Requiem for a Runt

Requiem for a Runt

He was the runt of the litter.  But wow, was he ever cute.  Really cute.  Ginger bonded with him immediately and he with her.  Mission accomplished.

Almost 14 years ago, as Ginger faced yet another in a string of  knee surgeries, we knew it was going to be a long, mostly immobile recovery.  A puppy made sense.  What better way to ease the tedious, healing hours?   We named him Ozzie Osbourne.  Although he was cute, he was also part weird.  Born on Hallowe’en and being part weird seemed to justify the name.

A LANGUAGE OF HIS OWN

About nine years ago, shortly after he turned five, a disc popped through his spinal column and his back legs and hips quit working.  The vet said that the surgery to correct the situation was incredibly expensive and even if it was successful, there was only a fifty percent chance he’d ever walk again.  We refused to accept that.  So did Ozzie.  We found a new vet and after six weeks of total rest and mega doses of some very effective natural health products, he fought his way back to almost perfect health.  The only thing he couldn’t do was jump.  That’s a bit of an issue when your mission in life is to be a lap dog.  So he created a language all his own and there was never a doubt as to what he wanted.  For some reason, he scratched on the hall closet door when he was hungry, nowhere near the kitchen.  When he needed to go outside he’d walk halfway to the door and look back with an expression that said “Hey, aren’t you getting this?”.  And when he wanted to cuddle, he would look you straight in the eye and nod his head up and down.  He taught us his language, we didn’t teach him.

YES, A LAP DOG

Truth be known, Ozzie spent most of his life curled up on Ginger’s lap.  Oh, he played hard and created mischief particularly when other dogs were around but he knew why he’d decided to live with us.  Lap dog.  First, foremost and always.  Even earlier this year as he was in substantial discomfort himself, he remained Ginger’s leg warmer as she recovered from yet another knee surgery (see the pic at top of post).

Over this past year he fought his way through declining mobility, a genetic neurological condition and twitches and seizures that made his daily life challenging. We watched carefully as the inconveniences turned to pain.  Significant, non-curable pain.

SAYING GOODBYE

Yesterday, the time came to say goodbye.  He passed away in our arms.  I held him and stroked his forehead because that was our thing.  But when the time to leave us became imminent he spent his last moments being cuddled by the woman he had pledged his heart to.  He slipped away peacefully and painlessly in her arms.

Ozzie taught us many things during his years as head of our family.  He proved that with effort, patience and motivation any challenge can be eliminated.  He taught us that there’s always time for fun and a quick game of ‘chase me around the house’.

Most importantly, he taught us that there is always room on the couch and no matter how busy you are, there is always, always time for a cuddle.

The house is so quiet today.  Rest easy little big man.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.” (Gilda Radner )

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Your “Why” Or Your “Process”?

Your “Why” Or Your “Process”?

As promised, an update on my new ‘ Ready, Reset, Go’ focus.  If you didn’t read the first post, you may want some background so click to read it here.  As expected, some revelations have entered the forward planning for this epic adventure.

THE PROCESS

My good friend and amazingly talented psychologist Nancy Morris and I had a lengthy discussion regarding weight loss and fitness.  I believe that to succeed at something, you need to fall in love with the process.  If you plant a garden and hope to have an abundant crop, you need to get up every single day and be excited about all the watering, weeding, cultivating,  hard work. etc. that are necessary for your plants to flourish.  It is the ‘process’ that gets you to the goal, your ‘why’.

YOUR ‘WHY’

Nancy believes that ‘why you are doing this’ is of utmost importance.  She says that if you have a deep-seated, passionate reason for doing something, your brain will assist you in getting there.  I really can’t argue about that because I also believe that having a huge ‘why’ is vital to anything you decide to do, especially if you are effecting a major life change such as creating health, weight loss and fitness.  Losing weight and getting fit are not simple projects to accomplish.  The blood, sweat, toil and tears are real and being a long process, your ‘why’ needs to be rock solid.

MAYBE THE COMBO?

All of this to let you know that I needed to make adjustments to my process shortly after I began the health/fitness quest.  I had resolved in the initial stages of my planning to add 500 steps per day to my routine until I reached the recommended 10,000 steps per day.  This proved to be much more difficult than I actually imagined.  500 additional steps doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’re used to being a couch potato and you haven’t exercised to any great extent in a very long time, going from 2,000 steps a day to 2,500 the next day is fairly simple.  Trying to get to 3,000 the next day is much more difficult. By the time I had reached 4,000 steps per day, getting to 4,500 the next day proved to be extremely challenging.  I still haven’t taken my eyes off the prize, so the ‘why’ is still solidly in place. But the process seems to have hit a plateau.  What to do?

IT’S OKAY TO CHANGE THE PROCESS

Realizing that if I didn’t make adjustments the mission could stall prompted me to re-evaluate and regenerate the process.  Apparently at this point in my metamorphosis, a step count increase of 500 per day was not terribly well thought out.  I had simply picked a number and flown with it.  So I  did some research, found that my initial process was flawed and changed the number to something more usually recommended by fitness gurus.  For the past two days I have again found myself in love with the process and the ‘why’ hasn’t changed.  I still know where I’m going.  It’s just going to take me a bit longer to get there.

NOT A FAILURE

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  That was Thomas Edison’s response when he was asked about the thousands of times he had not achieved his goal of creating a functional lightbulb.  I don’t see revamping the process as a failure.  I see it as a necessary change to the process to achieve my ‘why’.  Focus on the all-important ‘why’ and accept that it is okay to modify the process to achieve.  Focus on the destination but make sure you are loving the trip.  Sounds solid to to me.  Thanks, Nancy!

As you know, I end all blog posts with something to think about, but I suspect the quote from Edison above will serve that purpose today.

“Happy” Is The New Healthy

“Happy” Is The New Healthy

Those of you who follow this blog may have noticed that the focus of my ramblings has shifted slightly over the past couple of months.  There’s a reason for that.  I have become absolutely passionate about the role of ‘happiness’ in my life.  If you check the previous post, you will find a brief overview of the journey I am on that brought me to this conclusion.  Feel free to read that one for some context.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

Perhaps the shift has occurred as a result of the aging process (although I still feel like a teenager) or maybe as a result of some significant health challenges that reared their ugly heads a couple of years ago.  I like to think my focus has come back to core values and been bolstered by some incredible coaching that I have been blessed with recently.  Whatever the case, my research, passion for the subject and perhaps a greater understanding of what  most of society feels about happiness (66% of North Americans say they are unhappy) is where my thoughts are these days.

HAPPY IS THE NEW HEALTHY

Although there are many reasons people identify when talking about their unhappiness, they all seem to be an offshoot of what I believe is the core problem.  Health, fatigue and aches/pains seem to be the centre of the issue.  For example, some people indicate that their employment situation is the cause of their unhappiness.  Could that be because they are arriving at work sleep-deprived, irritable due to aches and pains or from stress?  See where I’m going with this?

It’s harder to concentrate on your work, relationships, finances or almost anything else important when you’re just not feeling well.  That doesn’t necessarily mean sick or injured.  In my case, I am blessed to wake up every morning happy.  Life is so much more wonderful when you get up that way.

LENGTHENING LIVES

In an article titled “Six Ways Happiness is Good For Your Health“, Kira M. Newman writes that happiness protects your heart, strengthens your immune system and combats stress, diseases and disability.  She notes that, “Recently, a critical mass of research has provided what might be the most basic and irrefutable argument in favor of happiness: Happiness and good health go hand-in-hand.

Over the past six months I have tested that hypothesis and can tell you without reservation that better health creates happiness and joy.  It is so much easier to face the work at hand when you feel terrific.  Relationships blossom when you get up each morning feeling happy and joyous.  No challenge is insurmountable when you have a smile on your face.

TAKE SIMPLE STEPS

Try it.  It’s that simple.  If the happier you are is directly proportional to how healthy you are, why not get healthy?  I’m not suggesting you rush out and buy up all the ‘happy’ programs on the market, or the ‘healthy’ programs either.  But a few simple steps that cost almost nothing may be in order:

  1.  Find someone that has the happiness factor you respect and ask them how they got there.  I, for one, would be absolutely honoured to share with you the strategies I use for free.  Helping people find happiness makes me feel happy so why not?

Pretty short list.  Great place to start.

As I always end with something to think about, here we go.  “To keep the body in good health is a duty.  Otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”  (Buddha)

 

On Searching For Happiness

On Searching For Happiness

Sixty six percent of people in North America aren’t happy.  That’s a really, really big number. Multiple  surveys confirm it.  Its not that they are unhappy or miserable.  They are just not ‘happy’.  Obviously something is missing.  Or several somethings.

I’ve been researching, studying and making changes in my life for the past nine months and there is a solution.  Perhaps not the solution that two thirds of the continent are looking for.  Perhaps not an easy answer as the solution requires some learning, some commitment and some plain old fashioned hard work.  But it worked for me.

For six of the past nine months, I have woken up every single morning with happiness and joy ( yes, joy) as my first thought.  I’m happy to be where I am, surrounded by people I love and  respect, doing the things I love to do and enjoying incredible leaps forward in health.  Life really doesn’t get any better than that.

“IF YOU WANT TO BE HAPPY, BE”

People are unhappy for a multitude of reasons, from health challenges to financial concerns, from relationship difficulties to employment problems.  But mostly they are just unhappy being who they are.  Mahatma Gandhi said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.”  Tolstoy wrote, “If you want to be happy, be.”  In a previous post, I mentioned a friend who’s joyful email created lasting happiness for me.  I found myself reading it again today.

Great motivator and mentor Richard Bliss Brooke believes that “to be happier, stronger and more powerful, the answer lies in Vision“.  It was Richard’s message that I internalized six months ago.  It is his message that started me on my journey of discovery and brought me to a place in my life where I truly experience happiness and joy every single day.

IT BEGINS WITH YOU

The good news is that the path to happiness is well researched and duplicatable.  It begins with you, ends with you and is totally dependant on you and your commitment to change.  From my perspective, it has been worth every minute of the past six months to get to this point in my life.

My mission is not only to be happy, but to create happiness around me with people that are motivated to take that first step.  And the first step is incredibly simple.  In fact, the first step requires only two words.  “Teach me”.

TEACH ME

Take a moment and think about your ‘happiness’ factor.  Do you wake up every morning happy and joyful?  Are you happy, truly happy about who you are, what you do and what you think?  This can be a gut-wrenching process if you are brutally honest with yourself.  I’m asking you to be brutally honest.  And if you believe that you can change, if you aren’t afraid to roll your sleeves up and get busy and that you have a true passion for learning, let me know.  Let’s chat about getting serious about getting happy.  Just enter “teach me” in the comment section directly below this article.  And by the way, I don’t charge for the assistance.  That’s another one of those magical, empowering ingredients that make me happy.

Ending as usual with something to think about.  “It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy.  It is what you think about.”  (Dale Carnegie)

On A Sad, Reflective Day

On A Sad, Reflective Day

One of the most important mentors in my life passed away yesterday.  I should probably mourn his loss.  But I can’t.  He won’t let me.

I won’t use his name in this article.  And I ask you, if you know him, not to use his name in any comments you may feel compelled to add at the bottom of this post.  He asked me not to and I will not break that trust.

I can’t help but think about all the things I could have said and all the ways I could have honored him.   Not that I didn’t do that while he was alive.  I just didn’t do it enough.  The man took me from meagre beginnings to an enlightenment of who I was, who I needed to be and how I needed to get there.

There is an old expression, when the student is ready the master appears, and I promise you that’s true.  He arrived in my life at a time when I truly needed him.  We grew from mentor/student to longtime friends.  And he added Ginger and I to his life and his family.  His wife of 45 years, his two exceptional children and grandchildren were his greatest joy.  They were all with him yesterday in a quiet, loving place.  All gave him hugs.  All said goodbye.  All told him how much he was loved.  Then he asked everyone else politely to leave and spent the last few moments of his wonderful life holding hands with the remarkable woman that was by his side for almost five decades.

His passing wasn’t a surprise.  He’d been ailing for several years and always the realist, he knew his time was limited.  He confided in those closest to him exactly what he wanted done when he passed.  Rather, the list should be called the things he didn’t want done.  For that reason, we are today honouring his legacy and his wishes by observing the following requests.

As he directed, there will be no public funeral.  No announcement of his passing will appear in the local newspaper.  And there will be no outpouring of grief.  Instead of what is considered the norm in our society, he simply wanted those he mentored to spend a few minutes today in quiet reflection of their own contributions to the world, not his.

So, in his honour, I have spent most of my day counting the blessings that were showered on me simply from knowing him.  And tonight, also in tribute, I will sit down and enjoy two fingers of scotch.  Neat.  No ice.  And I will say to no one in particular, “So a duck walks into a pharmacy”.

See you around my friend……

Regular readers know that I always close with something to think about.  Today’s is something he would have loved.  And he would have laughed.

“I am prepared to meet my Maker.  Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”  (William Shakespeare)