3 Words to Change Your Neural Pathway: I love You.

If we understood the power of our thoughts,

we would guard them more closely.

If we understood the awesome power of our words,

we would prefer silence to almost anything negative.

In our thoughts and words, we create

our own weaknesses and our own strengths.

Our limitations and joys begin in our hearts.

We can always replace negative with positive.

– Bettie Eadie

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Hello Bright Light!

How the heck are we nearly halfway through February?  Lawdy.  Well, since many consider this the month of Love, I thought it would be fun to talk about the Circle of Love and the Lenses of Love. 

If you have been flowing with this blog from the get-go, then you know I have never been a fan of Valentine’s Day due to multiple deaths around that date.  Plus, now I know that our animal companions offer A Love Not of This World everyday.  Now I see Every Day is the 14th!  And … Feb 20th is not only national cherry pie day, it’s Love Your Pet Day!

So, this will be a new take on Love with a cool twist.  This post is something I Am really passionate about.  It’s empowering.  And I promise, if you let it in, it will change your lives. 

So grab your tea, water, or wine, invite your best fur friend for a cuddle sesh, and get comfy.  It’s about to get Real. 

🎙(Oh, if you are not a big reader, and if you’d prefer to listen to the written portion of this post as a podcast, you can listen here.)🎙


As an avid student of both philosophy and positive behavior modification, I understand and appreciate how challenging it can be to change the way we believe and think.  As Empath and Intuitive, I also appreciate that how we feel is directly linked to what we are thinking and believing.  It’s all connected.  But sometimes, it’s a big annoying wheel of feels.

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All the Feelz

If you want to change your life, you must change your mind and change your brain … on purpose. -Bill Crawford


Change and the Three Brains

There is much more at play, beyond our emotions, when it comes to change. Neuroscience research has shown that we have three fully functioning “brains”.  Check out this quote below:

 Our head (cephalic) brain is best suited for creativity, logic, and problem solving. Our heart (cardiac) brain serves us best when accessed for passion and compassion. And our gut (enteric) brain is the source of courage and self-protection. The vagus nerve is the communication channel between the three brains. 90% of the brain signals traveling through the vagus nerve are traveling up; only 10% travel down!

How our thoughts and brain influence our lives is overlooked and greatly underappreciated.  More importantly, how we can become more aware and influential of this process is essential if we want anything to be different. 

It begins within.

The quote above sums up where we can start.  All we need is a little willingness to change our mind about things.  Regardless of the form: a reactive rover, a frustrating feline, a careless coworker, a nosy neighbor, a sassy sister, or bothersome brother – we can change how we perceive their behavior, and how we respond to them in every circumstance.

unconditional Love_seeing with love_the Voice for Love  

“For what you see, feel, hear and experience depends a good deal on where you are standing and also where your mind is.”

-C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew, Chronicles of Narnia


Years ago, I discovered both people and pets fall into one or two elemental groups: Fire, Earth, Air, Water, and Metal.  Holistic health practitioners (for both people and pets) classify patients according to the five-element theory.  This includes:

  • body structure
  • tendencies
  • temperaments
  • emotions
  • positive and negative behaviors
  • moods
  • illnesses

These can all be viewed in relation to the five elements.  Usually there are one or two elements that are predominant in a pet or person. (There are links at the end of this post that go into this in detail.)

five-elements-What sign are you_5 elements

Our big grey bear of a cat was a Wood personality.  Our dog is a combo of Earth and Wood, and I can be a combo of both wood and Fire.  The emotion associated with the Wood element is anger.  When anger predominates, one becomes easily upset and is unable to appropriately restrain their feelings. “Wood” get angry easily and are prone to physical reactions and shouting. These unstable emotions result in the uneven circulation of Qi (energy) and Blood, creating a generalized state of tension and stress.

The combination of combustible cats and canines created very heated moments in our house.

flames on the side of my face
Mrs. White, from the cult classic movie “Clue” sums up the combustion.

Compassion is a choice.

Some days I was less than unhelpful when it got heated.  Being both a triple Sagittarius and a Fire Personality within the 5 Chinese elements, I tend to get “heated” quickly.   When I am stressed, I can become overwhelmed wicked fast.  When I am on my last nerve I can get triggered quickly.   When I am at my worst, my temper could rival a volcano.   

But on my best days, I am calm, collected, and can cruise through any crisis.

Thankfully, my best days are the majority these days.  But I wasn’t always at my best.  Before I began practicing what I call mind training, and keeping an open heart, I was reactive.  My world was often overwhelming.  My default was reacting.

Fear ran the show.

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But as I promised in an earlier post, I have to be honest.  Here’s the truth: My pendulum can swing wildly from unconditional love to oh-hell-no.  On the days when I am maxed out emotionally and physically, I need my space.   And I need peace and quiet.  Period. 

But I also need love.

Just like our animal companions, when we are at our worst, this is when we need kindness, unconditional love, self-care, and compassion.  But in the moment – when we are feeling drained, pulled at, and impinged upon — we can become reactive to the ones we love most.

That’s when WE need LOVE the most.

When I say “we need love”, I am referring to bringing love into our awareness, and letting the Voice for Love run the show. – not the fearful ego.  I call the ego “Drop Dead Fred”.  Do you remember that character from the movie?  He’s beyond obnoxious.  And so is the monkey mind that tries to take over when we are tired. 

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Drop Dead Fred doing his damnedest to influence his person, as she begins to no longer listen to him

Regardless of how much we are struggling in the moment, however fearful, frustrated, drained, strained, or upset we are, we have a choice. We don’t have to allow the ego to take the wheel and drive.  We don’t have to become overwhelmed, upset, angry, irritated, or reactive to anyone or anything, including inanimate objects, strangers, or the ones we truly love.

We Can Choose Love.

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Being An Extension of Love

There’s an empowering saying that I live by these days:  We are either extending love or we are calling for love.  

This is not limited to people.  This goes for every living being and their behavior.  I will talk more about this in the book, but for now, think of extending love as BEING an extension of what you consider LOVE to be.  For me, it’s as simple as being kind and compassionate.  Think of “calling for love” as anything other than that.  A “Call for Love” can come in a myriad of forms; some of which are downright ugly and scary.

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This combustible convo might have occurred in our home when I was at my worst.

But here’s the kicker that’s easier said than done:  Regardless of either form (calling for love, or extending love) the response should be love. 

Now, clearly, I do not always remember this.  And even sometimes when I do remember this, I still react.  BADLY.   In fact, there is one particular family member who I have the toughest time NOT reacting to … on. the. reg.

He is what I would call my greatest lesson in love.  I call him that because he is teaching me, through all the ways I am triggered, that regardless of the form of his behavior, my response can be love.

When I choose to respond with love, it changes everything. 



As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.

– ACIM, Chapter 8: The Journey Back

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Remembering this powerful Truth brings me into a state of higher awareness, compassion, and kindness.  Remembering this allows me to step back and become the observer of what is occurring within my environment, rather than reacting.  Remembering this brings me peace.  When I am at peace, I can be peaceful and extend this peace outward. When I am at peace, I am kind with myself and others.  The videos below describes what I am talking about. 

3 Words to Change Your Neural Pathway:


Part 1

Part 2


The Empowered Path_Conscious Companion_Empath_emotions_anxiety_depression_starseed_empath tools_Growth_expansion



Kindness reflects our inherent oneness with each other, while attack drives us still further apart in our awareness. – Ken Wapnick, The Healing Power of Kindness, Vol. 1: Releasing Judgment


When we really understand and appreciate the power of neural pathways and how they are created in the brain, we take our power back.  We learn how to truly let go of unhelpful habitual behaviors, thoughts, and beliefs.  When we appreciate the power of perception, we empower ourselves.

Thanks to neuroplasticity, the brain’s ever-changing potentials, anything is possible.

We can become conscious of what we focus on.  We can become mindful of what we are mindful of.  We can replace the negative with something positive. We can choose to re-frame it in our Mind.

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When we are faced with everyday life situations, we have an opportunity to notice.  There is always a very revealing way that we can begin to monitor our minds.  We can do this with practical matters we find difficult or challenging. 

Imagine.

What would happen if you could say, “I love you.” when someone is behaving completely bonkers.  What if they were out of their mind and you could still think it silently.   Imagine if, while your dog was reacting to something in his/her environment, you didn’t react, too.  Imagine calmly saying to your canine companion, “I love you.”

Imagine the possibilities. 

Imagine the miracles.

We can begin to watch how we respond when our family, ourselves, partner, friends, strangers, coworkers, or animal companions are stressed, stressing us out, or going through a crisis.  During these trying times, our unconscious feelings will surface.  When they do, we often project those fears out, unfortunately, onto everyone from strangers to the ones who love us with all that they are. 

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It’s important to never underestimate the depth of our unconscious fear of returning to the mind.  It’s also important to become aware of our attraction to blaming outside circumstances (in whatever form they may be) for our inner condition.  Regardless of their reactivity, or their behavior, we get to choose. 

We always have the power to choose how we respond.

We can choose to react, or to observe.  We can choose to listen to the voice for love, or the voice for fear.  We can choose kindness and compassion, or we can choose to be critical. We can choose to extend love, or call for love.  

Let’s consider choosing Love.

“The only path wide enough for us all is love.” ― Kamand Kojouri

But first, let’s begin by being loving and kind to ourselves; we cannot give to others what we do not have.  It begins within.  Our hearts and minds are One. If we want to give to others, in challenging times, we have to start with kindness and compassion with ourselves.

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Over the decades, I have been down, broken, and fragmented by every pain imaginable.  I have been at my lowest of lows and at my worst.  But eventually I left the storm and shadows and returned to the light.  I remembered that We Are One, and that at our core, we are Love.  

Then the rainstorm came over me
And I felt my spirit break
I had lost all of my belief, you see
And realized my mistake
But time threw a prayer to me
And all around me became still

I need love, love’s divine
Please forgive me, now I see that I’ve been blind
Give me love, love is what I need to help me know my name

Oh I, don’t bend, don’t break
Show me how to live and promise me you won’t forsake
‘Cause love can help me know my name

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💜Finding Peace Together, Near The End💜

Note:  These videos were created during a very challenging time in our lives.  Not only was a family member going through constant chemo, but in addition to my career, I was the primary caretaker for a geriatric feline family member who was struggling physically.  He was a wood personality, and was on hospice care at home.  All of these circumstances were emotionally and physically challenging for everyone in our family.      

Choosing Love, kindness, and compassion was essential.

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When it comes to being the guardian of an aging animal companion or family member with health complications, even the most loving people have their limits.  The daily stresses and struggles our beloveds go through as they are aging can weigh on their caretakers, too.  Acknowledging this is essential.   

Have compassion for yourself.  Practice Self Care while you are caring. 

But Never forget this:  No matter the challenge you are facing, there is always another way of seeing your circumstances.  We are never a victim of circumstances.  Life is flowing through us.  We are One.


So then, the relationship of self to other is the complete realization that loving yourself is impossible without loving everything defined as other than yourself. ― Alan Wilson Watts


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Oh, and before you go, take a listen to this oldie but goodie… “Just The Way You Are” by Billy Joel .  It’s a beautiful reminder that we don’t need the ones we love to be anything but just the way they are.  We shouldn’t need conditions to change to love them better.  Loving them for all that they are is True Love.  This is a love that is unconditional.  

I wouldn’t leave you in times of trouble

We never could have come this far

I took the good times; I’ll take the bad times

I’ll take you just the way you are

 I said I love you and that’s forever

And this I promise from the heart

I could not love you any better

I love you just the way you are

 Just The Way You Are” by Billy Joel


Related Reading / Recommended Links & Videos:


If you would like support with your aging animal companion you are welcome to contact me.  

If you are also an Empath, HSP, Starseed, or Intuitive, you are invited to join our loving commUNITY!

You can learn more about caring for aging animals here, and force-free behavior modification here.

Be well. Be kind. We are all in this together! 

Making Room for Gratitude

ocean waves
Carlsbad, California

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” -William Arthur Ward

Happy Tuesday!  Hello Summer!  And how the heck are we in August already?!? Gah!

I have not had the opportunity to sit down and write to you about the tools, tips, and transformation from before, during, and after our Big Move out West because we have been going nonstop since I last wrote you.  And we have had some major life challenges as well.  But I promise, those posts will come.  It takes a lot of time and effort to share in detail with you when it comes to behavior modification, energy work, and inter-species communication.  When I have the time, you will hear all about it!

But when it comes to quickly sharing good news with the world, I cannot contain myself!  Which brings me to the point of this post: Gratitude.

(I will give myself 20 min to write this … And the clock starts NOW!)


Growing Gratitude

Last week on Conscious Companion’s Facebook page I was inspired to start a practice of recognizing all of the Good Things happening in life, specifically in regards to our animal companions, and how we are managing life with them.  The world has conditioned us to live in fear. And this carries over into our homes with our animal companions. 

We can get so wrapped up in our daily lives that we forget to see the good.  When we encounter minor and major frustrations we can easily overlook the miracles and magic, and small successes that are happening right in front of us.

It’s easy to overlook the positive side of every challenge and frustration.  It’s easy to focus on the negative.  So much crud and crap is being shared, talked about, and focused on. There is so much negativity in the news. And too many crazy people are receiving the spotlight.  Focus around the world is focused on fear and negativity. 

Where’s the Good Stuff?

There are GREAT things happening everywhere!  There are amazing things happening in our homes!  But we often don’t see them. We are focusing on the fearful, scary, or frustrating parts.

Where are we focused when things get a bit challenging in our homes?  Where does our mind wander when we (or our animal companions) are having a hard time? Are we exploring all of the options available?  Are we practicing patience? Are we staying in gratitude?  Are we anticipating a positive outcome? Are we recognizing small successes?

Most of the time we are not.

But we can change that!  We can condition ourselves to see small successes. We can learn to look at the highlights, instead of the low points. It takes practice and a little willingness to see things from a higher perspective, and to view the Big Picture. Once we start this practice, our lives with our animal companions will change dramatically, for the better. 


“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson


Be In Gratitude

Even in the lowest moments in life I can find something to be grateful for.  I can even find a way to laugh.  I have learned to do this through practice.

This tool has changed my life in more ways than I can explain. I am now keenly aware of how deeply my moods and attitude directly affect everyone around me, especially my animal companions.  Whether it’s during a training session, grooming them, cleaning around them, or hanging out as a family, they are very in tune with what I am going through.

We may not see it on the surface, but our animal companions are sponges for our emotions and moods.  They are literally soaking up all that we are sending out.  And many animals will reflect back whatever we are sending out. It’s taken me many years to recognize this.

These days I am very aware of what I am transmitting.

Now I catch myself when I start to fall into a downward spiral of frustration or fear.  If I am feeling angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, sad, or afraid, I will find one thing that I am grateful for.  I say it out loud.  When I do this I can literally feel a shift.  I can feel myself lighten up and feel better.  Then I am able to focus on more things that I am grateful for.

Once I am in gratitude I am able to look for solutions.  I am more willing to look at the circumstance from another perspective.  I am able to stay grounded. This helps me to steer clear of fear, frustration, or even reactivity.  Sometimes I am able to even laugh!

Once I do this, whatever I was so upset about starts to fade from fear or frustration and transform into trust and clarity.  Gratitude overtakes the monster mental scene I have created.  I can see more clearly.  Then I am ready to move forward and face the challenge with (a little more) grace and ease.  

gratitude_move energy into heart


 Miracles are like pimples, because once you start looking for them you find more than you ever dreamed you’d see. ― Lemony Snicket, The Lump of Coal


 

There have been a lot of challenges recently for our family, and for our animal companions, but there were so many Good Things that have come out of every challenge. For example, Hocus’s reactivity issues seem to be fading fast.  Mr. Beaux, our 17 year young feline, continues to amaze me in every way.  We are all embracing health and happiness, and setting aside all kinds of fears.

Life is Good (because we continue to see it that way.)

If you are interested, here are a few other tidbits and challenges that I am grateful for this week:

  • We found an incredible all feline (cats only) veterinary specialist near our new home.
  • After Mr. Beaux had 3 teeth removed and jaw surgery, I became wholly aware of how much pain he had been in (and hiding) for a long time. This pain contributed to his lack of interest in food, and subsequent weight loss. (And NOT because “he is a picky eater!”) He is eating like a champ now! … More to come on this important cat misconception later.
  • Someone near and dear to me was diagnosed with Cancer, but all we are focusing on is perfect health and a complete healing. All we can see is someone who is free of cancer.
  • I was reminded how important and healing laughter is when I found this Instagram account and couldn’t stop laughing at the pet & wildlife ones.
  • Mr. Beaux reminded us all, once again, of two things: 1.Animals are never doing things out of spite; all behavior serves a purpose. It’s our job as their guardian to help them by becoming a “pet detective”. 2.  Litter boxes must be adjusted carefully for cats, post surgery.
  • Hocus did not react to Knox when he entered her sleepy space (multiple times this week).  They are now sleeping together in our bed, with zero sass.
  • I got back into meditation AND stopped feeling guilty about how much I procrastinate after I discovered this amazing video.

gratitude_conscious Companion


What are you grateful for this week?? I would truly love to hear!

What will you focus on this coming week? Will you stay in Gratitude?


“Make a pact with yourself today to not be defined by your past; Sometimes the greatest thing to come out of all your hard work isn’t what you get for it, but what you become for it. Shake things up today! Be You… Be Free … Share.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

 

Ladder of Aggression

The Ladder of Aggression:  What every dog guardian needs to know

Do you know the subtle signals that dogs give when they are stressed?  Did you know that if you don’t help your dog, they can escalate? Here’s a great way to see how your dog’s behavior can escalate into aggression.  Think of a ladder with many steps.  Each step represents a behavior that dogs will display when they are becoming more and more anxious, stressed and fearful.  If the dog continues to reach a maximum level of stress, aggression can result.  Aggression is the top rung of the ladder.  Since all dogs are individuals, every dog has a different way that he/she responds to stress, so we need to be aware of their individual behavior clues.

Ladder of Aggression

How a dog reacts to stress or a threat can be represented as a series of ascending steps on a ladder.  These gestures are responses to an escalation of perceived threat only and are NOT expressions of a ‘submissive’ or ‘dominant’ state.  The choice of strategy (whether to escalate to a bite or not) will depend on the circumstances (time, target, interactions, previous experience) and on the severity of any underlying physical disease.  Pain frequently converts a ‘flight’ response to ‘fight’.  – Ladder of Aggression by Kendal Shepherd


The behaviors on the lower rungs of the ladder (yawning, blinking, nose licking, turning head away, etc.) communicate in dog language, “I am feeling worried”, or “please calm down”.  The behaviors on the higher rungs of the ladder (growling, air snapping, biting) mean “Stop! Leave me alone right now! Go Away!”

Understanding what dogs are trying to communicate when they are stressed is how we become Conscious Companions, and prevent our dogs from moving up the Ladder of Aggression. This included our felines, too!


I would like to share something else with you:  A dog bite NEVER happens out of the blue.  Let me repeat that; a dog bite never happens out of the blue.

Why is this important to know?  Well, it means that all dog bites can be prevented if we learn to recognize the stressors and behaviors that a dog exhibits as they are becoming stressed.  Dogs will display specific behaviors (listed above in the image) well before they lunge or bite.

Make no mistake about it; it’s our job, our role, and our responsibility as their guardians to learn these behaviors and recognize these stages.  Prevention and safety begins with you!  Setting ourselves up for success is how we do this.

Set yourself and your dog up for success!  You Are Your Dog’s Advocate!

Can you think of a time when your dog was stressed?  How did you respond?  


Related Material about Body Language: