Doggy Dharma Quotes

“Do what you love.  Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it and gnaw at it still.” Henry David Thoreau

“Be the person your dog thinks you are.”  J.W. Stephens

“The way the dog trots out the front door…never fails to fill the saucer of my heart with milky admiration.”  Billy Collins

I’m a dharma junkie.

Dharma is considered to be the “something special within you” that you offer up to the world.  Your calling in life.  The reason why you were put on this Earth.

I’ve been haunted by this idea ever since I read “The Great Work of Your Life” by Stephen Cope.  It’s a modern day interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita, a classic text describing the battle faced by the warrior Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna (actually a Hindu god in disguise!).   As soon as I got it, I consumed the book in four days and then went back to linger through it again.  The hairs stood up on my skin as I read about the lives of extraordinary and ordinary people who found The Work (sometimes accidentally and at other times on purpose) that was to define them.

It took months before I got the chance to hear Stephen speak at a weekend retreat in Kripalu.  He explained how “The Gift”, as he calls dharma, needs to be expressed and that it can take a lot of effort before it can be delivered up in its best form.  He used the quote by Thoreau and I was mesmerized how the metaphor of a dog going after a bone is like the quest for the real calling in your life.  You just have to keep going after it, repeatedly, until you become intimate and familiar with it.

It also struck me how lonely dharma work can be.  Stephen said that there can be mentors along the way and moments of inspiration but mostly there are times when “The Gift” requires you to give everything that you’ve got to make the calling become real.  Only you can express the dharma that you have.  Only you can make it happen as it was meant to be.

I loved stumbling upon several doggy dharma quotes, while gnawing over the idea of one’s true calling.  My veterinary life and my yoga world continue to be connected more and more over time.  Both of these areas make me face the deepest (and sometimes scariest) parts of myself.  I think that’s just how it is supposed to feel when you’re working towards the edge of your dharma.  You have to pull and tug and be challenged to get the good stuff to come out.  It can be exhausting!

I’ll feed the dharma junkie side by continuing to do my work.  I’ll watch for signs that show me where I need to go next.  I’ll keep unearthing the bone.



Mindfulness and maple syrup

Call me a modern day pioneer woman.

For my birthday, I received a book called “Modern Pioneering“. The author, Georgia Pellegrini, is a cook, gardener, outdoor adventurer and do-it-yourself kind of gal.  As someone who just got her own Leatherman multi-tool (the Charge AL model, just in case you were wondering), I can identify with her.

In the spirit of self-sufficiency, I’m making my own maple syrup.  This is the third year that my husband and I have done it.  So Canadian, eh?

We collected the sap from three silver maple trees by tapping them with spigots and hanging buckets.  This year’s cold winter and intermittent thaws produced a bumper crop.  There’s a lot of sap to boil down.  It’s work but makes for a great way to wind down after a steady week at the clinic.

I sit and write, watching the sap boil on the propane burner.
I am forced to be mindful, watching the pot, making sure to adjust the flame so there is just enough simmer and no over-boiling.
I skim off the foam.
I notice how the steam curls into the cool Spring air.
And the drizzling rain makes it all just a little more interesting.

It’s just like waiting for bread dough to rise.  You can’t make a pot boil faster by watching it.

The whole set-up needs gentle but constant tending.  Last year, I burned the pot when I stepped away as the syrup was just finishing off.  Nothing like coming back to a black, bubbling, baked-on mess. I had to throw that pot out.  I swore that I wouldn’t let all that hard work go to waste again.

I’m anticipating the sweet, syrupy goodness that awaits in the final product.  We should make at least 3 L of maple syrup, which will last all year long.  It’s a precious commodity (sorry Aunt Jemimah fans, this is practically liquid gold). I only share it with those foodies that will appreciate the effort.

Now what other pioneer girl project should I tackle, using my Leatherman multi-tool? Onwards!

VIN 2013 Mindfulness Retreat

I’d forgotten my iPhone in the front seat of the truck, which meant my husband had to turn around and drop it off to me at the train station.  As he passed me the phone, he said “You’re going to work on your mindfulness this weekend, right?”.  Yeah.

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Thanksgiving 2013

My school teacher friend was excited to show me a book from the “We Day” event she’d attended with her students in Toronto.  The book gave page upon page of problems that North American kids might complain about.  Like no Wifi in the bathroom stall.  Or having your latte order butchered.  Stuff that might bring down the day for a kid.  Craig and Marc Kielburger tell kids they need to put this all in perpsective, while not talking down to them.  Just watch the video about “My Grandma follows me on Twitter” and it’ll have you laughing and thinking all at the same time.

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