Memories not Things

Nick is patiently waiting for Santa Paws this evening.

Luckily though my little pup isn’t really expecting any presents because a) he’s a dog and b) I stopped buying Christmas presents about 8 years ago.

When I stopped buying presents the Holiday magically went from being a grind to a beautiful time of the year that I 100% look forward to. Instead of feeling the pressure of having to buy (maybe – probably) unwanted gifts for people who already have everything they need, I can now just relax and ask people out for drinks or dinner or for an evening at my place instead. Then we can focus on what I think the true meaning of the Holiday are: celebrating the friendships and connections you have with the people you care about in your life.

Getting together instead of spending money on things is easier on your budget, way more fun and relaxing and very eco-friendly. Imagine what our landfills look like after Christmas. Full of wasted paper, tinsel, online shopping boxes and bubble wrap and cellophane. Not very healthy for our beautiful planet.

Giving up gift exchanges was the key to unlocking the magic of this beautiful season for me. I highly recommend.

Wishing everyone a magical Holiday Season full of love, food, hygge and happiness.

Life Lessons from a Terrier Mix

Earlier this afternoon my little Terrier, who had been running wild around a sandy beach at low tide with me, decided to chase after three huge Canadian geese.

Each goose was probably at least 10 pounds heavier than him so it was pretty funny to see him chasing after the large birds. My friend who was watching the shenanigans with me commented “I’m surprised the geese haven’t gone after him. He has no idea how small he is, does he?”

He made a good point since there were more of them, they were heavier than him and Canadian geese have been known to be fierce, hissing at and even chasing people who venture too close to them.

But I knew exactly why the geese ran from my little dog. My dog fully, unwaveringly, 100% believes he is an 80 pound pit bull. And, because of this, he has a huge, confident energy.

I’ve seen him go after large, powerful dog breeds and he never gets hurt. I think he believes so strongly in his power that other beings end up believing he is powerful too.

Imagine if we all had that kind of confidence; if we all believed that we had the power to influence our lives as much as my little pup believes. We would be unstoppable. We wouldn’t stay in less than loving relationships, we wouldn’t let our work be anything other than our passion and we would believe that we are deserving of all good things.

We would be courageous in standing up for others and ourselves and our confidence would shine. Imagine how much happier our existence would be. Add a little empathy and compassion to the mix and imagine how much happier and successful this world would be.

This thought brought to you be a stubborn, confident Terrier mix.

Hiking and Appies

I love a trek to St. Mark’s Summit on a misty fall day.

Being surrounded by nature’s beauty makes my soul sing.

And, after a chilly excursion to the mountaintop, this dish helps to fill your hunger and warm your soul:

Savoury Puff Pastry

The Pastry:

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 14 T butter, frozen
  • pinch salt
  • 10 T chilled water
  • 1 T lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Place butter in the freezer overnight
  2. In a jug, mix together water and lemon juice and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Everything should be cold so you can put the bowl in the fridge to chill.
  4. Grate the frozen butter directly into the flour mix. Stir the frozen butter into the flour with a knife.
  5. Add the liquid, holding a little back just in case you don’t need it all. Add just enough water to keep the pastry together.
  6. Bring the dough together to form a ball, then place in fridge for at least one hour.

The Recipe:

Form puff pastry into little boats. Int the centre, add sliced cherry tomatoes and a layer of bocconcini and top with a fresh basil leaf.

Bake at 250 degrees for half and hour. Serve. Warm your soul.

Sunset Yoga

Yoga is not just repetition of few postures – it is more about the exploration and discovery of the subtle energies of life. ~ Amit Ray

Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame. ~ B.K.S lyenga

Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self. ~ The Bhagavad Gita

Namaste

Spreading a little Love

My little dog and I were on a long, meandering Sunday beach walk when I came across a fellow neighbourhood dog owner sitting with a friend. She is a large, elderly Eastern European woman and I can never remember her name. I always remember her dog’s name though and, in my mind, refer to her as her dog’s mom.

I waved to her, smiled and asked where her dog was. Her face crunched into a funny look and, in her thick European accent, she told me that she had given her dog up for adoption. I stared at her. He needed an operation she couldn’t afford she continued, so now he’s living with a family up the street. I was shocked. She and her pup seemed inseparable. Do you get to see him, I asked. Before she could answer, her friend piped up “The last time he saw her he looked at her like you’re my mama. Why did you give me to these people?”

I looked back at the former dog mama and saw her eyes well up with tears. In that second, I realized that the last thing this lady needed was my judgement. Everything about her energy told me that she had not had an easy life and her friend was, right now, attempting to pile more guilt on an already heartbreaking situation. I moved towards her, looked her in the eyes and said “You did the right thing” and gave her a big hug.

Did I really think she did the right thing? It doesn’t matter. She needed a little love and compassion and I was honoured to give it to her.

Sometimes we all let our egos and big opinions get in the way of just being there for another person. But when we just let the ego and opinions go and allow ourselves to support someone else without judging, it feels beautiful…for both people.

A world without empathy and compassion would be a horrible thing so I thank my neighbor for reminding me of this today and allowing me to let my better self shine through.