

Redefine the quality of your day not by the number of items checked off your “to do” list. Rather define it by depth, width and height of each day that you are awake and aware. Of moments steeped in gratitude grounded in experiences rather than mere activities.

Day 3 of no complaints, only gratitude – slow down, look around in close proximity and be in awe of the many gifts and blessings in your life right in this very minute.

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