Another Lesson from Indiana

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 losing 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 rehome 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. Mealtime 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?

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.

Namaste,
Sandy

Reiki All Day Long

If you had met me as little as five years ago, you would have met a hard-working, level headed, successful owner of a faux finishing business, wife, and mom. My feet were very firmly in what I called ‘the real world’. I have always had firm faith in my God, held the belief that all things are possible and that a positive attitude was necessary for success in the world. Together with my husband, I raised three level-headed sons and truly believed that life in the real world meant dealing with events head-on just plugging through. I also thought that those who were interested in anything new-age lived in the ‘woo-woo’ world. If you had asked me my opinion I would have patiently explained that these folks just didn’t get it.

What a difference a few years makes. My hard work ethic led to a torn rotator cuff in my shoulder and pretty much put an end to my faux finishing business when surgery resulted in a partial recovery. At around the same time, I was experiencing incredible stress in my personal life for a variety of reasons. Enter Reiki.

The first time I experienced Reiki I did so to pretty much shut up one of my sons. He was, of course, aware of the shoulder pain and stresses in my life and he knew how I felt about taking medication, which was pretty much that I avoided it unless absolutely necessary.

My first Reiki session resulted in great pain relief and a general relaxed feeling of well being. I was so surprised and pleased that I told anyone who would listen about my experience. I continued to go and soon realized that there was something to this ‘woo-woo’ stuff. I won’t pretend that I understood how or why it helped me, but it did and that was good enough for me.

Fast forward a few years. I continue to receive Reiki as often as possible. I have become a Reiki master/teacher and added Reiki to my business so that many of my clients receive not only holistic life coaching but Reiki as well. This benefits me, my clients and everyone that any of us associate with on a daily basis.

I have come to realize that those people I had always thought just didn’t get it, did indeed get it much better than I. I have learned to appreciate and respect the positive attitude that always came naturally to me, for I now know that same positive attitude and belief in a positive future is what creates that wonderful future. I have always trusted my gut, but I didn’t know why. I now realize that instinct and intuition; gut responses are gifts that we all have and that our lives are generally much better if we trust them. My new friends and colleagues are not out there as I always believed; in fact, they are generally some of the most grounded people I’ve ever met.

Reiki has now become something that I use all day, every day. I offer Reiki to my gardens when I am outside, planting or simply walking through the path. My dog Indy receives Reiki several times a day. It’s become second nature to offer Reiki to anyone who is feeling less than well, to offer Reiki to my husband when he stubs his toe or has a headache. In fact, it now feels completely normal to offer Reiki to my husband as we fall asleep at night and first thing in the morning. I send distant Reiki to my grown sons living far away, to family and friends on a daily basis and to the world at large for peace and health.

I will always have a foot firmly planted in what I used to call the real world, that’s my background, my personal history and it helps me to connect many of my clients, family, and friends. I truly appreciate and am grateful for that. This new-age world that I am coming to appreciate more each day is not new at all. These friends and colleagues help me to embrace and appreciate the past, my present, and my future.

Reiki has helped me to appreciate both my old and new friends. I am so grateful. I now say with great love and amazing respect that I do embrace the woo-woo and I encourage others to do the same.

Namaste,
Sandy

Take a Nap

I remember when my boys were small; they would run, play and be on the move seemingly non-stop. If they didn’t slow down every once in a while for a short rest they would inevitably ‘hit the wall’. They would have an emotional melt-down, usually followed by a nap. When they awoke I would see smiles and hear giggles again.

Simple isn’t it? The same happens to adults as well. Many will work far too many hours with far too little rest, becoming frustrated and disappointed as the results they are achieving are not what they wanted. We need to take time to rest! It’s part of that self-care that I talk about all of the time.

Each of my clients knows when we meet; I’m going to ask what they have done to nurture and care for themselves. Holistic life coach here, remember. If I’m not resting enough, nourishing myself well and exercising a little bit, there are real consequences. I simply am not going to do my job as well as I would like if I’m hungry and tired. I might not have the energy to go hiking with my husband if I haven’t taken the time to exercise a bit regularly.

How do you take care of yourself? For me, it’s imperative that I have time for a bath every day. I need to be in the water, quiet and alone. It nurtures me on every level. I might spend 5 minutes or an hour, different days I find that I have different needs. I know when it’s time for my bath, not according to the clock, but by the restless and edgy feeling that I begin to experience. Taking that time gives me what I need.

Even my dog Indy knows what he needs, and because he has never been taught not to ask for what he needs he will ask me to take him for a walk, he needs exercise. Alright, I’m in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, sometimes he has to settle for the treadmill, but the point is that he is a more contented, well-behaved dog when his needs are met.

This is not complicated at all. I realize that it’s often difficult to eat, sleep and exercise as we know we should. But I encourage you to put yourself on the list of top priorities. If you need a vacation but simply cannot take the time, how about a 15 of meditation in a quiet room. Allow yourself to feel the rest and appreciate how much better you feel afterward. Maybe you feel like you should be at the gym every day but it’s not going to happen. You might consider taking a short walk with your family, a friend or enjoy the peace and quiet of a short walk by yourself in the park.

Little changes to take care of yourself may yield big results. A dear friend who is deeply faithful was feeling stretched because she simply felt she was not devoting any time to her faith. This was on her mind frequently, affecting her work and other day to day activities because she felt this lack which was so important for her. Simply allowing herself a scheduled time to practice and study a little bit has helped her tremendously.

I’m not going to tell you that I eat right all the time, sleep every night and exercise faithfully. Instead, I have learned to listen to myself and to acknowledge what my body; mind and emotions are telling me that I need. Remembering my own life coach and what she taught me, I pay attention to that need and nurture myself. When I’m feeling better, I’m more productive and everyone around me is happier as well.

This week I encourage you to take a nap. Enjoy the feeling of refreshment from 20 minutes with your eyes closed, not thinking about or doing anything. Notice how happy you feel when you awake. And then do it again the next day, and the next…

With warmth and a yawn,
Sandy