November 27th, 2011 by LittlestMusher | Posted in Move Beyond Chronic Pain
Dogs are Our Best Teachers
As we explored in the previous post, dogs have this unique gift when interacting with humans to give us clear, direct and non-judgmental feedback on how we are doing at any given moment.
Many people enjoy dog training and certainly as a hobby that itself can be a great stress reducer — not only getting you out and active, but also happy and relaxed that your pooch is a canine good citizen or that they and you can enjoy certain activities together. That’s the traditional view of the human – canine model…we teach them to [insert favorite behavior], they learn and respond, we live happily ever after.
But what happens when we turn that model on its head? What happens when the dogs become the teachers, and we the student? What benefits do we get from that interaction, not only in the health arena but throughout our lives?
Because of their incredible ability to “read” us energetically, they can provide that perfect reflection of what’s happening with us in our lives at this moment…and as importantly, what is missing. We can also learn from them by observing how they live their lives, manage their environment, and deal with their challenges. All of this distills down into a set of core lessons the dogs have to teach us, if we are open to the lessons and willing to be their students.
Many of our clients come to us because something is “missing”, their lives are not “in balance”, or they’re stressed out about their life circumstances, for example dealing with ingrained responses to their world which are no longer serving them. Clients have used the lessons from the dogs to cope with stress induced by chronic health conditions, chronic pain and illnesses…esp. the stress internally induced by not feeling not in control, and not being able to have things “the way they were”.
We show them how the lessons from the sled dogs can apply to their lives, and they can practice them with their own pets or in fact, with a pet they’ve known or had in the past. Through our vast reservoir of experience we’ve distilled the lessons in such a way that they’re practical and accessible and we’re able to guide folks to experiencing the benefits of the lessons directly in their own unique lives and situations.
One example lesson is…Patience. In our revved up world, it is tough to find the balance between super charged get-it-done-and-move-on tasks and engaging fully with life experiences. We need to learn how to utilize time as a tool, how patience can foster creativity and flexibility, and how we can fully embrace living in the moment, an unending series of “now”. The dogs show us the benefits of patience, and give us ample opportunity to practice, not only with them but with ourselves. They teach us how we can slow down to do more.
Stress is Inevitable, Suffering is Optional
Via their Lessons, the dogs teach us how to live our lives with Drive and Focus, developing Self-Assurance and Trust, utilizing Transparency and Perseverance…and engaging fully with Patience. No one of the lessons is more important than the other, and each person will resonate with the lesson they need the most at this point in their own life and unique situation. The true power of the lessons is their synergy, how applying them to your life holistically allows them to build upon and support each other, and how you can experience the empowerment of utilizing all the lessons together.
Life circumstances like chronic pain, health conditions or other forms of personal adversity are there, and are what they are…however, our suffering (stress) is optional. The dogs show us how to move beyond the stress and suffering, to that place where we can live as completely and joyously as they do.
Liz Parrish, known as “Iditarod’s Littlest Musher”, had three goals for running the Iditarod: train her own team, complete the Iditarod for her 50th birthday, and have fun! From a difficult start beating childhood cancer, scoliosis, fibromyalgia and other chronic health conditions, she thrives while seeking challenges. You can get free training about how to “Be the Lead Dog” in your own life at www.BeTheLeadDog.com.