Saturday, May 19, 2012

If Dogs Were Our Teachers


Most of us spending an average of about 12-16 years of our lives in school, learning some of the most relevant (and sometimes irrelevant) facts about life and the world that we live in. With all of that time spent in the classroom, it goes without saying that we owe a lot of our knowledge to those who have dedicated their time to teaching it to us. 

Sure, a good portion of the knowledge we acquire over our lifetime can be attributed to our own personal pursuits and experiences, but a lot of our core and foundational learning comes from teachers.

Some are more inspirational than others, and some do a better job of conveying information to their group of students, but we can't deny the important role that they all play. Thinking back, I can remember some important lessons that I learned from my kindergarten teacher, those in middle school and high school, and most recently, from professors in college. 

One thing I know for sure is that learning is not purely academic. In fact, "teachers" come in many shapes and forms; not all are sitting at a desk before a blackboard with a ruler in hand.

Teachers can be friends, children, authors, Disney characters, news reporters, brothers, parents, and co-workers.

Or, as I learned in an email today, they can even be dogs. 

Yes, you heard me. Dogs. 

You'd be surprised to see how much we really can learn from our best furry friends. Read through the list below and you'll see just how much they can teach us about life.

If Dogs Were Our Teachers, they would advise....

  • Always run to greet loved ones when they come home.
  • Never pass the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
  • Recognize the ecstasy of fresh air and wind in your face.
  • Take naps and stretch before rising.
  • Run, romp and play daily.
  • Thrive on attention and love
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On warm days, lie on your back in the grass. On hot days, drink lots of water and find the shade.
  • When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • Enjoy long walks.
  • Be loyal.
  • Never pretend to be something you're not.
  • If what you want is buried, dig deep until you find it.
  • And, when someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

How's that for a solid lesson plan? I'll take it!

See, learning can be fun! And it doesn't always have to involve lessons in math or science - it can (and should!) involve life lessons that we can take away from the classroom and apply in every day situations.

If dogs were our teachers, I think we'd have some great life lessons integrated into our curriculum.

Take it from Roger Caras, who says:
“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
So if dogs were our teachers, what else could they teach us? Share you thoughts in the comments below...

Keep Smiling,

P.S. Bliss Habits is having a Blogversary party! Hop on over to help celebrate and join the fun - there is some great content and giveaways!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

5 Things You Need to Get a Fresh Start


I have always welcomed the Spring season with open arms. Flowers blooming, birds chirping, sun shining...they're all things I love. Not to mention the warmer temperatures, longer days and the impending arrival of Summer. I love starting my day by taking in the fresh, clean Spring air - Ahhhhhhh.

But I'm not the only one who loves this season. In fact, most of us use Spring as a way to get a "fresh start" after thawing out from a long, cold Winter. It's kind of like a renewal of the spirit we have when we set New Year's Resolutions. There's Spring cleaning, shopping for new Spring clothes, prepping our windows to allow the outside air to flow through our homes, dusting off the patio furniture, and putting away the boots.

Sure, there's all of that. But there's also another way to get a fresh start - and this one is solely for our own physical and mental well being.

I'm seeing the arrival of Spring as a way to clear our heads and rid our mind and body of the negative thoughts, emotions, and habits that have been hibernating inside of us throughout the Winter.

If you know you're the one in need of a good Spring cleaning - whether it be figuring out "what's next", revamping your career, actually starting that project you've been thinking of for 5 months now, finally letting go of negativity in your life, or taking the first step in starting a new journey - then this one's for you.

Here are 5 things you'll need to get a fresh start:

1. Courage - This is a big one. Seriously, this is not the time to be a wimp. Find the courage to take the first step towards renewing your life, or your thoughts, or your actions - just take the first little step that you know you need to take in the direction you want to be heading. Believe me, this is the hardest thing to do. But once you've started, you're so much closer to getting to where you want to be. (Or at least, further away from where you don't want to be.) It's just one step. So just do it. Make it happen. Be courageous.

2. Time - You will come to the realization that starting fresh feels good, that you're ready to move on, move up, and move out - it's exciting! But you've got to give it time. It's easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of change, in the exhilaration of the "newness", and the prospect of doing something new. This is, for sure, a good thing. Just don't forget to take some time to evaluate your options, assess what is best for you not only now, but a few months down the road. Sometimes we need time to just relax for a moment, take a breath, and reassess. When given enough time, clarity is sure to ensue.

3. Focus - Getting a fresh start means that a lot will be happening, and probably all at once. You're going to need some serious focus to concentrate on finding and/or pursuing what it is you really want. If you're not quite sure what that is right now, then you've got to stay focused and concentrated on honing in on that sweet spot. Don't get side-tracked by meaningless distractions.

4. Strength - Not necessarily "muscle power", but the strength to listen to yourself. This is where you'll need to use The Gut Check, learn to trust your instincts, and do what you know is best. Getting a fresh start is not easy and it will take an incredible amount of strength - but only the kind that comes from deep inside. Be strong.

5. An Open Mind - I know I just told you that you'll need focus, and now I'm telling you you'll need an open mind. Sounds contradictory. So which one is it? Both. You're going to need to focus and concentrate on starting anew, but you're also going to need to keep your mind open so that you don't miss out on the opportunity to better understand where you are or where you could be headed. Besides, getting a fresh start by staying closed off to new things won't really be a "fresh start", now would it?

Oh, and one more thing. Remember this:
 "One of the most courageous things you can do is identify yourself, know who you are, what you believe in and where you want to go." 
Sheila Murray Bethel

So as you're putting away your wool sweaters and admiring the lovely tulips blooming outside, don't forget that this is a great time to get a fresh start for yourself.

Do you have any other suggestions for the things you need to get a fresh start? Let's add to the list...leave your ideas in the comments below.

Keep Smiling,