11 Lessons Learned From My Corgi

1. Be like Taylor Swift and “Shake It Off.” No really, my dog is resilient. One night while we were on our nightly walk and I stepped on the back of her leg. She, understandably let out a yelp that could have cut glass. I felt terrible, lowest of the low but then she just kept walking, didn’t miss a beat. In fact, she didn’t limp, she just got over it and kept moving. Onward and upward.

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(^My dog’s higher self)

2. Accept and love your body, be a body paws-itive warrior. My dog has been called fat by too many people to count. The truth is, she is actually a runt as far as most corgi’s are concerned, we restrict her food and occasionally give her treats and she’s at a healthy weight. Our vet has confirmed this on several visits. However, as my husband recently pointed out, does she let herself feel shame next to a Chihuahua? No, and why should she, she’s a corgi, she’s built the way she is and it’s okay.

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3.Be vulnerable and present- really present, when you see somebody greet them like you haven’t seen them in forever and you missed them. Don’t be afraid to show someone how much you care because very often you will get lavished with either symbolic or real belly rubs as result of your willingness to show your affection.

4.When you feel overwhelmed, take some time to be alone. It never fails that when company comes over, that sometimes our little darling can get a little over extended, when that happens she always knows how to find her bed, where she can go and re-charge a bit if needed.

5.Enjoy the grass, so many of us just view grass as a means of getting us to where we actually want to go, not so for our pup. She not only smells and enjoys the grass she happily writhes in it. I don’t know if I will join her completely but if nothing else, her sense of wonder about something as simple as grass is really adorable and perspective shifting.

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(Not my doggie, but easily could be)

6.Always look where you’re going. I lovingly call Ashlynn, Captain Underfoot, because as her nickname implies, wherever I am going, she is going there too, under my feet. Not to mention how her squeaky toys have almost lead to me face planting on more than one occasion. What’s the best is when I was first learning of her skill to hear a squeak no matter how barely perceptible, no matter where she is in the house, I would step down, hear a squeak and before I know it, a lightning bolt of a corgi would be right there ready to nudge my foot ever so gently further away from her toy which leads me to…

7.It’s not about me. Just like how Ashlynn just can’t help but knock me over to get her toy, many times, fellow humans do the same thing symbolically in my day to day life. I work in a health and benefits call center and one of the hardest parts of the jobs is being treated as if I am incompetent or as if I need to hurry up and ‘release the toy under my foot’ which in actuality is not a toy but a dispensing of someone’s health related information. When people inevitably emotionally rock me, which can feel disorienting and like I am going to do an emotional face plant, I have to remember, it’s not about me, it’s about them wanting their toy. This toy gives them joy, a sense of purpose, a sense of peace in a world that feels beyond their control.

8.It’s okay not to be in control of everything, no matter what happens, go with the flow and take each moment as it comes. Forgive, forgive often and don’t keep a record of those who have wronged you.

9.Adapt to what is around you, you can’t control it but you might as well find out how to best cultivate joy within whatever situation you find yourself. If you can’t beat em, derp em. If you don’t know what derp-ing is, how are you internet-ing right now?

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(a brief history of derp-ing)

10.Rock what you got, be proud of yourself and don’t hang your head down too long. Learn from your past mistakes and then once you’ve learned the lesson, let it go. Even when our corgi does something that some owners would call bad, ie eating a bag of peanut m&m’s, eating and sharing a bag of self-rising flour with the living room couch, shredding used Kleenex and leaving it all throughout the house, even so, though the ears go down for a minute, they go right back up within seconds. I like to think this reflects her resiliency and not my leniency but either way, she doesn’t allow guilt or shame to take up too much of her day and as I am someone who battles with anxiety and PTSD, she makes a rad self-love role model.

11.Enjoy life, take time to smell the roses, the grass, the humans, the blankets, the pillows, the other animals…the everything, don’t let life pass you by, experience it in a very embodied way.

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(be like a good little corgi and SMELL the roses of your life)

What about you? Do you have a dog who is close to your heart who has taught you a lot? What have they taught you?

Grace and Peace,

Wherever your paths do take you,

Songbird Sparkle: April

Modifying Dominant Cultural Narratives and Finding Childfree Meaning

Danny Kaye creativity quote

It goes without saying that having children has historically given many people a sense of immortality, purpose and meaning. That’s excellent and I celebrate that.

That being said, I love the linked video below but as someone who has chosen not to have children I find myself often having to reinterpret cultural narratives relating to the meaning of life, for myself if no one else, especially when those narratives are as child-centric as this one happens to be. I can appreciate the idea that the children mentioned need not be my own but sometimes these narratives do feel exclusionary.

As someone who is childfree and artistic, I feel that art is my child and this comic resonates immensely with my lived experience. I also think this comic is applicable to anyone, awake, growing and living authentically:

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(Image credit: http://dorrismccomics.com/)

Do me a favor, think of your mentors, professors, friends, counselors, teachers and colleagues. Even if you aren’t blood related, people impact you, people impact me.

When listening to this video’s wisdom, I would rather we envision and embrace the myriad of  ways in which we “pass torches.” Let’s not sell ourselves, short, whether we are biological parents or not, there are many “torches” to be passed in our shared world:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qK1BJkBJdtY#t=66

Wishing you all peace, wherever your paths do take you.

Songbird Sparkle (April)