Skinny, hilarious and unforgiving is the kind of girl that lives inside my body. Let me explain unforgiving before anyone loses their mind over that statement. I have lived for a long time at a size that makes no sense. A lot of people justify their weight and can look back and give you the day that all of this fat just happened to them. I am unforgiving in that I blame myself and months of habits vs giving any credit to years of doing right. I blame myself when I look back and can clearly see a two year old that had no control over what was in their mouth when she was first labelled obese by doctors.
One of my students was commenting this week about how he couldn't run a mile he claimed that he was "too fat" for that. I sort of laughed and I said if I can run a mile, you can certainly run a mile. He stood in front of me maybe weighing 165lbs and looked at me with all seriousness and said "Ms., I have gained 20lbs since I got here, I am just not used to being this big and I can't exercise to that extreme at all.". The conversation continued and it was in convincing him that he can definitely run a mile that I realized perhaps I am wrong.
I have proven to myself that in this fat suit that I am wearing I can do anything. Honestly I have become pretty successful at a lot of things at this weight...but somehow in proving to my body (and everyone looking at it) wrong, I have also gotten comfortable in my skin. Great for confidence and being a mother that is raising kick ass kids that will always know their worth...but sad for the part of my spirit that has always felt trapped in this body. I have somehow forgotten about her and become complacent as long as I can still do and accomplish!
Because of that realization I know it's okay to focus on my goals and not just be happy with what I have. My accomplishments are many and I am very grateful but it is okay to want to chisel myself out of the rock that is holding me here and stop living my life from within.
I recently heard a pretty amazing quote. “What we know is a drop. What we don’t know is an ocean.” I was watching a series on Netflix called “Dark”. Not sure who to actually attribute the quote to though. The character, the writer, someone else who has said it first? Anyway, I wanted to give credit where it was due, just don’t know who it’s due to.
Back to this quote…..when I heard this, I was struck with the trueness of this statement. While I have never really thought that I know everything (how could that possibly be anyway), this quote reminded me of how much more there is to learn and to understand and to discover. I like to think of myself as intelligent and having common sense. But there is still an unimaginable amount of information that I will never know.
I think there are things or topics that we haven’t even begun to investigate. Referring back to the ocean specifically, I remember hearing a statistic about how much of the ocean we don’t know about. I had to go back and check what that was and according to the National Ocean Service website “More than eighty percent of our ocean is unmapped, unobserved, and unexplored.” That’s a huge amount that we have no idea about! HUGE! And that’s just the ocean. There are forests, and the atmosphere, and time, and energy, and people’s minds. I could obviously go on and on, but I think you might get the point.
I feel like we have all met a person in our lifetime that “seems” to know everything. At least that’s how they act. Obviously, no one can know everything. But anytime there is a conversation about anything, they know about it and can talk about it or know a better way to do it. Well, I think we can all agree that they don’t know it all.
This isn’t really about the know-it-alls out there. It’s about the desire to know what I don’t know. To learn things I haven’t been exposed to before. To allow myself to be taught new things. How freeing it is to be exposed to a new topic and just give yourself the time to think on it. Contemplate it, discuss it, and wonder about it.
There are so many things that we might have heard of in our lifetime. Or have seen on a tv show or in a movie. A topic that has been discussed that seems unbelievable or that at first seems to be unbelievable. But as we dig further into the topic….maybe it’s not so crazy or not unreal. Remember the whole debate on whether or not the world is round or flat? Well, you might not remember first hand, but that debate didn’t go as most people would have thought all those years ago. Time travel…..”Back to the Future” movies. The idea has come from somewhere….
So it seems plausible that the idea of what we know is a drop and what we don’t know is an ocean. Think of that the next time you fill your bathtub, or see a pool, or even notice a puddle. Think of what you know as one drop of knowledge living in that space of all that is yet to be discovered. And then think about how awesome it would be to have 2 drops of knowledge in that cavernous space.
My friends, the magic of learning and being taught is astounding and never ending. Who are we to say that something isn’t real or couldn’t be possible. Just because we can’t see something doesn’t make it fake. There is so much to know….we won’t ever know it all. But the fun comes in learning about the things that aren’t yet discovered.
So keep your thinking hats on, everyone! Embrace learning and do your best to add a couple more drops to the ocean of the undiscovered.
As (my) world turns. Another trip around the sun.
Happy birthday to me! Happy middle age. Augh. I’m not sure how I feel about the “middle”. Perhaps because it feels that much closer to opposite end of where I began? Obviously, it’s all relative and illogical anyway. Who knows when the true middle is? My middle could have already passed. Or maybe it’s still yet to come.
Do you ever stop to think about your birthday? I mean, more than just “oh it’s my birthday.” I feel like there are two types of people: 1: people who operate like it’s just another day, or 2: IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!
I’m in the second category. I LOVE my birthday. I’m not even sure why. Maybe it’s a nice mid-way point from Christmas? Maybe because it’s near July 4th and people are already in party mode? As a kid I always secretly believed the fireworks were just for me. Obviously, I don’t know how I would feel if my birthday was in another time of year.
This year is a BIG one for me – 40. I always thought it wouldn’t really be a big deal to turn 40. Age is just a number! Sure. Until I’m turning 40.
I don’t think it’s so much about feeling old. I feel about the same as I have over the past couple of years. Nothing has suddenly changed. But, it feels… different. Like a shift in time. Or a shift in mindset.
By 40 I feel like there are no excuses. This is life. You’re living it. You have experiences. You’re not too young for stuff (like renting a car or signing a lease). You’re also not too old (AARP hasn’t called just yet). But, at this point, either you have it together or you don’t.
Does anyone ever truly has it all together?? I think our world is clouded with the picture perfect images we all want the world to see. Not that anything is wrong with that, per se. I surely don’t like the world to see everything chaotic in my life.
But I’m beginning to understand the mid-life crisis. It’s a turning point of reflection. Where you are seriously wondering if this is it. When you realize that you’ve been kicking around this “life” thing for a while and you are nowhere near where you want to be. When you decide that going through the motions seems fairly unproductive and silly and you want more meaning behind what you do.
I have a list of 100 Things I’d like to do. Call it a bucket list, wish list, goals, whatever word resonates with you. There are little things on my list (like spend more time with my dogs) to bigger ideas (like be incremental in passing legislation). When I wrote it, I really took time to contemplate the “things” in life that mattered to me. I didn’t judge or filter my thoughts. I just simply wrote things I wanted.
Who knows if I will get to do even half the things on my list. I can’t say I have a plan of action to knock off all these items. I think it’s okay to not be so programmed in getting them done. But, every once in a while, I look at the list, and it reminds me that I’m alive. I’m more than my job, more than a mom, more than a wife. I’m alive, on a journey all of my own. Having experiences.
The thing with 40 is that time already feels like it’s flying by. Years seems to go faster and faster. When I look at my list of 100 Things, the key is that I FEEL GOOD while doing them. I don’t want to waste time feeling crappy.
Feeling good is HARD work. I know I don’t feel like I did in my 20s. I can’t imagine what I will feel like in my 60s. But right now, in this moment, I want to feel awesome. Feeling good is not something I want to achieve one day. I want to be it every day.
Turning 40 makes me realize that I’ve been fortunate enough to live this many days already. None of us know how many more days we get. What I do know is that I want to feel good for as many of them as I possibility can. There is no waiting around till next year, next month, next week. Just chose be feel good in every moment as they happen.
Do things that make you happy. Do things that make your body feel good. Give it good fuel. Give it good rest. Have fun. Exercise (after you do this enough, you realize that it actually does feel good!). Breathe.
I’m not really ready to “tackle” the next 40. I’m ready to live them in the present moment. I’m ready to learn how to just “be.” Seems hard to believe it’s taken me 40 years in this body to just begin that journey. All in due time, I suppose.
As my 39th trip around the sun concludes this weekend, I open a new chapter of life. Learning more about who I am, and learning to enjoy the present moment. As we all know, the present is all we truly have. No better day to do it than on a day I already love.
I would say that in my life overall, I’m not a super competitive person. Well, at least outwardly. Of course, when I’m involved in an activity or when I played softball regularly, I did my best and tried to be successful. But I don’t think I’ve been way over the top, crazy, do anything to win. I do like to win, don’t get me wrong. But I suppose I have my limits as to how competitive I’m going to be.
Unless…….we’re talking about the competition I have with myself. Oh, no! I think I might have taken a turn to the dark side…..
Ok, the dark side might be a little too far. A bit dramatic. But I do have this bizarre competition with myself. I notice it in my daily life. I don’t think I have always seen it though. I would assume that I would have tried to curb this before it got out of hand. Dramatic again. It’s not really out of hand, but I see it.
Here is one of the places where I have noticed it. There are a few mindless games that I have downloaded onto my phone and I will play them at night when I’m unwinding. Now, if you are familiar with any of the many games that are able to be downloaded, you know there are multiple levels and you can earn 1, 2, or 3 stars on each level, depending on your “skill”. So in playing some of these games, I was realizing that very early on in the game, the levels were pretty easy. I earned 3 stars! Go me! I’m doing well.
As the levels increased, apparently, so should your skill level. “Oh no, I think I have only earned 2 stars on this level. I can’t move on to the next level now. I have to earn the 3 stars before I can go on.” What?? Now, keep in mind, I don’t really have to earn 3 stars at all. The game will progress either way.
Talk about me taking the fun out of something. Who am I competing against? No one is checking up on my night time playing ability to make sure I am earning my 3 stars on each level before I move on. Why do I do this? I have to “win”! Win what? I need the stars to validate something? Not really. I don’t share my gaming progress online with anyone, so no one but me would know this. (And now you do too…)
Another place I have noticed my competition with myself is when I workout. More specifically, when I do some kind of cardio exercise. Again, here I am taking the fun out of it. (Yes, I did just say exercise is fun.) Heehee. Anyway, I’m on the treadmill or the elliptical. And “I have to get to this certain amount of miles by this certain time. I have to run this many minutes before I can take a break”. And then what? I win? But, in a sense, my goal motivation backfires, too – for instance, if I wasn’t sure I would be able to reach the “goal” at today’s workout, then I would avoid doing it all together. I put too much pressure on myself to reach a made up goal that isn’t necessary. So in my quest to “win”, I’m actually hurting myself by ending up not doing something because I might not be able to win against myself. It all seems rather silly, to make the competition with myself take the fun out of things. I like to run. I enjoy it. But maybe I can just run for the fun of it instead of “beating” my time yesterday.
I don’t want you to think that I believe we shouldn’t have goals. Quite the opposite. But for me, if the “goal” was pushing me away from doing something good for myself or relaxing, then this isn’t a good goal for me. Maybe the goal can be “run until I want to walk”. And ps…..”good job running”. Or earn 1 star and be happy going onto level 72.
I’ve made the attempt to stop being so competitive with myself. It doesn’t need to be me vs. me. I keep track of my progress on the elliptical or treadmill but I don’t have to reach a certain goal to make this particular workout worth it. I’m happy that I’m sticking with the workouts. And I’m satisfied with my 1 star at times……as long as I can get 3 stars here and there.
For me, I need to keep the fun in it. Fun is definitely NOT overrated.
~Lynn Aspire Wellness
I’m not going as far as to say Jelly Beans changed my life… but, well, they gave me a reason to pause – and in an even more profound way than deciding on the best flavor combination I could concoct.
I believe part of being successful includes embracing our struggles. They really do define us – either we decide to become them, or we decided to become something usually quite the opposite. Wellness is certainly a journey, and mine continues, just as does yours… and everyone else’s. I work hard to choose a good path. It’s not necessarily the “right” path, as age has begun to teach me that there is truly no right and wrong, but merely decisions and choices, some of which lead to better outcomes than others. I am a fan of positive outcomes, so I work towards making choices that will likely lead me down that path. But nonetheless, being transparent, while difficult, is often essential if we really want to make true change in our lives.
Health and wellness are very much affected by the tides in our lives. Positive or negative, you can likely expect your habits to ebb and flow as well. Weight gain or loss, less exercise, missing routine wellness visits (doctor, dentist, massages) – these things happen when life throws us for a curve, even if we feel prepared for it! What am I talking about? Moving, getting married, having a kid, having another kid, taking care of parent, changing jobs, getting divorced, losing a loved one, kids starting college, and the list goes on and on.
Let me rewind my life for you briefly. Since June 2016, exactly two years ago, I have started a new business (including the build out construction), closed an old business, adopted a newborn, bought a house, underwent another construction house renovation, adopted a dog, packed, moved, and sold a house.
It’s safe to assume that some of my positive habits fell apart during all this transition. Ahhh yea. Lack of sleep, lots of working, tons of financial stress, it all took its toll. Cooking became a huge challenge. Not just the time to do it, but between house showings, it was just nearly impossible to know if we would even be able to make dinner at home. Cooked fish smell doesn’t go over well when selling a house. FYI.
We tried really hard to cook when we could and eat real meals. But, it was a crap shoot. This was also the time when we were introducing new foods to our son, and it was a whole new ballgame for us!
Turns out our toddler likes to eat! And he’s not afraid to try stuff. Basically, he wants everything you’re eating. Sharing is caring, right??
Well, turns out I didn’t want him to eat everything I was eating. Why?? Because it’s not food that’s appropriate for a baby! But, umm… what does that even mean? It means, he shouldn’t have it.
But why? Why shouldn’t he have it?
As I was sneaking jelly beans one afternoon at dinner time, it hit me like a freight train. He sees me in all my sneakiness. Nothing’s getting past him! And, oh you better believe he wants one! But, I’m not giving it to him because it’s not good for him. Hey, Einstein - news flash – it’s not good for you, either! Here I am, a grown woman, sneaking jelly beans so my 1 year old doesn’t get into a bad, sugary habit. But, it’s okay for me to do it??
We know the answer is no. NO. It’s not okay. If I don’t want him to have it, I shouldn’t be having it either. It’s as simple as that. I didn’t want to keep telling him “no” to sharing what I was eating. What kind of example does that set?? Certainly not one of a positive role model.
Nothing kicked my butt back into the right mindset faster than staring at those jelly beans and realizing how silly it all was. If I want him to be a good eater and like healthy food, then I need to set that example and eat right, too! After all, it’s not like I don’t know how. Not to mention that I actually LIKE eating healthy food (call me crazy, I know!).
On the surface, it seemed as easy as telling my son, “You can’t have this.” I’m an adult, by gone it, and I WANT it, and I say so, and I get to choose! So while my son’s tantrum is on the outside, the reality is, I’m having my own adult version on the inside.
It was time to pull it together. So, see ya later, jelly beans! We are back to home cooked goodness.
It’s graduation time around my area. People graduating from college, graduating from high school, middle school, pre-school. To me, graduation indicates moving into the future, going towards the next thing. It’s been a little while since I’ve officially graduated from some type of school program. And it makes me reflect on those days. Those simpler days, where there wasn’t a ton of responsibility. Well, not like my responsibility of today. Anyway……
In my reflection, I’m thinking about the choices I made, profession wise. So really, I guess I’m thinking back to my college days. I went into college knowing what I wanted to study and which degree I was after. Sometimes I wonder if I chose the degree I did without having a lot of thought behind it. Did I pick it because I thought I should? Because I thought I was being noble? Because I wanted to help people? Maybe all of these things. But looking back on it, I think my choice really made me feel like I was confined.
I majored in Psychology and earned my undergraduate degree and went right on to graduate school and earned my Master’s in Psychological Counseling. I had a basic plan in my head of what I thought I would want to do as a career. The job/position I took wasn’t exactly what I thought I would be doing, but it was in the “correct” field and close enough to what I had envisioned. Buuuuuttt this isn’t really about the job I took.
I think my main motivating factor in choosing my degree path was really about wanting to help people. I have always found myself wanting to help people. At least, I’d like to think so. Over the years, I’ve discovered that there are many ways to help people. And I could have done this in a lot of different ways. So why did I take the path I did? Perhaps because that’s what I said I would do. I’m not sure. I know I enjoy psychology and attempting to understand people and the whys behind the things they do. Of course, this can lead to frustration, as every rule seems to have an exception.
So, I’m still looking back and reflecting. I’m thinking there are a lot of things I would have liked to tell my younger self. Things I know now, that seemed unimaginable then. Struggles of now that makes the “struggles” of then seem like field day. I know when hard times are happening, it feels like the worst thing ever. But not everything that felt like the worst thing ever, was the worst. Sure, there were some really hard and sad things that happened waaaayyy back then. But when I think back, I would surely tell myself……..
~~ “There is indeed truth to don’t sweat the small stuff.” While cliché, it’s true. There will be countless things to think about and to agonize over and worry about. Don’t add on to the mountain of concerns with something unimportant like…“I wonder if that kid in class was mad at me last week for asking the teacher a question?” (As if that should be a problem…..)
~~ “Be kind and non-judgmental.” I would have to toot my own horn here and say I’m generally both of these things, but I’m sure there were times when I followed the crowd of inconsideration and wasn’t as kind as I could have been….
~~ Which leads me to …. “Don’t always follow the crowd.” They might not be leading you to where you want to go. It’s ok to be an individual and do you own thing, have your own opinions, have your own experiences.
~~ Which leads me to my point…. “Do what YOU want to do, go where YOU want to go.” This is something I would for sure like to tell my younger self. Most things don’t have to be forever. So if you don’t like what you’re doing, you can change it. But, do what you want to do to be the happiest, most outstanding person you can be. So before the responsibilities of today have take over, take some time to sit back and think…. “What do you want?”
Karma… What Goes Around, Comes Around.
We all know that expression, right?? Sure we do! What goes around, comes around. Sometimes it’s not always obvious, though – the coming around part. I’m going to tell you 4 separate stories… just hang with me… it all comes together…
….Forever and a day ago, I visited a local fitness equipment store to make some purchases for my business. Turns out they had a referral program for Personal Trainers. Pretty cool. Cost me nothing to enroll, so I did. Have never honestly even thought about it again. I have no idea how it works, but hey, it’s a good way to maybe get my name out into the community.
…This past fall, my husband, son and I attended my brother’s wedding it Atlanta (it’s a 16 hour drive from Delaware). We were road tripping for a week with an almost 1 year old, breaking up the drive with different stops. If you’ve ever been in a car with a baby for an extended period of time, well you already feel our pain. As you can imagine, we have a lot of “gear.” For being so darn small, babies do not travel lightly! I had keenly separated our belongings into sections of what we needed at each stop. So, when we got to Atlanta, we only removed what we needed from our vehicle. Too much to cart around!
Well, our car was broken into during our Atlanta stay. The majority of our baby stuff was stolen. Diaper bag, pack and play, bath stuff, toys, almost his whole long sleeve wardrobe was gone, plus who knows what else. Who steals from a one year old?? AUGH. I was so upset and disgusted. Frankly, I had no idea what to do. I felt crushed. How on earth was I going to replace all that stuff??
In my frustration, I posted my outrage on none other than facebook. Honestly, I try to keep my posts uplifting, happy, and positive. There is so much crap in the world, no one needs to hear more crap from me. But, in my fury, social media was my outlet.
When I hit “post,” I truly didn’t have any forethought into what the responses would be. I hadn’t thought that far in advance. I just wanted the world to know I was more than angry. What happened next was shocking. People helped! Seems crazy to say I was surprised, but I truly was! We received help from so many of our friends and clients. But, even more awesome – one of our clients, SHARED the story to her friends. And guess what?? HER friends helped, too! People we never even met before helped us replace the biggest items lost! I have never in my life experienced such an outcry of help from folks. My heart was full. I was beyond grateful.
…. A couple of months ago, that same awesome client mentions that she is thinking about purchasing an elliptical for her home. Where should she shop for a good one? Hummm… oh, right! I tell her I had purchased equipment at a local store in the past, and I thought they had a good selection at decent prices. Then, I happen to randomly remember I signed up for that referral program forever and a day ago. I suggested she ask about the referral network because I think she’d get a discount! Everyone likes a discount!
…. A few weeks ago, I’m sitting in a conference, half listening to the presenter, half playing with my phone (because like everyone these days, I have to be constantly entertained lol). I see a post from the same awesome client. Except it wasn’t an awesome post at all. It was almost a repeat of my post back in the fall, when our car was broken into. Now her car had been broken into! Hundreds of dollars of stuff just gone. Gone. I know how horrible that feels. I looked at the list of stuff she’d lost. Geez, so much.
My brain immediately began searching for a way to help. I got up and walked right out of the conference. I walked into the hallway with my phone, and I called her Vet’s office. One of the things stolen was her dog’s heartworm meds. Having four dogs myself, I know this stuff can add up, especially depending on what brand you use. The Vet’s office answered, and I told them whatever her bill was to replace the meds, I wanted to pay for half. The woman was a bit shocked on the other end of the phone. She repeated, “Half??” Yep. Half, and here’s my credit card number.
Now, pause a second because while I believe myself to be generous in many ways, money isn’t usually how I do it. Why? Well, simply because I usually don’t have it. I had just had a stressful conversation about finances (it’s a conversation we have on an automatic loop, I swear) with my husband that day. So, when it comes to spending money, I’m pretty thrifty and conservative and I think twice (or more sometimes) about most purchases.
But, not that day. Not at all. That is what shocked me the most – not that her stuff was stolen, not that there are horrible, crappy people in the world. But, rather, it was my immediate reaction to just do something to make it right that surprised me the most. I had no hesitation. It was as if someone else had entered my brain and dialed the number. I had zero thought about money, nothing like that at all. I just reacted. I never even asked how much “half” of her bill was. I just gave my card info, and that was that.
…. A few days later, I was going through the mail, and there was this non-descript envelope. You know the kind. It’s probably a solicitation. It’s the type of envelope you just trash and not give a second thought about. For some reason, I paused as I was about to ditch it. For those that know me well, you know I’m the Queen of throwing everything away as fast as possible. It gives me great joy to throw things away (lol).
But, for whatever reason, I opened it. The return address name was unfamiliar to me. I was curious enough. Guess what was inside? A check. Yep. You heard that right. It was a check. Jackpot! Wait, what’s the catch because random businesses seldom just send me money.
Then, I remember… ohhh… this is that fitness equipment company… but wait… ohhhh… holy smokes! My client that bought the equipment there had obviously used the referral program. And I got a commission!!
Even more interesting… the amount of the check? It was exactly double the cost of the dog’s heartworm medicine. I just stared at it. In total disbelief. Not only had the Universe paid me back for my helping my friend, but it paid me DOUBLE.
Well then. This was surely cause for me to pause. I have always heard so many stories about how the Universe does truly deliver. Not to mention, the stories about how those that give away what they have (and even sometimes what they don’t have), are rewarded.
And there it was. The money physically in my hand. Karma.
It wasn’t the Universe “getting me back” for something crappy I had done. It was the Universe rewarding me for something I had unselfishly given.
Looks like Karma is a two way street. I am truly humbled and blown away. With that said, be kind and generous, my friends. The Universe is watching, and will get your back when you need it. I am forever changed.
Loss is never an easy topic. There are so many emotions tied up in it and it’s not the same for everyone. Not everyone feels the same level of sadness or has the same reaction to it. And everyone deals with it differently.
This past November, our dog, Trooper, turned 14. We adopted Trooper from the SPCA in January of 2004. He was with us for so many years. Really his whole life, minus those first 8 weeks. He became part of our family. He was picked up as a stray, but not after he “was on the run” from the SPCA for over a week while they tried to catch him. Ahhhhh, our Trooper.
About 2 years ago, Trooper was playing in the yard and hurt his right back leg. While he initially limped after injuring it, he adapted well and really began using just 3 of his four legs. We took him for acupuncture during this time and he had good results, but he really had adapted to just using 3 legs. After a while, he didn’t seem to be getting as much of a benefit from the acupuncture, so we stopped treatments. He rarely used that back leg and the muscle atrophied pretty significantly. Still, Trooper kept going.
Last week, my husband and I made the decision that our Trooper’s physical health wasn’t improving. And we made the emotional and heart wrenching choice to put down our best buddy. He was our only remaining living dog, having watched and experienced his 3 brothers passing away in the years prior. So Trooper knew the feeling of loss and the sadness that can come with it. I think him being sensitive to this, he pushed on when a lot of others may have needed to choose rest instead.
Trooper was very much like his name describes; our trooper. He was a trooper, working through a lifelong problem of hip dysplasia, his fear of thunderstorms, living and getting along with other doggy siblings, not to mention his leg injury and subsequent muscle atrophy. And other random ailments and issues along the way. But he always pushed on because he was a trooper.
Deciding it’s “the end” is never an easy decision to make when you consider your pet a part of your family. I was struggling because I was looking for a sign that it was time, like refusing to eat or no longer going potty – physical signs that we typically look for of reassurance that we are making the “right” choice.
But I wasn’t getting that sign. Because I have a trooper. But his left back leg, which he was using as his sole back leg, was weakening more every day. Falling was more frequent (all the time, it started to feel like) and Trooper would get himself into these random, and sometimes potentially dangerous, situations and areas that either me or my husband would come home to. I would pick him up and clean him up, if necessary, and I would fight down the thoughts that his physical health was declining. I wanted to have hope that tomorrow would be a better day.
I’m missing my Trooper every second and coming home to an empty house is difficult. I still expect him to greet me at the door and bark when we pull up to the house. It’s quiet and feels strange and sad.
Thinking of my Trooper and loss in general, I have two take-aways: The first, that I’m grateful and appreciative for Trooper’s love and perseverance and unyielding affection for me and my friends and family. He was truly a fabulous dog. And an integral part of our family. I know he is running the show in heaven and the leader of his pack once again.
Second, (and this is really regarding loss in general) when someone loses someone or something they love, they aren’t looking for you (or anyone) to fix anything. It seems that people are compelled to say too much, tell you a story, explain their experiences, or try to correct what they see as a problem. It’s not necessary. Really, it’s not. Filling the silence doesn’t make the pain go away no matter how consoling or compassionate your words may be.
Just say “I’m sorry for your loss.” It’s okay to tell someone that you don’t know what else to say except for the words, “I’m sorry.” The show of sympathy is enough. Just, “I’m sorry”. It doesn’t need to be an explanation of how great of a life they lived or how it was probably their time to go or anything else. Just simply, “I’m sorry”. Those words mean enough.
I wish we all wouldn’t feel so uncomfortable being with someone who is grieving. We all have that personal experience during our lives. It’s part of living. It might not look the same for everyone, but it’s there, nonetheless.
Trooper was appropriately named, he surely was a trooper in every sense of the word. Beautiful memories will keep me smiling, and I know he is with me all the time. As are my other boys who have crossed the rainbow bridge. Rest well, my Trooper, although my guess is you’re running free. I’m looking for the dragonflies, my dear boy.
I love you always, my Trooper.
I’m telling ya, my health would be far better off as a dog than a human. Of course, I need to clarify that by saying that statement applies to those of us that respect the lives of our pets and treat them in high regard (as they should be).
I have four dogs. They are part of my family and are my kids (in addition to my human kid :). A significant part of my time goes towards ensuring their health and wellbeing is maintained. I willingly do this because I signed up for it when I adopted them and pinky swore to provide them with a good quality of life. So, it’s fair to say I’m pretty hyper when it comes to their health.
A year ago, we began fostering our dog, Drake. As you can clearly tell by that last sentence, “our dog”, Drake, is now “our dog”; he very much decided he was not going to be leaving our home. It took us a few months to figure out Drake’s plan, but that’s okay. He’s here to stay.
Drake is probably about 6 or 7 years old, Rottweiler mix. He was abandoned by his original family in Georgia, dumped, picked up as a stray, and found himself on the euthanize list. The awesome rescue I work with (reachoutrescue.org) picked him up from there.
Drake came with lots of issues. He’s a high maintenance boy. Hyper, hyper, hyper. Plus, he has no real idea how big and strong he really is. He runs very fast, slides, crashes, and will take you out before you even see him coming. He has a constant ear infection, is a picky eater, hard to keep weight on him, very over protective, hates baths, barks loudly, can play a bit too rough, and – the best one – has some type of incontinence. But, he’s truly the biggest baby of them all. Always wants to be held, hugged, snuggled, and covered in kisses and affection. He turns on the charm with those big brown eyes.
Despite having his own plush dog bed, it’s not unusual that he slinks his way up between my husband and I on a regular nightly basis. We’ve been woken up on more than one occasion wondering why we are laying in a puddle of warm… DRAKE! Yep, peed the bed. Poor guy was in such a deep sleep, he didn’t even know it happened, but super embarrassed once he quickly realizes it. Sigh.
I did some research, I had started Drake on homeopathic bladder and kidney support supplements. It really seems to help. At our annual vet visit, I expressed my concern over some of Drake’s issues. Could all these things, in fact, be related?? That sure didn’t seem very likely…
Our vet ran some tests. Turns out my sweet boy is in Kidney Failure. Given his age, this truly never occurred to me. It’s usually a senior dog condition. I have since learned that dogs that are poisoned and exposed to chemicals can have premature kidney failure. Seems that this likely happened to my boy.
Now what?? Well, there is no cure. No magic medicine that makes it all better. He has over 75% dysfunction. Yikes. It seems to be slow moving, but who knows what that really means. Well, actually we do know what it means – enjoy every moment while we have it.
The recommendations from the vet are: 1. Supplements (we’re doing that), 2. Diet. He needs a special kidney support diet. I can buy this with a prescription from the Vet for $90 a month.
Whoa. $90 a month?? I mentioned I have 4 dogs, right? That’s a steep price tag, but one I will pay if needed.
But, I start to do my homework. I google, read, YouTube. I begin to understand more of what the kidneys do, what Drake’s kidneys don’t do, and how foods support/help/harm this whole process. At the same time, I’m noticing nearly daily dog food recall notices. The food we spend all this money on is killing people’s beloved pets. This all seems ridiculous to me.
I decide I’m going to just make Drake’s food. There is plenty of research and literature out there suggesting how helpful this has been to other people in the same boat as us. (Side note, this is not our first dog food making rodeo. Our dog that passed a few years ago, Phantom, had a thyroid condition and an amputated leg due to cancer. We also ditched processed dog food then, and made his food. I’m convinced we got 7 more years of snuggles from this one change.)
So, here I am making dog food yet again. I made a batch one morning on my day off. I told Drake all about what we were doing. He sat next to me, excited, the whole time. Watched the entire process, tail wagging. Good boy.
That was his first day on homemade dog food. Tell you what – he will never eat processed food again. Here’s what happened: Drake ate his first homemade dinner, and my dog transformed in literally minutes.
Meal time use to be a process for Drake – eat some, walk away, come back, eat more, growl at everyone else that wanted to eat his food (even though he wasn’t eating it)… every single day was like this. Not anymore. He loves to eat now!
So, not only is meal time more pleasant, but what happened after was shocking. After dinner was usually hyper hyper time. Crazy, running, play growling, tearing toys apart, on the furniture, off the furniture, yelling, turning the house upside down – until the day I fed Drake his new kidney approved homemade dog food.
My dog was calm. Completely calm. Laid on the couch. Played a little at a “normal” pace. And he’s been like that every day since. Not one potty accident. Ear infection is clearing up. Ummm.
So, my question is – WHAT is in the dog food that transformed my now calm dog into a maniac?? Crap. It’s that simple. Crap, fake, artificial, processed crap.
How much crap do you eat? Probably a ton. If someone took that crap out of your diet and fed you real homemade food, how do you think you’d feel? Every wonder if what you eat affects your mood? I mean, we know that if we feed kids a ton of sugar, they bounce off the walls, right? But, as adults, that doesn’t happen….sooooo…. it’s okay to eat it because no one is looking over us telling us to not….
C’mon! Be real! Food totally affects your mood. It affects your productivity, your energy level, and that’s what we see on the outside. Imagine if we could actually see what happens on the inside, on a molecular level!
Imagine how many dog’s lives could have/be saved because we label their personality as aggressive or unmanageable and have them put down when the solution could possibility be (for some), that their processed dog food is making them crazy.
Food is medicine. Think about what you eat. Think about how you feel. Think about how you could act, be, and feel different just with one little change. Think about how you could cure your own body. Know what’s in your food.
By the way, I have purchased my last bag of dog food. All my dogs will be eating home cooked food going forward. Now, who’s cooking for me :)!
I’ve noticed, as I continue to learn more about the field I’ve moved in to, that when people aren’t familiar with a concept or an idea that might be new to them, that they are more likely to dismiss it. Generally with more passion than they use for things that they do like or understand. Have you ever noticed this too?
In case you aren’t as familiar with my background, I have my undergraduate degree in psychology and my Master’s degree in Psychological Counseling. As one of the owners of Aspire Wellness, I have learned a lot more recently about holistic based services as well as concepts and ideas that I hadn’t known before. Things such as what a bio mat can be used for or a concept called Theta Healing. A couple years ago, I wouldn’t have known what either of these things are. But I know more now. And I know more because I allowed myself to hear information and not just dismiss it because I didn’t know what it is.
So back to my question….have you ever noticed that when there is a topic or concept that you show interest in that might be off the “beaten path”, there is more easily a dismissal of it? So let’s take Reiki, for example. According to Reiki.org, Reiki “is a simple, natural, and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect. It also works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery”. For me, this concept is interesting and leads to other thoughts and ideas for me. But I have certainly heard other people say that “they don’t believe in Reiki”, or “that kind of stuff is hokey”. And so on and so forth.
It gets me wondering how people so easily determine that something isn’t real or it’s ineffective, or something else that results in a negative connotation. Is it because they don’t understand the topic? In the “unbeliveableness” of something? How does someone say Reiki doesn’t work if they have never experienced Reiki or performed Reiki? To use someone else’s example, it would be like saying you know the sun will come up tomorrow, even though tomorrow has not come yet. How do we know the sun will come up tomorrow? Because we believe it.
When I think about holistic health or services, I think of it as “another way”. An alternative. A different way to get a similar result. If one of the reasons or benefits to use a Bio Mat is to “Damage and Kill Cancer and Viral Cells Without Harming Surrounding Healthy Cells” (did you know that was one of the things the Bio Mat is meant to do?), why would someone assume that it wouldn’t work? Or that it would be hokey or not for them? Because of not having had exposure to it before? Or just not understanding it? Or thinking there is only one way?
How has it been decided that there is only one way to do something? Or that one was is the best? In a recent discussion that I have overheard, a person was talking about a doctor visit, which resulted in several different diagnoses and several different medication prescriptions. The person was talking about not taking the prescriptions and looking for alternative ways of healing, due to the side effects of medications. Alternative ways such as changing their diet and using the float pod to rid their body of toxins.
I think the point I’m getting at is that not everything will work for everyone. But that’s why there are multiple ways to achieve the same or similar goal. Even when you think about medications for diabetes, there isn’t just one medication. There are multiple choices that could be made, as well as changing a diet, getting more exercise, and spending time on the Bio Mat.
I think we sometimes get caught up in trying to decide if an idea or concept is real, or if it works, or whether it’s “hokey”. But maybe when we hear about something different or new to us, maybe it would just be enough to believe it could work or be effective. If it has worked for or helped 1 person, then it has worked.
So the idea that there could be a holistic way to reach a goal isn’t an unbelievable concept. Or something that isn’t real. Even when you can’t touch or see something, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not there. Sometimes, you just need to believe it will work or that there is another way. Because it has been my experience that holistic practices are believable.