25 Mar 2014
You may have noticed that I haven’t sent out a weekly email in a bit. I often teach, talk and blog about strength, courage, fear, gratitude, overcoming obstacles and other topics close to my heart. However, over the past several weeks, I haven’t been able to take any of my own advice. To be honest, I’m a blubbering mess that can only hold it together for a few hours a day when I’m teaching. The reason? I lost my best friend, my teacher, my comforter, my supporter, my soul mate–I lost my everything. My beloved 15-year-old dog, Winnie, died. I know for some, the fact I’m grieving so hard for a dog will seem silly, and feel free to stop reading now. But I’ve learned so many valuable lessons from her both while she was here in the present world and in her passing, and I thought I would share with you what I’ve learned to honor her spirit.
First, I’ve been struggling with how to be a positive force and motivator in the midst of being crippled with sadness and depression. When you have a job that is designed to make people feel better, how do you go about doing that when feeling like a complete mess yourself? Well, I’ve realized–
So here are my top six lessons I learned from my dog:
- Always greet the ones you care about with love. Every time I came home, Winnie greeted me with excitement, kisses, and hugs like I had been gone for an eternity. This love-filled greeting always brightened my spirit, brought joy to my heart and made even my most horrible days much better. In fact, I try to do it with my friends, loved ones, colleagues and clients because you never know how a warm greeting of love will change someone’s day.
- Every day is a new beginning. Dogs don’t hold grudges from years ago or even a day ago. Winnie didn’t hold it against me if I took her on a lousy walk because I was tired or busy. Every morning she woke up with energy and excitement, nuzzling me with joy to get out of bed and conquer the day. She reminded me to start fresh each and every day and to not bring yesterday’s worries into today’s adventures.
- Appreciate the simple pleasures. Winnie never wasted an opportunity to take in a nice roll in the grass, jog in the park, snuggle under a tree or warm nap in the sun. Winnie forced me to get outside, slow down, and be present for the simple pleasures that are everywhere, if only we took the time to enjoy them.
- Show compassion. Dogs are truly kind souls. Winnie was always the first one to show me compassion, lying her head on my lap, cuddling closer when I was going through rough times and just listening intently as I told her my troubles. Her compassion toward me has helped me be a better listener and more receptive to others in times of need. Everyone around you is going through something. Be there. Always.
- Things don’t matter. A dog can have the best time with an old, worn-out ball. Winnie didn’t care that we lived in a small studio apartment. She cared about playing and experiencing life with me. She cared about love–being loved and showing love. Her favorite toy was one she had for 8 years–new ones never compared. Relationships matter, material objects don’t.
- Love unconditionally. Love yourself, your friends, your family, your environment, and your pets. Show your love every day because you never ever know when one of those precious things you love will be gone forever.
I hope these lessons resonate with you in some way. Hold your loved ones a bit closer this week and make sure to tell them how much you care for them.
09 Mar 2014
But lately, I haven’t been taking my own advice. I’ve found it harder to bounce back from setbacks, unwanted surprises, and the busyness of life. I’ve found it challenging to always find the hope in a new day. But after some reflection, I’m pretty sure I know why. And this month I’m on a mission to stop it and I dare you to join me. I’m on a quest to STOP COMPLAINING!
The last few months I’ve fallen into the life is hard and if only trap. You know what I’m talking about. The “if only I had more time,” “if only I didn’t have to work so much,” “if only I made more money,” “if only I had a boyfriend/husband!” I’m always preaching NOT to do this, and yet I’m spiraling down this drain of negativity! Do you ever have this problem? AND, I’ve been complaining WAY too much, even about little things like the weather (It has been a tough winter though, right?!?) But how does complaining about something serve me? It doesn’t!
What we give attention to grows. So if we constantly focus on what’s wrong, we are only going to get more of it. But if we focus on what’s right in our lives, what makes us happy, and what we are grateful for, we tend to receive more of that positive abundance. And by focusing more on what makes us happy and content, we are more apt to take ACTION to get there. And action is key!
So this month I’m challenging myself to not publicly complain about ANYTHING–not the weather, not my personal problems, not work issues…NOTHING. Now I’m not saying if there is a life event or situation that I need help with I won’t lean on friends and family for support. But it’s different asking for help and complaining about life.
It’s not going to be easy and I’m sure I will slip up, but it’s important challenge for me to take and I hope you will hop on the bandwagon with me. Let’s see what happens when we stop complaining and start living! Let’s take action and make March an awesome month!