Saturday. Well here it is, finally. My Happy New Year post. A bit delayed because I’m sad to note that my dear father finally passed away on Dec. 30th after 1 year of home hospice care. He passed away on his 62nd wedding anniversary and finally joins with my mother. I know he was is deep emotional pain that he could not express and I am very happy that he can be freed from that suffering. In the two months that had passed, we are all quite sure my mother was checking out the lay of the land and was finally ready to get Dad and bring him along on their next journey. I’ve written extensively in the past about what a great man my father was. I will leave it at this — he was the kindest, most generous and peaceful man I have ever met. Never a cross word out of his mouth. Never a word of gossip. Never a word of hatred or belittlement. He worked hard his entire life. He was a great husband and father. Although he never went to church, he lived the lifestyle so many religious people talk about but rarely follow. I used to call him my Buddha. And now that I know Buddha simply means the Awakened or Enlightened one I know it is true.
So now my friends are getting jobs, having babies and life is moving forward with lots of promise for a better 2013 than a 2012 (2011, 2010 and 2009 while I’m at it). I have had a bit of difficulty getting motivated over the last two weeks to do “work-outs” though I have done a lot of hiking and walking and cleaning. We had some beautiful snow for the last couple of weeks and I did take advantage of it by taking out my cross-country skis (hard to walk Higgins while on skis) and my showshoes. Snowshoes were much more effective. But as far as real workouts (spin class, core work or actual running) I’ve done zilch. But today that changes.
I have appreciated my coach adapting my workouts and breaking-up my schedule into smaller modules so I don’t feel quite so overwhelmed. I started to feel a little sluggish and blue the last week and I was really aware of the amount of crap I was eating and drinking so I knew a lot of what I was feeling was the white flour, white sugar monster who is a real mood drainer.
I was extra zonked yesterday after a fun whirlwind trip into NYC to see a concert. I went to bed really early last night and woke up very early this morning. I decided I needed to start my New Year today. I needed a fridge full of green, red and yellow fruits and veggies. I had not had any kale in a long time. I had been eating spinach and mushrooms every morning with my local cage-free, organic, humane eggs. Yep you heard it right. I’m eating eggs. Not just any eggs but as long as they are certified human and hormone free, I’ve decided okay to eat them. There are so many farms here that they grocery stores carry the local eggs. I’ve also been getting some rennet-free organic cheese at my local health food store and I’ve had that several times. I’m still eating as cruelty free as I can and I’m not going to eat any actual animal meat (though I do feed organic dog food with chicken to Higgins). I feel okay with my decision. There is never a way to be totally cruelty-free but I guess everyone has to draw their own boundaries.
So 6 a.m. I was in the grocery store and I bought everything I would need for five days worth of good, green eating. I’m making the kale, avocado, carrot, raisin, sunflower seed salad for lunch today. I bought a bunch of veggies for a good roasting. I also bought enough greens to try to make a few green drinks this week. No promises to do anything everyday. Just my promise to be as mindful and present and eating as green as I can.
Today I’m taking Higgins for a nice walk in the park. He is already a great hiking and walking partner. We have been exploring all the trails behind our house and having fun with that. He’s four months old now. Google search results say walks should be 5 minutes for each month. That would be a 20 minute walk. HA! 1 hour 30 minutes he’s looking at me like I’m a wimp. 1 hour 45 he is starting to show a slow down. Ideal is two, one hour walks. No running yet, his little joints are not settled yet though I don’t think they are talking about my kind of running. Higgins can out run me any day.
I don’t want to brag but I have to. He might be the smartest dog on the planet. I’m serious. Every day that I work with him he does more and more. Sit, down, stay — old stuff to him now. We almost have fetch down but he gets bored with that after a few times and leaves the ball in the bushes. But he’ll bring me the ball 3-4 times. We had been working on shake (give me your paw.) Yesterday I said paw and he put his paw right in my hand. He is so smart I have been studying obedience training books because I think he might want to do some of those obstacle course thingies when he is older.
Last week we started classes. I LOVE the trainer. I think I might have scared her a little with my enthusiasm but she is exactly the kind of dog trainer that I wanted. She has been training dogs for over 20 years and started with training police dogs using the old method of aversion training (dogs do something in order to avoid punishment.) But now the school of thought is reward-based training which is what she advocates. She gave us an amazing demo of showing how she got her pitt bull to go stand in the middle of a colored hoop that the class chose. (Four colors and we chose purple). Without saying anything other than yes and using a clicker. Within about five minutes, she had that dog going to and picking that purple hoop. It was so inspiring! I want to be able to communicate with Higgins like that.
And as I observe how happy Higgins is to please me — when I am happy with his performance he is so obviously happy back I’ve been thinking about my own training. I think I’ve always employed the aversion approach — training to avoid the pain of failure. I’m wondering how I can start moving toward a more reward based training. Focus on the positive feelings which I do get when I actually go to class or do something new. I’m still mulling it over.
I am declaring Monday my official New Year. I’ve got the veggies and the plan. I’ve had my rest. Now it is time to get Higgins and my training under way.
Namaste and Happy New Year