Learning from Dogs

Dogs are integrous animals. We have much to learn from them.

Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

Easter weekend reflection

leave a comment »

As read over on Find Your Middle Ground.

For Christians the world over the Easter weekend is the religious moment of the year.

For all of humanity, believers and non-believers alike, the following simple but powerful words ought to be a reminder of eternal values for every day of the year.

ooOOoo

Today’s Quote from Theresa

Beautiful words and image from Theresa at Soul Gatherings. Let it settle in.💛

Originally posted on Soul Gatherings:

purple-trees

In the end, only three things matter:
how much you loved,
how gently you lived,
and how gracefully you let go of things
not meant for you.

~ The Buddha ~

ooOOoo

Thanks Val for allowing me to republish this. (Val Boyco of Find Your Middle Ground.)

Written by Paul Handover

April 4, 2015 at 00:00

Misery Is Optional

with 3 comments

Another guest essay from the old lamplighter.

It seems to me that it is so incredibly easy to be influenced, even engulfed, by bad news.

Back on the 20th I posted an item that had been sent to me by John Hurlburt, who is the old lamplighter, called Interstellar News.

Here’s another essay from John that is a great reminder of that old adage: We are what we think.

ooOOoo

Lost

Misery Is Optional

There’s always been a delicate balance in the struggle between growth and stagnation. The emerging universe invariably prevails. The good news is that absolutely insisting upon the denial of reality naturally backfires in the long run. Common sense has repeatedly saved our collective bacon from the fire as our species has faced former crises. The stakes have never been higher.

There’s a natural balance that runs through our relatively brief species history. Extreme cultural alternatives include plutocracy and anarchy. There’s no question that if we’re not an active supporter of an inclusive solution we contribute to our collective dissolution.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned. There’s a current global analogy. Global media communications reflect hate, divisiveness and violence. The obvious truth is essentially ignored. A result is our present state of angst, paranoia and associated stress disorders. We compensate with bread and circuses.

Indifference doesn’t have to be a local reality. We’re all naturally connected in whatever we conceive of as God. We share a common soul. If we are wise we’ll act accordingly. We’ll accept our inherent responsibilities as stewards of Creation. The fulfilment of positive actions in according with the nature of our being is a blessing that keeps on giving.

an old lamplighter

ooOOoo

These are beautiful words and whatever one’s religious or spiritual convictions if we don’t recognise that we are all “naturally connected” then it won’t be long before we run out of bread and circuses – and deservedly so.

Going to close this post by using the following picture and quotation taken from the latest Terry Hershey newsletter.

Machado

Beyond living and dreaming
there is something more important: waking up.

Antonio Machado

Call of the wild.

with 4 comments

A Monday morning reminder of our beautiful planet.

American Wilderness: The John Moulton Barn on Mormon Row at the base of the Tetons. Photo: Jon Sullivan

American Wilderness: The John Moulton Barn on Mormon Row at the base of the Tetons. Photo: Jon Sullivan

Just a random picture found by doing a web search. (Actually found on what looks like a great blog: I am Wilderness.)

This morning’s post was prompted by listening to one of my favourite music groups: The Alan Parsons Band. Listening to this particular track: Call of the Wild. From his third solo album The Time Machine released in September, 1999.

Lyrics written by Ian Bairnson

Well I’ve talked to the wind and I’ve listened to rain,
I have climbed to the clouds and I’ve cried out with pain,
This life is for living so come to my side,
And open your heart to the call of the wild.

We are all of one nation, all of one creed,
We are all out of nature, all of one seed,
We are in this together, man, woman and child,
So open your heart to the call of the wild.

We talk the same language in different tongues,
We’re somebody’s daughters and somebody’s sons,
But those who believe we are head of the chain,
May wake up to find we are all that remain.

There is no need to fear what we don’t understand,
For we breathe the same air and we walk the same land,
The strong and the anxious, the meek and the mild,
All dance to the drum that’s the call of the wild.

Impossible to listen to this beautiful track and not reflect on how badly we are treating Mother Earth.

Written by Paul Handover

March 30, 2015 at 00:00

Interstellar News

leave a comment »

In celebration of the 2015 Spring Equinox.

space-graphics-planet-earth-stars-moon-3d

 

The moment of the equinox is Friday, March 20, 2015 at 22:45 UTC.

I want to share something with you that was sent in the mail to Jean and me two days ago.

Interstellar News

The essence of a shadow is the energy of the leading edge of Creation.

The dominant species on a remote, possibly unique, planet called Earth has as yet to learn that life is the essence of a shadow.

As a result, the self-centred dominant species on this possibly unique planet appear to self-destruct. The shame and the pity are that a majority of life on the beautiful and evolving planet will accompany the selfish human species into the void of biological extinction.

The good news is that although extinctions have not been previously caused by dominant life forms on planet Earth, multiple mass extinctions have taken place. Life has regenerated every time. The planet will create new life and consciousness as it heals.

The Nature of Creation always wins. Stay tuned to learn if humans wake up in time.

AOL Universal Communications

Picking up on that last sentence, humans will wake up in time if we learn to care for each other and the environment as Nature’s animals have done for ever.

Just watch this short video of a mother wolf and her four one-week-old pups as evidence of the power of caring.

Written by Paul Handover

March 20, 2015 at 00:00

More on Danna Faulds

with 2 comments

Captivating ideas, thoughts and words.

(NB: I am presently away with my son enjoying the Wintry delights of Bend, Or and Mount Bachelor.)

In yesterday’s post, Be good to yourself, I featured a poem from Danna Faulds.  I had not come across her before and this time around it was thanks to a recent post over on Val Boyco’s blog Find Your Middle Ground.

It didn’t take much effort to find more beautiful ideas from Ms. Faulds. Try these, for example:

Awakening Now
by Danna Faulds

Why wait for your awakening?
Do you value your reasons for staying small
more than the light shining through the open door?
Forgive yourself,
Forgive yourself.
Now is the only time you have to be whole.
Now.
Now is the sole moment that exists to live in the light of your true nature.
Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.
Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.
Please, oh please, don’t continue to believe
in your stories of deficiency and failure.
This is the day of your awakening.

Elsewhere, on a yoga website, we learn that Danna is:

Danna Faulds, poet and dedicated practitioner of Kripalu Yoga, is the author of four popular books of yoga poetry: Go In and In; One Soul; Prayers to the Infinite; and From Root to Bloom. She credits Kripalu Yoga and expressive writing with transforming her life.

Another web search very quickly finds this item over on the All Things Healing blogsite.

ooOOoo

Allow

by Danna Faulds

Editor’s Note from Diane Renz: I have just returned from the Center for Mindfulness Scientific conference, a powerful gathering for all teachers, researchers, clinicians, and practitioners engaged in Mindfulness in the world. The Center for Mindfulness if the base point for Jon Kabat Zinn’s MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) program developed over 30 years ago which, through science, has proven to benefit psychological, physiological, emotional, cognitive, and the many neural correlates relative to well-being. The last day we had the chance to practice mindfulness with Jon Kabat Zinn, Saki Santorelli, Florence Meleo-Meyer, Bob Stahl, which is where I first heard the Poem here called “Allow”. It is through our allowing where we each find our healing and return to our wholeness. In light of spring and all rebirth and beginning again, learning how to turn toward our pain so we can open to bright new growth rising up from the dark compost of our suffering.

869721_blue_bolt(1)

There is no controlling life. 

Try corralling a lightning bolt,

containing a tornado. Dam a

stream and it will create a new

channel. Resist, and the tide

will sweep you off your feet.

Allow, and grace will carry

you to higher ground. The only

safety lies in letting it all in –

the wild and the weak; fear,

fantasies, failures and success.

When loss rips off the doors of

the heart, or sadness veils your

vision with despair, practice

becomes simply bearing the truth.

In the choice to let go of your

known way of being, the whole

world is revealed to your new eyes.

ooOOoo

Again from that All Things Healing website:

About the Author

Danna Faulds is a long-term practitioner and teacher of Kripalu Yoga. A former librarian, she incorporated writing into her spiritual practices DannaFauldsyears ago, and this book is the result. Drawing inspiration from yoga and meditation, from the natural world, and from life, her poems capture both the struggle and the delight of the attempt to live consciously, in a voice that always encourages and uplifts. Common themes include awakening to true nature, touching the divinity within, overcoming fear and self-judgement, and the ineffable joy of spiritual union.

Written by Paul Handover

February 27, 2015 at 00:00

The Pen

with 7 comments

Reflections on what makes us who we are.

(This is a two-part post, with the concluding part tomorrow.)

My father was born on June 15th, 1901.

Here is a photograph taken of him on his twenty-first birthday.

asasas

Frederick William Handover – June 15th, 1922

He was an architect for Barclay Perkins & Co., a London firm of brewers.  Here are the opening words of the Wikipedia entry.

The Anchor Brewery was an English brewery located in Southwark, London. Established in 1616, by the early nineteenth century it was the largest brewery in the world. From 1781 it was operated by Barclay Perkins & Co, who merged with Courage in 1955. The brewery was demolished in 1981.

A Barclays Public House in Southgate, London N1. Picture from The Brewery History Society.

A Barclays Public House in Southgate, London N1. Picture from The Brewery History Society.

I was born in November, 1944 and at the start of the school year in September 1956, me aged eleven, I started in the first term of Preston Manor County Grammar School near Preston Road, Wembley, just a few miles from where we all lived. (Mother, father, me and Elizabeth, my younger sister by four years.) Frankly, I had been regarded as a bit of a dreamer at my primary school and more than a few were surprised that I passed the ’11+’ exams, a prerequisite for attending a grammar school in those days.

I became twelve-years-old in November, 1956. Just six weeks after my twelfth birthday, on the evening of December 19th, 1956, my mother, as normal, came into my bedroom to kiss me goodnight. However, what transpired was very far from normal.

For she sat down on the edge of the bed and told me that my father was not well and may not live for much longer. To this day, I can still see her sitting on the edge of the bed, adjacent to my knees covered by the sheet and bedcover, a very drawn look on her face.

I had been aware of my father being at home in bed for a while but had no notion whatsoever, prior to this moment, that he was seriously unwell. In hindsight, it was more than I could emotionally embrace for not only did I not go back into my parent’s bedroom and again say goodnight to my father, I went off to sleep without any problem.

During that night, in the early hours of December 20th, my father died, the family doctor attended and my father’s body was removed; I slept through it all and awoke in the morning to find my father gone.

Now fast forward just a few years.

It’s too long ago now for me to recall who it was who gave me my father’s fountain pen that he used on a daily basis when he was alive. It is a Sheaffer Crest Snorkel with a 14K gold Triumph nib with a platinum plated tip.

I have had the pen for nearly sixty years and treasure it, as you can imagine.  But in recent times it was not functioning properly and I put it down to old age, and transferred to a modern pen.

By a wonderful stroke of luck I recently came across an American company, Pendemonium, who restore and service a wide range of pens, including Sheaffer pens of the age of my father’s pen; that particular model first was produced in 1952.

On Saturday, the restored Sheaffer pen was sent back to me.  It is a real joy to find that it writes so well and remains a living memory of my father from so long ago.

My father's Sheaffer fountain pen.

My father’s Sheaffer fountain pen.

Now all you dear readers must be wondering just what on earth I’m rambling on about!

My answer will be offered in Part Two that will be posted tomorrow.

But I will give you a clue.

Go across to Sue Dreamwalker’s blogsite and read her recent post Cracking our Inner Shells!

See you tomorrow.

Caring changes lives

with 8 comments

Possibly the most important lesson to be learnt from dogs.

As is the way, a number of separate happenings seemed to be ‘singing from the same song sheet’ in bringing about today’s post.

Earlier yesterday morning Jean and I had a meeting with the executive director of an important charity that is helping the many homeless and disadvantaged young persons in this part of Oregon. For example, Jean and I were told that there were 300-500 homeless teenagers in Josephine County alone (Josephine County is where our home is.)

One of the ideas that was floated in the conversation was how kids are so loving to animals and whether our dogs and horses might help.

Then later, when back home, I recalled that over two years ago I published a post called Sticks and stones.

It wasn’t a long post and is republished now.

oooo

Sticks and stones

I make no apologies for today’s post being more emotional and sentimental. The phrase ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me‘ is well known throughout the English-speaking world and surprisingly goes back some way.  A quick web search found that in the The Christian Recorder of March 1862, there was this comment:

Remember the old adage, ‘Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me’. True courage consists in doing what is right, despite the jeers and sneers of our companions.

So if in 1862 the saying was referred to as an ‘old adage’ then it clearly pre-dated 1862 by some degree. A few days ago, Dusty M., here in Payson, AZ, sent me a short YouTube video called The Power of Words.  I’m as vulnerable as the next guy to needing being reminded about what’s important in this funny old world.

Then I started mulling over the tendency for all of us to be sucked into a well of doom and gloom.  Take my posts on Learning from Dogs over the last couple of days, as an example. There is no question that the world in which we all live is going through some extremely challenging times but anger and negativity is not going to be the answer.  As that old reference spelt out so clearly, “True courage consists in doing what is right, despite the jeers and sneers of our companions.” So first watch the video,

then let me close by reminding us all that courage is yet something else we can learn from dogs.

Togo the husky

In 1925, a ravaging case of diphtheria broke out in the isolated Alaskan village of Nome. No plane or ship could get the serum there, so the decision was made for multiple sled dog teams to relay the medicine across the treacherous frozen land. The dog that often gets credit for eventually saving the town is Balto, but he just happened to run the last, 55-mile leg in the race. The sled dog who did the lion’s share of the work was Togo. His journey, fraught with white-out storms, was the longest by 200 miles and included a traverse across perilous Norton Sound — where he saved his team and driver in a courageous swim through ice floes.

More about Togo another day.

oooo

 One of the comments left to that post back in November, 2012 was from Virginia Hamilton. Her website, Canine Commandos, is about just that: dogs helping youngsters. This is what Virginia wrote:

Our sermon today was about sticks and stones which is perfect timing because my sixth graders are throwing words at each other and it is hurting. So I looked up the phrase and found you. We were shown the video in a faculty meeting and since you tie into dogs I was hoping to find “the answer.” When you look at the website you’ll see out community project where I have twenty schools training in three shelters. One would think that because these kids are so loving to the animals that they could pass that kindness to each other. Any words of wisdom? Also check this out. Thank you, Virginia.

Now I would be the first to admit that there’s a difference between a homeless young person and a gifted young person. Yet the difference may not be so great. In this one sense: that caring for an animal changes lives and what young people, from all backgrounds and circumstances, need to learn is the power of unconditional love.

Not just caring for dogs, horses and cats, by the way.

Wild deer trusting Jean.

Wild deer trusting Jean.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,456 other followers

%d bloggers like this: