Lessons from my dogs

I’ve often said that my dog Lucie, who was one of those truly special dogs, was one of my greatest spiritual teachers. She was pure love. Below is my favorite photo of me with her.

We always told her she was the world’s best dog.

Lucie and Miele (the Italian word for honey, pronounced Mee – el – a) crossed the country with us when we moved to Vashon Island, and unfortunately, Lucie died suddenly just before our house and studio were ready. Miele, now probably about 12, developed arthritis in the past few months and it’s been a lesson in aging gracefully to watch how she’s dealt with this new way of living. We are fortunate to have a wonderful school of animal massage on the island, and today Miele had her first session as a demonstration dog for the massage students. True to form, she was a big hit and hopefully will be able to go back often.

Miele giving a massage student a big wet kiss.

Our pets are with us for far too short a time, but in that time they teach us two of life’s most important lessons: Live in the moment, and always love. The simplest lessons are always the best.

Recommended links:

Northwest School of Animal Massage

Animal stories like these always make me cry

Fabulous dog photos guaranteed to make you smile

Connection: why is it so hard?

For the past few years, I’ve used Danielle LaPorte’s Core Desired Feelings planner/calendar and one of my CDFs is ‘connection.’ I shared some thoughts in a previous post about the importance of community, and I’ve read that research shows that having meaningful connections with others is actually more important to our health than whether or not we’re a smoker.

But given the especially horrific events of recent days and all the talk about how divided we are, both in the U.S. and worldwide, it seems that connecting with others, especially if they look different and/or come from a different background, is pretty challenging for most people. And while it’s true that technology keeps us less connected and in the moment face-to-face, there is clearly a lot more to this issue than just distraction and lack of awareness.

A big part is played by fear and judgement: fear that others won’t like us if we reveal who we truly are; judgement that we think we are superior in some way to others. Below are my favorite resources this week that I hope will inspire discussion for you that creates more connection in your life. The flip side of fear is love. And truly, as trite as it may sound, what the world needs now is love.

Recommended links:

Living with Less Judgement

Honoring and Remembering Toni Morrison

Why You Should Put Down Your Phone and Say Hello to a Stranger