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Author Archive for Joan Courtney

A Change of Perspective

I’m playing with taking some pictures on my cell phone. (And playing is the operative word.) If I see something that strikes my interest, I take a shot. Or two. Okay, quite a few, for I have heard professional photographers take thousands of shots to find that perfect picture.

I was at the local library the other day and saw the roses in front of the building. Breathtaking. At first, I took a close up shot. The yellow pistils were so clear, the petals so perfect. Then I wondered what would happen if I stepped back and took a different view. That shot showed more roses, but lost the intensity of the close up perspective. When I stepped back even further, I had the view of the entire bed of roses: vibrant, alive, bursting with color. And a very different point of view.

I found this to be similar to how I live my life. If I get frustrated about something, or angry about a situation, I lose my perspective. I can only feel the intensity of my emotions. My negative thoughts persist and block my progress to reach a solution. When this occurs, my breathing gets shallow, my thought process shuts down and I begin to ruminate about what’s happening.  Just as the close up of the single rose, my feelings ramp up and get more and more intense. And I lose perspective.

One remedy? Take a walk. I harness the Duff, put on his leash and out we go. Fresh air and a change of scenery can change my perspective. So can a phone call to a friend. Or some play time with the Duff. As I return to the issue, I have a fresh perspective. I have some mental distance on the situation and my emotions are calmer. Similar to taking that second shot of a few roses, other options begin to surface. I can sort them out and see what is more appropriate.

If I need to distance myself even further, I will turn the problem over to my subconscious mind as I drift off to sleep. That marvelous part of my mind sorts through strategies and other ways of doing, usually arriving at a solution by morning. Not taking this for granted, I thank that part of my awareness for solving what I thought to be a hopeless problem. (I found this part of me likes to be complimented.) A simple change of perspective can make a huge difference and save energy.On the go and need a quick reset? Here’s what I do. When an issue returns to my mind and I start on the hamster wheel of those “same old thoughts,” I picture myself sitting in a theater. The problem, with all its players, is on stage. I watch and listen, seeing what’s going on from a very different point of view. My emotions are not clouding what I perceive. Quite often, I often realize it’s not all about me; that other people have their own issues playing a part in this drama. A change in perspective is then quick and easy. I have some distance and am able to more clearly figure out what is going on. Living unstuck.

Cousin Clara and the Birthday Cake

Duff here. I wanted to share The Story of Cousin Clara and The Birthday Cake. She was a scalawag, always into Something. Following in My Footsteps, She chewed the toes out of Slippers. Nothing else but the Toes. And that Girl had energy! Running. Playing. Scampering about. Getting into Mischief. Generally living unstuck.

Her Master was celebrating His Second Birthday. So many Little People there to let loose and party for The Big Day! They played Games. Ran around the Yard. One wee fellow even Curled up for a Nap. (My style.) But Cousin Clara stole the Show. She snuck up on the Table and tucked Her Nose into the Birthday Boy’s cake. Oh what a To-Do! Her Mistress decided to take a Picture to commemorate the Occasion. Then Banished Her Pup to the Laundry Room. All was well for everyone but Clara. Living unstuck. How about You? Have You gotten into Mischief? Then got Caught? And perhaps Banished? I say: Every now and Again, Push the Envelope. Test those Limits. And I recommend You look innocent If Found Out. That’s what I do. It works. Living unstuck. #unstuck-living#banished-pup

I solemnly swear I am up to no good.

—J.K. Rowling

(Cousin Clara’s motto)

Heroes and Privilege

Rock bottom has built more heroes than privilege.


Duff here. Have You ever been at the Bottom of Life’s Barrel? I mean, absolute Rock Bottom? Every now and Again, I get into that mode and Wail. Bemoan My fate. Wonder what other Canines are doing. This occurs when Mom leaves Me in the Car when She goes in and pays for Gas. Or into Grocery markets with food. Or restaurants. I bark. And Fuss and Bounce around. I am at Rock Bottom. Not unstuck at all.

But then . . . lo and behold. She returns, smiles and taps on The Window. I am fierce as I defend My Car. (For it is My Vehicle.) I go from the Front To the Back, letting Her know I am at the ready to take on Any Intruders. When She gets back inside My Vehicle, I greet Her with enthusiasm. I am a Hero to her, and I know it. Living unstuck. How about You? Have You hit rock bottom? Then bounced back up to New heights? I say: It’s worth The Struggle. And You’ll build Character, too. (And Mom says I’m a real Character.) That’s living unstuck #unstuck-living#heroes-and-privilege

Excuses or Progress?

Duff here. Mom and I have a Flight of stairs We take to get to our parking Area. I am Agile and strong, well able to Navigate the steps. But Mom gets in This Pattern of Going Up and Down those Stairs. Up and Down. Now, if She brings up rotisserie chicken, I am all for It. (The fragrance is so enticing.) But it seems to me She carries things of no use to Me: Office supplies, Kleenex, canned goods. You get the Drift. Not unstuck.

I give Her the First Descend. Then wait by the Steps as She returns with the Load. After that, I greet Her at the Top of the Stairs. Seems only right to have a Friendly Greeting as She toils for Us. No excuses, for that’s My Job to help People live unstuck. And She qualifies. That’s progress. Living unstuck.

How about You? Do You make progress? Or Excuses? I say: You can follow in My Footsteps and Greet Others as They Work. Or lend a Hand and Keep Peace in the Family. I’m right With You. Living unstuck. #unstuck-living#excuses-or-progress

You can make excuses . . . or you can make progress.


The Heaviness of Gravity

As you age, gravity gets heavier.


Duff here. Mom was chatting with a Neighbor, and He came up with This profound statement. Have You ever noticed every Now and Again, Your Toe catches on Whatever? It could be a Rock. Or a Curb. Or the Running Board of a Truck. Mom caught her Toe when going down a Flight of Stairs the other day and took a Tumble. (When that happens, I steer Clear. No telling What will happen then.) She was Not living unstuck.

But Wayne had a Possible Reason for Why this is So. It seems as We age, Gravity gets heavier. The Feet don’t lift as high. The Legs don’t react as well as they did when We were 20 years old. We gauge the same Distance all Right, but the Mind doesn’t always cooperate with the Body. Even I have found This to Be the Case: I trip every Now and Again, in eager anticipation of Catching a Rabbit. Or chasing a Squirrel. But All is well. That is the Exception, rather than the Rule. I keep Stepping along and Revel in the Stroll. Living unstuck. How about You? Do You have a Time when You catch Your Shoe on an Obstacle? Or trip on Something Insignificant? I say: Slow down and Enjoy the Ride. You and I will both get there when We need to. And now that You know the Reason, We will all be better off for It. Living unstuck. #unstuck-living#heaviness-of-gravity

Adjustment Part 2: Vindication

Duff here. First, I want to thank You, My Loyal Readers. You touched Mom’s Heart. Remember when She brought Home that Fluffy Bed? Yes, the One that was too Small. Well, We got comments, some Written and some Spoken, about the need for that Bed to go to Another Home. It needed a Smaller Dog. Out it went! Living unstuck.

Mom shopped. And Shopped. And finally brought Home two different Beds. One was Medium Sized, while the other was Large (for Me). I preferred the larger One, for I do Like to Lounge About. Thinking about it, This Adventure reminded Me of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The Heroine had Focused on porridge at first, but then got down to the Important part: The Bed. Both She and I found exactly the Right Size of a Pallet. Now, that’s living unstuck.

How about You? Have You made a Decision in the Past? Then outside Input changed Things for the Better? And You got what You preferred? I say: Be patient. Life will Work out, and You’ll be content once Again. Live unstuck. #unstuck-living#patience-rewarded

Stay patient and trust the journey.


Persistence and Determination

Persistence and determination are always rewarded.

—Christine Rice

Duff here. By now, You know Me well. And if nothing else, I am a Persistent and Determined Pup. Being the Therapy dog for Unstuck Living, Part of My Duties are to use My Canine Intuition and Know when People need me. Or Not. Living unstuck.

The other day a Client came in unsure of what To expect in the Office. I made Him feel right at Home, but sensed All was still not well. As He described his Dilemma, I politely asked to join Him on the Chair. Permission granted. (But sometimes, I get antsy and need to stretch. Down on the Floor I went.)

But I knew He still needed Me. So as He and Mom worked, I put My Paws on the recliner seat. And again, asked to come up and Help. He agreed and I snuggled in next to Him, happy to be of Assistance. (Nice to have a Buddy when Life is Bumpy, don’t You agree?) I needed to be Persistent and determined. After all, to do so is an important Job. Living unstuck. How about You? When You see a Friend in need, do You offer assistance? Or continue on Your way, knowing Your life to be Self Contained? I say: Open up. Lend a Hand. And be Persistent. Your determination will reap Mighty rewards. Live unstuck. #unstuck-living#persistence-and-determination