(if this makes you roll your eyes, that’s ok)
I’m on vacation with my “foster fail” and observing her taking on this new adventure. I know she will love it once she figures out what we are doing, but initially every little step and experience is causing her a little anxiety. It’s fun to help her see the good stuff. I guess this is what my developer strength thrives on. Forward momentum. She was neglected and abused. But here she is, a couple of years out, re-engaging in life and relationship with others- people and dogs. These are my random observations.
Be Resilient yes, change is scary. You’ve been hurt, hungry, lonely, but you can learn to love and trust. It’s ok to take it slow but continue to grow. Don’t let your past make you growly and mean.
Be Grateful- for each new experience, each head scratch and each bowl of food and water. Anticipate that life can be good even after it’s been hard.
Be in Community- you’ve been alone. For long stretches. Being with a good and trustworthy person or people makes everything better. Even just cuddling while being still. Anxiety loses some of its grip when shared. Plus, it makes it easier to meet potential new friends. When you are alone and isolated it gets hard to trust and to put yourself out there. Plus, you need the balance of others to help you develop into your best self. Sometimes you need a buddy to help you rediscover play and sometimes you need a buddy to help spur you on to better engagement with others. A little growl might be necessary when you are being disrespectful. A little correction to help you stay on course, so you don’t run into the street.
Learn to Trust Wise Counsel- It may not necessarily be your buddy dog. The one who barks loudest! She’s still learning, too. It’s the human or wiser mentor who promised to guide you and teach you. The one whose vantage point it higher than yours.
Be Present- smell the smells! Watch the birds! Taste the things! Feel the breeze!
Take time to rest when it presents itself and receive the quiet. Embrace it. Give into its ability to help you recharge.
Be Joyful! Love Well! Love Hard! Greet your friends and family with enthusiasm. Don’t pass up an opportunity to let them know you love them.
Be Humble- If you make a mistake own it. Learn from it. Don’t continue to pee on people’s shoes. Do better going forward. When in doubt roll over and show them your soft spot and that you come in peace! If you accidentally clip your buddy go back and help lick the wound. (Ok, not literally, but you know what I’m saying) don’t blame your buddy. Help undo what’s been done. Stop doing the thing that is causing the pain. Move forward so you can live in harmony.
Be a Healthy Pack Member- Figure out how to be part of the pack. Stealing from the pack is bad and causes fur to fly. There’s usually enough for everyone. If not, it’s ok. Be grateful for the life you’ve got. You’ll get your turn with the frisbee, be patient. (Ok, she’s still struggling with this. We will encourage her, correct her, praise her. Love her.)
The last post I made I shared some of my own insecurities. Much like my sweet dog, I sometimes forget how far I have come. How I don’t have to let the negative voices and experiences from my past cause fear and anxiety. When you share the hard stuff it can cause your soft spots to be exposed again…that happened to me. Eventually I was able to look at it for what it was and put it into perspective- again. I realized that I may not be the most eloquent writer but I feel, in my heart, that someone needs to hear my voice here. To find a safe place to land for a bit. So I will open my hands and offer up my thoughts and experience. I am not called to write a perfect post but to offer up my story- My sometimes broken but often times beautiful story. Not to become famous but to be an encouragement for you to tell your own best story. Through whatever voice you find. Even if it is timid and shaky at first. Your story is beautiful and needs to be shared.