Unstuck Living logo

Author Archive for Joan Courtney

The Jell-o Deception

Duff here. I have a Very Sad Story to relate to You. As You know, whenever Mom opens the Refrigerator Door, I am forever Hopeful. I move into Position at the edge of the Kitchen, for Surprises will sometimes fall on The Floor. (Do You think She does that on Purpose?) Or maybe a Treat in My Dish. Living unstuck.

This time, She snookered Me. Tricked me good, She did. I had never before seen Jell-O, but I was game for Food of Any sort. She carefully spooned a bit of Blueberry Quivery Cold Stuff into My bowl. It didn’t smell like Much of anything. Frankly, I didn’t even give it a Taste. Not worth My Time. I took a Sniff, turned Away, and Sat expectantly In Wait. She had to have Something better. Such a disappointment. We both laughed About that. Well, She chuckled More than I did. Thank goodness Dinner was much more to My Liking. That’s living unstuck.

How about You? Have You ever been Let Down by a Situation? Or did it Turn out okay the Second Time around? I say: Patience and Persistence pay off. Change is the Name of the Game. That’s what Life is all About. Well, at least Mine is. Living unstuck.

When there is no struggle, there is no strength.

—Oprah Winfrey

Ready to Move

What do dogs do on their day off? Can’t lie around—that’s their job.

—George Carlin, Comedian

Duff here. Last weekend was wonderful for Me. I got to Laze around. Catch a Few naps. Take mom on a lot of Walks. I greeted Many New People who were up here for the Holiday. And They enjoyed meeting Me. (What’s not to Love?) I got petted. And gently Talked to. The weather was perfect. Not too hot nor too Cool. Living unstuck.

But Mr. Carlin has it wrong. One evening, Mom was taking a shower after all Our Exertion during the Day. A Neighbor tapped on the Door to leave some Eats. Yum! However, I didn’t realize that was the Case until later and went into Full Bore protective Mode. Barking Fiercely and Bouncing from One side of the Living Room to the Other. After She threw on a Towel, Mom moved toward the door. She dripped as She greeted her Friend. And graciously received the Goodies. I was respectfully Grateful when I caught the Scent of these Treasures. But I was up and at ‘em! No lying around for me. That’s living unstuck.

How about You? Did You laze about on Your Day off? Or launch into a Project? I say: It’s good to be Relaxed, but Ready to Move into action at a Moment’s Notice. You never know what Will come up. I’m glad I was prepared, that’s all I can Say. Living unstuck.

Memorial Day Thank You

On Memorial Day, join Us to honor those who gave Their Lives for Our Freedom.

The Duff and His Mom


A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.

—Joseph Campbell


A best friend is someone who loves you when you forget to love yourself.


Duff here. Arizona is opening again . . . slowly. From what I observed, this had been a Trying Time for Many folks. Couldn’t get out and go Places. Do things They usually did. And I personally think They had to spend too much time Alone. What a Challenge that can Be! I know, for there are Times when Mom leaves Me in Our Place. By Myself. With nothing to Do. And too much Time on My Paws. Were I an anxious Canine, the situation would be a Disaster indeed. Not living unstuck.

But I love Myself, and I teach Others how to do that too. Even if They have a Four-legged Fur Ball at Home, I am a Best Friend to many. ( I don’t think You can have too many Buddies.) After giving a Hearty Hello, I snuggle up and radiate that Unconditional healing Love of Canines. Mom also benefitted Greatly from My Presence during that Stay-At-Home Vacay. I filled empty places in Her Heart She didn’t even know Existed. That’s living unstuck.

How about You? Trouble loving, or even liking Yourself during that shut-in Duration? Or were You rocketing along just fine? I say: Hunt up a Friend’s Dog and just Be. Or pet a Friendly Dog as You take a Walk. Or You could imagine Me right next to You. You’ll be better off for It. I’m here for You. Living unstuck. #unstuck-living#companionship

I’m Starving

Duff here. You know I am a Chow Hound. Over the years, I have developed A Variety of Techniques to get just One more Scrap of Food. One more Piece of Chicken. It’s 3:00 pm. Tea time. Could half a Puperoni be in the Works? Of course, it could. I am a Good Boy, and deserve the Best. That’s living unstuck.

When I was a Puppy, I had this down to a Fine Science. My Doggy Daddy would create a wonderful meal. (He was the best Chef going, bar none!) The Scents were fragrant and filled the Kitchen. My Mouth watered at the Thought of What Could be. Mom and Dad would then sit down to eat. And I would position Myself with a View of What was on the table. Pleading Eyes. Looking faint for lack of Sustenance. Mom couldn’t handle My Performance, and tucked me into My carrier. She finally fed Me before They dined, but that didn’t Stop My tactics. Sometimes successful. But often not. Living unstuck.

How about You? Have You used a Strategy to achieve a Goal? Was it Always successful? Or did it Flop at times? I say: Keep on with Your Plan. You’ll never know when It will succeed beyond Your wildest dreams. I would tell you about the prime Rib, but that’s another story . . . Living unstuck. #unstuck-living#strategies

The dog has been fed. Don’t listen to his lies.


Unexpected Gifts While in the Hallway

On my daily walk, I notice a sign. “Slow Down, 15.” A sharp turn in the road ahead. And I got to thinking: that sign describes my life right now. In mid-March, the world as I knew it slowed down and came to a standstill. The Stay-At-Home order was in place. Restaurant seating shut down. Take out only. Traffic on the road dwindled to nothing. Face masks began to pop up, and gradually became more popular. The grocery stores eventually became one-way avenues, as we all stay six feet apart. No stopping to chit chat or schmooze.

At first, The Duff and I spent more time at home. And I felt like a Roomba. You know, that handy gizmo that cleans your floors? Bouncing off one wall, gliding to the next. No particular destination until it docks to recharge. I felt I had no purpose, no meaning. And I got cranky. Downright irritable.

But after a time, I began to shift my perspective. I remembered the old saying, “When one door closes, another one opens.” But I have always maintained there’s a hallway in between. When I was moving from one job to the next, there was a waiting time. A period of do-nothingness as I shifted gears. A new mother waiting to give birth feels the same way. As does a young ‘un waiting to get their learner’s permit to drive. The hallway can seem to be endless.

But there are unexpected gifts from this waiting period. More time to relax. Time to clear out closets and storage units. A space to learn new technology. To become more clear about what I want from life. To reevaluate my lifestyle and pare down overwork and stress. To dream new dreams.

All very well and good, but I had to get past the anxiety ridden “I’ve-gotta-do-this” mindset. Okay, there were days in the hallway when I was highly productive. where I would wake up and go for a walk. When I got home, I was majorly productive. And then, there were days I didn’t feel like doing anything. And I didn’t. I rode the wave. The Duff and I sat. And enjoyed the sunsets. Or took a nap. (We’re good at that.)

But my guilt of “not doing” could be overwhelming. And we all know beating ourselves up does no good. So, here is some of what I do while in the hallway:

  • Make a schedule. We human beings need to have a reason for getting up in the morning. For me, a schedule also brings balance. I write my list down. One less thing to remember in this surreal world.
  • Have a little compassion for yourself. The world changed quickly, and your mind is still working to catch up. And that can be exhausting. Take a deep breath and just be. Self-kindness is life giving.
  • Check in with friends and family. I don’t know about you, but lonely can get to me after a while. Easy solution: connect with others. I recently called a friend I had not seen for 15 years. And yes, we burned up the phone lines.
  • Become comfortable with not knowing. When will the quarantine lift? Is mom okay? When can I go to the park? Learn to be at ease with “I am unsure.”
  • Get outdoors. Mother Nature has such healing energy. The wonder of spring is all around. Delight in this new season.

Take this time to enjoy these unexpected gifts. Live unstuck.

Being Brave

Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.

—Emma Donoghue, Room

Duff here. There’s something about Loud Noises and Flashes of Light. Thunderstorms are back in full Force here on the Mountain. And it’s not My Favorite Occasion. I can feel the roll of Sound before It starts to Boom. And I follow a particular Regime to be Brave and ensure Safety. Let Me tell You how I live unstuck.

As background: We were at the Office yesterday, and I felt the Thunder gathering momentum. I slowly got to My Feet, looking Straight ahead. What happened next? I carefully did a Sideways Slink over to Mom’s foot. And took a Seat. As I looked up at her, I told Her, “You can pick Me up any Time You want to.” She reached down to gather Me up, and then I was Bravely in Her lap. Safe. Secure. She Patted My Back, stoking from My neck to My tail. I relaxed and knew: All was well in My World. Living unstuck.

How about You? During this Time of Turmoil and Change, do you have a Go-To Person? Or are You handling it all on Your Lonesome? I say: Join up with a Trusted Friend. You’ll never Regret it. That Person will Warm Your heart and bring You Peace. (You might even return the Favor.) Living unstuck. #unstuck-living#being-brave