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Author Archive for Joan Courtney

Friends in High Places

Duff here. I had an exciting Adventure the other Day. I was leaving My office and there was a Big White Truck in the parking lot. You may remember: My Very good Friends had that same type of Vehicle in My previous Escapades. And I went All out in Greeting. I circled the truck, barking furiously in My inimitable Hellos. “Let Me In! I want to meet and Greet.” Living unstuck.

Suddenly, a Big Black Labrador Retriever stuck His head out of an Open Window. And Looked at Me. No sound. Just a Curious look. For I was about the Size of His Head. I doubt He had ever seen a Critter as small as I was (that Sounded like a Dog.) I stood on My hind legs to get a Better View, but it was to no Avail. My New Friend was in a High Place. Mom finally picked Me up and We met. I didn’t know what to do with Him, for He was much larger than from My on-ground perspective. But after a time I connected with My New Buddy. All was well. Living unstuck.

How about You? Have You had a Friend in a High Place? And were unsure how to Connect? I say: Give it a Shot. A wise man once said something about making new friends and influencing People. And I have found that to be true. Live unstuck. #unstuck-living#friends

A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.

—Donna Roberts

Make Me Feel Important

Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, “Make me feel important.” . . . You will succeed in life.

—Mary Kay Ash

Duff here. I was wondering the other day: What would the World be like if We all treated each other as The Most Important. Can You imagine? And there are so many ways to do That. Truly Listening to what They have to say. Looking at Them as they speak. Being interested in Their Inner Being, Their Heart’s desires. Resonating with the Core of that Other Person and being Receptive to where They are at that Moment? Priceless. Living unstuck.

As a Canine, I make People feel important every day. Since I can’t read (Dogs don’t, You know), I have a Secret Weapon. I have a Sensitivity that surpasses any written Messages. I know when Folks are happy. Or when They’re sad. When they are upset or when They are triumphant. I have a built-in Inner Perception and am aware when I need to be Close. Or give People some Space. That’s living unstuck.

How about You? Do You make people Feel important? Or just pass Them by? I say: Tune-up that Built-In Perception. Take a Moment and revel in Them. Both of You will glow and Shine. Success will be Yours. Living unstuck. #unstuck-living#make-me-feel-important

A Letter to Anxiety

Anxiety got you down? If you wrote a letter to your anxiety, it might look something like this:

Greetings Anxiety,

You and I have been close friends for some time. In fact, I can’t remember a time when you haven’t been in my life. You have kept me from doing things I would enjoy. You rob me of fun and spontaneity. When I feel your energy, any new challenge feels like Mount Everest rather than the tiny mole hill it is. My confident perspective zeros in on a tiny focus of doom and gloom as I hook in with those negative past memories. I feel “less than” everyone else and whatever I do is not enough. Ever.

You steal my sleep, waking me at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. to start your negative rambling. Anything in my life is fair game: from imminent deadlines to seemingly overwhelming commitments, from the “what-if’s” and “should-haves” to “I wonder if this will turn out.” At those early morning hours, all is dark and treacherous. No daylight will ever exist. Or so it seems.

Thank you for listening.

Sincerely, You

Want a Change? Let’s rewrite the letter together. It could be something like:

Dear Anxiety,

While you and I have been close friends for some time, I feel a need to change. I appreciate your “protective” efforts, but you are getting in the way of a positive future-oriented perspective. Please quiet down so I can see through your fantasy of illusion and move into a healthier life. Yes, you have controlled me through the years. But I want to include you in this new process.

Your energy has been a powerful influence on me. But I think you got the wrong job description. You thought the only way through life was with your current ways. I suspect you’re tired of doing what you have been doing, and perhaps want a new job. One that achieves the same goals but is better for us. When I feel your energy creeping in, I will use some new anxiety busters so we can both change. Thank you for your assistance with this new approach.

Warmly, You

Here are some tips to help all of us learn new patterns of behavior:

  • Start deep breathing. Belly breathing is the surest way we can harmonize. New melodies are on the way! The entire body can relax.
  • Stop drinking soda. This beverage not only jacks up your central nervous system, but depletes vitamins and minerals from your body.  
  • Trim the fat from your budget. Take charge of your money. We all know: debt will ramp up anxiety. Track what you spend and cut back on unnecessary things.
  • Get rid of clutter. A deadline is rapidly approaching. How do you feel when you can’t find that HP901 ink for the printer? Or the panic when you can’t find the keys as you head out the door? Simplify your life and breathe easier. 
  • Plan a day trip. Feel unendingly stuck in the office? Or at home? I’ll take off and go to a different environment. Take a hike. Do some camping. Your mind and body will appreciate this much-needed break.  
  • Go to bed early. “Just one more thing” before you head for bed? Solution: set an alarm for an hour before shuteye. And begin winding down for the day.
  • Begin a gratitude journal. Anything from a pair of boots to a warm jacket, from good health to wonderful friends. There is so much to be grateful for. Start appreciating life and yourself.

Leave anxiety behind and live unstuck.

One Day at a Time

Duff here. Mr. Lincoln must have known Dogs well, for as a Canine, I live in the Moment. I wake up and Am ready for My New day. And Who knows what It will bring? Autumn brings Those Dry Leaves that float and skip along the ground. I love to pounce and catch Them, picking Them up and shaking them Mightily. I cavort and Spin, thoroughly enjoying the Cool Breezes and the Movement of these Slight Ends of Trees. Adventures are Mine, for Right now is all I have. Living unstuck.

Part of My Job as the Canine Executive Officer is to help People remember: They too live in the Now. Of course, for Some, there’s fussing about the Future. For Others? Regret about the past. But as a Canine, I delight in the Now. Whether I am Basking in the Sun or playing with Leaves, I’m in the Present. I live unstuck.

How about You? Where are You putting Your Attention? Already fretting about the Holidays? (Some are, You know.) Or ruminating about The Past? I say: Let that Stuff go and be Here Now. I’d highly recommend it. It’s the Only Way to Go. Live unstuck. #unstuck-living#live-in-the-now

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.

—Abraham Lincoln

Learn and Grow

It’s okay to find problems in things that we like. That’s how we grow.

—Ali La Benz

Duff here. I like My Life to be smooth sailing. No worries. No fuss. Unstuck. But I have discovered That’s not always Possible. Let’s take Grooming, for instance. (Actually, Mom calls what happens cutting My hairs.) I am delighted to see Ashley, My groomer, and We begin with a mini lovefest. She coos at Me, talking gently as She picks Me up to place Me in My Special Spot. Next? I like My Warm Bath. (I’ll bet You do, too.) That is living unstuck.

The Problem arises when Ashley begins to clip the Fur on My face. I screw up My Nose and look like a Little Old Man. I back Up. I shake My Head. I do everything in My Power to let Her know: All is not well. But She is kindly persistent and finishes My Cut. I am then released to be the Handsome Groomed Dude I am. What happened? I grew into a new Perspective. After getting over That Problematic Hurdle, I’m living unstuck.

How about You? Do You find problems in the things You like? When camping, is it too Cold? Or when You are served a Favorite dish, perhaps not the way Your Taste Buds remembered? I say: Stretch a Bit. Learn and grow. It builds confidence. And Your Future Self will thank You. #unstuck-living#learn-and-grow

The Dreaded Diet

Duff here. Six months ago, I got the Dire Proclamation from My Veterinarian. I was overweight. Heavy for my frame. In a word: Fat. Mom protested, for She is careful about what She feeds Me. Okay, maybe She was a little overly Generous in what She put in My Dish. But She was probably following the prompts on That Bowl, Labeled Good Dog on one side and Feed Me on the other. Totally understandable. And I am so darn Cute. How could She resist? Living unstuck.

But when She started cutting back on My Rations, I acted as If I was in starvation Mode. This Activity was complete with Soulful brown Eyes watching as She ate, each bite depriving Me of much needed sustenance. Her answer? To wait until I went to Doggy Day Camp for a few days. Running and Romping, frolicking and Jumping. My Canine Friends kept My Mind off of Smaller Food Portions. And I was Slim and svelte by the time Mom picked Me up. Clever Mom. Living unstuck.

How about You? Have You ever been handed a Do-This-Or-Else Command? What was Your end Result? I say: Go to Camp. The Experience will take Your mind off of Your Troubles. And You too can play with Your Friends and Achieve Your Goal at the Same Time. Live unstuck. #unstuck-living#

I’m in shape. Round is a shape.

—George Carlin

Uncomfortable Situations

I’m not going. And you can’t make me.

—The Duff

Duff here. Toward the end of September, it’s time for the Parade of Cars and Fall Festival. These beautiful Vehicles travel from Show Low to Pinetop, showing off their unique Shapes and Colors from Yesteryear. Drivers sound their Horns and everyone has a Good Time. (Mom’s pictures show Some Of Them Celebrating and living unstuck.)

But the Sounds and the Noises of the Hoopla are frightening to This Little Dog. She and I started down toward the Road to watch when I planted all four Paws. And skidded just a Little until Mom got the Message that One of the Two of Us was not going in That Direction. I took advantage of the slack in My leash to turn around and head uphill, Pulling Her along for all I was Worth. (I touched Her heart, for until then, She didn’t know I was Scared.) Chair and iced tea in hand, She followed Me. On reaching the Car, She unlocked it and popped Me inside. I barked three Times, then realized: The Jeep was Warm. No Noise. A Nap was definitely in Order. I curled up and went to Sleep, secure in the Comfort of My Little bed. Letting others do Their celebrating. Living unstuck.

How about You? Have You been in an uncomfortable Situation? And let a Friend know, so They could bail You out? I say: Speak Your Piece. You don’t have a Leash like Mine, so You’ll have to Let Your Buddy know Your feelings. I promise, it will work out Well. That’s living unstuck. #unstuck-living#uncomfortable-situations