A Promise

You know when a song comes on the radio, and it’s the montage of your life right now? It reminds you of all the pain and suffering you are going through? Well, that’s how my day started. I wanted to escape for a bit, so I put in my headphones, got geared up and went out on a bike ride. A song that reminds me of the love of my life. A song that reminds me of all the good things, and I think positive, happy thoughts. This may be borderline intrusive to his privacy, but he’s hurting. And all I want to do is take the pain away. I guess I am falling into the ‘fix it’ trap. I want to fix it. I want to take all his pain and dissolve it into the universe. He doesn’t need it, and nor does anyone else. I want him to feel light and happy, and I’ll do anything to make that happen. That’s what this song reminded me of.

I go on my bike ride, and listen to positive, uplifting songs, and think about the good times, laughing, smiling, happiness, and bright, healing light enveloping him. I just think about sharing love and happiness. I think about healing light and happy thoughts. I’m ripped out of my own head by a sharp pain in my right ankle. I look down, and a dog is fucking biting me. WTF? Are you serious?! I crash, and kick it in the head. Wow, ok. Remind me to never leave the house again. I already can’t walk my dogs in the neighborhood because of off leash dogs attacking us. Now, I go alone on a bike ride, and a dog attacks me?! I kick him in the head repeatedly until he stops. Well, neighborhood dog walks, pack walks, non-dog walks, and now bike rides are off the table. What a great start to the day…

I’ve been struggling and trying really hard to stay positive. I’ve been dragging my ass out of bed to try to take care of everything. To try to smile and have it be real. To have real fun, instead of faking it. To enjoy the company of others instead of just want to crawl into my hole. Getting out of the house in itself is a challenge. I have to mentally prepare myself to go. I have to mentally prepare to present myself to other people. I guess it’s a mandatory evil when you teach people for a living. When I see 5-10 people a day, it’s exhausting to put on a happy smiley face every day. Sometimes, the faking it actually does help. When people say “thank you”, or “you’re amazing”, it’s like it just goes over my head. They’re saying that because they have to, not because they actually mean it. I’m the same as everyone else. I don’t bring anything special to the table. I’m just another person with another job.

I’m also trying to tell myself I’m worth something. That I matter. That I’m important. I don’t recognize myself much these days. I thought I left these feelings behind. I thought I was over it. When I tell myself I’m important, I really don’t believe it. I try so hard, but for what? I don’t see a change I’m making on the world. I don’t see my ‘big life’ I thought I had. My ‘big dreams’ I thought I had. They are just distractions, and they’re bullshit. I thought I was strong, that I was a ‘warrior’. Someone told me that once, and I felt it gave me power. Now, I don’t see it. I just see a weak, frail person in a disgusting body. I feel ugly. Not just on the outside, but on the inside, too. I don’t like my body. I don’t like what’s inside it either. I don’t like this person I’ve become.

I feel like I’m starting over. Like the journey I took before faded, and now I need to do it again. What was my regime? Oh yeah, writing a lot more, working out every day, eating crazy healthy, spending more time with friends, positive outlooks, and literally no booze, no electronics, setting goals for myself, and just enjoying nature. I want to feel better, so I guess I can do that. I went through a self-destructive phase where I wanted to cause as much damage as possible. I was a wrecking ball. I drank too much, used people, and alienated the most important people in my life until they left me forever. Bridges burned for an eternity. I don’t want to make the same mistakes, and I feel it happening already. I can feel the anger starting to come back. So, I need to stop this before it escalates into destroying my life… again.

I’m making a promise to myself. I can be the biggest rebel in the world by not allowing negativity to swallow me. That’s the popular option. That’s what everyone does. So, I don’t want to be like everyone. Rising up IS the counter culture.

So, I’m making a promise:

  • I won’t drink. I will take care of my body and only put in things that help me.
  • I won’t be a party animal. I won’t allow my judgment to be impaired. I can still have a good time without the use of drugs and alcohol.
  • I will make an effort to set work out goals for myself. I will compete if I have to.
  • I won’t abuse myself or others. When I hurt, I’ll spread love, not give into the anger.
  • I will find the positive in everything. No matter how bad things get.
  • I won’t yell, scream, lose my temper, or be impatient. I’ll listen.
  • I will spend time with myself every day. Really spend time with myself and allow myself to validate any feelings that come up.
  • I’ll be gentle with myself.
  • I’ll go to the mountains several times a week to meditate and ground myself.
  • I won’t succumb to negative self talk. I will stop thinking of things that hurt me, and turn it around into a strength.
  • I will create a happy place for my soul to emotionally live.
  • I will acknowledge the feelings, and I will protect myself. I will create healthy emotional boundaries to protect myself spiritually.
  • I will keep my heart center open. But I will not allow myself to be abused emotionally, psychologically, or physically.
  • I will tell myself I am safe. I am safe. I am safe.
  • I will tell myself this is not my fault. Assigning blame is negative self talk.
  • I will tell myself I have people who care deeply about me. Even if in the moment I don’t know who they are.
  • I will tell myself I am not alone. I am not alone.
  • I will tell myself that this too shall pass. That this is another breakdown to breakthrough. Smile and let the tears fall, because pain can be beautiful. Feelings are beautiful.

When we feel, truly allow ourselves to feel those emotions, we acknowledge them, and then let them go. Numbing them, stuffing them down, or trading them for anger and hate are not dealing with them. History will keep repeating itself unless we deal with the baggage.

I’ll be ok. I’ll make it through. I’ll take care of myself. I’ll be gentle. I won’t beat myself up. I won’t succumb to the darkness that took over my life before.

Oh, want to know what the song was to start all this? “Ophelia” by the Lumineers. It always makes me think of my love, Rob.

Lesson

Take care of yourself first, so you can take care of others. You hear it on airplanes when they go over the safety protocols. You hear it in therapy, and you hear it with family counseling. What if you are falling apart?

It happens to all of us at some point. Where life is too much, and you just aren’t enough. Everyone wants a piece of you, and all you want to do is run away. You want to quit. You want to start over. Worst part… running away and starting over doesn’t work. Your problems follow you.

Time does interesting things. It isn’t linear. We live in the past, the present, and the future all at once. Our memories haunt us, our present is too hard, and the future is daunting. How do you get to a point where you accept your past, enjoy the present, and look forward to the future? Where does it start?

Time is funny. You had a fight, or you handled a situation a certain way when you were younger. It didn’t get resolved. You made a mistake, said the wrong thing, whatever. Years later, you have another fight, and history repeats itself. We see it all the time in politics. Certain patterns that constantly repeat. Guess what, it’s in our day-to-day too. Problems you had with your ex will present itself again with your current partner. They will continue to present themselves until you actually make an active effort to change. Time is funny that way. It reminds you that it controls everything, and if you don’t address all your stuff, it will just come back. And typically, a little more harshly each time.

When life gets to be too much, it’s typically because you haven’t taken care of yourself. It’s your body, your mind, and your psyche screaming at you to pay attention. Self care. Be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself the time to heal wounds, and ask for support from the people closest to you.

When things get hard, just buckle down and get through it. It always gets better. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. That’s something I’ve learned in the last several years. I’ve noticed when it gets to the point where you don’t think you can handle any more, that’s when something changes. That’s when there’s a break in the storm, and you can see the sun through the clouds.

We are presented with pain and trauma for a reason. I always think it’s to teach us something. We are better people for what lessons we learn from our experiences. I’m trying to learn from this experience what I am supposed to learn. The universe is trying to tell me something. I have fallen from my spiritual routine, and have lost something. I don’t feel as connected as I usually do, and I struggle daily to be grounded. I try to find time every day to meditate, spend time with nature, and be thankful for what I do have. But it’s hard. Because I have a dream of what I want.

I want to minimalize as much as possible. I want to shed my material possessions, shed my burdens, and live with just enough. I don’t need a million dollars, or a big house, or lots of nice things. I just want enough space to live in peacefully, travel to interesting, fun places, and to enjoy life. The lifestyle I want is incredibly simple. So why does life have to be so complicated?

Kind of off topic, but it also brings up something I’ve been working on putting in place. Something I’ve been researching is how to have a simpler, stress-free lifestyle. And some commonalities I’m noticing are : Less stuff = more time to do what you want. This means less electronics, less toys, less stuff, less house, less busyness. Get rid of everything that causes stress. Clutter, electronics, cell phones, facebook, negative people, etc.

So, my plan is to move my business into a commercial building. Then, once I can call my house a home again, I fix it up, sell it. In the process, also selling much of our stuff so we have less to move. Move into smaller place, or even an RV/mobile home type thing. Pay in full. No mortgage payment. Less stuff to take care of. Less space to clean. More freedom to do what we want. We won’t need the income we had before, and I can work less. I can actually have hobbies. With work out of the home, decluttering finished, and more time on my hands, I feel I would be on my way to a much less stressful life. That’s what I want. Freedom to have a life.

 

Goodbye, Marshall

marshallhatLife is a precious gift. It can be taken away so quickly. I hold my family a little closer today, as our sweet Marshall unexpectedly passed away last night. We are devastated, and it still doesn’t feel real. I keep expecting to hear his little feet on the floor pitter pattering as quick as he can to come to me if I called him. He wasn’t sick, he wasn’t old. He was taken far too early. He was one of my best dogs, and the best ‘little’ I have ever had. I never thought I would have a little dog, as I’m into the ‘tough’ breeds. But then Marshall came to me for training and I fell in love with him. I told the family if they ever didn’t want him or couldn’t keep him, that I wanted him. I never expected to hear that a year later, they were moving and couldn’t take him. So without hesitation, I took him and he was immediately a part of my pack. I didn’t foster him, or even try to adopt him out. He just belonged with me. He was an amazing dog, and brought so much happiness to every person he met. I never expected this would happen so soon.

homedepotmarshallWe buried him under a tree in our front yard. He will stay here forever, and bring nutrients to the trees, the soil, and the earth. His body has returned to the planet, and his soul is now on a journey to wherever else it needs to be. He’ll always be with me, and I’ll have all the beautiful memories of him to remember him. I want to remember my bright, happy Marshall. I want to remember all the silly, cute things he did. The house feels very dreary today. Our hearts are breaking, and our souls cry. I wish this didn’t happen.

marshall

I remember the way he would sit or lay on top of the big dogs to stay warm.

I remember how fast he would run back to me when I called him. His recall was always awesome.

I remember how when the other dogs were eating, Marshall would clean up the pieces they missed. No one minds, and he never tries to steal food from out of their bowl.

I remember how he would try to sneakily crawl up underneath the blanket to snuggle on the couch.

Chasing Jane around the loveseat in the living room.

Always walking nicely on or off a leash, never had a problem listening.

When you corrected him for something, he would stare at you with one paw held up.

marshallhorsesWhen he curled up in the big dog beds by himself and his tail was resting on his nose, like he was hiding.

When we all went camping, and he found the sunniest little spot to rest while we were all cooking breakfast.

How everyone who met him instantly loved him.

When I would let him sleep with me in my bed, and he could curl up right behind my knees.

jinxmarshallHow he loved to sit right in between the big dogs’ paws, like he belonged to them.

How he was the perfect size to sit with you and make you feel better.

He wasn’t really ever scared of anything.

He had no issue putting any size dog in their place if they were being pushy or rude.

How he loved to drag around the biggest bone he could find.

That time we went to the Farmer’s Market and Rob put him in his camelback because he was tired.

marshallgrassHow everyone thought he was a puppy.

How he loved people so much, he would just start walking with them.

How he just looked extra cute no matter what he was doing.

His eyes were too big for his face.

The time I took him trail riding, and he kept up with the horses like it was no big deal.

How he was amazing with kids and all other dogs.

He was awesome with all animals. He never tried to hurt chickens, cats, kittens, or even little rats.

He was the ‘Marshall’ of the dog yard. He was named after Eminem, but to me, he was literally a Marshall. An authority figure.

He really was the best dog.

squishesmarshallI’m really going to miss him, the house won’t be the same without him. I only had him several years, but in that time, he left his pawprint there. For such a small dog, he had the biggest presence in the best way. His spunky, happy personality is what I want to remember.

We will build you a little memorial in front of your tree, and plant flowers there in the Spring. You have no idea how many dogs you helped, and how many people were touched by you. You have made a huge impact on the world, and I will never forget you. You can never be replaced. I’ll do my best to keep my chin up and put on the smile, because I know you wouldn’t want me to be sad. In fact, I feel like you would be curled up with me right now, trying to cheer me up.

I love you, Marshall. So much. Be at peace now.

marshalltail

polymarshall

A True Leader

What makes a true leader? Is it money? Or power? Or the ability to cause others to fear you? Ignorance, maybe? I’m not just talking about the newly elected President. I’m talking about all leadership figures. CEOs, parents, dog parents, teachers… etc. What really makes someone powerful? What makes you want to follow someone? I’ll tell you what it is for me. I’ll tell you how someone can gain my respect and make me want to follow them to the ends of the Earth.

If I was a leader, I would provide patience. This is a scary word because you give up all control when you have patience, and put your faith in their hands. You watch and let them make mistakes. Then, you gently guide them back into making a better choice next time. Chewing on the furniture or drawing on the walls? “Hey! That’s not ok! But you can chew on this toy, or write on this paper.” Then, the frustration is gone, and you go about your day. A gentle, small correction, and then redirection onto something appropriate is enough.

What happens when frustration gets the better of you? And you overcorrect? Yell at them, take something away, add way too many rules (keep them on a short leash, in dog terms), or maybe even turn to a physical correction that is too rough? It always damages the relationship. Every time. Whether that’s your dog, your child, America’s citizens, or your significant other. What is recovery like? Distrust, hurt, anger, and walls go up. You have lost respect. Which, in turn, will also turn into distrust. When the respect and the trust are gone, there is no meaningful relationship anymore. The negativity will overcome all the positivity in the relationship, and it will be harder and harder to recover, if at all.

Patience. If you stop trying to control everything, and you let it go with gentle corrections, the relationship will recover over time, and the trust will return. This has to be an active choice, and you can’t half ass this. Take emotion out of it, and truly try to meet the others’ needs during this fragile time. Acceptance, trust, and respect are earned. This doesn’t happen overnight. Let things heal before you start pushing. Wait it out, wait for them to make a decision. Kids, dogs, significant others, and America. Stop trying to force their decisions. When forced, especially with aggression, more and more damage will occur to the point where it is non-recoverable. Anger, hate, irritability, and rioting will become a daily occurrence. As emotions subside, recovery can begin.

spreadloveI’m disappointed in this election’s results. However, this was what America wanted. We are in a democratic government, and the public has decided they feel this is the best choice for our country. I don’t need to spread negativity to make it clear how I feel, and my one vote (if I had even voted) didn’t matter, as I thought. But, we, as a people, had a voice. I had faith in the public. When we have anxiety, it’s because we don’t have control. I’m trying to relinquish my control, so I put my faith in the American people to make a choice. I had patience, and I didn’t watch the numbers last night, I went to sleep with thoughts of my hunny and our dogs. I thanked the spirits for how fortunate I was to have a safe place to live, be surrounded by animals, and that we have a beautiful plan for our future. I didn’t think of politics, or anything else. I went to sleep peacefully, even though I didn’t sleep well. I had a very bad, very disturbing dream that left me with a pit in my stomach. So I meditated and pushed out whatever negative energy had made it’s way inside me. I want to feel light and happy, and that dream was not helping me. It was emotionally jarring, and I didn’t need to hang on to it. So I let it go and went about my morning.

The people spoke and decided what they wanted. It is over, it’s been decided, and now recovery can begin, if America will let it be and start spreading love to each other. Let’s be positive and patient in this time so we can help our country heal. We all have to work together.

Hate, negativity, fear, control, and pride are all things that will not help us heal. Let’s show America’s beauty and honor the sacrifices so many have made for us to be able to live the way we do. Our soldiers died for the right for us to vote. They died for us to have the freedom of speech. Our soldiers aren’t the only ones who sacrifice. There are acts of bravery on a daily basis that we don’t see. So, don’t ignore them. Don’t take those for granted. These warriors gave up so much so we can have the freedom to feel those emotions without fear of expressing them. So regardless of who you voted for, or your standpoint on politics, religion or any other personal value, spread love and understanding. Seek to learn, instead of to hurt. Go out of your way to be positive and cast aside negative thoughts. Lift each other up! So instead of sharing our negative thoughts, let’s bond together and make this the country it was meant to be. We can all make a difference, we are all important. It doesn’t matter who is President, let’s find the beauty in this new leadership. Let’s be hopeful and positive, and help make each other’s lives beautiful. Share positivity wherever you go, and shine your light bright. You matter. We ALL matter.

america

Love Yourself

“If I loved myself truly and deeply, would I let myself experience this?”

“If you’ve had a thought once, it has no power over you. Repeat it again and again, especially with emotional intensity, feeling it, and over time, you’re creating a groove, a mental river. Then it controls you.”

“The goal here is to create a groove deeper than the ones laid down over the years – the ones that create disempowering feelings.”

These are all quotes from Kamal Ravidant, “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It”

painPeople who are going through a trauma, or a change, or trying to self improve know who they want to be, but usually they don’t know HOW to do it. How do I be better? Willpower. That’s how. Set goals. Stick to them. Oh, ok. Well, that’s easy…not.

Any action you do can either move you towards or away from your goals. Does this decision help me? How? I used to have self destructive patterns where I would fall into depressive emotional loops for days at a time. How did I stop? I literally refused to do it again. I refused to shut down and give up. Right, but how?

Find a thought. A goal. And stick it in your head. And repeat it. Over and over again. Every time you start down that path, say it out loud. Again and again, even if you don’t believe it. That’s what Kamal did in his book and that’s what I did. I refuse to let stress take over and send me back into those depressive, destructive ways. Those thoughts don’t have a place in my head anymore. Literally, I push them out. Ok, BUT HOW?! Willpower. I focused on that one thought. I made a deep, powerful vow to myself, just like Kamal did. One really late night, I just realized what I needed to do. It just came to me.

My thought was: “I am in control of my own state of mind. I will not let anyone or anything control how I feel or how I act. I am in control of my own life.”

I said this to myself a few times, and then I believed it. My brain works fast; it heals fast, it thinks fast, it works fast. It was like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders immediately when I started to believe this. I felt free. Peaceful. What is, is. What will be, will be. I don’t control anything besides myself. I let everything else go. Just like that. For the first time in my life, not having any control doesn’t give me anxiety or fear. It just is. I just control my own feelings and my own actions. Nothing else in the world is as important as this. It is empowering to have this feeling, but not in a powerful “I can do anything” way. But more in a tranquil, carefree, zen-like way. I observe others without judgment, I listen without wanting to add my own stories, I enjoy each moment without worrying about what is going to happen or what others think. I just be, and I feel like my soul is a silent lake. No fish under the surface, no ripples, totally still without any interruption. I appreciate the little things more, and see how absolutely amazing the world is and how beautiful every person is.

“Memory is not set in stone. The more you remember something, especially if it’s emotionally charged, the more you will reinforce the pathways connecting the neurons.”

This also goes into something I have learned from years of therapy. Let yourself feel it. The emotions that are brought up in a memory shouldn’t be fought. Let yourself feel those emotions, and then let them go. Cry, be angry, be sad, scream, feel the anxiety, and let it pass. Don’t fight it, just let it go and move on. Take the time, every time (dog training reference). Take the time to understand the feelings, process them, and then ACTUALLY let them go. This is how we grow. Don’t fight or hide them. Fear and fighting always make it worse. Face it, and overcome the emotional block. Think about the emotions, the blocks, the challenge or whatever it is that is handicapping you, and ask yourself if it is real. Most of the time, it is our mind making it into something much bigger than it is. Let yourself take a step back and see the problem, then make a decision. Don’t get caught up in the ‘I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what’s going to happen’ trap. Make a decision and move forward, or you will be in the same destructive pattern, and you won’t ever let go or process. Things don’t ‘just happen’ or ‘work out’, that’s not how the world works. When the mind is left to itself (dog training reference again), it repeats the same stories, memories and thoughts. Most of the time, these don’t serve us and get us stuck in yet another loop. Get out of the loop. The only way to get out is to fully commit with as much intensity as you can to your truth. Or your vow. Or whatever it is.

Easier said than done, but if you really want to change, you can do this. Set your goal, repeat it. Believe it. It worked for me, and I love myself. I love my life, and I love the world I live in. Because I choose to.

Healthy Addiction

Right after those big decisions are when you start to think about the “What’s next?” questions. And if it has to do with relationships, I feel like you always want to go out and look for the next person to fill the space. From my experiences… this is exactly what you shouldn’t do. Because you end up having stupid sex, using people, attaching unhealthily to someone, making mistakes, and never truly growing or healing from the damage.

This is what I have done in the past, and I made stupid decisions, got involved in very inappropriate relationships, had stupid pointless sex, used people to avoid my pain instead of dealing with it, and guess what? Never healed. Huh… and everyone says ‘take some time for you’. Yeah, ok. Harder said than done. They say until you are happy being by yourself, enjoying your own company with no ‘help’ from other people or distractions (healthy or unhealthy), you shouldn’t go out and meet new people. So, I’m (again) trying to learn about me. And there are a few patterns I’ve fallen into that I want to change.

First, I don’t like doing many things by myself anymore. I don’t like watching movies or playing games by myself. Which is weird since I only own mostly one player games, and that was my main hobby about 4 years ago. I’m different now I guess. I’m fine to go anywhere by myself, do workshops, teach, meet people, workout, drive, go out to bars, clubs, and go out and eat dinner alone, but I don’t like being HOME alone and doing things. So I’m never home. I’ve been working out a lot for the last few months. I live in my workout clothes now, because I never know when I may want to do a quick ab workout, or stop at the gym on my way home from somewhere. Yeah, SUUUPER healthy. (*sarcasm*)

Secondly, I don’t like boredom or loneliness, and want to spend my time with someone. This is where I got into trouble before. I was using people to fill up my time so I didn’t have to be home alone. To me, people were just there for my convenience. Disposable, I guess you could say. Until someone came along that I didn’t want to dispose of after a few dates or whatever. Anyway, I’m not filling my loneliness with people this time, I’m going to try to find things to do for myself that make me a better person. Other things than always working out. I’m writing again in my blog (I usually start to write more when I’m having the ‘feelings disease’), so that’s healthy, right? I’m trying to make time every night to read a chapter in any of my self improvement books. And I’m trying to do something with my dogs every day. I’ve gotten lazy with them, so they are struggling. I need to spend the time with them so they don’t become monsters. They’ve had a lot of change in their lives too, I can’t forget about them. It’s not their fault they are regressing.

Thirdly, I can’t help but think about things. I go over every detail, every mistake, everything I found out, everything that was said (or not said), energies, etc. And each time, I don’t find anything I could have done differently for a different outcome. Which reassures me, but my heart is broken. I’m not happy. I didn’t want to do this. I felt I had to. Doing something I really didn’t want to do, but thinking I didn’t have a choice anymore. It’s a pretty shitty place to be in. I feel like no matter which choices I make, I’ll be miserable. So I go out and work out more. My escape from these fucked up feelings that are like wrecking balls inside my brain… Don’t sing it, people. Let it go… Fuck. Anywho, that’s my healthy addiction. At least it isn’t alcohol or drugs or porn or tinder or … I’m stopping. And clearly very bitter today.

Fourthly, I think about the “what ifs”. This is just plain stupid and I should stop. What ifs are ridiculous because there are too many variables that can change the scope of what happened. I can’t just say ‘Well, if this happened, then X wouldn’t have happened.’ That’s bullshit. Because well, sure, if THAT didn’t happen, then we would be in a different place, but I’m sure something else would have happened, and we may be in a worse place. Or maybe it wouldn’t have changed anything at all. Or maybe, if this happened, and I handled it this way, then …OMG, I’m talking to myself. I’m done with this ludicrous paragraph.

And lastly, cooking. I love cooking, but I hate cooking for just me. I would much rather cook a meal for someone else and not even eat it than just cook for myself. So I drink protein shakes and eat like crap. I’m training and nutrition is important. So, this is super great (*Sarcasm … again*)I’m not eating enough, again. So I’m cranky, irritable, starving, and have no motivation to change anything. It doesn’t help I don’t have a stove or an oven. Or a microwave. So cooking in itself is challenging. Maybe I’ll just go raw. I’ve been vegan before, this can’t be too tough. Let’s add another project to my already chaotic life, that’s a great idea. (*sarcasm, Sherlock*) Wow, I’m pessimistic today. This is what happens when I’m at home, I need to get out. Going to go find something to do that will keep my heart rate up…again. For the third time today, I need to get out and work out.

Now I’m going around in circles again. I’m “stuck”. I feel like I’m in that endless loop where I’m trying to better myself, but I’m getting caught up in the same spot every time, and then I get frustrated after a while, and revert back. At least I’m not doing something that can hurt me or other people. It’s a “healthy” addiction, right? I’m in denial now. Whatever. I’m going on a trail ride with my dogs…or something.

What Is Love?

soulbeautyI love everyone. Every single person I come in contact with is loved by me in some way. I choose to see the good in people. I choose to see beauty, and I see that everywhere I go. I see that in the mountains outside my house, the stars in the sky at night, in the personality of my dogs, and in the mechanics of my car. I choose to see beauty in absolutely everything. In people, I see their physical looks of course, but more importantly, I feel I can see the beauty of their soul. I start talking to people, and in just a few seconds of meeting them, I see them radiate their own special aura of beauty. I see their personality shine through when they speak, smile, work with their dog or interact with their family. And to me, every person is incredible and beautiful in their own unique way.

In the people closest to me; my friends and family and my clients, I have a very special opportunity to get to know them a little better. And in doing so, I get to know what makes them tick a little closer. I get to know their strengths, their weaknesses, and their fears. In working with my clients’ dogs, I build a sort of very personal relationship, and I do see habits and personalities that some of their closest friends don’t even notice. And I love this part of my job. I can help people with those weaknesses and build confidence, which is empowering to them. I see it and it brings me joy when the concepts click and they are proud of themselves. That is one of my very favorite parts about my job. That’s one of things that makes me tick.

With some of my clients, I become friends with them. I start to care about their families and what they are doing on a daily basis with their dogs. More so than just on a professional level. I try very hard to make sure boundaries don’t get crossed. Just like a therapist and their patient, it’s important to not encroach on their patients’ personal lives. I have met some of my very best friends through my career, but it’s always friend or dog trainer in those moments. I go into a zone on either one. This has taken some practice on how to “turn off” either side.

I am a transparent person. I never lie (I’m not very good at it anyway), and I expect the same from my clients and the people in my life. When I am lied to, it deeply damages my soul, and my ability to see the beauty in people. I have been lied to, betrayed, hurt, and broken in the darkest of ways. Repeatedly. So, my soul isn’t as beautiful as it used to be. It has pockmarks and scars throughout. Once again, I feel as if my soul is dark and twisty and broken.

I’m looking past the scars and sometimes gaping wounds of my clients when they come to me for help with their dogs, so I’m trying to look past my own. I won’t hide, I won’t retreat. I’ll just keep going and give the wounds time to heal. The wounds that other people keep inflicting on me. I protect myself, but eventually I get tired, and let my guard down. Then I get clubbed with ugliness and evil. I always get up, but I take on these new battle scars each time.

Regardless of my battle scars, I will never stop loving deeply, or seeing the beauty in every person I meet. No one can take this from me. I will always get up eventually. And no one else is in charge of my feelings but me. I choose to be happy, I choose to be in control of my emotions and my state of mind.

Sometimes, in helping another person through some of their problems, I heal a little bit of me. Sometimes, being broken in company is the best kind of remedy. I helped someone release a little bit of emotion today. And it made me see how absolutely beautiful they were. A little later in the same day, she was there for me when I needed to be healed. I’m hoping it did the same to her, as it did to me.

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Today, I faced one of my biggest fears. I haven’t been inside of a church willingly in over 10 years. Walking up to the doors of the church took me 2 tries. I stalled and answered a phone call first, and then took some deep breaths, accepted it was going to hurt… and then let it go and moved on. And I walked in. I got a little nervous again walking down a long, narrow hallway with closed doors on either side. I felt very claustrophobic, but I kept walking. I just focused on my breathing, and how this is for a good cause. I needed to do this. I got to the end of the hallway and reached my destination. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment for just a few seconds. And then I realized where I was.

I was attending a client’s funeral. I was invited to attend this intimate event and robinjablonmourn the loss of this client with her family and friends. She was an incredibly beautiful person, and the way I remember her, she was always smiling and had a warm, inviting presence. She was there for me in my own time of loss, and was incredibly supportive. Nothing but loving energy from her, telling me everything will be ok, and that I’ll become stronger from my trials. She said she would pray for me, and that I deserve all the happiness in the world. I truly believe she meant that when she told me that, and I felt a sense of peace.

I helped her with her dog for about a year previously, but as she started to get sicker and sicker, her dog sensed that and became more and more possessive. I didn’t put together the dots on this until later, so we did more sessions, and I helped her with confidence and leadership building, but we weren’t making much progress. It was shortly after our last session that she was diagnosed with brain cancer. It was around midnight in early December that she messages me on my business page. She said she had a brain tumor and was losing her vision, and was so scared of death. She didn’t know what to do, but she felt like she wanted to reach out to me, that we had a connection and she wanted to tell me. I felt deep sadness for her, and I wish I could have teleported to where she was to hold her and give her the type of energy she gave me in my time of need.

I wanted to remember this client as the beautiful soul she was, so I didn’t want to see her in the open casket. I could still see her face, and the top of her head. And even though I didn’t go up to see her closely, she was radiant. She was beautiful, even while sleeping eternally. And she was loved deeply. Everyone had such wonderful things to say about her, and it made me think about her husband and her family a lot. They had such touching words to share about him as well. “Her boys were her greatest accomplishments”, “Her family was the best gift she could ever receive in this life”, “She loved her family with all her heart”… And then the things they were saying about her husband. “He gave her the life she always wanted, and she lived it to her fullest”, “He was the perfect husband”, “Not once did I ever hear her complain about him, or say you two had an argument”, “You were her best friend and treated her with such kindness”, “Billy, you were her guardian angel. She always did like the thrill rides and did scary things at 59 like white water rapids”, “Billy, she’s waiting for you in Heaven”. I’m not religious, but these words got me more than anything else said. I am very spiritual, and when I die, I hope someone is saying those things to my partner. Life is too short and precious. I want my life to be filled with beauty and love. This was a bittersweet reminder of what I have been missing.

It also got me thinking to what I would do if I suddenly died. What’s most important to me, and who? Who deserves to make decisions for me in death? What type of service do I want? Let’s be clear. I don’t want to be buried in an expensive box. I want to go back to the Earth. Let me decompose and be born again into a tree. I want to be part of the beauty that is this world. I want my friends and family to bring their dogs to my service. I don’t want sad music or churches. I want to have a gathering of everyone I love (which, as I said…is everyone) come and talk about silly, funny, happy stories about my life. Tears are fine, but I want people to be more happy than mourning. I want my dogs to be taken care of by people who love them as deeply as I do. I want my business to be sold to someone who has a passion for training and teaching, or be shut down and have the money go towards my friends and family who have helped me get to where I am (“am” meaning at my time of death).

So, to conclude this very long blog post, I am choosing to be happy. I am in charge of my life and how I feel. I choose to see beauty in everyone. I hope that this blog post finds everyone healthy and happy, and if not, choose to see the beauty in the world. It won’t show itself to you unless you are receptive enough to pay attention. Be mindful of the world and its’ energies and make it a better place. CHOOSE to be happy. CHOOSE to see beauty. Only you can make this happen for yourself.  Be the change you wish to see in the world. Those words were never as clear to me as they are now. It’s like I’m hearing them for the first time.

bethechange