Last week I went to the shooting range with my husband and thought how odd it must seem that this is what I would do just mere hours after taking my weekly meditation class. I mean, meditation means peace and guns are violence, right? I am far from a violent person and cannot even bring myself to watch boxing or wrestling. As an empath, I am extremely sensitive and avoid violence and confrontation at all costs. So why have I taken up shooting as a hobby? At first, I marveled at how well rounded I am; how varied my interests are. It got me really thinking though and shortly after I came home, I decided to write whatever came to me about why I not only participate in these wildly diverse activities, but even chose to do them on the same day, hours apart. I would like to note that I have no interest in hunting at this time, nor do I ever anticipate using my gun anywhere other than the range. And every time I go, I am terrified, but I keep going back. I hope you enjoy what I learned and that you can look at the activities in your life and see if they offer insight into what you are looking for or what you need to work on……
From the meditation pillow to the gun range and everything in between
Like what you like and make no excuses
Peace is my goal
Yet can’t peace been found in shooting a piece
The meditation pillow is my comfort zone
The gun range is not….It’s where I grow and face my fears
It’s where I take what I learn in yoga and apply to life
Prepare, set aim, breathe, pull the trigger and then do it all over again.
Who says they are different? Mindfulness can be found anywhere.
I do not shoot to harm or for violence. I shoot to learn peace within myself during chaos.
I am not good at it yet, but I will be.
When I can take my fear, breathe through it and release the bullet into the void, I will realize true peace.
To be able to sit in fear, to relax into it…..That is the goal.
I learn a lot on my meditation pillow, but the gun range is where I grow.
Unconditionally is how we wish to be loved
To be accepted for who we truly are
Yet we don’t even accept ourselves.
“Yes I do!” you think to yourself
Then why do you conform and try to fit in?
Why do you worry about what others think?
Or get embarrassed when we stand out too much?
We speak to ourselves so harshly that we wouldn’t even be friends with ourselves.
And then we wonder, why we aren’t loved unconditionally.
Do you love others unconditionally?
“Of course I do!” you say.
Yet we are always talking about how others should change.
Not just friends, acquaintances, strangers – but those closest to us.
Brothers, sisters, parents, spouses, children…….
We blame them for our issues. They make us mad and sad and glad.
But do they?
No – we decide if we are mad or sad or glad. It’s all in our reaction.
It’s all in the story we tell ourselves (and others) about the circumstance.
“But it’s true!” you implore.
Yes – it’s true to you. But every story can be told so many different ways.
Ways that make us the victim or avoid blame.
Or ways that empower us and let us accept responsibility.
And hardest of all – in ways that show compassion to those who have “wronged us.”
Unconditional means TOTAL acceptance.
Unconditional means NO judgment.
Unconditional allows for growth and improvement of circumstances
But it does not allow for criticism of how things are.
We all deserve to be loved unconditionally, yet we think others are unworthy.
When we realize that ALL are worthy
When we realize that WE are worthy
Maybe, just maybe we will receive it.
We don’t need it from others though. We need it from no one but ourselves.
To love oneself unconditionally is the ultimate goal.
And when it is recognized, you will realize it was with you all the time.
And you will be loved, unconditionally.
This is a little different from most of my posts, but my new dog is a big part of my life, especially since I am home everyday with him. I realized today after a stressful couple of days, that he was acting out my emotions. He had been nuts for a few days and I was getting frustrated by the way he was acting. Pacing, barking, not settling down. I wasn’t settled either and started blaming him for some of my stress, but in reality, he was showing me stress that I hadn’t registered. I don’t notice my stress which is one of the reasons my adrenals got as bad as they did. Stress is like background noise for me. The kind of noise you don’t notice until it is gone. This is the story of my “rescue” dogs and how I have come to realize what they bring to us and how they actually rescue us right back. You don’t always get the dog you want, but you ALWAYS get the one you need! I have had the same experience with cats, but that is for another day! So, if you are an animal lover, read on! If not, well, maybe read it anyway!
My family recently adopted a dog from the shelter I volunteer at. A sweet, loving, playful Mastiff mix aptly named Elvis. We did not name him, he was surrendered by a family that had him for 5 years. I am not sure if the name was given to him before or after his singing ability and lip curl was discovered, but he lives up to the name nonetheless. This is my 3rd rescue dog, but I never fully understood the impact we have on these animals or the impact they have on us.
Our first rescue, Bighead Fred adopted my husband immediately, but I didn’t see that. I saw my husband fall in love with him and we brought him home. The second dog we adopted from a shelter was Xena, a sweet German Shepherd that adopted me, but I didn’t see that either. I saw us giving a wonderful animal a home. Their pasts were unknown, both were taken into the shelter as strays and had clearly had some hardships in life. Isn’t is nice we were able to rescue them? I see know how they rescued us too. How they actually adopted us and not the other way around.
In the beginning of the year I began walking dogs at our local animal shelter. My Shepherd had passed away about a year prior and we weren’t ready for another dog yet, but I missed being around them. I made it about 4 months falling in love with dogs, but happily helping them to find their homes elsewhere. Then I met Rosie, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever mix. She was the best dog and I had no doubt she would get adopted immediately! I called her “my dog” at the shelter and would often take her out first so I could be the one to walk her. I still wasn’t giving in to the urge to get another dog. Then, a husky mix named Harlow came to the shelter with another husky/shepherd mix and I fell in love and knew I needed a dog. I thought it was this sweet husky mix, and that’s when I broached the subject with my husband and kids about getting a dog again. The funny thing is, after I got approval, I realized that as much as I loved Harlow, she wasn’t my dog.
Rosie was still at the shelter for some unknown reason; dogs like her usually fly out the door; so I started to think she really was my dog and called my husband and kids to come down and meet her one afternoon I was walking dogs. A few days before, Elvis had been surrendered and I had a little bit of contact with him but not too much. When I walked him that day my family was coming, I had this fleeting thought that my son would LOVE him! BUT – Rosie was my dog! So the family came and my son went right to Elvis’ kennel. Hmmm – interesting. I think I knew then who we would go home with. So we met Rosie and she came over to me and then sniffed around the meet and greet room and ignored my husband and kids. They liked her, she took treats nice (the only time she interacted with them) but was just aloof. So I asked to bring the big guy in – Elvis. That is when I REALLY got it. He adopted my family immediately. Within a couple minutes he was on his back getting belly rubs and licking everyone. It is also when I realized how our other dogs adopted us, not the other way around. Rosie wasn’t my dog. She ended up being another volunteers dog and was adopted by her a couple days after I passed her up; and when I see pics of them, I know we all got the right dog for us.
Elvis isn’t perfect, he was not taken care of properly and not made a priority in his previous family, but that is how he got to me and I accept that I needed a dog like him. He teaches me patience, he makes me go outside and enjoy nature, he shows me how and when I need to relax. When he is “acting crazy” and exhibiting anxious behaviors, I know that it is me who needs to calm down and re-center myself. Every dog we had that we let “adopt us” has been the perfect dog for us at that exact time. The one time we took in a dog just to get it out of the situation it was in, it was kind of a disaster, but luckily he adopted one of our friends!
This is true in all facets of our lives. The people (and animals) around us are constantly mirroring our inner state to us. Kids are the perfect mirrors. Ever notice how your pets and kids act out the most when you “just don’t need this right now!”? It is just a reminder for us to calm down and become present again. I need a reminder a lot and Elvis is that reminder for me. He brings a balance to my life I didn’t have before.
As an animal shelter volunteer I feel the need to say “ADOPT, DON’T SHOP!” 🙂
People ask what I do and I used to tell them about my previous full-time job as bookkeeper/office manager/HR manager at my uncle’s company or I would tell them about helping out at my kid’s karate school. And now, with no paying job, my answer is I’m a volunteer dog-walker at the animal shelter. This is my business, but I avoid telling people what I do. Part of the issue is that I am an overweight health counselor, so I feel like they will judge me right away (my issue, not theirs by the way!). The other is I have some trouble describing what I do. I make the mistake of using nutrition in my description. After all, my certification is from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Once I say this, people want to know what to eat, meal plans, recipes…. UGH! I have recipes I like to share, but I really don’t like telling people what to eat! I know this is odd for my profession. I have issues with food for health. The first being that everyone is different. I am mostly a Vegan. I hate the label and I’m not 100% and yes I eat honey. We are not having a protein discussion here either! Just because I am mostly Vegan doesn’t mean my clients should be. Food is a very individual thing. We have different tastes and our bodies will react differently to the same foods. My other issue, is that our health and body weight is about a lot more than just food. It’s about our entire lifestyle and how we are interacting with others and ourselves. And that is where my strength and the crux of my health counseling practice lies.
My job with clients is to shake up their perspective in life. We repeat the same patterns over and over again in our lives which cause health, weight, financial and emotional issues. In my opinion, health counseling is getting to the root of these patterns and issues in our lives and re-writing the story we tell ourselves. When we address our problems from the root, we initiate true and lasting healing in every area of our lives. That is what I endeavor to do for my clients. It is what I am doing for myself. If you need a butt-kicking and to be shaken out of your current state, you need me! A health counselor is a listening ear, a coach, a cheerleader, that annoying friend who calls you out when you are lying to yourself and yes, I will help you upgrade your food choices and guide you towards what is right for you!
Yes, this blog is a shameless plug for my services! If you or someone you know has health and weight issues, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free session. Check out my entire website for more information about how I approach wellness!Read More
The following recipe is a household favorite. So easy to make and can be made a day or two before hand. We often eat is as a meal, but you can use it as a side dish as well. This gives you a nice balance of good fats, protein and carbs!
AVOCADO BLACK BEAN SALAD
1-2 Ripened Avocados (diced)
1pt Grape Tomatoes – halved (or fresh diced tomatoes)
1 – 14 oz can Black Beans
¼ c Favorite Vinaigrette Dressing
Works well with Red Wine Vinaigrette, Raspberry/Walnut Vinaigrette or even just olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar
Drain and rinse black beans until all the bubbles are gone (gets rid of excess sodium and excess gas!).
Mix Black Beans, Avocados and Tomatoes together
Pour vinaigrette over and mix in.
Cool in refrigerator for 1-2 hours (even better overnight!)
Hope you enjoy!! I am working on soup recipes – any suggestions or requests are welcome!Read More