Posts Tagged ‘Dog’

Reduce Stress With Hypnotism

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Are you stressed? Perhaps it would make more sense to ask, do you know anyone who isn’t stressed? Sadly, more and more people experience unhealthy stress.

There are excellent options for dealing with everyday stress.  Exercise immediately comes to mind. Meditation and Reiki of course are other powerful methods to calm the mind and allow the body to relax at the same time. Both are incredibly effective and as you well know, I’m a huge fan.

Reiki has changed my life and I’m incredibly grateful. Likewise regular meditation has made some changes that I did not expect, but which I’m very grateful to now be experiencing. However, there are of course other alternatives.

Almost everyone who comes to me to experience hypnosis brings up stress in their lives.  Work stress, stress from school and of course this time of year many people experience incredible stress from dealing with the holidays. Hypnosis can and does help.

While in the hypnotic trance, you sub-conscious and your hypnotist have a little chat. Your conscious mind may be fully aware of the conversation or it may be relaxing to the extent that it has simply handed things over to the sub-conscious for a while. Be assured, that everything your hypnotist says to you, you will be able to remember if that is what you choose. While experiencing hypnosis, you will not go to sleep. The hypnotic trance is instead a state of heightened focus. So, rather than sleeping you are more aware of what your hypnotist is saying to you than at any time. This intense focus on the hypnotist and the suggestions that you are being given is why hypnosis is so effective.

While experiencing hypnosis your hypnotist will give you suggestions. Rest assured these suggestions will work for you only if they resonate with you. For instance, I am absolutely not interested in becoming a lion-tamer. Nope, not me, not for any reason. In fact, I’m opposed to the entire practice for ethical reasons. Because I am so adamantly opposed, believing that the practice is cruel and unethical, my hypnotist would never be able to successfully give me a suggestion to be a lion-tamer.

However, I am not at all opposed to taking a nice walk with my canine companion, Indy. So, if my hypnotist were to give me a suggestion to take a 30 minute walk with my buddy every day, knowing that that activity is enhancing my physical health and allowing me to release stress at the same time, than by golly, that’s just what I would do.

The suggestions would be more detailed and full than that representation, but it’s important to note how very effective they are. If the person being hypnotized wants the suggestions to be effective. The power, the control is always, always, always with the person being hypnotized, never with the hypnotist.  

So, can you reduce your stress with hypnotism? Yes, you can and I highly recommend doing so if you are not having success managing stress on your own. Hypnotism can help you.

This week, I wish you a stress-free seven days of peace, calm and holiday joy. And if you’re feeling stressed, just give me a jingle and we can talk.

Namaste,

Sandy

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When I Grow Up I Want To Be More Like My Dog

Monday, October 25th, 2010

I’ve decided that my dog knows quite a bit about living life to the fullest. When he’s tired, he simply heads to his favorite spot in the sun and takes a nap. When he wants his belly rubbed he comes and makes it clear just what he wants. When Indy’s hungry there is no doubt that he would like a meal. You know when Indy’s in the mood to play because he simply starts playing. Smart guy!

Because Indy is so clear about what he wants he is seldom disappointed. Indy is a brilliant life coach! He’s teaching me lessons every day and I’m doing my best to learn from him.

When I work with clients, whether life coaching, Reiki or meditation, I am always encouraging them to practice excellent self-care. While I may forget to practice this myself from time to time, my buddy Indy offers gentle reminders. If I’m a bit too serious, he reminds me that life is to be enjoyed by showing my just how much fun there is to be had in a short wrestling match.

One of the life coaching lessons I continually strive to learn better is to embrace and express certain emotions. While laughter and joy are very easy for me to share other thoughts and emotions are more difficult for me to express. Fear, anger and grief are very difficult for me to share with others or to simply release. In the past I have found that I had a tendency to stuff or simply deny these feelings. Here’s the thing, although I may prefer to deny these emotions they do still exist. The body, mind and spirit has a full range of emotions, and whether I like it or not, my body, mind and spirit will find a way to express these emotions. They are not intended to be denied, bottled up or stuffed. They are there for a reason! A full range of emotions keeps us healthy and it’s vital that we each find a non-destructive way to express these emotions.

What do you do? For me, writing is therapeutic; digging in the dirt, walking and of course being with my buddy Indiana is extremely helpful. When Indy’s sad or upset he doesn’t hesitate to come to me and indicate that he simply wants my company. Sometimes it’s enough for him to just hang out with me, other times he needs some real exercise. I have a lot to learn from my dog.

I am learning, though to be honest I am sometimes a slow learner. 🙂 At the very young age of 49, I am slowly becoming more comfortable sharing feelings, thoughts and emotions that I have always accepted in others easily. Life coaching, Reiki and meditation have all helped me to understand that being sad or angry is no more destructive or negative when present in my life than they are in anyone else.

This is a good time to acknowledge and appreciate not just my resident life coach Indy, but also dear friends and family. These folks not only allow, but at times even gently prod me to share as much as I feel comfortable. I’m so grateful for that. Equally as important, they do not demand that I share; they simply hold the safe space and remind me that all emotions, thoughts and feelings are welcome and safe. That’s powerful stuff and I can’t say how grateful I am.

Indy reminds me every single day that it’s okay to have a full range of emotions and to share those emotions with others. You will have absolutely no doubt when my buddy is happy, that nub of a tail wags so hard that I’ve often thought how remarkable it is that it’s still attached.

What do you do to express yourself? Do you dance? Perhaps you retreat to a private place with your thoughts…maybe writing is your thing. There are so many ways to express yourself, talk to a loved one, call a friend, laugh and or cry at a movie. Exercise or take a bath, read a book and let your emotions pour themselves out. I don’t know what’s right for you and you may not know at this moment either. If you can’t figure it out by yourself, give me a call and I’ll be happy to help you figure it out.

I’m going to keep studying and allowing my own personal life coach to assist me in this growth, Indy’s really quite good at this whole process. I encourage you to find discover what allows you to express yourself. In the meantime, I will continue to strive to live life more like my dog. In the moment and expressing all emotions to the fullness that is appropriate this very moment.

Namaste,

Sandy

Please Be Patient, My Dog is Still Training Me

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

I’ve lived with animals my entire life. For some reason I keep forgetting that the training process is on-going. Hmmm, for the record, that means my training, not necessarily theirs.

I grew up always living with a dog. From time to time we also had other animals, birds or turtles and I will never forget my wonderful horse Barney, big blue eyes and sweet personality. For some reason during all of those years I was convinced that I was training these companions. Yeah, right.

Boxers have been my buddy of choice since I have become an adult. First there was the unforgettable and most dignified Rocky. Followed by the very undignified, joyful clown of the dog world, Rascal. Now I live with Indiana, or Indy who makes it clear to me on a daily basis that this training stuff is not even close to being over.

Anyone who has ever met Indy has generally commented on his sweet demeanor and very nice manners. It turns out that it was all a scam. I didn’t train this boy at all; he’s been training me for more than five years. And he’s doing a pretty good job of it; at least I think he is.

Indy recently suffered his second stroke. Actually, I’m not at all sure that ‘suffered’ is the right word to use as this boy doesn’t seem to be suffering at all. He now tilts rather dramatically to the left and stumbles quite regularly, especially on the vinyl floor, but he has adapted very well. And he’s training me¬¨‚Ć to adapt right along with him.

This smart boy waits for me when he reaches a step. If I don’t notice right away, he will sit there and either make little dolphin squeaks or Chewbacca noises, they seem to be used interchangeably so I can’t say why he chooses one over the other. Once he gets my attention, he starts butt wiggling and waits for me to grasp his collar to walk down the stairs. This way he is avoiding any more falls. One smart boxer boy!

Apparently, Indy is also feeling the chill in the air much more than he used to. He will curl up on the edge of¬¨‚Ć his large comforter and wait for me to cover him up, usually tucking his snout down into the blankets as well. For some reason Indy doesn’t seem to feel that my husband or son need as much training, or perhaps he has decided they are not capable of being trained as he doesn’t seem to do these things for them.

More proof that my training isn’t finished? Indy keeps reminding me that I owe him some one on one time, whenever I return home. The guys will tell me that he has been happily curled up into a ball for hours, but as soon as I come home he begins to act as though he is losing his mind. Doing the boxer kidney-bean, making all of his favorite sounds he calls me into the family room. This continues until I sit on the floor. He then promptly curls up with me, waits to be covered up and the snoring commences. I usually feel the Reiki begin to flow immediately. I’m convinced that Indy is very aware that I am able to offer him Reiki and he knows that Reiki offers him healing energy and support.

This could go on and on. The way Indy has trained me to offer him a treat when I want him to come in, rather than simply calling him. He sits in front of me and offers unconditional love with those big chocolate eyes to get his ears rubbed. It’s really an endless story.

Animals are so much more intelligent than many of us give them credit for. They watch, learn and adapt to situations quickly and adeptly. No time is wasted on remorse or recriminations, they simply move on. Learning how to make the best of the situation they are in and generally training the humans they live with along the way.

I try to keep this in mind when I’m working with life coaching clients as well. Facts today are simply what they are, period. How do we cope with the moment and bring about the results we desire? If we learn from the animals I have lived with, we will achieve better results, if we focus on what we want to happen, and then try our best to communicate this to ourselves, those who are around us and have the ability to affect our lives and the universe in general.

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How does this apply to people, cause you know it does right? We are constantly teaching others how to treat us. How do we respond when someone is kind, negligent, friendly, rude, helpful, etc? Our response teaches or trains others that certain behaviors are acceptable or not. We teach others to treat us with kindness or contempt depending upon our expectations and on our response to their treatment. I try to keep this in mind when I’m working with life coaching clients as well. If we learn from the animals I have lived with, we will achieve better results, if we focus on what we want to happen, and then try our best to communicate this to ourselves, those who are around us and have the ability to affect our lives and the universe in general.

No doubt Indy has much more to teach me. Just yesterday he convinced me to move his food to an area that is much easier for him to eat. It seems that the training will continue. I’m grateful that Indy is a patient trainer and of course he always rewards me with snuggles, very sweet.

This week I encourage you to focus on training. What you are teaching and what you are learning. Awareness will allow you to fine tune and embrace that which is important to you.

Warmly,

Sandy

Sweet Indiana

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

Silly Indy. Rolled up his favorite blankie to lie down, but he kept stumbling and falling down. Never fear, he’s a clever boy, he eventually braced himself against a chair and just slid down. He’s managing very well.

Indy is my boxer buddy. He turned five years old this past July and is in the prime of his doggy life. But he’s hit a few bumps this past year.

Indy and Duke, Thanksgiving Day

Indy and Duke, Thanksgiving Day

Indiana, just watching the world go round.

Indiana, just watching the world go round.

Indy had a stroke last spring. Things looked pretty grim for the first several days;  in fact we were all spending as much time with him as possible as it looked as though he would surely die. On the day that I thought would be his last, he started to recover. From there on he made steady progress to an almost full recovery.

Fast forward to this week. All was well until one night Indy was restless around 2:30am. Completely out of character as this boy likes his solid 12 bedtime hours of sleep. I got up with him and he stumbled down the stairs, falling for the past few. This happened a few times in the wee early hours and I knew what had happened again. I had to leave very early that day so I told Indy when I would be back and explained to my husband all of the particulars and how to help Indiana the most.

By the time I got back in the afternoon I didn’t know just what to expect. Not what I found, that’s for sure. I returned to find my now ’tilted’ boy, playing and trying to engage everyone else in play. Clearly he was in no pain and I got the feeling that he wanted us all to know just that.

We lay down on the floor and Indy allowed me to give him Reiki for well over an hour. We then took a nice long nap and both felt much better.

That first night Indy went upstairs to sleep just like normal, but the journey up the stairs was clearly difficult for him. By the middle of the night we were both back down on the first floor. He curled on his favorite blanket and went to sleep. Since then, he hasn’t tried to go upstairs at all. Our youngest son Mike has been staying with us and he has been sleeping on the couch so that Indy won’t be alone and has someone nearby if he needs them.

I’m once again being reminded of so many things. The life coach in me admires the common sense and good nature that Indy is exhibiting. He can’t go up and down the stairs so he’s simply not, excellent self-care! Duke, the boxer that we once fostered has been here for the past few days and Indy really likes him, so when Duke goes outside so does Indy. They stroll around the yard and Indy even tries to coax Duke into playing with him. Imagine this normally very graceful dog trying to run around, stumbling and tipping a bit, but showing Duke that he’s willing! It could be heart-breaking I suppose, but I see it as quite wonderful. Indy knows what he can and cannot do and is quite determined to enjoy everything that he can.

We went to Grandma and Grandpa’s for both Thanksgiving and a birthday party. Guess who was lined up first at the door? Yep, Indy was determined not to be left out of these gatherings. He got to the truck and turned around and just looked at me as if to say ‘Okay, I got this far, now you lift me up please.’ Naturally I did. While at the gatherings, he got plenty of ear rubs and did his best to be sure that little baby faces were kept clean. Another job well done.

I really don’t know what’s ahead for my pal. He’s middle-aged, really at the time most boxers are at their peak of strength and endurance. I’m grateful for that, as I’m sure it’s serving Indy well. I’ll continue to offer Reiki to him everyday, he clearly knows how and when it helps him and I love having the opportunity to offer it to him, more cuddle time for both of us.

We won’t eliminate playtime or walks.¬¨‚Ć We will of course let Indy set the pace and the time frame. This smart boy clearly knows what he wants and what he can do, so I’ll just let him tell me.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to learn from Indiana. He’s happy! He wants to participate in family activities and he will. When he’s had enough he simply lies down and we are doing our best to be sure that his favorite spots are a bit extra fluffy and warm. Excellent life lessons for me. Enjoy everything I can and take a rest when I’m tired. Find a way to do what you want to do and don’t worry if it looks silly to anyone else. And oh yeah, don’t forget to be affectionate at every opportunity.

This week I hope you take the opportunity to  enjoy every moment, make the most of what you have and expect the very best outcome. Most of all, be happy whenever  possible.

Warmly,

Sandy

My Dog may be the Smartest Person I Know

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

DSC01071My dog is a five year old boxer named Indiana. Indy has been through a lot and is always teaching me lessons, for which I’m grateful.

Today as I sit here I realize that Indy is teaching me about self-care. Interesting because it seems that during each and every session with any client, be it Reiki or life coaching, we always spend some time chatting about the importance of self-care.

A few days ago the boxer that we had been fostering went to live with his new family. Duke appears amazingly happy and I’m grateful for this. While Duke has lived with us for the past few months, Indy has adjusted and made room for him to be a part of our pack. Way to go Indy.

They would lie on either side of me to get their Reiki nearly every night, each knew just what position the other would occupy when we went on walks and they quickly fell into a mealtime routine that was easy for Duke. Indy made all of these adjustments with a no muss, no fuss attitude and I am grateful.

Now Duke is not here. Indy is adjusting again. I think he’s missing his buddy a little bit and feeling as though he needs a little more of my attention. He’s generally telling me this in gentle ways. Coming to sit on my feet or curling next to me on the couch (generally a big no-no). He’s also finding ways that are not quite so subtle. Stealing food from a counter top which is something he’s never done before. Doing a little bit of digging in a great big plant, again something he has never done before, not even when he was a pup.

Indy is taking care of himself by letting me know in as clear a manner as possible that he needs a bit more attention from me right now. And he’ll get that attention. His ways of asking may seem naughty, but let’s face it, he has limited options for communicating with me, I don’t understand the subtle body language of my canine friend as well as I would like and good behavior is expected and easily dismissed. So, he has resorted to a bit of misbehavior. Perfectly understandable.

No, Indy is not being scolded nor reprimanded in any way. I didn’t catch him breaking the rules, simply discovered the results. What he is getting is more cuddle time. More walking, training and Reiki time. More time focused on Indiana and taking care of his needs. It’s always a delight to do these things and I really appreciate that Indiana has reminded me of the need to spend more time together.

I really like and appreciate that Indy knows what he needs and is doing his best to communicate these needs to me. He’s clearly feeling a bit sad and lonely and he knows that spending time with me doing the activities that he likes best will make him feel better. Indy knows himself and he is taking care of himself to the very best of his ability.

I will continue to encourage all of my Reiki and life coaching clients to take the time to focus on their own needs. Are these needs being met? Are your needs being met? If not, how can that be remedied. Consider taking a little bit of time to listen to your heart and soul , it always tells us what we need to know. I encourage you to then find the courage to meet these needs.

For me, Reiki helps an awful lot. For my husband it’s exercise, for Indiana it’s a combination of Reiki, exercise and companionship. What works for you?

This week, I’d like to thank my buddy for sharing his wants and needs with me. I’m honored to be able to be part of his life and I’m grateful that he’s willing to continue teaching me.

Warmly,
Sandy

Are You Comfortable with Your Role in Life?

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

DSC01073IMG00029Once again, an animal in my life is making me think outside of the box. Thanks Duke.

I’ve written about Duke before. He is a most handsome, good-natured boxer. A big dog who is living with us temporarily. Originally Duke was adopted by our son Jeff in LA. Jeff grew up with boxers and really wanted one of these loving dogs to live with him. Long story short, he adopted Duke and quickly bonded. However, Duke was far too stressed to be able to stay in LA. This urban environment that Jeff loved and thrived in was overwhelming and even unhealthy for Duke. So, Jeff made arrangements for Duke to go live with his elder brother Bill and his wife Felicia in Texas. This was in June and circumstances would not allow Bill and Felicia to have Duke live with them until mid-September. Jeff knew that Duke was suffering in LA so he drove the devoted dog to Milwaukee to stay with us in the interim.

Indy, our boxer welcomed Duke immediately and the two began to teach this life coach of very important lessons. Duke was incredibly stressed when he arrived, so while he was trying to adjust to yet another move and a new family I offered him Reiki on a regular basis. It didn’t take long for Duke to bond to me. Unfortunately, it was a nervous bond. Separation anxiety was clearly still a huge issue for this boy.

One evening while speaking on the phone to Jeff we were discussing Duke again, of course. I was concerned because it’s clear that Duke’s anxiety levels rise and fall despite the calm environment that we endeavor to provide. I know that the Reiki is helping him, but I still was concerned about incidents here and there. During our chat, Jeff once again brought up the behaviorist that he had consulted in LA. It turns out that this behaviorist felt that Duke was suffering from confusion about his role in the family. He thought he was the ‘alpha’ dog and was trying desperately to fill that role even though it was very clear that he didn’t want that role at all.

Suddenly so much began to make sense, the alpha dog in a pack has an awesome amount of responsibility. Remember to Duke, Indy, John and I were his pack as we are the family he is living with. If this theory is correct, Duke feels that he needs to provide food for us, it is his responsibility to protect us and to lead wherever we go. His role in life is to be the leader. Holy cats! No wonder the poor boy is stressed!

Now, I’ve lived with boxers for most of my adult life. They are a powerful, energetic, intelligent breed and they absolutely delight in being active members of the family. As I’m not a terribly large woman, I’ve always known that I needed to work with these wonderful animals to gain their cooperation and trust as we all live together. Brute force sure wasn’t going to work and when we had small children it was simply not a physical possibility anyway. Because of this, I’ve always worked with my dogs to understand our relationship to one another, establishing a comfortable hierarchy and working to maintain it. I won’t pretend that I never made mistakes, I’ve made plenty and I’ve tried hard to learn from them. Here was an opportunity to learn a bit more.

It’s our guess that Duke is somewhere between 2 and 3 years old. I can’t undo his history but I can hope to provide a better future for him. So, I got hold of the Jan Fennell book ‘The Dog Listener’ and began reading it again. I appreciate and value her methods. She is always gentle but firm with dogs. She writes of simple methods which communicate in dog language. Letting the animals know what is expected and offering praise when those expectations are met. Hey! Ms. Fennell is a life coach for dogs! I had used this book to teach me several years ago and I remember well that Indy was for quite some time the most well behaved dog I had ever known. With chagrin, I realized that I had let many of these simple patterns change, with the result that Indy felt his role in the family or pack change. He has become more barky and his cooperation with house guests is not as reliable as it had been in the past. Uh oh. And I was responsible.

Well, if a coaching client came to me with this dilemma I wouldn’t spend time berating the lapse, what good would that do? Instead I think it’s important to acknowledge that a change has taken place, recognize the reason for that change if at all possible and find a way to get back on course. So I decided to listen to my own coaching. I immediately began to institute the simple bonding techniques taught in Ms. Fennell’s book. Very easy methods brought immediate change. Within less than a day, I saw both dogs calm. They are being asked quietly to sit and wait to be released before they go in or out of the door. Easy, they both know the rule, I’m simply asking them to cooperate and they are. I eat a small morsel which comes from the counter next to their feed dishes before they are fed, without talking or looking at either of the dogs. They are asked to sit before I put their bowls down. Again, they wait for a very brief time before I release them to eat. When the somewhat inevitable barking starts, I go into the room where the boys are, thank them quietly for the announcement and then simply stand between them and whatever they are barking at. Within a few seconds they quiet and we then walk into another room together.

They are learning that their roles are shifting. They are not responsible for the feeding, protecting or leading of this family. That responsibility belongs to the humans in this family. As a result, Duke is noticeably calmer. I know he’s not ‘fixed’, there is much to do in the future and it will be very important for him to be with a family that is dedicated to maintaining their roles. A family that has time to spend with Duke playing, training and exercising. He will likely always be susceptible to separation anxiety so it is important that he be with people who are dedicated to making his life as stress-free as possible. A regular routine, someone home quite a lot, etc.

How does this translate to people? I bet you thought I would never get to this point, didn’t you? Well, it’s very simple really. It’s my belief that we sometimes ask ourselves to fill a role that simply does not feel right for us. When we do this it’s a bit like trying to fit that square peg into the round hole, you might be able to force it eventually, but it’s not a good fit overall. In the family, we need to know what our responsibilities are; this helps the relationship with the other family members to be more pleasant and rewarding. When children know what parents expect of them and the parents are consistent, pleasant and firm, children are more likely to understand their role, what is expected and precisely what sort of response they will receive from their parents. The roles are clear and it makes it easier for everyone to understand their role.

In the workplace, we need to know who is in charge, what our job responsibilities are and just what is expected of us. When we fulfill that role satisfactorily, we are rewarded. The satisfaction of a job well done, respect and appreciation of our professional superiors and peers, and of course a paycheck.

Now this is of course an incredible simplification. Animals and people are much more complicated than this short article could ever describe. Still, we have to start somewhere. I like to start at the beginning, it’s easier for me. This means a few basics. Self-care; I will continue to take care of myself well so that I am more likely to be in the frame of mind to be fair and friendly to the humans and animals in my life. This includes Reiki, exercise, etc. I think of the simple methods that I am using with the dogs as life coaching for them and myself. It helps me to remember that it’s important that we all remain positive, calm and appreciative for positive results.

This week I encourage you to think about the role that you have taken on, is it a good fit? If not, what can you shift in your life so that you are more comfortable? When we are comfortable, we tend to be much happier. When we are happier, we bring about better results, which makes us more comfortable. And so we move forward, learning, enjoying and evolving a bit everyday.

Warmly,
Sandy

Ear Flapping

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

DSC01051Duke is our foster dog. A big, sweet boxer he was adopted by our son Jeff and they set off to live happily together in Los Angeles. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Duke is simply not a hustle and bustle sort of guy. L.A. stressed him to bits, so Jeff made arrangements for him to go to Texas to live with our eldest son Bill and his lovely wife Felicia. Unfortunately, they are not able to welcome him into their home for a few months yet, so Duke has come to brighten up our lives for a few months. Sounded like a plan.

So, Duke arrived in Milwaukee to the absolute delight of our permanent resident boxer, Indy. They got along from day one and Duke has began settling in. Then we started to really get to know him. While Duke is good-natured and sweet, communicating was something of a problem. He had no signal that it was time to go outside, he would just wait until one of us opened the door and follow us outside. Okay as far as it went, but we were worried that he was not having all of his needs met.

Then one morning, at the very silly time of around 5 am I heard this odd sound. It sounded as though someone was slapping a leather chamois, very, very quickly and it was happening right by my head. Huh? Well, I have gotten used to opening my eyes every morning to the sweet expression of Duke staring at me with his golden eyes. This morning he wasn’t staring at me. He was flipping his head from side to side with amazing speed and it was creating this very loud flapping sound. It actually made me laugh because it was so strange and loud. So I got out of bed. The moment my feet hit the floor, Duke took off at a run. He needed to go outside and he had just found the way to tell me! Good boy Duke!

Now I was tickled that Duke had learned to communicate this very basic need to me. My hope is that the Reiki he is getting every day, along with simply getting to know him better and encouraging his trust is helping him to feel confident expressing himself in new ways. At least new ways for him. The life coach in me is tickled beyond belief by this bit of progress. Communication can take time, it can be a tricky process and it’s one of the things that I work on with most life coaching clients on an ongoing basis.

The progress continues. Duke has now decided that ear flapping worked so well to signal the need to go outside first thing in the morning, it now also means that he is starving and needs food immediately please. Okay, Duke, okay. I get it. ha ha

Duke only uses this signal first thing in the morning. He prefers around 5am or so. I’m going to continue to coach him by responding to his request in a positive manner. Hopefully as time goes on we will be able to understand each other at other times. There’s no doubt in my mind that Duke is communicating with me, telling me when he wants outside, when he wants his ears scratched, etc. While I’m picking up some of these signals, I’m not understanding all of them, yet.

We’ll continue to work together, my new buddy Duke and me. He’s a very good student, watching Indy and our interaction all of the time. Clearly he has his own style of communication and it’s my intention to understand him a bit better each day.

Really, this same event is unfolding in our lives on a regular basis. The dynamics of our relationships change and our way of communicating evolves. What worked yesterday may not work today. What works for one person may not work for another. I believe the key is continually keeping a positive attitude, making it clear that there is an intention to understand and communicate. Be aware of what our facial expression, body posture and tone of voice are saying to our companions. These are all direct forms of communication and we are using them constantly.

As for me and Duke, I’m sort of hoping that he’ll decide he likes to sleep in, something around 5:30 or 6 would be swell. But at the moment, I’m not going to do anything to discourage our new understanding. He’s a sweet boy and I’m very happy that we are beginning to understand one another.

I wish you a fabulous day of clear communication with everyone in your life.

Warmly,
Sandy

Another Lesson from Indiana

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Indy and DukeI’ve written here about my buddy Indiana before. He’s the charming, good looking, friendly and ever so clever boxer dog who lives with my husband and me. Indy will be five years old in just a few weeks, so he’s now officially a middle-aged gentleman in the boxer world. All my life I’ve had the privilege of living with dogs and they have always had so much to teach me. Indy is no exception.

Recently our son Jeff who lives in Los Angeles decided he really wanted a dog to keep him company. He’s been raised with boxers and really missed Indy, so he adopted a boxer that he named Duke. Duke is a big, beautiful boy, friendly and very mellow, somewhere between 1 and 2 years old. The rescue wasn’t sure of his age as they had no idea where he originally came from. This dog seemed perfect to live with Jeff and so they went home together.

They bonded instantly and became best buddies. The problem is that Duke couldn’t get over the noise and constant activity of LA. The poor guy actually started loosing his hair. After consulting a behaviorist, veterinarian and trainer who each independently told Jeff that Duke was clearly not going to adjust to being an urban dog, Jeff decided to re home his buddy. So, he made arrangements for Duke to go to Texas to live with his elder brother Bill and his wife Felicia. The only problem is that they could not take him for 3 months and Duke clearly could not stay in LA, his stress level was just escalating.

Road trip! Duke and Jeff made their way across the USA to Milwaukee. Duke is going to hang with us until Bill and Felicia are able to take him home in a few months. All of this is well and good, we were pretty sure Indy would be happy to have a friend for a few months as he’s always done well with doggy company. But Duke has little or no experience with other dogs, so we really didn’t know how this would go.

I should have known that I could trust the dogs, particularly Indy to handle the situation perfectly. From the moment Duke walked into the yard, Indy reined in his normally exuberant behavior, walked over to Duke and in their silent language invited his new pal to stroll through the yard with him and look it all over. Duke was only slightly hesitant. Indy was calm and patient, luring him when Duke was shy and playing a bit now and then when Duke showed a bit more interest.

This has been going on for a few days now. I’ve been walking them together each day so that Duke is more comfortable with me when Jeff leaves and to of course reinforce his training and give them both needed exercise. The life coach in me is pleased and somewhat surprised to see that the doggy training continues between the two of them regardless of what I do. They walk on opposite sides of me, but Duke is still watching Indy and taking all of his cues from him. In the house they are also learning about one another. Indy continues to lure his new friend into the occasional game of chase or tug, exhibiting patience that I did not for a moment expect from him. Meal time is interesting as well. Duke is a big boy; a bit underweight and not filled out yet. As such he eats considerably more than Indiana. They get separate bowls and when Duke is finished he invariably heads over to Indy’s bowl. He will gently and politely put his face near the bowl. If Indy is done he will back off and let Duke finish the food. If Indy is not done he simply pushes Duke away with a short growl that says ‘not now buddy’ and Duke quietly goes about his business.

I refer to the coaching lessons that they are both teaching me; because it strikes me that they are teaching me every moment that I watch them together. Indiana is a terrific life coach to Duke. He is patient but he also clearly has expectations. He will lure or invite Duke to do certain things, if Duke accepts they work on it together, like playing with a tug toy, a totally new experience for Duke. If Duke refuses, Indy simply walks away without taking it at all personally. He simply tries something else a bit later. What a great life coach! Indy offers, suggests, provokes just a little bit. Then he waits to see the results. If they are pleasing he lures and asks for a bit more. If the results are not successful, he tries something else. Have I mentioned that I think my Indy is a bit of a genius? lol

Both dogs are of course receiving Reiki everyday. It’s simply part of the daily routine around here. I strongly believe that Reiki is much of the reason that Indy has made such an amazing physical recovery from his stroke a few months ago. I can only imagine how it has helped him mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Of course I want Duke to enjoy the same benefits as much as possible. He’s a very special dog and deserves to know the love and benefits of people who care about him very much. Reiki is part of that experience while he’s involved with this family.

Once again, I’d like to thank the animals in my life for the simple yet profound lessons that they teach me again and again. They keep the lessons easy and straightforward. That’s greatly appreciated and I will keep applying these lessons learned while I work with my own holistic life coaching clients.

This week I encourage you to take a bit of time. Observe the animals in your life. Maybe they’re your pets, or even the squirrels and birds in the yard. It doesn’t take long to realize they are all teaching us and if we pay attention we can learn an awful lot.

Warmly,
Sandy

Relax and Rejuvenate

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

DSC00982Do you take the time to relax? Do you allow yourself the time to truly rejuvenate? Do you know how to really recharge your batteries? What works for you?

We live in a society that appreciates and values the 80 hour work week. We applaud those who are workaholics, talking about the amazing work ethic and dedication. But if you are working that 40+ hour work week, are you truly being your most effective?

When I work with clients as their holistic life coach or as their Reiki master my main goal is to help them find the best balance for their lives. It seems to be well and easily understood that ‘other people’ are more effective when they’ve had rest, some time to rejuvenate. Often these same people need to really think about it to realize that the same rules do govern their own lives. We think better, listen better and make calmer more rational decisions when we are not stressed.

What works for you? Do you know? I have several outlets. Walking with my dog Indy puts me in a good mood. I find working in the perennial gardens absolutely refreshes me, it allows me to feel creative, to see beauty and to appreciate the process of growth and change. Going to our home at the lake is amazing for me. Simply the act of approaching the house and unlocking the door begins the process of melting any stress that I feel.

Of course there are other ways for me to de-stress and rejuvenate. Meditation even for a few minutes helps me to remember that there is time enough for everything that is truly important. Giving or receiving Reiki is very powerful for me. I find that my body feels more at easy, my mind lets go of nagging worries and my spirit feels lighter.

It’s not all about getting for me. Giving Reiki, especially to animals offers me a wonderful lift. I feel a strong connection to my dog Indy and love to offer him Reiki. Likewise, time spent offering Reiki to my gardens helps me tremendously and I know that offering the Reiki to pets or the earth offers them amazing benefits.

My point is that when we take time to rejuvenate ourselves, either by relaxing or by simply allowing our mind, body and spirit to play a bit we find ourselves feeling more balanced. Work is more productive, time with family is more manageable and enjoyable. Balance, balance, balance.

While it’s true that I remind my life coaching clients as well as my Reiki clients of this simple fact regularly, I sometimes have to remind myself as well. It turns out that I’m pretty human, I get busy and need to be reminded that it’s not only okay to take care of myself, it’s to the benefit of myself, my family and my clients.

For today, I encourage you to find even ten minutes to do something that just makes you smile. I promise that it’s worth it.

Wishing you a fabulous few minutes just for you. As for me, it’s time to go and walk in my gardens and offer them some Reiki. They’ll benefit and so will I. Who could ask for more?

Warmly,
Sandy

Reiki and My Dog

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

Indiana is my steadfast companion. Not quite 5 years old, Indy is an excellent representative of the boxer breed. He’s beautiful fawn color, with a black ‘mask’. Big black eyes that are amazingly expressive. Sometimes I forget that Indy doesn’t actually talk to me. You see he always has something to say. He grunts, groans, snorts, whines and generally makes his feelings clear on just about any subject. Always up for a good wrestling game or long walk, Indy is just as happy to follow me from room to room and simply lay on the floor close to whatever I am doing. He’s loving, gentle, playful, sassy, chatty, obedient and smart and just a swell guy to have as my buddy.

Here’s the thing. I think there is something seriously wrong with my friend. A week ago I noticed him stumbling now and then coming down the stairs or even walking through the hallway. Now this is not completely unusual for a young boxer. They get excited or their attention wanders and sometimes it’s as though their feet almost get tangled. This is not what was happening. The next day I realized that his head was tilted, just as he does when I’m talking to him and he’s paying serious attention. Except now it’s that way all the time. With his lip drooping on one side the drooling is now constant; it was definitely time for a visit to the vet.

Our vet is amazing. Indy loves to go to the office and has to be reminded all of the time about his manners when he’s there. Everyone there gets lots of sloppy boxer kisses and hugs, in turn they seem to have an endless supply of doggy treats and always time for a good ear scratch. Dr. Stefanie was not able to diagnose what was going on with my buddy except for a mild case of doggy acne, easily treated with an antibiotic. She asked what his behavior was like and was very interested when I told her that Indy had been asking for more Reiki the last day or two. Dr. Stefanie had never heard of Reiki and was very curious. She was fascinated by the fact that Indy lets me now when he wants to receive it as well as when he is done. She also found it very curious that since this ailment had started just a few days prior, Indy has been asking for more Reiki and accepting for a longer period of time. While she didn’t totally understand it, she encouraged the continued practice.

Since then, Indy has also been to a vet internist and again no official diagnosis although again the veterinarian took the time to patiently and kindly remind me that boxers are very prone to cancer. The good news is that we don’t know that’s what is progressing.

As of today, only a short week after all of this has begun, I really don’t know what to expect. Indy is still asking for Reiki frequently, accepting it for longer periods of time than he had in the past. I hope that the energy is helping to heal whatever is afflicting him, it’s my belief that it is helping. He’s still ’tilted’ and continues to be show weakness on the right side, but he’s started to play again. I really missed that in the past week. We’re all up at the lake and yesterday Shadow, the neighbor dog came over. They started playing and running up and down the yard. Each went to the lake for a drink of water and when Indy shook his head he actually tipped right over into the muck, making him a candidate for a full bath before 10am. It was very funny! But the good news is that he got up and continued playing.

As a holistic life coach, one of the things I talk to my clients about all of the time is the fact that every aspect of our lives affects all others. This week has been a very real reminder of that for me. Not knowing what is happening with Indy has affected every person in my family, including my grown sons who no longer live with us. In many ways, Indy is continuing to teach me and to remind me of lessons already learned.

I will continue to offer Reiki to Indiana, he enjoys it and I believe it is helping him to heal on whatever level he is meant to be healed. It also offers me peace as I know that Reiki works on all levels, mind, body and spirit. Indy deserves all of that and more.

This has been a great reminder to me, to offer Reiki to all of those I care about, friends and family, two legged or four. I will also be making it clear to coaching and Reiki clients that there are very real benefits to our animal companions when they receive Reiki. And why not? They deserve the best we can offer them; they already offer us all of their love and devotion.

Wishing you a fabulous week, filled with love gratitude and a deep appreciation for the animals in our lives.

Warmly,
Sandy