Dogs Train Us

I contributed this article to Eleven Asia, and the article is reproduced below.

Dogs Train Us!

As my children were growing up, I had a beautiful golden retriever called Jerry.

Jerry was a devoted family member.

He used to seek attention from me, and my children, who were toddlers then. As I returned home from work, with the children running towards me to welcome me home, there was also Jerry, clumsily knocking my toddlers down, in love with me and behaving just like an eager child. Torn between scolding him and yet loving him for his display of unconditional love – Jerry taught me to treat him as a human and see the qualities of a child in him, innocent and pure.

In his later years, as he mellowed down, he became my pillar of strength as I walked the journey of divorce.

Having the children away from me with their Dad was difficult. The memories of how we were once a family came flooding back and I had Jerry, my dog and companion, to comfort me. Seeking solace in him when I teared as my children were split apart living in separate households, his state of acceptance and just being still and calm, gave me the strength that “this too shall pass.”

With time, wounds healed, I adjusted and moved along the path of forgiveness and made peace with the divorce.  

As my dog became older, inevitably nearing his time of departure at the ripe old age of 15 years, he started developing health problems and the vet said that it was time for him to go. I refused to let go and held on and tried to prolong his life, for selfish reasons. My dear friend told me that it was cruel of me to let him suffer as Jerry, being unconditionally loving, will wait until I accept his demise, even when he was suffering.

As he heaved his last breath, I heard his relief and felt his peace. Even in his suffering, Jerry still loved wholeheartedly and patiently waited for me to come to terms with his demise, in my own terms.

He taught me about unconditional love, even at the expense of his own suffering. A wonderful teacher he was and I still miss him until today.

Soon after Loki, a mongrel dog with an abusive past came along and shocked me with his behaviour. He was just 6 months old but was extremely energetic and aggressive. Biting the wooden table, sofa set, shoes, wallets and delicate undergarments, he was a menace at home with his rowdy behaviour. There were times I regretted adopting him and yet when he sleeps, he looks like an angel and I persevered to be more patient with him.

After trying the usual disciplinary methods of scolding and punishing, which did not work, I resorted to hiring dog trainers to teach me how to handle Loki. After having Jerry for 15 years, I never thought that I would resort to being trained to handle a dog. Not just by one dog trainer but three!

While it was so easy to give up on a dog due to his aggressive behaviour, I stayed true to my intention that when I adopt, I will keep him for his entire life. This gave me the determination to continue to learn on training Loki. I understood more about him, his nervous personality and how the trauma he had gone through in his earlier months. They certainly did not go away that easily.

He taught me patience and faith that things will improve.

It slowly did and now he welcomes people into my home, first with barking and then with his paw and his face settling on the person’s lap.

Came along another dog, Jester, a blind and deaf Cocker Spaniel who is 15 years old. A very easy-going personality with lots of determination, to the point of being extremely stubborn. As he is partially blind, he would persistently knock his head into walls and corners. Despite all the knocks, he continued exploring the place and became comfortable and felt at home in the new environment.

 

Can you teach an old dog new tricks? I could not toilet train him to pee on paper but he learnt to use his paw to swap the railing to be released from the place he was toilet trained. Despite his blindness, he used his sense of smell to steal food whenever he can. Determined he certainly was, to learn what he wanted to learn.

He taught me that perseverance pays but comes with its own knocks and hits.

My latest addition is Kayla, my joyful puppy who is 9 months old. A delightful girl filled with sunshine energy. If she had a Facebook account, she would like everything. She simply adores everyone who comes to visit me, licking them and showing them the utmost affection. Sometimes so much that it can be overwhelming, and people have to keep her at bay. She still keeps on being her cheerful self, undeterred by people’s reaction.

Healing @ Workplace

Healing at Workplaces

Our workplaces, where we spend most of our time physically and mentally, drains us and sometimes zaps our energy levels, leaving us unbalanced, agitated and simply stressed.  As much as we seek to restore ourselves, by vacations or spa retreats, the root of the problems remains unresolved.  Once we go back to work, after our vacation break, we simply plunge in and feel the stress coming back to us all over again.

Is there no way out of this rut, we think and we start finger pointing on this person, or this project or the client and etc. Did we look within to ask, how we contributed to the situation? How can the unhappiness we feel, be due to us?  It does not make sense.  It is the external situation, or people or dynamics or hierarchies or backstabbing that caused all the stress and it is clear to us that we may be the victims or may not have much choice in the workplace.  The havoc at the workplace ultimately washes away our happiness, rips out our joy and dissolves our peace, leaving us all very much in need of healing.

Healing to repair and restore our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual states and rejuvenating us to be complete and balanced again.  Healing is simply being restored to our true state, ie being balanced, peaceful, joyful and in harmony within and with all around us.  With a smile from the heart, peace radiating from every pore of our body and glowing with the brilliance of the divine within us.  With the huge variety of the healing modalities, some being spiritual, some religious, and some magical, creating unsureness and doubts, making “healing” a taboo word.  Yet, at the core, everyone is need of this, especially in this fast-paced stressful lifestyle that we lead.

How can we be healed at our workplaces? How can we be mindful of our actions, words, emotions that can contribute to the havoc, despair and distress? And how can we prevent the havoc from the workplace from permeating into our personal lives, to our family and friends?

The answer is simple but profound.  Taking care of our inner world will reduce the unease of the outer world.  If we change ourselves within, from our thoughts, words and deeds, then the impact of the “havoc” of the outer world will reduce and slowly with constant vigilance of our inner world, we can conquer our stressed state.  How is this possible?  In this time challenged period that we live in, we are constantly giving our attention to many things happening on the outside leaving us tired to give attention to ourselves within.

Within us, lies an oasis of inner calm and peace that remains unshattered by all that is happening on the outside.  How do we delve into this oasis, that can lift and ascend us to a state of peace and fulfilment? One of the ways is Meditation.  Mindfully meditating towards the inner peace that resides in us all.

How would it be that all in the workplace are deeply connected to their inner world, in an utter state of complete awareness of how their actions, word affects the outer world and all those around them.  Colleagues, peers, bosses, and all through the hierarchy are mindful to bring about peace and harmony at the workplace.  Disputes that are resolved in harmony and bargains and negotiations in equanimity. Silo mentalities (ie turf wars) between the departments at the workplace are dissolved in the spirit of oneness with a united goal, for the welfare of the people at the workplace.  Animosity ending in understanding and forgiveness.  A sense of well-being permeating at the workplace.  Each person taking responsibility for the state of their own inner world and each emanating the peace until the workplace is filled with harmony.  How can we make this happen at the workplace?

What are some of the initiatives for Healing at the Workplace?

  • Meditation in small group sessions to truly practice and sustain
  • Awareness of our emotional states and developing the emotional balance
  • Cultivating the inner strength and forbearance through wisdom

How do you begin Healing @ the Workplace?  We can start with simple steps to take a pause and go inner.

    1. Short meditation to simply be still and sit from 5 to 10 minutes.  Just focussing on the breathing. It helps to refresh and lets you take a breather from the stress.
    2. Taking a short walk, with no destination in mind.  To simply walk for a while, to simply be present in the moment.  Getting away from the office temporarily helps to clear your mind and is a good pause, away from the busy hustle and bustle of work.
    3. Sounds can be soothing.  It can be a soothing mantra, or sounds of the water or the forest or music that you like, which brings you to a meditative and peaceful mood
    4. When the mind is bombarding you with a constant stream of thoughts and makes your stress levels go higher, you can take a prayer bead, rosary or anything that reminds you of the divine or of your faith.  It is so peaceful just to be reminded of the faith, that the Divine is of the unconditional love and acceptance and the peace that surrounds you as you feel so light, as we surrender all our burdens to the Divine.

 

(photo credit : by rawpixel.com on Unsplash )

Simply Ponder

Simply Ponder

(photo credit. : Photo by Warren Coetzer on Unsplash)

Once, when I was busy doing the stuff that I needed to do, I paused in the midst of my work, sat still and just pondered.  To truly ponder is hard when the mind keeps intervening to say, “this is wasting time, get back to work.”

Ponder is to be still, with the quietening of the chatter in the head and just watching.  Watching my breath, observing my body movements and seeing the thoughts flowing by.  Being still, being quiet, being watchful to be alert not to slip back to work mode or get distracted.

In this state, I started daydreaming.  What if, I said to myself, and allowed myself to soar high in my aspirations and just take flight.  Flying high and so effortlessly, with no burdens and being totally free.  Totally free of inhibitions, expectations, judgments, should and musts and simply being me.

To be carefree and so clear in my thoughts.  With purity, joy and innocence in all that I am daydreaming and visualizing.  Like the way an eagle flies high up in clear skies with clarity in the horizon.  Take flight in our imagination of all the possibilities for ourselves, without any worries.

As a bird flies with its wing spread wide and letting itself glide in the wind and allowing the wind to steer the bird towards the various directions, in the same way, letting ourselves be free and letting our inner guidance be the compass like the wind.

In this free unlimited way, as we soar, we can allow ourselves to just be, just glide, just flow and most importantly be free.  Free from our mind, our patterns of behavior, which can be fixed, or maybe fitting to norms of the society.  In this state, we can rise as high or go low just to experience, just to float.

What does this achieve?

Simply nothing, as there was no agenda or a destination in the first place.  To simply flow with the direction of the wind like the bird, is very liberating.

We live in a world where we conform very easily, very mindlessly that we deliberately need to catch ourselves on it.  We do it without even making a choice, as it seems like such a naturel thing to do.  In the first place, we are meant to be curious and be childlike in all that we explore.  The creativity and the zeal to explore and experiment are so far deeply hidden inside us, all covered up with conformity.

We wake up in the morning and we are busy bees hurrying about our routines to either get to work or studies and we are so lost in our “to-do” lists, meetings and tasks that we forget to ponder until something reminds us of it.

Let’s be busy mindfully, not mindlessly lost in tasks

Let’s be happily pondering in short intervals in the day, instead of being interrupted by gossip or actions that are useless.

Let’s be experimental and explorative instead of routinely doing what we are used to doing

Let’s be still and pause a moment instead of busily hurrying to activities, events or appointments

Let’s just be, Let’s Be, Let’s Breathe, Let’s Pause and Simply Ponder…

 

News – Article on Meditation Circle featured in “Singapore n Beyond”

In the article written on Meditation Classes in Singapore, the Meditation Circle that I conduct was featured.  Natalia Padgen, the writer of the article, had a Meditation session with me, which led to this article.

Enjoy the read and discover other practitioners who are also offering on Meditation.

Meditation Classes in Singapore: Great classes to open your heart & mind

Natalia shared that she is also offering energy healing and is currently pursuing courses to further develop herself.  Details can be found at https://www.facebook.com/energeticnurture/