Wagasana, greeting the day
with gratefulness and curiosity!
Have you had a doga moment today?
Immune System (Intelligent Body): G.E.L. Genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger, but we can make lifestyle choices to enhance our immune system and overall well-being. Healthy choices we make for nutrition, exercise and keeping our minds open to new possibilities is in our control. These choices do not have to be lofty or perfect. We will make mistakes. We will take three steps forward, two steps back, but always be one step ahead. The important consideration is that you believe in your mind and body's ability to recover and maintain well-being.
Cognitively, we are what we believe we can be. it is a conscious choice that we all get to make or not! This attitude applies to our dogs too. Their immune system is affected by their nutrition, exercise and lifestyle. Together, we can create a healthy lifestyle. It is a well-known fact that living with or being around dogs (other pets) can be beneficial to our health. It can be painful too, but the joy almost always outweighs the sorrow of loss or mis-understanding. Dogs strongly sense when things are out of balance. That's why dogs are used to detect seizures and cancer. Conversely, if we are not well, overweight or depressed, our dogs will reflect this too. Therapeutically, being around and touching dogs can lower blood pressure, increase our sense of being needed and caring for another being, provide companionship, and encourage us to get up and move!
Individuality: We are all born as unique individuals who sparkle and shine in our own unique way. There is no-one identical to me. If you test your DNA, you will find that in the BIG picture, we are all linked to someone but our DNA combination is uniquely ours. Our individuality is our footprint in the sand. It can be enriched by our life experiences. What is it you want to leave a legacy about in this world? What makes you special - original or extra-ordinary? The more you allow yourself to explore how life works through you, the more power you have available. Only you can decide. Choices and mistakes make us who we are. The more choices and mistakes we make, the more energetic, interesting and empowered we become!
Every single puppy in a litter of 15 is a unique individual. Cherish the uniqueness in yourself and your dog. Your dog's ears may not stand-up perky, but they flop about with joy of living in their own cuteness. I cherish my and my dog's uniqueness -- we are beacons in the world ... shining bright.
Intuition: Experiences we have throughout our life becomes a source of intuitive wisdom. Call upon this this gut instinct whenever you are confused, conflicted or feel stressed. Making well informed decisions and enriching choices is related to your commitment to the soundness of your intuitive mind.
Experiences (associations) that our dogs have in life is instinctual. Observe their responses or reactions to the environment, people ... You! Focus on ways to increase your intuition and instincts by observe the dog.
Joy Fun Pleasure: "Surely joy is the condition of Life”. Henry David Thoreau. Iris Murdock, novelist shares that "one of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats”. Interesting that training dogs with healthy food treats creates amazing results. Loving what you do and feeling that it matters, making a difference large or small, how can anything be more meaningful or fun? Experiencing joy, fun and pleasure is as uniquely individual as our DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid -- our blueprint). It does not require great wealth, but if money helps you enjoy certain pleasures, that’s okay. One can enjoy walking a puppy through a puddle as much as sailing in a big ocean. It is a joy to know that I can find reckless abandon and pleasure in playing with my dog.
Leadership: Simply, leadership can be considered as the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. This captures the essentials of inspiration and preparation. Effective leadership is based on ideas and visions that need to be communicated to others in a way that engages them. The leader is the inspiration and director of the action; the symphony maestro. Good leaders have empathy and motivational skills to get someone to follow their direction / vision. Good leaders are define a vision and ask: How can we accomplish this?
Dog Packs, large and small, have pack leaders, whether they are living in the forest (wolves) or in a human home (domestic packs). Being a pack leader, I define the roles and boundaries of our relationship by respectfully managing the life rewards (survival resources), teaching achievable behaviors - and leading the pack, one dog or several. Without leadership, a dog (or human) is confused. Imagine going to work on a new job and someone says “Hello, nice to meet you, get the project done”. WHAT PROJECT? Define teachable behaviors, one at a time, using what is high-ranking (of value) to your dog. A sitting dog cannot jump, a dog that sits for food, won’t steal it. Teach the dog to dig here, not there, chew this, not that, and relax when I do.
Life Rewards (LR): Mantra: Good behavior makes good things happen! Life rewards are beaming at us from electronic media (banks, support groups, work incentives, insurance benefits). Work hard, live healthy, eat right, be wise and save, and you get a reward in the form of reimbursements, points, interest, dessert, frequent flyer miles and vacations.
A common misconception is that rewards must be huge! Reward are as varied for us as they are for our dogs.
LR’s are beneficial to motivate us and our dogs to accomplish goals big or small.
Know your dog’s life rewards and training is a cinch. Puppies/dogs have at least 3 (food, play, touch). Add to this a place to dig, swim, be with us on the couch (or not) or “free” play time, and you have a basket of choices.
Like us, some rewards are more motivating than others. Rank them 1.2.3, using the hottest rewards more sparingly. That gives you a vantage point in training, relationship and well-being. Otherwise, it would be like having your favorite indulgences 6-days a week.
On day 7, do you want another slice of pizza or hot fudge sundae? Does you dog want another kibble after eating kibble 7-days a week? Life Reward training teaches respect and life long behaviors that can save a dog’s life. It channels energy into positive outlets. Instead of lazily throwing the dog bowl down full of kibble (BORING), hold the bowl and ask (teach) watch-me | sit | down. Teach a stay and toss a Kong Wobbler (enrichment feeding toy) that will give them at least 5-10 minutes of foraging time.
A bored dog is a destructive dog. A bored human is a depressed individual. Together, add one a different task every day to spice up life a bit.
Let-it Happen, Let-it Go: Let it happen, learn, let it go (good, bad, death, lottery. Dogs are creatures of habit, in the moment. Holding on to something causes anger, aging - and loss of creative, free flowing energy. Your dog chewed your cell phone? Did you let it happen? Learn, let it go. Partner leave you to join a monastery? Definitely go through the emotions (anger, sadness, rage), learn, let it go. You get the picture. This is a helpful mantra for almost everything that happens. Process, yes, learn, absolutely, let it go to move forward, be empowered and healthy.
Living and Learning: Living and learning, what else is there? When we learn one lesson, we move on to another. Oftentimes, we learn the same lesson over and over -- called practice till we get it. A master of anything practices all of their lives because they are making progress. Learning about the relationship between thoughts and experiences, humans and dogs, all we do is the best we can with the knowledge and understanding we have.
Being willing to change and try it differently, that’s courage. When we are willing to open our minds and challenge the possibilities that "yes" there may be a different or better way, our dogs benefit too. Making lessons easy, fun and forgiving, gives our dogs a chance to be individuals, offering us not just sits and downs, but companionship – opportunities to explore outside (exercise), dog sports, play and always - love.
Everyday, I will practice easy, understanding, fun, fair and forgiving living and learning for me and my dog.
Two of the deepest emotions we can have is love and loss.
It can suck us into despair or make us feel giddy and alive ... Laugh, this too shall pass ...
Loss -- when one door closes, another one opens: Loss is part of living. Losing loved ones is painful, and the loss of a dog (other pet) excruciating. Coping with loss, grieving our way through the quicksand, imagine someone tossing you a line. Grab on ... it may be a slow process, but you will make it to the surface. The universe has a way of assigning each of us what it thinks we can handle. Wallowing, not a dog's style. Dogs experience emotion, loss and pain, but nature has a away of providing them with a unique gift of being able to move on. We can learn from this. Absolutely experience your loss. Take time to grieve. Then bounce back with resilience. Lessons and memories from loss are the gift.
Love: Love Liberates: I am grateful to have been loved, to be loved now and to be able to love because love liberates. It doesn't control - that is the ego. Love says, I love you here or if you are in China. I would like to be near you. I'd like to have your arms around me. I'd like to hear your voice in my ear, but that's not possible now, so I love you. Go.
Dogs offer us this love from the time they join-up with us in living and learning, not always perfection, but always in affection, loyalty, playfulness and non-judgmental regard. A replacement for human love, hopefully not, but a bonus gift offered to help us feel loved and cared for, absolutely!
Ask someone who has lost a dog and also a human which hurt the most? The answer may surprise you. It is a different loss. A dog’s love and devotion is in the purest form - like an infant – no scheming – no ulterior motive - no drama in the making. Drama happens from lack of teaching and building a trusting relationship with the dog.
Dog style manipulation, sure. They get to know us, and do this to get that, and that to get this. They are clever! The big difference is that they do it authentically and without judgment. They do not hold grudges for a lifetime, but do not kid yourself. Dogs associate and remember these associations. We can use breathing and fairness with our dogs, a different species, that will flow into our relationships with humans who are different too (cultures, values).
Meditations I - L