Puppy Wisdom

Puppy Wisdom

A new member of the Ashley family recently took our household by storm. Wellington (Wellie for short) has melted our hearts, disrupted our routines and reminded us (again and again) that it takes training (lots of it!) to transform unruly pups into happy and well-behaved family members.

In addition to filling our home with love and entertainment, Wellie has provided some powerful lessons in how training works best. And given that we humans are consistently (consciously or unconsciously) training ourselves in our patterns and behaviors, these lessons can be very usefully applied to our own world of health and well-being.

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The Language of Health and Happiness

The secret of change is to focus all of our energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.   ~ Socrates


In our modern-day culture it seems that we’ve become remarkably skilled at describing, often with impressive levels of enthusiasm, what we don’t actually want.  With considerable linguistic aplomb we can conjure up powerful word pictures of our ills, our woes, and our fears – all the while, it turns out, strengthening the wiring in our brain that is likely to deliver more of just those very things.

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Defuse Perfectionism With Two Short Words

Most of us are familiar with an all-too-convincing inner voice that repeatedly insists that – whatever we do, however hard we try – we just aren’t measuring up.  We compare ourselves to some lofty (usually totally unrealistic) idea of where or what we should be.  And invariably we find ourselves lacking.

That’s perfectionism at work.  And it’s a surefire recipe for unhappiness and stress. It kills our joy, drains our energy and damages our health, leaching our precious life force at every turn. 

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Clearing Space for New Possibilities

As the new year has dawned, I’ve been reflecting on the idea of clearing space to leave room for new possibilities during this brand new calendar year, this fresh canvas of time. 

There are of course many different ways to think about this, but the obvious place to start is the cluttered spaces most of us co-exist with: rooms overcrowded with furniture and possessions; drawers and cupboards crammed to the gills; desks awash in papers; electronic devices bursting with a dizzying array of data; unfinished projects filling our shelves and crowding our conscience.

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The Destructive Role of Doubt

One of the themes that crops up a lot in my work is the insidious effect of doubt. This habitual, negative questioning has huge impact on clients’ thinking, behavior and sense of what’s possible. It is of course essential to make thoughtful, well reasoned choices about our future. But, once we have made those choices and are moving forward in that direction, doubt will rarely, if ever, be helpful. And it will dependably undermine our best efforts to make change.

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Beliefs and the Placebo Effect

In an era of dazzling medical possibilities, where treatments and therapies exceed our wildest imagination, we have been well trained to believe that when something ails us the only answer is to seek medical attention to fix what’s wrong.

Quite obviously, there are times when medical attention is unquestionably what we need — and if in doubt it is always a good idea to seek medical advice. But what about those illnesses and conditions for which our medical system has no good answers, or no answers at all? Or those times when we are receiving medical care, but wonder how we can also participate in our own healing?

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Befriending Ourselves

Phil Parker often asks a disarmingly simple question: “If you treated your friends the way you treat yourself, would you actually have any?”

Usually this question is greeted with sheepish smiles and knowing looks, as the piercing truth of the answer is revealed. Because of course we’d never dream of treating our friends as badly as many of us habitually treat ourselves. The critical voice within is never sharper, never harsher or less forgiving than when directed squarely at our sense of our own shortcomings and inadequacies. And there is apparently no end to our creativity in identifying ways in which we fail to live up to some lofty ideal that probably has no basis in reality anyway.

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