Tag: Brandy

Starting Out on The Meditation Journey

If meditation really works then we want to engage in it.

Those who watched the video that was the central component of yesterday’s post will not have missed the references by Ted Meissner that scientific, double-blind evidence shows that meditation offers benefits for us humans.

Both Jean and I are especially interested in learning more and, hopefully, finding an appropriate meditation group in our nearest town, Grants Pass.

We would also welcome feedback and advice from any of you good people who have trod this path before.

For example, when one conducts a quick internet search into the different forms of meditation there are dozens of websites that are returned in the search findings. Almost choosing one website at random, the Visual Meditation website declares there are 7 Types of Meditation.  As in:

  • Transcendental Meditation (TM)
  • Heart Rhythm Meditation (HRM)
  • Kundalini
  • Guided Visualization
  • Qi Gong
  • Zazen
  • Mindfulness

To my uneducated eye, not one of those types seems to accord with the type supported by the American Meditation Society:

OUR MISSION

  • To provide instruction in meditation as taught by the founder of AMS, Gururaj Ananda Yogi.
  • To preserve and share the universal teachings of Gururaj with integrity and wisdom.
  • To provide a place where those who wish to unfold the inner self may do so in the company of other like-minded people.

Back to the plot! For this post is about the science.

The following video seemed worthy of sharing with you.

I watched the first 10 minutes before deciding it should be shared. By the time this post is published Jean and I will have watched it to the end. [20:45 yesterday evening. Jean and I have just finished watching the Bob Roth video below. It was both fascinating and very helpful!!]

The Aspen Institute

Published on Jun 26, 2016

Published studies have documented the many physical and mental health benefits of meditation, including decreased pain, better immune function, less anxiety and depression, a heightened sense of well-being, and greater happiness and emotional self-control. Google Scholar turns up almost 700,000 research documents on meditation, among them imaging studies that show increased activity in brain regions associated with attention, a higher volume of grey matter, and lessened amygdala response to emotional stimuli. What actually happens in the brain when we meditate? Why is meditation so nourishing to the mind, body and spirit?

Perri Peltz, Interviewer
Bob Roth

But a search of the YouTube website using the search term “meditation science” brought up many other links to shorter videos.

I selected the following (2:23 mins) because it is presented by Ferris Jabr who is an Associate Editor with Scientific American magazine.

Bottom line to my way of thinking is that this is something worth committing to once we know much more about engaging in meditation.

Your experiences most welcomed.

(And, of course, when it comes to chilling out for hours regularly each day then there’s another thing we can learn from our beloved dogs! No better demonstrated than by Brandy yesterday morning in the following photograph!)

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Six

Forgive the indulgence today.

In last week’s Picture Parade it was mentioned that at some point I would share some of the sights of home.

Well today, all the photographs were taken here at home (that being Merlin, Southern Oregon). The motivation behind these photographs was learning the operation of a new camera that I recently treated myself with. That is turning out to be quite a task; the user manual is 510 pages long!

But in no particular order, here are a few pictures.

Brandy staying cool on the kitchen floor!

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Looking out to the East from the deck adjoining the house.

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Photo taken at 06:10 on the morning of the 25th July. That is Mount Sexton on the horizon and the view is towards the North-East, again taken from our deck. (I was playing with the exposure control on the camera.)

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Looking from the end of the deck towards the South down to where our stables are. Photo taken at 06:20 on the 28th shortly after I had put out feed for the deer that come most mornings.

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Taken at 06:10 on the 25th. This shows ‘Doris’ (the second) who has been sleeping under the trees overnight.

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Zoomed in a little closer to Doris and she looked up at me exactly when I took the photograph!

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Morning sky. Unusual to have cloudy skies at this time of the year. 06:20 on the 26th July.

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Our beautiful, gorgeous stag. He has been a regular visitor for the last two years. Taken at 06:10 on the 25th.

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Morning sky, with exposure adjustment, taken at 06:00 on the 25th July.

Can’t close without publicly thanking the wonderful photographic forum Ugly Hedgehog. With over 75,000 users it really is a superb place for all those interested in photography. The forum was invaluable in helping me decide what camera to purchase and, just as importantly, where to purchase it from.

Have a great week, everyone!

Yet another smile!

This “good news” theme is rather fun!

p1160817Overnight we had more snow, possibly something approaching 4 inches.

p1160820Now the challenge is seeing at what point we can drive out from the property to the main road. But leave that to worry about tomorrow.

It’s well-known that dogs love snow and are very curious about it. As Brandy is demonstrating below.

p1160822Plus the snowy conditions offer me a good introduction to an item recently published on the Care2 site.

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Daily Cute: Rescued Pit Bulls Enjoy a Snow Day

These pit bull pals are overjoyed to play in the snow!

See you all tomorrow!

Can’t resist adding …

…. that when it’s wet and miserable …

p1160526and the dogs don’t want to go out to play …

p1160527… not even go out on the rear deck …

p1160520…. curling up on the settee keeping Dad company seems like the only sensible course of action!

(These photographs were taken just ten minutes ago, Brandy to my right and Cleo to my left – the rain gauge now reading 0.27 in at 11:00 PDT. With the 1 in mark being passed at 15:45 PDT!)

Do dogs hold grudges?

Mary Nielson provides the answer

Yesterday lunchtime was a very stressful period. Because I was speaking to various members of the family in England but especially to my sister, Eleanor, who had come over from South Africa to be with my mother, and to Rose, my cousin, who lives in Baldock, Hertfordshire, and is being so supportive.

In the middle of all of this Brandy came across to the low table where the remains of my lunchtime sandwich were still on my plate and started helping himself. I was striding around the room speaking to Eleanor and when I spotted Brandy eating my lunch I really showed my anger. I shouted “No!” and prodded him hard in the back. Brandy slunk off giving me a really foul look.

Fifteen minutes later Jean and I took the dogs outside for their regular ‘after-lunch’ leg-stretch and Brandy kept his distance from me. I went across to Brandy: “Oh, Brandy! I am so sorry for being cross with you  Please forgive me.” There was real remorse in my voice and, undoubtedly, showing on my face too.

Brandy came over to me and nestled his wonderful, beautiful head against my thighs and I curled down and rubbed his chest with my left hand. As simply and as quickly as it could ever be, Brandy had forgiven me.

A short while ago I was approached by a Mary Neilsen who asked me if I would like her to write a post for Learning from Dogs. I agreed and in hindsight I am so pleased I did.

Read her wonderful post and you will understand why!

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Is Your Dog Holding a Grudge?

Your dog throws you that look – you know the one – and walks away. You’ve been snubbed! So what is causing this emotional outburst? Maybe your canine pal is holding a grudge.

What have I done now?” you might ask yourself. Depending on the circumstances, you may not be guilty of anything. You may just be misinterpreting that look – or yes, indeed, your furry friend may be paying you back for some grievance.

No pet owner is perfect. We all make mistakes. We accidentally step on our pet’s tail; take away a favorite toy; or abandon them to a night alone in the house. These are things that can set our dog to turn their backs on us to teach us a lesson – if only for a little while. But is it true? Do dogs really hold grudges?

The Experts Say No

If you live with guilt every time your furry friend gives you a sideways look, you are reading too much into it, say the experts. They don’t hold grudges and they don’t act in petty ways or seek revenge. [Ed: The dogs that is not the ‘experts’! Sorry; couldn’t resist!] Their emotional lives are not as complicated as humans. Dogs are more simple creatures. They live in the moment.

According to famed canine expert Cesar Millan, dogs don’t hold long-term grudges simply because they can’t. They don’t think that way. Sure, they may act miffed now, but will soon forget what’s bothering them and move past it.

People, on the other hand, tend to hold onto negative feelings and expressing that kind of anger or anxiety can make your dog react too. In other words, if you express prolonged feelings of guilt over slamming your dog’s paw in the screen door, he may react by steering clear. It is not the action that is causing him to distance himself from you for a while; it’s your reaction to the event. In other words, it is your angst causing him to act this way.

What We Can Learn From Our Dogs

There may be some who still believe dogs can (and do) hold grudges, while research shows this assumption incorrect. Even so, there is one thing most canine psychological experts agree on and it is that we can learn an important lesson from our canine counterparts: how to let go.

Humans have a really hard time letting go of our grievances. In a recent Gallop poll, more than two thirds of participants acknowledged the importance of forgiveness, yet less than half actually were able to forgive those who hurt them. That equals a lot of grudge holding going on.

While our dogs move past every infraction, humans tend to hold on, dwelling on our hurts and allowing them to rule our lives. This can cause relational issues; depression, or worse. But, when we take after our dogs and let go of those negative feelings we can experience such benefits as:

  • Happier Lives
  • Healthier relationships
  • Less anxiety and stress
  • Lower blood pressure & Heart rate
  • Stronger immune system

[Ed: read the Mayo Clinic article here about forgiveness that Mary referred to above.]

Take a look at your dog. He seems happy enough. Wouldn’t you like to be able to experience the kind of true joy and relaxation he does? The trick to that kind of contentment is learning how to let go of those grudges and live in the moment.

Yes, people are going to hurt us. That is simply life. But those hurts do not have to cause you chronic pain. Take a cue from your dog. Allow yourself to feel the pain in the moment, and then move on. You will discover that life is a lot more enjoyable that way.

About the Author

img-1102 Mary Nielsen is a passionate dog lover, blogger and part-time music teacher. She founded MySweetPuppy.net to share her ups and downs of being a pet parent to a bunch of adorable mutts. When she is not playing with them or teaching, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen.

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Please join with me in thanking Mary for such a delightful guest post and hoping that we will be reading more from her.

A Romantic Proposal in mind?

Just had to share this with you!

I sat down in front of my PC a little after 3pm. I was knackered, not to put too polite a spin on it! For the reason that since 9am this morning young Justin and I had been working outside repairing the front, road-side, boundary fence because our lovely Brandy had discovered a hole in it. Jean and I only becoming aware of that break in the fence when neighbouring residents, Dordie and Pam, on setting out for a bike ride yesterday, found Brandy waiting outside our front gate, which is a quarter-of-a-mile from our house. Brandy, as with all the other dogs that we have, is far too precious to delay mending the fence.

Jean and Brandy at our local yard sale last weekend.
Jean and Brandy at our local yard sale last weekend.

So, as I always do, when I can’t muster the creative juices is to see what’s sitting in my ‘blog’ mail folder.

Bingo.

The following recently was sent to me by neighbour Larry, his email simply saying, “Is this what they call “British Humor”??

Enjoy!

(P.S. Best to watch a little after you have eaten!)

Follow that, as they say!

Hazel is pulling through!

The powerful combination of good medicine and unconditional love.

In the last post on Hazel’s condition, back last Thursday, I passed on Dr. Codd’s observation, “… that by not having Hazel on her meds we were, of course, letting the fungal infection continue its damage.”

Dr. Codd also recommended reducing the dosage of the Fluconazole to lower its side effect of suppressing appetite.

So since then, with outstanding care and patience, Jean has been coaxing Hazel to eat just sufficient food for Hazel to be able to take the Fluconazole, for her fungal infection in her lungs, and Doxycycline, for her tick infection. (Mind you, Hazel is still a long way from eating reliably.)

Yesterday, (Saturday) Hazel was showing clear signs of feeling better but still having to be hand-fed by Jean.

Then this morning (Sunday) she really was perky and readily came out for a walk with the other dogs.

First time in recent days when Hazel has shown an interest in the world around her.
First time in recent days when Hazel has shown an interest in the world around her.

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A return of a gesture unique to Hazel that we haven't seen in ages! :-)
A return of a head gesture unique to Hazel that we haven’t seen in ages! 🙂

More generally, Dr. Jim was trying to track down supporting details to the observation made by Dr. Russ:

Namely, that there was evidence that fungal infections can lay dormat for quite long periods of time.

Jim sent me the following email:

Paul  …
The following article is the one and only reference I have found so far that refers to the possible dormancy of this fungal infection.  In paragraph 2 (Clinical Disease) I have highlighted it in red.  I have to admit, I was skeptical.
Jim

The article was:

Coccidioidomycosis (Zoonotic)
Last updated on 2/4/2011.

Contributors:
Rhea V. Morgan DVM, DACVIM, DACVO

Synonyms:
San Joaquin Valley Fever
Valley Fever

This is that domancy aspect from that paper that Jim highlighted (in red):

The incubation period in the dog is 1 to 3 weeks.1,2 The organism can remain dormant, with exposure preceding the onset of clinical signs by 3 years or more.1,3 Although people may acquire the disease from the same sources as domestic animals and the mycelial forms are highly infectious, with one exception the disease has not been transmitted from animals to people. One published report exists of transmission to a veterinary assistant via the bite of an infected cat.15

Meanwhile, over in Brandy’s corner, he has very quickly healed after his neutering operation last Thursday. It was fair to say that he was not a happy chappy when he arrived home that day.

Didn't like that!
Didn’t like that!

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And I can't even lick my balls!
And I can’t even lick my balls!

But his cone was off by Saturday and he is back to the wonderful, bouncing dog we all love so much. (Can’t believe that last Saturday was only the second week that Brandy had been with us; he has so quickly woven his way into all our hearts.)

Checking out the stables yesterday (Sunday) morning.
Checking out the stables yesterday (Sunday) morning.

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Behind that placid expression is the most docile, loving brain and heart one could ever wish for!
Behind that placid expression is the most docile, loving brain and heart one could ever wish for!

Returning to Hazel we are still some way from knowing that she has returned to a fully fit dog but the love and caring sent her way by all of you out there has been precious beyond imagination.

Thank You All!

Time – Like the flick of a finger.

Five years has just gone by in a flash.

A few weeks ago I was speaking to Larry, one of our lovely neighbours who, as with me, is the wrong side of 65 (as with me, by quite a lump) and he was bemoaning how more quickly time seems to pass by the older one gets. It had never previously crossed my mind but in that instant I knew exactly what Larry meant.

For today I have been a Permanent Resident (aka Green Card holder) for precisely five years. And in seven months time I will be 72 years old. Where did it all go!

So it seemed very appropriate for others who are staring at their ‘senior’ years to republish an item that recently appeared on the Dr. Sinatra website. It is all about the amazing benefits of regular exercise.

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To Live a Longer Life, Even Moderate Exercise Gives You Big Benefits

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, General Health
Last Reviewed 02/29/2016

As you know, exercise is essential for your heart and overall health. Now, a new study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise has quantified the powerful impact exercise can have on the length of your life.

For this study, researchers looked at data collected in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study which included 3,000 participants ages 50-79. All of the study participants wore highly sensitive activity trackers, called accelerometers, for seven days. Then, they compared the participants’ activity levels with recorded deaths during the following eight years. What they found is that the participants who had the lowest level of activity were five times more likely to have died during the follow-up period than those participants who had the highest activity level. Those with the lowest level of activity were also three times more likely to have died than those who had moderate activity levels.

There’s no question that inactivity is a prominent risk factor for many health problems, and even minimal amounts of regular activity can have immediate benefits. Plus, for seniors the benefits of exercise go far beyond good cardiovascular health, increasing strength and flexibility so you can stay independent in your senior years.

What Type of Exercise Should You Do?

My answer is always the one that you will enjoy and stick with for the long-term—whether it’s walking, tennis, dancing, swimming or another activity you enjoy. My personal favorites are pilates and yoga, which are good for range of motion, flexibility, and strength.

But regardless of the type of activity you choose, here are some tips to get you started:

  • If you haven’t exercised in a long time and you have a medical condition such as osteoarthritis or cardiovascular disease, talk to your doctor about what kind of limits you may need to abide by. You don’t want to take on more than your body can handle. Also, consider having your feet checked for irregularities that require shoe inserts.
  • Start slowly and pace yourself. Should you experience shortness of breath or pain in your chest or arms, see your doctor as soon as possible. If you feel ill, stop. If symptoms persist after 3–5 minutes of rest, seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms may occur up to an hour after exercising, so be mindful of how you feel as you cool down and resume your regular activities.
  • The joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles aren’t as forgiving as they were when we were younger, and they require an appropriate level of training. If you train with weights—even light ones—you must use correct form to avoid microtrauma and aggravation to joints. A personal trainer who is experienced in working with middle-agers and seniors can help with this. Long term, strengthening the muscles around ailing joints can help reduce pain.
  • Warning signs that you may be doing too much exercise include light-headedness or dizziness, palpitations, jaw pain, tingling or numbness in the arms, a tight feeling in the lungs, and shortness of breath (being unable to carry on a conversation).

Now it’s your turn: What are your exercise goals?

You May Also Be Interested In:

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 And to close this post with nothing at all to do with exercise but everything to do with loving a dog, here’s a picture of Brandy taken on Tuesday morning.

Very good exercise for the heart! :-)
Very good exercise for the heart! 🙂