Lessons From A Pup

I got a puppy. I’ve had dogs before, but they were older rescue dogs, so this is my first adventure into being a puppy mom. Izzy, as she was to be called a few days after we met, was only 6-weeks old and 4.2 pounds (1.9 kilos). In only ten days, she has gained 1.8 pounds and learned so much! I also try to learn from life’s experiences, so learning from the new pup is no exception. Everything is new. Like human babies, puppies come into the world knowing not much. Therefore, everything is a learning opportunity! Izzy has been challenging me to look at life through new eyes. What do I notice that I’ve been blind to before or haven’t “seen” in awhile? How can I see things from a new perspective? What might I do in order to see with fresh eyes? What can I learn today? Life is an adventure. It’s amazing how much entertainment, exercise and learning can come out of the smallest thing like a toilet roll! A simple piece of round cardboard functions as a teething ring, exercise equipment, toy and something to be conquered! What new adventure might I try? Doing the same things put you in a rut. Literally, doing the same thing over and over creates ruts in the brain. Puppies lick up love (literally). They are not afraid of affection, praise or compliments. In fact, they thrive on them. Anyone who has successfully trained a puppy or raised a child knows that love and affirmation are key in teaching discipline. Nothing says, “Don’t pee in the house,” like a reward of affection outside in the grass. Are people loving and affirming me in ways I’m ignoring? What keeps me from accepting compliments? Puppies give...

Friendship

Do you have good friends? I really mean outrageously committed, better-than-you, willing-to-go-the-mile friends who love you at your best AND your worst? I often reflect on my life that has been so enriched with quality and diverse people. Yet the longer I live, I get to experience even more awesomely unconditional, profound levels of friendship. Every time I think I’ve reach the pinnacle of what friendships can be, I find another level. I was recently going through some particularly deep, troubling and emotionally disturbing issues. The cool thing is I didn’t have to go through them alone. I met with several close friends who helped me talk through and walk through intense pain, helping me come to new levels of freedom and release. But how seldom we allow ourselves to go to such depth. In my recent crisis, I was desperate, as the issues I faced were a long-time coming and connected to years of “stuff.” Isn’t that when we reach out? It’s often in the pain and suffering that we come to the end our ourselves and find ourselves in the arms of loving friends who not only comfort us, but help us graduate to the next level. I am blown away that so many people love me. They really, really love me. This makes me reflect on what had to be in place for that to happen. Have friends who are better than you. Don’t always be the smartest, most loving or wisest one in the room. Invest in others. Love them. Be generous with them. When you are in need, you’ll likely be surprised who steps up to love on you. Be vulnerable and open. When we open to others who are worthy of our trust, they can help us navigate...

Kindness

When I was a little girl, my family used to visit my grandparents in Iowa. Grandma was always so kind and generous; it was like she couldn’t give me enough. I must have been about 8 or 9 when, on one particular visit, she presented me with some gift. I remember being so moved that I went to my room and cried like a baby. I was so touched by her love. Something like that happened to me recently. I didn’t run to my room crying, but I was profoundly affected, and I think I’ll always remember it. I had screwed up. I got confused with times, and missed a very important appointment. In a panic, I made a phone call and someone covered for me. I deserved a tongue-lashing. I deserved to have my butt chewed out for being so irresponsible. Instead I experienced deep and genuine kindness that still has me thinking about it a week later. The person who covered for me jumped in and did it with an amazing attitude, one that I’m sure was better than anything I would have mustered in the same situation. I saw the Divine. And it changed me. I realized something profound: True character is revealed when it is inconvenienced. The next day I stopped by a department store to pick up something. Seeing the various checkout line options, I headed for the “10 items or less” line only to realize that the folks in front of me had two entire baskets full of purchases. (That’s WAY more than 10 items!) However, I was somehow filled with much grace for these dear people and all their stuff. I didn’t get upset. I didn’t give them dirty looks. I didn’t even think to myself how...