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

Fly Over State of Mind

I used to always wish I lived in a warmer climate. I didn’t know until 2 years ago that I live in, what is often rudely referred to as a “fly over state.” Apparently the Midwest and Iowa in particular, just doesn’t cut the mustard. Do you know what though? I’m proud to call the Midwest region of the United States my home, I am even proud to be born and raised in the Midwest, also proud to be an Iowa resident. In LA and Florida, they may have golden sunshine and year round pools and amusement parks, which admittedly is pretty great too but they don’t have what we have.

Corn.

Ha, kidding, just seeing if you were paying attention.

I’m talking about 4 seasons y’all, all Vivaldi like.

You don’t  have to be from Iowa to know what I’m talking about. You just have to be from somewhere where it’s not unheard of to have blistering hot humid summer days that you think will never ever end. Then before you know it, you need a jacket and it’s time to go apple picking or to the pumpkin patch and don’t you dare pass up the complimentary hay rack ride.

Soon enough you’ll be walking through the freshly fallen snow, on the way to cut down your own Christmas tree on a family farm that gives you fresh hot cocoa and lets you play with adorable soft, very warm, compared to your near frostbitten digits, rabbits. They will be adorable. You will feed them carrots. You will have all the joys of rabbit ownership for 20-30 minutes, until the next family arrives and their kids make pitiful faces until you finally, full of guilt, hand over the rabbits you have so grown to love. Nevermind that you are in your late 20’s early 30’s now, it’s true it is “their turn.”

You won’t even get mad about handing them over but you will debate getting one of those adorable rabbits as a pet, until you google their needs and find out you are not near as ready for rabbit parenthood as you thought you were.

Somewhere past that point, winter will really arrive and vomit frigidly and violently, leaving glittery hills, 2+ feet long icicles hanging off of rooftops and slick scary black ice. Just when you think you can’t stand to layer up for the 73rd+ day, for just one day, it will turn 30 maybe even an entire 40 degrees outside, being from the Midwest you might even be inclined to wear shorts. People from Florida won’t even go swimming in 70 degree weather and if you know a Floridian transplant, they will mock you for so exuberantly welcoming 30 degree weather. Let them mock you, you know the value of the warmth after surviving all those negative temperatures.

Soon enough, something almost magical happens, just when you think winter will never end, it does, it just ends. Snow melts, robins return and flowers bloom. Ironically, those little white bell like flowers called ‘snowdrops’ signify the end of winter’s reign. Spring is again crowned the royalty of the land.

So now, what do you do? Begin the whole crazy cycle again. End. Begin. End. Begin. Death. Life. Death. Life.

I used to always wish I was from somewhere else, anywhere else, anywhere other than the Midwest, the ‘fly over states.’ Now, however, I see how every rain drop, every snowflake, every ray of sun, has equipped me to face the series of never-ending beginnings and endings in my life. I am so proud to call this my home. I am so humble to have had Mother Nature herself as my greatest teacher.