Unstuck Living logo

Author Archive for Joan Courtney

Fuel Your Future

Don’t get stuck in your past, use it to fuel your future.


Duff here. I strongly Believe this To be True. As background, Let Me describe My past. I began My life as the Runt of the Litter. Everyone else around Me was Bigger. And faster. And could Push harder. Some may have Stopped right There. Acted shy. Be timid. Stay at the Back of the Crowd. But who wants to be Stuck like that?

When My Mom first laid eyes on Me, it was Love at First Sight. My First Doggy Mommy gently placed me in Her lap. I snuggled up Under Her jacket. And that sealed the Deal. I was so Irresistibly Teeny She melted on the Spot. See how it works? I used My Past to fuel My Future. We have been Happily Together ever since. Living unstuck.

How about You? Are You stuck in Your Past? Or even stuck in a Current Problem? (Chasing squirrels is an issue for Me. I can never catch them.) I say: Take what You learned and Move forward. Time is on Your side if you start now. Sort it Out. Work it Through. I know You can do It! Live unstuck. #unstuck-living#fuel-your-future

Those Five Little Words

While a man and his four children were riding on the train, his kids were running rampant. Pushing each other. Shouting. Whining. Pulling the little one’s hair. Stepping on other people. Irritating other passengers. Generally misbehaving to the extreme. But the man paid them no notice and just stared at his hands.

The conductor came by and told him they were disturbing others. He was thinking, “What’s wrong with this fellow? Doesn’t he see how much havoc the kids are creating?” The man looked up, sighed and said, “Oh yes. Their mother died an hour ago. I guess they don’t know what to do with themselves either.” A total shift in perception.

Another story: My mom consistently said, “I never win anything. I’m not good enough.” I would encourage and support. I would cajole her to see the positive. At first, it was annoying. Over the years, I ramped up and took it personally. After all, she was my mom. Many good qualities and skills. Well educated. Community oriented. A church-going lady. I finally thought to ask why she said that. She quietly replied, “I don’t want to be disappointed.” Immediate change in my understanding.

The five little words that can change your world? What else could this mean? You can be an observer and not have to wade into the fray. If you step into a neutral space, you can breathe . . . and the world opens up. Minor dust-ups and misunderstandings can be worked out. Hotly contested arguments can be put aside. Exercise your creative mind and develop other options, knowing the truth lies somewhere in between.

But how to slow down and check out the situation?

  • Be mindful of when your button is pushed. Someone in your family consistently pushes your button, and you explode before you know it. Take some time to gently tease apart the reasons for this immediate reaction. Resolve each issue as it comes up, knowing your experiences resemble an onion. Watch as each layer unfolds.
  • It’s a challenge to hear opposing points of view. A friend has a different opinion from yours. You feel yourself getting steamed up. Do you shut her off? Or listen to what she has to say? Be curious as to your reaction rather than quickly getting stuck.
  • “My dog isn’t in this fight.” Hot and bothered about something where you’re not directly impacted? Ask yourself, ‘Is my dog in this fight?” If yes, listen intently and ask questions to help you understand. If not, let it go and watch from the sidelines. Your body and mind will thank you. (And insomnia will not plague you.)
  • Slow down the dialog. Listen to the words you are saying to yourself, and slooow dooown the wooorrrrddddss. Instead of “I’m fed up with my job,” try I’mmmm feeedddd uuuppp wwwwittthh my jjjjoooobbb.” Feel the difference inside. Get unstuck and grow lighter.
  • Put your words to music. The other day I came across a problem of my own. Instead of the nasty downward spiral I was creating, I sang the words describing the issue to the melody “Morning Has Broken.” My fussing disappeared. And I was laughing. How ridiculous. I was unstuck.

Want a happier (and less stressful) life? Ask yourself: “What else could this mean?” and change your perspective of your world. Live unstuck!

Stretch Out and Relax

Trouble remembering how to relax? Here’s a Picture of Me, The Guru of Relaxation.

Duff again. Today We Celebrate Presidents Day. Awhile back, We used to enjoy two days for these Two Esteemed Heads of the Country. But, alas. Consolidation is key in This Day and Age. You and I only have One Day to Relax. To Stretch out either Mind or Body and let Go a bit. Believe it or Not, My world is Hectic at times. So much to do. And places to go. Not to mention those available Scents and Sounds. It’s a Dog’s life, for sure. That’s living unstuck.

But all This Frenzy can be Too Much at times. What to Do? Back off and Take it easy. I Stretch Out all four Paws. Sometimes I do this While on My back. Or sometimes resting on My tummy. But usually on My side, where I can wiggle my Toes. Arch My back. Then there’s the deep Sigh. You know. The One that expands the Ribs, sending a cascade of Pleasure down Your Spine and Through Your body. Muscles soften and the breath slows. Thoughts float by and All is Well. Time for You to Connect with You once again. Living unstuck.

I’m curious. Will You give Yourself the day off? Put those Chores and that Honey Do List aside and take a breather? Here’s what I say: Your Mind needs a break. Take the time to Listen to Yourself. You might even Check Your thoughts, directing them toward Peace and Positivity. I have found that Helpful. (Even better than a Treat.) Enjoy the Day. Live unstuck. #unstuck-living#relax

Always make time for things that make you happy to be alive.


Loving Yourself

You carry so much love in your heart. Give some to yourself.”


Duff here. It’s the day after Valentine’s Day. Boxes of candy and Pretty Cards are exchanged. Hearts are open and sentiments expressed. But this delightful Feeling doesn’t have to be restricted to One Day Only. I do This every day, for I think it starts with Loving Yourself. That’s living unstuck.

But how to Love Yourself? Here’s what I Do. I accept Myself just as I am. My self talk, such as it is, tends toward the Positive. Sure, there are Times when I Misbehave. But I shake It off and move on, knowing I am A Good Boy. (Mom tells Me that a lot.) Way down deep Inside, I feel Loving toward Myself. That’s living unstuck.

Do You love Yourself? Do You want to? I say: You give so much Love to others. Start heaping it on yourself and watch the Real You unfold. The time and energy spent Doing so will be Handsomely Rewarded. (And You’ll feel better too.) Let Me be one of the First to tell you: I believe In You, just as You are. Live unstuck. #unstuck-living#loving-yourself

Be Your Own Super Hero

Duff here. Cold, Cold weather is the hallmark for February here. And this year is no exception. In My opinion, homes are designed to Breathe. All very well and Good, but there are the Inside Drafts to consider. Mom is Thoughtful. She puts a Heavy White Towel over Me (as I rest for the next adventure) to keep Me warm. I am Toasty. Now, that’s living unstuck.

The Only challenge is When I fly off the Sofa. My Towel is hooked to My Curly Tail. And I am Superman! I pull it with Me as I move here and there. And Finally, It becomes unhooked and I turn into Clark Kent. Indeed. I am a Mild Mannered Reporter. But unlike the Bush’s Baked beans Canine, I do not speak. Well, unless it’s to Mom, for She understands Duff-isms. Living unstuck.

How about You? Are You a Superman to Anyone? Your Significant Other? Your Kids? Your Family? At work? Do You want to be? I say: Put on Your Cape and Do it! Such a fulfilling and Rewarding Venture. You’ll thank Yourself for Doing so. Let Me be the First to Applaud Your Efforts. Live unstuck. #unstuck-living#Being-like-superman

Being in this business and surviving day-to-day can be a constant struggle. It’s about learning how to be your own super hero, put on your own cape, and be a well rounded individual.

—Karen Civil

Life is a Cha-Cha

Optimist: someone who figures out that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster. It’s more like a cha-cha.

—Robert Brault

Duff here. I like this Quote, don’t you? I often give Something a Shot, only to back up if it doesn’t work out as Planned. I like to try out new Ventures. Some work. Some don’t. And some definitely need improvement. Just ask Mom.

The other Day, a Storm had descended. It was raining cats and Dogs (pardon the Expression) when Mom and I went out to take care of My Morning Constitutional. But I was Reluctant to head out The Door. Mom coaxed Me. She pleaded. And finally gathered Me up, closing the Door behind us. Thirty minutes later, I was still meandering about, not trying Very hard to find My perfect spot. I was making Efforts to Head for our Warm and Dry Home. But Mom is a Pro in fending me off from My Escape Routes. Drat! Not living unstuck at all.

Mom finally gave Up. We made it back up the Stairs, and I tucked myself in. (Figured My bladder was Strong.) A bit later, We took off to run some errands. Still a Downpour, so I elected to Hop in the Car. No extreme Need yet. Makes sense, doesn’t it? On arrival at our Third destination, I let Mom know This was the Place. Relief! Mission accomplished. She could complete her Cha-Cha. Living unstuck.

Are You familiar with this Cha-Cha? Does Everything go perfectly in Your world? Or do You encounter Glitches? I say: See the Ongoing Process as a Cha-Cha and enjoy the Dance. You’ll be Glad You did. Live unstuck. #unstuck-living#Life-is-a-cha-cha

Mom’s Mud Hole Adventure

Duff here. I’m reminiscing again. A few years Back, Mom and I were on a Much Longer Walk. A storm had Moved through, leaving thawed and frozen Parts on the Road. Prior, Mom had picked Her way through Mud Holes and Deep Pools of water on a Dirt Road. When a Fork in the Road appeared This Time, She chose the Road Less Traveled. She would find that Choice was not living unstuck.

I tried to Warn Her. I pulled Back. I skidded in My tracks. But She continued to step along as She does. Suddenly, there was a Big “Crack.” She had stepped through the thin Sheet of Ice. Just as a tree being felled, She toppled slowly to the Ground. Her Boot, Leg and Hip were covered in Mud. The top part of Her was resting on the Ice, her Arm and hand splayed out. She was More Amused than Banged Up. I looked at her and noted, “Clumsy.” Which made Her laugh even Harder.

How to get Up? She decided to wiggle off the Ice. Bad Move. Under She went. Her entire left side was Mud Encrusted. And I gave her Lots of Space. But She was finally on her two Feet. (Bet if She had four Paws like mine, this would Not have happened.) Off We went to complete Our Walk, waving at Astonished Passersby going to work. Now that’s living unstuck.

How about You? Bet You have a Story or Two about Mud and ice. I say: It pays Mightily to have a Sense of Humor in these Situations. Creativity and strength helps. But not as much as A Giggle or a laugh. (I also recommend You avoid those Mud holes. Treacherous critters.) Live unstuck. #unstuck-living#treacherous-mud-holes

If at first you don‘t succeed, then skydiving definitely isn’t for you.

—Steven Wright

(This is a joke. Honest.)