Pets

Practicing Self-Compassion

This week I am practicing having compassion for myself.  Connecting with the best of me; the person I am here to be.  It is not always easy, and sometimes I show up badly in my human interactions.

It is 2:30am, and I am irritated with another night of less than four hours of sleep.  Byron, aka Big Dog, has had another seizure, with a major loss of bodily functions. He is pacing, searching for something, whining and howling as he talks to us.  Trying to tell us what is going on with him.  I am insisting that Karl call the vet in the morning.  We need something to help Byron – Big Dog is refusing Reiki, getting up and moving as best he can when I place my hands on him; howling when I attempt it long distance.  My patience is stretched.

The lessons and opportunities here for me are similar to those that are offered up for millions of people across this world as they deal with family illness, trauma, babies with colic, and a myriad of other reasons for the pain of loss, lack of sleep, not knowing exactly what to do, and not liking the options in front of them.

Self-compassion is all about acknowledging your feelings, recognizing the pain and suffering, and the resistance to what is.  It is about giving yourself the same compassion you would give to someone else going through similar circumstances.   It is giving yourself a hug, and saying “I understand”.  It isn’t wallowing in the pain, but simply recognizing that it is there and you are dealing as best you can, showing up as you are meant to be.

Some of you might be thinking – this doesn’t measure up to what I’m going through, what my family is going through. It is a dog!

You will be right, it isn’t the same. Byron is a dog; and yet, a member of the family.  A sentient being who cannot readily share his feelings, his fears, and where it hurts.  He is my son’s dog – and I have not yet told Joe of the issues we are facing.  I needed to be sure before I brought that pain into his life.  He loves his dog, as do we.

And, so, I am practicing compassion for myself as I ready myself for the dawn of the day.  Calling the vet, deciding the best course of action, and sharing the news with our son so that he might come love and hold his dog (in hopes that we can get some medication to help Byron) or say good-bye as we wish him a peaceful and brilliant transition.

Self-compassion is a concept that many do not understand or have difficulty with.  They were brought up to be stoic – my husband ,self-critical – me, or to think that self-compassion is an excess of indulgence. Choosing to stay stoic, self-critical or resistant in an invitation to disaster as we face situations that are difficult.  The stress we create for ourselves is tremendous, leading to ramifications to our health.

Today – actually early morning – I am choosing self-compassion as I listen to Big Dog moan and whine as he begins to calm down.  He is no longer howling as only an Alaskan Malamute can.  It is good practice for me.  It helps me more readily and mindfully give compassion to those I have relationships with, and yes, even those I don’t.

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Georgia Feiste, President of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a personal growth and leadership coach, writer, and workshop facilitator.  She is also a Usui Reiki Master and EFT practitioner.  Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life.  You can also find Georgia on her website, Collaborative Transitions, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.   Georgia may also be reached at (402) 304-1902 if you wish to schedule a 30 minute complementary consultation.

 

Letting Go and Moving On

This is a blog about personal growth.  I am not faithful in my writing here, because mypersonal growth takes me in multiple directions.  My marketing coaches tell me to pick a niche and stick with it.  That is the only way I will grow readers, and perhaps get clients.  This is difficult for me because my interests are fairly eclectic, as are everyone’s.  I read books that capture my interest, I go to church and learn, I am interested in my health (more so as I get older and things start feeling my age), and my work takes me in many directions.  In short, I am living my life.  And my days ebb and flow on that current.

I have decided that for this blog to work for me, I am going to share what I am interested in, what I am learning, and the meaning making that has for me.  If that also works for you, please join me.  Converse with me – I will answer you.  Share your opinions, even when they are different from mine.  I will seek first to understand your point of view, and have a dialogue with you.  This is where we practice the skills I often talk about in my leadership training:

  • Discerning our values
  • Developing our vision and mission
  • Setting goals and making values based decisions
  • Having fun
  • Being creative.
  • Listening, and being empathetic
  • And, so on

Today, one third of January has passed.  My word this month is JOY.  I am faithfully posting on Facebook each day what I am joyful for each morning and evening – and my followers tell me they are truly enjoying those brief statements.  I hope they recognize the everydayness of those thoughts, and that some days, like them, I have to look for the very small things because there are no huge JOY moments to talk about.

Last week was a growing experience at our church, Unity Lincoln.  We participated in Discovery Circles to find out what it is, or who, the church wants to be.  Over the weekend, we held full workshops on Making Peace With Your Past, along with a Healing Circle on Sunday afternoon.  The purpose?  To learn to be truth seekers, open and honest with each other at all times.  To call each other on it when we are being less than our best – with love and respect.  And, it was about forgiveness, letting go of what was so that you can begin to live what is.

I’m glad I participated – I relearned what I already knew.  I identified situations I need to forgive because the feelings they stir up haven’t served me well in my life.  I knew them before, but I wasn’t done with them.  These are additional opportunities for growth – and to offer myself compassion and acceptance, and rest in the joy of who I am today.  Because, I am perfect, whole and complete in the eyes of the Universe.

I have been drinking Kangan water for three days now.  A friend of mine is supplying me with the water so we can get a taste (no pun intended) of the changes it can induce in us before we take on a major investment in the machine.  Karl and I, along with Joe, are taking a hard look at the food and drink we put in our bodies, and doing some research on the affects of our “meat and potatoes” American diet.  Karl is struggling to give up his daily “dinner”, and the sandwiches he normally eats each day.  I am struggling to identify what I want for my breakfast besides the traditional breakfast food I really enjoy.  We are such creatures of habit, continually falling back into what we learned and lived as children.  It is difficult to make the adjustment to a different lifestyle, and a healthier life, because we must break lifelong habits.  Each day, we are consciously making the decisions we need to make and continuing to do the research we feel necessary to find what is right for us.

Last night, Big Dog had a seizure for about 30 seconds.  Afterwards, he paced throughout the house for about an hour and a half.  He stopped frequently to drink, but often stood at the water bowl as if he wasn’t quite sure what he should be doing or how to lap up the water.  Once we got him to lay down, he began to whine, and then to howl as only an Alaskan Malamute can.  I sat with him, giving him Reiki, for almost an hour until he laid his head down to sleep.  The remainder of the night was quiet, but sleep was elusive for us.  We didn’t know if this was the beginning of something new for him.  He is over ten years old now which is the lower limit of his life cycle.  Malamutes generally live between 10 – 12 years, and it may be his time to transition.

This morning, I am joyful we made it through the night with Byron.  He is a good dog, and so very loving of his humans.  We have had him in our home since 2006 when Joe moved in with us, and he has become part of our family, becoming our dog when Joe moved out in 2010.  It is my wish to help him through this toward whatever end we are headed.

The values I am living today are:  love, patience, generosity of spirit, focus and a willingness to be vulnerable.  Completing and posting this blog fulfills all of those.  Thank you for being part of my community.

Georgia Feiste, President of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a personal growth and leadership coach, writer, and workshop facilitator.  She is also a Usui Reiki Master and EFT practitioner.  Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life.  You can also find Georgia on her website, Collaborative Transitions, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.   Georgia may also be reached at (402) 304-1902 if you wish to schedule a 30 minute complementary consultation.

A Place in My Heart

About 14 months ago, we lost our thirteen year old Golden Retriever to old age and kidney failure.  My husband and I miss our four-legged child tremendously.  And, since we have received guardianship of our son’s Alaskan Malamute, my husband has been extremely reluctant to take on another dog.  He has told me “no” for at least ten months every time I bring up the subject of another Golden, and very specifically when I bring up the subject of a smaller dog.

Two nights ago I broke it to him that I had an appointment to go visit some Golden Retriever puppies to see if I bonded with any of them.  He smiled and said “that will be the hardest visit you have ever gone through when you have to walk away without a pup”.  I told him I didn’t think so, because none of them were ready to leave their Mom yet.  And, if I bonded with one, we should expect a new baby in the house within four weeks.   I love dogs, and I’ve never been without one.  I know I don’t want to head into retirement without one to love and play with each day.  We just need to make sure the dog is trained well enought to go just about everywhere we go!

Lessons learned for me – being able to say to my husband that I hear him, and I understand his reluctance.  However, this is important to me.  I have a special bond with dogs, especially Golden Retrievers, and this is a love I don’t wish to do without.  It is hard to set boundaries with  the people we love.   It is harder to walk away from the yearning to fill that special space in your heart with the love you know you will find.  The real lesson was in telling him up front, without just doing it and requiring him to cope with the consequences.   This is the freedom you gain by being who you are, without fear.

So, here you go folks.  My foray into “motherhood” once again.  Once I showed him the picture, my husband’s heart melted.  The “no” was less heartfelt.  Hmmm… names?  Abby or Grace -what do you think?