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Archive for June, 2011

My friend Marilyn has a company called Happy Puppy Tutoring (www.happypuppytutoring.com). She says that she trains people and tutors dogs. She’s amazingly good at what she does.

Daphne and Dottie, my miniature poodle and terrier mix respectively, have been together for three years. I took this photo the day I brought Dottie home from the shelter. I wanted Daphne to have a buddy.

Gradually I noticed that Daphne wasn’t as playful as she used to be because Dottie-the-terrier always sort of tackled her when she tried. Then I saw that Daphne often watched for Dottie out of the corner of her eye. She was staying close to me whenever she could. Trouble in paradise. So I called Marilyn the puppy tutor.

After watching them for a while, Marilyn gave me her analysis. She said that they were both incredibly smart. She had them doing tricks on the very first try. Even better: neither of them is alpha, apparently quite unusual with two females. That meant that I’m alpha, as I should be. I just needed to make that clear.

She showed me a simple maneuver that immediately calmed and reassured them. Since then, I’ve seen Daphne return to her happy self and even initiate play with Dottie. Meanwhile, Dottie is more relaxed and eager to show off her new tricks. Zowie!

One of the moves that Daphne has resurrected is to put her head down on the ground, turned to the side, with her butt in the air. She ooches forward from this position with her tail wagging. When I mentioned it to Marilyn, she said that movement is called invitation to play. A very positive sign that all’s right in Daphne’s world. I told Marilyn that had to be the best phrase I’d heard in a long time.

During an  alternate handwriting session a few days later, I wrote that I was ‘tired of struggling, very nervous about the future. I just found myself literally biting my nails. What a mess.’  AH responded, felt delighted at what Marilyn called Daphne’s ‘invitation to play.’ can you take her up on it for a little while?

My dominant hand replied, ‘I can try… It would be nice to see life, my situation etc. as an invitation to play. Nice: it would be miraculous.’

AH: [my friend] Whitney wrote, ‘miracles abound.’ this beautiful morning is proof. dogs are proof, as are gorgeous morning glories & all the beauty you’ve created/surrounded yourself with. you are the biggest miracle. don’t underestimate/discount your considerable strengths/talents. turning your back on Loving Kindness when do that. open arms instead. posture of acceptance instead of rejection feels better, hopeful, strong.

Every night before I go to bed I note one miracle that’s occurred in my life that day. Many times it’s hard to limit it to just one.

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Caroline is tall, with a dominating presence. She makes her living telling people what to do, at their request.

Her work keeps her physically active, but she has health problems. She’s at risk for heart disease.

Her work keeps her physically active, but she has health problems. She’s at risk for heart disease.

Her first question her dominant hand wrote was, “Why can’t I organize myself enough to lose weight?”

Her alternate hand didn’t respond. I noted that the word “organize” indicated that her rational left brain was doing its best to maintain control. I suggested that she reword her question to make it more curious, less accusatory.

Dominant Hand: What’s stopping me from losing weight?

Alternate Hand: Insecurity

DH: Insecure about what?

AH: The future

DH: In what way?

AH: With Daniel [her husband]

DH: What am I afraid of?

AH: That I don’t really want to stay with him

DH: But I am going to stay with him so why not lose weight?

AH: Laziness. It is easier on myself.

At this point Caroline started talking. She told me she lost her first husband to cancer when they were both young. She found “the love of my life” and then lost him to Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She has been with Daniel for several years and is comfortable with him. There was no way she would end the relationship. She’d been through too much loss and heartbreak and would not deprive herself of the security of her marriage.

It is easier on myself, her alternate hand wrote, to continue a comfortable marriage and be lazy about losing weigh. But she felt she was punishing her body, she said, cursing it by not taking proper care. Since ‘curse’ is such a strong term, I suggested she write about it. Her dominant hand asked, “Could I curse myself to be healthy?”

And her alternate hand responded, Yes – I swear it to God!

I sent Caroline a draft of this blog and asked her if she’d noticed anything about the “cursed” weight issue. I added that it would be nice to have a wrap-up after that astounding last sentence from her alternate hand. She replied: ‘I am now working with a personal trainer and keeping a food journal. Ha!’

I read that as a pretty triumphant ‘ha.’

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